midsummer memories

6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
the setting ~ 6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut

We had a midsummer party Saturday night, but the pictures I took did not come out well. So I’m going to “cheat” and use pictures from last year’s celebration, which will seem new to my readers because I didn’t have this blog back then…

This is the fourth year my sister and I have done this, and it keeps getting better. All year long we toss around ideas. We got started doing this, I think, because we are both nature lovers. And because we have a little Norwegian heritage and my sister once lived in Sweden for a year. Our adult kids have come to love it and look forward to it just as much as Christmas/Yule. This year we had 17 friends and family attending, a very nice size gathering.

In the first picture, my brother-in-law and Bernie pause for a moment before the decorating begins. The picture is taken from the front yard, looking down one story over tiered stone walls leading down to the side yard. My parents built this house themselves about 1960. My father built the stone walls after we moved in. My brother-in-law installed the patio much more recently for our midsummer parties. Last year my sister found some nice wooden folding chairs to replace the green plastic ones pictured here. Little improvements here and there…

6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
woodland garden ~ 6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut

My brother-in-law does the gardening now. He doesn’t use chemicals or pesticides – it’s so naturally beautiful.

Last year we managed to get Dad outside for a little while. The year before that we actually got him to whittle some sticks down for the kids to use to roast marshmallows. But this year he was too fragile to jostle around across the lumpy terrain  in his wheelchair. I’m not even sure how aware he was that there was a party going on. I was hoping he would catch a whiff of his blooming chestnut tree (it didn’t bloom last year…) but he didn’t say anything about it. When I asked him about it he seemed so confused that I didn’t press him any more.

My sister, my daughter and I have been using pretty beads to decorate glass balls that hold floating candles. The effect is so enchanting after dark. Some of them shattered the first year we tried it, so now we’re using fishing line instead of wire to string the beads. The wires wouldn’t allow the glass to expand from the heat of the lighted candles. It’s hard to get good pictures of them, though!

6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
gnomeland security ~ 6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut

The summer breeze was blowing on your face
Within your violet you treasure your summery words
And as the shiver from my neck down to my spine
Ignited me in daylight and nature in the garden

~ Van Morrison
♫ (In the Garden) ♫

Another highlight of the evening is the arrival of a bottle of frozen vodka! Preferably from Norway, but this year we settled on one from Iceland. We give it to my brother-in-law ahead of time and he freezes layers of flowers and water around the bottle. It’s so pretty to look at and then we drink shots using my sister’s cobalt blue glasses, which only come out of the corner cabinet twice a year!

And finally there is the fire. We roast marshmallows and make some-mores. Play with sparklers and glow sticks with the little ones. Blow weird bubbles with magic bubble wands. Swat at the mosquitoes that make it through the citronella and the smoke. We always say we’re going to stay up all night – it’s supposed to be one of the shortest of the year – and greet the morning sun, but we have never made it much past midnight. Following are some more pictures…

6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
Dad’s beloved chestnut tree, all dressed up ~ 6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
granddaughter and grandfather sharing a rare moment outside ~ 6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
frozen vodka extraordinaire ~ 6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
candlelight floating in decorated glass balls ~ 6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
firelight ~ 6.21.09 ~ Storrs, Connecticut

6 thoughts on “midsummer memories”

  1. Barbara,

    Thank you for sharing the Midsummer event with us here on your blog. Sounds like a wonderful way to honor Midsummer, and spend time with family, that is not comercalized, but created for and with family in mind!
    Some nice photos, shame this years shoot did not come out well? What’s up with your camera?

    I am Love, Jeff

    1. I’m not sure if it’s the camera or me. The batteries seem to die very quickly… Also, whenever I take a shot it takes forever for it to be ready for the next one. Which drives me nuts. Tim thinks I need a better camera. But it’s also true that I’m a very impatient person and just want to shoot quickly without too much fussing. I thought automatic cameras could do that, but it seems to be as complicated to use as the old fashioned cameras we’ve had in the past. Sigh….

      1. I looks like it is time to upgrade your camera. I am not sure how old the one you have is but if the battery is drain out to fast I would have it looked at. or give it the heave oh!

        1. I wonder if t will be the case that it would cost less to buy a newer and better camera than it would be to fix the old one. Especially if fixing the old one will not improve performance. Since Tim seems so keen about getting a new one I might as well let him do so. He loves weighing all the options…

  2. What a beautful party and a very cool idea! The frozen vodka bottle is really neat and your sister’s glasses are beautiful.
    Your issues with your camera are the same that I, and other “Point and Shoot” digital camera photographers have everywhere – shutter lag. The automatics often need a lot of time to complete their focus on certain settings – especially low-light situations like your party ( and my daughters’ dance recital which I recently blogged about my camera issues). Kathy at LSS and I have decided we need to seriously discuss with our hubbies the purchase of DSLR cameras – no shutter lag there!

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Karma! And now, thanks to you, I have words for my problem: SHUTTER LAG! Good luck with your discussions with your husbands. It’s kind of funny, every time I start complaining about the camera’s behavior Tim says the same thing: It’s time to get a better camera. I guess I’m as stubborn (or stingy) as I am impatient… 🙂

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