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Tidbits and surprises

May 13, 2010

These children. Sigh. Are you with me, sighing over your own gorgeous, wild clan?

Sometimes it seems they’re growing up too fast, like when we went to the birdfeeding store yesterday and Col asked “can I pick something out if it’s under $2?” And I remembered when he was three and we’d go to the gift shop at the local train station and Col would play for an hour with the model train set, without realizing that every fabulous thing there was actually for sale. However, the money thing is still fuzzy because last week Col was sorting through his coin collection and gave Rosie all the “silver money,” hoarding the “gold money” (pennies) for himself.

The new development around here, besides joining the potato clan (more on that later), is that the kids have become like a very short, old married couple and I seem to be the interloping great aunt. And it’s not that I really want to play Sailing to Alabama on the livingroom rug with Ducky, Rammy, Sealy, Bunny, piles of play food, several baby blankets and sundry clutter, but even if I did, apparently no role has been scripted for me. This is a passive-aggressive way of saying, as long as they have each other, they kids don’t actually want to play with me. So, I hike up my great aunt, elastic waistband and get back to reading the paper, or I make a few loaves of bread and wonder if maybe Rose is developing a little bossiness when I overhear: “Okay Coley, you go get the extra clothes for all the babies, I’m swimming to Alabama.” Col seems to follow Dan’s lead when confronted with demanding women. “I just tune her out,” Dan once said to me when Rose was barking repetitively from the backseat. Surely this isn’t related to those times Dan falls asleep while I’m monologuing in bed.

This is what Col worked on while tuning Rose out:

Instructions for Rammy and Sealy - for boat safety I suppose

I’ve had the new MacBook for one week and we’re still in that awkward phase of a new relationship where everything is so new and I sort of miss my old PC despite its tendency pass out in an alley and not respond as I try and shake it awake.

We’ve been having a great, highly-filling time with the potatoes. Thanks for all your worthy responses. Here is what we’ve done so far.

Child with potato masher

Home fries, french fried potatoes baked in oven with garlic and olive oil (which we’ve decided we could eat every day), potato bread (tasty, but as Dan pointed out, one potato per two loaves is “small potatoes” when there’s seventy pounds sprouting by the minute, potato-crust pie filled with chard and friends, potato curry soup (which somehow gets more voluminous each time we dip into the pot), pierogies, which I botched despite a flawless recipe (was it the chard I added or my inability to use white flour?), mashed potatoes with dandelion greens and cheese (loved by the old, married couple), and a heaping, sprouting bunch went to our garden potato bed. We have about thirty pounds to go. Who’s coming over for dinner?

Spring has been slow and cold at 6512 feet. Our playgroup hike got canceled yesterday and Col said “a lot of things are getting canceled,” which is more a result of him just learning that word than anything else.

The garden is chugging along.

The plum trees are blooming a cheery white over the chicken coop.

Even on an overcast day, cheery.

The peas are climbing out of the ground like snakes writhing to the snake-charmers song.

If you live in the South and you're already harvesting tomatoes, please don't laugh

The tomato plants are getting robust in the greenhouse:

Here they are as toddlers in early April:

And the tomato planting crew, dropping dreams into soil back in early March:

So, those are the tidbits. Here is the surprise:

We spotted a rose-breasted grosbeak in our backyard crabapple this week! If you live in the Northeast, or Midwest, you may know this black-headed bird with the bright magenta triangle on its breast, but this was our very first sighting of this bird whose territory does not seem to include Southwest Colorado, and yet, here he was, a lone eagle, blown off course perhaps by the spring wind.

Col drew a picture of our friend which chimes the bell of my heart everytime I see it.

I drew the outline, Col did the rest

May your weekend be full of wonderful surprises.



30 Comments leave one →
  1. Dan permalink*
    May 14, 2010 8:51 am

    Fun writing Rachie, I like the computer passing out in the alley! Love, Hubbie

  2. Kathy permalink
    May 14, 2010 8:58 am

    You live in a magic world of energy, splendid sky and mountain, and incredibly gifted children. But then, you are gifted yourself. What a profound and pleasant call, to chronicle your lives in Durango. Tell Col he is a fine artist and he should create a book of all the wild animals and birds he can draw, one he can show his children. The digging in the dirt photo reminds me of my grandmother’s hill not far from you, and digging for Indian treasures with my little sister. The hill has houses on it now, but in 1959… the view must have looked nearly the same.

  3. May 14, 2010 9:36 am

    Hey Rachel,
    I found myself nodding yes to a few of the things you said about Col, as Theo sounds so similar. Theo’s really into money right now too. He’s interested in the faces on it and will say things like …”I have a George Washington, Mom!” A few days ago I heard him telling Sullivan that he didn’t have any Andrew Jackson’s, that he’s just not old enough yet. And I wonder…where does he come up with these thoughts? ;)

    Happy Birthday (belated?) to Rose!

    I need to get my bird book out. We had a black bird with a bright blue triangle on it’s breast hanging out on our fence last Saturday. Living in a new (recycled) urban neighborhood so far hasn’t been the best spot for birding. It was nice to see something unfamiliar and wild (ha!).

    Anyway, happy weekend up there (down there) to you guys, too!

  4. Ami permalink
    May 14, 2010 9:48 am

    Wow – I am thoroughly impressed with Col’s drawing and writing ability! Excellent! Also, you know you can always cube and parboil your potatoes for freezing….! Thanks for sharing your life – even in tidbits, it’s lovely to hear about! :)

  5. Ellen permalink
    May 14, 2010 1:12 pm

    How great that Col has instinctively learned the age old trick of responding to demanding and talkative women.

