Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lonely and Forlorn

The prevailing question I get from most people when they find out where I live is, "who's your nearest neighbor?"  I think they're going to pass out when I tell them that I don't have a nearest neighbor.  The only neighbor I have is about 20 miles away, and they're nearest neighbor is about 15 miles away in the opposite direction, which is town. 

For a beautiful fleeting moment we did have neighbors and they were great.  They were a young, newly married couple and they were new to the area.  He was about 6'8 and the only person I think my husband has ever looked up too, literally.  She was 5'3, bright and cheery with a great sense of humor.  And could do anything. Anything.  She rode horses, worked cattle, made her own comforter for their bed, she probably made the darn bed, she could weld, fix the tractor, haul cattle, bake a cake, raise chickens, make jewelry.  Last summer the ranch they lived on caught on fire during a thunderstorm and by the time the fire department showed up she had made a fire path with a maintainer and put out most of the fire with tow sacks.

I was so excited to find out the extent of her skill sets that I tore my honey-do list up for the husband and set out to make her my new best friend.  And she Loved my children!  And they would do anything for her.  We had so much fun together.  We didn't have a whole lot in common as far as interests, but who needs to talk about art and literature when you're new best friend can build you a dining room table!

And it was so wonderful to have someone to depend on way out here in the middle of nowhere.  If either of us went out town, we could depend on each other to watch the ranch and feed the animals.  Hayes and Andrew could help each other work cattle, work on water problems and feed.  Kylia and I had plans of gardening, raising chickens and sharing milk cow duties.  But now it's all gone, gone I tell you!

kylia and andrew
We had so much fun having them over for football, game night, dinner and holidays.  My husband and I were looking forward to their having children so our kids could play with them.  We had it all worked out and then they destroyed the dream by leaving and moving back to where they came from.  We still drive by their house on the way to town and wish they were here.  And no matter who moves in there it will never be the same.  Now it's back to being just us and whoever the border patrol is chasing across the mountains.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Season of Plenty

I live for this time of year!  Some people love summer, but I love autumn and the holiday season.  It goes by way to fast for me.  In fact, I begin to get in a manic state about September and then go through a major let down in January when I have to face the long, crazy windy months of February and March.  This time of year is a time for me to go into super Martha Stewart mode and plan a craft bonanza.  My craftiness is always derailed by the constraints of potty training, homeschooling and housework, but I still dream of a house accented with natural substance arrangements, fall foliage garlands around the fireplace and every  turkey handprint craft imaginable. 

Speaking of crafts...does anyone know what these things are?  They came off a huge tree I found on a remote dirt road and they resemble some sort of weird fruit.  Please tell me they're not poisonous.

This next photo is of the Indian Corn we miraculously grew by accident about three years ago.  I had bought some decorative corn at the store and thrown it out for the javelinas after Thanksgiving.  Well lo and behold a year later it popped up in the midst of some cactus and algerita bushes!  It was absolutely beautiful and I immediately had fantasies of starting an indian corn empire (because I paid about $2.00 a cob at the store - hello.) We call it our miracle corn and we bring it out every year for decoration.  Unfortunately, that was the only year we grew corn successfully, decorative or otherwise.

We survived Halloween without any peanut allergy related incident, thank the Lord.  We came home with tons of nasty candy that I'm sure was made in China so I immediately threw out anything that would pull out a tooth if chewed and hid the rest in a cabinet.  Every year I make a declaration not to celebrate Halloween and every year I buckle under pressure and buy cheesy, badly made polyester costumes and drive an hour in to town so my kids can run around collecting candy they can't eat.  The next day we suffered the mother of all post Halloween apocalyptic meltdowns due to too much sugar and not enough sleep.
This is Pidgeon's fourth year as a princess, go figure, and Punkin was a fairy and Rooster was a Knight's Templar (a fact that was lost on everyone).  Note to self - next year don't buy costumes at Gymboree because everyone and their dog will have the same one.

We've been very busy with home school.  I've had a wonderful time sharing my obsession with colonial America with my children and as kindergartners and first graders I'm sure they know way more about the Wampanoags, Puritans, Jamestown and the destruction of the first peoples than they ever wanted to know or could even absorb at this age.  November is Native American Heritage month and so we've had fun comparing the natives of Virginia and Massachusetts to the native people that lived on this ranch at one time.  We all agree the people here got the short end of the stick because there's nothing to eat here and it would be hard to grow corn.  (believe me - we've tried)

If my son went to school in town he wouldn't get to wear this ensemble to school, would he? (notice the duct tape around his boot as a finishing touch)

And finally, my baby is going to be two this week.  On Thanksgiving no less.  She may not talk but she is great at getting her point across.  Here she is wearing the new hat her grandmother made her.  She seldom takes it off.  And she has developed an obsession for those tacky Disney princess shoes, which I would have never seen coming.  I would have pinned her for more of a cowboy boots kind of girl.  I guess she's following in her big sister's foot prints. 
Happy Thanksgiving Friends!