My sweet boy and I managed to go on a walk this past week. It is his second week of life.
It was beautiful out. Mid 80s and I managed, with a bit (just a bit!) of new mother confidence to stroll through our neighborhood P-Patch. It is just four blocks away and oh so much appreciated. Mom’s got a bit of cabin fever and was dying for some fresh air and a looksee at what is blooming out of doors. It’s not the change in sleep schedule (this week) that is challenging for me but being INSIDE for a two week respite. Midwife’s orders. I rebelled ever so slightly.
At the Evanston P-Patch, Milo and I were greeted with oh so many dahlias. Mid-summer = dahlias to me. Along with the image of State Fairs where these gorgeous bobbing heads of blooming color could easily compete with the size of their growers’ proud smiles standing by. I particularly love the globe-shaped variety that look like those perforated party favors, you know those old school decorations (think wedding bells)? They are hard to describe but you “open” them up from their one dimensional shape and voila they pop into their 3-dimensional tissue-i-ness? Here’s a picture of the dahlia I am talking about…
I typically don’t do dahlias. They intimidate me. Do I dig them up in the winter? Divide? But alas, one person’s high maintenance flower is another’s low. Our lovely nurse, who gave Milo his first swim in the sink post delivery swears by dahlias. Indeed regarded herself as a terrible gardener. But dahlias? She does.
The learning never ends when it comes to gardening. We all have green thumbs. And we all have black thumbs.
Let the learning curve begin. I am going to go get me some dahlias. Even if it is a bouquet.
Tomorrow is our son’s birthday. He will be one week old. And for these past almost seven days I have been quite speechless because my heart is doing all of the talking. I introduced him to some sweet peas and echinacea today. And he has introduced me to his beautiful newborn ways and I have arrived at this conclusion: the smell of newborn skin beats the fragrance of sweet peas any day.
Welcome Milo Émile. You are loved. Terribly.
Otherwise known in these parts as domestic arts. I am reading a deliciously inspirational book that articulates both in word and image what I feel on a good day about those tasks that we engage in daily, weekly, monthly, that help keep the household in order and in turn, our hearts and minds. The author (her name’s Jane Brocket) says it so much better than me, really. My case in point:
“The gentle art of domesticity is the felicitous application of practical skills to the spaces in which we live. It requires a desire to make instead of consume, a triumph of activity over passivity and a return to using our hands and imaginations rather than a reliance on screens and technology…”
So much freedom and abundance at our fingertips. Jane also insists that you don’t have to keep your house spic-and-span to be a domestic artist either. A tear just fell from thine eye. Thank you Jane Brocket for loving me just the way I am. And love your name by the way. It just oozes domestic artist of the English sort. Which I envy.
And so I have dabbled these past few weeks in some explicit domestic artistry not only in terms of how to creatively use my time as we wait for the arrival of our little one but how to “felicitously” consume the food already in the fridge and pantry instead of making my typical reflex run to the grocery. The outcome (besides saving some frozen hot dogs from their impending freezer burn death)?
I have become a zucchini bread MACHINE.
Which takes me back to my childhood, particularly to memories of going to my aunt’s house in the dry dusty mountains of East San Diego County and her slathering a nice buttery portion onto my own slice for me to enjoy as I swing on her outdoor enclosed porch. Aunt Bonnie, can you send me your recipe?
There are oodles of books that address the topic of abundance and scarcity, which I think speaks to the heart of the matter for the home economist, domestic artist, what-have-you. It’s not only about creative use of what we already have but also finding value and dare I say “joy” in the doing so. As one of my mentor’s recently pointed out, it’s not that buying or needing things is BAD but the virtue of discovering that really, we don’t NEED very much to be rich. This is some old wisdom. Nothing new. But wisdom that I always seem to gain in being reminded of.
There is something quite rich about making 6 loaves of zucchini bread out of one gi-NOR-mous squash from the garden. Or even specialer, a friend’s garden.
And also something rich in waiting I am learning. Even though it feels like you are doing nothing.
It’s Friday and it seems I will follow in tow alongside some of my favorite bloggers who so faithfully post something special on what we call here the last day of the work week.
I was thrilled when I actually got a response and a photo! from one of my dear dear talented readers (and in this case it WASN’T my mother) to my Summer Sights entry a couple of weeks ago. So I am going to pass on the love, share his sight today in honor of my new Friday series which I know I will not fulfill perfectly but I will try nonetheless.
There is no denying it. Our days are growing shorter and nights longer my friends. So, hear my plea: why don’t we savor summer together every Friday? Indulge me so I can indulge others with what summer has looked like to you. If not, I will just keep indulging myself by posting only what my two little eyes spy…and really, that’s kind of a limited view of the world, don’t you think?
Come on. Bring it.
Yesterday was our baby’s due date. I lived the day between the now and not yet of meeting our firstborn with great anticipation and understanding that our boy will come on his own schedule. Which is fine with me. Nonetheless, we celebrated this date that has been cemented on our psyches since last November with an outing to FF for the lovely almond croissant and extra hot latte. And then we ran some errands. It was a Big Day.
One thing in seminary I eagerly delighted in was the careful attention to God language. I was raised in a church background where God was primarily regarded as “Father” or “He” which is all good and all until one begins to view God as ONLY male. Because really, in my opinion, God transcends gender. As does gardening. And housework. Try as I might I cannot seem to EVER get the tub as clean as Andre or take the time to turn his t-shirts and my tank tops right side out before folding and putting them away – an uncharacteristic habit I inherited from my uber-domestic-artist-mother.
Yet in the garden these past few years, Andre and I have assumed some traditional gender roles. Women are “to flower” as men are to “vegetable.” Have you ever noticed this? Perhaps it harkens back to our nation’s farming history and industry. (This might be a stretch but I find it difficult to imagine a female entitling a vegetable gardening book – Square Foot Gardening). But unless you have been living in a hole for the past decade or so, we know this is ALL changing. Just as female and male God created them. Male and female they are gardening and producing and smelling the flowers.
With Andre’s consent (not permission mind you but out of respect I asked because he DID create the space on his very own) I have kind of taken over his raised beds. I have always thrown some veggies in with my (I mean “our”) perennial beds but there is something soothing about having a raised contained area reserved just for delicious eats. Helps me stay focused. And empowered.
As is Andre. This week on our walk he learned a new perennial: S-E-N-E-C-I-O. And on our walks since, he proudly points it out every chance he gets.