“This is the Best”

Ellinore showing Vivian the finer points of how to hug a horse

There is not much better than a visit from Rick and Jer and Audrey and Vivian in late July. There is not much better than blueberries, this month’s feature fruit, and picking (and eating) berries morning noon and night with the girls before packing up for a ten minute back-of-the-pick-up ride to Pisgah to walk the fifteen minutes through the forest to Kilburn pond where the girls leap off the rocks and Beck and Rick swim the perimeter before a beaver slides across the surface of the pond at sunset and slaps his tail loud and clear as the last rays of the evening sun falls on the pines.

Audrey and Mac on the road up to the barn

There is not much better than the time of the year when the garden is an exploding parcel of biomass. There is not much better than cucumbers growing as fast as we can pick (and pickle) them, hilled and weeded potatoes, early broccoli and  late lettuce coming in buckets, garlic pulled and spread out in the barn to dry (about 900 heads this year), cabbage and dreams of kim chee and kraut, and that moment in the year when the peaches begin to blaze orange in the hanging green leaves of the orchard. And, just last week, there was another not much better moment when we began picking one of this year’s garden success stories–melons. There is not much better than a freshly picked melon for breakfast.

The second batch of pickles on day two of a seven or eight day ferment

There is not much better than Vivian and Audrey riding horses and mucking stalls–though Vivian is in a world of her own (one I want to be in, by the way) as her attention moves from one thing to another. This is the girl that a summer ago, as we were heading off to shower outside after a day on the beach on the Cape, insisted on joining Beck and Mark in the shower. And,  as we rinsed the salt from our skin and soaped our naked bodies, Vivian exclaimed, with preternatural enthusiasm, “This is the best.”

Vivian and Mariah in the field

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