We’re deep into the dog days of summer. Hot, humid, overfull, but some how lazy. I spend hours pruning and weeding and harvesting. I take a certain glee in smushing squash bugs and cabbage caterpillars and scraping eggs into soapy water. When my knees are in the dirt and I’m pushing sweaty hair out of my eyes, it’s easy to feel smug and romanticize the labor that goes into these small acts of feeding my people. I muse about how much better the world would be if we all just hoed our own row, or focused on the work in front of us, or one of a million other platitudes. I know better and still find it so easy to be self-satisfied.
Let’s talk some things.
Reading: I gave up (for the second time) on The Kindest Lie and have decided to start a DNF shelf on Goodreads. While I’m still using the app to keep track of what I’ve read, now that it’s owned by Amazon, I’ve decided to share links using bookshop.org. Shrill: Notes from a Loud Women by Lindy West (★★★★☆), Stolen by Lucy Christopher (★★★☆☆), and People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry (★★☆☆☆) were all read thanks to Libby and my kindle. I just borrowed I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid so I’ll be reading that next. I also read The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune (★★★★☆).
Listening: One of my friends recently sent me this song by Weezer and now I’ve been listening to the whole album. (Their older stuff definitely brings me back to a time in my life when I wasn’t that much older than V is now.)
Watching: A lot of Netflix: Unbelievable was uncomfortable but good, Our Father made my skin crawl. Jennifer Lopez Halftime, Seeing Allred, The Martha Mitchell Effect, Keep Sweet and Obey, Girl in the Picture all kept me company while working on some knitting projects. Persuasion looks amazing so that’s next on my list. RHOBH (purchased season) – Diana is fascinating to me and I love Garcelle this season/all seasons. At the theater, I’ve watched Thor: Love and Thunder and very much enjoyed it.
Knitting: I have so much blocking to do, a pair of socks to finish, and a blanket I’m hoping to have done in a couple of weeks. I’m using this yarn for the blanket and I love the feel of it. I want to get the sheep pillow finished before the end of 2022 since it’s been on my to do list for a few years now.
Making: I bought a couple of cases of peaches and once we had our fill of eating them fresh, I tried my hand at canning. I did the same with strawberries, and made/canned my first batch of jam. The peaches were ugly but tasty. The jam is just okay. I’m learning. Refrigerator pickles and a second batch of peaches (with some tweaks to try) are next on my list of upcoming things. If you have a favorite pickle recipe, please share!
Fingers crossed for a Friday Finds post this week. I have so many links saved to share. So that’s me. Let me know what you are -ing?
Your gardens put mine to shame, Kate. Mine are overgrown and weedy and are looking the worst they’ve ever been. I think growing some of your own vegetables is an act of resistance, and I’m not sure I agree with your characterizing your thoughts as smug! There is certainly some privilege involved—you have to have a bit of land (or space for pots) and you have to have the time to tend the plants and to harvest what grows—but just because you have those things doesn’t mean the work of growing the food gets nullified. There’s no doubt that agricultural work on farms is gruelling (and low-paying), and that a home garden doesn’t compare, but it’s not *nothing* you’re doing, Kate. (Personally, I’ve pretty much *had it* with society diminishing the domestic labour of women, and I 100% agree with you that the world would be better if we all “just hoed our own row.” There’s so much more I’d like to say, but that would be a (ranty) post all its own, and I don’t do that anymore.) And, well done on the canning, Kate! I’ve only ever made freezer jam; proper canning scares me. 🙁
I enjoyed The House in the Cerulean Sea too. My most recent read was Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Dispossessed, which I loved, and my current read is The Arabian Nights. I’ve been watching Stranger Things. I’m very late to this party, but despite having to avert my eyes occasionally, I’m loving it. (The older kids are in high school at the exact time I was in high school, so the music and the clothing and the hairstyles are like going home for me.) Knitting is happening, but slowly. Socks, socks, socks. I’d love to start the baby sweater for my niece, but I haven’t had a chance to get to the yarn store yet.
