Monday, September 26, 2011

I Carry Those Days in a Tiny Box


When there was air, when you could
breathe any day if you liked, and if you
wanted to you could run, I used to 
climb those hills back of town and 
follow a gully so my eyes were at ground
level and could look out through the grass as the stems 
bent in their tensile way, and see snow
mountains follow along, the way distance goes.

Now I carry those days in a tiny box
wherever I go.  I open the lid like this
and let the light glimpse and then glance away.  
There is a sigh like my breath when I do this.
Some days I do this again and again.

--William Stafford

I gathered up a few of these days for my tiny box this weekend.  The weather was incredible on Friday, so after dinner, the kids and I decided to go out to the meadow with the swing.  They carried their own packs for the first time--they wanted to--yay for me!  They each brought water, a sketch book, and lined paper for writing poems.  I brought water, bug spray, chapstick, camera, and a journal for writing poems. It was 80 degrees at 6pm when we started walking out to the spot.  We also brought a little pail for blackberries and I picked many along the path, and came home with none.  We didn't see another soul--amazing.  The path cuts through fields and open space, winds around and ends by the river, and just before is the big maple with the swing.

On the way back to the car it was getting dark, and we walked in silence enjoying the last light and the nature all around.  Well, silence until we kicked up a pheasant hen and I got startled and hollered out!  Which the kids thought, of course, was the Funny Business (it was)!

On Saturday, OM brought out her young and we met up with A and her cubs at the Daugherty Farmstead.  It was the Duvall Heritage Festival and the Daugherty Farm is the Real McCoy, one of the earliest houses in the valley.  It is on the National Historic Registry and it's a gem!  It was chock full of the pioneer spirit, too, with all sorts of activities for kids.  See:

tractor "driving"

corn shelling

rope braiding

Lil E getting knighted, country-style

boys with ropes and a smilin' OM

Caroline carrying Finny like he's her babydoll


the music makers

climbing a tree in the pioneer cemetery

Oh, me oh my!  What good times to behold!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Baby Don't You Cry, I'm Gonna Make a Pie

...gonna make a pie with a heart in the middle...
Do you know this song from the FABULOUS movie, The Waitress?  Sweetest song ever.  

 I'm gearing up to make another pie tonight with the rescued apples.  NOT stolen apples. I  think stolen apples would not make a good pie--they'd make a cursed pie.  But rescued apples are a different story.  They WANT to be eaten.  I performed another mission on Friday after work and picked from a tree I've been watching for years, full of blushy, delicious-looking apples.  I pulled right over and crossed the busyish road to get to the tree with a righteous spring in my step.  The old me from not that many years back would have worried about someone pulling over and questioning me, but the current me doesn't sweat that--I just think, 'Bring it! I'm picking these neglected fruits because no one else will--want some?'  I like to think of myself as an apple warrior! Fruit amnesty for all!!

Apples evoke such comfort for me.  I even love the word.  Apple-y goodness.  September is Apple Time.  A time to dream of old orchards planted with old-fashioned apples:  Northern Spy, Beeley Pippin, Nickajack, Lady Sweet, Golden Gem.  That good real apple smell.  Dreams of making cider with OM (hard and reg.).  Pies.  Tarts.  Applesauce.  Apple cake.  Oh, to be 'Prince of the apple towns.' (Dylan Thomas--from Fern Hill)

My lovely step-mom, Tina, bought me the best apple gadget ever:  a peeler/corer/slicer.  You attach it to your counter top, insert the fruit, turn a handle for like, 5 seconds, and voila!  Peeled, cored and spiral sliced, as promised.  This is the real deal. And now I can make pie without the unpleasant side effect of claw-hand that comes from peeling apples in long strips. 

Gonna make a pie from heaven above
Gonna fill it up with rescued apple love
So baby don't you cry
Gonna make a pie
And hold you forever in the middle of my heart

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Who Knows if the Moon's a Balloon

Who knows if the moon's
a balloon, coming out of a keen city
in the sky--filled with pretty people?
(and if you and i should

get into it, if they
should take me and take you into their balloon,
why then
we'd go up higher with all the pretty people

than houses and steeples and clouds:
go sailing
away and away sailing into a keen
city which nobody's ever visited, where
                     Spring) and everybody's
in love and flowers pick themselves.

