Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Green and Lively Maryland

old and young feet

We've been living in the Maryland countryside for two weeks now, and only today did I have enough time to start a post here, time to even think of writing more than a shopping list.

We're taking care of four grandchildren while Pearl and Nate are abroad. They are energetic and happy-family-robust kids between the ages of  eight and fifteen, who should help me stay young if they didn't make me feel so old and tired by comparison.

The heat and humidity are enervating as well, though today when I was driving (alone, for the first time) a road that curves along under tall leafed-out trees and with lush bushes and vines on the borders, I was able to contemplate the agricultural resources of heat and humidity and summer rains. I stopped along the way at one of the numerous produce stands to buy big peaches and some squash, and drove into the driveway past the neighbors' hibiscus with dinner-plate blooms.

a Natchez berry
Last week in preparation for Mr. Glad's birthday we all went to the berry farm to pick giant thornless blackberries in stark contrast to the little wild things we usually have to pick for hours to make a couple of pies. We had more than enough berries in about twenty minutes, but it didn't feel right to us, to pay with so little time, so we picked some more, and ended up with more than enough for three big pies that I spent most of the next day baking.

Mr. Glad fell in love with a German striped tomato at the farm store, so we brought it home for the dinner.


 
 
It filled two bowls and served the whole family deliciously.

That day Aunt Kate and Uncle Soldier came to celebrate with us, and their youthful energy was very welcome. Some of that energy went into making sushi for the birthday guy.


Lots of things are different here in the East from what we see on the West coast. A groundhog wandered across the lawn yesterday, a huge creature that we had only seen in "Groundhog Day." And Mr. Glad found a large butterfly that was new to us. Fireflies and cicadas liven up the back yard in the evenings, when the temperature drops a little and we can actually stand to be outside with them.

Neither of us had been on the sort of Atlantic beach where people play and swim in the summertime, so we made the effort of a long drive to Fenwick Island State Park in Delaware and the grandchildren loved it. It had been a while since their last experience of the ocean and some of them had listened to many scary jellyfish stories in the meantime. The lifeguard told us that those unpleasant creatures aren't a problem until the ocean water has been warm for a few weeks, usually not until mid-August.

We also loved being able to really relax in the warmth of the sand and sun -- nothing like our local beaches back home. We wished we had more time for playing in the waves and watching the exuberant and laughing body-surfers we had brought with us.



The children are off in four different directions today, one of them with his grandpa down in Washington, DC checking out the sights there. It's the first day I have had time alone other than a few minutes before falling asleep at night, and it's been the most healthful thing. I feel like an olive tree that's been getting a little too much fertilizer for about two weeks, and suddenly has a day with just water and sunlight. I may be old for a tomato, but olive trees live on and on.





16 comments:

elizabeth said...

wonderful! sounds tiring but really great; grandparents are a real blessing! glad you get to be this blessing!

Pom Pom said...

How perfect! It sounds like you are having a simply beautiful time with your grands. The beach looks gorgeous! Oh, how I'd like a slice of that pie, Gretchen Joanna!

Jeannette said...

What a summer you have been having....no, you are no tomato...

Dana said...

Your children like olive branches 'round about your table...

Love, and miss you,
Dana

Dana said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Marfa said...

It looks like you're having a great time...what is the first picture about? dancing? it's quite artistic...and I like it ♥ that tomato is beautiful! and those ARE really giant blackberries WOW
have you seen any fireflies yet?

James the Thickheaded said...

Reret misssing your visit to St. Mark's. Hope you got some Eastern Shore corn... it's at its peak of sweetness right now. Hope to catch your next trip...

Heather said...

Sounds like you are having a great time! I remember visiting my grandparents in Illinois when I was younger and hearing the cicadas in the trees and trying to catch fireflies in jars. There's nothing like that on the west coast. Thanks for bringing back those memories for me :)

M.K. said...

What a lovely, busy time you're having in the East! I've missed you online, but am glad you're having such great family time. Ahhh, the beach :) I love it. We have lots of jellyfish here also. My hubby says he learned that jellyfish must have salt water, so if there is heavy or long rain, and the river water here becomes more fresh/diluted, the jellyfish go away, temporarily. Good to know :) Enjoy your stay with the grands!!

Gumbo Lily said...

I so enjoyed reading this. What a wonderful time you are having with your grandkids. I like it that you compare yourself to an olive tree. Yes.

Friends of ours grew about 30 of those striped (rainbow) tomatoes last year in their garden. They shared with us and we LOVED them so much. So big and juicy.

Three blackberry pies -- you are so good, GJ.

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Glad to have you on the east coast, GJ! It's always so interesting to travel somewhere geographically so different from where you live. I'm amazed when I go to see my brother in Chicago--so flat, such a big sky!

Have fun with the grands! Make more pies!

xofrances

Sarah said...

I've been looking forward to this post (though I heard about part of the post through my Mr.)! :-) You're a Grandma that secretly most everyone would want! So happy Mr. Glad and you are well and the dear children too.

Sara said...

How lovely to see fireflies. I've always wanted to see those. Perhaps that might be a moth rather than a butterfly but either way, it's large! So is that amazing berry!

wayside wanderer said...

I feel some of the energy it must take to keep up with everyone in your post. I'm glad you get a day just to yourself to rest and be still. Those are huge berries and tomatoes! Yum!!! You didn't say how long you are there for but I am guessing you still have a while more. I hope you get another slower paced day or two.

Emily J. said...

Wow, that is some tomato! Sounds like a wonderful trip. I'm glad you didn't run into jellyfish, which are no fun. Apparently vinegar helps minimize the sting.

Drawing on my experience in grade school as my brother's entymology project helper, I think the moth is a cecropia. They come in a few color combinations.

llasblog said...

It's fun watching a West Coaster discover the East Coast, as I remember the wonder of being and East Coaster discovering the West. And it's lovely that our country is big enough to have completely different landscapes, flora and fauna on each side.

And I'm glad you had a nice time with your family, too ;-).