Nine years ago this summer we purchased a neglected pre-Civil War home sitting on twenty acres in the Shenandoah Valley. Before I’d even visited the property, I’d fallen in love with it. From online photos I could see it offered much of what I’d always wanted: land, privacy, room for gardens and animals, and plenty of space for kids to play and dream. It even had a long, tree-lined driveway.
Fifty years ago today, my parents were married. It was 1966 and the world was changing. Women were attending college in record numbers. Civil Rights laws were being passed. Students around the world were protesting the Vietnam War. Yet in Farmington, New Mexico, Shirley Jackson and Dwight Hansen were in love. Tall and handsome, Dwight was head-over-heels for the feisty, pretty Jackson girl. But Dwight was very shy. Shirley had to take the lead.
My son Clancy turned 16 earlier this month. For his birthday, he really wanted an electric guitar. Clancy has been playing piano for 10 years, but more recently started learning acoustic guitar. He’s hooked. He disappears for hours and reappears only to show me some song he’s “figured out.”
Historically, the word pyramid conjured up images of the great Egyptian tombs—at least until the United States government invented the food pyramid in 1992. The goal was to educate Americans about healthy eating choices by engraving in our minds and culture the image of the food pyramid with its recommended food group servings.
Although I would love to skip winter, I use it to catch up on the projects I put on the back-burner each summer. This winter is no different. Once the fruit tree pruning was done (I pruned roughly 20 trees within the first couple weeks of January).
While salmon is not likely on your mind this holiday season—it should be. Just weeks ago, the FDA approved genetically engineered (GE) salmon, the first altered animal, for human consumption. Up to this point, the only genetically modified organisms (GMOs) consumed by Americans were plants including corn, soy, and sugar. With the approval of the GM salmon introduced by the company AquaBounty comes the future likelihood of more altered animals in our food system.
The cold weather is coming quickly and I’m rushing to beat it. In fact, we already hit freezing overnight temperatures a couple of nights in mid-October. Yet there is food to pick, dig or otherwise gather before I can close all the garden beds. And of course, there is still the store to close.
Last spring Jeff gave me an advanced copy of Rinker Buck’s book, The Oregon Trail: An American Journey. Buck opens his latest book with this line: “I had known long before I rode a covered wagon to Oregon that naiveté was the mother of adventure.” I was hooked. How many adventures in my life were the result of naiveté? Perhaps my whole adult life.
This weekend is the grand opening of my very own ice cream store.
This blog post is dedicated to the people whose skills helped make this building my new store…Holy Cow!
If there is such a thing as balance, I find it at the beach.
On July 11, my new ice cream store – HOLY COW! – opened in Buena Vista’s Maury Park. I still wasn’t ready: I hadn’t mastered milkshakes; I needed root beer for floats; and I needed to find a certified kitchen to supply brownies for sundaes. But I was hearing the same message from my husband and my oldest son: just open. So I did. And I’m figuring the rest out as I go.
Some years ago, a wise friend taught me that there is no such thing as balance. With my four children all under the age of ten at the time, imbalance was a daily occurrence for me. Each day was filled with dirty diapers, cooking, cleaning, and toting children, car seats, and diaper bags from one place to another. I often felt guilty that I spent most of my time on the chores of child rearing and not its pleasures. Certainly, there was no time for personal pursuits. My youngest is now nine years old and my oldest almost nineteen. Yet my friend’s message still rings true. I may not have to change diapers and cart strollers everywhere, but my life is still out of balance.
School is out. The garden is young. Strawberries ripen daily. Warm nights filled with fire-flies are just beginning. Summer is here. The brown world of winter is just a memory, replaced by lush, green rolling hills and rippling waves of mountains. For now, summer stretches out before me like an invitation.