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last stand

September 25, 2011

I love the fall garden. Everything is so ripe and heavy with its own fruitfulness.

It’s the garden’s last stand. The last flare up of growth before the whole backyard biomass lays down its heavy head and transforms into something new.

Rosie pointed out the other day that you can smell the honey in the beehives. It’s true!

~for the fall/winter coldframe, to be planted…er, any day now~

Dan’s been gone hunting for one week, 9 days to be exact, expected home tonight. And besides Col locking all of us (including himself) out of the bathroom, our only bathroom to be exact, everything’s been fairly smooth. Fairly smooth, which includes eating granola bars for dinner (in the car), trolling for dinner invitations (thanks Sabrina!) and calling beer hour at 4:30.

When Dan left one week ago with his homemade bow and buckskin quiver full of arrows I was full of poetry and enthusiasm for him. Go follow your passion, your spiritual quest, your connection with the ancients! Now, a week later, I’m a little more like go shoot a goddamned animal and get your ass home. Yesterday, on the way to the farmers market with the kids, a large buck deer passed in front of our car and I thought, maybe Dan could just shoot one of these semi-tame town deer and call it good. Or as my friend Sue suggested, I could have run the buck over and told Dan: we’ve got our winter meat!

Truly, I admire Dan tremendously. To kill an elk with a homemade bow you have to get closer to a wild animal than most of us have ever been. And then the shot must be aligned perfectly, the archer’s aim impeccable (a killing shot from an arrow is necessarily precise). Dan’s archery success rate has not been high (but, there was this). And I deeply respect that for Dan, success rates are neither a motivating nor inhibiting factor. He’s out there because the whole process—crafting a bow, shooting that bow, following the elk throughout the year—is meaningful to him.

And it’s not that the outcome isn’t important. The 2 bushels of roasted green chiles I put in our freezer this weekend would taste mighty nice on an elk burger. Or on the side of an elk sausage and backyard egg scramble. Elk is our favorite meat, but the biggest prize is the courage to follow your passions no matter the fruits.

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19 Comments leave one →
  1. Kathy permalink
    September 25, 2011 5:56 pm

    It has been a joyful journey in your garden this year. I have learned much from you of the seasons of growth. Thank you for sharing. Spending that short time with you and the children this summer, the bees and the chickens, and the silent menagerie of fruits and vegetables, made me so appreciate the value of work and care you take in your garden and in your life. I look forward to the rest of the growing season, your recipes, canning, and taking care of that elk soon to grace your door.

  2. September 25, 2011 5:59 pm

    your quite welcome;<) we LOVED the company… when does Dan leave again? hhe

  3. Ellen permalink
    September 25, 2011 9:57 pm

    How did you get the bathroom door open?

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      September 27, 2011 10:42 am

      ladder up to our bedroom clerestory, then pulled ladder up and through Rosie’s room clerestory and then back down into bathroom. If not for the clerestories we would have had to build a composting toilet in the backyard.

  4. September 25, 2011 10:28 pm

    Dan is an inspiration to me. That dude is so focused. I hope he does well. Anyway, I’m going out for first rifle a complete noob in a couple weeks. Most likely I won’t shoot anything, but I love the backcountry. I’m backpacking in to the Weminuche with John Harte. John’s has done a lot of hunting, but not as obsessed as Dan.

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      September 27, 2011 10:45 am

      Terry, Yes, the dude is focused. According to his mom, it all started with legos, so there’s hope for Col. Good luck with first rifle season. It’s a beautiful time to be in the mountains if nothing else. But hopefully there will be something else. Keep us posted. XO

  5. September 26, 2011 9:34 am

    I’ve never had elk, but I would love to try it. *hint hint*

    Amen to the part about following your passions. My Guy is doing the same thing, sans bow and arrow, but it’s inspiring all the same. I love that our kids will have the opportunity to see what it’s like to live life passionately and to pursue a dream.

  6. September 26, 2011 9:58 am

    Those carrots? Want. And I totally would have broken down the bathroom door. Desperate times and all …

  7. September 26, 2011 10:54 am

    we had our first all-night gale two nights ago, and the sunflowers and popcorn went from beginning to seem droopy to flattened, pretty much overnight. i admire dan too, and can still validate the feeling of wanting him to get his ass home. :) you’re super cool for supporting him in his passion.

  8. Melissa permalink
    September 26, 2011 12:19 pm

    The single parent life is rough, even when it’s temporary (maybe especially when it’s temporary because we are heavy with expectation of the return of the partner). Leeor goes away for two fall conferences in a few weeks . . . for 8 days. While I love rising to the occasion and having the place to myself some nights after the kids go to bed (even though I usually end up going to bed with them!), I’m not looking forward to it.

    I hope he got something! And that you had a sweet reunion.

  9. September 26, 2011 3:18 pm

    “the courage to follow our passion no matter the fruits” I think I”m going to post that for myself to read and be reminded. Thank you to both you and Dan for having the courage not only to follow your passions but doing it while raising two sweet children!

  10. September 26, 2011 5:59 pm

    I’m with Maja, “the biggest prize is the courage to follow your passions no matter the fruits” is a pretty fabulous line. You are just 101 kinds of fabulous, yanno that?

  11. September 26, 2011 11:46 pm

    Love how you accurately describe our role as cheering by the door, honoring their quest and passions to stomping around, looking at a watch and declaring they better get their ass home. Ha! And Rosie tucking in the garden with her piggie flashlight – perfect. Such clear descriptions of your family moving about your days makes me wish I was a neighbor.
    P.S. Dan is a total stud. No other way to say it. Giant animal, bow and homemade arrow?! Awesomeness.

  12. Ania permalink
    September 27, 2011 9:01 am

    so what are you going to do when it’s your turn to leave the house for a week? :)))

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      September 27, 2011 9:50 am

      I’ve got my sights on a buddhist meditation retreat: days of silence, sitting and walking meditation for most of the day, bland vegetarian meals. Either that or a week of debauchery with the girls…but more likely the meditation retreat. :)

  13. September 28, 2011 7:23 am

    I swear I’ve seen that picture of Rosie with the giant zucchini before–did you have one just like it last year? (Or am I thinking of Rosie with the chicken). Either way, wow that is one mother of a squash (and one darn cute kid!)

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      September 29, 2011 3:48 pm

      Ah, very astute reader. Yes, I believe there have been a few different monster zucchinis posing with a very cute girl.

  14. September 28, 2011 10:29 pm

    Goodness those veggies are huge!! Amazing work!

  15. September 29, 2011 2:28 pm

    I can’t wait to archery hunt again. Go Dan! Maybe next year (if we can get the new babe to take a bottle–Juniper never did). I am still entirely impressed with Dan’s skill. I have a homemade bow, but lack the confidence to use it. Right now, I’m a compound archer, thanks. Perhaps one day that will change.

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