Friday, July 28, 2006

How to extract an infant squatter?

Okay, so my greatest fear is that this baby is NEVER LEAVING MY WOMB. I just have a feeling that it'll be 18 years from now, I'll be this ginormous abdomen - a freak of nature really - unable to walk or even leave the couch as my 18 year old child continues on his or her freeloading venture in my belly. Drinking (root)beer and playing an electric guitar without an amp with his or her buddies. And eating hot pockets. Can I just say one thing? AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

My due date is 4 days away, the midwives' cell phones are on at all times, the bags are packed, the birthing tub stands at the ready, and I've had basically NO SIGNS of labor thus far. None. This kid hasn't even dropped into my pelvis yet! I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT! I think this clearly rates much unprecedented whining and capital letter use, don't you? Plus, the heat index here in the good ole midwest has been and will be around 105 for the next several days. In the immortal words of Nancy Kerrigan when she got whacked in the knee with a pipe by Tonya Harding's henchmen: "WHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY? WHHHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?????????"

Whew! Sorry to complain - I just had to let go of some of the angst. I have to believe that it's all part of the plan that when a preggie gets to this stage, she trades in all of her labor anxiety for garden variety impatience: when are you ever coming out, child?? Yes, I'll miss the head-to-bladder grinding dance moves, the occasional heel to the ribs, the karate (pronounced ka-ra-tay)-in-jello high kicks. I will. I just want to meet you face to face! On the outside! Is that too much to ask?!

I would comment on other news, but really when it gets to this point for someone in my condition, there just isn't much other news. The neighborhood ladies here threw me a very nice baby shower (and there weren't even any cheesy games!) We had the Beyrer family over for a barbeque last week, which was good times. We got a few decent rains before the heat wave settled in. The horses are cranky and hot. The cats are comatose blobs (not a huge change from their normal forms, actually). I've been reading Tracy Chevalier's novels, which have distracted me to a reasonable degree. The housemates are hanging in there as best we can, making frequent trips to the river. Ellis is his usual hambone, bear-crawling, joyful noise-making self.

What are you up to?

Love and little crowning heads (PLEASE, GOD, PLEASE),


Saturday, July 22, 2006

Bushels of Onions

Jay, Charis and I picked bushels of carrots and onions and rhubarb today - a beautiful bountiful crop. Though we're scratching our heads about what to do with the hundreds of onions. Good keepers, those onions, so we'll be enjoying them through the winter.

Chris, Ellis and I have spent too much time away from the farm these past few weeks, but we've also enjoyed some time with Chris's family in Perham, Minn, including Nana who we see far too little, and good bonding time for Ellis with Grandma Mary and Uncles Michael and Dan.

We are trying to carry on with life as normal as we all wait for baby Collins to arrive. Charis looks fabulous, despite the fact that her belly feels like it is going to give way to gravity and drop to the floor at any minute. I can't wait to be an auntie any day now, and then again in February!!

Here are a few of my favorite photos of the past couple of weeks. Ellis is becoming such a character - crawling, climbing, laughing, babbling. He is a beautiful blessing and I so look forward to seeing him become an older brother/cousin. I'm off to sit in the hot tub - the first night in weeks for a soak as it's been an OVEN here in the old midwest. It's a beautiful, cool summer evening. A great way to end a day of harvest.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Kitty found a home

The little stray who wandered in last month has found a good home with a young couple from St. Paul. I'm posting a picture of her for the animal lovers out there (and because the blog is looking a bit text-heavy these days). But I promise no more cutesy-ness after this! We don't want this page to start looking like a 4th grade classroom, now, do we?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Your Vote Counts!

We have written in the past concerning our blog being considered a forum and not just a diary update, so now it's your turn to get involved!

Charis and I have decided to take this forum idea to a new and important level; as you all know, our child is due any day now. We do not know the gender of our child, but we have two names picked out and we simply cannot decide which is best. Since we believe gender "rules" are often influenced by cultural and social upbringing (if she is a girl she can still chop wood, spit, build decks and scratch herself, and if he is a boy he can still cook, wash dishes, put on mascara and wash his hair) we have chosen names that would work for either:

A = Sunflower Rainbow Jicama

B = Allium Lycopersicon Basilicum (aka the Latin names for garlic, tomato and basil)

Thanks for reading and we look forward to a tallying of the votes.

Jay and Charis

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Greetings from Dry Gulch, WI

Hey everyone!

Guess what! As of today, I can officially have this child without seeking outside medical help. After 37 weeks, the baby is considered mature enough and the birthing process normal - well, as mature and normal as any product of Jay's and mine has the chance of being, anyway. This means if I start having contractions tonight, it's off to the birthing center with me and no pit stops at the hospital! And believe me when I tell you I will be very happy to go. Today, my horse vet asked me if I was sure there weren't two "in there." Of course, she mistakenly thought I was due in September, so I guess the question was valid in her mind, but MAN this burly, nordic-sized-feeling child is doing some determined acrobatics! I've confided to some of you how bizarre and delightful it is to begin to be able to identify which baby body parts are nudging - heels, knees, butts. Well, butt. If you've never experienced it, I simply can't do it justice with words. Or worms. Worms, Roxanne, I was afraid of WORMS! (Just a little humor sidebar for my fellow Steve Martin nerds there.)

