The View Around Here ~ The End of August

I am in a mild state of shock, as I'm sure many people are, that summer is nearly to an end. When I was actively gardening and my kids were younger, I used to live summer till the middle of September. According to the calendar, that's how long summer really is.

But this year feels different for me. Summer is coming to an end and I am experiencing my seasonal shift melancholy a couple weeks earlier than usual. This is a real pattern in my life, see this post, this post and this post. Same thing, every year.

The season starts to change, I freak out a bit, I plan the heck out of lives (life never goes according to these plans but it's a fun exercise in futility nonetheless), I find an equilibrium, and then I hit my fall stride.

Knowing this about myself and even anticipating this shift to happen sometime early September I've been surprised to experience it this week. It took a couple days to realize what was going on, "what's wrong with me?" Gracious! We're still a full week away from September.

I think one reason I'm experiencing this melancholy a few weeks earlier than usual is that we live in a different place and the summer season is, in fact, shorter here.

But the main reason for my feelings (I'm guessing) is because of how our summer played out.

Summer started when we went to Montréal and what a wonderful introduction that was! Then summer whizzed by for the first few weeks of July when we moved back to the Gaspé peninsula. In the midst of boxes and renovations we made trips to the river and of course went hiking on the weekends, but mostly we worked hard to settle into our new home.

Nova Scotia was a welcome break from that and a summer vacation as far as the kids were concerned. I happened to release an e-book while there so it was less vacation-y for me, but still very summer-y.

And now we've been back a couple weeks and are finally and truly getting settled in to our house (while still having some renovations done).

In the midst of all of this we're working at earning a living. In fact, that is really important right now since all this summer travel has eaten up both income earning time and any savings to speak of. Working for ourselves we don't get paid vacation time. This has been a bit of a stress for me throughout the whole summer and that stress is catching up with me.

My dad, not knowing my heart and mind were burdened this way, gave me this pendant when we were in Nova Scotia. Anyone familiar with the gospels knows that this symbol speaks, "God will provide". And that is where I am trying to rest, in God's provision.

My main goal for this next week coming up is homeschool planning. We've done small pieces throughout the summer (we're year rounders) and of course there is the learning-all-the-time curriculum we follow. But it's time for more direction to our days. And I need to really look at where Céline's interests and passions lie and figure out how to construct her curriculum around that. A tall order.

Now that we're making some progress with Laurent's dyslexia, the elementary curriculum for the younger two is easier on mama's brain. A little bit of math, reading lessons and practice, everyday writing, stories for history, nature study and hands-on science, lots of crafts and time outdoors.

In contrast, I feel Céline's transition to deeper study is as taxing for me as it for Céline, in different ways. It's on my brain a lot these days.

And while we work to keep food on the table, to settle into our home (and oh, how I do need to settle for a while), and to wrap our brains around our kids' needs, summer rolls by around us.

I try, oh I do, to stop and savor these days. But there are times in our life when there is a lot of work to be done and we are observers, more than participants, of the season changing around us. Not gardening makes this observation vs. participation keener than ever.

the sad extent of my garden this year

I'm noticing the subtle shifts around me, the light especially is different. Falling through the large front windows at a different slant than it did when we first arrived here.

The mornings are cooler and we make plans to get the wood ready to heat our house this winter.

There was that cool, rainy afternoon this week that called for vegetable soup for lunch, instead of salad.

But there are still hot days and lush green leaves. And the farm share is a full, heavy bag of summer's goodness.

And so I here I am, straddling two seasons both on the calendar and in the growth and development of our children. Another in-between.

I'm beginning to think we (people in general and our family specifically) live mostly in-between, try as we might to find solid footing. Not to say there isn't solid ground, there is, just not necessarily where we are looking to find it.

PS. I read a great book this summer that is a nice transition-through-the-seasons read. If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name: News from Small-Town Alaska is a great non-fiction book and has it all - life transitions, family transitions, season transitions. I loved this book and highly recommend it.

Also, the Homeschool Omnibus e-book sale ends tomorrow. Take advantage of that great deal now while you can. I know I will be. 

Oh, and I almost forgot (I came to add this later) that Jennifer Sanders at Kidoing is giving away a couple copies of Eat This right now on her blog.

I might be MIA next week here at FIMBY. Maybe, maybe not. Haven't totally decided yet. Sometimes the best way for me to smoothly transition is by unplugging for a time. Also, I will be expending a good deal of my creative and mental energies in planning our school year and curriculum. I may have nothing to give to this space. 

Thanks for reading all these end notes (smile). And have a great weekend.

I'd love to know where you're at. Are you transitioning to fall yet or still living summer, or somewhere in-between?

Renee Tougas participates in affiliate marketing, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Whenever you buy something on Amazon from a link you clicked here, I get a (very) small percentage of that sale. See disclosure for further explanation.

