homestead happenings: but spring was comin’ on
I’m at the coffee shop. Robert Earl Keen is on the radio, his weathered voice singing: “a chill north wind was blowin’/but spring was coming on/as I wondered to myself just how long I had been gone….and when I caught your eye, I saw you break into a grin, feel so good, feeling good again.”
This song transports me—instantly—to the bundle of years Dan and I lived in a houseful of revolving friends. We put a ping pong table in our sunroom, around which ad hoc parties sprung up nightly. Our friends stopped by, our housemates’ friends stopped by, until everyone blurred happily together, and there was always someone calling “winner” on the next game.
Our 2 kittens scrabbled around the straw floor chasing ping pong balls. Someone’s dog sniffed around looking for remnants of the last elk butchering session. Joints burned. Hours passed. Dan’s bows hung on the wall, my chard plants exhaled greenness into the night air.
If Allen Mathews was there, he’d pick up his guitar, start strumming and singing: So I strolled across ‘ol Main St, down a flight of stairs/I stepped into the hall and saw all my friends were there/ a neon sign was flashing, welcome, come on in/it feels so good, feelin’ good again.
At the time I didn’t know who wrote this, just that Allen could always be counted on to play it – so much that it just felt like the musical accompaniment to our young lives, the very anthem of being 26 and unencumbered, of being cushioned in an extended family of friends.
Today at the coffee shop Robert Earl Keen’s gravely voice (though I still hear Allen’s–who’s moved to Portland, naturally—voice) sings: a chill north wind was blowin’/but spring was coming on/as I wondered to myself just how long I had been gone.
Here at 6512 feet, spring is like a new baby we’re all crowded around. The apricot trees are decked out in white blossoms, snow is like a rare bird sighting winging through the air, the grass is greening up electric, and I’m wondering just how long I had been gone.
On the homestead:
:: There’s suddenly things to do in the garden, even if it’s mostly just strolling around waiting for weeds to pop up so I can eagerly pull them. Or eat them.
Dandelion greens on tacos (Liz Farr: your bowls still star in our meals every night!)
:: The homeschool co-op kids planted peas in our garden yesterday. Tthis was after Col mused cheerfully about the squash seed they each planted a month ago: “It’s funny, my squash is the biggest even though I’m the smallest!” Word, little man.
Mathew and Seneca planting climbing peas.
I gave Col and Kiva the choice to plant shelling peas in rows or just willy-nilly. I wasn’t prepared for the happiness that the phrase willy-nilly would bring them.
:: Col and Rose both upgraded to the next-size-up bike, and we’ve been hopping on our foot-powered steeds as often as possible. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I both love riding bikes with the kids and doing so gives me 10 heart attacks a minute.
Last weekend, we rode bikes to the river with friends. Another friend met us on the sandy beach and still others passed by on the foot bridge, spotted and joined us. Soon there were 7 adults (5 of which were former ping-pongers), 8 kids, multiple sunburns and that feeling of having crawled out of winter to find that spring’s neon sign was flashing, welcome, come on in/it feels so good, feelin’ good again..
:: When Dan totes home elk poop for me from a recent hike, I get that sweet feeling that he’s always thinking of me.
strawberries sipping nitrogen nuggets
:: So, I’m on my second batch of kombucha, and I still can’t tell if I’m brewing a fermented soda of health, or just, y’know, a soda.
kombucha hobnobbing with soaking pintos.
:: This look can only be translated as: I’m onto you and your fidgety, swinging legs, sister.
:: The other night Col requested to wash dishes. He washed one, singular pot for 1/2 of the Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits album.
This counter space you see? Pretty much all we got.
:: Remember how in that podcast I talked about ignoring kids AKA giving them space to get bored and then creative? Last week, Col, Rose and their friend Mathew had a spontaneous yard sale in our front yard. They engineered the entire thing and let me know they didn’t want me participating. Mathew squeaked out a complimentary Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on the violin. They each made $2.25 and some new friends.
:: What’s kind of crazy, or maybe perfectly logical, is that 12 years later we still hang out with so many of those friends from the ping-pong days…now our kids are all buddies. It’s like a magical Disneyland ride that goes on and on forever. This is our dear friend Ben, who, incidentally, was there that night in 2000 when the ping pong table got set up, reading to our collective brood of children.
When I came home from the coffee shop, we got the kids set up with quiet time and I told Dan I had a song to play for him. I queued up Feeling Good Again on YouTube, and we held each other and laughed (okay, I cried a little) at the absurdity and beauty of it all.