Homestead Happenings: inside people now
We’re inside people now. Just like that. When I venture out in the morning—-down coat over bathrobe—-to feed the chickens, I’m always startled at how low the sun is hanging, almost appearing stuck in the tall limbs of our neighbor’s aspen tree. And then a 10F degree particle of air slams my skin and some errant, pre-coffee brain cells fire and I put it all together, the cold, the low lying sun: it’s winter!
Our inside lives roll like the changeable headlines for a tabloid magazine chronicling the lives of a tempestuous couple.
Rose hits Col and tells him he’s a bad guy! Col hides ducky and Rosie falls apart! Col and Rose: bonding over bandaids and reunited!
Before the sun even rises, Col can be found piecing together a dinosaur puzzle while Rose perches at the very edge of a glossy T-Rex, her feet kicking through his pile of puzzle pieces. She examines her toes and then chants loudly, “Blanga blanga blong blong. Blanga blanga blong blong. Do you like my song Coley?”
“That’s a little too much singing Rosie.”
Rose inches closer to Col and picks up a book about pandas, pretending she just happens to be malingering 1/4 centimeter away from the Stegosaurus newly snapped into place. “Blanga blanga blong blong,” she murmurs as if reading straight from the book while her little fingers pry up the edge of a Diplodocus.
I try and think of what my friend Sue would do (who raises her voice so infrequently at her children, when she does they regard her like she’s wielding a saber in her teeth). While I’m silently rehearsing potential “Sue-isms,” Col shouts “Rosiiiieeee STOP!” Which really is the perfect thing to say, even if a hundred parenting books will say it’s not.
Suddenly, the puzzle is abandoned and the kids, together, are searching for a pair of scissors to cut a turtle pendant off Col’s necklace, which I don’t want them to do. I quickly hide the scissors in a move of total conflict-avoidance and shrug from behind the newspaper. “Hmmm, I don’t know where those scissors are. Keep looking.”
Rose runs to Col with a can opener. “Will this work, Coley?” They huddle conspiratorially over the turtle necklace, jabbing the can opener against the string.
By the time the sun is up they’ve scampered off to their room and I hear the following conversation and wonder if they’ve gotten weirder since we’ve been inside so much.
Rose: Let’s say I’m sick but I have to get on an airplane, right?
Col: Yeah. But you didn’t know I was on the airplane too, with my sick blanket, okay?”
Rose: Okay, and my name was Baby Beebee, right Col?
Col: Okay. And let’s say I was your daddy but I called you Baby Lulu.
I can’t help but imagine what it would sound like if Dan and I interacted that way.
Dan: Let’s say every night after the kids go to bed you gave me that look. And then I quit my job and start following the elk all year round, okay?
In other homestead news, I made apple cider vinegar!
I started this project back in apple season with the homeliest apples (as sanctioned in the recipe).
It bubbled and fizzed appropriately and I strained out the apples and it sat for a long time, hissing and scaring me with its smell of frat house hangover. I finally worked up the courage to taste it, and it tastes just like vinegar, which is the point of following a recipe. But still, I’m kind of shocked.
So naturally, I’m less scared of retirement now, because I won’t have to buy vinegar.
In stinky animal parts news, Dan has been spending evenings (the ones where he doesn’t get that look from me) pounding and then pulling apart threads of elk sinew.
He’s also been getting trounced by Rose in Memory, who may or may not be cheating.
My parents are visiting, which is wonderful as usual.
My dad read Col all of Robinson Crusoe, this several hundred page book written in the 1700’s. Baba told me Col sat still for over an hour at a time, lapping up the story of shipwreck. It brought tears to me eyes hearing this, because devoting an hour of your time to a child is the most precious gift. Rose has adopted Nana as her new BFF, partially because Nana pardons Rose from her habit of flagrantly disregarding people’s personal space, letting Rose paw all over her face and hair, which has been banned in our household. However, last night when the kids were jumping at Nana trying to grab her purse, my mom said cheerfully “this reminds me of this reoccurring dream where I’m being bitten by little animals and they keep coming back and I can’t get them off of me.”
The kids had another successful sleepover (read about the first one here) and Dan and I enjoyed a morning free of tabloid headlines.
“It’s like a bed and breakfast around here,” Dan said as we made breakfast together.
“Where we make our own food?”
“Where we only make food for ourselves, not the usual non-paying, hotel room-thrashing guests.”
Oh, and remember our roasted zucchini phase from back in summer? Well, I stuck a few bags of roasted zukes in the freezer and defrosted the first bag last night. I made a shepards pie with the zucchini standing in for peas and carrots, and I just want you to know the zucchini held up great in the freezer.
I could taste the summery roastedness and as usual I made my family exclaim over the winningness of the whole meal even when Rose just wanted to climb on Nana’s lap, and Col wanted to recount all 236 pages of Robinson Crusoe (minus the cannibalism) and Dan was simply scanning my face for potential of that look.
Have a wonderful, wonderful Thanksgiving. And as always, I am thankful for you readers that find your way here, again and again.