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october now

2016 October 5
by Rachel Turiel

Dear Ones,

Thank you for your patience with my showing up here. I am wistfully nostalgic (and a little baffled) that I used to post here three times a week (and then two, and then one…). So much recording of the daily now. However, being such a traditional family—different than traditional family values (meaning, how Dan’s been boiling down hooves and hide scraps on the stove for three days straight to make hide glue again)—in some ways, I feel like I’ve written it all before.

Right? I mean, here we are again, caricatures of our own seasonally habitual lives. I’m blindsided by the flared up beauty of fall. Rose announces she’s not so hungry for dinner, while peach and plum pits are confettied around the house, in her hair. Col’s been gleefully shooting frost-killed tomatoes with his BB gun. And Dan’s been drying various things in the October sun: peaches, pears, deer and elk hooves.


The children pulse on. Col stumbled into my room late one night while Dan was gone hunting.I offered up my little nighttime prayer, which goes something like: if I must be woken up please let the issue be clear and solvable.

Col said in his smallest voice, “I’m feeling a little nervous about all the interests I’ve given up.”

“You mean like airplanes?” I asked.

“Yes,” he sniffled, burrowing his head into my chest. “And I used to be really into archery.”

“Right. And before that, rocks. And before rocks, trains.”

He nestled into me, teary and nostalgic for all the versions of himself that had already come and gone, the naming of each bringing on fresh waves of sadness. We snuggled for a long time; Col has a beautifully efficient way of absorbing physical affection, metabolizing it into something useful. At midnight I made him some crackers and peanut butter, his small body like a hopeful buoy floating at the big ocean of our table.


The first thing Rose told me when I picked her up from shared school yesterday was that she felt jealous because her friend just got new shoes and pants. And I may have been a little overzealous. “Jealousy? We can work with that!” I told her. We may be a little fuzzy on fractions, but we’re really comfortable with feelings around here. We’ve learned that they blow in like an extreme weather event, rumbling around colonizing your mind and body, then vanish. It helps to give those feelings space, to not crowd them with solutions, judgments, diagnosis or reassurance. It helps to lavish understanding upon painful feelings. I can understand how new clothes are so fun and exciting. It’s hard to see your friends get things you want. We spent the whole 1/2 mile walk home allowing and caring for the jealousy, and by the time we hit the trampoline in the front yard, the storm had blown out.


We had our first hard frost last night and as Dan’s mother and I scrambled around the garden picking half-blushed tomatoes and adolescent tomatillos, I had this feeling of completion, of the comfort and familiarity of returning to the steady and enduring greens that started this growing season, the chard, kale, lettuce, arugula. And as it was in the beginning so shall it be in the end.


In other fall happenings, we are fostering a small, lovely, heeler mix we call Sunny. Her life purpose is to bring love and peace to the people, while unearthing every bone that has ever come through the Tupperware Heights bone channels. (The life of a bone: first, the butchering table and then simmered down into bone broth, then tossed, denuded of minerals, into the chicken coop, where it is raked up and put in the compost and then resurrected under an elderberry bush or grape vine, then dragged out by Sunny).

Also, she’s pregnant with five little puppy muffins, and will be delivering sometime in mid-late October at the Turiel/Hinds home for unwed foster heelers. We have no idea what we’re getting into, which is good. Rose mused the other day, “I wonder who her husband was?” Indeed. Hoping there weren’t many St. Bernards on the Navajo reservation.


Yesterday Col spent the afternoon zooming a balsa wood airplane around the house. I smiled watching him, knowing that as the law of entropy states, nothing is ever lost, just transformed.


:: The canine love dispenser.



:: Dan shot a bull elk with his homemade bow! He worked so hard for it. His friend Ben spent three days hunting with him and came home saying, “I kind of knew Dan went all out, but now I really know.” We had a family celebration recently and Dan said about this elk, “I’ll be celebrating all year.” Here, Sunny’s going, “Dat’s so cool how we kilt dat big elk together!”oct7

:: Our amazing public library held a Young Author’s Showcase last weekend. Rose submitted her very suspenseful story about a snow leopard hunting. An excerpt: “I lunged to grapple with the meat. I ripped open the belly to get to the heart and liver. Blood sprayed everywhere, soaking my muzzle. The snow looked like red and white fireworks.”


:: Beware the lego scorpion:oct8

The winter squash harvest count: 100. oct10

:: October fam.

Thank you for continuing to come here!

With love,


25 Responses leave one →
  1. October 5, 2016

    Three times a week! I too am baffled that I kept that pace by your side. What the.

    I appreciate your words, no matter the frequency. Always.

    My favorite line here: “Col has a beautifully efficient way of absorbing physical affection, metabolizing it into something useful.”

