"Summer magic, the soft summer magic, drifts across the meadow. Summer magic, it weaves through the willow, right into your heart."~R. Sherman

I was properly horrified to glance at my feed reader and realize that my last post was three weeks ago! Where has the time gone? It feels like it should be May, and here it is the first day of summer. Philip and I have pledged between ourselves to be as intentional and aware as we possibly can in this sweet, fleeting season. I tend to idealize the summers of my childhood when there was nothing more pressing than a fresh stack of library books and the prospect of the neighbors’ swimming pool in a long series of afternoons that stretched blissfully out into forever. I have to make time for summer’s pleasures now—they aren’t just doled out like popsicles as they were when I was a little girl. But there’s something about a pleasure that’s deliberately created that has a magic of its own.

And the magic of summer is like no other.

Hearts grow dearer and heaven seems nearer, Winter dreams come true. Oh that magic, what wonderful magic summertime can do." ~R. Sherman

We’ve been taking as many meals as possible on the front porch these days. There have been a lot of quiet dinners, just we two, where we’ve talked long and low about the things that matter most to us over fresh summer vegetables and grilled delectables, watching the lightning bugs come out and the moon silver the front pasture and the trees around the house. And there have been a few joyous evenings with friends, mouth-watering seafood and ice-cold champagne and homemade ice cream. We’ve always been astonished at such times to hear the grandfather clock inside chiming midnight, the time has flown so happily. These are the hours that make summer what it is for me. Good company, good conversation, good food.

actually, a springtime breakfast on the porch. but the same general idea.

Last weekend we hosted some of our dearest friends for one of our ‘work-swaps’, and while we accomplished much during the day, it was tempting to stay up all night talking and catching up in the rocking chairs on the porch. We ladies managed to chat ninety-to-nothing over life philosophies and God’s latest work in our hearts while weeding the garden–and even during a bee inspection. But when the four of us starting talking books and Masterpiece Theatre and theology around the table, all bets were off. I’m ashamed to recall how many times I interrupted someone else in my zeal to introduce writers as diverse as P.G. Wodehouse and Dorothy Sayers into the conversation.

With the garden, my main goal has been to keep everything alive and watered in the uncharacteristically brutal heat we’ve had this June. The tomatoes are still green but promising great things. And I’ve planted my strawberries in wicker baskets hanging from shepherd’s hooks for a change, on the recommendation of a master gardener I met in England. We’ll see how the slugs and chipmunks like that! 😉 The brambles are all coming in nicely and they are succulent and delicious—provided I can beat the peacocks to them! Adhiraj and Panav have developed quite the taste for raspberries. It’s the first time I have scolded them for anything, and that is saying quite a lot. (Speaking of the peacocks, they have settled into their home here with a familiarity that continues to enchant us. One afternoon I was playing the piano in the front parlor when I had the uncanny sensation that I was being watched. I turned warily to look over my shoulder, and met the inquisitive stare of two peacocks, craning their bright blue necks as if to figure out what the heck I was doing in there making all that racket!)

Adhiraj and Panav*

Hermione and Perdita, the Nubian doelings, are the delight of my heart. We could watch them at their antics forever—though Perdita attempted such a fancy caper yesterday she actually sprained her ‘ankle’ and consequently was prescribed a day of ‘stall rest’. Needless to say she was not too happy about it, but the little hoof was much better today and she’s sporting a fancy pink wrap just in case. It has been so much fun to see those little goats assimilate with the rest of the animals. The sheep were not so sure at first and tried to bully the newcomers. But Puck, their enormous big brother has been gentleness itself. He follows them around, as if to assure himself that they really are goats. And when they are confined in their pen from time to time, I’ll catch him reposing right against the fence on the other side, as close as he can get. My Great Pyrenees, Diana, has been a darling, as well. I watched her in the pasture the other day, napping in the shade near where the goatlings were grazing and then heaving herself up to move closer again every time they edged farther away.

Hermione and Perdita love their new quarters in the barn. Hermione thinks that the manger makes the nicest bed, while Perdita prefers the platform of the yet-to-be completed haydrop.

Let’s see…we’ve had our first honey harvest this summer. We were literally giddy over the taste of two years’ work, although, when it came right down to it I felt rather bad about stealing from the bees. They have really done all the work and I am so proud of my girls. But there was just nothing to compare to that first sample of liquid gold: it was the soul of all our spring flowers infused into one toothsome bouquet.

Ophelia, pre-shearing*

And where have all the other days flown away to? Hoof trimmings and vaccinations and shearing (the sheep didn’t recognize each other for days, silly babes). A jaunt to my beloved Jekyll Island in May. Books read and book club meetings. Mucking and painting and renovating and cleaning and the thousand and one daily things that make up the making of a home.

La mer a berce mon coeur pour la vie...

And writing! Oh, my goodness, I’m writing like crazy this summer! Hoping to finish the rough draft by the end of August, but we’ll see how it goes. I don’t want to frighten the muse away by demanding too much of her.

And thus concludes the most random post I’ve ever written here. All this to say I’m still around, and that I hope you all have the dearest, most magical, summery-est summer of your lives. God bless!

~Lanier

"Summer's lease hath all too short a date..." ~Shakespeare

*photo credit, Griffin Gibson