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The big news around here

July 17, 2011

(and God no, no one’s preggers)

isn’t even the toad that Col found on the banks of the Animas River:

and it’s not that Col went kayaking for the first time, which apparently at 6 years old in Colorado is no big whoop. (A friend told me that Rose riding a 2-wheeler at 4 years old might be impressive in say, Newark, New Jersey, but in Colorado, whatevs). This picture was taken just before I ran in the Animas River fully clothed to pull Col out of the current.

And it’s not even that we pulled our first carrot:

Or that Dan finally finished tanning the hide of the bull elk from last year:

What this picture does not convey is that for two days Dan stood in front of that hide, stretching and abrading it, breaking down the tough fibers with antlers and rocks. Seriously. But does it convey the insane beauty of hollyhocks?

Okay, the big news?  My beloved dad turned 70 today!

We’ve been showering him with grandchildren:

And amazing food:

venison backstrap and the first garden tomatoes

The kids made him a trillion little cryptic cards and stood about 2 inches from his face while he opened each one. Also, his dear friend of 43 years is here in Durango celebrating with us. Can you imagine the history in that friendship?

Mostly we’re just feeling the simple gratitude of being together. Or as my dad says “gratitude for just being here on this planet, together.” (he’s an astronomy type).

Last night I was lying with Rosie in bed, trying not to eat her up and I said, “oh Rosie, I’m only going to be able to tuck you in bed for another 14 years.”


“Because you’ll grow up and leave home.”

“But I’ll still be your friend, Mama.”

Dad, I love being your friend, thanks for spending your birthday with us.

*** ** *** ** *** ** *** ** ***

ps: still another couple days to enter The Giveaway. And speaking of fish eyeballs, thank you Emily, who has lived in Japan, for this comment:  In Japan, they salt fry fish, and those were my favorites to poke out the eye and eat. Then, recently I learned that traditionally they are reserved for the matron lady of the house. They’re supposed to keep good ol’ Grandma’s eyes sharp.    Also, Dan explains that fish eyeballs taste sort of like gum that’s been chewed too long, and occasionally with a gelatinous outer layer.

ps: any big-small news in your neck of the woods?

22 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2011 11:33 pm

    The picture with the toad made me grin. My boys would be in heaven. Happy Birthday to your dad!

  2. July 18, 2011 12:20 am

    happy birthday to yer papa. and dan looks so proud! xo to alla you.

  3. July 18, 2011 1:31 am

    That picture of Col and Rose side by side in front of the hide is stunning! Everyone seems to be drinking in the delicious Colorado summer over there.

    Happy Birthday to your dad-friend! :)

    Oh, and the big little news around here is that we’re not moving for another year after all, so it’s one more year of summer for us!

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      July 18, 2011 8:20 pm

      Ahh, another year of bananas and mangoes sounds perfect, Melissa.

  4. July 18, 2011 8:41 am

    Happy Birthday to your dad! Your garden is always so lovely and I am so inspired. My own garden is just a wee babe, freshly dug and planted this year, but every tomato and leaf of herbs is like an exciting treasure for me and my kids.

  5. Growing Flowers permalink
    July 18, 2011 8:55 am

    A sweet post about your dad! I just love the shot of your children working on the hide and the hide framed by those abundantly luscious hollyhocks is stunning! You’ve got a beautiful life going……inspiring!

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      July 18, 2011 8:22 pm

      Thank you – that is my new favorite picture too. (the kids went with Dan to drag those big stumps out of the forest).

  6. July 18, 2011 10:57 am

    wowzers! your hollyhocks. i think i should get some.
    happy birthday dad!!!the pic of the kids working the hide (from the back, the first one) is super duper. (they all are, but that one’s my fave).

  7. July 18, 2011 2:07 pm

    Great post! I’ve been lurking for quite awhile but had to ask if there’s any news of the sewage leak up your way. We’re in Aztec and it scares me to death when stuff like that happens.

    I’m so jealous of your tomatoes. Our first little yellow pear tomatoes are finally ripening but no red ones yet. Thank goodness for the farmers market.

    Love your blog and so glad to read about ones so close to home. I love Durango and we’re up there quite a bit. I lived there in 1973 when being a hippy wasn’t nearly as cool….lol.

    Nice to meet you,
    Marilyn in Aztec

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      July 18, 2011 8:25 pm

      Marilyn, thanks for the de-lurk. Nice to “meet” you. I saw some crews working on the sewage leak this morning, not sure if it’s fixed. Hopefully, right?

  8. July 18, 2011 2:20 pm

    Happy Belated Birthday to your Dad.The hide looks beautiful, I didn’t realize they would be so large.
    The Hollyhocks look gorgeous and makes think of NJ when I tried to raise them..(no good luck). yours are beautiful and the food looks scrumptious.

  9. dad permalink
    July 18, 2011 5:21 pm

    Thanks for all the kind thoughts. I am very lucky to have you for a daughter and friend.

  10. coleen permalink
    July 18, 2011 5:59 pm

    Happy B-day to your Dad! How wonderful to be able to spend the day with him.
    I love the hide, what will it be used for??
    We had our first garden tomato tonight, heaven, I say!!! Bring on the tomato sandwiches!!!!! LOL

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      July 18, 2011 8:18 pm


      I just asked Dan what he’ll do with the hide. “Wrap my whole family up,” he says.

      Some of the previous elk hides have become jackets, pants, quivers for arrows and blankets.

      And yes, all the garden tomatoes are heaven, aren’t they?

  11. July 18, 2011 7:24 pm

    Oh, this made me tear up. Happy Birthday Rachel’s dad! I’m so envious of your relationship with him. In a good way :)

  12. July 18, 2011 7:52 pm

    I love reading about life in your neck of the woods. So fun. Hollyhock is to deerskin as ____ is to _____. I love how your images and words always bring together the least likely pairs. I’m so envious of your tomatoes. It’s barely 62 degrees, it’s rained for a week straight and I’m doubting a heat wave will ever roll this way. It’s nice to click into your blog and see such sweet sun.
    Happy Birthday, Grandpa.

  13. July 18, 2011 8:16 pm

    Mmm…your garden looks like a jungle right there in the desert. Amazing. Happy b-day to your dad.

  14. Stacy permalink
    July 18, 2011 11:09 pm

    Happy Birthday to your dad!! What a great family! I just love all of your pictures and stories Rachel! Hugs to everyone! :)

  15. July 19, 2011 12:12 am

    Happy 70th to your dad! Are he and Col adorable in those matching sun hats or what??

  16. abozza permalink
    July 19, 2011 6:50 am

    Aw, Happy Birthday to Rachel’s Dad!!! How wonderful to be able to spend the time with him!

    Only thing going on around here is unpacking and more unpacking. Looks like I won’t be having the adventures you guys are, this summer, after all. :(

  17. July 19, 2011 6:51 am

    The whole thing with the hide and the kids helping to scrape it is really neat…quite the family and life you have there. Your hollyhocks are a bit ahead of ours.:)

  18. July 19, 2011 3:17 pm

    Mmm, that Rose is a wise one. (And a cycling prodigy too, it seems.)

    Happy (now belated) birthday to your dad. Here’s to kids and parents and lifelong friendships.

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