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homestead happenings: spring mania

April 26, 2012

It’s late; I’m peeing with the bathroom door wide open when Dan comes in from bow-making in his shop. He looks around and raises his eyebrows at the quietness in the house.

“Dude. 7:30,” I say, remarking on when the ship of boisterous children went down.




“What’s for snack?” I ask, still peeing, though unaware of the dinner stuck greenly between the teeth from which I smile at him.

What’s the right word here? Uncouth? In love? 

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

Dandelion pesto on deer backstrap. Did I mention in my last post how *delicious* dandelion pesto is? Perhaps I was too busy singing its nutritional praises to note that it is a luscious marriage of rich roastyness (from the nuts) and peppy greenness.

I love this time of year, how spring creeps along methodically—green grass, check; dandelion flowers, check; high arcing sun, check—and then suddenly a peach tree erupts pinkly, and it’s like the space shuttle has landed in our backyard. No one can sleep because THE PEACH IS BLOOMING. Actually, no one can sleep because it’s light out forever. Every night at 7:30 pm Dan closes our curtains, yawns dramatically, and puts a curse on any neighborhood kid who dares to knock on the door and ask if Col and Rose want to come out and play storm troopers.

This peach tree sprouted from our compost pile years ago, and we, as an experiment, planted it, and hoo boy, it has grown. I’m feeling like this will be the year it bears fruit.

We’re all infected with spring mania. Everything seems so shiny and new, even the clucky old ladies who would like to eat every living thing in our yard.

Including your finger. “Did you need that finger?”

You can actually smell the fruit trees blooming all over town. I want to throw a party for each new phase of spring, like: lilacs blooming now, everyone come over with a potluck dish. Everyday I check under the straw mulch for signs of the 300 or so kale, lettuce, arugula and spinach seeds I’ve planted. (My new trick is to seed all the beds with greens, which will translate into 100 salads by the time it’s warm enough to dig the greens under and plant tomatoes, peppers and squash. As if I’ve ever been able to “dig a plant under.”)

Spring is the very definition of potential, containing all the unwritten chapters of summer, which unfold perfectly without typos or weeds, like the brilliant essays I write while riding my bike.

On the homestead:

:: The kids are just happy to be outside. I am increasingly convinced that outside, there is little they need other than time and freedom. Col, like his father, expresses himself through his hands. Inside it’s legos and art. Outside it’s sticks and rocks and dirt.

Col is all about brush shelters these days.

For the ladies’ comfort, of course.

:: Dan’s been trying to get my attention in 5 minute snippets to show me his “antler kiva root cellar” plan.

Can you picture it? Dan’s going to dig a 5 foot deep, 6 foot wide hole, build the walls up with rocks, and then mound antlers and juniper bark on the ceiling, cover the whole thing with a water-proof membrane and 2 feet of backfill dirt. Did I get that right, Dan? All I heard was we’re going to have a place to store apples, carrots and potatoes!

In those 5 minutes of debriefing on the antler kiva root cellar, Rose went from this:

to this:

At least she kept her hat on.

:: Col and Rose and their friend Iris had a garage sale last weekend, in which not a soul walked by, so the kids bought each others junk.

If you happen to be one of Iris’ relatives who reads this blog, here is one of the many things I love about Iris: she manages to be equally Col *and* Rose’s friend, which is rare and special. Also, one thing I love about garage sales is it’s a great way to learn math. In fact, when the kids think of the numeral 5, a nickel undoubtedly pops into their head. 

:: Spring beauty is blooming in the pine-oak belt.

Which is also a good place to build nests for birds up in an oak tree. Pre-made nests! All the rage in the avian world. “The bird that finds this will be so happy,” Col says.

Rose handing Col nest material.

:: I’ve been a little obsessed with these raw, energy nuggets we’ve been making. We may have eaten them for dinner while Dan was in New Jersey visiting his Mama. And breakfast. So many permutations and flavors. Anyone interested in a recipe?

:: At the creek, arriving:

10 seconds later:

Rose has been manifesting like some new age diva. First she got a new/borrowed bike with the three things she was “most always wishing for:” kickstand, bell and basket! And then, in a box of hand-me-downs, her fluffy pink bathrobe dreams came true!

