We’ve had several days of hot, humid weather. The sun seems to climb into the sky, then just hang there, beating down on the fields, tin roofs, and the pavement. Stepping outside feels like stepping into a green house, the sweat pools on my arms and stays there, unable to evaporate.
It’s not unbearable, it’s just new. August, maybe into September, was the last time I was that smothered and hot. Since then, it’s been the cool Autumn giving way to my first snow here, followed by a beautiful and glorious Spring.
Once again, the farm is changing. The feel of it is shifting into summer. By 9am, the horses have retreated to the shade, standing head to tail, swishing and stamping at the flies. The cats sprawl under the rose bushes, slinking out only to drink from the bird bath. The dogs, when they are not napping on the couch, lay in the mulch in the shade of the wood shed, tongues lolling, panting the heat away.
I put extra water in the chicken coop, I turn the hose on in the evenings when I get home to fill up the duck bath and the rubber pans around the yard. I’ve opened both sets of tall, creaky wooden doors so they can get the best of whatever breeze finds its way through there.
In the afternoons we have big, dark thunderclouds rumble through. The air gets that charged feel, the one that quickens your breath and makes you look to the sky, which is swirling with leaves and mouse-grey clouds. It’s exciting, there’s a rush to it, watching the wind whip up the grass on the far mountain, to see it ripple like waves on a green ocean and come across the creek to stir your clothes and hair.
Evening storms are becoming my favorite. If I can get everyone fed, watered and tucked in for the night, I retreat to the kitchen to eat dinner and watch it roll in. The sky goes dark, like a bruise, and from the windows I watch the trees bend and sway. When Sadie gets home from work we talk about the day, sometimes we sit on the porch and watch the clouds roll in. If the wind is up we stay inside, drying and putting away the dishes before crawling into Nana’s bed to read.
Abbie hates thunder, she is usually the first one under the bed. Zoe picks a spot in front of the fan to stretch out, and Casey will lay by our feet, curled up with her nose over her tail. Then the cats drift in, one by one, sitting on the high shelf, watching the dogs settle down.
The white kitten who was born in late August will lay across the back of the stuffed chair, her chin on the fabric, legs hanging on either side. The black and white cat, who just turned a year old, will settle by my legs, licking the leaves and twigs from her long fur.
The calico will finally get down and saunter over, jumping onto the bed without a sound, stepping around my open book to crawl under my chin. She is a little thing – the smallest of the cats. My cousin got her out of a box from a man selling kittens outside of Walmart. She was little then too, whatever happened to her mother even he didn’t know. She had a rattle in her chest and crust on her eyes, Austyn carried her around on her shoulders for hours at a time.
To this day, on your chest or by your neck is still her favorite place to be. While we’re are work, she naps in the sun by the kitchen window. If you sit at the table too long, she will hop to your shoulders and but your chin with her head.
Sadie and I read until our eyes get sleepy, then she turns of the light and we say goodnight. Some evenings we talk about our ideas for the farm, we play pretend and imagine what it will be like when we sow the fields with grass seed, or paint the house, or where the garden spot should be next year.
It’s wonderful to be safe inside this old farm house, with the cats and dogs nearby, full, happy and cozy while the rain falls and cools the fields. Tonight we cracked the sliding door and listened to the thunder rumble in the distance, and the rain drip from a thousand different leaves to the ground. Even now, I can hear it falling, while the frogs sing from the creek. It sounds like heaven on earth.