--E.E. Cummings

The moon has been so gorgeous and intense these last few days, that when I thought of a poem to share with Anne's classes today, this one popped into my head.  It's so whimsical and the language builds throughout in a very child-like excited fast-talking what-if sort of way; I love it.  It makes a person think, too--what if??  Who's to say our imaginations can't help us make our world what it is?  Or what it could be?  I like that idea a lot. 

I'm sleepy this morning because I stayed up too ding dang late, but I just did not want to go to bed last night.  I ate a delicious dinner at CC and Mr. A's house--fajitas with grilled chicken, peppers, avocado, a little cheese and sour cream--yummy.  Then CC and I went on a little walk around her neighborhood, then back to watch a little telemavision and eat the apple pie I brought.  I made the pie on Sunday night with apples that I "rescued" from a lot that used to have an old house on it (they tore it down a year ago or so).  I've had my eye on these apples for a while and the trees didn't disappoint.  They are old trees with big ol' apples that are yellowish with red stripes.  What kind?  Anyone's guess.  But a nice balance of sweet/tart and quite juicy and crisp.  So thank you, person of yore who planted those lovely trees that live on and give back every year.  That's quite a legacy, don't you think? 

Anyway, I got home late-ish for a school night and just puttered and read and pet kitties and enjoyed myself.  I still sort of have that summer night party mentality going on, since the weather has been so beautiful. So, while in my head I know it's foolish to stay up until 12:30, I still feel that urge to enjoy the free time and that I can always nap in the hammock this afternoon.  Because it's summer, right?  And apples pick themselves.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dance and Provencal Song!

O for a draught of vintage! that hath been
    Cool'd a long age in the deep-delvèd earth,
            Tasting of Flora and the country-green,
       Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South! 
        Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
             With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
       And purple-stainèd mouth;
              --John Keats from Ode to a Nightingale

What fun we chickens have been having lately!  (Yes, I've perhaps lost it as I'm including myself and the kids in our flock.)  Summer finally showed up in the nick of time, and we've been enjoying the sweet, sweet weather.  Here's sort of a pictorial review from the last 2 weeks, with commentary:

Here's the best pic I had of my friend Brian's band, Stillwater Hill.  You may recall that Caroline and I partook of the Carnation night life and watched these guys play some great bluegrass at Sliders.  Brian is my old buddy from Tolt and he's the smiley one playing the banjo.  I sure like bluegrass. 

Here we have a shot of a recent harvest.  Caroline and I dug potatoes--which is really fun, btw.  We got our first kohlrabi of the year and she liked it.  It sort of tastes like a radish, minus the spiciness, and is super crunchy, like jicama or turnips.  Likey!  We also picked a few ripe Sungold tomatoes, green and purple podded pole beans--a garden staple.  The purple beans are especially delicious and neat--when you cook them they turn bright green!  I cooked them in a little water and a smidgy bit of bacon grease, per OM's tip.  I loved them, but the kids prefer them raw.  Isn't that weird?  We also harvested some broccoli.  I managed to smash all of these veggies into one meal, here's how:  baked up some chicken with the halved potatoes(olive oil and and a sprinkle of Old Bay), made a cheesesauce (milk, cornstarch, butter, lil salt, then stir in the sharp cheddar and parm after its thickened), cooked the broc and beans in the way mentioned above, with peeled and sliced kohlrabi and tomatoes as the amuse bouche.  Mmmmmwwaaah (kissing fingers), delish! 

Then, last weekend, the kids and I loaded into OM's Silver Fun Bus with her brood and headed up to Lummi Island to celebrate Sister Sue's 50th birthday.  We celebrated with our tribal members as well as some of Sue's other Sisters.  The weather was next level beautiful, the kids had a beach to play on and stuff to jump off of (see below):

Here are the rascals all jammied up:

And here we have OM and Kimmy lighting the candles on Sue's cake:

There's Sue, recoiling from the intense birthday candle glow:

And here she is, contemplating being 50:

It was a gorgeous night!  We had a beach fire, bien sur, stuffed the kids in the tent, talked and laughed, and then everyone went to bed.  OM and I built up the fire a bit and stayed up talking and looking at stars.  I saw Scorpio way low on the horizon and that was a treat; it's such an amazing constellation, my favorite.  It's huge and spread out and has the coolest red star in it, Antares, that looks like a RUBY, and the long curve of the tail is so pretty! 

The kids woke up at the crack of dawn, of course they did.  Therefore, so did OM and I.  I was SO tired, but the benefit of that was getting to see the sunrise.  Yay!  Sunrise over Lummi, best ever. Look:

Dance and Provencal song...yes indeedy!