  • Shannon

    Shannon on Aug. 24, 2012, 3:06 p.m.

    Oh Renee. I haven't commented here in so long though I think of you all often as we are on these similar, but different journeys. Months ago I stopped reading blogs through my blog reader because I simply did not have time. But your blog, and about two others, I check every chance I get.

    That pendant hits home so hard for us right now. We are working for ourselves in order to fulfill some bigger goals and I think this is the clearest we have seen God's provision. Ironically, I have a lot of work being offered to me so I am in the midst of some "Mama's writing" guilt that I am working through.

    Anyways, thank you for posting that picture of the pendant. It hits me hard.


    • renee

      renee on Aug. 24, 2012, 7:41 p.m.

      Mama guilt, I understand. I have been following your journey also and am always so encouraged by your story even though I know, I just know, it's hard to live that story. Hugs.  


  • Jennifer @ kidoing!

    Jennifer @ kidoing! on Aug. 24, 2012, 3:37 p.m.

    It's so interesting to read how you're having difficulty letting go of summer. I wish I was in that spot and can see how it's different where you live possibly due to part to your climate?

    I have been doing a lot of soul searching and have realized that I get depressed in the summer. We've had a lot going on here with a sudden death in our family and my pregnancy, which I'm sure has skewed my hormones. But, the pattern of me being down in the summer is something that I can track back to childhood. I wonder if anyone else has ever felt depressed in the summer???

    On a much brighter note, I have been focusing heavily on our homeschool plan for this year, which is very different from last year and so exciting to all of us!


    • renee

      renee on Aug. 24, 2012, 7:43 p.m.

      Jennifer, I think you might be right about the climate. For us northerners summer is golden, unless you're Michelle (see comment below - smile). My hard season is March/April. When winter is dragging on and on and on...Take care friend. Making homeschool plans is very exciting!


  • Michelle

    Michelle on Aug. 24, 2012, 4:04 p.m.

    We began our third grade homeschool year this week and dispite a dubious start (I don't want to do school. I don't like school.) it went pretty well. I hit my stride in the fall. In fact, summer is my least favorite season so when fall rolls around I feel like myself again. I greet the cool mornings with delight and eagerly anticipate the darkening evenings as I get into bed. Always at 9:30.


    • renee

      renee on Aug. 24, 2012, 7:45 p.m.

      I do love fall also. Really love it. I understand the joy at cool mornings and cosy nights. If only they didn't linger so into march and april I'd be good!


  • Bec

    Bec on Aug. 24, 2012, 5:05 p.m.

    Love & Blessings on your work this next week! Your thoughts about seasonal-change-melancholy strike a chord with me. I feel that way too - but it feels so much better to know I'm not the only one!


    • renee

      renee on Aug. 24, 2012, 7:46 p.m.

      Bec, I always go through upheaval with seasonal change - changing gears throws me a bit but summer to fall has a melancholy that accompanies it, different than other seasonal changes for me. Nope, you're not alone!


  • Auntie Ruth

    Auntie Ruth on Aug. 24, 2012, 5:29 p.m.

    I always hate to release summer days, with their long sunlight hours, but I really do like fall, the crispness in the air and the new harvest smells, the problem is our fall is far too short, wish it would last til the end of November...... so knowing what follows kinda puts me in panic mode if I allow it to.... but fall brings more down time for reading and knitting, etc.... thanks for the book recommendation...... hugs to all~


    • renee

      renee on Aug. 24, 2012, 7:51 p.m.

      Auntie - I hear you!! Fall is wonderful but winter follows so soon on fall's heals that it is a bit scary (and part of my melancholy for sure!) Speaking of knitting mom had this cool mesh-type shopping bag you knit her. Feel free to "cast-off" (sounding like Uncle Lorne here) any knitted goods my way. I know you're looking for recipients sometimes and there's only so much knitting pink stuff those grandbabies of yours need (smile).  Also, I think you would really like that book. Lots I write at FIMBY is directed to a mom of growing children audience. That book is for moms (and people really) of all life stages. You might be able to get it through your library system. It's worth a look. Much love!


  • Catherine Forest

    Catherine Forest on Aug. 24, 2012, 7:41 p.m.

    I love to read your posts Renee. I really do. As I type, I can't succeed in warming my fingers... Even if the sun is coming through the windows, it definitely is fall here in the Yukon. We are leaving in a week, to chase summer down the West Coast... I could be ready for fall and winter since we spent last winter in Costa Rica, but my feet are itching to discover new stomping grounds...


  • Jacinda

    Jacinda on Aug. 24, 2012, 7:41 p.m.