    Love love love you and yours. xo

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      October 6, 2016

      I know. And our kids were younger then. Which means things were crazier. Maybe we needed to write more. :)

  2. October 5, 2016

    I love Rose’s excerpt. So glad there are others out there like my young authors.

    Stifling the giggles at The Intense Drama Of It All. Reading my own kids’ stories of slashing dragons, maiden’s hair cascading, laughter like birdsong, knights drinking the Irish wine set before them…etc. And we did mention it probably should be Irish Whiskey instead of wine and poured another glass.)

    The good news is we’ll never be bored reading. And it is so much better than all the well, boring, stories I had to read as a teacher grading 25+ papers at a time.

    I would love to get these kids together. We have Legos…

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      October 6, 2016

      Your children are charming. I’d love to mix them into the nuttiness over here.

  3. Andrea permalink
    October 5, 2016

    Thank you for continuing to write here. I was anxiously awaiting your return. Checking. And checking. Wondering what was coming out of your garden. Curious what would emerge from
    Dans hunt. Knowing already, but still wanting to hear it from you.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      October 6, 2016

      Oh Andrea. Such a sweetie you are.

  4. Rachel permalink
    October 5, 2016

    Well, Rose has surely inherited your talent for writing! I’m also impressed how Col is able to so clearly articulate his feelings about the past and change– something many adults struggle to put into words and deal with. Glad your back.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      October 6, 2016

      I know. He cruises along in his low key way and then surprises us with some pretty deep stuff.

  5. shadymama permalink
    October 5, 2016

    oh. that family pic took my breath away. you beautiful souls, all of you. xo

  6. Linda permalink
    October 5, 2016

    I don’t think you’ve ever written one like this before, Rachel. Really. This was new and beautiful. True confessions — I love reading the same insights anyway. Just like the seasons, they always feel new because they are now 3 whole seasons ago. And what a junkie I have been for the past couple of weeks! Checking hopefully for a new post pretty much daily. Thanks for posting. It’s NEVER the same old!
    your ex-neighbor – Linda
    P.S. I’m really rootin’ for Sunny to stay with you. It feels so right

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      October 6, 2016

      I like what you’re saying about seasons. They’re always surprisingly new, yet comfortingly familiar. I think that’s all I’m ever trying to say here.

  7. Lindsey permalink
    October 6, 2016

    I have never commented here before, but I read your posts regularly and am always pleased to find a new one. So, thank you.

    My favorite line that will resonate with me for some time: “It helps to give those feelings space, to not crowd them with solutions, judgments, diagnosis or reassurance.” My husband is a fixer and a do-er, which I love and appreciate, but sometimes you just need to feel the feelings.

    Many blessings to you and yours this autumn.

  8. Jessica permalink
    October 6, 2016

    No matter the frequency, your posts are always a gift. Thank you for your generosity!

  9. Susan permalink
    October 6, 2016

    The “seasonally habitual life” of a “traditional family” is something I don’t get to see very often, so I’m always glad to get a glimpse into your world. Besides, I just really wish I lived in Durango and got the chance to wave and shout hi as we serendipitously walk towards each other down one street or other, the way old friends do. I am not the liver of a seasonally habitual life (not yet), but I am a seasonally habitual observer of yours, and I have to say, I want to be just like you when I grow up.

    One last thing–Col might be happy to know that Lego enthusiasm lasts a lifetime. When my brother was, well, past 40 for sure, he and his friends still had Lego parties. Just something to keep in mind. Love, Susan

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      October 6, 2016

      I told Col about post-40 lego parties. His face lit up. :)

  10. Gaynor permalink
    October 8, 2016

    Rachel, I have been silently reading your posts for ever and loving them all. I got to the end of this one overcome by a feeling of love for you and your family. Please keep writing and sharing – I am so grateful to you x

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      October 9, 2016

      Thank you for your words of encouragement. They truly mean a lot.

  11. Chi-An permalink
    October 10, 2016

    We just got back from a camping trip (car camping, which is the only way we do it) and I was thinking of you and your lyrical camping descriptions. My almost teenager vacillated between bemoaning the lack of wifi and asking when we will do real camping, involving packing in all our own gear, purifying stream water, gathering our own firewood and hunting and gathering for our meals. Of course he will want to do all of the above during the day and spend his evenings tucked up in a sleeping bag with a wifi hotspot and his iPad for company…

    Lovely to hear from you, always!

  12. Sarah permalink
    October 12, 2016

    Oh, Rachel. I’ve probably said it before, but I just love your family and the life you all are making together. Warm hugs from Idaho, where it’s starting to feel autumnal <3

  13. Solyssa permalink
    October 13, 2016

    100 squash from your Tupperware heights yard, that is amazing! I love the security of looking at a pile of squash, you can almost taste the soups inside them. Also enjoyed the snippet from Rose’s book, what descriptions! I can see her writing mother and hunting father woven in….

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