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72 degree air

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sincere-2-350Can you recall, just now, a perfect moment from your life? Any moment when everything was magically perfect at that very instant. Perfect temperature, perfect time of day, perfect lighting, perfect breeze, perfect level of sound and noise, perfect sense of touch, of well being, everything right in place, right on time, just as you would want it? On June 26 I sat in our living room having one of those extraordinarily perfect moments. The temperature was a perfect (for me) 72 degrees. I was sitting in our living room, all the windows were open, a wonderful cool summer breeze wafted through the room. The rhythmic sound of the breeze moving in the trees on our lawn and over by the river was soothing like waves against a seaside shore. Song birds twittered, cooed and sang in layers near and far. The sky was a mix of white and gray clouds against a brilliant blue summer sky. The limbs of trees surrounding our home were heavy with blankets of green leaves flittering in the breeze, sunlight glowing through them as they shone in every hue and shade of green. green-yardI felt comfortable, content and relaxed as I sat there recalling the preceding week I had spent on our farm with my sweet family and a dear family friend. This is the story of what we, a few of us, did to create and live within heaven on Earth for one perfect week this summer. It started back at Christmas when my son and I spoke about the possibility that he would return to visit us on the farm in June so he could see what the place and the area are like in early summer. Later in the year, when Sweet Pea was born, we came up with the idea that perhaps we could fly my parents out for Father's Day and have my son come out at the same time. It would be a great time for us all to see each other again and for the family to meet little Sweet Pea. All agreed, so the real planning began. At some point I added in the thought that our dear friend who had moved to Florida from L.A. ten years ago might come up to the farm as well. I knew it would be great for him and my father to see each other again so I put the idea out there, and at some point he agreed to come as well. dadontractorAs the date approached we learned that my father's cancer had progressed to a point where he would need to start chemotherapy before they headed out this way. At that point I started thinking that we should come up with a project that we could all work together on, some kind of a project outdoors to create something lasting, something for the future. I have written about some of these elements before, but I am weaving the entire story together for you here so as to make a certain point … of course, that won't come until the end; please bear with me. My husband and I already planned on planting a pumpkin patch for Sweet Pea, and one suggestion I had for a group project was that we would put up an entryway for the Sincere Pumpkin Patch. It seemed like a simple enough project that it would not tax anyone's energy too terribly and playful enough that we could all have some childlike fun working together on it. We passed the word along, and everyone agreed the pumpkin patch entryway would be a wonderful project to work on together. My husband and I got the seeds started ahead of time indoors so by the time everyone arrived there were 18 pumpkin plants thriving in little peat pots on our sun porch. planting1A few days before our guests arrived my husband asked me what exactly I had in mind for the entryway. What I told him was that I wanted something that would be along the lines of what a couple of kids would create if they were putting one up. I didn't want it to be perfect or too symmetrical. I didn't want the wording to be neat and orderly. I told him that basically I thought it would be cool if it looked as if Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn had put it together themselves. He loved the idea, and so did my daughter. As our guests arrived and we told them about our plans, everyone agreed it would be perfect and fun. My parents arrived Thursday evening, our dear friend arrived Friday afternoon. The first couple of days we spent mostly indoors visiting because there was quite a lot of rain. That was perfect in itself, because it gave my parents a chance to get caught up with our Florida friend and for all of us to spend quite a lot of quality time with little Sweet Pea. planting2My son came in on Sunday, late in the morning and that was the day the fun really began. It was cool and overcast but free of rain and the lawn needed mowing. We had promised my father that he could get on the tractor and help with mowing the lawn while he was here. He was determined to take us up on that no matter what, because of his own fond memories of driving a tractor when he was a boy. SIDE BAR: My father had his first chemotherapy session about three weeks before they travelled here to see us. Before flying out, his doctor did a blood test to see how his body had responded to the chemo. The results were so positive that the doctor and nurses were jubilant about his progress and sent him off on his vacation with many blessings and good wishes. Shortly after returning home, he went in for his second round of chemo as well as another updated blood test. That test showed that he already had a 91% improvement from just that first chemotherapy treatment. The cancer treatment center he attends has a campaign they are currently running with this motto: "Love heals." Our story proves the validity of that motto. fireflyartisticBACK TO THE BLOG: We have about three acres of lawn that gets mowed by tractor, so my husband got my father started on the north section of yard, out