    And his writing is progressing exponentially! Very impressive.

  6. Judy permalink
    May 14, 2010 3:22 pm

    Love all these tidbits ‘n’ surprises-

    That’s a mighty fine outline of a red-breasted grosbeak, Mama!

  7. May 14, 2010 3:24 pm

    Like your Rose, I love to plant seedlings in my pink leotard and high heels! When I’m not wearing my great-aunt elastic pants, that is, which, I admit, is a little too often these days … =>

  8. May 14, 2010 4:07 pm

    your tomatoes look fantastic! i just burnt all ours up by neglecting to remove the windows on a freak hot day. tricky weather. there’s some quick key thing to emulate the ‘right click’ of the pc on the mac. i wish i remembered what it was – but i know it helped me back when we had one!

  9. May 14, 2010 4:43 pm

    I find as I read your posts, marking charming sentences and notions in my head, eager to post a comment referring to them…computer passing out in the alley, gold and silver money, noticing Rose being bossy, you and your high-waisted elastic pants as a great aunt, snake charmed peas…and I get to the end and I’m all well, that’s a shitty, random comment. But it’s a testament to your rich writing that sucks me in and I read it start to finish even if other items or children are calling for my attention.

    Much love from Montana.

  10. May 14, 2010 6:09 pm

    hey rachel. thanks fer the encouraging comment over at “adventures” about the cold COLD weather and alla the green and toddler things soon to come about for me. yer kiddos are so big and gorgeous! if you want to do a potato trade, just say the word (i don’t have much in terms of foodstuffs to offer (though i’m working on it), but we do own lots of books, hats, yarn and other randoms and i’m always down to babysit!) good luck with yer green and growing things, it’s always inspiring to read yer words – have a fabulous day.

  11. May 14, 2010 7:06 pm

    Oh I love this… two old married people…. mine are like this too… sometimes they let me play when they need a chef…. to make them a snack…. hmmmmm…. Garden is looking lovely and I’d love to borrow those chickens below :)

  12. May 15, 2010 9:04 am

    “The interloping great aunt.” Classic description.

  13. May 15, 2010 4:02 pm

    How endearing that Col hoards all the “gold” money; I love the way children make sense of things for themselves :). Beautiful plants and seedlings, too. I hope someday I can be respectable gardener; for now, I’m still buying my seedlings and plants at Farmers’ Market. I still don’t have the hang of growing my own :(.

    I’ve had a mac for three or four years now, and I can honestly say I’ve never had an issue with it. It seems foreign at first, but you’ll get used to it, then you’ll fall in love with it :). At least that’s how it was for me.

  14. May 15, 2010 6:04 pm

    *sigh* and *big sigh* as I read your post.

    The tooth fairy has been leaving “stacks of silver money” under a pillow. It’s been deemed too precious for the piggy bank. Funny how much kids appreciate coins.

    Love the bird, especially the chest detail, and your kiddos at mountain’s top. Those images are still fresh in my mind.

  15. May 15, 2010 6:52 pm

    I loved getting caught up with your news via this wonderfully detailed post.

    Here in central Ohio, the rose-breasted grosbeak is a lovely and welcome regular at our bird feeder. I’m glad you’ve gotten a glimpse of her in your neck of the woods.

    As for me, I was especially glad to see the heels Rose is wearing to plant tomatoes. And here I always thought to wear more practical shoes for gardening!

  16. May 15, 2010 8:51 pm

    I am ALWAYS with you sighing over my little clan! Right before I read this I was mentally drafting a blog post about how I just can’t get enough of my littlest delicious one right now.

    Great post, and I love your description of your kiddos’ relationship.

  17. May 15, 2010 9:21 pm

    While you’re playing Great Auntie, hopefully you will be getting a little bit of time for you, even though it’s hard sometimes because the flip side is that, yes the littles are growing up, just a bit though. I love Rose’s shoes in the tomato planting pic. Fancy.


  18. Unearthing This Life permalink
    May 15, 2010 10:27 pm

    The garden looks great! And yes, just like the peas, our babies grow way too fast.

  19. May 16, 2010 10:14 am

    I finally figured out what why my gardening has been so lackluster…. I need to wear my pink leotard and heels! thank you Rose.
    And thank you Rachel for the image of sighing over my own gorgeous and wild clan

  20. May 16, 2010 1:08 pm

    as usual you have me cracking up! and remembering to love my wild clan…especially when they are wild!! and p.s. i totally love those photos in your header…do you guys always have such fun?! be well and laugh loudly! xo, pennie

  21. May 16, 2010 3:49 pm

    I am continually and constantly in awe over our clan too. Why am I so abundantly blessed with these guys?

    We are about where you are with our vegetables, sigh… about two more weeks until we are eating our own lettuce. We did enjoy lettuce from our local organic farm (green house grown) with our own chives last night.

    Warm wishes.

  22. May 17, 2010 9:17 am

    What a delightful, entertaining and informative place you have here. I’m with you on the kids except that mine pulled that nonsense (cutting me out of the play) years ago. Fortunately, they’re now at the ages where they want to include me in the fun again.

    Thanks for visiting my place, it’s always nice to read the posts and go visit new people. I’ll be back for more.

  23. May 22, 2010 6:59 pm

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, Rachel.
    It is a pleasure to see what keeps you busy!

  24. May 30, 2010 10:58 am

    i love your snapshots with the little titles did you do that? clever!

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      June 1, 2010 8:20 pm

      Angelina, It’s a WordPress trick. It *is* pretty nifty isn’t it?


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