I took a walk in the woods on Thursday evening. At the top of the ridge behind our house, I sat on a stump. My mind was racing and I had to tell myself firmly to sit still inside, just quietly listen and absorb the damp smell of leaf mold and fresh growth. It was the first time I actually sat down that day in body or spirit. The frantic tone of the world does tend to wear one down. I had taken a brief stroll on facebook and once more decided that I am not sanctified enough to manage it. The irony of being angry about the media whipping the public into panic while simultaneously feeding all one’s friends with one’s own version of conspiracy theories seems obvious, at least to me. At any rate, there I was in the woods, and God was still faithfully bringing about the miracle that is swelling buds and courting spring peepers and lo, the winter is past!
We did lots of normal things this past week. Of course, school is normal. I do feel like this enforced homeschool will probably reinforce the opinions of those who already think we h-sers never get out of our cloistered lives. This isn’t true, of course. We had to reschedule our dentist appointments. (Haha.) Also, we missed piano lessons, library visits, a normal shopping trip to Goodwill, and a day when all in the house clamored to get together with the cousins.
I am not chafing or feeling like our liberties are threatened. At a time like this, I feel like the law of Christ, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” is the highest authority. We can do this in any situation, and the test comes when it inconveniences us. I have read extensively about communist regimes and war-time constraints on the people of God, and never has there been a time when the Light of Jesus’ love could not blaze gloriously through the haze of humanistic thought. This is our time to shine!
Okay, I wasn’t going there again, but I just did. Back to the week in review. It was warm, with real balm in the breezes. Even the rain was kind of warm. We spent a whole afternoon pruning fruit trees, clearing debris out of borders, edging with shovels, and even hauling old bedding out of the barn to mulch the asparagus beds, etc. I planted lettuce and larkspur in the garden and bought seed potatoes and onion sets for the day it dries out a bit. We have our place on the market, so this may be a foolish notion, but I must garden, whether I get the fruits or not. I get high on the scent of freshly turned earth. Ask my family; they will say it is true.
One afternoon the children and I took rakes and hoes to work on our switchback trail to the top of the ridge. It is steep and difficult to climb with all the wet leaves, but when we level the trail and cut the overhanging vines and branches, it becomes a magical place to walk, with a sense of privacy even with all the traffic noise on the road.
Alex helped me cut down a huge trumpet vine that was crawling under the shingles on the porch. Every year I tried to prune it but it was simply becoming unmanageable. There was a thick enough trunk on the vine that it required a saw to cut it. I like these vines for the hummingbird attraction they are, but they are better in a tree formation in an open spot where they cannot pull things apart with their incredible tendrils that form roots.
The girls are working on propagating succulent babies for their fairy gardens and we have grass seeded in a flower pot for an Easter centerpiece. Rita dug through my box of garden seeds and planted an egg carton full of various seeds. They rewarded her by springing right up. Today she dug up a whole bunch of wild carrots in the orchards and washed them. She wants to dry them, for some reason, so they are on cookie sheets in the oven, filling the house with a pungent carroty aroma. This is for her emergency stash of food in the playhouse. I guess she plans to rehydrate them in soups over her campfire. Recently I amended my cavalier attitude about quantities of flour and oatmeal zipping outside whenever they want to cook because I found some large doughy patties in the yard that even the dog wouldn’t eat. (We just cannot waste even 50 cents worth of flour right now, children.) They are cast back on foraging in the fields. Also, apples and they don’t even have to ask permission. I got a half bushel of them at the orchard because they are still open and “an apple a day” you know. It is weird how much thought I have been putting into food and provisions in general. My children are always hungry, it seems. I found myself lecturing them on not snacking, and “those might be the last peppers and cucumbers we have in the house for a very long time, etc.” Never mind that they are perishable and have to be eaten anyway.
All week I wanted to go to the shed and throw pots, but between spelling lessons and a strange compulsion to bake a lot of bread, I didn’t get out there until today. The act of centering the clay on the wheel has a centering effect on me as well. I have a goal to throw 70 pieces by the end of March. I am at 20, so there is a little room for hustle, wouldn’t you say? I have a joke to share with you. My elusive quest for the perfect set of nesting bowls continues to flit out of reach like a will o’ the wisp. I thought I had really done it last month. They looked great, but when I unloaded the glaze kiln, I couldn’t find the largest bowl. I thought I must have forgotten it in a storage tote somewhere but it was nowhere. At last I realized that I had glazed it merlot instead of batik blue, and there the mystery was solved. Sigh. Two bowls do not really count as a nesting set. Would you like to see? (insert facepalm emoji here.)
Last weekend Alex drove with friends to a Young Adult Patroller’s Ski Camp in Burlington, Vermont, only to learn that the event was cancelled. It was 12 hours driving, 12 hours in Vermont, and 12 hours home. He still got in one practice day at the slopes here in Pennsylvania, but now the ski gear is all stored away. (I whisper a hallelujah!) We’ve been storing the gloves/hats/coats in the attic this week, washing a load at a time. It seems like every spring when we do this, we have an unseasonal snow, but I think not this year. We used our ice skates for exactly one hour in December. It was a disappointing season for the winter lovers among us, but all of us are delighted to be right here at the spring equinox.
Even our last pig, Poppy, is regaining her spirits. After we butchered her five siblings a few weeks ago, she mourned for days, refusing to eat or drink. It made me sad just to look at her little piggy eyes and drooping tail. Today when we walked past her, she ran along the fence hoping for slops, so I hope she has forgotten her trauma. She needs a boyfriend, I think.
The one stray female cat at our house has three boyfriends. I haven’t gotten her spayed because 1. she was a stray 2. she seemed kind of little yet. Famous last words of those overwhelmed by kitten deluge.
Addy is keeping track of our school countdown. I think we are now at 35 days, which is 7 weeks, friends! We always amend our last weeks with lots of field trips and fun stuff. (I wonder if they would think it is fun to make masks for the hospital ER. It’s definitely a thing we will be working on, if only to ensure that Gabriel has adequate supplies. ) The year end bash might be a little challenging this year so I put in a big Thriftbooks order today. They all wanted at least two books, but I cut it down to one each and a few read-alouds. The wish list will hold for awhile. (That’s an affiliate link up there, and if you are a first time buyer, you get a 15% off coupon and I get some points. Also, shipping is free with any order over $10. 🙂 )
In other news, I am a little crippled without a reliable phone. While Alex was changing the battery for me -the battery that didn’t fit even though it was supposed to be for the exact make and model of my phone- I accidentally spilled the tiny screws and springs that he had laid aside to reassemble it. As I was down on the floor with a magnet, trying to pull them out of the rug, I took off my glasses so I could see better at close range. Then I sat on my glasses. I am a little squint-eyed in an old pair with a different prescription, but guess who isn’t going to push for a vision appointment? If anyone tries in vain to reach me by phone, I am sorry. The situation is under review, but nothing is speedy these days. Try snail mail. It’s still working, judging by the speed with which my children communicate with their cousins. Postage stamps are a hot commodity around here. Of course, there is always email and messenger. It feels symbolic to actually be disconnected for reals. Uncomfortable, too. I like to stay in touch.
Meanwhile I’ll just be here waiting to hear how your days are going. Love to every one of you!