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summer snaps

2016 August 2
by Rachel Turiel

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?

Col: Yup.

Me: What happens in this counseling?

Col: We discuss her needs.

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The borrow-a-dog-to-combat-election-stress plan is working great! Drop your dogs off at Tupperware Heights. We will snuggle them until everyone feels better.

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.

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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.

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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.
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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?

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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.”

Summer snaps:

:: 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.

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:: 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.”

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I was wondering why a ladder was propped up against the shed.

:: My first batch of garlic. Who knew you could haphazardly push a clove into the ground in October and in April it would shoot up green and lush making you feel like a wildly successful gardener.
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:: 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.summersnaps8

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.snaps

:: My beautiful, wise, kind parents. Come back soon, please.summersnaps7

:: Our blessed, odd, urban homestead. Long may it thrive!

snaps5The hot pink in the background are Rose’s upside down legs.

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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:

  1. The half dollar is bigger than a quarter.
  2. You don’t see them all the time.
  3. Might be worth more money someday.
  4. 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,

Rachel

Related posts:

Being the Funk in Tupperware Heights
beginnings
homestead happenings: earnest goodwill


8 Responses leave one →
  1. Becky permalink
    August 2, 2016

    you always bring such joy to my heart
    thank you

  2. mollie permalink
    August 2, 2016

    I could be an alternate snuggler for the dog-snuggling election-destressing program if you need more arms.

  3. caye geer permalink
    August 2, 2016

    I’m just drinking in your marvelous family summer, now that my family is
    all grown and far away. And I can almost taste your vegetables and cherries.
    Such a vibrant column today!

  4. caye geer permalink
    August 2, 2016

    And your kids are hilarious!

  5. August 2, 2016

    Again, such wonderful writing! Thank-you for sharing your life with us.

    Also, I just finished writing my dissertation, and came to read your blog several times in the process, especially when my adviser was critiquing the blandness of my writing. Your words leap off the page! Thank-you for a wonderful example of liveliness in words, and precise and colorful description.

  6. Kyce permalink
    August 2, 2016

    The place is looking good, Rachel!

  7. August 12, 2016

    Delightful post! Thoroughly enjoying my visits with you here ♥

  8. Susan S permalink
    August 14, 2016

    Rachel, lovely as usual. Would you maybe, sometime (perhaps you have already?) talked a little bit about how much of Tupperware Heights’ food supply comes from the homestead, how much comes from bartering goods and services (e.g. exchanging tree-picking services for produce rights, self-serve horse-doodoo supply, road kill, etc.) and how much comes from the grocery store? I would be fascinated to know what the balance looks like and how it shifts in response to things like crop failures, changes in supply/demand of those you barter with and such. I think this is a really interesting subject, and I’d love to know more about how your lovely family manages the logistics of feeding when so much more is involved than a quick stop at Safeway to stock up for the week. As always, I’m touched that you share so much.

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