Sunday Summer in the South

Some times this blog gets so serious….and that isn’t the point of life I think.  This morning, after washing 5 dogs, I decided that it was so beautiful and hot and there was so much water on me anyway, I would strip down and shower in the garden.  A garden hose wound around the clothes line worked just fine.

This garden is a miracle because just about 6 weeks ago, there was nothing but a sea of red Georgia clay and a 20 year old mature garden gone because of a 84 foot moat due to a clogged (by roots of plum trees) sewer line.   The only thing left were some very tall rose bushes along the house wall and a 5 year old grape vine.  So, after an intensive two weeks of hauling composted soil from the back -back garden….and replanting 10 tomato plants and some other veggies…a very few, the garden looks productive, luxurious, fertile.  Hell, we will have more tomatoes this October….or September….or late August than we can eat.  I love to can, but not tomatoes….so I do as the Mennonites:  I quarter, put in freezer bags and use them over the winter for stews and soups.  Can’t use them for salads, but they are fine for the purposes you find.  It’s just there will be so many of them because the new soil and the plentiful rains have made a tomato-rush out there.  I’m thinking of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil for holiday gifts and that’s one way to use up tomatoes.

So I called out my husband, with the enticement of a cold Killian Red, and we showered and soaped up and the water was just fine.  I feel good about this because all the water was not down a drain, but into either the garden or the garden path where we are trying to grow grass between the pavement stones.  The sun shone brightly on our bodies, drying us off, but fresh towels plucked from the umbrella line finished the job.

There is something about being naked under the sun, in the middle of Atlanta, well protected by a high wooden fence and a huge grape vine that is finally after 5 years, covered with grapes.  They are supposed to be “Thompson Green Seedless” but they are already turning purple.  They are still tiny and bitter and DO have seeds.   Another mislabel by Home Depot, but the joy and excitement of having such a fruitful vine in our garden trumps any other issue.

The economy woes and the usual issues of a nation and city in crisis would seem at times to overwhelm the blessings of life, but this morning they can’t shake a stick to the pleasures of two naked bodies and a few Killian Reds on the patio.  The luscious greenery surrounding us, the cooling water, the clean dogs outside the fence, the rabbit that is munching the crooked necked vine, the cats that are indolent in the sun under the table, well, these are the blessed times to be remembered.

Life is good.  A bit simplified, but that is good, too.

My 89 year old mother called me two times yesterday just to remember the times of our youth, and told me the Harvest Home of August, over a 100 years in existence, will happen like clock work again in Griggstown, New Jersey.  We both cried over the memories and so many of our friends and neighbors now dead or so old they are not amongst the living in daily living.

Fresh washed husband in the garden.

Fresh washed husband in the garden.

But we are making new traditions here in this alien South, and they are good ones, too.  The shared shower in the garden will be memorable.

Lady Nyo


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8 Responses to “Sunday Summer in the South”

  1. Z Says:


    Such a great pity that there is not also a matching image of a freshly washed Lady Nyo reclining in the warm Atlanta sun.

    I shall have to resort to my very fertile imagination. 🙂

    My sincere and warmest regards



  2. Berowne Says:

    Sounds like a fun day. I led a local hiking club up Panoramic Hill above the UC Berkeley campus. Fully clothed, I should mention; four hours in the sun, poison oak along the trailside, not the place for naturists. But great views of SF Bay and the Golden Gate.

    (I wonder if those small, seeded grapes are wine grapes; you may have bathed in a crypto-vineyard.)


  3. ladynyo Says:


    Oh, I am laughing here, because I really must think before I write so freely!

    However, I wonder if those developing grapes would have withered at the sight of me?

    LOL!…But it was such a beautiful morning, just right for the touch of nudity and a rabbit (that lionheaded orphan who is hopping now all over the house, and races a kitten up hill and dale) overcome with the myriad fruits of the garden at his level, well..

    It was a lovely day, and after planting a bed of late French zinnias, I stripped and showered again. I am becoming a habitual nudist here.

    Lady Nyo squeeky clean.


