I spent the morning in the Hemlock Inn kitchen with George, one of the cooks, and helped make peanut butter pies. I combed through an old box of handwritten recipes collected over the years from guests that have come and go. Coated in years of cooking:
I washed the dishes and George dried. We concluded that I am not the greatest dishwasher because I like to “quietly” wash dishes. I don’t like to clang them around.
I spent the afternoon working on some writing projects. When school was out, as a family, we visited our friends Wally and Donna (who I always call Wonna and Dolly on accident). Boo wanted to meet their chickens:
And as I looked back on my day I thought about how George had broken almost every bone in his body after falling off the side of a mountain when he was a younger guy. He has all the visible scars to show he’s been through more than I could ever live through. Add in a brain aneurysm and a stroke and he’s pretty much a walking miracle. And Donna is a cancer survivor and a survivor of a lot more than that too. And Wally had a stroke a while back and can’t do everything he used to. But Wally started painting gourds…and here’s one he made for me, a buff orpington. She’s the most beautiful gourd chicken I’ve ever seen:
And she will be named: Hatsy
And these are just a few of the people who are so generous with their lives. They invite us into their homes. They make pancakes so we can freeze them for later. They fix nail guns. They smile when the door swings open.
“Turn left at the EGGS sign” I told Brett earlier today and “make sure you gun it up the gravel driveway!” Feeding a stale biscuit to a group of chickens is delightful and humorous and basically-the-best-thing-I’ve-done-all-week. I cock-a-doodled so maybe Rufus the Rooster would grace us with his presence and he did.
Me: You know those teeny tiny gourds called Tennessee Spinners?
Me: How can I grow those myself?
Wally: Just plant a seed…
Just plant a seed? This is not rocket science! A year ago I would have just ordered them off Etsy! Even talk of gourds stretches me to places I never even knew existed. The thought of growing gourds myself! Tennessee spinners can be used as toy tops, and I know this because I learned how to spin them at a farm festival a few weeks ago.
Did you know: a gourd takes 90 to 100 days to grow to maturity. Good grief. That’s like 400 years.
Last night at dinner a woman said: if you lie flat in the middle of a cornfield, you can hear the corn growing. It crackles as it stretches upward. What?! How am I 37 years old and just now learning this information. Sometimes I watch the kudzu here carefully because it grows a foot a day but I’ve never seen it actually grow. This is all scary but incredible news.
Sometimes, when people ask me if I’m local I want to tell them I’m related to Wonna and Dally. And it wouldn’t really be a lie because we are all connected in a way I think. Maybe I can just be related to everybody. But I’m not great at remembering names, and birthdays, and I don’t cook Thanksgiving dinner…just putting that out there ahead of time.
And all the colors I am inside have not been invented yet.
-Shel Silverstein, from Colors
P.S. Life is a verb. One of my favorite books. I would eat it if I could. I’m going to Life is a Verb camp in November. An early Christmas present. Because it’s right near here…and I can’t stop thinking about all the seeds that will be planted from it. Time to explore, out of context. And I signed up to room with a stranger. To feel a little fearful and do it anyway.