Seasonal


We arrived in India at the start of the Monsoon Season. What this means, as far as I can tell, is that there is sun for at least part of the day, often much of the day, then cloud cover for part of the day, then it rains for a while. And then it’s probably sunny again. But don’t quote me on that; I’ve just arrived ;)

When it doesn’t rain, it’s hot. When it does rain, it cools off (they call that “Winter” here. I call it “Not Even Close” lol).

Monsoon Clouds. Bangalore, India.

I love how brightly the houses and apartments are painted, and then contrasted against the lush greenness of the trees. When the light is just right, everything seems to be almost lit up.

Monsoon Clouds. Bangalore, India.

And when it rains, oh, it rains. We got caught in it one day, eating dinner on the patio of a downtown restaurant.

Monsoon Rain. Bangalore, India.

Every time you thought it couldn’t rain harder it did. There was no violent wind, and only occasional thunder, but an incredible amount of water was falling from the sky. It rained harder and harder until it sounded like a thousand fists pounding and a thousand feet stomping. It was magnificent. It lasted an hour or so.

Monsoon Rain – Flooded Street. Bangalore India

When the rain stopped, the temperature had dropped significantly, the air was fresh and everything felt clean. As we drove home, the trees still dripped. I saw children playing tag on the sidewalk, wearing woollen hats and winter coats, and women pulled shawls tightly around their shoulders, while I was perfectly comfortable in my cotton and short sleeves. Many of the roads and walks were flooded, but it was all just taken in stride. Pedestrians rolled up pant legs, and sandals are quick to dry anyway. As soon as it was safe, vendors pulled back the blue tarps they had thrown over their stalls when the rain began, and it was business as usual.

Early this afternoon, just as I was putting The Baby down to sleep, it began to rain. The thunder rolled continuously in the distance and as I came back downstairs, it began to rain harder. I stood for a minute, looking out the kitchen window at my gardens. I had planned to work in the gardens while he slept. I am definitely not made of sugar and I have been known to garden in the rain – even the pouring rain – but generally, it is considered a reasonable choice to not garden in the pouring rain. And that is the choice I made. So what should I do with my time?

I’ve got some new (to me) dining room furniture and so I could easily fill up nap time by cleaning glass and moving dishes and crystal. I’m behind on the laundry (as usual), so spending a couple hours catching up there would be time well spent. There are always dishes. Or dusting. Or the pile of crap in front of the freezer in the basement that I need to deal with. I could even get a head start on dinner.

But no. I did none of that. Instead, I made cup of peppermint tea and buttered – with the whey butter I recently discovered at the local Farmers’ Market and highly recommend – a thick slice of cinnamon roll bread, took some simple knitting and sat out on the porch.

I was well out of the rain, but sat in the cool and damp swirling air, had a clear view of the lightening, and could hear the rain falling and dripping in the garden and running in the downspout.

Max, the cat who came back, kept me company from the window.

I rocked and knitted and sipped my tea for most of an hour. It was lovely. I could have been more productive, sure, but I don’t think the time could have been better spent.

I can’t believe that July is almost over. How can we have been so busy and there still be so much more we wanted to do? We’ve done some of this:

And this:

And lots of this:

So… eight days left in this month and then all of August. We’ll be sure to make the best use – not necessarily just the most productive use – of our time, our Summertime. Right now, since the rain has stopped and the sun is shining again, I’m going to slip on my shoes and go out to do my daily inspection of the vegetable gardens and to top up the bird feeders. I know that sounds productive, but it is all play, trust me ;)

Spice jars. billi-jean.com

That final sprint for the finish each “school year” (and I use the term loosely) is an adrenalin soaked affair of jam-packed schedules, early mornings, packed lunches and the mantra, “Almost done, almost done, almost done..”. I don’t even think that there is a lot more that we were doing in April and May. Okay, there is a lot more, but it isn’t so much as to send the rest of your life topsy-turvy. At least, it sure doesn’t look like it in February and March when you are planning it all. In planning stages it looks like Fun! and Excellent Opportunities!… and it is, it so is, but when you get the the point that you can’t remember the last time you ate lunch at home and the baby napped in his bed and it’s getting harder and harder to get up in the morning… that’s the point you wonder what the heck you were thinking.

Now that it’s (mostly) done, was it worth it? Absolutely. Are we burnt out? Sure. But we’ll recover and then want to do it all again. There was an intense animation course that was a lot of work and time, but Jordan absolutely loved it. He learnt so much and has acquired a new, very cool, hobby. There were the weeks of drama classes that he couldn’t wait to get to. Guitar lessons. The Nature Programme, horseback riding, plus learning to type and reading hundreds of pages every week. There is always hockey and the paper route, of course, and learning to feed the baby, and watching old movies. These few months have been a productive and exciting time for Jordan. He has grown so much.

