Just about this time of year I get a craving for Americana: Red, white and blue, sparklers and lemonade. Strawberry pies and front porch swingin'. Long Summer evenings while the smell of newly-mown grass lingers and the barn swallows sing goodnight to the bugs they left alive (for now).
I like to decorate my spaces with flags, but find it averse how many of these painted gewgaws are mass-produced overseas and sold in stores to appeal to those too lazy to do it oneself or without the time for same.
I know there are many artisans producing nice work and I would seek those out were I buying new ones to add to what I already own.
One year I dumped beach sand along my mantle and filled the space with glass floats, pebbles, shells, fireworks and pictures of my children playing at the beach. That was probably my most creative seasonal display and messy too though it mostly vacuumed right up. I might do it again but the cords for the video games tend to disrupt such delicate displays.
As I type this, the spousal unit is driving a bobcat back and forth to fill my lower pasture with extra dirt from whence to create jumps and banked turns so the boys can ride their quads and dirtbikes on a little track.
A family of swallows has taken up nesting on top of a floodlight under the front porch eave. I love their blue and orange color scheme and the fact that they eat bugs all day long. Detest the piles of turds but I'll deal. I built a barn ten years ago for them and while they use it occasionally it seems they prefer to make their own way. I admire that feature of barn swallows but most envy their jet-fighter-like maneuvers over roads and streams as they scoop up their meal.
There are five eggs in the nest. I could barely fit my cell phone camera in there to get a pic of the speckled "bird larva" but slipped my finger in to gently caress each egg and know there are indeed five of them. The parents don't seem to mind that we are so near though they check out while we bbq out there. I hope it doesn't doom the newborns to failure but again they DO have the barn....
Sunday Market's in full swing with both improvements and what I feel might be backsliding tactics. Still, I know what it's like for most of these vendors and feel better spending my money with them than the local big boxes.
I find myself buying things from multiple, smaller, locally-owned sources nowadays, bucking a trend that began when I was small: that of the one-stop shop.
Yes, it's easier and quicker, but I don't know that I will go quietly into the night of retail giants, especially when I realize the price might be my town's identity.
It might be a tough thing for me just because I know or am acquainted with so many small business owners and think about their livelihood and well-being. I want them to stay here and thrive here and so I will buy my canned tuna from local processors rather than off the shelf at Fred's or Safeway. My artisan bread will not come from the shelves of those stores either, instead from the fabulous Blue Scorcher.
No Starbuck's brew passes these lips, I only drink Thundermuck.
Gifts purchased for others will be for the most part of the locally-produced and American made variety. They mean more that way, and hopefully mean more to those that need the money most, will re-use it within my community.
Good luck everyone, enjoying your Summer activities. This territory really glows this time of year. Make the most of it...