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homestead happenings: the now of the right now

2013 February 5
by Rachel Turiel

Have we been talking so much about recipes here lately, and (my lovely) sponsors, and parenting the feral youth, that you’re wondering about the bigger questions? Like how’s Col’s experiment in growing out his hair is going? Or, has Dan wrangled a way to quit work early so he won’t miss what’s known as, “buck hour,” when the rowdy bucks spar behind our house at 5:30 every night?

5:32 pm

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Well, thanks for asking. Here’s the now of the Right Now.

The Daddy:

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Hi. Just butchering up some of those good roadside steaks that seem to come our way in winter.

Dan is watching through our windows, binoculars pressed to his face, the buck deer starring in their own episode of Wildlife Planet on our oaky neighborhood corner. (And my god, it is like that, what with 5 – 7 bucks milling around, tugging at snowy grass, until one of them is like: hey, we haven’t fought for a few minutes. Look alive – gotta keep our ratings up, guys!) 

“Tall tines* has a real limp,” Dan reports, marking notes on his chart, yes, his chart, which catalogues the whereabouts and who’s who of all the regulars. His favorite is “the old man,” whose ears are chewed up like a favorite stuffed animal, and who fends off young contenders just by raising his raggedy thick antlers in their pitiful direction.

* antler tines are the points.

* other notable bucks: small forky, junior tag-a-long, big crab claw.

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Quartet of working bows.

Dan is currently working on a chokecherry bow, sanding and rasping and bending this piece of wood in his shop after the kids are asleep. He’ll tell you about it if you ask, but he’s just as happy to quietly perform the work of transformation. As he works the wood, it is no doubt working him as well.


The girl:

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Rose says, “I’m going to run all the way to Abi’s house (6 blocks away, uphill), and she does. She squints her eyes against the cold, squeezes her hands into fists and propels her short-stack body up the mountain of Crestview Dr. You can almost hear the Chariots of Fire soundtrack piped in from the dirty snow drifts as she bursts through the finish line of her own mind.

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She could be spokeswoman for the new Facebook group, “Girl Power,” the way she runs with the pack of boys we seem to attract. She’s fierce and earnest and kind. She runs our household like air-traffic control, reminding me “don’t pack any macadamias in my lunch; I won’t eat them,” while answering my phone and taking messages, and then correcting Col, who’s reading Cat in the Hat when he gets confused between “how” and “who.”

And everyday, there is something like this for me:

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The boy:

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This morning when I sent Col off to homeschool co-op at Seneca’s house, he asked what I packed him for lunch. “Elk, beans and cheese, in your thermos,” I told him. “Oh good, that’s my favorite,” he replied, as if we didn’t eat it, oh, every other meal, including already for breakfast today snugged in a tortilla.

I suppose it’s parentally-correct to be totally neutral about whatever your kids are currently pursuing, but secretly I’m cheering for Col’s free spirited, courageous self, who explained to me, matter-of-factly, when I asked him how it felt to be occasionally mistaken for a girl, “well, when you have long hair, some people will mistake you for a girl.”

Which is pretty much the update on his long hair.

Yesterday, Col asked me: “Is Obama starting to talk about climate change yet?” like the concerned citizen he is, and then proceeded to ink up a forest worth of paper in attempts to capture perfectly the latest sea serpent capsizing an unsuspecting ship.

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I liked this one.


hh - rigthnow20 And me? I am finding that my mind is getting stuck on the familiar setting: “overwhelm.”  Which I think may be the subtitle to the book “Perfectionism,” you know, that book that has only two sentences: you have to get everything right and there’s never enough time. So, I’m trying to return this book to my mind’s librarian with a “thank you, perfectionism, for trying to care for me and protect me all these years. You’ve probably saved my ass a few times. Now, can I check the book out called, Trust?”

On the homestead:

:: Where it all takes place.


Looking back from “buck central” AKA our sled hill.

:: We just finished Island of the Blue Dolphins. What a gorgeously sad book (based on a true story of a native girl who lived alone on an island off California for 18 years!). If your kids are OK with death and loneliness and a little bit of warfare in their literature, I highly recommend it.

