Sunday, June 12, 2016

It's Summertime, and the Livin' is Good

How can I tell it's summer?

1. Library Summer Reading programs--I did my first one on Friday and it was such fun! All about vegetables, believe it or not. Vegetable riddles, vegetable songs, vegetable stories! The Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library was a great place to be on a hot, hot afternoon. A small audience, but big fun.

2. The West Virginia Writers Conference--I did not present or submit the year. I've been lazy about creative writing for the past few years and am only recently getting back into my writing groove. But the conference is THE place to reconnect with writing friends, and it was all I could have asked and more.

photo by Susan Korstanje of WV Writers

3. Late nights--I arrived late Friday evening after my performance in Clarksburg and a 2 1/2-hour drive, and found the conference in full swing. Well, maybe not workshops and such, but the meet-and-greet was going strong. We stayed late, just catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. Saturday morning I was up and out for a workshop with the stellar poet and musician Doug Van Gundy. His session was on finding poetic inspiration in music, and it was not anything like you might expect. Listening to pieces, then describing the person who might have loved the music, or a setting the music took us to...very good stuff. The evening offered a concert by Doug and his music partner Paul Gartner, known together as Born Old. Their music is old-time and just plain excellent. Here's a quick clip of Doug from an afternoon break on the porch at the conference:

We stayed until the wee hours of Sunday morning and honestly I hated to leave even then.

4. River watching--the Ohio continues to fascinate me, even though I'm pretty much afraid of water of any depth. We had a leisurely morning, getting up late and having a very late breakfast, then went to Marietta to tidy up our booth and (most important) pick up our monthly check. The booth certainly needed the attention! Sales have been excellent and the booth was a right mess. I didn't need to bring anything new in, just rearrange and straighten up what was already there. When we were done we picked up some lunch and took it down by the river to eat, and stayed a good while just watching the boats, the water and the people. It was so relaxing. Then we took the slow way home, following the river as far as possible south before turning east to home.

5. Gardens! Veggies are coming in beautifully now--lots of broccoli, cabbage, onions and new potatoes. Larry pulled the peas and planted pickling cucumbers and another row of carrots and beets, and replanted lettuce because the last planting did not germinate. Lettuce seeds seem to be very difficult to get to sprout in the last few years and I wonder why? What has changed? We're certainly not doing anything different.

6. Firepit evenings--now that we're finally caught up on spring yard chores and some of the house things, like painting the deck and porch, we can stop work a little earlier and enjoy the evenings. The cicada go to bed early, thank goodness, and the air becomes blessedly cool and soft. Such easy pleasure.

This week summer programs happen in earnest with 3 library programs scheduled this week in various parts of the state, followed by he West Virginia Folk Festival on the weekend. And then, I take a week off for Allegheny Echoes creative writing workshop in the beautiful mountains of Pocahontas county, WV.

Such bliss it will be, to only write, listen to some of the best music in the country in the evenings, and enjoy the beauty of the mountains, the Greenbrier River, and the fellowship of many friends.

So, this is how I know it's summer, even if the calendar doesn't agree. What says summer for you?

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Rowan said...

Sounds as though you had a good weekend, music and good company are always a great combination. Summer here at the moment is comprised of rain, rain and more rain unfortunately. We had three lovely sunny days earlier this month and happily I made the most of them working in my garden for a couple of them and then having a day out in Harrogate with my friend.

annie said...

It sounds like such fun!
Glad your sales were good!
Nothing like watching a river flow, but keep me out of the water too!
Loved the photos!
Thankful you are enjoying it all!

Susan Anderson said...

Sound like your summer is going along quite pleasantly, as is mine. Looking forward to a family reunion in July. And like you, spending lots of time with friends.


Gretel said...

Talking of vegetables...I am shamefully late in replying to your question from weeks ago - courgettes are what we over here call zucchini. And as Rowan said, we've had so much rain over here that your summer pictures look wonderful!

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