homestead happenings: on the brink
We’ve just arrived at the tippy top of the seasonal roller coaster where I’m peering—for a breath-holding second—steeply down at the free-fall of summer. We’ve been cranked up the long, slow incline of spring, scattering lettuce seeds, watching the river swell, marking the calendar with camping trips, knowing that soon summer will zoom on its own momentum. Fast. As it always does.
It’s at this change of seasons, which writer Gretel Ehrlich says, “deserves a separate name so the year might be divided eight ways instead of four,” where something tugs at me. There’s something about being here, again, on the brink of summer. Everything is so familiar—seasons colliding in our mudroom: sandals jumbled with snowboots; me wondering if I have to actually sing to the carrots to get them to germinate; the kids’ limbs browning up—and yet, a whole year has passed. (Also, a year ago we were here. How is this possible?)
I think it’s this passage of time that is most confounding to me as a mother, how slippery and incremental it, how you can’t see it or touch it but it’s the chisel shaping your beautiful children every moment.
On the homestead:
:: Anyone need some dirt?
Digging has commenced on the root cellar and Col has a new purpose in life. He hangs around the dig site like a groupie waiting for someone to sign his trowel. He’s constantly working his own side projects – avalanches, gullies, dams – on the edges. It’s kind of like having a rebellious employee on your crew. The other day I was giving my carrots a pep talk and overheard Dan telling Col,”now, I like having you here. But you can’t just start absentmindedly hacking away at the root cellar walls.”
You think you’re coming over for a playdate, and next thing you know, there’s a shovel in your hand. Thanks, Chris! The digging is taking place inside our luxurious shed, no need for a shade tarp.
Notice: I dont have an actual *name,* or maybe “Rachel” is too long to spell.
The volume of dirt that is coming out of the ground is a bit startling; it’s like the ground is turning itself inside out. Some of it, mixed with chicken coop bedding, has gone to our new potato bed, which gives me a silly thrill, knowing those potatoes will go back in the hole from whence their dirt came. And incidentally, the “sangre” potatoes we planted (from the San Luis Valley below the Sangre de Christo mountains), are the same potatoes buried in the White House garden this spring.
Our neglected front yard, which the kids refer to as the “back yard” because it feels so remote. Tupperware Heights, baby.
:: Someone left a sweet May Day gift in my car on Tuesday. Who was it? Was it you? We loved it.
This gift has put a new twist on holidays for Rose because someone can just come *leave candy in your car.*
:: In a weird but completely normal deja vu, I found myself shoveling goat manure with the threesome, Col, Rose and their friend Mathew, just like last year. Last year the kids’ project was digging up worms for chickens, this year it was kamikaze hammocking.
:: The other day Col and Rose were pushing each others’ buttons all morning, fighting and crying like they were rehearsing a scene. Okay, let’s try it again from the top, I’ll man-handle your polar bear and you do your jungle scream. I finally sought refuge in the garden only to be begged back inside, tearily, by Rose. When I got back inside the house was quiet and they were reading side by side.
I can’t even begin to understand. In fact, that is often my mantra.
:: Stage 1 of the mother#$%!!@* pinata we are making for Rose’s birthday, which needs 3 more layers and which I look forward to laughing about someday.
:: Books! I am reading Gretel Erlich’s memoir, Solace of Open Spaces, which is absolutely lovely in its descriptions of blinding blizzards, getting struck by lightning, cavernous loneliness and the scouring winds of Wyoming. Really. Have you read it? I am sad that it’s only 130 pages.
The kids and I just finished Witches by Roald Dahl, and I just have to wonder about this guy and his children’s books about horrible creatures eating children. Perhaps things were different in his day, you know, less insipid singing purple dinosaurs and more tingling, engrossing and safe fright. We all loved Witches, even if we had to read it during the day.
Read anything good lately?
:: Lettuce porn:
:: Crabapple porn:
I’m humbled by all your interest in hollyhock seeds. (And I do have enough for everyone) .My blog friend mb, whom I had already sent some seeds to awhile back, e-mailed me a photo of her hollyhocks sprouts, all proper and civilized in greenhouse trays, which made me reconsider my planting instructions, which were like: throw them somewhere and forget about them.
(Rose just told me, “you’re typing fast, and you even get the right letters you want.” And I don’t even have to use loose dirt to write my blog posts).
I hope you’re all enjoying this bridge between seasons.