He’ll be 12 on Sunday. But I’m not thinking about that.

Now that we’re “done” (and I use that term loosely, too), I’ve been spending some time taking care of little details – not necessarily the most urgent details, but the ones that give me the most pleasure. Like, for example, filling my spice tins. I got those spice tins in two sizes at Lee Valley and I love them. They are big, so they’re perfect for things like oregano (because really? I can’t think of any time I’d use 1 teaspoon of oregano. I use at least a quarter of a cup or none at all, yanno?) and cinnamon (mmmm.. cinnamon). Spices I use in smaller amounts go in the smaller tins. The lids have glass windows in them and when I open my spice drawer I’m looking down through all those little round windows at all the colours of my spices and herbs. And that is exciting to me every single time. (yes, yes, I know ;) ). I label the sides of the tins, but I like to try to choose my spice or herb by it’s colour and texture through the window. I’ve gotten pretty good at it. (Maybe I need a hobby?) In the photo above: paprika, poppy seeds and sesame seeds.

I’ve also put my vegetable gardens in. There aren’t words for how much I love this. I’ve had problems in the past with blossom rot on my tomatoes. I’ve read that this can be due to a lack of calcium in the soil, so I’ve been washing and saving our egg shells. I grind them up with my mortar and pestle, and I sprinkled them around the roots when I put the tomatoes into the ground. I’ve ground up more now to add later.

Egg shells, mortar and pestle. billi-jean.com

There are more things Jordan wants to learn and to learn to do, so we’ve made an outline for the summer months. This plan calls for much more time at home, and much less driving around, leaving time for playing in the sandbox, long naps in bed, and puttering in the garden. Well, that’s the theory, anyway ;) But Jordan has already acquired that hammock he wanted and has broken it in with a couple of good books :)

Babies and bubbles and dandelions.
Babies and bubbles and dandelions.

I love Spring. I had forgotten how much I love it – not because it’s been a whole year since we had it, but because it has been years since we had a *real* one. This year it is perfect: some very warm days, some very cool days. The nights are sometimes cold and we are not clear of frost danger yet. Sun and rain, wind and calm, warm and cool, clear and overcast. Perfect :)

The Baby spends hours every day exploring the backyard: picking flowers, digging in the pots, splashing in the bird bath, driving toy trucks through the grass. Jordan blows bubbles and then together they chase them down. There is a rabbit that comes to visit. He seems unconcerned and happily nibbles dandelion leaves in the lawn as long as we don’t move directly toward him. When we do, he slowly hops away without any real urgency and is always back a little while later.

The trees are *almost* in full leaf now and when they are, it’ll only be a few weeks until Summer. We have some plans for the Summer: a week at a cottage, days at the pool.. but not too much. The rest of the year is jam-packed with events and outings and classes; we’re going to keep our Summer low-key. Jordan has asked for a hammock. He envisions spending hours at a time, lying in a shady spot reading a book. He is working on his summer reading list. It gets longer by the day *grin* I used to spend my summers reading and remember it fondly and not without longing. I’ve already begun shopping for that hammock :)

Babies and dandelions.

Happy Mother’s Day!
and I have to say… I am one happy mother :P

Dinosaur raincoat
A dinosaur raincoat makes even rainy days GOOD days :)

We’ve been… are you ready? … it’s going to be shocking…. we’ve been BUSY! omg. Our schedules are packed full with regular outtings and classes and such, and then there are all the special events on top of that and it seems that I am always planning special menus or packing bags or making lists and just preparing for stuff. I knew that April and May would be crazy but I think I’ve reached my limit. No more! Well…. ok.. more.. just maybe spaced a little further apart.

New! Sandbox!
New! Sandbox!

A couple years ago, we freecycled a tonne of stuff… that now we have to buy again. lol ummm… it’s good for the economy? :P One of those items was a sandbox. Last weekend, we got a new one and Jordan got to work setting it up for The Baby. Seriously…. Jordan is the best big brother. He happily gives up his time/space/energy for The Baby. And he works hard to keep his little brother happy. He was very serious about this sandbox and even donated some of his beloved Tonka trucks to the project.

New! Sandbox!
Yay! Sand!

The Baby loves the sandbox… almost as much as Jordan does. lol. And a lot of days we spend hours out in the yard, picking dandelions and throwing playing in the sand.

Just a few more weeks, and things will start to slow down. A little. Maybe. I hope. lol. There are a bunch of posts up at Suburban Green Is People; remember to check it out.

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