Summer is in full throttle, stifling heat but the gentle drone of kids laughter waxing and waning is enough to bring a smile to anyone’s face. We have wildflowers growing, dandelions abound and grass up to our knees. Wildflowers make beautiful impromptu hair adornments and sometimes land in mason jars of water. Most of the time though, we admire them and leave them for the bees. Long stems of grass become nature’s toothpicks. Potholes in our gravel driveway become the perfect place for making mud balls just in case a sibling makes a sneak attack with the nerf gun. And perhaps the favorite spot in the yard is our one of a kind mud slip and slide. Hours of fun by the kids and their friends running, yelling and slipping down the hill on a slide of mud. They're building their immune systems, using their imaginations and having a blast!
I have the perfect vantage point of watching this slip and slide of summer fun right from my kitchen table. The water sprinkler goes up and shortly after, the dry patch of earth becomes the best free toy the kids could want. Some say the world is in chaos now and maybe it is. But for now, summer holds these kids captive with sunshine, water fights, mud ball fights, nerf gun attacks and bike rides. This is how summer should be for kids. No worries but what to have for their next snack or which book to reread while waiting for the libraries to reopen.
The goats look on and call out to play and beg for food when we walk by. The pigs grunt along happily under the trees looking for grass to nibble on or root around in the cool earth. Piglets weave in and out of the grass playing their own game of impromptu hide and seek with each other. Chickens flutter about looking for delectable bugs and insects. They seem happier now that they are a ladies-only bunch yet I find myself secretly longing for the rooster crow.
Our human son Gatling ("Gator") was born this past December (2019) and is about 7 months old now. Everything is so new and fascinating for him as his eyes grow big and wide with wonder. He adores his big sister and brother and rewards them with frequent squeals and the biggest smiles. His favorite place to be is with them when he isn’t snuggling with his momma. His second favorite place is to be outside watching all the animals and with his dad. Gator is content to let me hold him in the shade as long as he can go back and forth from watching all the livestock and Mackay. Every tool, shelter built, pile of dirt moved is new and intriguing for him. We often wonder what is going on in his little mind. In some ways I’m envious of him. He will grow up learning how to care for animals with dogs as his constant companions, how to drive a tractor, grow fruits and vegetables, move pigs and sheep from pasture to pasture. He will learn to can excess produce preparing for winter. Camping, hunting, shooting, archery, climbing trees with a big brother and sister cheering him on with every scraped knee or elbow. The world is before him with so many possibilities and exciting adventures if he learns to make good decisions.
Summers are for extreme heat and then sudden rain showers and thunder storms. Fresh grass, sweat, sunburns, dogs barking, pulling weeds, sweet tea or a cold beer are all reminders that summer is here for a season all too soon to be replaced by the coming fall. As I reflect on the chaos of the world, I can’t help but be grateful for the here and now of the ranch in the summer; safe, predictable and steady but fresh and new every day.
I'm a wife, mom of 3 wonderful children, homeschool teacher and loving ranching. After Mackay and I married, we've been steadily pursing our goals of having a self sufficient life and teaching others along the way.