#1. Around lunchtime on Thursday Klaus followed me to the front field, using his sharp puppy teeth to help carry the garden hose, which was already running cold and strong with crystalline well water. We were on a mission to rinse and refill the water trough there, but Chunk-Hi looked so baking hot and dry that our mission quickly changed. I called our sweet buff over to where we stood in the shade, and he mosied then posed for his hose down. His summertime bath. One of his favorite things in the world next to Oreo cookies and having his wooly fur peeled off his rib cage. Klaus watched with great curiosity, or maybe envy, because the pup too loves to be hosed down. As I sprayed first Chunk’s thick black mane and terrible, chipped horns, then his massive neck and shoulders, then his tall, serious backbone, his bath ran down in shiny rivulets looking more like Yoohoo chocolate drink than water. Red clay rinsed off his body and he shook, shook, shook, just like a puppy, until only silver beads remained caught in those dense front locks. I rinsed his split hooves and he turned so I could get his other broad side. He lifted his skinny tail and I sprayed him everywhere he asked me to. Meanwhile Klaus was belly down, long legs splayed out in all four directions of the map, surrendered to the cool dirt beneath that oak tree, our Talking Tree. Roosters chased hens somewhere behind us. A horse snuffled contentedly. And I was so happy to be home.
#2. These cookies make me unreasonably happy. They have so much strong bite for munchy, snack-craving teeth and they taste sweet and cinnamony, like apple pie, but they are pretty healthy. Made with largely wholesome ingredients and super filling. Okay, commercial is over. Go make them for yourself!
#3. Katelyn, Dillon, and I walked downhill toward Wedding Meadow. We were scouting a clearer vision for their ceremony. First our feet swished through the green clover of the middle field, then they crunched through the prairie grass out back. Clouds veiled the morning’s brutal sun and a very welcome cool breeze sliced across our path. The bride and groom chatted happily and measured one thing after another, their easy conversation bringing the natural landscape to life in my mind. Every tree shimmered green and lively into a mirage of white satin and floral drapes, twinkle lights and loving vows. Their date is just two months away, and we are so excited.
#4. Miss Red Dot has abandoned her maternal duties wholesale. A few days ago I placed her in the freshly cleaned Hatching Highrise with about two dozen uncollected eggs plus all the materials she would need to make a lovely little home for herself and her foster chicks (hay, grass, and fresh herbs). The first day she did fine. I found evidence of nesting and saw that she was eating scratch and drinking cold water normally. Then the next morning when I opened the front hatch to replace her water and add more grain, she flew out at me violently, in a big storm of wide-eyed panic. I looked at the eggs, scattered now, no longer in their grassy bowl of protection, and also saw that Red Dot had been busy peeling away the double-layer chicken wire we had stapled over one window. In addition to trying to remove it, she had also been trying to evacuate herself through one of those hexagon shapes, stretching and bending it, a feathered prisoner escaping from a tiny Alcatraz. A few of those hexagons were quite baggy already. That’s how you know a hen is unhappy: She risks strangulation trying to escape. Also? I had never before seen a hen successfully remove stapled-in wire mesh. She may not have natural brooding instincts, but she’s also no dummy.
#5. Friday morning. We tried to sleep late but Klaus thought that idea was silly. So before 5:30 a.m. on his day off, Handsome leads our little trio outside for Hot Tub Summit. Beach towels and perfect coffee in hand, last night’s moon still glowing blurry and mischievous through the last traces of storm clouds, we creep across the dewy south lawn and welcome the holiday weekend. Our feet leave pearly, lustrous tracks in the green carpet, and the sky is already changing from moody bruised colors to clearer ideas about pink and blue, more summertime cotton candy promises. That little elbow of woodsy garden near the hot tub is our own small Emerald Forest. Deep and dark, dramatic and cool almost any time of day, it boasts bigger leaves and stranger nuances of green than anywhere else on the farm. We brainstorm together about how to spend our day, and the birdsong as we chat is thrilling. Enthusiastic, already turned up to a high volume so that surely no one is sleeping late on this beautiful morning. I soak and smile and press into my heart the gratitude of the moment and also the gratitude of how many prayers have been answered lately. From family needs and relationship healing to professional and financial success, despite big obstacles, we are a very blessed couple and we know it. And the wonder of so much freedom and pleasure is a gift for which I am constantly thankful. We decide we are finished soaking, heated now down to the marrow of our bones, and my husband mock-scolds Klaus for relocating our flip-flops. The foot path home is still visible in the fluffy green, lit now by slanting light from the east. The roosters are awake. The day is ready for us. And we are ready for the day.
Happy Independence Day Weekend, friends!
Redeem your freedoms.