past the barn. I was in the house when the action began, and by the time I got back there to see how it was going the paparazzi had arrived, so to speak. Everyone has a digital camera these days, and what I saw as I walked back that way was my mother, our friend, my son, and my daughter each of them with a camera aimed in my father's direction, getting shots of him driving the tractor. It was a great sight, because the yard is so large and it was all so green and here were all of these people I loved with cameras in front of their faces, taking pictures of my father while he enjoyed one of his perfectly happy moments in time. Midway through his tractor driving, I took a bottle of water out to him and he told me with a big broad smile on his face that driving that tractor out there was the best Father's Day gift he could have received. How perfect is that! After Dad finished up the back part of the yard, my son got on the tractor and got to work on the section on the west side, out by the willow tree and the area we had designated as the official site for the Sincere Pumpkin Patch. It was wonderful to see my son driving a tractor, and I was thrilled that he wanted to do it. He has a great life in L.A. that he loves, is a partner in a wonderful up and coming business (I'll talk about that more in a future blog). He's a talented artist and designer, a very professional and hard working guy. Seeing him out here in the open space and lush green beauty of our farm driving a tractor was great and I will treasure the images always … one of my perfect moments in time and hopefully one of his as well. signpostOur Florida friend got up on the tractor next, and he helped with handling the middle section of the yard where there are a lot of trees and so forth to get around. He is great big, 6 1/2-foot tall man who loves the outdoors and gardening. However, where he currently lives he doesn't have an opportunity to do this kind of thing so I know it was a great treat for him to ride around on a tractor for a while as well. He looked very professional and serious as he went round and round, and I loved seeing him having such fun. It was a wonderful feeling to be able to open up this place and this opportunity to some of the people I love most in the world and gratifying to see how much they enjoyed it in turn. I treasure my husband for so many things, and I treasure him especially for his generosity in letting me bring everyone here and letting them all have a shot at driving his most treasured toy in the world … that sweet Kubota tractor. Monday morning after having coffee and breakfast together, we all set out together to the site designated as Sincere, which my husband had tilled and prepped the week before. We started off with a modest size of 36' x 36' and 18 plants. Everyone pitched in and helped out with making mounds in the earth, placing markers, digging holes and planting. It was a perfect day of blue skies, abundant green surroundings, and a soft cool summer breeze. sincere-signWe set up a line of chairs under a shade tree for anyone who wanted to take a break and have a chat, our screened up tent style gazebo was also set up under another shade tree. Everywhere you looked someone was doing something. It was a productive, happy morning of perfect weather and great camaraderie. That afternoon we had to take our Florida friend back to the airport with warm hugs and many good wishes for safe travel along with hopes for return trips to the farm. As the week continued we had more outdoor projects to do including using the backhoe on the tractor to dig out some tree and shrub stumps and planting some new shrubs by one of our porches. Both my father and my son got to participate in the backhoe operation, which was great fun. It was another perfect day of pretty blue skies, wispy white clouds and cool summer breezes. The weather could not have been more perfect and helped create the sense of nirvanic heaven we were all experiencing. The final project was painting and posting the entryway to Sincere. My husband and I bought some not so perfect wood posts and slats for the job. I drew jagged edges along the ends of the slats for the sign board, and he cut them by hand. I used a carpenter's pencil to write "Sincere Pumpkin Patch" in crude lettering, then my son and daughter and I painted them in a variety of colors, resorting to finger painting to do the finishing touches. As a last touch, we painted one of my hands white and I pressed it against the sign to make a single handprint on one end. The next morning my father, my husband and son all worked together digging post holes and putting up the entryway sign. handprintDuring that week of vacation we enjoyed many good meals together, laughed a lot, worked side-by-side, shot thousands of photos (it seems), smiled, hugged, chatted and napped. Having a house full of people in this old farm house was a spectacular and magical experience. I wonder how many years it had been since so many people slept beneath the roof of this place at one time, how long it had been since there was such an abundance of joy and creative endeavor here all at once. Now that we all have a taste of it, there will be many more such times in the future. This was a reunion of true friends and family on precious ground. It was a big ol' down-home party for Sweet Pea, as her larger family got a chance to meet her and welcome her into the world in a big way. Though everyone has now returned to their other homes, they all know this place is also home for each of them whenever they wish to return. My father says that week was like a week in Nirvana, and I think he was right. Heaven, nirvana … home. I call this kind of perfection "72 Degree Air". welcometosincere

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