For Jason, he spent the first few days after we arrived home working on the "punch list" of the back kitchen project. It's all done except for one small task that must wait until some hardware arrives at the local building supply store on Friday. So maybe he'll still chime in here on the project once it is 100% done! We have all adjusted happily to the new cabinets, which are both functional, sturdy and beautiful. There are still many empty drawers and shelves that we'll "grow into using" over time. The picture here does not do them justice! Overall this project went well for us (as a couple and as a family). It was most stressful clearly for Jason, and it has been nice for him to be able to shift his attention and energy to other things in the last number of days. He got to spend the better part of two days loading up the wood shed for next winter, which is one of his favorite jobs. The girls all helped a bit on the the second day.
We enjoyed our February family night planned by Kali. We enjoyed wood fired pizzas together at Bella Luna and then went to see James & the Giant Peach at a local high school where one of Kali's friends was on the sound crew for the musical. By the end, we could all say we enjoyed it, but Terah clearly takes after her mother. There were tears for much of the first half and my main focus had to be on consoling her and trying to encourage her to stay quiet enough that we didn't have to leave. James has two very unkind aunts and of course, it being a musical, they were rather dramatic. Well everything is rather dramatic and loud and so it was suspenseful and tense, but she seemed happy that she had stayed. I did decide that when Beauty and the Beast is done at EMU next month, we'll make that a big girls and Mommy date. I'm sure that one would do her in!! I must always remember that we had to leave a Care Bears movie partway through when I was young as it was just too scary for me!
Recently, I've been thinking a lot about our connections to land and the earth and what reciprocity looks like. When we bought Leah Penniman's book Farming While Black at the recent conference we attended, she signed it, "the land loves you back." The more I reflect on these words, the more profound they are. And as Jason and I make our way through Robin Wall Kimmerer's Braiding Sweetgrass, further reflection on that theme is inspired and deepened - one of these days I hope to be able to better articulate all that is swirling in me as I read and reflect on this compilation of essays. I definitely consider it a "must read for all humans!" When I looked outside on Valentine's Day, it seemed like the whole sky was lit up with color - our valentine from nature. I hope my life adequately responds to the beauty and sustenance I have received from the earth.
In the evening, we enjoyed a Valentine's day playdate with Ivy so her parents could enjoy a date! It was fun for all, as it always is, though I must admit that I didn't see the girls for a good part of the evening. There was a very lengthy potty party with Terah, Alida and Kali as designated reader. By the time I finally went to check on them, Kali had a massive stack of Babybugs next to her that she had read. She is the most patient, kind, caring and generous 15 year old I know! Two kiddos' systems were well cleared out by the time the book reading session was called to an end!
And here we are at today! We woke to a transformed world covered in snow. I was able to convince the chickens to come down from their roost with popcorn kernels and some pork cracklins. Otherwise there was not a lot of chicken activity out and about today. We've been keeping the free range pens in more often right now anyway due to some really intense juvenile cooper's hawk pressure. In one day, Jason chased off a hawk twice that literally was attacking a hen. Close calls for sure! We are now collecting hatching eggs from a few of the range pens, Jason is doing some chicken shuffling to get other matings set up and we have our first broody sitting on eggs and another one in the process of being transitioned to a broody pen to receive a clutch of real eggs (the jury is out yet whether that transfer will be successful). I'm eager for the second broody to be securely in one of the solo pens as she is vicious. She drew blood on Jason the other day - that is why I wear gloves!
With sleet pelting our faces, we went down over and over again. In various combinations of people, sitting up, standing, kneeling, laying down. We went frontwards and backwards and stacked on top of each other. Terah went from the very top by herself and didn't want anyone waiting for her. It was so invigorating. I haven't squealed and laughed so much in a long time. What a delightful difference from my afternoon spent mainly in front of a computer screen trying to navigate a bad internet connection in Nigeria making a zoom meeting rather difficult (ok, impossible - we gave up after an hour of trying and resorted to email). At dinner we all agreed easily that our time together sledding was the time today when we all felt most alive and connected to ourselves, the earth and each other!