Monday, September 6, 2010


This has been such a busy couple of weeks.  I’ve missed being able to sit down and write about what is happening, what I might be pondering, the latest adventure or misadventure.  I really *should* be asleep right now, but that will come soon enough.

Becca started the 8th grade.  It began much as 7th grade did, but for some reason this year the impact hit us like a truck.  Maybe it’s the added milker and two stinky bucklings that make it more of a challenge to get everything done this year.  Perhaps it’s just that August 18th as the start of school just doesn’t feel natural.  The groove of moving from season to season, starting school after Labor Day, feels more natural.  We are in the middle of summer, and bam!  Two hours of homework each night, book reports already scheduled and projects.  Add to that the traditional fundraising that hits immediately, this time three catalogs, magazine orders and Entertainment books, plus they want us to volunteer for Relay for Life - it’s mind-boggling.

As usual, Becca settles into the beginning of the year focused and organized.  She is excited about her classes and teachers.  She loves Art, as always, and couldn’t wait to get started again with violin.  I hope that she (we) can maintain this level throughout the year.  She is talking college and the art program she wants to apply to for high school, so she needs to maintain this concentration.

August 29th brought our first gathering at Jessica and Cory’s place for Fantasy Football.  I still don’t quite understand how it all works (and forgot to watch games today!), but our group all got together to pick our team players.  I feel like I did well- actually all of us did - and it should be a fun and different kind of football season.

Friday morning, the 3rd, was one of those that you just soak up and remember for years to come.  It epitomized all that I love about this farm and what I am doing here.  It was one of those clear summer mornings that have been so rare here this year, when I could see “my” mountain clearly as the sun rose.  I first walked out into the pitch black of the dark before dawn, and looked up into a brilliantly star studded sky as my dogs “did their business.”  I tried to get a picture of Duncan standing in the pool of light shining down from the studio next door to my house, but the camera on my phone couldn’t capture it.  (Batteries are missing from my good camera, though we did find those today - hurrah!)

As I fed chickens I listened to Foghorn crow to greet the slowly rising sun.  Moving goats from the barn to their pen, the sky began to lighten.  As I started milking, I watched as that magic moment happened, when suddenly the world turned golden.  It’s so hard to describe what that looks like - it’s not really “light” out yet, but the air starts to shimmer and everything starts to gleam.  As I brought the last goats out of the barn, the sun burst over the horizon and suddenly it was day.  There was a picture perfect moment as the warmth of the sunshine began to pour into our little valley that I was able to capture with my camera.

Even Luna was enjoying the growing warmth of the sun’s rays.

What a beautiful day.

Saturday, Becca and I headed off to Cal Berkeley with Jessica and Cory for a football game.  Each year, one of the teachers at Becca’s school gets tickets for interested students to attend Come to College day at Berkeley.  It is an opportunity for the kids to tour the school and have a good time watching the Bears football game.  We are familiar with the blue, gold and white, as Becca used to cheer for our local Redwood PAL Golden Bears team.

We decided to take the teacher’s suggestion and take BART in, rather than trying to find parking on game day.  We drove all the way in last year, and that was so stressful and difficult.  This was our first time taking the train, and after fumbling a little bit on how it all works, we avoided disaster by not jumping on the first train we saw (going the wrong direction!), and discovered this is a great way to get to and from the game.

It was a beautiful day to walk the tree-lined campus with the beautiful buildings and grounds.  Becca has gone back and forth over the last year or so about whether she wants to attend SSU or Berkeley - she is determined to go to Berkeley again now.

We had really good seats, and though we couldn’t see the cannon that is fired after every Cal score, we were close enough to it to jump every time it went off.  This game was filled with cannon fire.  The stadium was packed with 58,000, but the turnout from Becca’s school was disappointing.  Forty people signed up for the game, but only seven or eight showed up, including our four, the teacher and her husband.  We all had a blast together, though, and sported new t-shirts and hats for the occasion.

One of my favorite parts of the college games is the half time show.  The marching bands with their strutting drum majors are such a fun part of the ritual.  Many of the Davis fans were really poor sports, however, and I was surprised and disappointed to hear boos from them when Cal’s band went onto the field, and when Cal’s cheerleaders walked by their section in the stands.  There were no boos for their band or cheerleaders from the huge Cal crowd.  At least “our” team showed better sportsmanship.

