"At middle age the soul should be opening up like a rose, not closing up like a cabbage."
-John Andrew Holmes

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I Can Have Cookies Magically

We are hitting new stages at our house all the time due to four little boys who are constantly upping their game and discovering the world. This week we reached the, "Bake Their Own Cookies" stage. Ru asked me if he could make cookies and told me that since he knows how to read decently now and he could tell that I was working on dinner...he'd do it alone!

And then, because he's a total extrovert who always feels better working in a crowd he recruited all of his brothers to be a part of the occasion, including the naked, potty training toddler. Ha!

It was amazing! He found the recipe, read it, got out all the ingredients, made the cookies and put them in the oven and then cleaned up the work area!

Voila! Life is amazing. He's 8 and we can have fresh cookies whenever we say the word.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Now, The Best Time of Year

Summer is waning. We are still wearing t-shirts and tank tops but we're keeping our sweatshirts handy and most mornings I pull on jeans before I run down to start the coffee maker and level off the chicken feeder. The garden is all seedy and disreputable, the support stakes are leaning tiredly and the borders grown over with grasses chickweed. I am starting to make lists of autumn bulbs and think about where to park the chicken coop for winter. Its a season of stripping down and organizing, busily strapping on our routines and making labels for everything.

This weekend we had A's youngest brother visiting us. He has just moved to our coast and is going to be living in Boston for the next couple of years so we celebrated with an inaugural visit together filled with every good thing.We had late night discussions, morning coffee, road-tripping, beach walking, garden tours, a tea party and many a book discussion. Ru was so enamored of his uncle after a weekend of his excellent company that he got up early this morning and lovingly made him a dozen cookies to take with him on the train. Love feeling so rich in family and seeing how feeding belonging and a sense of connection is for my children. They just bloom under it all, like so many little seedlings.

I was still chewing on all the goodness from the weekend and needed a meditative but energetic project. In a fit of caffeinated enthusiasm I spontaneously attacked the pantry after breakfast. I pulled it all apart and scrubbed the shelves, dusted out all the stray onion skins and found all the glass canisters that are empty and need refilling in the bulk department. I put a little drip of wintergreen oil in it and when Ru came in the room looking for me he said, "It smells like root beer in here, or fall spices or something." I was telegraphing autumn through the house, telling everyone including myself that it was time to switch modes. The squirrels in our garden are whittling the sunflower heads down to sawdust and carting away anything salvageable that shows up on the compost pile within minutes and there I am, playing squirrel in my own pantry, dusting off the spaces for extra onions and squashes and potatoes. I can feel the change coming and the mourning for the blazing, high summer with and orchestra of crickets that threatens. I keep forcefully working on now. Right now it is not Autumn, as good as it sounds, with its chimney sweep appointments and hickory nuts and dusky evenings filled with silent, falling leaves. Now is now. We've passed the peak of summer. The days for sun tan oil and perpetual barefeet, we are in a magical time with 80 degree afternoons and chilly mornings with tea cups on the back step. We hear the cicadas singing and most of the garden needs nothing more than a lot of deadheading. The sprinkler still wants a little use and there are nubbins of sidewalk chalk calling to be turned into dusty rainbows on our front walk but the starlings are visiting in flocks sometimes, just to shake it up and bring all of us to the window to watch their random robot walking and their bright yellow bills stabbing the lawn. Now is always ephemeral and more specific and perfect than any seasonal cliche and always the most important thing is to be paying attention, listening with our whole selves.

 “In this moment, there is plenty of time. In this moment, you are precisely as you should be. In this moment, there is infinite possibility. ” 
― Victoria MoranYounger by the Day

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Deciphering The Garden

Dug the potatoes today and then sorted through them and all the new squash (there is soooo much) and played mandala making with my takings.

So strange to make peace with what a garden gives in some ways. We had a decent purple, fingerling potato harvest but the handful of miniature sweet potatoes that you see above are really all we got. And yet we are overrun and awash with unexpected riches of those tiny chalk white pumpkins which came mysteriously out of the compost pile, utterly unbidden. Gardens reflect the unpredictable whims of nature AND the energy or laziness of the gardener. The trick is the message is untranslatable for anyone but the gardener themselves. Only I can know that the sweet potatoes were given everything their little hearts desires except blazing hot weather for weeks on end or that all those white pumpkins are a tumbling, pleated, pile of gifts that I never dreamed of asking for. I love the way a harvest keeps you guessing and thinking. Who knows what next year will hold?

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