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Between Stitches June 18

Outdoors, exploring, growing, and learning - I think those are all typical for the month that brings summer, but for us, this June, it has been all of those things on steroids.  Mae's return from camp was a huge moment for us all.  It opened her up and incited conversations and questions that she's never brought to us.  

So, how did she do for her first year at sleep-away camp?

Wonderful.  Life changing.  She learned about the native people that lived on the land her campgrounds are on, she sang in a sweat lodge, she stomped in creeks and covered herself in clay, she learned to cook pancakes over a fire, she danced around the fire while the thunder of horses running, climbed the hill and passed by, disappearing into the woods.  She even took part in "Pecker Seals" which is Navy Seals training camp that is held on the opposite side of the lake.  When she came home, she decided she doesn't need to wear shoes any more (about time, too because I never wear shoes!), she had some serious questions about where the stars are, opening up conversations about light pollution, and most of all - believe it or not - she didn't pull a single hair from her gorgeous little head.

The other day she said she's ready to go back to camp.  Civilized life just isn't as thrilling.  I couldn't have imagined a better outcome and so the plans for next year are already swirling around our heads.  I jokingly asked hubs what it's like to have TWO hippies in the house now and he just shrugged - it's fine by me!  But the truth is, I'm trying to nurture her new-found love for adventure because it's been nearly impossible for us to pull it out of her all these years and now that camp did it, I don't want to let it go.  We went to the tree house park with some friends but it was so hot it was hardly pleasant, so I've been focused on planning our cave trip instead.  Stick to the tried and true, right?

In other news, we've also faced loss this month.  It's almost poetic how I spoke so much about Spring in my last Between Stitches post and the idea of death and rebirth ringing in my head because as June settled in, we lost our beloved cat and one of our hens.  Our kitty showed up on the stoop night after night when I was pregnant with Mae and after months of her returning night after night, hubs just picked her up and tossed her in the house.  She looked old, dingy, generally haggared, so we thought we'd take her in and give her a nice end-of-life.  Well, that was 12 years ago.  Every year that passed we thought, any day now!  And then one day we collectively decided she's a vampire cat and will live forever.  She came and went as she pleased and has never stayed away long enough to miss a meal until right around the time Mae left for camp.  Days became weeks and no one had seen her.  She normally spends her summer days at my mom's house where all the chipmunks are for good hunting, but even mom hadn't seen her and the chipmunk population was booming.  Mom was the one to find her, curled up as if she had settled in for the night in her favorite spot, and that's where she stayed.  We weren't shocked, but it was still a blow.  It was a similar scenario with our hen.  I knew something was going on with her and after watching her for a few days and looking her over, I settled on an egg peritonitis.  I had enough evidence that an egg had broken inside her and within another day, she was gone, nestled in one of the boxes as if she was brooding over a clutch.  Even though I was surprised she went so quickly, I was glad for it.

And I've completely given up on the garden this year because some son-of-a-nutcracker came cruising through and took off with the remaining plants while the chickens did away with the last of the corn and beans weeks ago.  It's all been sort of a mess out there this year, but I'm not sweating it.  The black raspberries are producing at a record rate and the elderberries have flowered and turned already - the little green buds promise a fair yield of berries. I've decided to focus my attention on my perennial plants - the berries, the fruit trees, the grapes, and make some smart decisions about how to tackle the garden next year.  Living in a world with grocery stores really has its perks, ya know?

AANND I know this is supposed to be all about life between knitting - the real stuff that happens and not just the pretty stuff - but I really need to take a moment to celebrate the fact that I'm literally two schematics away from finishing my second book!  Or, as hubs so sweetly reminded me, I'm two schematics away from finishing my portion of the book until the editing begins and the edits/reviews/illustrations become all-encompassing.  Which is totally true, but I'm riding the high right now.  I'm trying my darndest to stay hyped about my decisions and designs since this one is really all on me.  And guess what!  That's the most true, most candid thing about me in regard to my work.  I'm a chronic second-guesser!  I'm forever wondering if I pushed my designs enough while balancing "approachable" knitting.  Was this the best yarn choice?  Are these colors telling the story I had intended?  Are people going to even like these or is it all trash?  I mean, it sounds dark, but ya know... creative types I guess.  I look at the constant state of self-criting as the soundtrack that keeps me pushing and thinking and striving to be better.  Speaking of listening to my little inner soundtrack, I'm still steering clear of social media for the most part.  I'm sure it's dull following my long-neglected pages, but I find that I can think more clearly and zero in on the direction I want to take my work without being bombarded with what's "trendy" right now.  It's such a suck backwards.

So, that's the long and short of it.  June.  Invading butterflies, badminton, naked baby bums, death, growth, and driver's ed.  Still.  With the driver's ed.  Having a teenager trumps every sleepless night and toddler tantrum on record.  And it was all glorious in its own right.