Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Summer of the Bear

This summer was certainly the summer of the Bear. I saw a lot of our bear this summer. If the bear wasn't knocking over our (bear-proof, of course) garbage can, he (or maybe she) was out all times of the day. Our neighborhood bear got very bold this year showing up in broad daylight.

It's been an odd summer. Our garden was almost an epic bust. I have a small enclosed garden to keep the critters out, but this year, no matter how many breaches we sealed, the chipmunks got in and ate almost everything. It's been a dry summer and I suspect that the animals are hungrier than usual. I planted several varieties of sunflowers, but they never had a chance. I found bear prints in the sunflower patch and I caught the foxes eating the seedlings. I live in the middle of a wild animal park! My highest hopes were for the strawberries to grow abundantly. Every year, I dream of strawberry shortcake and home made strawberry jam. They might have flourished, but those pesky chipmunks devoured the flowers before the strawberries could even bloom. Needless to say, I kind of gave up this summer, but as I am always hopeful, I am already looking to next year. I plan to relocate the garden to get more sun. Next year, I will have my strawberries!
This was my garden at the beginning of the summer. It had so much potential. I bought a single Concord  grape plant thinking that at some point I could have grape jelly along with my strawberry jam plans, but the grape plant doesn't look as if it grew at all. 

I thought that the garden was a total failure, but I looked in the other day and I found six small pumpkins! I've been trying to grow pumpkins for almost six years! I am so excited! So, no strawberries, but I have these miniature pumpkins to decorate the house for Fall! I guess chipmunks don't care for pumpkins! I also found some garlic chives that the critters left alone! Even in disappointment, there's much to be thankful for. We're leaving strawberry season behind and moving into pumpkin bliss!

Summer ends a little sooner up here in the mountains. Around mid-August, I hear the first rustling of the aspen leaves and that seems to signal the end of summer here. School begins in August and as I have one child in public school, we find ourselves scrambling to wrap up summer, change gears, and get ready for the new school year. I know I'm not alone in thinking that September is really new year's. I will always feel that the academic calendar more accurately fits the transition into a new year. I'm okay with the end of summer, but I am not okay when I see the leaves on the aspens and maples drying out, turning brown, and falling too soon. Like I said, it's been a very dry summer! Autumn, I look forward to you every year and I will be bitterly disappointed if I don't get spectacular golden yellows and magnificent complex orange leaves to look at every day.

Today, we started our home school year. Luke is in 8th grade and he will turn 13 this Thursday.  I can't believe we're getting so close to high school. We've got some big decisions to make in the coming year. I haven't written much about home schooling on my blog in a long long time. More on that soon...In the mean time, here's a picture of Luke with Rhodie, his Rhode Island Red. He's become somewhat of an expert on poultry in the last year. Some of his chickens started laying eggs this Summer and he usually brings me an egg a day.

Well, here's to the end of the Summer of the Bear and to the beginning of a challenging and exciting academic year. It's time for pumpkins, cool nights, apple pie, and reading under cozy quilts.

I will reveal the winner of our Big Summer tomorrow!

Happy September Friends!

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