What a lovely afternoon, and a great time with my parents!
It was so nice and sunny that we put the top down on Blacky. It's strange how I don't seem to care lately what it does to my hair! I had it up in a twist, so it blew around a little bit, but no big deal. It just felt great to be out on a beautiful sunny day, and to look around me and enjoy the countryside.
Northern Indiana is a lot of what you see to the left: wide open farm fields (this was soybeans). There are a lot of wooded areas, too, like you see at the back of this field. The sky was a gorgeous blue, and the clouds were few, but fluffy. A day like this makes me appreciate where I live all the more.
I suppose that if I traveled a lot, I'd get tired of seeing things like this, but in the 45 minute drive to my folks' house, I thoroughly enjoyed looking around me. There are some different terrains that we pass through, including wooded areas and swampy areas (technical term wetlands, I guess!). I like seeing the flowers that people have around their houses, and it's interesting to see some of the old farm houses and barns.
It was a great visit with Mom and Dad, as always. Mom fed us lunch first thing--her and Dad had already eaten. She said, "We just got hungry!" Ha ha! She made a big pot of green beans with new potatoes, she fried us up a little smoked sausage, and she'd made deviled eggs and marinated cucumbers and onions. Yum! Thanks, Mom! We got caught up on things while we ate, and then we went outside and walked around the yard a little bit.
This is the fence that used to be in front of our house, and now it's at the back of Mom and Dad's! It looks so nice! The day after we brought it down, they got out and got started on it. They figured they'd do a couple of sections a day, and next thing they knew, it was 2 or 3 o'clock, and they had the whole darn thing up!
Mom put in some different kinds of flowers, and she's trying to get really hardy ones. As you can see, their soil is very sandy, and this gets direct sun all the time, so she needs some tough ones. She just put these in this year, so they'll get lusher in the coming years.
I like the wagon wheel leaning up against the fence--neat! I'm so pleased that they could use this, and they seem so happy with it. It really does look great!
Their property goes back a ways behind the fence (they've got 16 acres), but they don't consider that "the yard." It's got brushy growth, and Dad mows that only occasionally. The rest of their property is wooded (they call their place Still Oaks).
On the driveway side of the house, they have a bunch more flowers planted, including purple coneflowers. When we first pulled up in the driveway and got out of the car, I said, "Look at the butterflies!" These guys were on those coneflowers like milk on cereal.
I watched them for a little while, and you could see their little proboscis uncurl and go down into the flower. They'd poke around and get some of the nectar.
I don't know what kind of butterflies these are, but they seemed like friendly, cheery little guys!
I swear, I bet I took half a dozen pictures trying to get one with his wings at least partway open! Every time he'd start to open his wings, I'd snap the picture, and he'd already have them back together! At least this one is partially open!
This is the lily that Ken and I got for Mom for Mother's Day two years ago. She planted it outside, and the crazy thing is about four feet tall, and while there was only one blossom today, there are four or five others getting ready to pop. I think this might be a stargazer lily, but I'm not really up on my lilies. I thought it was so pretty!
I love giving Mom plants for presents. She has such a green thumb, and enjoys them so much. We gave her this two years ago, and it's thriving! Both her and Dad love this lily, so it's a gift that keeps on giving!
After lunch, we sat on the porch in the rocking chairs, and just chatted. World problems, family issues, just fun stuff. Mom made us all Butterfinger blizzards for dessert, and it was one of those pleasant summer days that make life worth living. It was fairly warm, but sitting on the wide porch and feeling the breeze made it very comfortable.
Of course, we talked some politics. (I come by it naturally, believe me. Even when I was a kid, I remember family discussions about such things, and by the time I got to college, I was a part of the discussions.) We talked about Obama's trip overseas, and Mom said, "Honey, I think he's gonna be our next president." Remember, this is an older woman, a registered Republican, and while she may not agree with everything that he says, she likes him and seems to trust him. I think it's going to be a VERY interesting election.
As our day was winding down and Ken and I were talking about heading home, we all watched as a kid on a bike, followed by his parents on foot, came down the road and into the driveway. Mom and Dad were trying to figure out who it was. Mom said, "They're holding hands. They must be friends of ours." Ha ha! As they got closer, Mom said, "Oh, it's Josh!" Introductions were made all around, and I guess Josh is a fireman and phone repairman who lives down the road. They seemed like a nice young couple, and I told Ken later that I think it's so cool that here is this couple who are probably younger than we are, and they came walking down the road to visit with Mom and Dad. I wish you all could meet my folks--I think you'd understand. They're just neat people, and fun to be around!
Since we were already on our way, we said our good-byes and gave up our rocking chairs. Mom sent us off with some green beans and potatoes, as well as some fresh green beans for me to cook this week. As we were leaving, Josh, his wife, and their son were settling in, Mom was off to get them some cool drinks, and Round Two of visiting was commencing on the porch.
This kind of day reminds me of the episode of "The Andy Griffith Show" in which a Type A businessman has his car break down in Mayberry. He's in a hurry to get going, and very frustrated at the slow pace of everyone in the town, but as he calms down a bit (he ends up staying the night), he comes to realize that there's a lot to be said for slowing down, and starts to appreciate the simple joy that comes from sitting on the porch on a warm summer night.
I hope you all were able to do a little porchsitting of your own today.