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Homestead happenings: now

2011 July 6

Um, have your kids grown leaps since we met here last?

And your gardens, too?

I don’t know if it’s the transitory nature of summer—flowers to seeds in a blink—but I’m already nostalgic for the moment that just passed. I’m wistful for these long, sticky days; for the insanely gorgeous blue larkspur flaunting itself above winding squash vines; for my own two children and their very childhoods even as we’re all together down by the river, the un-capped sun pouring heat on us.

Yesterday I was coming home from a bike ride and on a whim I stopped at Col’s friend Mathew’s house and invited him to ride back with me and hang out with Col and Rose for the rest of the morning. Mathew got the OK from his parents, strapped on his bike helmet, hopped on his bike and we were off – me and this dear boy I’ve known since he was stuffed in a sling, gumming watermelon with 3 teeth. And it’s not like, say, me and my friend Siana at 17, borrowing my mom’s Mazda and heading south on Hwy 101 for spring break for a week with no set itinerary (postscript: immense gratitude to Ellen and Ike for trusting us even if your jaws never unclenched that whole week). But still, Mathew’s mom waved him off cheerily without so much as thrusting a bag of sliced apples in his hand.

It happened to be elk hide-smoking day at chez Turiel/Hinds, a very auspicious day for a spontaneous playdate.

No, hide-tanning isn't some cover for strange, homemade bongs, Mathew's stoking the smoky fire under Dan's elk hide.

Of course, nostalgia is a trickster, laying out a sumptuous feast of delights, enticing you with its sweet buttery smells; then the moment you grab your fork, everything disappears.

On New Years Eve, the brink of 2005, 24-weeks pregnant with Col, I spent the weekend at a silent Buddhist meditation retreat. We wrote our intentions for the new year on slips of paper and then burned them in the red-rock desert at midnight. I scrawled: my intention is to accept all circumstances surrounding this pregnancy. Two days later my water broke.

While my emergency flight soared above a rollicking snowstorm, the words of Eugene Cash, our wise weekend teacher, pinged in my head: “the only ground you have to stand on is this moment.” And really, that is the good news, it helps me flip the channel from nostalgia to now.

 *** ** *** ** *** ** *** ** ***

On the homestead, now:

The garden is at a gawky adolescent stage. The lettuce and spinach are gangling up lanky and seedy and rough-edged. The broccoli leaves are growing as fast as a 15-year old’s feet. The beets are a bunch of pre-teen girls, all clumped together, wishing for more curves.

Yesterday I spent the morning tucking lettuce seeds into the negative spaces of the garden, where they might wriggle up in the dappled shade of a row of tomatoes, because after eating garden salads daily since February (thanks, coldframe), I still can’t help but announce at dinner “guys, can you believe this lettuce?” as if we’re all on vacation gazing at some tropical novelty, instead of actually eating salad VVXIIX.

Usually our salads are just lettuce and dressing, but Dan made this gorgeous salad with homemade chevre, apple slices, candied pecans (pecans saturated in butter and honey and then roasted), which--the pecans--are some of the more impractical things I've conjured up in my brief kitchen forays lately instead of say, baking bread. If you see my kids and they're a little hyped up and smelling of butter, will you let me know?

Col and Rose are like hungry magpies, plucking each strawberry, pea pod or cherry tomato about 3 seconds after they’re officially ripe, which is exactly what I hoped they would do.

Raspberries on the make:

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

Friends, it has been hot here. Dan keeps stringing tarps up around the yard to make little pockets of shade, which is a fantastic $5.99 solution to 90F. No can bear to cook (except candied pecans, apparently) and I’m testing out a new diet: iced coffee, watermelon and hippie peanut m’n’m’s.

Me, Col, Rose and Mathew reclining under a coveted sliver of shade.

Last week we got our first rain of the season. A fast, hard and brief dousing, what we call a t-storm ’round these parts. Precipitation in the Southwest is always a celebration and an event. I’m one of those people who sticks my head out the window, hollering at the first pitter-patter, inciting every neighborhood dog.

When the rain let up we ran outside. Col built a dam to capture some of the gutter-flowing water.