Watching Col play, shirtless, in the creek, sun pouring down like rain, made me realize that after everything, we’re luckier than we can ever know. Maybe all of us are always luckier than we can ever know.


*The kids are gazing out the window at the soaring vultures*

Rose: I wish I was a bird.

Col: A vulture?

Rose: Yeah.

Col: If you were a vulture your ice cream would be dead deer meat and your fizzy water would be blood.

Rose: *rethinking*



ps: everyone pees in front of their partners, right?

42 Comments leave one →
  1. April 26, 2012 7:22 am

    Yes I do.

  2. Peggy permalink
    April 26, 2012 7:49 am

    ha ha – all the time! in fact – it sometimes is a family affair and all 5 of us (that’s the 4 humans and the dog) are all in the bathroom together. you just stop noticing after a while….

  3. silversparrowdesigns permalink
    April 26, 2012 7:54 am

    i always think of jeaneane garofalo in reality bites, talking about how her parents have zero romance in their marriage and how they both pee with the door open. i remember deciding then and there that the door would always be closed when i got married. but no, sometimes it’s open. although i do try to refrain from conversations while i am on the toilet.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      April 26, 2012 9:02 am

      Right. It was the conversation that made it extra romantic.

  4. Ania permalink
    April 26, 2012 8:01 am

    I do. And we are. So lucky. We both owe our sons lives to quite recent advances in medicine. My boy’s chest reminds me of it now more than ever – with healing scar after his port had been taken out at the end of treatment!

    Such richness in this post!

  5. April 26, 2012 8:07 am

    I want to spend a day (or two!) at your house. Between the daily happenings, food, and playful goodness in that stream, looks super fun!

    I just signed up for a dandelion medicine class. Can’t wait!

    ps. yes!

  6. Anonymous permalink
    April 26, 2012 8:19 am

    Rachel, thanks so much for sharing your observation about Iris! Lorraine Chambers (Grandmother Raine)

  7. April 26, 2012 8:33 am

    Pee in front of partner: yes (though not poop)
    Interested in energy chunk recipe: yes
    Want to throw parties for blooming things: yes
    Throw eye daggers at neighborhood children playing after 730: yes
    Feel luckier than we can ever know when I see my children splashing in river water: yes
    LIke you and this blog a million times a million: yes

  8. April 26, 2012 8:39 am

    First, your house sounds like all kinds of fun.
    Second, dandy-lion pesto? Never, ever would have thought of that. I’m sure it tastes wonderful, but my husband won’t eat pesto. He calls it “pond scum”. I think he’d eat if someone else made it though. Somehow I suspect my cooking skills have helped form his opinion.
    Third, holy cow that’s a lof antlers!
    Fourth, your children look like they are loving life. That’s awesome.
    Thanks for a fun read!

  9. Carrie permalink
    April 26, 2012 8:50 am

    Yes recipe please!!!

  10. Christy permalink
    April 26, 2012 9:01 am

    Pee in front of partner? Yes.
    And I am excited for you getting a root cellar.
    I am so in love with spring right now.

  11. April 26, 2012 9:13 am

    I would love the recipe please

  12. Jaimie permalink
    April 26, 2012 9:47 am

    No partner, but I pee in front of my kids and sometimes forget to close the bathroom door when guests are over. Does that count?

    And yes, I’d love your energy ball recipe. We made some for the first time a month or so ago and they lasted approximately three hours. I may or may not have eaten 2/3 of them.

  13. Anonymous permalink
    April 26, 2012 9:54 am

    Of course we do (even elderly grandparents.) Loved the news of Iris–that’s a rare quality indeed. Watch out Madeleine Albright and Hillary!

  14. April 26, 2012 9:57 am

    oh, man, i am an unashamed open door pee-er. you should definitely post the energy nugg recipe, cuz those thangs were DELISH, and i am LOVING alla the nekkid happening in the creek photos. such scrumptious kid belly/shoulder blades/booty/skin/etc! xo

  15. April 26, 2012 10:17 am

    Pee in front of partner…we try not to, though it isn’t unheard of. Though in front of the cats seems required. The follow me into the bathroom like toddlers. Energy ball recipe? Yes. Throw parties for blooming things, most definitely. Our peach is about done. Apples just started (along with lilacs – swoon).

