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2016 September 6
by Rachel Turiel

Oh September.

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The end.

If I had just one more arm I could read to the kids while pitting plums. Or, make this while sweeping soccer mud off the floor. The grapes are purpling, the tomatoes are juicing up, the apricots are conducting their own middle school biology fruit-fly experiment. (I recently taught a canning class in which I explained that if you opened an apricot and found a little white worm, just discard it with the pit; the apricot is fine. Later—like 2 seconds later—I wondered if that’s the sort of advice that keeps me from rising like a star in my field. Just kidding, I don’t really have a field.)

New September chores are inventing themselves, like: clip spent cosmos flowers daily to prevent the deposit of billions of seeds, while swooning over the pinkness of those in bloom. Or, teach Rosie to actually bring green beans, cherry tomatoes and grapes inside rather than simply raccooning around the yard (just kidding, I love how she grazes at the backyard buffet). Dan says,”it’s that season when you have a sneaking suspicion that there’s something lurking in the fridge or garden that you should be eating.” Indeed. I am haunted by a 5-pound turnip.

We’ve started homeschooling again, meaning another year of experimentation and prayer. However, we walked out of the library recently, and Col said about his teetering stack of self-chosen books, “I can’t wait to get started on these.” Later that same day, walking a Humane Society dog, Col reached up on the river trail and grabbed a shiny brown acorn, shelled it and popped it in his mouth. And I thought, well, my work here seems to be complete.

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September is the month of Dan bow-hunting, which is so traditional it seems to be encoded into our DNA. The familiarity of slipping skins off green chiles, or salting cucumbers into pickles while the house is bright and loud with children is terribly reassuring. These days solo-parenting is less about swooping around with a rag in hand (ready to wipe butts, faces, chins, floor) and more about connecting with these increasingly independent children.

Without another parent on which to deflect responsibility (Maybe Dan will make dinner, I think lazily from my Facebook haze), we become this small, rag-tag team, this 3-person pod conducting our own little nurture-fest. I become so available! They lap it up! I feel so fulfilled! We break out the same 700-piece puzzle that vexes us every hunting season (still vexing). We bike to the farmers market, play boardgames with grandmas at the UU Church on Friday night, lounge around the house utterly plan-less, choreographing the day in real time. I consent to my annual game of Monopoly, bored out of my skull, yet filled with the joy of being a mother who will play Monopoly with her kids. The September weather is endlessly perfect regardless of sun or rain; and even in the midst of whatever sibling nano-crisis is occuring, we are rich with the blessings of this season.

September, now:

:: We got to have Chica for a two week sleepover, and I swear, we all became kinder, gentler humans in her presence. If anyone knows of a small, fun, kid-friendly dog who likes to take morning runs and give kisses, please don’t tell me about it.

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The moment where life has a distinct before and after: Chica discovers elk liver. 

Also, we loved this book, in which a rescue dog, much like Chica, brings people together.

:: Dan, “I can’t believe we live on an earth with this sort of bounty.”

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Gorgeous Boletus edulis.

:: Boletes, when sauteed, taste like bacon cake.

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:: Do you see how I can get a little distracted when Dan’s around? Holy moly! The fruit, the fruit! Just talking about all that fruit.

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:: The kids took home some big ribbons in the La Plata County Fair. Col, for his watercolor of an Indonesian fishing boat.sept now17

And Rose, for her bouquet titled “fruit fireworks” which included apricots, chokecherries, rose hips and crab apples.sept now16
:: Just in case you have a few sneaker zukes around, recipe for zucchini sliders:
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:: Don’t forget to eat your broccoli leaves, and freeze copious greens to slip in your children’s mac and cheese.

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:: For the historic 2016 Southwest fruit bonanza, my Fruit leather recipe:

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:: My absolute favorite thing in the garden:sept now13

Sending ALL the love, wishing for you ALL the blessings, and that maybe you will find yourself playing your least favorite board game with your most favorite people, and finding the hidden wealth therein.



11 Responses leave one →
  1. Kathy permalink
    September 6, 2016

    You are so richly blessed. Brings tears to my eyes. I am so happy for you that homeschooling is so gratifying. It certainly was for us, and I will admit I’m a bit envious of the place and time you are in, to be so free to be free! When we started we wondered about the legality… It’s been 16 years since we finished! Almost 30 years since we began our journey… (wish I could italicize). Your children have grown so independently already; I look forward to all they will do as they grow beyond childhood, to see their (and your) decisions come to fruition. Of course you are already doing that, reaping all the blessings from the lifestyle you have.
    Thank you so much for sharing your rich life!

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      September 6, 2016

      Thanks for sharing your wistfulness for homeschooling looking back. I am feeling really great about it, so lucky to have so much time with the kids, at our pace, in our home.

  2. Sparks permalink
    September 6, 2016

    A-1; ain’t that right; no doubt. Loved it, thank you.

  3. Susan S permalink
    September 6, 2016

    Oh, hooray! I was going to recommend Because of Winn Dixie! When my boss came to work one day 13 years ago and said to me, “You want a dog?” I didn’t know what I was in for. All I knew was that I did want a dog. Long story short, she is the best thing that ever happened to me. Yes, we do become better people with a dog around. Or if we don’t, it’s not the dog’s fault. My sweet rescue-from-the-boss doggie has gone to the rainbow bridge, but I have another doggie now, much of a piece with Chica. She’s the polar opposite of my first dog, but she’s sweet and snuggly and funny and her own wonderful self and I would never want to be without her.

    Riotous, this post! Riotous with bounty and potential and harvest of all sorts. You are truly fortunate, Rachel. Looking forward to so much more! Susan

    • September 7, 2016

      Loved this comment Susan – ‘riotous’ it is indeed!

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      September 8, 2016

      That’s probably the way we’ll someday get a dog. “Hey, you want a dog?” Who can resist that line?

  4. Chi-An permalink
    September 7, 2016

    Before I clicked on the link I thought, “I bet this is _Because of Winn-Dixie_.” Isn’t that funny? And when did little Rosie suddenly look so grownup? Wow!

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      September 8, 2016

      Sniff. Twirly butterfly dress no longer fits. A wild bittersweet beautiful ride.

  5. September 7, 2016

    Col’s painting is magnificent! As is your home preserving – I’m very impressed.
    (…and also with Dan’s chest, distracting indeed …)

  6. Ellie permalink
    September 7, 2016

    Your children are blessed, Rachel.

  7. Sheri permalink
    September 18, 2016

    My hubby is getting ready to leave for a 3 week long hunting trip. You beautifully highlighted all the silver linings to solo parenting, for a brief period of time. Will refer back to this during the lower moments (if they happen).

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