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A Saturday Morning at Home

Updated on December 12, 2013
Some of our Peonies ready to bloom
Some of our Peonies ready to bloom
Tomato plants survived the weather and are ready to bloom
Tomato plants survived the weather and are ready to bloom
A portion of the garden
A portion of the garden
Our Pug Ali and Lab Duckie making friends
Our Pug Ali and Lab Duckie making friends
Some of the flowers outside Duckie's area
Some of the flowers outside Duckie's area
More of Duckie's flowers
More of Duckie's flowers
Green Beans standing tall
Green Beans standing tall
Yukon Gold potatoes growing well
Yukon Gold potatoes growing well
One of Tina's plants on the porch
One of Tina's plants on the porch
Another Peony ready to burst
Another Peony ready to burst
Baby Peaches!
Baby Peaches!
The old homestead
The old homestead
Our Welcome Home Pine stands beside the driveway as we come down the hill to arrive home
Our Welcome Home Pine stands beside the driveway as we come down the hill to arrive home
A view of the garden (of Eden). If you closely you can see our Fire Pit to the right between the two chairs. This is where we spend some evenings relaxing and making S'mores and telling tall tales.
A view of the garden (of Eden). If you closely you can see our Fire Pit to the right between the two chairs. This is where we spend some evenings relaxing and making S'mores and telling tall tales.
Our youngest son's tree house and play area.
Our youngest son's tree house and play area.

Finally, a Saturday morning has dawned with sunshine aplenty. It is now mid-morning and the first chores of the day are done. Breakfast prepared and consumed; dishes put away then others loaded, ready to be cleaned. The various livestock fed and watered and now nestled down for a nap in assorted locations around the property. Our Lab Duckie is outside in his sanctuary basking in the warm glow of the sun. The Pug puppy Ali has eaten her food and drank her fill before performing her morning ritual of wiggles and bounces prior to going outside to do her duty. She has now settled in for a nap. Hollie, our ancient Shi Tzu has done her morning things and wandered around before finding a ray of sun flowing through the window in the living room. The cats, Zhu Zhu and Puss Puss are in their areas; Zhu Zhu prowling the property somewhere and Puss Puss sleeping on our bed, again in the sun.

The children have dispersed. Our eldest has gone to watch one of her friends graduate from the local university. She will be doing this one year from now, having gained her degree in Creative Writing with an eye on a Master’s and a university teaching profession. Already she has had her papers used in the same classes she attends as a means of teaching other students by her professors, and they all love her and rave about her as being the best English and Writing student they have had in years, if not ever. Her future appears secure.

Our youngest daughter is in her room, at present playing with our youngest son. She will turn 16 in a week. Where does the time go? She is gone with friends more often than not now, and to hear her playing with her little brother is a delight that I fear will soon cease. But at this moment in time I attempt to capture the sounds of laughter emanating from her room and file away the memory against the uncertain future. They giggle and laugh, playing a game of some kind. This is the sound of Family at its best.

The eldest boy is away at work in the city. He has his own place now and has all of the struggles of a young adult. On his day off yesterday he came by to showcase his fishing prowess. He had caught some twenty Largemouth Bass, keeping only a few for a fish dinner at some point in the future. I taught him how to fillet them using last year’s Father’s Day gift of a filleting table for the first time. He did well, and went back to his home all smiles at a wonderful day spent in a wonderful manner.

Our middle son worked last night, and will again this evening. Tomorrow is his school’s graduation, and he will be there watching as some of his friends take that next step in their lives, not realizing this may be the final time he sees them in his life. One year from now he will cross that same stage taking steps toward a future we cannot foresee. He still has thoughts of entering the military and while that makes his Mother and I proud, we do have our concerns.

But for today, it is beautiful on a Saturday morning for the first time this year. The temperature is warm, there is abundant sunshine, and a light breeze is blowing through our valley. The birds are singing their praises for the day, and all is right in our little world.

Gradually, the sounds fade until all I can hear is the sweet songs of the birds. The song of a Mourning Dove comes from one area; the call of a Cardinal from another. How many can I identify? There, is that a Woodpecker in the woods to the North of where I sit? Yes, I believe it is. I hear a Robin, and a Blue Jay. They are common enough here that we hear them frequently. Less common is the Gold Finch, but I believe that I hear one nearby. A Hummingbird flitted by yesterday. They are a true wonder to watch, having the unique ability to hover in mid-air while sipping at the nectar of our Lilac Bush, and view the Peonies wistfully which have yet to open their petals. I have seen several Hummingbird Moths around the Lilac flowers intermixed with the bumble bees. They are of approximately the same size and coloration as a bumble bee, but if they hover long enough and you look close enough you will see a wedge shape at the tail which distinguishes the moth from the bee.

Overhead, I see a pair of those homeliest of birds, the Turkey Vulture. In years past I thought that when they circled like that they were over something dead; now I know that they are riding the air currents in ever increasing spirals. I have heard that they have the ability to soar in such a manner for hours, maybe even the entire day. Imagine, simply hanging on a current unseen in the air by anything else, yet you can see it and bend it to your will to soar with no effort whatsoever. To rise and fall on the very air, simply watching from above; observing all life as it glides beneath you.

