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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Longest, Saddest Day of the Year

~ early sunrise ~
Mercy! Is it hot where you live? It's h.o.t. here and makes anything take longer, I use more energy, drink more water and even naps aren't all that interesting. Did I mention it's HOT? I'm getting up around 5 or 5:30 so I can feed the kitten, get treats for the dogs, read my Bible, sometimes listen to preaching but, more than likely, go to the pastures so I can chop thistles in the cool of the day. Dave used pesticides but I'm not a big fan. As a matter of fact, they frighten me no matter what I'm told. When Dave would call me a cynic, I'd tell him, "a cynic is a realist with more information." He'd laugh but, I don't know, I'm willing to be wrong but doesn't it seem like there's a huge increase in life threatening illness of all kinds? What's the connection? Is there a connection?

Anyway, I take a hoe and the dogs, go to the pastures and start chopping thistles. My attitude is, it's good exercise, I'm getting rid of thistles and working out anxiety. It's all a good thing.

I'll chop thistles for an hour, perhaps a bit more, before coming to the house to eat breakfast. Then, it's computer time, working on the estate, making telephone calls and doing desk work. Last month, I had a computer outage and can't access my photos so, on the agenda this week is, hopefully, getting the desk computer up and running. 
Some of the dogs and, sometimes, Gypsy sit on the sun room porch and sniff the air. I'd love to know what they smell, at least, I think I'd love to know. Two nights ago, the coyotes were closer than they have ever been; even the neighbors said they were concerned. We're not sure what the coyotes were doing, it sounded dreadful and imagination doesn't bear working.

I hope you're staying cool, not getting overheated; it sure seems like summer is early this year. Summer solstice is today, and it is a day early because of 2012 being Leap Year. The North Pole is tipped more toward the sun than at any other day during the year, it's the exact opposite in the Southern Hemisphere. This means there's more sunlight today than any other day, making it the longest day.

What makes it the saddest day, for me anyway, is this is the longest day with the most sun. That means tomorrow we start losing daylight. Anyone else feel the same way?

Of course, there's plenty of summer left for gardening, putting up hay, gathering in the garden harvest, putting up the garden. 

"Summer afternoon, summer afternoon. To me, those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language," so said Henry James. Although American and born in New York City, James settled in England and became an English subject where, I suppose, those shorter English summers were more greatly favored. Had James spent a summer in the South, he might have revised his opinion. 

There's a proverb that says, "Summer friends will melt away like summer snows, but winter friends are friends forever." Ah, there's more truth in that statement. My mother used to say if a person could count their friends on one hand, they were blessed. She's right. If you've got folks you can call at 3 a.m., folks who'll answer the phone and either listen or come over, you're blessed indeed. How many such people do you have in your life? Not enough, I'm willing to bet; none of us have too many of those kinds of friends.

Blessings ~ summer ~ light ~ my companions ~ friends ~ gardens ~ honest work ~


  1. I love this day of the year but, I admit, that I love all of the days of the year. I like the long days, the short days, the hot ones, the cold ones, the wet ones and the dry ones. I think I just like weather!

  2. Oh, you are a good worker, slashing the thistles!
    We had a cooler day today so I went to a farmer's market. I saw one of the school kids there, selling veggies and flowers with his grandpa. Sweet! I bought a flat of white petunias so it's weeding and planting for me tomorrow.
    I agree with you about true friends. There is so much to say about friendship and what it means.

  3. It is very hot here too. I didn't realize today was the longest day. I was up early on a ladder scraping paint off my front porch for repainting. Then showered and off to the grocers, and back home to make a late lunch and get Handyman off to work. Now just me and Beau and my Kindle. The day is gone and so is my energy. Later, Debbie

  4. Rage against the dying of the light!

    Aloha from Honolulu,
    Comfort Spiral
    > < } } ( ° >

    > < } } (°>


  5. You go out in the heat and chop those thistles before you eat breakfast?? Such a cute picture of your dogs! We don't use pesticides or any kind of weed killer, I love the birds and just don't want chemicals around.

  6. Well our first day of summer was a beaut! We have had our share of rain (but some very pleasant weekends in the previous couple of months)lately, but today the sun was shining and it reached the high 70's. Same called for tomorrow, then back to, what else, rain!
    I had a large section of pasture that was nothing but Canadian Thistle. I used the weed whacker on it each time I mowed the grass. After two years, they have all disappeared! Now I mow it with the rest of the grass ~ hence my 6-8 hour mowing sessions. :~}
    I'm like you ~ I don't use pesticides or chemical fertilizers or even bug spray! Takes 10 years of not using them to have what 'they' say is organic soil. Don't want to back peddle at this stage of the game! And I'm very sure they are the cause of many a bad thing!
    Oh, I love that picture of the pups and kitten on the porch! It is absolutely perfect! What were they looking at?
    We haven't heard 'our' coyotes here for near two months, but we know they are around as they take a chicken now and then. And always the best layer or favorite, too!
    It is sad that this is the longest day ~ tomorrow will be shorter. School is just out today and already the days are getting shorter! How can that be?
    On the subject of friends ~
    When I was a working girl, many moons ago, there was several early morning calls (4 am) from a lady that would ask for Eva. I would, as politely as one can being awakened at that hour, respond that no, I was not Eva and that she had a wrong number. This went on for several mornings. (I kept thinking, if she would turn on her light she could see to dial the correct number.) The last morning when she called, at the precise hour of 4am, when she asked for Eva, my reply was, "No, this is your new friend" with a bit of a sinister voice. Click! I never heard from her again! Go figure!

