homestead happenings: exclamatory
Soon after we bought our house 13 years ago, my friend Kristi brought her little sister over to visit. Traci, who was probably about 17, jumped around our garden exclaiming, “OHMYGOD, TOMATOES! I LOVE TOMATOES! YOU”RE GROWING CARROTS? YOU CAN JUST PULL CARROTS UP OUT OF YOUR YARD? THAT IS SO AMAZING!”
She even bent down over a patch of dandelions and said, “OHMYGOD, WHAT ARE THESE CALLED? I LOVE THEM!”
It was a little bit like having Dora the Explorer over for a garden tour.
But that’s sort of how I feel right now. Like, OHMYGOD the COTTONWOODS ARE TURNING YELLOW! And THE SKY! IT’S SO BLUE! and THE TOMATOES, OH THE TOMATOES! and SOON, WE’LL BE EATING WINTER SQUASH!
Dan always says his favorite month is from September 15th to October 15th, and really, it is sort of perfect. Warm, but not too hot. Cool nights, but you still want the window open. The garden’s pumping out produce, but it’s close enough to the end that I’m not trying so hard anymore. Even the weeds are endearingly annoying, like Col when he plays this game: “Hey Mama!” And I take the bait: “What?” “Oh nothing.” One minute later, “hey Mama!”
AND THE CHILDREN! OHMYGOD, THE CHILDREN! They’re so fresh and unselfconscious. So comical and utterly lovely. Recently Rose was looking at Col’s penis through binoculars and just as I was wondering if I should say something, Rose barked, “now open your mouth, Coley, I need to see your tonsils.” Okay, just a routine exam.
One minute their minds are like these tidy canal systems, information pouring neatly from one channel to another, data mingling like water in the pools marked “accurate and correct information.” Col asks, as we’re reading about the Yanomamo tribe, “do they have metal?” And I can see an orderly, historical time line laying itself down in his mind.
The next minute there’s a leak in the canal and water is spilling into the street, flooding their cerebral cities. Col is certain that we’ve been to Alaska to visit his cousin Peter but it turns out he’s remembering meeting up with Peter in Hawaii. Rosie is calling out to me from her room, “excuse you, Mama” after I sneeze. “Do you mean, bless you?” “Oh yeah, right.”
And honestly, as much as I love the mental connections the kids are making daily, I also love how cheerfully confused they often are. Recently, leaving a fundraiser and explaining to the kids why I didn’t use my free drink ticket, I said, “you guys know that it’s not safe to drink and drive, right?”
“Yup,” Rosie replied, “because you might spill your beer.”
On the homestead:
The homeschooling thing is going great. I LOVE HOMESCHOOLING! We’re still feeling it out, which I might say every 6 months, but right now I LOVE IT!!! Er, I mean, it’s a really good fit for us.
You won’t be surprised to know that our style falls in the unschooling camp, or the zenhippie approach, which is something like: if you follow a child’s interests, the path will take them exactly where they need to go.
We’ve been studying bridges, which looks a little like this:
And also like this:
And sometimes, like this:
And we had our first hops harvest! OMYGOD HOPS!
Which means this is the winter of beer brewing. Right? You heard it here. I suppose you also heard here that we were building a root cellar this fall. Turns out I was imagining Dan all shirtless and sexy, digging through September. Meanwhile Dan was calculating the cost of a backhoe, and piles of concrete block…anyway, we’re going to get creative. Maybe sink a garbage can full of potatoes and carrots in the ground…coolers full of apples in our shed?
We love having Dan back, especially so he can fish under the fridge with the kids for lost treasures.
And, have you seen the fall issue of Edible San Juan Mountains? It’s the best yet! (note to locals: due to a printing error, the last sentence of my article was cut. Maybe that clears something up).
And now that I’m done promoting the fermentation class, which was super fun, next up, Writing Your Wild Life writing class. I hear there are a few spots left. It’s GOING TO BE AMAZING!
What are you exclaiming about in these last days of September?