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the non-mentioning of the chicken named Sunflower

July 25, 2012

We sit down to eat, Dan and I deciding to neither announce nor deny that we are eating our chicken, Sunflower, for dinner. Rose pokes around in her burrito and asks, dumfounded, “what’s this – chicken?” (which is a significant clue because (1) we never buy chicken and (2) last weekend Rose assisted Dan in removing the slippery viscera from the body cavity of our coon-killed chicken).

We confirm, with weird, tacked-on smiles, that yes, this is chicken, and then we eat our burritos, nobody bringing up Sunflower’s name, as if she were some estranged, unmentionable relative.

And I’ll be darned, that was the best chicken I’ve ever eaten. But I don’t want to talk about it anymore. In fact, now that I’m making vats of chicken stock from the bones and fowly whatnot, I mentioned to Dan how all that nice yellow fat floating around the soup pot was going to make such flavorful stock. “Oh yeah, I roasted the potatoes in some of that yellow fat tonight,” he said, talking about the french fries we had just eaten, which was the kind of thing I was glad to know about after the eating.


With all the forests of broccoli ripening at once around here we made Catherine Newman’s “crack broccoli,” which took up 2 heads. Next up, cream of broccoli soup with all that fatty yellow chicken stock that we aren’t talking about.

Thumbs up on the “crack broccoli,” also known as “oven roasted broccoli” in case you were serving it to the in-laws. 

And not to be all, “look at my apricots, again” but it’s a crazy apricot year here at 6512 feet and you know I’m not too shy to show up at strangers’ doors with my cute and hungry kids asking after that apricot tree groaning under the weight of fruit in their front yard. Our friend Chris closed on a sweet little house in our neighborhood yesterday and Dan and I have been trying to be all casual about the apricot tree in his side yard, instead of, you know, showing up on moving day with buckets.

Because apricots bloom so early, it’s always iffy if they’ll get pollinated before a frost – the last apricot year was 2009, so we’re a little bit ecstatic. Dan and Rose picked these today.

We’ve been making peach sauce (which is a sauce that aspires to be jam but without the bother of pectin and sugar), and also freezing and drying those cheery little orbs. I’m thinking breakfast for the next week will be apricot crisp.

Setting apricots on drying racks and waiting for Adidas to come back in style. We dry fruit either in our greenhouse or even quicker outside under the sun. Also, there are now approximately 243 apricot pits in our yard.


Dan is done digging the root cellar. Done digging. We’ve all been peering down there shaking our heads like, how did he do this? I honestly don’t know…with a shovel?

Now that the root cellar is dug, Dan and Jojo will be pouring a footer and building rock walls.

Here is the rock that only took 53 wheelbarrow trips to move from the driveway to our back yard.

Col getting in on the planning session with Dan and Jojo.

A picture of Jojo for his sweetie, Emily.

One of the many things I love about Jojo is that he cares deeply about food. Sometimes when I visit he shows me what’s inside his stand-up freezer because we’re both into that sort of thing. Dan said that when they broke for lunch, Jojo lugged a cooler upstairs with homemade kimchi, (backyard) chicken enchiladas, 3 kinds of vegetables, and a jar of sprouts. The first thing Jojo said when he showed up this morning was, “I’m so glad you guys didn’t miss the apricots when you were in Alaska!” I mean a vacation to the wildest state in the U.S. is cool and all, but phew, you’re good with the apricots.

Incidentally, this was the meal Jojo brought for my birthday camping party:

Just a little curried goat soup at 9,800 feet.


My friend Laura (who owns this lovely store in Denver) visited yesterday with her 5 month old baby Owen, who is the smiliest baby I ever met.

I got to hold him and squeeze his thighs and kiss his forehead and be reminded of what a blessing babies are. It had been so long since either of my peeps were such tiny, squishy things, I felt like I was holding some rare and mystical creature. And then I started to worry, did I hold my babies enough? Did I cherish their babyhood enough? Was I trying to get too many things done while they were busy growing into 7-year olds? 

Whenever I worry about not having been present enough for some past stage of their childhood, I soon remember that I have the luckiness to begin again, now. Because at ages 5 and 7, Col and Rose are still rare and mystical creatures who need to be held and cherished and occasionally nibbled on.

With love,


*Also, the house next door to us is available for rent. Wouldn’t it be so cool if you and your super fun kids moved in?

30 Comments leave one →
  1. Aunt Jan permalink
    July 26, 2012 10:36 pm

    Apricots! They are, by a mile, my favorite fruit! Yours look so good I can almost smell
    them, :). So glad you didn’t miss them be going off to Alaska.

    • July 27, 2012 1:13 am

      Me too, all time fav (apricots) ! Reminds me growing up….we moved to a new housing development in the late 60’s in Santa Clara Valley (Cupertino) that used to be an apricot orchard. We had hoped for one in our yard, but it didn’t work out in the planning so we planted a new one ! :o)

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      July 27, 2012 8:56 am

      Jan, I really really wish I could eat some of these apricots with you and your grandsons. xo

  2. July 26, 2012 10:41 pm

    I nibble my kids all the time. It’s the best! : )

  3. July 26, 2012 10:56 pm

    SO glad you didn’t miss the epic apricot year!! And you know you guys are the most bad ass, right? Root cellar digging sunflower chicken eaters you.

