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summer 2016

2016 July 6
by Rachel Turiel

summer2Summer is this precious bird, so exotic and lovely and fleeting. Miracles are occurring daily in the garden, by which I mean sun + rain + soil = food, which sounds somewhat like 2nd grade biology, but still, it astonishes me every season. It’s like there’s some unseen force plumping up peaches and luring bean plants to the sky.

Our house has become an accordion, expanding with children and then squeezing them out into the yard, the street, the trampoline. Rose knows all the neighbors’ knocks. Pound pound pound. That’s Kamea. Soft repetitive raps. Chloe and Jordan. Owen and Lyle burst through the door and then knock as an afterthought. No one is turned away.


This is a subliminal message: you will now pour your coffee into ice cube trays.

The days last forever and still we can’t seem to unpack soggy bathing suits, send off the water bill, find the escaped rat. (Dan comes in from tanning hides and I say, “Rat’s on the lam.” And he sighs, “Is this the same being lost as this morning, or is this a new being lost?”) A little summer homeschooling sounds like a really good idea, but, what –  I’m going to pry the kids from their lego airport building/novel reading/street soccer practice to run through multiplication tables?

Bedtime is a moving target, hovering farther in the distance each night, the children breaking free from their bunkbeds and appearing by our bedside at hours that used to belong only to me and Dan.


For the grandparents: we’re not totally off the homeschooling wagon. Col reading his work at the kids creative writing class I’m teaching. In our yard. To his best friends. It’s very formal.

I’ve given up on cooking. It’s just too repetitive and heat-producing. Everyone can fry their own egg and forage for a popsicle. Last week before heading out to Junction Creek for the day I threw some sweet potato chips into the leftover rice I was heating up for Col and immediately felt redeemed. Steamed chips, people. I couldn’t tell if I was a kitchen genius or shameless slacker. Turns out I forgot to pack him a spoon, but Col found one at the base of a cottonwood tree, which turned out to be the very spoon I left there several days ago. Or close enough.

This is the time of year I move through the garden like a life coach, supporting every plant to be their best. I spent this morning yanking laboriously transplanting the many dill and cosmos seedlings that sprouted in the carrot patch back in May, seeming just like cute neighbors at the time.


Rose likes to take a few trips around the yard on her yard sale crutches everyday while she’s waiting for something exciting to happen.

Rose has been extremely excited about making mint tea from the garden—Watch, I don’t need any help. I can do this all by myself, Mama—and less excited about drinking it. It’s like living with a raccoon, our house and yard full of half-finished glasses of murky-colored water.

The strangest development is I’ve been getting out early and running with my dog-friend, Lucy. I am the waddliest, most awkward runner and sometimes feel I should offer an explanation to the other morning trail users, like why I’m panting while moving so slowly. My goal is 30 minutes, but if a Taylor Swift song comes on Rosie’s iPod at 28 minutes, I am good for a full 32, and while Taylor sings “I’m feeling 22…” I retort: “X two, babe,” and then endorphin all the way home busting the Tupperware Heights finish line tape.

Sometimes I can’t believe we get this rare bird gift called summer. Today, Col and a small posse of friends spent the morning gathered around the lego pile, collaborating on the spaceships of their dreams. Meanwhile, outside, Rose and her girlfriends lounged on the trampoline, talking. I wanted to eavesdrop on these kids all morning, these happy, giggling, engaged children. But I had a few hundred dill and cosmos seedlings to find homes for.


:: Our sweet rat is on hospice. She has some incurable tumors and is expected to live just a matter of months. She’s in no pain and as friendly as ever. The good thing is that now we all feel mandated to offer her homemade almond milk and other treats from our fridge.

:: Gotta love a piano teacher who offers outdoor lessons:summer5

:: Dan’s new mushroom cards! Available in his etsy shop (Right, Dan? You did list them, yes?). Also, see the summer issue of Edible Southwest Colorado for more of his art.


:: I can’t believe I get to share a planet with Parry’s primrose.


:: And, that squat alpine sunflower: old man on the mountain:summer10

:: Rose and I went on a mother/daughter backpacking trip! She loved it, mostly because her borrowed pack “had all these zippers I could put snacks in!” Good enough for me.


:: Scrabble at 11,000 feet. Pinch me.




8 Responses leave one →
  1. Susan Harris permalink
    July 6, 2016

    You are the best writer!

  2. July 6, 2016

    That’s one fantastic looking summer!

  3. Sara Parks permalink
    July 6, 2016

    Love it. Love it!

  4. July 6, 2016

    I haven’t checked in for a long time….always nice to see you all doing well and catching up on your adventures. Continued blessings to you all. Lori

  5. July 6, 2016

    Just discovered your journal today. Enjoying it so much ♥

  6. Rachel permalink
    July 6, 2016

    This is the perfect synthesis of all things summer. Hoping your rat has some peaceful last days :)

  7. July 14, 2016

    I love this.
    Of course, writing & music lessons belong outside this time of year!!! :) We are outside under the cherry trees pretty much as soon as the snow melts. We’re also restructuring our school “year” this year. We’ve taken June and July off so far and will start back up later this month. I’m still working out how to take the times off we need to to live our lives our way and get those 174 days on the attendance calendar.

    Well, I DID count the Mycology 101 Class they participated in yesterday afternoon north of Purg. And I’m looking forward to cooking up all those Aspen Boletes they brought back for dinner tonight!

    Can I just say how jealous I am of your garden? Mine both appear to be completely stagnated. I should be harvesting now (I think) and I’m still just staring at pathetic seedlings. Grr.

    I loved your intro in the current Edible SWCO magazine! I lived in China for a time and shopped street markets for pretty much everything. It is such a different way of life. Somehow, our Dgo Farmers Market just isn’t the same. It does certainly smell better though!

  8. Solyssa permalink
    July 20, 2016

    Love it! Thanks for making me smile repeatedly while looking at my computer at work.

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