A harsh cry echoes through the trees indicating a crow has come calling. There he is, sitting high in the old Walnut tree, watching me as I watch him. I know they are smart birds, tough as well. If I am not mistaken, they will occasionally run a Great Horned Owl off its nest, push the owl's eggs out and lay their own eggs in the owl's nest then leave, thereby forcing the owl to raise their babies. I am not sure if this is true, but I did read it once.

Off on the Northern end of our property, flitting through the green leaves I see a flash of bright orange. It comes to a halt high in the tree and I focus on it. It is an Oriole! In all my years in this area I have never seen an Oriole. I go into the house to get my camera and emerge ready. I search all around and though I see the bird again, he never sits still long enough for me to focus the camera and get the shot. Ah well, it is enough to have seen one.

Our grounds are filled with trees, with Walnut and Hickory predominant. The trees are finally full of newly born leaves, bright green against the dark gray and black trunks. It is nice to be able to look and not see our neighbors several hundred yards away. It feels as though we are the only people in the area, and we are blessed. Squirrels, both Grey and Fox scurry about the limbs and ground finding nuts from last Fall for their breakfast this morning. They pause occasionally, watching and listening for some danger to their lives but the only danger here is Zhu Zhu, and he now lies sound asleep in the tree house I built for my son in the giant Walnut tree across the yard, having completed his morning rounds of the property.

I gaze at my Garden now, full of pride at what I am accomplishing there through the sweat of my brow and the aches of my joints. Nearly sixty Green Bean bushes are showing with some nearly 8” tall now. Yukon Gold potatoes are growing nicely in their mounds, twenty-some odd of them. I am hungrily awaiting the first batch of Green Beans and New Potatoes, I assure you. After a triad of scares involving frost and freezing temperatures over the past three weeks, it appears my Cucumber plants are finally able to grow unhindered by the cold temperatures, although tomorrow night is presently forecast to be down to near 40. I have lost a few of these, but I tried to be prepared by having other seeds planted two weeks ago as a precaution. These sit on my deck beside me now, several seedlings springing forth ready to take their place should I require their services. If all goes well, we hope to be able to can some twenty to thirty jars of Green Beans, perhaps a hundred jars of pickles and maybe even some corn. The twenty-odd Tomato plants are ready with buds for the first blossoms of the year, the flowers a bright yellow. The girls of the household will dine on fresh Tomatoes in the coming weeks while I use some to make a salsa for them to keep and eat later. My wife loves salsa and my first batch met with her satisfaction. I had no idea what I was doing but somehow I stumbled through and created something good. It would be easier to tell how it was if I liked salsa, but I am strange that way. I trust her to tell me whether it is good or not. She said my later jars were better than any store bought salsa she had ever had. She loves me, this wonder of my life. I am glad to give her something made by my own hands that she loves.

I rise from my chair and wander over to the Peach tree. Looking carefully I see a good number of Peach buds growing there. Good, this year it appears as though we will have a harvest of Peaches. Last year we had none as the late frost killed them. If we have Peaches there is a good chance the Wild Grapes will be on the vines as well. Two years ago my daughter came down the hill after getting off the bus eating grapes. It astounded me to find bunches of WIld Grapes that were large enough to eat, but there they were.

The Apple tree I planted last year has several small bumps behind the now fading flowers that indicate possible growth of Apples. This year just might be a bumper crop for us. Time will tell.

Speaking of time, the sun is moving overhead now, and I feel the need to just let it bath me in its welcome warmth. I close my eyes, lean my head back and enjoy the sounds and smells around me. What a wonderful day.

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    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      I can read the pride in your words. This is a wonderful personal essay of your home and family. You have a right to be proud of what you have created. Great photos of your property and gardens too. Voted up.

    • savvydating profile image

      Yves 4 years ago

      There is nothing like the feeling of a wonderful day, especially if one has a backyard in which to soak in the beauty of the outdoors, and especially in your case - where trees and plants and flowers abound. Thank you for taking us on this journey as a reminder of the soothing effects of nature, and the warmth and satisfaction of sounds that come from a happy family.

      Now it's time for me to settle back with a cup of coffee, while I listen to the birds chirping in the front yard...

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      Cheyenne, thank you for that comment. And for patting me on the back that way! It doesn't take too much area to make a garden, I started out on a 10 x 10 raised bed garden and it grew from there. My first harvest were green beans, and they were go-o-o-od-d! Give it a shot.

      Cat, again, thanks. We will take care and make more memories.

      Pearl, welcome to my humble abode. Yes, it was a beautiful day. And the next was just the same. I cannot get enough of listening to the birds on the property. Last night, just at dusk I watered my garden (now there's been no rain for about 5 days so I thought I should wet it down) and stood with eyes closed listening to that wonderful Whippoorwill again. My how I love that sound!! I hope your flowers escape this strange year and give you pleasure for your eyes and nose. Our peonies began to pop yesterday, and by this weekend I might be able to post some good picutres of them.