  4. July 26, 2012 11:08 pm

    Made this with some of my extra apricots, and it is wicked good. Great on chicken. Grin.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      July 27, 2012 8:57 am

      I’m all over that recipe. Thanks! xo

  5. Jamie permalink
    July 26, 2012 11:43 pm

    Love your friend, love his soup, want, want, WANT to rent your neighboring house! Know of any available jobs that support a single income family plus Durango rent? lol :)

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      July 27, 2012 8:58 am

      You a doctor? Lawyer? Writer? (haaaa haaa).

      • Jamie permalink
        July 28, 2012 12:17 am

        Well, actually I am…………………………… a stay at home mom hahaha

        • Jamie permalink
          July 28, 2012 12:19 am

          Oh, and twice now I meant to tell you that you are pretty dang cute in your adidas :) You look so huggable!

        • Rachel Turiel permalink*
          July 30, 2012 9:33 am

          Oh….the job that pays in hugs and kisses. Lucky you!

  6. July 27, 2012 12:02 am

    Holy friggin’ root cellar!!! All these mentions about Dan and his shovel, but *damn* that boy wasn’t screwing around, was he? I mean, will you have electric and venting and everything? Totally envious of your apricots. I may have to bump over to Idaho to get a load myself.

    • Jessica permalink
      July 27, 2012 2:22 pm

      Clove’s corner sums it up perfectly! I am so impressed by the root cellar. It’s so much MORE than I imagined. Nice work Dan and mini-kid crew (and Jojo too).
      Apricots and cherries are my two “summer is here!” fruits. They remind me of being a kid every time I eat either one.
      Thanks for another peak into your superstar life. You guys have got it going on!

  7. July 27, 2012 2:20 am

    I hope you keep posting photos of your root cellar. When I was in Kazakhstan 3 yrs. ago to adopt our son they had a large Adidas store. It was totally in! My husband and I both bought a hat because it was so hot. So wear your Adidas with pride because somewhere in the world you are styling.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      July 31, 2012 12:42 pm

      Ha! “Somewhere in the world” is good enough for me.

  8. laura Matthews permalink
    July 27, 2012 9:48 am

    It was so great to see you too Rachel! Those are super cute pictures of Owen! Funny how my head was cut off and only my thighs (ahem, where Owen came from) and my boobs (ahem, where Owen survives) made it into the pics! I hope to see you soon!!! Xoxo laura

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      July 27, 2012 11:23 am

      Ha! I used to think my kids only saw me as a pair of arms attached to a pair of boobs.

  9. July 27, 2012 10:21 am

    1.For some reason I pictured the root cellar as a very deep hole with some buckets of potatoes in it. Boy was I wrong! It’s so deep! And official-like! Dang, what a project.
    2.And holy apricots, by far the best fruit (if and only if picked from a tree).
    3.You definitely ate your children enough :)

  10. July 27, 2012 12:03 pm

    mmmm. speshul yellow fat. love the shoutout to jojo – he *does* love food, eh

  11. Ruth permalink
    July 27, 2012 1:13 pm

    Wow, that root cellar! So deep, my goodness. And so professional. I am amazed! I look forward to more photos as it develops.

  12. July 27, 2012 2:14 pm

    Was I trying to get too many things done while they were busy growing into 7-year-olds?

    Oh how I worry this worry all the time, and I actually have a five-month-old.

    This morning, writing in my journal, I decided that every time I feel compelled to talk about “getting things done,” I will instead talk about “taking care of things.” I think that such a shift might help settle me down into the now where things (and wee ones, and husbands) need care, rather than focus so much on the future when things will be crossed off that damn never-ending to-do list.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      July 31, 2012 12:44 pm

      “taking care of things” sounds much gentler, and yes, there are things that need taking care of.

  13. July 30, 2012 9:30 am

    Oh goodness do I too worry about not giving enough attention to my kids as they grow grow grow by the day. Especially when I hold wee babies and think “do I even remember this? Like, really remember?” Very relatable. And that root cellar! Whoooo! I am envious of that puppy. That Dan sure is handy, eh? xo

  14. Emily permalink
    July 30, 2012 3:39 pm

    Oh My Man! Thanks for the pic Rachel! I’m checking out your blog while he’s back at it hard with Dan (keep on those pictures!!), sweatin in our little bungalow and thanking our apricot tree branches as they drop little sundrops of love onto our porch for me to share with that guy when he gets home : ) of course, he’ll miss the “baked in the sun” warm juiciness but….am I going on about the loveliness of apricots?! Is it infectious or what?! You all are psyched this winter with all your peachy apricoty goodyness stashed in your secret dungeon : ) And BIG Congratulations on your very own schmaltz! Believe me, the second time around, not so sad (drool…) hehe

  15. July 30, 2012 3:58 pm

    So happy that you posted the info for Holistic Pathways. I can’t wait to get over there and check it out. Loved catching up on the goings-on up (down) there in your neck of the woods. That root cellar is something!

  16. August 6, 2012 6:37 pm

    love that about beginning again in the moment with the holding/nibbling.


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