  16. Barbara permalink
    April 26, 2012 10:46 am

    Recipe please!!!

  17. Megan permalink
    April 26, 2012 12:06 pm

    i so enjoyed reading this. currently partner-less but so used to peeing outside and growing up in a house full of women that i more often than not forget to close the bathroom door/stall door/ stand behind a tree that is out of sight enough. no shame here.
    and recipe would be awesome.
    your writing is inspiring. thanks for sharing yourself.

  18. teresa permalink
    April 26, 2012 12:47 pm

    love this post. right there with you, loving spring! (even that storm that brought 5 inches of snow earlier this week! surprise. ha ha)

    my husband and i often have conversations while one of us is peeing and the other is showering. we steal moments when we can get ’em.

    please post recipe. i am LOVING the d.i.y. posts!

    (currently helping my sis-in-law plan a may day party… maybe you could have one of those and celebrate the whole spring shebang?)


  19. April 26, 2012 1:02 pm

    yes. we get the most bang for our buck communication-wise when we talk in the bathroom. he showers, i pee…we talk without seventy gagillion interruptions. yes, i’ve counted.

    also, this is perfection: “Spring is the very definition of potential, containing all the unwritten chapters of summer, which unfold perfectly without typos or weeds, like the brilliant essays I write while riding my bike.”

  20. ike permalink
    April 26, 2012 1:16 pm

    while you at it you may as well do a poll on leaving pee in toilet for next personin order to conserve water. All of us living in southwest or visiting may need to do that.soon.

  21. Melissa permalink
    April 26, 2012 1:33 pm

    of course we pee in front of each other. it’s avi who wants his privacy (:

  22. April 26, 2012 2:16 pm

    yes…peeing in front of your partner equates a certain level of intimacy and love…hehe!
    your family rocks! my daughter saw pictures of the kids playing and it gave her lots of good ideas for new play! I would love the recipe for the energy nuggets and fizzy water.
    can’t wait to see this antler kiva storage…i cant quite envision it.
    :D thanks for sharing

  23. April 26, 2012 2:39 pm

    I was so tickled that you dropped by my blog. Your writing style has inspired me to find my own blog voice. Sometimes that means just an unedited update on the haps around here. Other times I try a bit harder, but now always with my own authentic voice and style. Thank you.

  24. katy permalink
    April 26, 2012 2:45 pm

    Lady, I wish you could write everything for me. Like emails and grocery lists. I even think you’d sign my name in a more clever way. Everyone pees in front of their partner, except me. I can’t even clean my ears in front of him. In many ways, except energy level and interest in Disney singers, I’m 12. Yes, energy chunk recipe. For future reference, we *always* want the recipe.

  25. April 26, 2012 3:37 pm

    1) duh, on the recipe
    2) Yes I pee in front of A. Sometimes I take it further. But then he always looks at me with his nose all wrinkly and says, “Are you pooping?” And then I close the door.

  26. April 26, 2012 5:03 pm

    i have compost peach trees too! (3 of them!) and i’m hoping for flowers this year, but i think they might not. they are age 3 i think. i also have the same trait as you of never ever being able to dig a plant under. i was thinking a lot more wide open gardening space would help me with that, but i don’t seem to be sowing the seeds more thinly. hmm. and yes to peeing/conversing. i want to know what WAS for snack? (yes please to recipe for energy bites.)

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      April 29, 2012 8:56 am

      I CAN’T thin the carrot bed! I need help!

      Also, bedtime snack: egg toppa toast. (“top of”)

  27. Barb permalink
    April 26, 2012 7:33 pm

    Rose also kept her shoes and socks on in the sifting dirt picture….guess she didn’t want grit between the toes? Love the pics as always, thanks!

  28. April 26, 2012 9:00 pm

    Yes, I stopped bothering to close the door while I pee because that’s code for my daughter to come find me no matter what she’s doing.

