Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Scenes From Living

-finding quiet

-Mildred's perch

-everyone's new favorite coffee table book

-the newest mess maker

-cat aftermath

-never not nude

-avocado plant rescued from the compost makes friends with my fiddle leaf

Spending this gray morning listening to "The Trackless Woods" by Iris Dement, a country album that puts the heartbreaking poetry of Anna Akhmatava to music. Thanks Joanna.You're the best.  (A cool Fresh Air interview with Iris.) 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Food and Farms, Home and Place

On Sunday morning our realtor showed us farmhouses. We trudged through tall grass, peaked through dilapidated barns, dreamed of chickens and pigs and apple orchards. I quickly started painting cabinets, pulling up carpet, and tearing down walls all within my mind's eye. And then we drove home to our town full of family, pulled up to our house, the first one we ever bought, and knew that those rolling acres, those pastoral parcels of earth we had just seen were not meant to be ours.

I often dream of farming, just like so many of my generation. I dream of ethical food and wholesome labor, dirty hands and messy kitchens. I romanticize and idealize and take my eyes off of my present.

The point being, I don't think I'm built for farm life. I think the things I would miss would outweigh the things I would gain. I am not ready to become a homebody, forced to remain on our land to care for animals while my family tumbles at the ocean's edge. I don't want to turn down invitations to visit friends in cities because cows needs milked and chickens need to be tucked in safely within their coop.

I want to opt out of the system. I want to be a somewhat passive part of the solution. I believe there is a better way to live, a way that is better for our earth, better for our bodies. I believe that food is a huge part of that. But I don't believe that I am the person to raise that food. I don't believe that my skills and talents, as limited as they might be, are best suited for more solitary days. Truthfully, I know I'd miss my mom.

So I'll find my own ways to avoid the system. Buy as much food as I can from the local foods store. Fight town hall about anti-chicken ordinances. Plant more native berry bushes and wait for the day they fruit.

I'll keep looking at farms, scrolling listings, keeping my eyes opened for real estate signs. Maybe one day the right one will speak to my heart. Beg me to stake my claim. But until then, here I'll stay. Near the water's edge. Near my family.

I vaguely remembered having similar homesteading longings about this time last year. I checked the archives and discovered that I had posted about them exactly one year ago.  I guess the start of autumn does this to me. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

This Weekend We

This weekend I stayed up as late as my poor tired eyes would let me.  I didn't want to miss out on talking with my best friend while we sat on the wicker furniture I got from her back when she moved to Brooklyn. Going to bed would end it all. The morning would come, and we would have to scurry off to a soccer game. She and Geoffrey would go to visit her family before heading back to the city. There would be no more rope swinging and cocktail drinking. No laughing, complaining, and congratulating.  Each visit ends with hopes and plans for other visits that are always too far away.

Saturday evening brought  us to a beautiful wedding of my beautiful friend. The best crab cakes ever and a taco truck on the beach, with a playground, all accompanied by an amazing band. Oh, and a margarita station. I love parties, and weddings are the best parties.  If only my wet blanket sisters hadn't ended my evening so soon, I would have danced myself to exhaustion. As it was, I realized that a night on the town to see live music needs to happened sooner rather than later. The next time, sans kids (and sisters). 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A New Season

We rang in fall at my friend Becky's farm, putting the kids to work collecting eggs, cleaning the chicken coop, hauling hay clean and dirty. They wandered around the woods, dismantling an old trailer before discovering it was the home of a few angry bees. Kristlyn improvised a game of baseball on the front yard. They threw horseshoes, got covered in chiggers that needed to be scratched off every inch of their little bodies (and I do mean EVERY inch), chased chickens, and crawled all over still tractors.

It was the kind of play and discovery I am most eager for my children to experience. The air was cool, and the meal shared around Becky's table wholesome and delicious. Although Arlo was his most difficult self for most of the day, enjoying perfect weather with friends among roaming hens and trailing beans is as good a way as any to spend a few precious hours. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

This Weekend We Whirled Wind

This weekend was filled to the brim and didn't leave room enough for all the things I wanted to fill our days with.

I take no pride in being busy. In fact, I try my hardest to eschew it. But there are days that beg to be filled, just as these past few were. Friday was declared a field trip, and we set aside books to drive to Pennsylvania to pick the last of the raspberries and the first of the apples, but most importantly to let Arlo see his best friend who he asks for on more days than not.

Saturday we started the day at Artsfest at Annemarie Gardens, in large part because I wanted to see my friend Jen's booth, Loathsome Lovelies, and to pick up two coloring books I ordered from her.  Our time was cut short when I discovered that Gus had a Saturday soccer game I had missed. Tom met us on the field with Gus's gear, and I watched my boy from the sidelines, containing a newly discovered pride.

I worked Saturday night, then met my parents at church Sunday morning. We had a big family lunch afterwards and then headed back to the soccer field, maybe a bit overdressed, to watch Gus's second soccer game of the weekend. As I try to understand my new role as "soccer mom," it's nice to have family sitting along beside me, cheering for our boy together. Gus scored his first goal, and the joy that overcame his face will not soon be forgotten.

We ended the weekend at our friend's house eating chili and cornbread,  making more plans for the upcoming days.  The next week promises to be just as jam packed-- a farm visit, Brooklyn visitors, and dear friend's wedding-- all of which I am excited about. My lazy bones won't be resting anytime soon. Who wants to say no when saying yes is so much more fun?

Looking at old pictures reminds you how fast kids grow. Those people seem like an entirely different breed. Arlo before he was a blonde, what?