Search This Blog

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sometimes We Even Get Outdoors

That is, Sarah and I get out in the morning, and she explores and takes account of her domain while I water the garden. Sometimes we get rolling early and visit the beach before work. Evenings are outdoor time, for sure, and occasionally an expedition for the whole family. But summer also means long indoor stretches for the working team that we are. Sigh! It’s been very “warm” lately, too, and this past week sometimes not even a puppy visit could rouse Sarah (in background) from her summer torpor. Dogs are very wise about conserving their energy and slowing time down.

While the hours may go slowly for Sarah in the bookstore, however, the summer speeds by for me. When July arrives, the days and even the weeks start to blur into one another. What day of the week is it? What week is it? One thing is certain: they keep rushing past. I’ve been swimming once in Good Harbor, and another time we made it to Maple City for dinner, with a scenic drive afterward. I can report also that (1) wherever you go in Leelanau County right now, the lines for ice cream are pretty long, and (2) it finally rained overnight on Sunday. Big storm, with plenty of thunder and lightning. Next day the heat wave continued unabated.

The world of books keeps a pretty fast, hot summer pace, too. Ellen Airgood was interviewed by Linda Wertheimer for NPR’s “Weekend Edition.” If, like me, you missed it on July 17, you can go online and read it or stream it from the NPR site. Bonnie Jo Campbell also continues to rake in the positive media attention. I could not be more pleased about the attention these Michigan novelists are getting this summer.

In Northport we are gearing up, both at Dog Ears Books and the Leelanau Township Library, for Loreen Niewenhuis. She will be in town on Tuesday, July 26, with A 1000-Mile Walk on the Beach, a book the distributors can hardly keep in stock. And the following Friday the perennially popular mystery writer Elizabeth Buzzelli will be at 106 Waukazoo at 4 p.m. with Dead Dogs and Englishmen. Emily Kincaid and Deputy Dolly ride again!

And that’s not all--.

Brand-new this season is West Michigan Pike, another magical antique postcard tour from Christine Byron and Tom Wilson, the folks you brought you Vintage Views of Leelanau. WMP tells in words and pictures the story of the first shoreline drive from Chicago to Mackinac, (There are also West Michigan Pike posters, bookmarks and bumper stickers, and the bookmark is free when you buy the book.) My own family first drove north from Chicago to Traverse City in 1962, and half a dozen years later I was living in Traverse City and visiting my parents when they camped at Interlochen State Park, so I find it fascinating to see all the familiar places along the way in much earlier times than I ever saw. Byron and Wilson (a.k.a. Christine and Tom) have reproduced old postcards, travel posters, informational brochures, business cards and the like. An intriquing promotion for the Occidental Hotel in Muskegon (and don’t you love that name, Occidental Hotel?) reads in part, “The hotel has 320 rooms, 280 of them with private baths.” Younger generation, take note!

Also hot off the presses and just in Monday morning is The View From Sunnybank, by Traverse City’s Dee Blair, the first volume of collected newspaper columns (90 in this book, with future books to come) from this talented gardener and writer. The unassuming author says modestly that this is a “perfect bathroom book,” as the two-to-three page chapters are short and sweet. I’ve loved Dee’s writing for a long time and still remember my only visit to her garden (on the Friendly Garden Club’s annual tour one year), so I’m more than happy to have this book and share her knowledge and refreshing viewpoint with others.

My own garden—mostly vegetables--has had its successes and failures this year and has been a learning season for me in that regard. Lettuce, arugula and chard have loved the shade and have been very happy in their little wooden boxes. Kale and spinach in the sun, on the other hand, were pretty much disasters. Why do I ever plant spinach at all? It doesn’t want to grow for me. Chard cooperates, spinach no.

Dinner al fresco Monday evening. Storms held off. Sarah danced attendance. Sarah loves company, and company loves Sarah. It was all good. We were outdoors!!!


Kathy said...

I am glad you have a chance to get outdoors in the summertime--that you don't have to spend EVERY minute inside at the bookstore, although that seems like a delightful place to be.

Gerry said...

You sound like one happy, harried bookstore owner moving at top speed through the Summer Rush! Sarah's doing her job, keeping things on an even keel. Miss Sadie and the Cowboy have finally climbed out from under the bed. That thunderstorm was fierce by the time it arrived in Antrim.

P. J. Grath said...

The really great news this Wednesday is that my helper, Bruce, is back after three weeks off. He went on vacation with his wife in England. Says they had a great time but it was too cold. He won't be saying that in Northport today. Me, I'm hoping for a few hours at home this afternoon and maybe a nap in the shade.

Susan said...

I am so glad to hear that spinach doesn't work for you, because it's never worked for me, either! Yet all the gardening books say it's easy to grow. I've tried 8 years and no more.

P. J. Grath said...

Susan, I always think I'm not planting it early enough, so one year I tried fall planting (following a friend's advice), but in the spring--no spinach. This year it germinated but was puny and then all got nibbled by (I'm guessing here) rabbits. They left all the more flourishing greens alone. Go figure!

Dawn said...

Chard works as well, and is pretty and tastes great! Sarah looks like she's loving life!

P. J. Grath said...

Dawn, you're reminding me that next year I must try growing bok choy. It is such a great all-around vegetable, good raw and cooked, as substitute for lettuce, celery, spinach or whatever.

Sarah was livelier today (Friday) than she's been in several days, and she even played with Laddie a bit when he came to visit. He's the puppy pictured above.