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From My Window

Issue Date: May 27, 2020

Summerize

By Jane Thibodeau Martin,

This past weekend I spent some time summerizing. No, not "summarizing," the act of simplifying a lengthy presentation or document in some mercifully brief manner. I mean "summerizing," the act of welcoming the delightful Wisconsin summer and telling winter "don't let the door hit you in the backside on your way out!" There's a lot of joy in this, given that Wisconsin winters are the butt of lots of jokes nation-wide for good reason. Every person's summerizing is a little different, but I am sure some of my task list will resonate, as will my sense of humor about it.

Job one was finding and cleaning up the lawn chairs. Now if I was even more compulsive about cleaning than I already am, I would have cleaned them and covered them in plastic or something last fall. Actually, they got shoved in the barn moments before the first blizzard hit around Halloween.

Next is hauling out my flower pots and filling them with fresh dirt. I love looking at the pots, dreaming of beautiful flowers brightening the porch and patio. This is delightful all summer, but by the time of the first frost (around Sept. 1st!) I am sick of watering them and ready to be done. But for now, visions of geraniums, petunias, spikes and sweet potato vines fill my brain.

On to planting the garden. We are already having scope creep our second full summer here. The primary garden has been joined by a secondary garden for Indian corn, dill, lots and lots of pumpkins and the sunflowers I couldn't live without. That means twice the planting, additional watering and weeding, more bugs and critters to battle and more harvesting/preserving. I love every minute of it but by the end of the summer I am so ready to be done with all of it. I think we Wisconsonites love our lawns and gardens so much because of the brevity of our warm weather " I doubt I'd love it so much if I lived in the south where it becomes a year-round burden.

The porch swing comes out of hiding, and it obviously needs staining so I tackle that. I make note of the location of the croquet set, because now we have some actual lawn to use for a game. I finish making the fire pit out of rocks we selected from the Martin family farm rock pile, creating some nostalgia among Mike's older siblings. After I sent a picture, his oldest sister quipped she remembers picking one of the exact rocks I used.

It was joyous to wash all the hats, mittens, gloves, scarves and winter coats and put them away. I scrub the mud and manure off the winter boots before putting them in the basement. Such a delight to walk outside without ten minutes of putting on layer after layer to go feed the horse. These are items I am not happy to pull out again at Halloween. (At least, I hope I don't need them until Halloween - but no guarantee!)

The horse blanket is washed as well and tucked into the tack trunk. Betty's personal "winter coat" is all over the stall floor, courtesy of my vigorous use of the shed brush. She looks less like a buffalo now, but still has a few tufts of long hair here and there. You can tell she enjoys this interlude of warmer weather, fly-free for another week or so.

And speaking of flies let's check the stock of bug repellant and sun block. Maybe the bug spray can marked "Sam Martin, Scout Troop 117" should be disposed of? Our son is 33. I am thinking this spray will fail to create any respect from the mosquitoes. Baseball caps come out of hiding and onto pegs at the back door, and fishing poles are readied for Hank Lake. We finally find locations for the bird houses we didn't get installed last year.

Mike, meanwhile, is busy planting grass on the raw areas left after construction that didn't get fixed due to the near monsoonal conditions we had last fall, and mowing the grassy areas that already got established. I like looking out and seeing him with his baseball cap on, riding around on the garden tractor and no doubt contemplating his next project.

The arrival of summer is especially wonderful because of "safer at home." Being able to enjoy time outdoors, in an environment with clean safe air, is a blessing. I am summerized and ready to make the best of this summer, in different ways than I normally would. No big festivals, crowded bars or standing in tightly-packed lines at ice cream stands for me. That is okay, because I want to enjoy summer for many more years to come.

Happy belated Memorial Day to everyone. With everyone understandably thrilled to see warmer weather arrive, and anxious to kick up their heels and have fun, remember two things. First of all, be safe. Remember, there is still an uninvited guest lurking. The virus is NOT on vacation. And second; I hope you remembered last weekend that there is a reason for this "season." It is specifically set aside to honor military personnel who died in the line of duty. We use it to honor and remember all our beloved dead; but I hope you reserved some time and reflected on those who made the ultimate sacrifice for America, and for you and I.

You can reach me for commentary, alternative viewpoints or ideas at this e-mail address: JanieTMartin@gmail.com.


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