|Photo by Dianne Millar|
Beyond the images and words I post online, it is wonderful to have real-life witnesses to my experience here in North Dakota, a state rarely visited. That my mother, brother, sister-in-law and nephew came so far to revisit this magical place did my heart a lot of good. I think they enjoyed it too.
Naturally, we partied. I put on a Shed Shindig in their honor. We borrowed tables and chairs from the local fire department, swept the dead mice out of our corrugated tin shed and strung lights. (MaryAnn and Carol surprised me with their expert skills here.)
We even had our own porta potty. I'm telling you it was as big as it gets 'round here. If the weather hadn't been so perfect we might have had more guests but alas, it was ideal for harvest.
After all the parties, 4-wheeling and open-fire cookouts, we moved our celebration to the nearest big city, Grand Forks, where we were honored by cousins with big meal gatherings and lush accommodations. (I slept in the bedazzled bedroom of the former Miss Teen North Dakota complete with Xmas lights around the bed and hot pink everything.)
|OMG - heaven! So NOT my trailer....|
Occasionally, my sweet nephew, Robbie, would pull me aside and whisper, "You need to come back next summer."
|Brrrrr! Tomatoes covered.|
|My Yellow zukes got zapped but they still work.|
Where will that strength come from? I wonder. I guess Father Winter's icy hand will just push me out.
Then, off to the garden to pull everything for Market - Lemon cucumbers, Scallop squash, Rainbow cherry tomatoes, Champion tomatoes, Romaine lettuce, Freckles lettuce, dill, Green bell peppers, eggplant, sage, Red onions, cantaloupe, Yellow zucchini…and on it goes.
His neighbor's stepson is visiting from Hawaii or Washington, traveling around in a outfitted Vanagon and my love is gamely visiting with him. Soon, another neighbor wanders over and then beer happens. I hang out there for about a half-hour before making haste for the market. Selling begins promptly at 5 p.m. and not a second earlier.
Before we both go our separate ways, I give her the bouquet of bright sunflowers that I'd picked as a table decoration; she'd just turned 28, exactly 20 years my junior. We exchange solid hugs and I head for home.
After changing clothes - out of the stiff jeans and into stretchy pants - I head to the shed for some much-needed yoga. I turn on all the stringed lights, dance a bit to an old Sheilia E. cassette, light some sage and candles and whip out the yoga mat. Damn, it feels good.
Then, my love texts me and we talk on the phone, planning our romantic getaway weekend in Fargo. He tells me details of a community meeting he'd attended and together, we laugh. I finish up my yoga, close up the shed and head to the trailer, where I pour myself a glass of red wine. I dine on rib eye, creamed cucumber dill salad, Sweet Meat squash (grown my yours truly), and tossed salad with fresh tomatoes (mine) and bleu cheese crumbles. I end up inhaling an entire bar of dark chocolate because I'm feeling victorious for some reason.
|Harvest at sunset|
I step outside in the pitch blackness for a smokey treat and wonder, again, how it is I'm going to leave.