Monday, July 4, 2011

1, 2, 3, 4

One warm loaf of bread, pulled from the oven on this Monday morning. Independence Day, indeed. How proper to have it on the first day of the work week, and to be free of the office on this blissfully humid day. While it was rising I grabbed a fistful and turned it into pizza dough for my first meal of the day, lunch.

Two hands on the black leather of Jasper's reins. Running from his bit, to the shining loops on his surcingle, and then back to my hands. We have much to learn together, but he still lets me harness him, lead him, and walk behind him.

Three miles jogged along country roads, soaking my water-wight logged body in new sweat. To be honest, it was more like 1.5 miles jogged/1.5 miles heaving at a fast walk, But I will get there again. The body learns to heal itself. I am too stubborn to stop running when I know I can get where I am going long as I do not stop.

Fourth day of July. A day to celebrate history and the kind of country that allows a middle-class woman to buy and run a small farm with the aid of luck, hope, and a few good dogs.

I ate fried chicken and strawberry-soaked shortbread tonight. The chicken was the one we had butchered for the workshop in early June, and I learned tonight I am a better roaster than fryer, but it was my first time. I ate the delicious drumsticks on the porch (even if they were a little over-cooked) and watched the new chicks run around the lawn with their leghorn mama. Small batches of new life are showing up everywhere, this small farm is thriving in many ways. I spent the entire day at home, not even leaving once to run down to Stewart's for some ketchup. No sir, this independence day was spent on a small mountain homestead, all of it. I ate food I grew and baked myself. I worked up a fine sweat. I took a long nap out in the yard to let the sun touch me, and did it where no one could see me, and felt scandalous while audiobook stories were whispered into my headphones.

During evening rounds, I heard sighs of thunder. Some storm far away and not really near this mountain, and I liked it. I came inside for a cold shower and mint soap and came out 20 degrees cooler. I poured myself a glass of wine, hugged my black dog, and rested into the arms of the daybed for a movie. Something epic and long, something to make my humble day seem peaceful and sacred in a world turned around by wars and heartache.

The fireflies came out, and they were many. In the recent past those thunder exhales stayed with me as I watched them bumble clumsy. This was my type of fireworks: thunder and lightening bugs. The correct mix of light and sound for a day we all can sit back and be grateful. In 1860, the people in this house were probably full of worry. Same for 1916, and 1944, and 1969. But we can relax here tonight, no children are off to war in this house tonight. No children even exist. A thing that makes my mother sad, but I can only handle so much livestock at once. Plus, I am hoping that's a two-person job when such things come to this red door.

Tonight, just thunder and fireflies, a black dog, and a glass of red wine.

I hope you spent the day with the ones you love, and find yourself tired and happy by the time you hit the sheets. I mean that with all I've got. And for those of you who have served, or have children in far away places tonight: you have my thoughts and prayers, which isn't much from a homesteading Buddhist, but she's all I've got.


Blogger doglady said...

I would agree that one expression of independence is staying home all day, having no interaction with other people, enjoying what you have and then dining on what you've raised. You've slowed down long enough to smell the roses and it is good.

July 4, 2011 at 9:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fireworks echo distant ones just several miles away. Fireflies blink in unison, then individually.

I had no interaction with family today. It was just me and my animals soaking in the silence. In this case, I mean no human activity.

But that silence was filled with birdsong and dualing chipmunks - the many sounds of nature - as well as gratitude.

July 4, 2011 at 9:20 PM  
Blogger Cindy said...


Thank you for sharing your peaceful day and for reminding us to be grateful for the peace we enjoy.


July 4, 2011 at 9:46 PM  
Blogger Lindy and Paul said...

I wish I had your energy and could write as beautifully as you! Thanks as always for sharing.

July 4, 2011 at 9:54 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

Thanks for sharing...I too spend a day alone with my animals too. I bathed dogs (3 of them!) and watched a whole bunch of old movies. I took a nap. If only every Monday could be like this. And like you I am glad that no one is at war in my household.

July 4, 2011 at 11:48 PM  
Blogger daisy g said...

How wonderful to hear about your day of reflection. Enjoy many more...

July 5, 2011 at 5:09 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

A beautiful way to spend your day!

July 5, 2011 at 5:34 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks for sharing your story, Jenna. I love starting and ending my day reading your posts, looking the pics of your farm and animals. It helps to remind me everyday to slow down just a bit more and appreciate all that's good around us.

July 5, 2011 at 7:25 AM  
Blogger Patti said...

I too spent the entire day at home . It was nice. Thank you for sharing your day with us. I enjoy your writing so much!

July 5, 2011 at 7:55 AM  
Blogger treehuggers kitchen said...


July 5, 2011 at 7:59 AM  
Blogger Sue Steeves said...

Sounds excellent! I too chose to spend the day at home, deciding that the founding fathers would aprove working in the garden and tending to chickens, rabbits and dogs over getting drunk at a beach party :) Once all furred, feathered and leafy things had been attended to I went inside to crash on the sofa with some hard cider, a local grass fed bison burger and the movie The Patriot. Just wish I had bought the John Adams series on dvd when I saw it at Costco, now that would have been perfect!!!!

July 5, 2011 at 12:59 PM  
Blogger Kimberlie Ott said...

What a perfect holiday :) Glad it was beautiful and glad we live in the country that helped you live your dreams!

July 5, 2011 at 4:41 PM  
Blogger kippy said...

I spent the day at home, a few hours grooming the dogs while listening to the Martha Stewart t.v. show. Then cleaning up the house and going out to look at the veggie garden and grab some fresh snap peas. Perfection!

July 5, 2011 at 8:29 PM  
Blogger Donna said...

Another great post. I only left the house to go see my grandson for his first 4th of July. He's only 5 1/2 months old. He likes elephants so I took him a red one with the ears lined in red and white stripes and the bottom of it's feet are blue with white stars. I ran through a list of seasonally appropriate names and he started laughing and cooing when I got to "Liberty." As descendants of immigrants that came here in the mid 1700's it only seemed fitting.

July 6, 2011 at 1:23 AM  

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