Homestead happenings: normal-like
* So, just to set the record straight on chickens and their dietary restrictions: mostly, none. Chickens are the great omnivores of the planet, which is not to say that jello is part of their evolutionary history, but in its most basic parts—fruit and animal collagen—it actually is.
* Also, thank you for your appreciation of Col’s fashion fearlessness. Truthfully, it’s more that he’s completely undiscerning about clothes. If I placed a few burlap sacks in his drawer, he’d cinch them around his waist and get on with his day. But every now and then he’ll ask me to tuck in his shirt so everyone can see his rainbow belt.
* Have you entered the small 6512 giveaway yet?
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We’re getting back to normal here in fits and starts. Everyone has stopped expecting juice and ice cream at every meal, Dan has removed his couch-cushion bed from Col’s room, and Col is expected to floss his teeth once again. I don’t think anyone is more relieved than Rose, who’s asked every night for the last 15 days: “is Col going to have to floss tonight?” Which I think is her scrambled code for: is Col ready to play yet?
Last week I came home late after teaching my writing class and was shoveling dinner into my face while Dan and I chatted for the first time all day. He told me about his hike near Chimney Rock where he found 3 cougar-killed elk carcasses. His eyes were star-twinkles of excitement and he fumbled around on his computer to show me pictures of the disemboweled elk. What was I saying? Right. Perfectly normal.
He did think to bring me some elk poop for the greenhouse lettuce. I swear, the romance!
On the homestead:
::The fact that someone in the house has undergone surgery has upped the ante on all doctor play. Now everyone gets their tonsils inspected as a matter of course.
Sometimes the anesthesia mask is also required.
And the shots have become, understandably, more advanced.
::The tonsillectomy has become part of our family oral history. It sits in the archival stacks of our mental library, no more or less requested than how Rose used to spit up curdly waterfalls of milk, or how Col first locomoted, inchworm-style, like a tiny breakdancer.
Col’s friend Ella came over last weekend and sat Col down, as girls will do, and got the dirt on the surgery.
Ella: Did they do that thing where they make you go to sleep?
Col: Yes. And I breathed in the mask and it smelled like blueberries and then I fell asleep and that was it. *shrugs*
Ella: Did you dream?
Col: No. Because of the blueberries.
Ella: Right. My mom told me about that.
::Col wasn’t quite ready to go back to school Monday, so he stayed home and read on the couch while I worked nearby. I secretly loved having him home and had to refrain, about 342 times, from rushing over to the couch and kissing him.
And then Col and I went to his school together for lunch. I sat next to him in a tiny chair and ate salad and potatoes and crackers along with his 12 kindergarten classmates. Everyone wanted to know how he was, and did the doctor really stick his hand down Col’s throat and yank out his tonsils, like Clay said. And then the conversation turned to Japan’s tsunami and the kids all agreed that it was better to lose your home than your life because you couldn’t get that back. And when Asher said that he was in Hawaii over spring break with tsunami warnings, several kids told him, while munching crackers, that they were glad he didn’t die. I love these children, how frank and thoughtful they are.
::We gave our chicken tractor away to our friend Joy, which stirred up a lot of excitement in the hen house.
While this was going on, Col could be heard muttering: chickens, the closest living relative of the dinosaur.
There was a small reunion with our original chickens—turning 3 this spring!-–who spent every night of their first 2 years in that very chicken tractor.
Which made me want to dig up these pictures from 3 years ago:
My, how everyone’s grown in 3 years. Seeing this picture also makes me want to kiss Col 342 times.
The best part of the chicken tractor transfer was the well-composted mix of chicken poop, straw and leaves found underneath, which I dug up and planted peas right into. Dan gets excited about lion kills, and I about the fertility of chicken poop. We’re a good match.
::I taught my final writing class last night. Everyone was so courageous and kind. It was such an honor to see a group of strangers care for each others’ personal stories. This is the view from the local college where my class is held.
It was a crazy day of wind and sun and snow and rain, which I guess simply means it’s spring and everything is pretty normal. Thank goodness.
I wish I could invite you all over for an elk poop-fertilized salad. With love,