our motto is: make a ruckus
It’s Mom’s birthday month, which means that we celebrate whenever the mood strikes. Hank and I made an impromptu trip to the beach for some saltwater, sea breeze, sand, and sunset therapy – and came back with 18 live blue crabs. Mom’s all time favorite food is crab cakes, and she had never had fresh crabs before at all. Hank did some magical swoosh the guts out before you cook he learned at the river growing up, and those 2 ate crabs till they could eat no more. I would even go so far as to say Mom was orgasmic over it. I, on the other hand, ate cereal and thought it was delicious. I tried one, like a good kid, but it just wasn’t my thing. Thought it better to leave it for the peeps that were in love.
I have reignited my love affair with the garden this month. Throwing myself back into it with a renewed sense of excitement and enjoyment. I have lots of fall veggies started: broccoli, collards, red cabbage, spinach, kohlrabi, turnips, radishes, carrots, and beets. All of the tomatoes, except the ones in the hoop house, are pretty done. Blight got them bad. I’ve already started pulling them and giving them to the chickens to clean up, recycling the beds and prepping them for the fall vegs that I started in trays. The potatoes are all pulled, some already stored, some still drying. All the rain seemed to bother them too and I worried that leaving them in the ground would cause them to rot. Sunflowers bloomed!!!! I have two by the west gate that must be 10 feet tall. All the other flowers are raging too, I never knew I loved having flowers around so much until this year. But they have most definitely stole my heart. Our houses are never without a fresh cut bouquet.
Mom and I have a division of labor when it comes to gardening and putting up all the food to get us through Winter. She is the master of her kitchen. The goddess of canning, freezing, and preserving. She’s been going steady all season. We have at least 6 different kinds of jam thanks to a new low sugar jam method that blows the taste buds right out of our mouths with goodness. Our maters put out probably 3 gallons every 3 days or so, which was enough for a batch of something every time so we have ketchup, bruschetta, all sorts of salsas, spicy marinaras, and paste sitting in our larder. Hank loves pickles, so we’ve been making LOTS of pickles. Spicy ones, mustard ones, turmeric ones, sort of fermented ones, and apparently tasty ones according to Hank’s initial flavor testings. These aren’t our cucumbers, turns out I didn’t grow the right kind of cucumbers for the job, but our friends and local farmers, Katie and Blair of Black Sheep Family Farm, have been able to hook us up with my shortcomings. This week we added peaches to our repertoire too. A whole 20 lb box for $10 from the local farm store, Wood’s Cold Storage. Super nice people, and they grow them. Mom went a little crazy trying peach things – we have more jam, salsa, and some honey-spiced thing I don’t quite understand. Did I mention that she’s been canning for 2 days straight? Yesterday she didn’t even leave the house. But she’s been loving it. Having a blast trying new recipes and stocking the pantry. We have never had so many different, and delicious sounding things in our lineup. The difference is that this year we had a recipe book, a canning bible if you will, on semi-permanent to loan from Hank’s mom, and it has been seriously life changing.
Hank has been doing almost daily trail work and we now have absolutely spectacular trails around the edges of our meadows. Which has in turn inspired Mom and I to start going for morning jogs again. It feels good to get out of bed and get my blood flowing like that. It feels good to be running with no purpose other then to feel good. I’m not training for anything, so I’m not worried about time, speed, or even mileage. I’m just running to run. Of course, this means I’m not at all fast, but since when is that the important part anyways? I’m running to be happy.
Which brings me to my next blip. At some point early in August, perhaps the end of July (whenever that last post was), it had begun to dawn on me that I was feeling not quite up to snuff in the happiness department. So I’ve been doing some reading and some work to turn this around. A couple weeks ago I finished Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection. It was awesome. There was so much in it I needed to read, and I actually went back into it and started to take notes on some things I really wanted to remember and implement. Most transformative perhaps for me, in this moment, is this idea that our self worth is not tied to our productivity. That its ok to do less, or to do nothing. Perhaps even good for us! (Gasp) Another one thats sticking with me is learning what joy looks like for me, and the relationship between gratitude and joy, and even gratitude/joy and fear/vulnerability. I wrote myself a list of things that bring me joy and I stuck it on the fridge next to our adventure bucket list. When I get super focused on budgeting or getting shit done or just generally feeling bleh, I read it and it keeps me in balance. I also started a new bathroom project, replacing doodle-op with an ongoing gratitude project instead. Sit down, pee or poo, write down something your grateful for and stick it on the wall. I’m doing my own more private version too, a gratitude journal that I try to write 5 things in every night before bed. I watched the movie “Happy” and it taught me some things too. The biggest take away from that being that happiness is 50% genetics, 10% circumstances and 40% intentional acts. As if I wasn’t already, this put me on an intentional happiness mission. Missions are better then plans, because missions succeed where plans fail (thanks to Seth Godin for that last tasty tidbit).
The final straw for August will be a Hawk-Mo style Burning Man. We aren’t going to the real deal this year, we made a pact about it, and we keep our pacts (we wrote a pact about buying this place and you know how that ended). We decided that we would rather plan on going next year and be prepared for it. Our camp setup (Genie the adventure van) needs some improvements and we want to build some sort of bike velo that the three of us can ride around on together, that will include comfy seats, a spot for the cooler, shade, lights, and beats. Basically its going to be one bad ass cruiser (name to be determined). But I digress, in lieu of actual Burning Man attendance, we need something to keep our spirits up while we stay home when part of us wants to be in the desert. So I suggested we have our own absurdly creative inspired weekend. We’re going to reconstruct the cosmic temple into a kaleidoscope shade structure off of Genie, dance our asses off to good beats blasting from Hank’s homemade bass face speakers, burn things, including the dancin’ man I made for us today, and do otherwise artful creative things.
I wrote another post earlier this month that I never published, because I couldn’t. It’s titled, “The Goats are Dead.” I mention it here because its definitely a part of the month of August. Our hearts are broken. Our souls are sad. Rest in peace my dear ones. You were good to us and taught us much we needed to learn. We buried them down in the old garden, one of their favorite places to graze, and planted wildflowers on their grave.