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July 3, 2018; The Essence of Summer

Many years ago, while on one of our long distance bicycle trips, I found myself attempting to define the term “essence of summer.” It was difficult because when you are a bicycle rider you are a part of the landscape and therefore not part of any community, the long distance bicycle community excepted.

I thought that perhaps the essence of summer was hot dogs on the grill, in ground swimming pools, lawn chairs occupied, the sound of crickets, fireflies in jars, children playing, family reunions, and, perhaps, potato salad.

Pete in high tunnel

The only potato salad that I ever like is made by my sister Eleanor. It is not overloaded with mayonnaise.

Today, here, was one of those days in which I came close to determining what the essence of summer is. Weather wise, it was warm, in the 80s, and sunny. It was so warm that in the early afternoon I had to fight lethargy. So the essence of summer most likely includes naps.

It also includes memorable events. I played hero and retraced the path that Pete and Sarah and I took a few days ago. This was on horseback. I went back up the Powerline trail, with Ryder and retrieved the black bear skull that we came across while on our ride. Sarah wanted it. The entire carcass was quite deteriorated and stinky. I caught Ryder just as she was, in a manner of speaking, putting her queer shoulder to the wheel.

Pete gave me a sharp knife, and I grabbed a large plastic bag and an axe. Pete was right, I did not need the axe. I cut the hide that was attached to the base of the skull – the spine had already deteriorated, and I put it in a large white bag, which I flung over my shoulders. It was a long, but beautiful walk. Didn’t see any ATV traffic.

Got home just a short time before Sarah G. arrived with Spiffy. She unloaded her from her stock trailer and immediately noticed that she was missing a shoe. She called Heidi, her farrier, and made a late afternoon appointment. We gave Spiffy yard privileges and went for a hike up and down the bench, at a good clip. Then, we soaked our feet in Wasilla Creek. If that is not the essence of summer, I do not know what is.

Spiffy was noticeably lame when we got back, so we iced down her legs and hung out on the lawn and talked. This was the first time I’d done this all summer.

I set up the July agility course after Sarah left and did agility with all three horses. Hrimmi is about better – I am relieved. I had given the horses lawn privileges and she followed Raudi up into the playground. Quite clearly, she wanted to be doing things again. I worked with her and let Raudi kick around the gas container treat holder.

This evening I took Tinni down to the mowed pasture. Grass is now visible. Tinni did trot around quite a bit, but I think it was because the bugs were bugging him.

Well, it’s late, but it is now in the upper 60s, so we will be able to sleep comfortably. This should be one of the key essences of summer.

Next: 185. 4/4/18: A Conversation with Stormy

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