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homestead happenings: wanted and welcome

2013 October 30
by Rachel Turiel


Our little October towny.

We’re in the final stretch of fall here. It’s breathtaking and melancholy, per usual. I found myself belting out Total Eclipse of the Heart along with Bonnie Tyler in the car last night, all nostalgic and deeply moved, because that’s what fall does to you. The oaks are extinguished, and now the cottonwoods are all flamey yellow. Every time I see them I warn myself: This is it. After eight months of something new and beautiful every week, the big off switch of winter is coming.

Dan is home from hunting with a nice buck deer. It’s so good to have him back. He’s like this gravitational force pulling us all back to center, or at least to cleanliness and solid ethics. I found this note I wrote about Dan being gone, “we all get a little unstrung and undone,” which may or may not have referred to how after finding our cat’s kibbly puke in the solarium, I walked right past it, knowing the nighttime raccoons would clean it up soon enough.


Col skateboarding down cul-de-sac heaven.


Longboard lessons.

Right now, Rose is honoring the spirit of Lou Reed, singing “the colored girls go doo doo doo doo da doo,” while appraising her dancing reflection in the window. Col is asking, “would it be okay if I started a very small fire in the yard?” So, you know, just the usual. Col, who bravely slept alone the eight nights Dan was gone (because Rose was in my room), told Rose he was ready for her to come back and sleep in their room, which is the closest they get to saying I really like you.

oct13Col’s new hobo lantern: pinyon sap melted onto cotton fabric: burns and burns and burns… (Thanks Grady James for the inspiration).

This morning when the two kids tumbled into my bed, I told them how special it was to be a loved child. How lucky to be able to run down the hallway and flop into our bed with no prior appointment, no money exchanged, to tuck themselves into the envelopes of our bodies. To know that at any time of day they are wanted and welcomed. They laughed, because what other reality is there? and then asked for breakfast.

On the homestead:
:: The butchering was smooth, and I know I say it every year, but it’s true in a truer way this year: the kids were certifiably helpful. Each kid got a chunk of meat, knife and a spot at the big cutting board. They butchered exactly like their personalities. Rose was tidy and precise, Col was experimental and kinesthetic. You know how I love this work, the intimacy of it, the celebration of it, the way it makes me feel deeply wealthy.
Notice here that I’m not even watching them. That’s what I mean by certifiably helpful.
I love this picture of Dan telling hunting stories and Col, rapt. Also, this is a deer hind leg. It’s down to the “raggely” ends, as Rose says. After reading An Everlasting Meal, a gorgeous and practical book about cooking and eating (thank you for your recommendations!), in which Tamar Adler suggests buying meat bones for economy, taste and versatility, we saved the deer bones, all with bits of clinging meat, fat and tendon. (Somehow I was under the impression that the bones and connective tissue were “gamey:” wrong!) I simmered a shoulder (cut into 2 pieces) for 24 hours with dried mushrooms, a few celery stalks, a heap of salt, and then pulled the insanely tender meat off the bones, extracted the marrow, and added both back to the stock. Next, I added onions, garlic, pumpkin and cabbage and simmered for another few hours. I am a little reborn: bone-broth evangelical.

This may be the story about coming upon a black bear nestled down in its den.


The doll sling that is now a bikini top on the girl who looks forward to wearing a bra.

:: Rose is still seeking an external uterus when a family member can’t be with her. She is tearily vehement about needing to be picked up before music class at school, which is odd, considering how she’s almost never not singing. Last night, over dinner (deer heart, marinated and grilled, which is as delicious as any cut of meat you’ve ever tasted), Dan told stories about how he cried every day of kindergarten, and then was shocked and horrified to learn that after kindergarten, it wasn’t over. There was first grade. In first grade he got beat up by a girl. By 9th grade, everything was settling down, until his older brother’s wrestling coach pressured Dan to join the wrestling team. Dan didn’t want to wrestle, but did anyway. He practiced five days/week and then had a match every Saturday, and you know what? He became the top wrestler in his weight class. His story was so compelling, so brave and so unlike the slacker and slightly illicit stories of my own childhood, we all piled on his lap for a family hug. Rose still didn’t want to go to music, though.

:: From the gallery of carrots, 2013:

Please bring me a martini and a cigarette, dahling:


The challah-bread carrot:


The giant orange squid:


2011’s gallery of carrots here.

There’s snow in the forecast. And venison sausage. And carrots. And a weird holiday in which Col is dressing up as mad scientist and Rose as his pet bat. And even more love flung at children who are both the receivers and givers of the gift of always being wanted and welcome.



ps: winner for Ready for Air giveaway is Stephinie. Will check and see if I have your address and get back to you. xo

26 Responses leave one →
  1. October 30, 2013

    That photo of Col and Dan is worth 1,000,000 words.

