We do not fuss too much over the property, for any good house is as much a living and growing thing as a tomato plant or a calf, and a stability of perfection is neither wise to seek nor possible to find.
-Henry Beston, Northern Farm
I returned on the summer solstice to find that many things I had tended to before leaving were needing tending again, and new things were waiting too.
The honeysuckle and wild muscadine vines are climbing into the front porch and winding their way through the porch screens so will need to be cut back.
The flower beds which my husband weeded down for me have grown back to foot-high and thus will need weeding again before I can proceed with my efforts to restore them to real beds.
My materials for the wattle fence are still waiting in the long and narrow meadow and now nearly covered over with wildflowers and grass.
But my husband has kept the pastures mowed and dragged, and the fence line looks tidy too.
The vegetable garden went completely crazy while I was gone. Cucumbers, yellow crookneck, acorn, and zucchini squashes abound. The butternuts succumbed to squash bugs before maturing fully. The rainbow chard is still growing and lovely, but most of the lettuce has bolted. There are radishes, red onions, garlic, and tomatoes. The melons are bearing fruit as are the blueberries.
The day I came home my husband picked nearly 60 pounds of produce and took it to his office to share. We have eaten heartily since Monday night and have a full produce drawer in the fridge plus more on the island.
What a wonderful homecoming gift.
The sunflowers are all up and nearing bloom. The herbs are growing well too. There are a few mystery volunteers.
Having spent 12 days viewing mostly desert and finding it lovely in its own way, the biggest gift of all has been returning to this verdant, lush landscape we live in. I'm not happy with our governor or the legislature, our forests and rivers and ocean shores need protection, and development is a constant thorn in my side. But time away has renewed my appreciation for North Carolina as well as my energy to work hard to keep it as beautiful as it is.
And that begins with November Hill.