    We are transitioning into Spring here and, the longer days, the warmer nights...ohh, we are all so loving it. Not all transitions are as difficult as others:)


    • renee

      renee on Aug. 24, 2012, 7:52 p.m.

      Jacinda, I thought of you specifically when writing this post, knowing half the world is moving into spring.  Happy almost spring.


  • Catherine Forest

    Catherine Forest on Aug. 24, 2012, 7:52 p.m.

    Oh and I forgot to tell you: I can't wait to read this book (I just ordered it in Kindle version). We LOVE Haines, Alaska. We used to go there every spring and fall when we lived in Whitehorse (it's a 3 and a half hour gorgeous drive from here). We are pretty disapointed we did not get to go this year. I have fond memories of translating in the truck two years ago while the kids and JF went salmon fishing in the river. They didn't catch anything. But the next day, I went and caught 13 fishes in 2 hours...


    • renee

      renee on Aug. 24, 2012, 7:57 p.m.

      That's too funny, I thought of you while reading this book! Thinking how close you were to Haines. Heather, the author, talks about driving to Whitehorse etc.


  • Cinnamon

    Cinnamon on Aug. 24, 2012, 11:13 p.m.

    Isn't unplugging always a blessing when we need to get life straight. Enjoy every minute of your time away organizing and planning.

    I love to plan our children's school year around what they enjoy. The older they get the deeper their studies are and they take off on a great learning adventure. Plus with a few older ones, a few middle ones and few younger ones every one has a playmate. I love that.

    Each year is a huge time of planning, praying and wondering how I am going to squeeze all we want to do (not have to do) into our life. How I am going to keep little ones occupied and quiet (that's always a challenge), to work out learning spaces for ones that need a quiet place to think and then there's meal. People here actually need to eat three times a day! That's a full time job in itself as we make everything from scratch.

    But what a life. A very FULL and BEAUTIFUL life.

    Enjoy every single bit of it!



  • Spring

    Spring on Aug. 25, 2012, 12:44 a.m.

    We are squeezing the last drops out of summer here, gearing up to increase our academic schooling in another week. I loved your comment about noticing the light changing, because I am so highly aware of the angle of the sun coming in my LR window in any given season, or the light in the kitchen changing during meal prep times. I adore fall, but the winter coming after it definitely creates a tinge of melancholy for me, as the evenings get darker earlier and earlier and earlier. Did I see a tinge of red in the leaves in one of those pictures?! I love the northeast, but I don't know if I could handle being much more north than I am now! :)


    • renee

      renee on Aug. 25, 2012, 2 a.m.

      There are some branches with colored leaves but those appear to be damaged branches or unhealthy trees. I'm told the colors peak here the first of October, a couple weeks ahead of Maine. 


  • Julie

    Julie on Aug. 25, 2012, 3:41 a.m.

    I just finished reading that book, as I saw it on your list. I loved it, but I love everything Alaska!! I would move there if my husband would go to, but he won't. So, I am still in the lower 48.


  • Jennifer

    Jennifer on Aug. 25, 2012, 5:53 a.m.

    I definitely feel the transition happening now. Summer seemed so short, and I don't feel decompressed from the end of last year's classes. (We do an alternative hybrid school/homeschool program here, so we follow the traditional school schedule.) I am trying to do canning, last minute camping and hiking trips before the weather turns, planning for school, and other end-of-summer activities. Your pendant speaks to me, too. I am in a major crisis of faith, as my husband lost his job again and we are seriously hurting financially. It's tough to plan ahead when i don't know what the future holds for us. I know God is refining us now, especially me with my emotional and spiritual baggage. It's one day at a time, here, and I'm glad we lived it up as best we could earlier this summer! Thanks so much for the glimpses into your life and your encouraging, honest and soulful words.


  • Beth Wagenius

    Beth Wagenius on Aug. 25, 2012, 12:35 p.m.

    Once again, I must say, you have a beautiful new home. I really hope you enjoy your time there! By your photographs, I think you are. I have the book If you lived here I'd know your name! It's waiting for me to read it. :) I may have seen it on your good reads account I don't remember why I bought it. But it will be next in line to read.


  • Melissa R

    Melissa R on Aug. 25, 2012, 2:11 p.m.

    You've given some names to what my insides have been feeling lately. Thank you.
    I am going through some transition. I don't know exactly what it is yet. I have looked around, felt around, even places blame where perhaps it doesn't belong. I'm not sure HOW to transition if I don't know what exactly the transition is ABOUT or where it's going. You helped me with a few details. Thanks.


  • Laura

    Laura on Aug. 25, 2012, 7:19 p.m.

    Renee, God has brought you to mind several times since reading your post yesterday. I am praying for you! I hope this will be your best homeschool year yet!


  • Michelle @ The Parent Vortex

    Michelle @ The Parent Vortex on Aug. 26, 2012, 3:07 a.m.

