Goodbye to summer – weddings and tomatoes

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Only a handful of days remain in the summer of 2015. For me, the end of August is the end of summer.

My daughter Jill got married at the end of August – a wonderful party and ceremony bookended by food and drinks with friends. She made her wedding dress and though that was stressful for me, it turned out well.

I used to make almost all my clothes, tailoring and technical designs that were really nice clothing. I made dresses, jackets, pants, swimsuits, all manner of clothing. Sewing is simple and straightforward and only the impatient fail with such precise instructions and directions from pattern makers like Simplicity, Butterick and Vogue.

Jill’s dress was an adaptation of Princess Grace of Monaco’s wedding gown and Jill chose to wear a dress of light green velvet. It was swishy and stylish and suited her perfectly.

It seemed like most of the summer was spent on the plans for the wedding. Matt and Jill did most of the arrangements, I just worried and nagged. They did fine without my advice or ideas. With this the second wedding in my family, I’ve learned to let them do what they want and keep out of it. Something about serenity comes to mind.

Their vision was a quick ceremony, plenty of drink and food but not wedding cake. Pies of all sorts were brought in by a professional baker and a few by family members. I brought an apple pie made with a crust packed with lard and butter, flour and sugar. My pie went fast, situated in between peanut butter pie, mocha creme pie, blackberry peach pie and a whole list of other blood-sugar rocket fuels. Pies followed an excellent BBQ of chicken and brisket and hot links. Sauces, salads, macaroni and cheese, cole slaw and corn bread.

They bought lots of alcohol and went home with almost the same amount and nobody drank their “regular.” Beer drinkers drank mixed drinks, wine drinkers drank iced tea and the lemonade took a hammering. Probably because the wedding was on a Thursday night and most everyone had to work the next day.

I took the full week off to enjoy the wedding and simply to not be at work. My recent schedule change is working well for me only because I’m not at work very much anymore. There’s a real lesson in that.

Almost everyone whether they live in the Denver area or the mountains has had a rotten tomato crop this year. The spring brought so much rain, sometimes an inch an hour kept the fire danger down but also kept tomatoes at bay.

I only have maybe a dozen tomatoes and those are still small and green. They’re cherry tomatoes so they’ll probably ripen soon but this year’s crop won’t make the pages of the Burpee Seed Catalog. I’ll take the rain rather than tons of tomatoes.

Here at the end of August, it hasn’t rained much. The ground is hard and dry but the wildflowers are everywhere. The air is filled with the sound of chainsaws as people prepare for winter. The Farmer’s Almanac calls for a winter with lots of snow but the Farmer’s has been wrong before. Maintaining the woodpile is part right-of-passage and as much of part of autumn as pumpkins and apple pie.

My three remaining cats have become outdoor cats that are only in at night. The deck is littered with dead mice nearly every day. I worry each time they go out. there’s predators out there. I talked it over with my vet because Petticoat was starting to pee near the door if she wasn’t let out. The vet and I agreed that a happy cat with a shorter life is far better off than a cat kept imprisoned and hated because of destructive piss.

I had to take the bird feeders down because of the carnage wrought by my cats though the hummingbirds fared well. As of this week the hummers are gone which means chilly weather is around the corner. Last week the morning low temperature was 35 degrees.

This is the first coming winter I haven’t thought about selling out and moving on. I loathe the Denver area. Too much traffic, too many people. Even the Conifer King Soopers has become overcrowded since its remodel earlier this year. The new digs have brought swarms of flat-landers to the hills and they’re easy to spot. Under-dressed and out of breath from the altitude.

Sometimes I think I should move farther out away from Denver. Conifer is sometimes too close.

If I did move I’m not sure where I would go. Home prices are ridiculous right now and I’ll never rent again if I can help it. A two-bedroom apartment goes for $1,600 a month in Lakewood. A house that cost $150,000 last year costs $250,000 now. My mortgage is $712 a month and that’s all there is to say about that.

In a year there’ll be a mass of foreclosures the same inevitable result of homes too rich for the owner’s pocketbook. We’ll see what happens next year. Right now, I’m content to meet September right here.

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