Home for the Summer

I’ve gone home for the summer.

Not home for a visit or home to live solo in my parents’ basement or even home while we are between houses.

No, I have gone home for the summer with John at my side trailing a whirlwind of kids, dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, pigeons, geese, finches, Louie the dove and that one damn turkey I can’t seem to get rid of.

We have arrived at the farmhouse that’s been in the family since 1913, filled it to the gills with boxes, noise and chaos that this old place may have never seen the like of. The plants are spilling out the doors. The kids are running wild down the hill and up the next to my childhood home to see their grandparents. The grandparents are doing an admiral job of continuing to smile as we carve out spaces for ourselves in amongst their things and upset anything like order that used to be here.

We will spend the summer helping around the farm, swimming in the lake and waving as my parents go spend some time on much needed vacations.

A solo breakfast before the chaos wakes up.

Then we will pack our chaos back into boxes and trailers and go back home to our little house with my favorite woodstove just in time for the kids to go back to school.

And maybe, if this hairbrained scheme of mine works out well, we’ll do it all again next year.

Checking In

Today I am tired.

Some days are like this.

A tired that goes so far beyond the normal wish for an extra hour of sleep or another cup of tea that I don’t know what I can relate it to.

And I am too tired to try.

Suffice it to say that a brain out of energy is a different tired.

It’s a – I tried to walk the dogs but found myself lying in the sun in the orchard on a 20 degree day- tired.

It’s the kind of tired I hope you don’t know.

But if you do.

I hope your feathered and furred friends check in on you, like mine did.

If The Shoe Fits

There is a stereotype out there about kids and how they behave compared to their birth order.

In short, the oldest is well behaved and responsible, the middle is the wild child and the youngest does whatever they like and gets away with it.

Yesterday the girls were painting. Ivy had seen an idea on Pinterest and was carefully recreating it while adding her own spin. She carefully drew and painted with heavy concentration and worried over how to improve her canvas.

Clara is into abstract art. The more paint the better. Yesterday’s creations involved putting copious amounts of paint on a canvas and then smashing the canvas into a piece of cardboard to spread the paint. Anything that didn’t turn out quite right she happily applied more gobs of paint until it was “awesome” again.

Jane sat on the other end of the table playing a computer game.

After about an hour of careful drawing, paint smashing and computer key clicking. Jane looked up, complimented one of the pieces and asked if she could have it to give to her teacher.

It’s not that I’m trying to stereotype my own children – but if the shoe fits…

Stories in Snow

Some people can read stories in the snow. For those who knew where to look our first snowfall of the year told a story. And, like any good story it starts with a villain.

The fox came out of the trees trotting toward the chicken coop.

Bold as brass he jumped right on the chickens front porch. There he did what foxes do at chicken coops.

And the trail of feathers told the tail.

Just around an apple tree the fox tracks are joined by another set as our hero joins the chase.

The tracks lengthen as the dog runs off after him. And what is this following behind?

Why it looks like the track of a crazed woman, owner of both dog and chicken who is tired of her birds being used as a fox buffet and willing to fly through a snowfall barefoot with her dogs to stop it.

Sadly. Our tale is a tragic one for the chicken as the fox disappeared through the snow, prize in mouth, despite our hero’s best efforts.

The snows have continued coming since the story began and on each fresh white page the story goes on, another lost chicken, a run in with the turkey that the fox lost and who knows, maybe one day the story will have a happy ending…

… from the chickens point of view.

Holding on While Letting Go

Granny taught me things all my life.

How to do dishes, set a table, sew and host a guest. That you can eat popcorn for dinner, how to sing “Dirty Lil” and play solitaire. That you can have a temper and be unfailingly polite and that there is always room for chocolate.

In the end, as her days wound down, she was still teaching me how to hold on tight to all that matters while letting go.

Barbara Jean Connell

November 21, 1924 – December 15, 2021

A Black Heart

I live with cats.

Three cats.

But I wouldn’t call myself a cat person. I am firmly in camp dog. Why you ask?

This is why:

For those who cannot see or understand what they are looking at let me explain. This is a photo of a cat laying in a crate of potatoes. The potatoes are the last of the harvest I’ve just pulled in from the garden. The cat is laying directly on the cold lumpy potatoes and looks as uncomfortable as one would expect to be laying on cold lumpy potatoes. There is no reason for her to shed all over my fresh produce other than that cats are, essentially, jerks.

But, my cat loving husband says, your dogs would probably pee on them if given an opportunity. And I can’t disagree. My boys will pee on anything they deem necessary to claim as their own. And if it were at dog peeing level and they didn’t pee on the potatoes they would probably steal them and play with them like I had just provided them with the best toys ever. But the difference is they would be happy. Joyfully marking their territory, proudly showing me the new thing they “own” ecstatically asking me to join a game with their new “toys”. Oh, they would be in trouble but hidden beneath their rotten choices are hearts of gold.

Look at this cat. She’s not even happy to be laying on the potatoes. She, like all cats, does not have a heart of gold but something much more sinister and dark. Cats are known for covering the coziest, warmest spots around. There is no reason to lay on my cold, lumpy potatoes other than to prove that as a cat you can.

And that is why I am a dog person.