Outside our home are grapes ripe for the picking, planted and tended to by our landlord who encourages us to enjoy them.
We've taken him up on the offer.
One of our rituals these days is to pick as many as we can hold. Of course, we often eat more off the vine than we collect.
We call our little custom "grazing." Brandi, our retriever mix, even tries to join in by leaning back on her hind legs and "grazing" for grapes right off the vine.
Since we learned that grapes can be harmful to dogs we've discouraged that practice, but she enjoys tagging along for the walk anyway.
Roses galore are in bloom out our back door as well. Like the grapes, we didn't grow or tend to them but we're encouraged to take all we want.
Our little Garden of Eden - but with clothing - is coming to an end as the seasons change. We've already seen nearby landowners harvest their grapes and take them away for shipping or processing.
But our grazing custom will continue. In fact, we look forward to grazing year-round as we get better acquainted with the Lower Valley.
We've "grazed" a few times at the library in Sunnyside, checking out their book and movie selections. We also enjoy the hospitality of the merchants and store keepers in Sunnyside as we've shopped or grazed around town.
Whether at work or just around town, we've been met with a hearty "Welcome to Sunnyside" from folks we've met. Our grazing has taken us to Grandview as well, where we've made new friends.
As part of my work here at the paper, I've already experienced the wonders of flight at the Prosser Balloon Rally and an appreciation for local history with the Toppenish murals.
But we look forward to going beyond "grazing," and grow deeper roots in Sunnyside and the Lower Valley.
No matter how deep our roots go here, though, I don't ever want to lose that spirit of "grazing" we've grown into. That attitude of enjoying the moment and not taking every day things - or people - for granted.
By the way, anyone for a grape?