What a weekend.  It's hot like August right now and has been for almost a full week- high in the mid-to-upper 90s, high humidity.   Now I like, even love our humidity.  But at this temperature, the humidity means we have heat indices in the 100s.  I've been craving some time in a cool forest, in running water.  A respite.  We had a very busy weekend - I had my day at the farmers market and we hosted our bookclub that evening.  I'd planned to spend Sunday on the Mississippi River to have a day of cool and quiet. 

It turned out that we needed the respite as Sunday began rather traumatically.  I got up early, as I usually do, and let the chickens out as the coffee was brewing.  There were only three.  There were signs of a scuffle in the hen house.  There were feathers outside everwhere.  And then, to top it off, there was crowing.  Quite a lot of crowing.  Mary, a well-mannered black star hen, served as supper for the neighborhood raccoons.  They ripped out the screening in the back of the hen house and I can only imagine what followed.   And Petunia let us know for sure that she is not a she.  We were devastated at the loss of our hen and disappointed to learn for sure that we owned a rooster.  It was hot, it was humid, and we had a loud carnage scene to deal with.  Respite, we doubly needed you, even though we knew we'd return home to the task of re-building and reinforcing our hen house.

We are fortunate to have a great state park, locally known simply as Shelby Forest less than 20 miles from our front door.  It is so densely forested that a) the temperature is 10-15 degrees cooler there than in the city and b) our cell phones don't work in the park.  There are two lakes, miles of hiking trails, and when the river is low enough (and it wasn't this time), sandbars to play "beach" on.  Central to this artisan's interests, vast pockets of iron-rich sandy black clay line the sandbars and boat access ramps.  We played in the water for a bit, dug a bit of clay, picnicked in the shade near one of the lakes and rested for a good part of the day.  It was deep green, cool, breezy.  Full of wildflowers and vast glades of ferns.

I'm still so sad about our chickens (plural because Petunia will need to find a new home- crowing roosters aren't popular with city neighbors), but I am glad that we went to the river as we'd planned.  It was a beautiful, peaceful place. 

I hope your week is a good one.