      I love sharing this day and others with all of my Hub friends. Please enjoy them and let me know how they affect you. Be sure to give insight into your days as well.

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      What a beautiful day indeed! I could feel the sun as you described it, and see the elusive oriole just as I saw it in my trees the other day. Not enough time to grab a camera for a capture, but as you say, it is enough to have seen it. I love that you are enamored of birds and their songs and calls; and I am amazed at your glorious gardens.

      I know what it takes to grow fruits and vegetables. You should be very proud at the sight of your accomplishments. Those peonies look to be about a week ahead of mine. We had a hard frost last night, but my peonies seemed to have made it through unscathed. They were blanketed last night against the cold with some light-weight row cover I had on hand. It will be in the mid 30's overnight here, so my fingers are crossed again!

      I thoroughly enjoyed learning about your world, and getting to know you and your family a little better. Thank you, my friend, for sharing your delightful Saturday morning ;) Pearl

    • Cantuhearmescream profile image

      Cat 4 years ago from New York

      Mr. Archer,

      Well, you accomplished your goal and I truly enjoyed it. You take care too and keep making those memories... and that beautiful garden :-)

      Cat

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Mr. Archer, I could see, smell and touch everything you described. This is an incredible example of your talent - not only as a writer but of a man living off the land and providing for his family.

      I envy your lifestyle. If I had the property, I would make it fertile ground as you are doing.

      I want more of this! Please take us through Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      Cat, I am glad you got lost in the moment. That is exactly what I set out to do - draw the reader in and allow them the experience that I was having. Memories are what we will be left with, and we all too often forget when we are making them to take a moment and enjoy them in the now. And you are so very right when you say it seems like a thousand years ago and yesterday all at once regarding our children. I look at the eldest and still see her as the little girl I came to know ten years ago rather than the woman who stands before me. You take care Cat. Thanks again.

      Marie, both you and Bill are assisting in my growth as a writer here. I appreciate you thoughts and notes. For you to take the time with me is greatly appreciated. And I am sorry your father never took the time; some fathers do not know what they have standing in front of them.

      Sally, thank you as well. I am glad you enjoyed the images, both in word and photo. I do believe the Golden Oriole is a distant relative to the Baltimore Oriole I saw here. I am amazed you were in South Africa! Somehow I missed that here. I must do better in knowing my friends.

      Take care, my friends.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

      I enjoyed this piece of writing which included some great images Mr. Archer. You reminded me too, of a bird I probably will never see again - the Golden Oriel, not sure that if yours is the same type but I recall the one I knew being bright yellow with some black on the throat. I used to see them in South Africa. Now that was a nice memory! Thanks for that.

    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 4 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      You are a deep thinker who expresses his feelings well--I like that. I almost wished I'd had a father like you. Mine said little and rarely showed any feelings when he was around; he did attend my graduation, though. My grandfather, had he lived, would have filled the gap.

      Once again, I'm sending some editorial notes in a separate email.

    • Cantuhearmescream profile image

      Cat 4 years ago from New York

      Mr Archer,

      This is beautiful; I got so wrapped up in it, I forgot where I was for a moment. It's almost bittersweet; reminded me of flipping through a photo album. Overwhelmed with memories of days gone by and excitement of what, yet, the future has to bring. I thought about my own children as you spoke of yours, some memories seem a thousand years ago but yesterday all at the same time. Your pictures are lovely and your garden sounds equally impressive. Well worth the hard work!

      Voted up and beautiful

      Cat

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      Thank you CrisSp. I appreciate your comments on my style and am glad you enjoyed my words and pictures. Take care and Blessings your way.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 4 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      I had a pleasure reading this hub where abundance abound. It feels like I was reading both prose and poetry in your creative style of writing. I love how descriptive you are in your choice of words and your photos are refreshing.

      Great hub. Thank you.

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      Thank you, Bill. This one I wanted to take my time with and attempt to "paint" a picture for the reader to see in their mind. I am glad you enjoyed it.

      As to my evolving as a writer, it is due to you and others like you whom I have enjoyed reading and trading thoughts with here on Hubpages. If I am improved, it is due to you. I still will "write from the hip" but I am beginning to try and slow down; to allow my thoughts to evolve a little before putting them out into circulation. If anything, that may be the single hardest lesson I have had to learn as a writer, this distilling my words. For that, I am grateful to you and to Marie Flint here on Hubpages for taking the time and making the effort on my behalf. I thank you both.

      When one writes about something they love, it is much easier for it to be a better work, isn't it? As I said, I am home. Take care, my very good friend. Many blessings to you and Bev.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Look at you! I swear, I can see such a huge difference in your earlier writings and your latest few....this is a beautiful personal essay that speaks from your heart. All the love you have of your family and home is wrapped up in this great piece of writing.

      Well done, Mike! It was a pleasure to read.