Once we returned home from Europe, it seemed as if someone set the rest of my summer to fast forward. The apples started dropping quite early, due to our dry weather, I assume. We had just had our house connected to the new sewer main in town, so the back yard was bare dirt rather than the usually overgrown grass that would camoflage the fallen apples. This year, instead, they lay on the bare ground, chiding me to make use of them before they spoiled. I got a couple batches of applesauce and jelly done and got some frozen for pie, before our friend in the country asked if he could take groundfall for the pigs, and I was officially off the hook.
I planted two cherry tomatoes that survived, and it seemed just to spite me, they produced like mad. I had to strip those last week before our first hard frost, and I am wondering if they'd make a mock gooseberry pie?
In the midst of all this, we packed up our two elder Things for college. They are going to the same school now, a state college a short hour away. Thing 1 ventured off to Black Hills State last year, but transferred closer to home at semester break. She loved the campus there and made some good friends, but its one of those schools that sort of closes up on the weekends (as is her current one) and she found herself very isolated. Now, she and her sister found an apartment in a complex that borders campus. iPastor and I both lived there at various points in our college careers. I took the opportunity to furnish their apartment with all our extra stuff. They bought a bunkbed/futon unit so they could share a bedroom without dismantling our loft, were gifted with some items from friends, and could not resist a couple of curbside finds. Otherwise, I was appalled, after so many years of percieved progress at decluttering, to STILL have enough stuff to completely stock their kitchen, and furnish an apartment. Over 22 years of marriage, inherited things from his mom, my brother, grandma moving to the nursing home, and various other acquisitions, although I have purged, donated, regifted and even sold items, I still have TOO MUCH STUFF. We're down from an impassable five-room basemsnt, to two neatly organized rooms, two in progress, and one where I just shut the door and ignore it. In the meantime, my two oldest have their first place of their very own. It ain't Martha Stewart, but it functions. They've fluttered out of the nest, returning weekends to do laundry and work a few shifts for their dad. He brought them on to help fill some odd shifts during a staffing turnover, and it turns out they've been more reliable than anyone else he can find.
We're also taking a year off from hosting exchange students. We're hoping to get some work done on our poor neglected house. My kitchen is in desperate need of help, and we need to bite the bullet and refinish our poor old hardwood floors, or tack in some carpet until we can give them the attention they deserve. With the extra rooms emptied, we've been doing some cleaning and rearranging there, as well. We moved the TV out of the living room and set up a den, much like we had when we first moved in. We emptied a room and are in the process of painting and rearranging to create a library. This led to a collection of oddball furniture in the upstairs hallway, so last weekend, Thing 2 and I arranged them in a bedroom, Tetris style, and affectionately dubbed it the Bunkhouse. I took the opportunity to replace all the bedframes (the Things preferred their mattresses on the floor,) head/footboards, and extra bedding from storage. My linen closet and the aforementioned basement have slightly more breathing room now with all the stuff in use. Meanwhile, downstairs, the living room had become weirdly empty, with only two recliners and an end table, set up in a manner that made me start calling it the throne room. Folks wandering in the front door could some directly in for an audience. The foyer has always seemed a bit of an odd catch-all to me. So, I did more rearranging, and have a cozy little sitting room in the foyer. I pushed the piano into the cavernous living room, and now we have the Jones bunkhouse and dance hall, complete with pinball. At least until I rearrange some more.
Now, I find myself up too early on a Saturday, piddling around on teh interwebz instead of doing something productive. It's shaping up to be a beautiful fall day, so I'd better get to doing something with it.