homestead happenings: earnest goodwill
We’re on a family hike and Rose is walking ahead of me, turning around regularly, like the loyal family canine charged with keeping the pack together.
Rose: “Mama, can you sneak a little pinch on my butt while we walk?”
Me: “Just do it, or surprise you?”
Rose: “Surprise me. Right now.”
Meanwhile, Col seeks the projectile essence of every rock, stick, and pine cone, but grabs my hand often enough for me not be too scared of anyone turning 8 next month.
It’s a little Shakespearian around here lately. There’s the comedy of Rose asking this morning, “is Mississippi a country or actually a planet?” And then the utter tragedy of Col waking up at 5:00 am, parting the curtains to determine if it was light enough to justify legos and singing, and thusly popping out of bed to do both. Next, the tragedy (real tears!) of Col choosing to watch Inspector Gadget, when Rose wanted Curious George, even though she gave Col first pick. Later, the comedy of Col slapping hand to forehead, “oh, that was the moonlight.”
This is why children are our best teachers. They lead us to the cliff of sparkly rainbows where we sigh gratefully for this life, these babies, the whole cherry pie of motherhood. And then 10 minutes later we’re all falling down that same cliff, the one perched above the nest of poisonous snakes, snakes who won’t go to bed at night, who won’t wear a hat when it’s 2oF outside, and who invent dubious sibling poker matches: I’ll see your blood-drawing scratch and raise you a small kick in the shin.
But truly, all I ever remember by the blessed end of the day—by the time I’m ghosting through the kids’ darkened room, pulling blankets over slumbering bodies, those bodies that, sleeping, appear to be cobbled out of such earnest goodwill that I imagine them exhaling world peace in their sleep—all I remember, is the joy of parenting that, like cream, always rises to the top.
On the homestead:
:: Like probably everyone in Southwest Colorado, we’ve been surfing the limbo of eagerly anticipating the snowy hammer of winter dropping, and also rolling around in the dry grassy sun like a pack of happy dogs.
Which is to say, we’ve been hiking without jackets. And that ain’t right. But it feels so good.
The kids wanted to run all the way back to the car. We explained that if they wanted to run, we’d have to take the long route, rather than the steep, rocky short cut. “Long way,” they said and exploded down the trail.
:: Despite being the homiest of homebodies (Col recently told me his winter goal was simply to stay inside. Oy), the types who tend not to leave the comfort of our own zip code, we got a little crazy and took a day-trip to Pagosa Springs (2 zip codes away!) for Dan’s birthday. We spotted a hot air balloon landing and zrrrrrtttt turned the car around, parked, ran down a private driveway (note: Dan did not approve of this, while I’m of the mind that no one can get too ticked off about children running joyously towards an 18th century mode of flight), and arrived in time to see the entire landing.
Also, we make U-turns for wild turkeys, naturally.
The hot springs are cheapest on Tuesday, but they offer a local’s discount every day. Super sulfury and be sure to take off your silver jewelry.
There’s about 10-15 different pools, plus the agony/ecstasy of the frigid San Juan River to cool off in.
We visited the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park, just a few miles past Pagosa, which is like a zoo, in the sense that the animals are captive (most born in captivity, many rescued from bad situations), but not like a zoo in that the animals have largish enclosures in their native habitat. If you go, go for the 2pm feeding time, in which a very knowledgeable person tells you interesting stories and answers all your questions while wolves devour 5 pounds of raw meat in 2 minutes without actually chewing. The kids and I loved it. Dan was much more excited about the hundreds of deer we saw on the road between Chimney Rock and Arboles.
Predator meets prey.
Big tough bull elk eating…fruit salad.
Knobby deformed antler that weighed more than my kids, who admittedly run pretty small.
Wild-ish turkeys and feral rabbits hobnob at entrance to Wildlife Park.
:: We will survive the apocalypse with kraut and sour cabbagey breath.
:: And pumpkin granola.
Pre bake: use your normal granola recipe and add about 1-2 cups pumpkin puree to each gallon. Mix thoroughly and bake 20 – 30 extra minutes, or until completely dry. Wait – do you all need a granola recipe? Will consider posting one if I get 3 or more hallelujahs.
:: Rose feels best when she’s really, really close to the people she loves; which is exactly how we like it.
:: Our new homeschool unit is Bookmaking, which makes my heart soar with literary happiness. Annie of Alphabet Glue has been our fairy godmother in this department.
Col’s sasquatch book.
Rose made a book for Dan, and where I’ve been known to be a little anxious about Col and his academics, with Rose I’m like: you just shine your earnest goodwill across the land and everything will take care of itself. Not sure if this is neglect or the best gift I can give her.
The illustration of Sunday morning drives with Dada.
Apparently Col drew the car on this page.
:: We’re reading Huckleberry Finn right now, which is an interesting bedtime book, what with the chapter titled, “The House of Death Floats By,” plus Huck’s perennially drunk dad, the school beatings from teachers, and of course the whole slave issue. The kids appear to be loving it, though Rose does ask regularly and nervously: is this fiction or non-fiction?
I am gorging on Mary Karr right now. Re-reading Lit and just got Cherry from the library. She is the master memoirist and just as Mark Twain makes being shoeless, floating down the Mississippi River sound exciting, Mary Karr does the same for growing up with knife-wielding mothers.
We bought the kids a clock and instructed that it was only safe to eject themselves from the covers if the first number on the clock was a 6. They’ve been rocketing into our room at 6:01 am. And at 6:02 this morning Rose was counting to 60, with headachy exuberance, twenty times, due to my promise to make her breakfast in 20 minutes, which sort of defeated the whole point of 20 more minutes of morning amnesty. Tragedy or comedy?
With love and gratitude,