Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sex In the Sticks

This is what we call staff meals at Fresh and Wyld. Put a bunch of girls around a table with some delectable farm fresh goodies cooked up by Dava and all sorts of stories start tumbling out. Uproarious laughter fills the old farm house.  Snorting. Squealing. Grinning. We absentmindedly scratch the butts of various dogs that pass in and out and refill our tea cups as we settle into another delicious story.

Dating in a small town: Crazy. The overlap that can occur is, at times, amusing and simultaneously...something one shouldn't dwell on for too long. Paonia is definitely haunted. Anyone you have unresolved issues with you are bound to run into again and again until you resolve them. There's no hiding from your past. There's no hiding from your mistakes. Or from someone you used to date. Or the person that's dating someone you used to date. It keeps you honest. Invites you to deal, make peace, and grow.

I am just too modest here to actually include you all in the true essence of Sex In the Sticks. My brother reads this. He doesn't want to hear how yoga class with Amy has totally revolutionized my orgasm or any of the details leading up to the event.

However, not one who wants to disappoint, here are a few precious nuggets on dating in a rural area, a la Carrie Bradshaw:

What if leaving a love note for a crush in the clutches of a dried out chicken claw is all that a girl needs to say her heart's been captured?

If I could master a skid steer could a successful relationship be that far behind?

When I feel like a dog next to cow shit when I'm with someone I like I start getting anxious. If my dog doesn't realize that she's rolling in putrid crap what's keeping me from making the same mistake?

How unfair is it to capitalize on the weakness of people who find homesteading and tipi-dwelling irresistible without telling them that you are, in spite contrary appearances, rather high maintenance?

If you were hoping for some sort of steamy story today, I am sorry to disappoint. Maybe this will be the first edition in a series of Sex In the Sticks posts. Just not sure how I feel about bearing such personal details. Until then, I hope y'all are having disastrous, delicious, hilarious times out there and have found proper company to giggle and swoon with. 

This is Rufus. He's Ruda's brother from another mother. Whenever I watch him he always gets into trouble with Ruda and I have to bring him to the vet. Last time I had him he was injured within a record two hours. This time it took a full week.

I cleaned out the tool shop this week and found this beauty.

And a hand scythe! Just in time because my internal tantrums continued with my use of the weed wacker. Thank g for the noise-free simplicity of hand tools.  

Dragonflies arrived this week.
The valley is incredibly smokey this morning from the fire in Mancos. Colorado is ablaze right now. Fires in Ft. Collins, Estes Park, Colorado Springs, Mancos, Durango, and more. Prayers to the people, the animals, and the firefighters. 
Photo courtesy of Melissa Johnson

Photo courtesy of Bill Starr.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Animal Projections

Our neighbors took off for the weekend and we are watching their little chicks. The unfamiliar glow of their warming lamp drew me into the greenhouse late last night and there they were wide-eyed and chasing light-thirsty moths in their newspaper lined plastic tub. I felt sorry for them. If they had a mama hen certainly they'd be nestled in the dark feathery down of wings long ago. 

All our chicks hatched under the warmth of body heat rather than in an incubator. They have only known straw and feathers.  Their ever-protective mama hen provides the only limit to their unbounded exploration and foraging. And at the end of the day they dart behind her as she settles in to her nest and the darkness.

Oh the joy of projecting my life onto small creatures...some people call this metaphor. Others call it narcissism (tough word to spell). I prefer to think myself...insightful. But I digress.

We've all had moments in our lives when we've felt like the motherless chicks. And we also know the security and freedom of the free-wheeling, unrestrained chicks. Contrasting the two reminds me what I'm working towards: bringing compassion to places that feel scared and in need of gentle strength and seeking that independent nurtured flow

This weekend I climbed Mnt. Lamborn with four little girls. I was a little worried because I tend to hike fast and actually struggle to take things slowly (Crazy here is working on that one) and little kids like to stop every five minutes. But most of the time they stop because they've found something cool or because they are curious. And even a crazy like me can see that's worth slowing down for.

