homestead happenings: expansion
(Sorry to leave you so long with creepy chicken feet).
I call tell spring is close because my brain is swelling with ideas and projects. (Does this happen to you?) This just from yesterday:
*develop creative writing class for girls (and boys?), 9-12.
*organize meditation/Buddhist study group for parents.
*take kids on first backpacking trip!
*help Col explore his athletic grace by finding martial arts or hip hop class.
*invite Col’s homeschooling girl friends who claim to hate math over for day of Math Games are Fun!
*write more guest posts about homeschooling for homeschool website. (1st guest post coming soon!)
*teach summer-long class on local plant families.
There are small slivers of day when anything seems possible, when my mind inflates with airy potential, when I call ideas to my consciousness like birds to seeds. This occurs roughly from 5:30am – 5:45 am. Before the deluge of children and chicken chores. Before I remember to worry about our resident skunk and his bad manners. Before it’s clear there’s been an overnight uprising in our “shoe area,” snow boots flinging themselves into the arms of sandals, each making a muddy break for freedom.
Next, the mental Critic and Time Keeper are roused from their night off and begin rolling the documentary about how I’m already overcommited and Col doesn’t even have his times tables memorized yet. The balloon of my mind contracts, whooshing down into something small and airless.
I snuggle the children, feed the chickens, kick the shoes back into submission, and flex my muscles of trust. I wait for the next morning, the next quiet, unencumbered moment, listening and receptive, knowing anything worth my time will return, like a migrating spring bird.
Apparently Col’s bypassed the need for actual sleeve cuffs.
What’s happening right now is that Col has been spotted READING. Not just skimming pictures, but glancing up from his book, remarking, “That’s cool that submarines and bats both use sonar.”
“Yup, pretty cool.” I agree, while my heart cartwheels into a new plane called Reading for Pleasure is the Portal into Infinite Worlds.
Rose is in a frenzy of drawing and writing, her skin perpetually marked up with pen. Not to say you could recognize many actual words. It’s more like she’s in the historical human pre-literate phase, heavy on consonants and on the verge of great breakthroughs. I think of our human ancestors just before becoming masters of fire, perhaps obsessed with lightning strikes the way Rose is compelled to scratch a pen across any paper, furniture, her own legs. She tells me proudly, “I know all of the letters, just none of the unknown letters.”
She brought me this note while I was in the bath: Mom, can I take a bath I would love to but if that doesn’t work we can have a bath tomorrow.
Last night at dinner he tells us about finding a little blood in a deer bed recently, tasting it, and…
“Oh yeah, I often find blood in deer beds,” he replies as if discussing the laundry, then launches into various hypotheses on the causes of said blood. Meanwhile, the kids are like, ho hum, typical Daddy.
Dan keeps referring to the upcoming summer as “The Summer of Love,” and then winkingly adding, “or Love-Making.”
On the homestead:
:: The cold frame plants are also expanding under the spring sun.
We’re harvesting actual food from the cold frames, which means the whole family is subjected to my emotional Oscar-veggie acceptance speeches about how I never ever ever imagined we’d be eating bok choi in March. Gratitude and all the little people and such.
:: Dan is following in the tradition of his own father, pushing the kids just a little farther than their comfort zone on hikes. He’s the Vanna White of the woods, all enthusiasm for what’s up ahead. “Have you seen the cartwheel mat, Rosie? No? Oh, you’ll love it. Just a little farther.”
:: Rose has been manifesting again. On a recent hike, a sweet, human-less, border collie joined us. Rose threw sticks for her, hugged her and bounded through the oakbrush alongside her. When we got to the parking lot and found no owner, I announced “We’d better take her home.” “HOME!?!?” Rose shrieked. “Her home,” I clarified. Rose, who had dog treats in the car (What? Why does Rose travel with dog treats?), rode in the back with Molly and kept her well-fed until we returned her home. (Note to locals: Rose is a very competent and professional dog-walker/dog-sitter).
We also found an Abert’s squirrel tail and the squirrel’s bark-stripped ponderosa pine twigs, which Col carried like a talisman.
:: Have I told you that our family has our own personal hair cutter who comes to our house? Well, Joanie now comes with a bonus assistant. P.S. If anyone knows where to buy one of those haircutting practice heads, I know what Rose is getting for her 7th birthday.
Though I’m always up for more snow, spring seems to be settling in. Truthfully, we didn’t have much of a winter. As Col’s friend Mathew explains, “It was spring, then summer, then fall, and now it’s spring again.” Fair enough. Someone in New York recently told me about ten foot high snow drifts. “I’m jealous,” I replied. He laughed in disbelief. So I launched a cumbersome explanation of how in the Southwest, any moisture is welcome. And then we both shook our heads on our cross-country phones, thinking, “whatever.”
:: Spring sports.
Who knows which of today’s Spring Ideas and Projects will come to fruition. Or tomorrow’s. But, if you want to co-organize a meditation group for parents, sign your kid up for a spring writing class, or have some chicken feet to offload, you know who to call.