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even boredom gets boring and spinach pie

2017 June 13
by Rachel Turiel

Last weekend from our camping spot you could see into Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

Beyond my wood-chopping daughter is Sleeping Ute Mountain. We could also see the Abajos in Utah, Shiprock in New Mexico and the Chuska Range in Arizona.

The girls did a lot of cooking.

The boys did a lot of projectile-arts.They rotated through BB guns, a .22 rifle, throwing knives and archery. That’s Mesa Verde in the distance.

The girls launched some projectiles, too. But I don’t think the boys did any cooking.

We’ve been acquiring foster dogs at an increasing rate. Last week, late at night, I tiptoed into our bedroom and whispered to Dan, “there are two people asleep in our house who aren’t people.”

Now we just have Iris, a little heeler mix, who is a bit timid with me but adores Col and Rose. “Iris is like a little sister to you,” I told Rose last week. “Literally,” she replied. (Indeed. That same night Rose was given a bag of hand me down clothes and Iris immediately nabbed the pink bathing suit and dragged it away).

You can tell summer vacation has begun because Rose is strumming a ukulele with the confidence of a Hawaiian master (though she’s only been “playing” for a total of 2.6 assorted and unrelated hours), while Col is unleashing nerf bullets at a frightening velocity. It’s an odd sort of duet.

We’re freefalling into summer. Despite homeschooling, we keep a fairly regular schedule during the school year, and last week our entire routine plummeted off the cliff. The kids are like prisoners just released, a bit overwhelmed by the magnitude of their freedom, searching for the cruise director with her schedule of activities. (The cruise director can be found in her garden plotting the next strategic action against the hundreds of roly polys who are mowing down her tender seedlings. FYI: brain size not related to success here).

This is the checklist I left for the kids before going on a run last week and leaving them to meet up with buddies at the Rec Center. I came home to kids gone and all boxes checked, and not to be over-dramatic, but wondered if this was a little like witnessing a the first lunar landing.

Our summer program is loose, unfolding in real time and sponsored by the kindness of friends plus tween independence. We’ve been sending the kids out into the world with my old flip phone (replaced with my mom’s newer old flip phone), snacks, and a general plan. Rose called me from the pool last week to say, “I met a new friend named Mackenzie. She’s here from Albuquerque. Can she sleep over? I’m going to put her on now.”

Some days a heavy blanket of boredom falls across the house and motes of snark fall directly into the kids’ eyes. Next, a nerf bullet is accidentally launched at a ukulele. Suddenly, Rose becomes gravely concerned with every questionable action Col has ever taken. “He really should have made eye contact with that tour guide last fall. I mean she was looking right at him!” Col may start singing an unflattering song about someone whose name rhymes with his sister’s. Just then, Rose decides that Col is playing too rough with the puppy, the puppy who is dying for someone to roughhouse with her.

At this time I send the children outside with their little canine sister where fresh air and space seems to brush the snark from their eyes. They inevitably end up two feet from each other and I remember this is part of summer; that most inventiveness starts with a little boredom, and boredom is like a hot, sticky pit they have to crawl out from before they come into the refreshing waterfall of their own creativity.

I’m not entirely sure what the goal of summer is anymore. Like if Col spends half a day in the dark, zombie-chamber of his room reading comic books, only to emerge to have a nerf war with the neighbors, and Rose is bouncing around between the pool and the ice cream shop downtown, sending me responsible, though poorly-spelled texts and I’m home working staging my latest coup against the roly polys, are we covering all the bases?

The Union of Young, Beleaguered Spinach Processors.

We’re in a glut of spinach and eggs right now, which make so many great combinations, even if mostly we’re eating spinach omelets because no one wants to actually stand at the hot stove for more than ten minutes at a time. This spinach pie requires a bit more time but is totally worth it because it’s a crowd-pleaser, makes for great leftovers, the kids love it and it’s walloped with green things that I’m sure they’re deficient in.

Last night after Col helped me clean up our spinach pie dinner, he said, “Thanks for letting me help clean up dinner.”

“What part are you thankful for?”

“That it’ll help prepare me for when I have a wife.”

Spinach Pie

Prep time: 30 minutes; Bake time: 40 minutes; makes two 9″ pies.
3-5 medium potatoes (mix of sweet and white OK – equal to approx 4 cups cooked tates)

3-4 cups packed raw spinach
1 cup minced onions
4 eggs
2 cups grated cheese
5 TBSP butter 
3 minced garlic cloves

1-2 tsp salt and/or pepper to taste

1 small can tomato paste, or 16 oz tomato sauce or salsa (optional)


Chop potatoes into approx 1/2” pieces and steam until fully cooked. Meanwhile, sauté onions, garlic, spinach and butter in a pan for 10-15 minutes. Beat eggs in a large bowl. When potatoes are cooked, add all ingredients into bowl with eggs and mix. Pour mixture into two 9” pie pans and bake for 35-40 minutes at 375F. After 20 minutes of baking, spread tomato sauce/paste/salsa on top of pies.

The merging of all ingredients:

Ready for the oven:

Out of the oven 40 minutes later:

So, so yummy:

“I love this meal but I’d rather be playing ukulele.”

How we adults like to eat spinach pie:



6 Responses leave one →
  1. Ellen permalink
    June 13, 2017

    You make all the sights, sounds, and tastes of a Durango summer come alive. I love the “heavy blanket of boredom” and “motes of snark. “

  2. dale permalink
    June 13, 2017

    “this is part of summer; that most inventiveness starts with a little boredom, and boredom is like a hot, sticky pit they have to crawl out from before they come into the refreshing waterfall of their own creativity.” This. Although some pits are a bit deeper than others for my 3 sons….

  3. Judith Ann Henry permalink
    June 14, 2017

    What a great treat to be able to read your posts again dear Rachel….finally conquered the techno side of life….thank you for the pictures of camping…we love that side of Mancos ?…..opens up the soul every time….your portrait of “boredom” is priceless…Bless you each and all as summer begins to melt us all…may that pup be blessed with a forever home too.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      June 15, 2017

      Iris got adopted!
      Thanks for your wishes and blessings, always.
      And yes, that side of Mancos sure is nice.

  4. Cait permalink
    June 14, 2017

    I feel like I can see glimmers of future teenage Rose in these pictures. I am certain she will navigate adolescence with all the leggy confidence she seems to possess now!

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      June 15, 2017

      Holy heck. I can see it, too.

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