Unfortunately, it has been THE driest spring and summer here since the drought of '94 - so very disheartening to watch the storms pass us by one by one - skidding ever so slightly to the north or south of us as we watch the radar helplessly. The mercury is heading into the 90s for the next several days, and if we don't get rain soon, the farmers' crops will burn up. This kills me! I know I talked about this last time, but you start to realize just how high the stakes are when you spend time with people who rely (at least partially, anyway) on the weather for their living. It's not nearly so pressing for somebody like me, who, when the hot weather strikes, doesn't have much of a problem clearing her schedule for a float in the river. I will, however, have to start feeding the horses hay pretty soon because there's no new grass growing!

I'm trying to think of some other recent happenings to thrill and excite you with.

Jay and I got a car - it's about the most boring, reliable car possible (my dad calls the color "champagne," but I think we all know better), but hopefully that Toyota engine will keep us in business for a long time. Plus, the gas mileage is hard to beat. The purchase was necessary, as it's nearly impossible to put a baby's car seat in our beat-up little pick-up. Yes, okay, technically it's possible, but someone's gonna be straddling the gearshift, and that's never pretty.

Recent visitors: Mom and Dad were here for Dad's birthday dinner and beyond, then my cousin Amy and her boyfriend Jon came to visit for a couple of days, and our neighbors Jimmy and Tim dropped by for some homebrew and helped buck a couple hundred bales of hay into the barn (in wife-beater T-shirts and shorts, nonetheless!! Hay rash city!)

I had the little stray barn cat spayed. I just couldn't bring myself to add her to the piles of cats already in cages at the humane society, and I knew the old Tom who hangs out around here would have her knocked up in no time, so my horse vet did the deed at her house and gave me a deal. I still have high hopes for finding a home for this cat, as she is incredibly sweet and would love a person of her own (if you're in the area and you know anybody...) Until then, her job will be catching mice in our barn and accosting visitors with her love, I suppose.

Chris, Becca and Ellis have been in the cities and in Fargo much of the week (visiting Chris' Nana), so I don't have much news to report on that front...

After our usual initial rocky transition-from-school-year-to-summer process, Jay and I are having a great time tooling around the farm, doing chores together, sleeping in (sometimes until 7!) and mellowing during this long holiday, trying to stay cool as we wait, wait for the newest member of the family to show his or her face.

What kind of adventures have your summers brought? Do share!

Love and soil-quenching rains to all,


Saturday, July 01, 2006


My mind and body have been consumed with three areas of creating/creation.

One, Charis. Watching my beautiful wife become more gorgous and lively everyday with Thelonious in her belly is thrilling. Words do not complete the justice of how awesome she is. Plus the baby is busy. Truly incredible to see her stomach move up and down and have parts stick out. We have been taking our birthing classes and I read Ina May's midwife/natural birthing book. Both are great because they have given me focus for this tremendous event to take place. The best part about Paula, our midwife, is her intense approach to the simple fact that having a child is natural, not an illness, and a woman's body is designed to do this. I have come to the conclusion that the entire reason for patriarchy is because men are scared to death of the power and strength in women. Therefore, if we keep them down, then we can control then under this falsehood that we are smarter, stronger and better. What a bunch of hogwash. I am totally convinced that God is female. A creator god, a god of the universe and a loving, caring god, has to be female.

Two, garden. Everything is growing like gang-busters. (what the hell does that mean?) We had a superb dinner tonight of beets, salad and pesto fettucine. Everything was ours but the pasta. Chris built a great food solar dehydrator and we are drying food, canning food, freezing food and storing in the basement in sawdust. We are begging people to take lettuce and second crops of beets and carrots are sprouting. It is such a treat to sit down between crops and pick weeds. Crazy, yes, but a total zen-like experience for me. An even bigger treat to harvest food. Creation is awesome. Tiny, little seeds become five foot tall peas, 12 foot tall hops, six inch deep carrots and the most brilliant, deep red beets. How could a God who began all this not be female?

Three, music. All of the above has been beyond me, very simply - Charis is doing all the work, the soil, water, and sun are doing all the work. Wonderfully, something creating is happening inside of me. I can not take credit for it. It has to be the female muse. I have sextet gig in Novemeber. My esteemed goal is to play 80% original tunes. Therefore, I am having to write more music. My other ambitious goal is to not have a concert where band plays head, solos, band plays head. Therefore, I am having to write lots of interludes and vampings for between solos and behind solos. I am trying to write as much now before Thelonious comes. It is happening. What a joy it is. I catch myself laughing at what is being written down on paper. I have no formal music or theory training, never formally studied composition, but I have to say some of this music writing is fair to decent. God has to be one jiving, hip female.

How are you all creating in your life? I think creating and being in the creating process is life giving and god-like. I hope I can constantly be in this state of being, and hope you are in it in some way too. Please let me know your stories and creative happenings.