Rose is fumbling in her wallet while explaining to me that she owes Col a dollar.
Me: Oh yeah? What for?
Rose: For giving me a massage, painting my nails and counseling.
Me: (turning to Col) Counseling?
Me: What happens in this counseling?
Col: We discuss her needs.
Turns out summer is this strange phenomenon, parts of it warp-speeding by while I gape in bewilderment and panic. Other minutes stretch into a sticky eternity of frenzied boredom, everyone flinging themselves and their neurosis cumbersomely around the house.
The days I like best are when we’re all together for these brief cosmic stretches of harmony, everyone living out their particular notion of home. Col whistles a symphony while snapping together legos in the cool, dark opium den of his room. Rose zips around the garden, pulling carrots, snarfing hard, unripe, stomach-acidifying grapes and presenting me with assortments of palm-sweaty berries. Dan is in some stage of hide-tanning, which looks a lot like the exact stage he was at last week, last month, last year because it’s all a little pleasingly repetitive.
Behind Rose is the deer/elk hair pile, a byproduct of tanning so many hides. Filed under: strange things that have proven to be useful that you can find in our yard.
The vultures are circling to the south. Tomatoes are both mundanely and miraculously turning red. One chicken is flaunting a worm she just nabbed while her sisters chase her. And I am in the garden contemplating our latest set of non-problems, like: how can I get adult salads (kale, chard, arugula) to merge with kid salads (lettuce, lettuce and more lettuce)? Should Rose be paying Col for his services? (And, could I benefit from Col’s counseling services?) How did my kids become such capitalists? Who’s going to homeschool my kids if there is an uprising in the house and Dan and I revolt?
Growing a garden is such an unruly way to eat. We’re currently in a frenzied prosperity of spinach. A mutiny of green leaves winks suggestively, and slightly threateningly, from the garden. Eat me. Water me. Save me from bolting. Hey, hey you! Yet, in another week, spinach will be scarce and we’ll all be crying from missing it. We’re just safely passing out of our cherry-abundance, when we all had a daily quota and the cherries would ripen a little more fully every time we turned our backs; now we are hording the last few bags. There is no moderation.
Our monsoon season seems to have started (!!), which for Col means playing soccer in the rain; for me it means the garden can finally be all it wants to be, and for Rose, well, yesterday she told me, “I have a problem. When my clothes get wet from rain I leave them in a pile and they get stinky.”
:: We just finished up the cherry harvest, now moving onto apricots. We’ve secured picking options to several apricot trees and are now feeling a deep sense of security.
:: Did you want a rat update? Well, despite grim prognoses from the extremely compassionate and competent people at Kindness Animal Hospital (who not only don’t laugh at us for showing up with our ragged, elderly rat, but call to check on her and Rose), the little rodent seems to be thriving in her avocado-snarfing golden years. Every night I pray that if she has to die today, please let it not be between the hours of 7pm and 9pm, which would greatly disrupt bedtime.
:: Driving home from the mountains recently and listening to our one car music option—the radio!—Dan started beat boxing.
“Dadeeeeee!” Rose protested in embarrassment.
“What? You didn’t know Daddies could be cool? I was cool before you were even born.”
I was wondering why a ladder was propped up against the shed.
:: We spent almost two weeks with my dear cousin Amy, her husband and their three boys. It was ridiculous fun. I want them to move here immediately. Amy had spiritual experiences picking cherries and walking through the chest-high wildflowers, you know, the things we do every July.
Amy’s sons were endlessly fascinated with Dan, who always seemed to be into some project that involved antlers, animal brains, knives, etc… Here are two cousin-boys not missing a second of Dan sawing off a dead chokecherry limb at our campsite.
:: Our blessed, odd, urban homestead. Long may it thrive!
Col is trying to get me to give him a dollar bill in exchange for a half dollar coin. He lists the four reasons he thinks I should agree:
- The half dollar is bigger than a quarter.
- You don’t see them all the time.
- Might be worth more money someday.
- He found it in the driveway so it’s good luck.
“I like that you thought this out,” I tell my little Alex P. Keaton, “but I aint no suckah.”
Col: (thinking) “Okay. Then will you give me 75 cents?”
Enjoy the rest of summer friends,