I didn't ditch the kids at the bottom! We all made it up, even the seven year-old. 

Meggie's cherry cobbler with Borrage--Monday brunch with the ladies <3

Friday, June 15, 2012

Mother f'ing mower!

Russian Nap Weed is incredibly invasive. Especially toxic. And it needs to go. Now. Actually it needed to go last week. Before it began to flower.

But the blossoms started to unfold this morning. And all the little creatures busily do what they do: indiscrimantly pollinate shit. And I'm here watching this noxious weed proliferate because I can't start my f'ing lawn mower.

Nothing makes me more frustrated than not being able to do things on my own. I pull and pull on that cord to no avail and then internally throw myself to the ground and cry. Damn you mower. Damn you creator of said mower for not considering my smaller muscles. Damn you Nap Weed.

Deep breath. Time to enjoy the shade. The breeze gently rocking my weedy enemy. The ambient backdrop of birds and crickets and the clackety clack of the train passing through town. Time to observe the final bits of snow on the mountains. Time to cultivate gratitude because someone will come help me and when they do I want to give them a heart full of Love...self-loathing for muscles I just don't have is no place to start when I'm looking to appreciate the next set of helping hands.

That helping hand. Not only did he get it started but he told me a good lawn mower joke and brainstormed tricks to help me get it started myself.

And, he gave me a mask because nap weed is so toxic that it puts a horrible taste in the air.

First cutting of the season. We're in a major drought and the ditch will go dry months early this year unless we get a monsoon. Less grass this summer means expensive bales this winter.


Godetia-my latest favorite.
Driving home with another beautiful bouquet buckled in as my co-piolet. Includes Bells of Ireland, Lilies, Sunflower, Yarrow, Irises, Godetia, Armenian Basket Flower, and Delphiniums.

Monday, June 11, 2012

On Rootedness and Home

I've always had wings on my feet. Never stayed in one place too long. Always ready and excited for the next adventure. That is, until I moved to Paonia. Now, I mostly think about grand adventures  but I haven't found myself ready to move on from this place. This summer marks the start of my fifth year here.

I was reading in the Horticulture Gardener's Desk Reference last night about phenology, the study of events that occur in regular cycles in the lives of plants and animals. Things like temperature and day length influence who shows up when. You can use these cycles to indicate when conditions are suitable for planting. Blossoming lilacs, unfolding leaves, migratory birds all point to weather conditions which in turn create a subtle "to-do" list for plant people.

I want this knowledge in my body. I want to be able to feel and know on an intuitive level when to dig and plant and sow. Beyond any adventure I can imagine right now this is what I want. This rooted desire is foreign to me and I keep waiting for the urge to uproot. But this is exactly where I want to be.

Photo courtesy of Matthew Rody. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Rooster Rants, etc.

Woke up before the rooster's crow. I'll be honest here…I am not a fan. Even if I hadn't been attacked by our neighbor's rooster recently (holy chicken-feed, did that get my adrenaline going!) I would still maintain that rooster's are not my favorite.  Loud, noisy, obnoxious, irreverent to all things peaceful--the beginnings of my list, which I usually catalogue with precision on mornings I hope to sleep past 6:30. 

I started the day with my ever expanding garden, digging more beds and fiddling with the irrigation, until Colin was ready for my help installing two five framed nucs into our friend Kale's top bar bee hives. After lunch on the hood of Co's car I headed out to Don and Daphe's where I made flower bouquets for market. I can't tell you how flippin' excited I am to be learning this skill. Kinda reminds me of quilting. I seriously swooned over the bouquet I came home with, granted I had just finished one of Shawn's delicious Hard Ciders so I was ready to fall over anyway…

After an amazing drive-by dinner with Colin, Cally, and company I rushed home to finish my transplanting. Tomatoes. Check. Eggplants. Check. Peppers. Check. I should be called the 9 o'clock gardener. That seems to be when I get the most done, rushing around trying to squeeze the last bit of light from the day.

