Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I is for Indigenous

We hear "Indigenous" and typically think of peoples and creatures specific to an area.

In my world, I think of what's indigenous to our little country life.

Now, I do take pleasure in the things that are indigenous to this high country desert of northern Arizona, beyond farm life. Like this precious guy.

I got to spend an entire summer with little Kyan while he and about 30 other young Native American kids danced traditional Pow Wow dances on a dirt stage every night outside the historic courthouse in our little city. The regalia Mr. Kyan is sporting here is not indigenous to this region, but it's indigenous to the Pow Wow traditions that he, his parents, and friends participate in around the Southwest.

I've decided to take creative license with this alphabet challenge, and I'm extending the exploration of indigenous things to experiences and traditions, not just people and critters -- although both figure largely in our country farm life, as it happens.

So, what's unique or indigenous to this life?


Poop in the hen house; poop on the front porch when I let the chickens and ducks roam freely, which I do a lot; and nice, aged poop that we scatter on the garden to bring out the shiny in the tomatoes, the purple in the eggplants, and abundance in the zucchini patch. (OK, I think zucchini would be abundant even if we grew it in sand and styrofoam -- still, poop is definitely indigenous to this life.)

Now, in the strictest sense, poop isn't indigenous in the sense that the country is the only place you'll find it; but I think it's fair to say you don't find it in such quantity, across such wide expanses, or value it so highly in other places quite as much as you do on a country farm.

Beyond poop, the bright night skies, low nickering of horses and contented murmuring of sleepy ducks and chickens are also indigenous to this farm life I love. Tonight, I wandered the farm by the light of the night sky, shunning a flashlight and letting my eyes adjust to the low light until I could see every feature of the land, the outline of hens on their roost, and the handle on the pump as I lifted it to fill the duck's pool.

Now, the low light meant I was feeling around in the dark of the pot bellied stove where the chickens lay their eggs, which brought me right back around to the indigenous poo again. But, that's OK.

Because I like everything that's prevalent in this life, even if it's not all technically unique just to country living.

The blooming fruit trees, the smell of the garden soil, the joyful anticipation of those first sprigs of asparagus signalling the start of the spring harvest.

The quiet, the squawking, the dirt under the nails, the eggshells in the compost, the flock that comes tromping up behind you once they figure out you're the one with the goods.

The rain forcing you from the garden, the plinking of lids sealing on hot jars full of the harvest.

The list of experiences and cycles and promises indigenous to this life is lengthy.

And I sink down into the reviewing of it and wrap myself up in the gratitude for it.

Much love from the farm,

(P.S. Thanks for all the sweet comments on my "A" post -- the shoulder is on the mend so I get to play here again. I'll fill in my "B" through "H" posts in coming days. Cheers to the A-Z Challenge!)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A is for Augh, Angels and Advil

Well this is an Auspicious beginning!

I was sitting here with the heating pad on my shoulder and I can't even tell you what triggered it, but all of a sudden I remembered it's April 1 and I needed to post my A blog for the A to Z Challenge!

I've been looking forward to getting started on this month-long challenge that requires me to blog daily, except Sundays, for the month of April, using the alphabet to inspire posts.

So, here goes.

As the title says, A is for Augh!, Angels and Advil.

Augh? Well, obviously, that has to do with the sudden remembrance that I needed to pull out my laptop and tune in to the challenge!

Moving on...Angel. Well, today we celebrated the life of Mike (my husband's) Aunt Sonya. Oh, this lady -- she was a card. She had penciled eyebrows that would arch just so to let you know EXACTLY what she thought of whatever had just transpired. That lady could double you over with a wry turn of phrase that she delivered with perfect timing and without skipping a beat. She died suddenly last week, and the shock of her passing had a little to do with why I was caught off guard by April 1 -- the days have been a little muddled.

But today's celebration with Mike's cousins and other family was such a good one. Aside from the obvious sad reason for gathering, funerals can be the best get togethers. I think because unlike a reunion, a holiday or a wedding, funerals require you to drop everything, plan fast and just focus on reminiscing and buoying each other up. Today was such an occasion.

Mike reconnected with cousins he hasn't seen in well over 20 years, and it was great to hear them piece together the remnants of memory they each tugged from the corners of their minds. It was a great way to spend the afternoon, but I am sure going to miss Aunt Sonya.

And, Advil. Back to the heating pad -- I'm nursing a seriously sore shoulder that is seriously hampering my grand exercise plans. So, I've discovered Advil and osteopaths, and I should soon be on my way.

Again, this isn't the scintillating post I thought I'd kick off the challenge with, but I'm here and I'm excited to keep going. Don't give up on me -- come back. I promise it'll get better.

Love from the farm,