The game was such a blow-out that we decided that it just wasn’t worth fighting the crowds to wait until the end.  We left with 10 minutes left on the clock and a score of 49 to 3 with the Bears winning on the board.  We heard the cannon fire twice more as we were walking through the campus, though one of those shots might have been signaling the end of the game.

The trip back on BART made us feel like we were old pros at this train thing.  We stopped in San Rafael for coffee on the way home, and Becca and I stopped at Safeway to pick up a few things before heading to our house.  Still in our Cal regalia and high from the game, we split up to pick up things separately.  When Becca met up with me, she said that she saw a guy in a Davis jersey and hat coming down one of the aisles toward her.  He looked at her hat and shirt, and scowled at her.  She said she turned on her heel and went the other direction.  Is this an example of how Davis treats a loss?  I was kind of hoping that Becca would look into Davis for its ag program, but maybe art at Berkeley isn’t such a bad idea.

We made it back to our house in time for evening chores before it got dark.  What a full and tiring day, but in a really good way.

Sunday morning, I turned on my pocket Pandora on the Blackberry for morning milking.  I had it set to my John Denver station, and I just can’t think of any better type of music for morning chores on the farm.  There is something so soothing about his voice and the pictures he paints in my mind with his lyrics.  It’s music I can sing along to, and both evokes happy memories, and helps create new ones.

While milking Imbri, I recalled how badly I wanted to sing with him.  I remember going to a concert in 1980 when his Autograph album (no CDs back then) came out.  I watched transfixed on that night, and said that I wanted to be on that stage with him, even if it was as back-up singer.  What a dream job that would be.  When I got home that night, without realizing it, I gave up those dreams forever in the instant that I accepted a marriage proposal.  I had no idea what that would mean, or how foolish I would be about failing to pursue my own dreams and goals.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I “regret” not pursuing those musical dreams, but ultimately, I don’t regret any of the decisions I’ve made that brought me down different pathways.  I am so happy and proud of all of my daughters.  I am so blessed to be where I am, and what I am doing right now.  I am so grateful for all that I have learned and accomplished since then.  Who knows what those dreams might have brought me?  It might have been happiness, but it also could have been ruin and despair.  What I try to teach my girls is to grab on with both hands what they are passionate about and want to pursue, BUT - don’t ever look back with sadness and regret.  Learn from the experiences, grow from them, remember them, and move forward.  We get to create our present and our future every single day, and it can all be beautiful.

After starting a batch of homemade yogurt, we went to the Windsor Farmer’s Market, a Sunday morning ritual that I really look forward to.  Healdsburg’s market on Saturdays is closer, but Windsor offers things that we can’t get closer to home.  The first thing we do is head to the biegnet stand to get hot, freshly made, light-as-air biegnets dusted with powdered sugar.  With those in hand, we walk to the far end of the market and stroll along, taking in the sights and sounds and making our selections.  We picked up fresh basil and peaches, homemade sausage and spinach ravioli, pondered whether to get fresh and locally made sausage (next weekend), and bought a spicy pecan/basil pesto for inspiration.  Becca always likes to end our farmers market foray with a snow cone when the cart is there, and then we headed home.  There are a few things that we’d like to try next weekend, and we made a mental note together.

In the afternoon, I took the huge, fragrant bunches of basil out onto the front porch and began stripping the leaves from them and putting them into a bowl.  It was 90 degrees in the shade of the porch, but there was a soft, cool breeze blowing that made it a divine place to sit and take care of this “chore,” which was really a wonderful way to pass the time.

Becca sat with me from time to time, and then went into the pool for a dip, returning to give me cold, wet hugs and shake her hair at me, just to get my reaction.  I made up several batches of pesto to freeze for this winter, and then after evening chores we started our ravioli dinner followed by churning some homemade ice cream.  The perfect ending to a perfect day.

We didn’t get everything done today that I had hoped for, but we still have the Labor Day holiday and another opportunity to create more happy memories, and move forward toward creating a blessed present and a bright future.

1 comment:

  1. A great post.

    Mmmmmmmmmmm...ahhhhhhhhhhhh...Frash Basil. :)