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:: With Rose’s homeschool co-op, known as “Little Sprouts,” last week we talked about Martin Luther King’s work, and which singular word encompassed it (“peace!” and “freedom!” the 5-year olds shouted). Then we talked about our own dreams—in a word—for our lives right now. And then the Little Sprouts, Interpersonal Transformation School painted their words on rocks.

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Sweet, sweet babies, may all of your dreams come true…well except the candy ones, Rose.

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Choice. I am infinitely comforted by the fact that although I’m not always in control of what happens in my life, I have a choice of how I respond. 

:: We’ve been on a goo ball kick. These chocolate-cherry nugs would be fabulous Valentines Day gifts. What do you think about adding a little cayenne to the mix?

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:: This is what passing time, beauty and friendship looks like.

Mathew and Rose, 2013

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Mathew and Rose, 2008

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With Love and February (February!) birdsong,


ps: I’ve included some links to some of my favorite old (elderly?) blog posts on the side bar, down low. Will change up, periodically.


16 Responses leave one →
  1. February 5, 2013

    Love the sea serpent picture. He’s becoming a real artist. I can see it. Oh, and I’ll take Rose’s macadamia nuts. Little balls of butter. What’s not to love?

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      February 5, 2013

      Ha! I know. The thing about Rose is she’ll eat her weight in macadamias on most days, but if she says not to put them in her lunch on a particular day, well…shit. I just nod and obey.

  2. February 5, 2013

    I read Island of the Blue Dolphins a couple of years ago…when I was 50! Yes, so bittersweet.
    Love the sea serpent pic! Very good!
    And love the pics of Rose and Mathew. :o)

  3. February 5, 2013

    I love your slice-of-life posts. Col and Rose are awesome!
    My dad does the same thing with naming bucks… We used to live by a cemetery where a bunch of them congregated. His favorites were a pair he called simply “the twins”, because he had seen them go from twin fawns to young bucks. There was also a family of gophers that we gave the same last name as the one carved into the headstone they lived beside.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      February 6, 2013

      Funny. We have tons of deer (and occasional fox and turkey) in our local cemetary, that the first time Col saw a cemetary in another town, at 3 years old, he said: “hey, look! A wildlife area!”

  4. February 5, 2013

    So great to catch up with your family!

  5. Ellen permalink
    February 5, 2013

    What a pleasure to get caught up on all your activities. I can’t get enough!

  6. February 5, 2013

    I love your wildlife kingandqueendom. And “choice” painted on the rock – amen to the sentiment that goes with it. Preach it, sister!

  7. February 5, 2013

    you kiddin’ me?
    babes with handmade bows?!?!
    sign me up!

    How Blessed Are We, these precious daze?!?!

    tell Dan that ilg REALLY needs to c(om)e over a fire a few quiver-fulls!
    (dude, that was a FUN sentence to scribe!)

  8. February 6, 2013

    I am forwarding this post to my husband who can’t get enough of news of Dan and his handmade bows. I can’t get enough of news of your family in general. xo

  9. anne permalink
    February 6, 2013

    Love this post! And totally unrelated, I wanted to thank you for your recommendation of “Peace Like a River” several posts back, I’m gobbling it up during (frequent, newborn) nursing sessions.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      February 7, 2013

      Yay! So glad you’re loving it. I sort of miss it and am waiting the appropriate length of time before diving back in for another session with it.

  10. Molly Wieser permalink
    February 8, 2013

    I think the length of Col’s hair is bringing out his cheekbones. And you and Rose both look badass, with your bows. And I so appreciate that Dan’s obsessive interests dovetail nicely with feeding your family, as opposed to some other common hobbies I can think of, like most of mine. It’s funny, you are a perfectionist, and don’t feel great about it, and I am a non-perfectionist, and not always feeling great about that. If the options are (A) changing, or (B) changing my feelings about how I am, maybe I would choose (C) Losing interest in myself, more. But that seems unlikely to happen soon.

  11. February 8, 2013

    Wow. Those bucks are better than any tv show.
    And I loved looking through some of your older posts. Your home and yard has undergone an amazing transformation!

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