  7. I'm totally with you on the pesticides and herbicides (with a husband who scoffs some), but not on the day length. Seems I can't got to sleep before it's been dark a few hours, and then I wake up with the first light. I'm chronically sleep deprived in the summer!

  8. Hello Sandra:
    Oh yes, we are with you about the slight feeling of sadness with the 'nights drawing in' as we would put it once the longest day has passed. On average we lose 2mins of daylight each day and that soon adds up!When we were teaching it was always depressing to think of how much shorter the days would be when finally schools closed for the summer holidays!!!

    We are also with you on not using chemicals on the land and do tend to think that there could well be a connection with the proliferation of diseases and the use of noxious chemicals. It is said that they are safe, but from experience we know that there is a correlation between some forms of Leukaemia and those who work in agriculture.It cannot just be chance, we think.

  9. It IS HOT here too! 95 F!!!
    I like sunny weather, but this is too hot for me....
    So take care!
    What you wrote about friends is so true! I was thinking about the same things in the last few days...where are my friends?
    You can call us at 3's 9 p.m. here...:o)) And you are welcome anytime!!!

  10. Here in KY. it is sooooo HOT.
    I worry about the sheep so much when it gets like this.
    I do put a really great additive in their water, which makes them drink more of it.
    And I had to laugh .... I do the same thing ... Out early in the cool of the morning with my hoe and weed wacker (non electric) getting at the thistles ...
    Try to stay cool ... more heat today.
    Take care ...
    p.s. I'm with you on the chemical thing!

  11. Hello dear Sandra..thank you for sharing your Courageous Risk story...very personal & very thought provoking. I gather that you never actually met Cathy yourself then which must have been a little unusual considering the timing of your meeting of Dave...brave girl!!
    What a delightful menagerie you have. Yes, I could see how a particular routine could be helpful for you...I'm with you on the chemicals. It's the fact that so many of them are sooo very toxic yet you can't smell them or measure that toxicity with your senses that makes them so dangerous..we can easily become blaze. Of course we are sitting with the shortest day today, our end..funny isn't it. Much love Catherine x0x0x

  12. Sandra, it's about this time of year I start thinking about firewood for winter. Terrible to always be thinking ahead like that, but what can you do?

    Love that shot of the kids all lined up on the porch. Very cute.

    And friends? I've never really had a girlfriend -- preferring the company of men throughout my life. There's a couple I could call in an emergency and they would be there in a minute.

    Have a wonderful day, my dear!

  13. Brutally hot here in Missouri too. And DRY DRY DRY! We need rain desperately. I know what you mean about the longest day of the year . . . because today will be a little bit shorter, and I don't like the short days either. Praying for the Lord to bless you today in a mighty way!

  14. You and I have a similar summer schedule. Weeds of all types are the object of my morning outdoor work right now. I use a hybrid approach to the weeds ... pulling what I can, spraying the little difficult ones with Round Up, and hacking the big ones to the ground then spraying the remains.

    You can use this hybrid approach on your thistles. Very little chemical, the thistle is dead, and Round Up only kills what it touches and doesn't persist in the soil.

  15. I am dreading the rest of summer. I cannot wait until October! Staying inside in the a/c just sucks. Just sayin'!
    Love the pic of the pups :) Melts my heart!!
    Be careful out there in the heat. It will creep up on you :)
    love and hugs!
    xo, misha

  16. I'm NOT a spring/summer person. I love the fall/winter. A few days of summer are enough for me, and then I start thinking of pumpkins, cool air, sweaters, Christmas. Yep, I do :) LOVE that pic of your doggies and kitty! So cute! I also wonder what they're smelling so intently.

  17. I'm with you in mourning the passage of the longest day. Shorter days makes me sad.

  18. Hey there Sandra, You know what? My husband was saying the same thing and lamenting the fact that the days would start getting shorter.
    I kept saying well you won't notice it until October. I don't know why he was feeling that way and then I read your post.
    I guess, I am such a lazy bones I just see it as I get to go to be sooner. :)
    Your day sounds lovely and that is when I am chopping weeds too. About the time I finally get caught up it will be winter. :)
    Have a great day!

  19. Think of the trees in fall.

    They are fed by what they let go of heading into their toughest season.

    Great metaphor for our own lives.

    Perhaps an aphorism from Providence.

    Garden & Be Well, XO T

  20. I love that picture of all the critters on the porch! Adorable!

    I got all my barn chores done before 8am, it's REALLY hot here too. Ugh.

  21. It is absolutely hot here in Georgia but I got my herb garden weeded this week in spite of it. Now need to go out and water the veggies - they wilt after 24 hours without it here. Almost but not quite wish it would give us a rain shower today. Hope you have a great warm day. Hugs!

  22. Hi sweet friend-- you are such a busy farm girl!! You probably need these long days to get everything done--- and yes it's been HOT here.

    Love the photo of your doggie friends-/- I bet they love the farm!

    I think of you often--

  23. It was way too hot down here in Raleigh last week and the week before that; near 100 for days on end. All I wanted to do was sit inside and eat ice cream. Luckily, I had to take a business trip and escaped to Boston for a couple days. On my return trip, the plane flew right through a thunderstorm to land; watching the lightening flicker at eye level was an exciting experience.

    I'm with you on the chemicals, even as I watch the japanese beetles devour the rose buds. If I want to save a rose for my own vase, I tie a "hoodie" over the bud until I am ready to cut it. The only exception I make to my chemical-free zone is Amdro for fire ants. I have zero tolerance for those little nasties.

    I'm afraid I can't be sad about the days getting shorter. For me that means I can spend more time outside because it won't be so dang hot.

    If you got rid of all your thistles, would you rename your blog?


    Lois in Raleigh


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