The domestic side of things has been very sweet this year. Our yard is always a bit of a mess, but The Machinist and I have been tending to it with a little more vigor than usual. There's never a dearth of things to do, we just have to plug away at them in time.
In addition to my vegetable garden, I've been building on the idea of a garden for native pollinators and medicinal herbs. This spring I plotted a space and began the pollinator portion. Beginning with the already established lavender I'd planted years ago, I added red yarrows, golden currants, lingonberries, and huckleberries, along with some small grasses. So far this part of the garden looks spare, but in time it will expand and provide lots of flowers for the bees and butterflies. In the past we've found Tiger Swallowtail caterpillars in the yard; just a few days ago after investigating what The Studio Cat was obsessing over I found a newly emerged Tiger Swallowtail near the back door. After rescuing him from claw and tooth, and letting him rest a bit away from cat eyes, he fluttered off into the trees.
Our urban homestead has grown by three this summer. June Carter, Kitty Wells, and Patsy Cline joined us as two-week old chicks back in May, and they're rapidly growing into plump hens (we insist on calling them all "girls" despite the fact that Kitty is looking a bit manish - manifest thinking). So far they are absolutely hilarious, and definitely bird-brained, and pretty good company.
The hot and dry summer has created a minor explosion in the vegetable garden. Last summer I began canning pickles in late July. This year I've canned three batches already, with several more to come this week. I suppose I'm thankful that this early harvest will help space the work out, and give me some opportunity to hunt for wild blueberries and pick the abundant blackberries that are absolutely everywhere right now.
If there was a way of stretching time, I would. July is almost gone. July, that month of long sunsets that seem at the same time so fleeting. July, the time of reckoning - what is your truth? What matters? How do you spend your time? July has a way of leading us back to those questions. How will I answer them? How will you?