THE SIMPLE LIFE: Yep. Summer Bucket List

Trish Morgan
Special to the News Tribune
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Trish Morgan

WHEW. I just made it through one of the busiest weeks this year. And, next week is another just like it!

At least most of the yard work is done. Between the rain and trying to coordinate schedules with myself and my workers - running late this year. I keep telling myself it's okay, there's always tomorrow. But, then I look around outside, and I see mulching that still needs done, backyard needs spruced up, grass needs cut, my rock gardens need trimmed around the field stone, my pet memorial garden needs a LOT of attention!

Also, my front and back porches need scrubbed and cleaned, my kindling box needs repaired and filled, and the list goes on and on. I've had to hire some additional workers this year, and the fella who does my yard work is a real asset. I am so grateful for him.

Right now, I'm sitting out back under my umbrella while three of my grandkids are splashing, doing flips, floating on their backs, playing with a few pool toys. I do have my Amazon order in for some really nice floats and toys. About time! I can't blame that procrastination on anyone but myself. At the moment, the kids are fighting over the one hammock float left over from last year - "NANA! It's my turn! Ryder has had it LONG ENOUGH! NANA, watch me, watch me, watch ME!!!!!” Ryder says he needs to pee, Aubree is bored LOL, and Ava is cold! All I said was, "Don't Nana me! I'm writing my column!!" It's a good thing Alexa is playing my 1960s music today!!

While I'm sitting here, taking in rays of sun and cover of clouds and 84° air temperature, I can look over at my little garden of tomatoes and peppers.They really like this spring weather so far. I'm growing heirloom tomatoes called  Cherokee Purple, Mortgage Lifter and California Gold, plus red, green and yellow bell peppers, but, needs some weeding. Another "to do" to add to my list. I've got some cucumbers growing in a different garden in the front of the house, and I plan to use these to can bread and butter pickles this summer. I've never done this before, so wish me well. Plan to can peach slices, strawberry jam and green beans, too.

Speaking of temperature, the pool is only 79°. However, these crazy kids got in when it was 74°! That's waaaaay too cold for THIS Nana! When I was a little girl, I didn't pay one iota to the temperature of the air or the pool. If the pool was open, I was there. Those swimming memories are some of my best! Summers at the pool, getting a nice tan and watching the boys dive off of the diving boards. Yes!

The initial weather forecast this week was rain, rain, rain. But, it turned out to be a great week for the pool. In addition to my backyard pool for us Morgans, kids and adults alike can go to public outdoor pools in Piedmont, Cumberland, LaVale, Frostburg, Keyser and Moorefield. There are also state parks for picnics and swimming at Deep Creek Lake, Shaw Beach, Herrington Manor, Swallow Falls, Broadford Lake, Jennings Randolph Lake, to name a few. Add these places to your Summer Bucket List!

I've worked hard to make my backyard space fun for my grandkids. This summer we'll we doing lots of swimming, grilling hot dogs and burgers, making pizzas and other neato things for snacks and meals. They all love fruits of the season, so that fits right in with what Nana likes - watermelon, strawberries, blueberries, black raspberries, peaches, kiwi, pineapple (except for Aubree). We'll be making homemade ice cream using berries, plus butter pecan, Whitehouse cherry and chocolate almond for ME!

We have rainy day activities planned such as trips to the library, baking cookies and brownies, making popcorn and watching movies, doing crafts and some indoor camping.

Camping. Back in the day, it was one of my favorite things to do. Learned to love camping in Girl Scouts and have loved it ever since. Campfires, singalongs, ghost stories with flashlights, s'mores, storytelling, catchin' lightning bugs, waving sparklers, drinking ice cold drinks, enjoying twinkle lights on my woods. But, let's not forget those cicadas. We can be serenaded all day and night!! How much longer are those noisy bugs here with us, anyway?

One thing left to do in my yard other than what I've already mentioned is to get my twinkle lights placed around my rock gardens at the house. I'm a big fan of nighttime lighted gardens, so there's a lot of planning and labor in getting them done.

I'm just so excited about these spring and summer seasons! After a year like last year, it's time to open up the floodgates and have some clean, simple fun. After all, you only live once, right? Take advantage, y'all.

Take your kiddos out to experience old fashioned fun - backyard volleyball, street kickball, water balloon battles, night at the movies, go to a drive-in, stop for ice cream cones (Nutter's in Sharpsburg has my chocolate almond, and Livvy's in Cresaptown - well, EVERYTHING there is just fabulous!), teach the kiddos to play jacks and jump rope, rent a boat and tour the lakes, show old home movies in the dark, attend community events, dinners, fundraisers. Maybe even do a little volunteer work, have a yard sale, go to Bible School and day camp, set up a lemonade stand. The ideas are endless. Why stay inside when there's so much to do?!!

Be here next week. I just might be able to accomplish a few things. Be happy. ~ Trish