When I was a kid, my family belonged to Indian Hills Country Club in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It had a huge swimming pool, tennis courts, and a snack bar with a family tab. We could order anything for nothing! -- too young to understand credit.
Out here, there is Smokerise Swim Club, where the kids go with their summer care group, but we are not members. Instead, we formed our very own club -- a real country club -- where the kids run barefoot through longish grass, decorate the walk with chalk, (try to) catch chickens with a net, and cast lines off the front porch. The Olympic-sized hose is perhaps the most popular feature, and the snack bar serves blue corn chips and salsa. Open to everyone -- no membership fees. Ain't we fancy.
[Full disclosure: PawPaw also has a real swimming pool and is fewer than five minutes away.]
this morning i spent some time with leah and neal at the pool during their swimming lesson ~ leah swam and dove and gave herself a george washington hairdo while neal and i marched around like a choo choo train and pretended to fish in the kiddie pool ~ there are turtles painted on the concrete surrounding the pool, and neal very patiently instructed me to pet them, pick them up, and release them gently into the water ~ i'm exhausted from having gotten up at 5:30 to work a few hours before taking the pool break, but it was worth it
the band has been asked to play a gig at the high note in downtown birmingham, but it's the week before sam gets married, so she's out ~ i asked my brother if he would be our stand-in guitar player ~ i'm really hoping it works out ~ i miss playing live, and the length of my fingernails is a shameful indication of how long it's been since i've picked up my guitar
this is our dog d ~ she's getting old ~ leah wants to get a weenie dog and name it weener ~ i wanted a weenie dog when i was her age, too ~ i also wanted to eat bologna sandwiches every single day and swore that if i ever grew up, i would let my kids eat them whenever they wanted to ~ which is funny because my kids have never, ever, to my knowledge, eaten a bologna sandwich
when we got back from pawpaw's pool this evening, we could hear the sound of mister sanders' tractor in the pasture across the way ~ near dark, with the moon glowing high and the cows quieting down around the pond
now we're researching wood burning stoves ~ we have a very small one, but it doesn't quite make it through the night ~ we're looking to upgrade ~ hard subject to research when it's 90+ degrees outside and the air conditioning in your car works only sporadically ~ the opposite of shopping on an empty stomach ~ but when you've got kids, you learn to multiply the normal amount of time it takes to accomplish any given task by the number of kids you have, and then tack on some extra just for good measure
random question: why do so many STM publishers know so little about their industry? (sigh)
when i was growing up, my grandmother made something she called chisum fudge ~ it was the yummiest chocolate pecan fudge i've ever tasted, named after a man who stayed with her and my grandfather for a while ~ i don't remember any specifics about the man, but now that we have lived through several housemates of our own, i wonder whether chisum fudge was an homage or just an inside joke
here is a list of housemates we've had to date -- the good, the bad, and the verging on insane:
cousin robbie - as good a housemate as you could ever want ~ he accidentally saw me naked once ~ oh, well
billy langston ~ a man of interesting discussions and habits ~ he is one of only two people i've ever seen wander around town playing the harmonica ~ i think he might have scared the crap out of the welcome wagon lady when he answered the door after having only three hours of sleep
jody ~ jody, jody, jody ~ a fun guy ~ always amusing to find him sleeping in his truck in our yard even after he moved out
shannon ~ a little odd in a creative, witch-like way ~ he is the father of carla's baby (we met her in our natural childbirth class) ~ immature, harmless, but took advantage of a sizable money advance from lee by never actually doing any of the work and instead buying cds and water guns
stancil ~ did a lot of yardwork for us at first, and painted some, but then the work petered out and he started using our phone to yell at his girlfriend while our baby girl slept in the next room ~ later we discovered he was an ex(?)-crack addict
yes, there was a time when lee brought home stray people ~ that time is over ~ now my best-ever housemates are as follows:
lee ~ the coolest jammie spinning in space ~ simultaneous incarnation, man! ~ VIC-tah VOSS-buuurgh ~ staaaaar wars, su-per ma-yon
leah ~ dang that girl is smart ~ and beautiful ~ and kind-hearted ~ and she can already write better songs than i can ~ stunt girl!
neal ~ buggy, where'd you get those big ol' eyes? ~ sweet boy ~ silly peanut ~ remember when everything was a game? ~ he does, and it still is :)
when we started telling people we were moving from the city to the country, their responses were always the same: oh, i've always wanted to do that ~ over and over again: oh, i've always to do that ~ it's surprisingly easy, really ~ everything fell into place in an offbeat sort of way for us, but it all ultimately stemmed from going for a drive and happening upon something beautiful
here, we are surrounded by the picturesque ~ the careless way in which a hat is left hanging and a broom is left leaning near the coop ~ a handsome rooster perched atop an old wooden well ~ logs lined up in front of the forsythia ~ i've tried many times to describe the feeling i got after my daughter called me out to the porch on the first day of spring and i found myself smack dab in the middle of the equinox ~ a giant orange sun to my right and a giant, one-day-from-being-full moon to my left ~ all of us appearing to be on the same horizonal plane ~ it was a soulshifting moment
yeah, well, it turns out there are some people who just aren't gonna join myspace, so here you go ~ i'm devoting this space to country living ~ maybe i'll prove to my brother that it's not as boring as he thinks it is
a brief primer: we moved here in late spring/early summer of 2007, after driving down a random country road and finding a wrinkly ol' abandoned farmhouse ~ we tracked down the owner, who agreed that we could stay here in exchange for fixing it up ~ there was a chicken already living here, so i checked out every backyard chicken book i could find at the library ~ turns out most everyone who ever wrote a book about backyard chickens was initially given some chickens by a neighbor after moving out to the country ~ lo and behold, after living here a few months, someone stopped by to chat (that happens a lot), saw our chicken, and asked us if we wanted some more ~ we said yeah, sure, maybe a couple more hens and a rooster ~ a few days later, after taking neal to the doctor, we returned to find six new hens, a rooster, and a bag full of eggs hanging from the front door knob (just the eggs were hanging -- the chickens were hiding in the brush) ~ thus began our adventures in backyard chickening one fine afternoon, one of the hens surprised us with ten baby chicks hidden under her feather dress, and ever since then we have spent a little time each day improving their home ~ so today, while leah played at a friend's and neal watched his favorite movie, dumbo, lee and i hung clothes and made minor alterations to the coop
by happy chance, we found a local soapmaker who is willing to trade her wares for some of the chicks ~ we also found a small, organic garden in warrior ~ they grow most everything from heirloom seeds that they've collected over many years ~ we got two bags of lettuce (dinner), and some lemon balm to keep the skeeters away (although we have far fewer of them here than we did in the city) ~ next year we hope to have our own lettuce ~ this year's gardening has amounted to an experiment informing us of what we will do differently (or in most cases, simply do) next year ~ we'll use coop litter as compost next early spring, and then maybe we can grow something more than just squash!
i live across the road from some cows with my jammie husband, two dimpled children, a dog and cat, and lots of chickens ~ we also share our space with rabbits, deer, armadillos, snakes, turtles, and coyotes ~ i write songs, play guitar, and occasionally perform with a small band ~ i ran my first marathon in february, 2009 ~ 2012 UPDATE: i live in a van, down by the river! really!!!