I am making peach-plum jam, not because it sounds like a lovely combination (though it is), but because the plums are at full-squish and the peach-ripening assembly line of our counters are at capacity and the crew (me) needs to move in another 20 pounds that have fallen from our backyard tree.
Really what I want to do is watch the robins and evening grosbeaks, who spend much of their day nabbing chokecherries from our tree. “They’re back!” I tell the kids each morning. “Those robins are such fatties,” Col replies, gazing out our east window, watching the fluffed up robins swallow chokecherries whole. The grosbeaks—seeking just the seed—painstakingly work the berry over in their beaks, spitting the purple flesh all over our walkway. You can hear the grosbeaks cracking seeds in their jumbo jaws, their beaks stained purple. I feel so much companionship with them.
Rare raven sighting in the chokecherry tree.
Facing my fruit-hoarding tendencies.
Dan has been bowhunting much of September. When he has cell service I get cryptic texts like “7 X 8 @ wallow @ ten yards but no shot!” (Later he told me he could hear the animal slurping up water but with his head facing Dan at the water hole, no ethical shot). He’s hunting with a homemade bow, which is deeply meaningful to him—the challenge, the crafting of his weapon, the intimacy with the animals—but odds are pretty tough. He needs perfect access to vitals, no foliage blocking the shot, 15-yard range max, and ten seconds to pull his bowstring back before some ultra-wary cow elk busts him. You know those subdivision signs “If you lived here you’d be home now.” I keep thinking: “If you had a rifle you’d be home now.” But really, I’m happy for all his happiness.
Dan trying to prove something by eating his traditional bowhunting sandwich at home. More on the bowhunting sandwich in latest issue of Edible Southwest Colorado Magazine.
The kids are not enjoying school tremendously this year. After many years of homeschooling, it feels a bit heartbreaking: waking them up (before the robins have even arrived) and rushing them about so they can be on time for a day of sitting and following someone else’s learning plan. I actually told Col he didn’t have to go to school (which I didn’t exactly mean, but I didn’t exactly not mean, but wanted to hear his response). He said, “I know school’s not supposed to be fun. I need to go so I can learn things and then get a job someday.” And then the whole world dimmed. Really? Is that what your parents are modeling to you?
I just finished two excellent books by female immigrants. This one, a novel by Imbolo Mbue, is a fascinating illustration of what happens when a Cameroonian family yearning for security and belonging intersects with a wealthy American family, which (surprise, surprise) lacks so much connection and vitality it makes you rethink the word ‘privilege.’ And yet, Imbolo Mbue manages to humanize everyone which makes things really interesting. (Thanks Mom, for the recommendation).
And this memoir written by an Iranian immigrant is a light and funny meditation on growing up Iranian in America. Hint: family and food are everything. Rose read Firoozeh Dumas’ kid novel version of the memoir and loved it.
In other news, I’m teaching some new nonviolent communication classes that I’m really excited about. They are filling fast. Come join us! More info here.
Where things get weird: green grape jello. (Or, how to proceed when an entire grape vine ripens at once).
Fruit cake recipe (not fruitcake, but a wonderful gluten free cake that is accentuated with fruit!)
I actually love the particular abundance of seasonal food, how the urgency of ripeness grounds me in work so vital and immediate; how the earth gives freely, encouraging my own generosity, (I love telling the kids’ friends sternly: now, don’t leave without a box of peaches); how the very caloric abundance calls into question the dysfunction of our American quest for novelty; and how, engaging in this unpaid work I get to detach from the capitalist system for a micro-moment, exploring a different paradigm for determining value and worth.
Dried yucca fruit – our favorite.
Between when I started this post and today the robins and grosbeaks have stripped the chokecherry tree bare. Dan has returned, elk-less, though integrating gracefully back into the wild chaos of homelife. Six boxes of peaches are exhaling ripeness into our house, all of which we’re determined to enjoy fresh (i.e. it’s a good time to stop by hungrily) and the apple and pear trees, groaning with weight, wink at me suggestively as I pass them on the way to the chicken coop. School is a conundrum and certainly a manifestation of a larger, dysfunctional system that values economic growth at the expense of human well-being (i.e. no fault of teachers). Right now the best I can do is model connecting to love and life force when my kids are home. (Though I’m contemplating creating a class called “How to raise disobedient children.” Feel me?)
But seriously, enough about me. Tell me about harvest season in your region, about your own back to school paradigm, your bird encounters, book recommendations, recipes. Really, I would love that.