there and back

away to the northeast, to visit with family and friends
play with cousins, feed horses

Summer in New Jersey means lots of fresh corn and Claire can hardly wait for an ear to be completely shucked before she snags one and tears in.

We visited a friend's farm, and helped harvest tomatoes while we were there.  Claire in her undies and a dress, filthy, sitting in the rows between the sungold cherry tomatoes, sticky orange juice dripping down her chin.

We took a train to Philly to see uncle Kev, it was Claire's first train ride and she spent most of it watching the world whiz by from the safety of her nana's lap.
Once in the city we walked around a bit and ate amazing dumplings at Dim Sum Garden..... dumplings that came with the soup inside.

Mike and I hosted a small gathering of friends from varied parts of our lives.  There was pizza, pie, and lawn games....  we followed advice on grilled pizza from 101 Cookbooks, made an obscene amount of toppings that ended up being great for grilled cheeses and another round of pizzas later in the week, caught up with old friends and laughed, laughed, laughed.

Someone noticed a cicada in the process of molting and over the course of a couple hours we all checked in on it from time to time to watch.  It was otherworldly.  After the process was complete that little guy (or girl? I have no clue how to sex cicadas) hung nearby for a long time, slowly moving around the tree trunk and I suppose maybe drying out his/her wings.

We took a trip over to Howell Farm to see the beehives opened and honey extracted, we walked around and said our hellos to all of the animals and I learned that the horse I fell in love with last time is named Tom.

Claire sat with Mike and took the lawn mower for a spin around the back yard.  This girl is no stranger to machines big and small, and watching her it would seem she takes the task of driving quite seriously.

One evening I went for a motorcycle ride with my main squeeze......... we left while the clouds were peachy orange in a sky blue sky, and returned as they were changing to fluorescent pink tinged with purple in a twilight blue-grey-purple sky.  The grounding, earthy smells of horses and tomatoes filled my nose and lungs and I smiled openly and deeply as I took it all in.  my senses were all so involved that there was hardly time for my mind to wander down the paths of to-do's or worries.  It had been years since I'd ridden on a motorcycle with him, and it was such good medicine to spend 30 minutes driving down lovely rural roads with him, watching deer graze and horses play and passing homes built centuries ago.  It had been so hot and the air against my arms was cool enough that even with my long sleeved shirt I felt a little chill that sent my mind right to fall and campfires.

We drove down to the river and walked across the 105 year old steel bridge to the Pennsylvania side of the Washington Crossing Park, where we wandered around the old buildings and homes and tried (unsuccessfully) to distract Claire from an impending late afternoon nap.  She was largely unimpressed by the 18th and 19th century architecture.  It was a brief trip.

With my days of working on a farm behind me, the novelty of putting in that little bit of time harvesting tomatoes got me wanting more.  So I headed back out to my friend's farm to help harvest potatoes and spent a few hours kneeling in the soil digging around and placing the dirty little gems into giant burlap sacks.  I loved it.  I was covered with a thin layer of dust and soil that actually left my towel a bit tinged with brown even after my shower.  I realize that may seem an indication of a lack of showering skills, and really, I do know how to clean myself, I guess I just didn't scrub as much as necessary...  my body was achy in that wonderful way for a day or two afterwards, having not called into action my potato harvesting muscles for quite some time.  kneel, squat, dig, haul........ squat, dig, dig...... repeat.  repeat.  repeat.

Mike and I had another date (I am totally counting the bike ride as a date) to go see Moonrise Kingdom.  We laughed so much and I enjoyed it immensely.  We were so close to being the only ones in the small theater, but two others joined us as the opening credits came to an end.  It was one of those theaters that makes you wonder how it is that they even make it.  Not small as in a small single theater independent films/fine arts theater, but small as in just regular old old-school.  I actually found it a nice change of pace from the monstrous theaters that have largely become the norm.  We could hear the reel turning and the screen was slightly off kilter so that the bottom 6 inches or so were in the dark.  Somehow it just added to the charm.

And now we are home.  The garden commanded quite a bit of our time and energy yesterday and this weekend we will work to can and freeze much of what we picked and what we were gifted with by our friend up north.  Salsa, salsa verde, tomatillo mole, pizza sauce, canned and whole tomatoes, pesto, etc. Mike returned to work this morning and I will spend much time in the coming days helping to get things in order for the start of school next week and the resulting start of the afternoon art program.  And so we will again find a new normal around here.  And truly, I am looking forward to it.  I feel ready to shake things up a bit and get into a new routine.


  1. Sounds idyllic. Your writing and photos bring it all so to life.

    1. thanks, it was a pretty slow and sweet little trip. I realized somewhere along the way that I was taking so few photos during our vacation. And just looking back through this post, I see that most of these were taken on the same day!


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