The month has been unseasonably warm and dry up until yesterday (when it rained pretty much 12 hours straight). After the rain, everything springs into full leaf-and-flower mode. The meadows are suddenly ankle- or shin-high.
And we have residents. The house is being used. People understand how to use it and what it’s for. They see our work and we see theirs. (The residency space, it turns out, is a space of witness for all kinds of usually-invisible work: cleaning, cooking, all kinds of care labor, and writing.) There is so much work to do here but it feels good. I am learning how to modulate; not my strong suit. I had a migraine on Friday that I’m pretty sure was caused by trying to hold everything together. Jonathan is an excellent help with all this. And having people for interesting conversation at dinnertimes is a gift.
In the very background, a large (for me) painting I made this winter. It is strange but nice that these rooms are being used. I haven’t done a lot of writing over the past two weeks, but I think that is mostly because the term is finishing and there is grading/other schoolwork to do. Next week that is pretty much wrapped up, and I am aiming to read some books and work on my own writing. Although this work constrains me (insofar as I don’t have any six- to ten-hour, uninterrupted writing periods) I think I will be able to work within the constraint as soon as I get used to the feeling that writing is what I need to be doing. That was the magical thing about being in Vermont and it’s the thing I hope to create or hold space for for residents here.
My delphinium made four stalks this year. I put ashes on its roots when it started sprouting, which was advice I read somewhere, and whether that helped or not it was very vigorous. It’s coming to the end of its blooming now. Surrounding it are volunteer asters, a color combination that was unintentional but which I like. We have neglected this little garden a bit—last year we seeded it quite early—but I have some seeds started in pots in the back yard, and when they get a bit bigger I will put some annuals out. We are having tons and tons of aphids, so I hesitate to put very young plants out (although maybe the presence of lots of nasturtiums will help deter the aphids attacking other plants?).
One of the back vegetable beds. Chinese broccoli, bok choi, parsley, red lettuce, calendula, sunflowers, kohlrabi, butternut squash to trail out into the yard (eventually), sweetcorn, and beans. We are so close to eating from the garden at two meals a day. As it is we are getting way more lettuce than we can manage (need to work on timing), rocket, herbs, red-veined dock (small new leaves as garnish on salads), garlic scapes, currants, and now raspberries too. Potatoes almost ready.
Working on breathing again. I miss going to Tuesday-night yoga with Jeanette in Beeston. Not really that different from church (which I also miss), just an hour or 90 minutes of sitting and letting-be. One thing this past year taught me, which I am now struggling to unlearn, is the bad habit of always feeling behind, always feeling I ‘ought’ to be doing more (or other) work. This is not my natural way of being. I don’t like it, don’t like its effect on my body, and don’t like where it comes from (capital! Produce! Work! Faster! More!).
Next year, we decided, we will not till the meadows. We’ll thresh them in November, spade them under, and let what happens happen. (With a little zinnia seed added.)
For sour-cherry ice cream.
For themselves (and the future).
For plum cake, and to remember plum trees in England (it’s a Victoria).
For dinners and lunches and because they are pretty. And for cake and (savory) fritters.
For sauce, roasting, and eating as they are. I am greedy about tomatoes and don’t feel there can be too many. Remind me of that in August when we have our canning/drying days. And thinking of things that happen in large metal pots, I still want to get my hands on indigo. Best option seems like this. I made some loose, elastic-ankled trousers out of a fine cotton and I want to dye them alongside all the older clothes than need a refresh. For September maybe, or maybe I will feel freer sooner than that.
Another resident is due to arrive in 45 minutes. New books are edited and galleys are with the writers. The MIEL shop is updated. I have list on list on list, but sometimes I forget the lists and just get on with my life. I feel happy and I worry about forgetting or neglecting duties. I would like to draw some wild birds’ eggs. I would like to make a book of chapels. I want all the writers and artists whose work I care about to be here with us for a week. I am not not thinking about all the things I do not mention here.