  4. ladynyo Says:

    You are wise to be fully clothed during four hours of the sun. Not to mention the poison oak. Sounds like you had a wonderful and productive afternoon. And I am sure a wonderful place for some photography? You are so good with the camera, Berowne.

    I am also, myself…wondering if these grapes are wine grapes. They are surely mislabeled, but regardless…they are very bitter…about the size of my littlest nail, with seeds, but regardless….I hope they grow. But they are so dark purple and so small, I really don’t know what I have here at all. I’ll have to do more research.


  5. Malcolm Says:

    A delightful account of a pleasant episode that reminds me of times playing under the hose as a child on hot summer days in Melbourne, Australia. How I envy you your tomatoes! Grapes I can take or leave.


  6. ladynyo Says:

    Without ac in this house, it is a great way to cool off. I’ve done it again this morning, and just now, but without the heat of the sun blazing, it’s a bit cool for the evening.

    The constant temperature has been in the 90’s and the house, being an old one (1880’s) has mostly very high ceilings, so the heat collects up there. It remains cool through the day until about 2pm….and then the upstairs are hot. But we have taken out walls to make it very open and there are lots of windows (40 if I remember) and plenty of skylights. We have torn open the walls and stuffed a good R factor throughout the house, so that probably helps….

    Here in the South, it’s tradition to close all the doors and drapery/shutters and maintain the cool of the day. When it gets hot in the afternoons, you reverse the pattern and throw open the long windows, or the French doors, or the double hung, depending on the style of the house. Most of the older houses have huge Live Oaks and Maples surrounding the house and trees do grow fast and high in the South.

    I have neighbors that also don’t have air conditioning and they do this daily in the hottest of the months. We are contemplating retrofitting the entire house for ac but electricity is very high in Atlanta. It’s not unheard of to pay 800-1000 a month for electricity alone.

    I’m going to continue this experiment…of showering in the garden and see if our water bill, (also high in Atlanta) comes down. At least it’s not going down the drain but on the plants. Since grapes I bet are high users of water, and the watermelon certainly is, I bet they flourish.

    I read that 10 minutes of sun a day is what you need for Vitamin D. I’m getting it and I am getting a nice little tan, too.

    Some things, the simple things of summer, can’t be improved upon. We get to relive our childhoods, as you say.

    Lady Nyo


  7. Margie Says:

    What a beautiful afternoon! Sadly, we are waaaay to close to neighbors, so enticing as a outdoor shower sounds, it’s an indulgence I can’t afford (not if I want to look my neighbors in the face! LOL!). But the pictures are lovely.

    We have one grape vine way in the back – concord. Not really good as table grapes (although I do like the flavor, and always eat more than I should). I want to grow another vine – maybe green seedless or red seedless. We’ll try planting in the fall.

    Thanks for sharing the pictures (Fred is a cutie!).


  8. ladynyo Says:

    Damn Margie! With the slip of a finger I lost my comment, but I think this showering outdoors is the pleasure of the summer!

    Cheap stuff and thrills.

    The neighbors haven’t caught on yet and I hope they never do or I am looking at a public nuisance charge at least!


    Grapes, well, we will have to see what they become, but they are so damn small. Tiny. And turning deep purple. Obviously not Thompson Green Seedless.

    We had a lot of them on the vine, covered, but I think they self cull…because they seem to have shriveled up…

    Aren’t Concord rather large?

    they might be miniature grapes? For fairies??

    Fred IS a cutie…I am amazed that at 53 his hair is so long and silky. Thick, too. He has had that ‘disease’ where under stress (raising hand here!) he had quarter sized holes in his head, but they haven’t been around for years. So many men get bald early, he seems to be growing more hair….I have to braid it every morning for him, and it’s become a routine in the morning. I marvel at how thick it is.

    Would love to have his hair. When it’s loose, people think he is a Native American, with such a strong jaw and features. Actually, years ago, when he was a set carpenter in movies, he was a stand in for Daniel Day Lewis in “Last of the Mohicans”. That’s Fred off in the distance, with hair down his back, in a loin cloth and leggings, looking over the cliffs of North Carolina.

    But his personality is what attracts people…he’s a calm and secure man ….and sweet to boot. And tolerant of his wife.



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