After several days of driving a van full of crabby children up the East Coast, we pulled into our own driveway where I jumped out of the car and let Tim handle our youngest who had been screaming for the last several hours (she wasn't hungry, thirsty, or in need of a new nappie, she just wanted out). Every mile we traveled I kept reminding myself, "This is the last time I have to sit in traffic, go through a toll booth, or see the state of New Jersey." After all, we have done the annual family migration north to Maine and south to whatever urban duty station Tim was assigned to for a dozen years so it might take until October for the reality of his retirement to fully sink in.
For the first time I don't have to use up the 15 pounds of blueberries I bought a few weeks ago (they are safely in the freezer) or the green beans the children are currently picking (I blanched and froze the first of many batches this morning). Maggie proudly collected 2 quarts of cherry tomatoes, over a dozen cucumbers, and many yellow squash before I had even finished unpacking the car yesterday. I think a chest freezer and a pressure canner are on our list of necessary new purchases to handle the excess from our garden, but I'm still planning on taking a box full of produce to the food pantry on Wednesday to share.
We will still enjoy the lovely, but short Maine summers, but now we can take full advantage of the opportunity to work in the woods this fall, play in the inevitable winter weather, and plant fruit trees and delicious raspberries in the spring.
It has been a long difficult slog getting to this point, we have been bounced around every 2-3 years by the military, career low spots, and long separations, but we always have had our summers in Maine to rejuvenate and restore our spirits. I thank the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, and St. Benedict for their assistance and prayers.
We are now full-time Maine residents!!