And now crawling into bed, the coyotes howl nearby. It's the nearest they've been to my new spot since I moved. Hopefully they won't raise their pups in such close proximity this fall. The last two years I've had rather anxious Octobers, sleeping with one eye open and my arms wound tightly around my furry little friend.

I'd like to note that I don't have internet, so I go to the library to post things and reply to your sweet notes and spelling/grammatical corrections. I'm using the internet with less and less frequency as summer picks up momentum. As much as I love me some internet, I'm doing better than okay. I hope you're finding yourself outdoors more and online less these days.

When I had my business selling fruit Buni and I would eat at least a pound of cherries each in one sitting. Today I relished my first Delicious Orchards cherries of the season (they ripened three weeks early!) and thought about our happy belly aches. An hour later she called to tell me she was eating her first cherries and my heart melted. 

Installing the nucs with Colin.

End of the day shenanigans with Daphne. We don't just eat locally, we drink local too. Thanks Shawn!
My first Grande Dame!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Two Goats for a Dog--The Story of Ru

I sat on a bed of straw with my back propped against the rough wall of the barn. The unrelenting snow fell outside. I watched the slow progress of a laboring goat, her gentle panting, her eyes fixed into a concentrated stare. Occasionally she cried softly as contractions moved through her. It was far enough into the night that the sun's welcomed arrival was imminent. I struggled to keep my eyes open and my fingers warm. 

This was not my first goat birth, in fact it was the third I had attend in the last few days. Excitement filled my body the first time I watched a goat give birth back when I was in high school, working on a family farm. I had worked with three other herds since then, witnessing and assisting many births (human and goat), and now, in the middle of April, Pam's eleven does were all going into labor with a spring blizzard afoot. For three nights we took turns staying up in the cold barn to watch over her laboring herd. 

Once the snow cleared up and the majority of goats were maternally nursing their tender babes I said my farewells to Pam. I would be back to take care of the girls in another few weeks when she headed to Kansas to visit her daughter. Pam wanted to thank me for my work but said she hardly had money to pay me for my time, which I expected and understood. Few farmers have the money to pay themselves let alone their help. Pam enthusiastically offered me two baby goats so that I could start my own herd. I laughed. "Pam, I live in a tipi. I am itinerant and nomadic. That's no life for a goat. Maybe a dog, but not a goat."

When Pam got back from her trip from Kansas she had a small black dog with her. "What's that?" I asked, very well knowing that this was a gift for me. "You said you wanted a dog and my daughter's dog had puppies!" The mama dog, Panda, was ten years old, never fixed, and had never before had a litter.

I reluctantly put the small, shy dog in my car. Everyone I saw cooed over her sweetness and I in turn offered for them to take her.  Half-jokingly I considered taking her to the pound. A few days later I brought Rudabega to play rehearsal. She barked at her reflection in the dance mirrors. She howled along with us as we warmed up our voices (a trick that still tickles my heart to this day). Then, she crawled into my woven basket that I tote around and fell asleep. It was then, watching her, that I fell in love.

Three years later, I would argue that I have the best dog in the world. Like any proud Mama I have countless tender and amazing stories (the way she knows where to find me when I forget her places or how she sits outside patiently waiting for me when I go into the grocery store), plus a few disasters (she attacked a porcupine and then five hours later a skunk that wandered into a house I was care taking plus she killed a deer once).  The two of us are rarely apart--she comes to work, she comes to parties, and she never misses an opportunity to snuggle.

Ruda at three months.
Falling in love.

My favorite travel buddy. 
Ru's two favorite activities when we are down at the garden: chasing whoever lives in this wood pile and swimming in the ditch.
To this day I get giddy when climbing over fences-feeling the strength of my muscles, the flying moment when dismounting from the top wrung, the inevitable dirt on every part of me.

There are two things that top off the end of a physically laborious day. One is cold beer.
The other is swimming!

Crafting, giggling, dancing. 

Moving tipi poles. I love to practice tying all sorts of knots.