    And Rose in her pink robe? Delightful! I love how happy she looks wearing it.

    Energy balls eh? What’s that?

  29. Emmanuelle permalink
    April 26, 2012 9:09 pm

    Dear Rachel, reading you is a true delight… I savored every bit of this fertile, giddy post as if it was a basket of ripe raspberries (pictures included). And I have exactly the same feelings about spring ! How good to see them detailed here in such a glorious way :o) You made my day (and the ones to come !)
    PS – Yes, at night if we happen to be in the bathroom at the same time – we don’t switch the light on… this little trickle sound makes us smile like a shared secret. So we don’t flush either :o)

    • Emmanuelle permalink
      April 30, 2012 9:00 am

      I forgot to say that Col looks very handsome with his new haircut, it suits him so well ! And Rose’s advertising grin and pose with her hand on her hips are simply irresistible.

  30. Diane Petersen permalink
    April 26, 2012 9:56 pm

    Yes please for the energy nugget recipe! Dang, I love your blog. Seriously, I wish I could come and hang out with you for a week or two. How do you do it all?! Thanks for the wonderful inspiration as always and, of course, the chuckles!

  31. April 27, 2012 10:10 am

    There are currently no interior doors in my house, so I pee in front of whomever lacks the tact to mosey away. This always my daughter, who likes to check in with my process and occasionally is interested to know if any further excretions will be forthcoming. Yes to energy ball recipe.

  32. Emily permalink
    April 27, 2012 5:36 pm

    I too have a peach tree (three actually) that spouted from the compost! They languished in a pot until this year when I skillfully broke the pot around them and built a box so they could taste more dirt. I think they are three years old, and we got the first bloom (umm, well actually it’s a fuzzy marble now, in our well advanced spring) this year! I never expected them to do well, but I’ve learned a lot about pruning and peach growth.

    please share recipe.

    My daughter walked in on me reading this and said with awe and a deep intake of breath, “ooo, where did they get all those antlers?”. Then I told her that not only did this man, named Dan, collect them, but that he sometimes had so many that he gave them to neighbors. I’m feeling rather grateful that she can’t find the quantity of antlers that Dan finds yet. I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t let me give them away.

  33. April 27, 2012 5:55 pm

    Pee in front of partner: yes. Although just about everyone in our house prefers privacy while pooping, except Miranda who finds it a prime time to be read aloud to and ask deep probing questions about fairies.

    Oddly enough, given our family habits, it creeps me out when my Dad visits and doesn’t close the door while peeing. Is that weird?

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      April 29, 2012 8:59 am

      No. That is not weird at all. Close the door, Dad!

  34. Amy permalink
    April 28, 2012 12:41 am

    i certainly pee in front of my partner but he is a shy one. i’m always *accidently* walking in on him. if he didn’t make it so damned mysterious…

    the other day i was wandering around the house picking up toys and such, went over to grab a snuggle from him and realized that i was completely naked, everyone else in the house was fully clothed running in and out of the house, it was the middle of the day and… maybe i’m weird…?

  35. April 28, 2012 10:19 pm

    Luckier than we’ll ever know! Yes.

    LOVE: “The bird that finds this will be so happy.” Col, you heartthrob.

    I think we have a weird spruce fir hybrid. Ha. The needles feel TRIANGULAR. Not prickly, smooth. But not flat. Help!


    Oh and the pee thing?! Ha, if any of us had shyness or modesty it is so gone after our recent living situation. It ALL happens in front of everyone.

  36. April 29, 2012 6:56 pm

    Another request for the recipe! We’ll eat them for dinner, we’ll eat them for lunch…

  37. May 1, 2012 12:06 am

    So much beauty in this post! Does anyone *not* pee in front of their partners? We do it all, although Juniper will often find a quiet corner to poop in her diaper and sometimes I’ll shut the door because it’s a legitimate excuse for some alone time. My father-in-law is a refugee of sorts and has lost his bathroom etiquette; when he visits, I dream of installing an outhouse just for him. And, funny, there is so much goodness in this post and yet everyone is either asking for the recipe (yes!) or commenting on their social bathroom habits. Sorry. Don’t mean to ignore the good stuff.

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