Oh, my gardens are messy too, I promise. Like school pictures, I just make sure to capture them in their best light and take pictures right after I spend time making them pretty. 😉 I agree with everything you have to say about labor/privilege/resistance in terms of gardening. When my pepper plants underperform (which they are), I’ll buy peppers from the farmer’s market or grocery store without batting an eye. When the sun gets too hot or the gnats start to bother me, I go home to an ice cold shower and take a rest. I am proud of the work I do, but it’s easy for the scales to tip into self-satisfied. I think what I’m trying to say (but badly) is that if I’m comfortable owning my privilege, and I find it so easy to become smug, how are we ever going to convince those born on third base, but who are still laboring to move forward, that they didn’t hit the home run alone?
As for canning, my mother-in-law’s freezer jam is a favorite. If I hadn’t made a goal for myself, I would probably just stick with freezing too. (The National Center for Home Food Preservation website has been very helpful to me if you do want to try your hand at shelf stable canning)
How far along in Stranger Things are you? I watched the first season but didn’t continue watching it. I thought it was paced really well in terms of scare factor – I never felt overwhelmed by it and I’m prone to that! And what did you think of The Dispossessed? I’ve never read anything by her, but she’s been recommended to me by a couple of people.
I hear what you’re saying about people born on third base. I wish I had answers, Kate, but I suspect that as long as people are free to exercise their privileges (earned or not), they will continue to do so, either blindly or with no apologies. FWIW I think it’s ok to be self-satisfied about growing veggies.
The Dispossessed actually ties in quite well with the above. I’m not a huge fan of pure science fiction—I always prefer my stories to be grounded on Earth or with humans—but the book was on sale, and because I loved The Lathe of Heaven, I decided to try it. It was a bit confusing at times (mostly due to the names of the characters), but I dog-eared many pages, and towards the end I had to check when it was written because it was SO prescient. (It was 1974.)
I’m on Season 4 of Stranger Things. I’m like you and am often overwhelmed by content, sometimes so much so that I have to simply stop altogether, but I’m doing ok with ST.
Well, I definitely get satisfaction from it. Especially on days like today when I get another quart of green beans in the freezer, a handful fresh for lunch, and a fresh sliced cucumber. I hope in the next couple of days that I’ll be able to have enough pickling cukes ripened at the same time!
I really like how summery this post is.
While reading your post, I listened to that song, which made it even more summery.
I love Garcelle as well. She is giving RHOBH a much-needed shake-up. Diana is a fascinating person. I didn’t like her at first, but the dinner alone with Sutton has changed my opinion of her.
V is behind the wheel! Ella is soon following.
We’re also doing a lot of summer activities. I’m driving Ella lots of places. Next summer, she’ll be driving ME to a lot of places, which makes me feel bittersweet. ❤️
I’m so glad to have you to talk Housewives with – I’m very on the fence about Sutton this season. She’s so fun to watch, but I don’t know if I LIKE her (if that makes sense?). I want your opinion on Kyle and Rinna this season. Such stirrers and kind of boring…
I think Ella and V would be good buddies. It is very bittersweet to have V behind the wheel. I know you’ve gone through this once before, but I have the hardest time believing how FAST it has gone. I was just teaching them how to ride a bike and now they are driving!!
Was mostly on the road yesterday, so I’m late to the comment party. My biggest -ing the past month has been supporting my son in getting launched into his next venture (school in Seattle), and that project is now completed. I’ve also been dealing with back pain for more than a week, and I will have to get back to this when I can actually focus on something other than pain. Just wanted to say, I love these posts. Look forward to a Friday Finds if you can do that.
I’m so sorry to hear you’re having to deal with back pain. I know it can be pretty debilitating so I hope you’re feeling better very soon. Exciting stuff for your son. That’s a wonderful -ing!