Skip to content

homelife, classes and other notables

2014 August 12
by Rachel Turiel

Rose: “I wish people never bought things they didn’t need.”

Me: “Really? (Thinking here of Rose’s rotating mental catalogue of things she covets but doesn’t actually need) Why?”

Rose: “Because then they wouldn’t have to have yard sales.

Quiet pause; head scratching.

Rose: “Because I feel left out of all the things I want to buy at yard sales but can’t buy because I’m saving money for a rat.”

Which is to say, we’re making huge strides here. And sure, it’s subtle, but at our house we get really excited about people articulating feelings and needs. Because, hey, we can empathize with that. It’s hard to think of all those polyester old lady blouses getting snapped up by other shoppers.


I, meanwhile, have become a grandmotherly-like parody of my own baby-nostalgic self. Just now, in the library bathroom, I heard a Mama talking to her tiny, non-verbal son in that one-sided conversational way, “Are you ready to go? Should we go have lunch now?” And I had to completely refrain from bombarding the mother at the handwashing sink with how “I used to do that with MY babies! And now, we have ACTUAL CONVERSATIONS!” (Although my friend Sue wonders, reasonably, if all that continuous pre-verbal chatting accounts for having children who can now monologue cheerfully for thirty excruciating minutes at the dinner table).


Dan is actually selling some of these brain-tanned hides. Website coming soon(ish).

Dan is looking ahead to the soon-approaching bow-hunting season, which means he’s trying to tan all of last year’s hides. He carries pots of warm brains through the house, small rotten drips leaping onto our floors. The kids hardly look up from whatever they’re doing, though the smell is the olfactory equivalent of getting slapped across the face. Ultimately, I think we’re all comforted by having ways to mark the seasonal transition: Dan and his hide-tanning, me appraising chokecherries for that ripe purple glow.


And Col? He’s more like his father, daily. He’s inherited his father’s propensity to find useful stuff tossed to the side of the road. Yesterday, walking home from the river, he ferreted from the bushes a left leather glove 3 sizes too big, which he wore home with pride. “Daddy will love this,” he mused.

The rat has landed:classes6

Mama and baby are doing just fine.

I’m teaching some more classes, because I keep getting inspired and want to share. My ability to plan ahead is lacking, because what happens is I’m walking with the kids along the river, and the wild berries are popping and I think how fun it would be to get others excited about these iconic Southwest berries. And, so I am.

Animas River Plant Walk

Monday, August 18th 4:30 – 6pm. Location: Meet at trail on east side of footbridge behind high school. Cost: $15. Kids free with parent.

The riparian berries are abundant this time of year! Learn all about chokecherries, hawthorne berries, buffalo berries, sumac berries, juniper berries and rose hips. We’ll also see some late-season riparian plants and talk about their medicinal uses, historical uses, seed dispersal and more.

Chokecherry Cooking Class

Sunday, August 24th 4-6pm. Location TBA. Cost: $25

In this class we’ll be talking about the natural history of the chokecherry tree, one of the most important plants historically in the Southwest. We’ll make and take home: chokecherry jelly and chokecherry-apple fruit leather. You’ll learn how to separate the flesh from the seeds, how to use and preserve chokecherries with minimal sugar and come home with a variety of recipes. All supplies included. Space is limited.


Chokecherries in action.
To sign up for classes, call my secretary, or e-mail me at sanjuandrive(at)

August blessings to you all!

p.s. Just got the news of Robin Williams’ death. So so sad. Feels like I spent half my childhood watching Mork and Mindy. Dan and I have both lost to suicide (creative, bright, shining, loved) friends who suffered from bipolar disorder. May we all be a beacon of kindness and support to those in need. Wise, clear-hearted Anne Lamott’s take on Robin Williams’ death. Helps, some.

11 Responses leave one →
  1. mollie permalink
    August 12, 2014

    Rose, congrats on your rat! Also, I have to turn away from all the many yard sales right now, too.

  2. Becky permalink
    August 12, 2014

    so happy to see that Rose has her rat. Was also very sad to hear about Robin Williams. I wish I lived closer so that I could take some classes

  3. Andrea permalink
    August 12, 2014

    Nanu nanu.

  4. judith ann henry permalink
    August 12, 2014

    Oh welcome home little Ratsqueegle…..enjoy all of the heart time dear Rose :D

  5. Chi-An permalink
    August 12, 2014

    I can’t help but wonder if all those monologues from me during the early years have resulted in my two monologuists…In particular, I feel like my 10 year old has simply not shut up since he started talking at around 18 months. We’re blessed that at least he doesn’t talk in his sleep. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve told him “Not every thought that comes into your head has to come flying out of your mouth.” Let’s maintain a little mystery!

    Welcome Ratty! We’ve been waiting to adopt a fluffball from our local shelter (a long-haired hamster); he’s been on medical hold and we can’t wait to bring him home.

  6. Rachel Turiel permalink
    August 12, 2014

    Dan just got an order for some brain-tanned buckskin for someone wanting to make a loin cloth. This is getting interesting.

  7. August 13, 2014

    Namaste Noble Grounded Leader Via The Written Word!
    just sending s(om)e Love for you choosing to be who you are, writing from where you are at, and for expressing your pranic essence so eloquently (and craftily)…
    head bowed
    spirit vowed,
    most feeble ilg

  8. August 14, 2014

    Thanks for sharing such a good idea, post is fastidious, thats why i have read it entirely

  9. August 17, 2014

    Normally I don’t read post on blogs, but I would like to
    say that this write-up very compelled me to take a look at and do so!
    Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thanks, very great post.

  10. August 19, 2014

    I love what you guys tend to be up too. This type of
    clever work and coverage! Keep up the terrific works guys I’ve added you guys to my blogroll.

  11. September 20, 2014

    It’s amazing to go to see this website and readiing the
    views of all friends on the topic of this article, while I am also zealous of getting

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

%d bloggers like this: