Three valances left, and I’m starting to make careless mistakes, so the so day marathon of sewing for my daughter’s 4-H Club horse barn display at the fair will have to stretch to three.Yesterday as I was feeding in the strips of fabric to finish all the edges–both sides of sixty-two yards, with two extra lines for the casings—my mid started wandering as my hands worked—images came of my son at his college–working away in his room, then heading across campus, and the people around–I saw particular faces and even what they were wearing, sensed their energies and intentions, then in the cafeteria sitting don with some people he hadn’t met, shaking hands, connecting. Finding someone who wanted to improve their Hebrew (divinity college on campus), going to a music event, hanging out in the SUB with a cup of coffee and his laptop… Three years away (summers back here, we hope), starting in less than two weeks. A mixture of sadness at his parting and excitement for him. I can tell he’s happy. His sisters have commented on how nice he is to everyone. He’s also spending more time hanging out in the kitchen, taking time to learn tips on preparing tasty meals, asking for some recipes. He wants to take some jars of dilly beans, and some dried herbs from the garden. Will he be able to raid Grandpa’s garden in Nova Scotia, he wonders? I picture the pleasure my mother will take in loading his arms with cookies and jam after a weekend visit, my father in their conversations. He’ll miss his home town friends, so he’s spending every extra hour he can with them, taking extra garden produce to the families where he stays (and eats) most often.
My sewing task changes, and I enlist my youngest son to hold the end of the fabric while I measure and mark. My daughters take turns knotting the ends of tie strips for attaching the valances to the metal stalls, dabbing each knot with glue to prevent unraveling. They’re tired after staying up until five a.m. to watch the meteor shower. My older daughter says they only saw a meteor about every fifteen minutes, but enjoyed lying out there on the front lawn on a blanket under the stars just talking.
After last August’s fair sewing marathon—I made privacy curtains for the dressing rooms, I resolved not to take on such a project this year. But I just couldn’t resist BL, the sweetest, most caring and hardworking of 4-H moms, and if I’m only doing it for her, that’s enough. So I mentioned last year that valances would indeed look good, and I was in. Still, a few months out I didn’t bring it up, and thought maybe the idea had been forgotten. I didn’t want to do anything more for the club except get my daughter to the barn three or more days a week, help her buy all the stuff she needed, and show up at an occasional meeting. Even those were a drain on my time and energy, as every riding day was a three hour commitment, and my older daughter just wasn’t getting her license yet–kept getting spooked by some stressful incident or other, or wanting more practice at parallel parking. My usual carpool mom was on a different schedule, and has never seemed inclined to share drives anyway except when she or her husband absolutely can’t make it. Something to do with her daughter sensing my daughter’s coolness towards her? Driving this summer has been a sweaty, loud affair, with two cars with broken air conditioning. Those drives with my 4-Her weren’t exactly quality time, either–sort of a stage she, we, are going through, I hope.
I found out the club was still counting on me to sew the valances, and that it wasn’t just valances for the two dressing rooms, but for all the horse stalls–sixteen or more!
Meanwhile my daughter got her license and started helping with driving—enthusiastically, at first. Air conditioning was fixed in one car, and as the valance project was looming and I couldn’t find enough of the right fabric in the local store, I happened to stop by the second hand store, and found fourteen yards of drapery material in just the right color–right before the final pre-fair 4-H meeting! The euphoria of that near miracle carried me through miles of stitching, measuring, gathering and finishing, and now I have only about two hours of work left if I make use of my morning energy. So far my sewing machine and serger have endured. Goal is to finish early tomorrow and then turn to other overdue work–housecleaning, laundry, and getting the fall vegetable plantings in before the rains come tomorrow–the seedlings I started are ready. Then I have to can two cases of peaches and some more tomato sauce, pick and freeze some wild blackberries, finish my son’s FAFSA, and lay in some food for the rest of the family to eat while my daughter and I camp at the fair next week. If I have a few extra hours I’ll touch up the one side of the house I painted last week (now three yellow and one gray-blue-green).
That touch of fall-like air last week was a real nudge for me, as I was languishing in the heat. drought everywhere, so I have been toting every dishpan of kitchen sink gray water out to the vegetable garden and wondering when we can get around to hooking up the showers, clothes washer, other sinks and roof runoff so we won’t be so wasteful of what has now become so much more precious. Hearing how the lower mainland of BC had been declared to be in level four drought, which meant no outdoor watering except for licensed farmers–not even vegetable gardeners allowed. Which doesn’t seem right at all to me, but after all home gardeners neither contribute to the growth of any sector of the economy, with their few real input needs, nor pay taxes on what they eat. Still, no one has outlawed baths and showers and washing dishes after every meal (yet), so there should be enough leftover water for the garden anyway.