I woke up at 5:00 today a bit earlier than previous days because today is a big day. Older girl has three back to back soccer games in town. “Soccer Jamboree” they call it and we need to get her on the field by 8:30 which means leaving at 8:00 and all the chores need to be done before we go. It is also going to be 95 with gusty winds and we need to make sure that the animals all have enough water and cool water at that. Tonight my husband and youngest son will be coming out for a visit as well.
It only takes me three tries to get the coffee made, progress is happening! I let the farm dogs out and get busy doing some of the chores to help the kids out and for us to leave on time. I check on the puppies and their eyes have begun opening. They are warm and sleepy and I can tell that they are getting bigger just by holding them. I check for eggs and there are only a few and I suspect that the heat is causing them to produce less. Cats and chickens are fed, cows have plenty of water, pigs are fed and they have plenty of water too. I now give the pigs fruit in the morning as a distraction for me to get their other food ready. Today one of the mostly red piglets was noshing on cantaloupe and made the cutest smacking and munching sounds of enjoyment while she ate it. It was very sweet to watch and listen to her munchings.
I go to the house and wake up the girls, they pop out of bed and get ready for today’s outing, Younger girl checks on the puppies and older girl makes sure the lambs have access to water and the lamb is bottle fed. We are taking care of the dogs this morning as the boy is overnight camping with a friend. We feed and water the dogs and play with puppies. After about 20 minutes we get them all back in their kennels which is when we notice that two of the dogs are missing: Big farm dog and one of the kennel dogs who is older and deaf.
We start calling out their names but they do not come back and only big farm dog can hear us anyway. We have 20 minutes until we need to leave. They are nowhere to be found but we think we hear them off in the distance. 10 minutes pass and still no dogs. We decide to split up and search for them. I take off for the far back corner of the land which I am not familiar with and younger girl follows behind me. We get pretty far on the path when suddenly I hear the screams of the older girl. The younger girl starts running back to the sounds of her sister and that scream is the type that makes a mother’s heart skip a beat and run towards it.
I have not run for several years, and thankfully my feet and legs do not fail me as I sprint down the trail yelling that I am coming. I only do this once so as not to waste my energy. I run for what feels like several blocks and find the girl now dragging the big farm dog by the collar on its way to the garage. Older girl is mad. She says that big farm dog had the elderly dog pinned down and wouldn’t let her up and so older girl took the matter into her own hands. The belief is that there was some nasty smelling kill that big farm dog was hiding and the elderly dog found it. The other belief is that big farm dog was showing that she is top dog!
We kennel up the elderly dog, load up the car and I use my new found skills of driving on gravel as we fly down the long driveway to the road. We made excellent time (only 2mins late) and drop her off while we find a place to park. We park far away and walk more than seven soccer fields, tons of kids, parents and cars . It sunny, cloudless, hot, and windy, at 8:32 am, and I am surviving on ½ a cup of coffee due to the adrenaline rush of sprinting for several blocks.
The younger girl and I stay for the first game, and watch their team win. In the second game, a player on the other team collides with older girl and essentially kicks her in the ankle. She is injured and on the ground and then helped up as she hobbles over to sit down while the coach puts ice on the ankle. She is out for the rest of the game. I go over to her to check on her. She is strong, brave and wants to be supportive of her teammates and decides to stay. I say okay and step back heading over to where I was seated. I watch her and my heart aches because I see her pain and discomfort knowing she probably just wants what all kids want during these times, their mother. Her team loses the 2nd game and they have an hour break until their 3rd and final game. It is so hot and windy that I succumb to getting all of us snow cones probably made with high fructose corn syrups.
At this point I really don’t care because we need something cold and refreshing and plain cold water does not appear to be an option. We are also all starving, and I am close to being “hangry” (which means hungry and angry). The girls want truck food: Maria’s Tacos. Yes, yes, that is what we will do! I’ve never had truck food before and we all get tacos; fortunately they also had chicken ones which were amazing; I got mine loaded with goodness while the kids got the basics.
Older girl heads back to the field for the 3rd game while younger girl and I head out to run errands. Since the farm is so far from town we need to make every trip to town count. Target for sunscreen, Dollar Tree for painting canvases and Aldi’s. Yes, Aldi’s. What I haven’t yet mentioned is that the kids have gotten me hooked on these things called “Taquito’s” or as they call them “Hot Tacqui’s.”
Hot Tacqui’s are thick short corn chips in the shape of what can only be described as bouquet shaped and about the same height as pretzel sticks. They are covered in hot spicy flavors of chilies and lime, highly addictive even though you can only eat 1 at a time and only so many at a time until your fingers are a color of red that you only see deep inside of a red zinnia flower. Your mouth is burning but your tastebuds are happy and crave more. I have been eating them everyday, one at a time and only a few at a time as I am pacing myself while I adapt to the spices.
At a $1.69 per bag they have sold me with them being gluten free, sugar free, no artificial flavors or synthetic colors, easily deluding me into thinking they are so healthy that my potato chip weakness is over and has been replaced with “Tacqui’s.”
With Tacquito’s in the trunk we head back to the land of soccer fields and parking is worse than when we left. The older girl was on the field for a bit and then back on the sides. The game ends in a tie and we load up and head back out to the farm. Back at the farm, the boy is back, and in just a bit my husband and son are going to arrive for dinner.
My husband and son arrive and I am so happy and overcome with how much I miss them. My son looks like he got taller in the 4 days that I have been out on the farm and I hold back my tears and just squeeze him and my husband. Next thing I know they head out with the boy and all three pick up their bows and start target practicing. I watch them for just a bit while dinner is cooking. I especially watch my son because he is using my Grandfather’s bow.
My Grandfather was on an archery team for many years, and was left handed. I recently was gifted his bow, but my husband said he can’t use it because it is left handed. I can’t use it because the draw weight is too strong for me as well as being too big for me. However, it is perfect for my son, and my grandfather would be thrilled that his great grandson would be putting it to such good use. My grandfather would also be laughing and marveling at me being out on a farm. Another tear tries to leave me and I go back in the house to finish dinner.
Chores are done, dinner is eaten, girls are playing with puppies, the boys are shooting arrows, and my husband and I go for a walk and I show him all of the animals and buildings and tell him about my day. I have missed our morning coffee talks and the night time of listening to the frog concerts out on our pond. We walk down the gravel road and stare up at the moon. It is so bright against the pink and purple sky at dusk with rolling hills as a backdrop. For a few moments I feel as if I am in a painting, and a beautiful one at that.
It’s time for my husband and son to leave. I send them off with hugs, I love you’s and a bunch of eggs. I watch them leave as a dust trail on the gravel road. As I wave goodbye, my grandmother comes to my mind. I think about what she must have felt every time we left her home; an aching in the heart.
Kitchen clean, eggs washed, laundry done, the girls and I spend the rest of the night painting while listening to pop music. Tonight I did a little canvas painting and then used origami paper and mod podge to create a little something to celebrate the full moon.
When I walk into the bedroom, the whole room is filled with moonlight, and even though I am tired, I cannot help but gaze up at the bright light and give thanks for the day and for this opportunity. In a moment, I am asleep.