Rose and her friend Tjarn were in the middle of dressing up, and like damsels at a ball called out to meet an eligible prince, they fled outside without even enough time to put their glass slippers on.

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

On one of our recent scorcher days we drove up to 10,200 feet to bask in the loveliness of the mountains with dear friends. First, we stopped to fill our 5-gallon water jug (and water guns) with spring water.

The destination:

Kati is another friend I met through the blogging world. She invited me over last summer to identify some weeds in her backyard and Col and Rose promptly threw off their clothes, turned on Kati’s hose and made a big mud pit to roll around in. Kati never so much as raised an eyebrow; I’ve loved her ever since.

Iris and Rose in the thimbleberry (wouldn’t it be cool if we all had flower names? What would yours be?)

Mine might be glacier lily:

Thanks so much for all your encouraging, supportive words on my last post. And even if I wasn’t asking permission to spend my summer drinking iced coffee and epic-ing over cucumber tendrils instead of being on the computer, I love that you all want to keep me outside as much as possible.

With love,
Rachel

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17 Responses leave one →
  1. Kathy Smith permalink
    July 6, 2011

    Col looks so healthy! I am so glad you had the courage to go ahead with his surgery. Rose is beautiful and the blog always a welcome break in the action around here. I hope we will see you in the fall.

  2. July 6, 2011

    I’m already a Heather, and I like it that way! : ) Love reading your stories. thanks!

  3. Melissa permalink
    July 6, 2011

    I was so glad you mentioned mindfulness when you did in this post, because it was exactly what I thought of when reading about your nostalgic leanings . . . I am the same way and have been so for as long as I can remember (eg, when I turned 3, I despaired that I would never turn 3 again, sheesh), which is one of the reasons I like the mindfulness practice so much. That is powerful stuff about how you had that retreat just before your water broke . . .

    PS . . . I am a full-fleged BART rider now and just love it–I’m reading books again and everything! Happy summer-ing!

  4. July 6, 2011

    I missed you! Thank you for commenting on the now. It is so important! I wish I could give you some of our extended summer in trade for some sweltering heat. Here, the lettuce lives in full sun, and some plants still think it’s spring! My flower name…??? Hmmm… I suppose it’d have to be selected by someone else. Definitely NOT calla lilly – and probably Rose. I just love those thick, smelly petals!

  5. Melissa permalink
    July 6, 2011

    PPS. calendula!

  6. Ellen permalink
    July 6, 2011

    beautiful children and beets!

  7. July 6, 2011

    The children are some of the happiest I’ve seen loving the land and what it produces..Those beets tops are calling my name :o).

  8. ike permalink
    July 6, 2011

    Great blog and a powerful reminder to enjoy what is available to us and then to be grateful for it. Loved the pictures of barefoot kids in the rain aftermath.

  9. teresa permalink
    July 7, 2011

    always so happy to see other kids riding bikes with no shoes and playing in the dirt! i tell you what mama, i get some odd looks around here sometimes… like kids are supposed to spend their summers clean?! ha!

    beautiful words and photos.

    (also happy to read in your last post that your kids also take afternoon naps and stay up till ten! we do the same thing here… i mean, campfires are only so magical when its still light out. and listening to the foxes and quietly stepping deer is much easier under the cover of actual darkness!)

    continue to enjoy your summer!

    • July 7, 2011

      we do the afternoon nap-stay up late combo as well- makes for better fireworks outings, etc. :)

  10. July 7, 2011

    Hmmm, Calla Lilly? My name is plenty fabulous weird enough, however!

    I love, love, love your photos. It’s great to see the kids being kids. I am particularly in love with views of the mountains (streams, flowers, etc.). You live in a really gorgeous piece of earth.

  11. July 7, 2011

    i think i’d like to be named thimbleberry. i sure would like to eat some… any time now… (lmao at nasty)

  12. July 8, 2011

    I’m not sure what’s growing faster around here, the garden or the kiddo.

    Lots of good, lazy summer days happening here too.

  13. July 10, 2011

    Luckiest kids in the world…what a fine playground they have there in those beautiful mountains and streams.

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