I love summer. I love having a break in the routine, too, although I'm seeing little signs here and there that my kids miss their school time. FDPG is sighted every so often, madly shuffling through her math and spelling books (when she isn't teaching Dominic how to write in Cushion Language), while Dominic has taken it into his head to listen to every 'Read Along' book he owns (a fair few, having inherited all of his brother's). Max, at the grand old age of eleven and a half, is less rudderless and far more sanguine, knowing that come September he'll be back to "all that work" I "make" him do (which in grouchier moments becomes "force"). He alternates between reading on his bed, doing the most involved and witty Lego plays for the twins, and taking FDPG to task for her (yes, even I admit it) very messy ways.
And I, I bask.*
*another in Sheila's longed for alternate reality moments
The garden is starting to produce in earnest now: peas, strawberries, raspberries, radishes, lettuce, carrots, potatoes, rocket, rhubarb, and buckets of herbs (fennel, dill, tarragon, mint, sage, rosemary, oregano, marjoram). Each morning we plop raspberries on our cereal and laugh at their wonderful tanginess. At dinner we have salads: salads of fennel fronds and chopped mint, salads of crunchy peas and radishes, salads of grated carrots and snippets of dill. We boil tiny new potatoes with mint and eat them with our fingers (and a sprinkle of Spike). Last night we had sushi rolls bursting with fresh tarragon. For dessert I bake rhubarb and strawberries into crisps and crumbles. And in between we gaze lovingly (well, I do) at the peaches and apples and figs hanging on the branches of the trees. Or loll under the apple trees and watch the birds flit around the branches, drinking in the scent of the sweet peas. I tell my kids that they must remember these finger-stained and fragrant moments for when it's wet and winter dark outside.
It's memories like these I wish I could tie up and deliver to friends who ask wonderingly "Why do you like to garden so much?" I'd just hand it over, a neat little bundle, all warm and snug and colourful and oh so fragrant. "That's why I garden," I could say, "because of all that."