  2. October 30, 2013

    My guess. Someone is being mean to Rose. Somehow a place or person that felt safe doesn’t any more. So she comes back to where she is always safe. Her family. (OK, enough of my distance pop psychology). LOVE the Dan story. Teaching our kids how to face their fears is probably in my top 5 for most important life lessons there is. And we all get there differently. There is no one right answer for everyone. Hugs.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      October 30, 2013

      Yes on teaching kids to face their fears. It’s so tempting to protect and shelter, and truly I have no idea how to do this the right way for Rose.

  3. brenda permalink
    October 30, 2013

    Just love reading about your family! I just love fall also….almost over, winter almost upon us! From Aztec, NM…. :) Your kiddos are adorable….gotta love them!!!

  4. October 30, 2013

    Oh, Rachel, I could just wrap myself in your words and make it through the winter. Lovely, just lovely. Enjoy your snow, venison, and carrot challah. Sounds like a nice little pseudo-Shabbat to me. xo

  5. Ellie permalink
    October 30, 2013

    I love the love with which you write about your kids.

  6. Carly permalink
    October 30, 2013

    “And even more love flung at children who are both the receivers and givers of the gift of always being wanted and welcome.”
    Oh man. After a few tough days with my girls, especially my 6yo, I really needed the reminder that is wrapped up in this sentence. Thank you!

  7. Kathy permalink
    October 30, 2013

    I can’t help but wonder what childhood was like in 1900 in Durango as I watch your children grow the same age as my grandmother (1894) and her bigger brother (1892). How did they help? How much venison did they consume and who did the hunting? Did they smoke the meat for the winter? The women did the canning and filled the cellar with fruits and some vegetables. They probably all pitched in for the garden cleanup. They would have already have lots of coal in the bin; I also know it would have been delivered from time to time. So enjoyable to compare.
    They lived right down the road from you, but your home had not yet been built. The road might have been there, coming down off the mesa toward Junction Creek…

  8. October 30, 2013

    such goodness as always xxx

  9. Sarah Z permalink
    October 30, 2013

    I love the way you write about your family. So heartwarming and humorous and humble. I have been thinking about bone broth lately, and might just have to try it, though my husband is a surfer and not a hunter, so I will have to call upon my meat raising farmer friends for bones. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      October 30, 2013

      Let me know if you have any questions about bone broth. It’s pretty magical stuff. When you put these hard, seemingly inert bones into water and 48 hours later the water is full of crazy healthful stuff, you sort of feel like you’ve just spun straw into gold…or something like that.

  10. Andrea permalink
    October 30, 2013


    and yes, making your own bone broth is so strangely rewarding. like you made something out of nothing.

  11. Karen H. permalink
    October 30, 2013

    Love it Rachel, your words reach deep and I am now looking even more forward to my boys hunt in a few weeks. I have never made bone broth but would like to and I want to try Col’s lantern sounds like a good outdoor lamp on this cold winter night. :) Thank you hope to see you soon. Karen

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      October 31, 2013

      Karen, Col would like to teach hobo lantern making at the next Frosty Pines homeschool day, which can’t come soon enough for his tastes. Also, best of luck to your hunting boys.

  12. October 30, 2013

    Another beautiful post… Yes, our children are so blessed to be wanted and welcomed!

    And those carrots are some funny!!!

  13. Chris permalink
    October 30, 2013

    The first pic of the carrot looks a lot like a ginseng root from back home (except for the color it is a dead ringer for panax quinquefolia)! Loved this post.

  14. Morgan permalink
    October 30, 2013

    Love the intimate look inside your family life… “How lucky to be able to run down the hallway and flop into our bed with no prior appointment…to tuck themselves into the envelopes of our bodies.” Good writing, and good wisdom, to boot.

  15. October 31, 2013

    The effect of daddy being gone here is quite similar. What a difference he makes!

    That shot of Rose and her big girl self is gorgeous.

  16. October 31, 2013

    after following you for ??? a while. felt compelled to finally comment. you are awesome.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      November 1, 2013

      Thanks Laura, for saying hi.

  17. November 1, 2013

    I love making my way through the seasons with you and your family.

  18. Amy Morrison permalink
    November 3, 2013

    The photo of Dan and Col made me cry, still crying actually.
    You’re awesome.

  19. November 9, 2013

    I love the whole story that start with Rose still wanting an external uterus. (I love when I give myself a chance to catch up on your blog.)

  20. November 9, 2013

    *starts (oy) :)

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