Bringing in the house plants that spent the summer outside; wondering at how much they’ve grown; getting soil all over the kitchen table and floor and counter . . .
The greenhouse seed babies are thriving and this little man has been busy making a mud pit full of “hot cocoa” just outside the door. I’m thinning and he’s brewing; so come on over for some cool microgreens and warm drinks! I love gardening in this giant terrarium on the cusp of autumn. It’s such a paradox to watch new life burst forth as everything else outside slows down and lets go.
Last fall I wrote a piece for Wild + Free on fermenting with children. It is one of my favorite articles I did for the magazine because everyone in our family helped with the photos, the recipes, and the fermentation! One year later, everyone is gathered around again, making a new ferment: Giardiniera. Jeffrey’s endless enthusiasm for fermentation experimentation is contagious. I think we are raising a whole brood of wildcraft makers and brewers.
After the Giardiniera project, we made wild grape soda: one of our September traditions and favorite ferments!
You may be wondering if Wallace is very sad and misses his girls terribly when they are at school. After two years of homeschooling, it is certainly a change to have them gone during the school day. And, yes, he does miss them. A lot. He asks about them when they are gone and he likes me to tell stories about them. But, he certainly keeps busy! And he keeps me busy. And he keeps Jeffrey busy. And he deconstructs many things around the house whenever I try to “get something done.” But it is a joy to have so much time one-on-one with Wallace; I feel like I’m getting to know him differently without his sisters. And, oh boy, is he excited when the time comes to pick them up every afternoon!
my desk with little hands
and rose petals
because I want to remember writing here
at Old Gousty
with a view of the woods
Mary Oliver by my side
and rose petals
from roses Grandmommy brought me
and brought me again.
candles for night writing
and an old photo of Maude Louise
(my childhood Airedale)
all of this waiting for me
after Wallace falls asleep
and rain is drumming on the roof
quietly luring me
to my desk
Old Gousty days in August were filled with family and friends and collections of treasures from our walks in the wild woods.
when I picked this arugula
I had no idea
there were acorns involved,
stacks of dishes
it was unclear if the yellow ones were ripe.
were they a new variety?
I usually forget to label the plants
when I put them in the ground
and I have to return to my notebook
filled with notes on seed starting
mixed with lists
of tomato varieties
and basil in the same tray –
a few poems between the lines,
and smudged ink from tears
knowing I was planting the seeds
of tomatoes he would
Endless projects around here.
Uncle Scott helping.
Getting everything ready for August.
Little man in tool heaven.
I’m cleaning out a
cupboard of watercolors
and art supplies
and nature journals
and clay, and I am cleaning
but this is what I end up doing
laying out the bits and pieces
of a homeschool year
as a sort of still life
on the kitchen table,
and admiring all the little
reminders of a creative life
in the this home
filled with birdsong
This is what the “lawn” looks like after six weeks away.
And the garden is a jungle. But at least there is kale growing in the jungle. And lots of garlic. Oh, and volunteer plants I would have weeded out weeks ago. How I love the volunteers. And so they get to stay. Nasturtiums in the garlic beds. Cosmos in the onions. Calendula everywhere. Hundreds of borage plants for the bees.
The garden is wild. The children have not brushed their hair in days. The puppy is happy.
The chickens are settling back in.
And sometimes Amabel and I spend the morning collecting beautiful bits of plants and arranging them just so, creating this lovely, yet rather pointless assortment . . . instead of weeding, but . . . it’s lovely here, in the jungle, isn’t it?
We are reading so many good books this month! Being at Gousty is bringing out the reading in all of us. The stack of books that Amabel has read to herself this month is even higher than the stack in this photo! Many of the chapter books that I read as a child and adolescent are in this house (the actual copies!), and I love coming into the living room to find her curled up on the couch with one of my old books in her lap.