    I'm feeling the fall melancholy this year too - for me it's tuned into feeling like I somehow "missed" the summer because we were away for almost three weeks visiting and traveling. Which I know is ridiculous when I put my conscious mind to it, because I didn't really miss out on anything at all. But I have been craving summer in my own home, and the summer is so short here on the rainy northwest coast.

    Homeschool planning has been fun though! I have lots of projects and ideas to work with for my 1st grader, and that's a good feeling. :) I hope you find that place of energized enthusiasm with Celine's academic planning.


  • Leanne

    Leanne on Aug. 26, 2012, 7:07 a.m.

    Renna, I think it is funny that you use the word, "melancholy" one I talk to ever seems to know what that word means! I did have a very busy summer too, not quite as busy as yours, but busy. I am looking forward to this week coming to and end. We typically school/learn year round, but that didn't happen as planned (just like you said). We had a niece visit for a few weeks and now have a foster child living with us, so life has been very different. I am looking for some sort of routine, getting my "lists" in order, so that internally I feel at peace. Even though life will not follow the lists, I have direction :)


  • CathyT

    CathyT on Aug. 26, 2012, 1:13 p.m.

    Noticing the seasonal changes and accepting them as well as noticing and accepting the changes you are making as your daughter transistions to a deeper level of study is so important. I have four boys, two older teens just transistioning into college classes and two just beginning the elementary school age -- and I have homeschooled all along. Finding a daily and weekly way of working helps but knowing when to let go and just go with the flow is oh so helpful. If unplugging helps, go for it. If taking daily walks helps, go for that.

    You will find your way and if you accept what works immediately now might not work in the future (which I think you already know and accept), life will go much more smoothly. Every year and every season brings changes to our schedule. My husband and I meet quarterly with each of our kids individually to see what they doing, where they are going, and what needs tweeking or changing radically. How can we help each child meet their needs and if we feel we would like to see any changes made, we explain why and keep in mind how they respond as we make those changes. We are faciliators as they journey on.


    • renee

      renee on Aug. 27, 2012, 12:03 a.m.

      Cathy T, I love that. I think it's so wonderful to watch parents and children, growing together. We are not "family meeting" folks, we don't do meetings well. But we do take a pulse regularly as a couple and as a family about where each of us are at and how we can help each other meet our goals.  And you're so right - finding a groove is nice, but be prepared to let it go. Oh, how I've learned that over the past year and a half!


  • Leah

    Leah on Aug. 27, 2012, 8:02 p.m.

    Renee, I think of fall and winter as a very exciting time of year, so it saddened me to hear you're experiencing a melancholy with the change of seasons.

    Fall and winter, are my absolute favorite! I remember fondly from my school years the excitement of a new term, new textbooks and reading material, new clothes, Haha! As the weather shifts from the hot humid days of summer, I can't wait to get into my home knit sweaters, socks, hats and fingerless gloves. I keep the heat down just so I can embody the yummy-ness.

    Fall to me is the season of Thanksgiving. I have the joy of celebrating both Canadian, and American Thanksgiving holidays so it's a long season of being mindful and recognizing all that I am grateful for. Late fall is quite grey, and often rainy which is mostly a bummer, but what an excuse to have a fire with warm tea and snuggle in with family and friends. Oh and the food! hot soups, baked goods, and stews, the bowls full of harvest! all this, too hot for the summer, can now be devoured in all their glory!

    And the best thing is, it keeps going into winter. haha, though I appreciate many disagree, I maintain it's the best time of year. I hope you shift soon Renee, feel the excitement and gifts and move away from those pesky 'taxing' and restless emotions.

    "On the days when the weight deadens on your shoulders and you stumble, may the clay dance to balance you." ~John O'Donohue


    • renee

      renee on Aug. 27, 2012, 9:17 p.m.

      The melancholy is not from what's coming (though I don't look forward to late winter). I love fall! And the winter holidays and snow - I love those too. What I struggle with is the shift from one wonderful season to another. The change, the unsettling, the transition. Letting go of all I love about summer - long days, garden produce, beachs, etc.. to switch gears to something else I love - crisp air, snuggly socks, woodstoves, order and routine. It's all good, but the switch is the unsettling part for me. Also, I think people have differing opinions about winter depending on where they live. Winter is long here, November to April long. Learning to enjoy those last few months of winter are my biggest seasonal challenge! Thanks for your well wishes and the blessing!


  • Carrie

    Carrie on Aug. 29, 2012, 6:21 a.m.

    Renee, last night in the wee hours I read your post, which took me to other posts about Laurent's reading journey. The personal impressions and information I received as I read were direct answers to prayer. It's not the first time your writings have helped me in truly spiritual, and therefore, tangible ways. Thank you for being one of my beacons.


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