Hot summer days: how will we ever complete the “to do” list?

The oldest of a family of ten siblings, I was physically busy, helping mom run the show (babysitting, cooking, chauffeuring etc.). I highly valued my free time. Or rather, I tried to create as much free time as I could. When I was little, one time I did what any sensible child does when they have had it, I tried to run away. This consisted of: having packing some snacks in a small backpack, looking out my back second-story window around 10pm, regard the moonlight scene of drifted snow in my backyard, and decide it was cold and I was tired. As I grew older, I took advantage of the acres of unexplored forest in my backyard. I did not realize this until recently, but a lot of New Hampshire is massive land conservations.  I would tell my mom I was going hiking, and disappear into the woods for hours, until close to dinner time. If it was Saturday, it might be an all-day excursion.

I still have a great love for nature. I think our Dad instilled the appreciation in us. He had to take all of the kids out of the house on a Sunday afternoon so mom could have an hour of sanity by herself! For my current sanity, I need to break away from gray cubicles designed in the 80s, artificial lights, monitors and screens, and even our beautiful home. Is it not odd how working at home because of the pandemic is at once enjoyable but also taints your lovely place with a blurred line between work and home? (Again another topic I am sure many have been trying to wrap their minds around).

Currently, the state of Ohio where we are living is quaint farmland( a fraction of it Amish), and at least some slight upheavals that could be recognized as hills and conservations that have hiking trails which all of the sate flocks to on the weekend. It does not offer quite the freedom of solitude and wild beauty I sometimes miss, but I am grateful that it is there. I can bring the dogs to a few places that are more remote or at least during the week less crowded. We run the trails to increase our agility and strength and free a bit of our wild spirits.

It does get pretty warm, to a Yankee girl, as we live right on the line between a humid southern climate and some of the effects of the Great Lakes to the north of us. The summers start early, or is that spring? And the fall weather sets in much later than I feel I would be ready for crisp and cold days. We do experience all four seasons. During these hot months, I begin to understand why a southern lifestyle is slower-paced and less frantic to accomplish a long to-do list. If you must do something, ideally, it is better before the sun gets to high in the sky. And if you got one thing done, welp, time for a glass of wine!

Now that we own an old farmhouse, there is a to-do list just for the house and it is another way to get outside. We replaced the HVAC system, which was a financial blow after buying the home a little more than a year ago. But it will be updated for the next owners, and in the meantime, hopefully, it helps to heat in a more cost-efficient manner this winter! I painted the wrap-around front deck earlier in the summer.

And we have this large barn, which the previous owner had recently raised. The wood was untreated and in desperate need of some form of sealant. So the big project was to paint the barn. The man bought a paint sprayer, which was very worth it. And almost every Saturday, we knew we would be painting the barn and mowing the lawn. We surprisingly only went through a few 5 gal. buckets of a redwood tone stain.

And now we have completed it. It was physically, a significant accomplishment for our project list. And now I think we will have some free Saturdays the rest of the summer and we can find ways to cool off instead of beating the heat to win on our “to do” list.

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