Sunday, July 5, 2015

Happy Fourth-ish!

I know this is a day late but I want so share with you one of my favorite quotes. This one by Jack Kerouac, from On The Road, always comes to mind on the Fourth of July.

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes, "Awww!"

This time of year always brings out that kind of madness in all of us here in Ohio, I think. The weather is finally warm, school is out, it's time for many of us to go on vacation or just sit out on our own decks, enjoying nature. In short, I want to enjoy every new experience that comes my way; every old familiar experience, too, for that matter. Sometimes that enjoyment comes in the form of travel and sometimes it means just sitting  on my own deck with a good book.

The alpacas are reveling in this moderate sunny weather. I look out the back door and often see them lazing in the pasture, sprawled out on their sides rolling in the dust and basking in the sun.

Another reason that I love this time of year is...Jam Time! 

I had already made one batch of strawberry jam by myself before my assistant and granddaughter, Olivia, came up to help with the second one. This year we added a new trainee to the jam kitchen. My niece's daughter, Riley, (that makes me a great-aunt, but I prefer to think of myself as a Great Aunt) worked in the kitchen making her first ever strawberry jam.

Olivia, who is driving now and has her own car, brought Riley up. Riley was staying the week; Olivia stayed the day. I consider myself a very fortunate g-ma since my almost seventeen-year-old granddaughter still wants to visit and make jam with me. The two girls picked strawberries and we cleaned them and made another batch of jam. You can never have too much strawberry jam.

After the jam, and before supper time, just to stave off boredom, Olivia and Riley made fresh strawberry muffins. After a supper of homemade macaroni and cheese with smoked sausage, Olivia set off for home and Riley, Rich and I settled in for the evening with our books and newspapers.

Riley, a city girl, spent the week with us here on the Buckeye Star Alpaca farm. When I wasn't teaching her to knit or making her help with gardening chores like dead heading the iris plants, she spent a lot of time outside playing ball with Callie. The poor dog was completely worn out each evening and has never slept better in her life.

I think the activity that Riley enjoyed most of all was walking the alpacas. Rich and I  harnessed them up two at a time and walked them around the yard. We took this opportunity to snap current pictures of the animals and after the picture taking, Riley got to walk an alpaca for the very first time. She was thrilled. At the end of the week when I asked her what she might want to be when she grows up, without hesitation she replied, "An alpaca farmer!"

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