Each night after the sun sets, Nick and I look forward to heading over to the farm to tuck our sweet little flock of hens to sleep for the night. If you have never spent time around chickens, which I … Continue reading
So, City Chick has been enjoying her vacation from work. From December 17th through December 24th she got to tour the state of Illinois twice. She visited five separate TV stations (some of them twice) and presented various gifting ideas for four different malls (and who knows how many retailers’ merchandise) for a total of 11 different segments (it was supposed to be 12, but there was a glitch. Let’s say City Chick was not disappointed by this news.). City Chick was pooped, but delighted to have some time to spend with her family and her farm family.
So, on Friday she had cruised back into town to pick up her little ankle biters (yes . . . BIG horse, tiny little dogs . . . City Chick might have a size thing going on) and was heading back out to Farm Narnia. It was dark and she was blasting the tunes, planning out all the things she had to do for when her actual family and her farm family were scheduled to collide the next day when Mama Lou and crew came up for a Farm Narnia tour and to practice shooting guns down on the bluffs. Roxie (evil little ankle biter) was howling in the back seat while Lola (perfect Angel puppy) was riding shotgun. City Chick was cruising down the curvy road, enjoying her still pretty new car’s handling when something shot out from the opposite side of the road.
Most people who drive are familiar with that sickening “THUNK THUNK” noise that accompanies road kill. It means you have scored a direct hit on some hapless animal that was unfortunate enough to be occupying the exact same place on the road as your vehicle’s tires. City Chick has, weirdly, only ever had a bird fly into her front headlight (it bounced off dead since she was doing about 65 mph at the time) and dealt a glancing blow to Bambi (she’s pretty sure the car behind her did the deer in, since she saw it silhouetted in headlights, down on one front knee) and she almost hit a bear cub once – but hasn’t actually ever run anything over. Until this exact moment when the dreaded “THUNK THUNK” indicated that she had, indeed, hit this creature and it was undeniably dead on the side of the road when she looked in her rearview mirror.
Now, all City Chick had seen of this animal as it literally kamikaze’ed under her tires from the other side of the road was that it was pretty much black and that there was some white on its head. She was praying that it was a cat. She knew that it was a very bad and selfish prayer as any cat was most likely a pet of one of the neighbors, but the alternative was just too horrible to truly consider. The alternative? Skunk. Stinky, smelly skunk. Continuing to pray, she continued down the road (sniffing constantly) towards Farm Narnia. And then . . . the smell hit her.
It was like a wave really. Almost like being “dutch oven’ed” in her own car. Smothered in skunkly scent, she rolled down the driveway, gagging and panicking. She had dogs, clothes and a brand new (seriously – first time she had worn it) coat on and her (new!) car REEKED of skunk. Plus, she was dressed to go to a holiday party. To quote, Kuhs Kid #2, “Omagod, omagod, OMAGOD!!!!!” Screeching into a parking slot, she madly began dashing around the car, freeing dogs and frantically gathering her belongings until she somewhat resembled a Sherpa lumbering awkwardly (did she mention she was wearing 4 inch platform heels?) away from the very stanky car, with two small dogs dashing around her, attempting to entangle her legs and shoes in their leashes while they excitedly and obliviously attempted to put nose to every scent they came across between City Chick’s skunked car and the Farm House.
Farm Girl, being the all wise Farm Girl that she is, calmly takes this scene in while she continues her discussion with the very nice man from the power company who was bringing her some holiday treats as a thank you for allowing him access to her fields for deer hunting. She doesn’t comment or react to City Chick’s tottering steps along the uneven stone path leading up to the Farm House or her awkward negotiation of the steep staircase up into the house. She merely finishes her conversation, gets in the Rocket Rogue and drives over to the Big House to start getting ready for the party that had started 15 minutes earlier. The subsequent text discussion:
It is now Monday. It seems the only casualty of the skunk incident is City Chick’s front passenger side tire . . . it still has the distinct scent of skunk when the car has been in motion and warmed up. Hopefully that will go away with another car wash or with just waiting it out. City Chick is grateful that it is winter and not summer . . . that hot tire with skunk on it would have been just the treat to smell in the 90 degree summer heat!
Skunks. They suck.
City Chick is fairly certain that most readers of the blog are familiar with the commonly occurring theme of “anything worth doing is worth overdoing” here at Farm Narnia. While this is mostly prevalent in the shopping habits of Farm Girl (and yes … City Chick fully admits to contributing to this during shopping excursions) and regularly with some of the events hosted by our amazing clients (what – there is one inch of space left on this table? We must put in something to fill it or it just looks so empty!), it is also frequently uttered during our own food oriented experiments, meal development and just general farm feasting (although, admittedly, this usually involves cheese, bread and crackers).
So, Farm Girl has a super secret recipe for her famous candied pecans. They are absolutely to die for. And, this year, Farm Girl, City Chick and Kuhs Kid #1 almost did die for them – not only for eating too many of them (oh, but the pain is so worth it) but we also had a bit of an incident. So, City Chick had braved the cold and the lines at Sam’s Club and brought back 24 pounds of pecans, 8 pounds of butter and 14 pounds of brown sugar (as well as other assorted secret ingredients) in order to make these delectable little pieces of holiday joy. She had waged war on the Farm House kitchen to ensure that there were as many work spaces available as possible while Farm Girl brought over 3 giant bowls (catering sized bowls for salads . . . HUGE). Farm Girl then set City Chick and Kuhs Kid #1 to dividing all the nuts evenly between three bowls while she prepared the awesome-sauce that is the coating for the pecans to bring them to holiday glory. In doing so, she took a paper towel to serve as a spoon rest for the spoon that was being used to mix and stir the butter-brown sugar concoction . . .
Now, it being a rather chilly morning and as City Chick was still roaming about in pj’s, she also had the kettle of hot water keeping toasty warm on the stove-top to keep hot water at the ready for hot tea (she is an utter addict. She blames Mama-Lou and her grandmother . . . she also wastes tea bags on a prolific level, using a new bag for each mug of wonderful. Don’t judge.). The kettle was merrily burbling along on the front left burner while Farm Girl created magic on the front right burner. Do you see where we are going here?
Inevitably, Farm Girl (who is a hurricane in the kitchen), moved the spoon (now stuck with sticky goo to the paper towel spoon rest) on the actual stove-top. In the middle, but sort of off to the left. Where it . . . yes, CAUGHT ON FIRE. LIGHT IT UP (lyrics from that song by Fall-Out Boy . . . ), indeed. In fact there was a momentary suspension of all movement as the three stared in horror as the paper towel embers that were floating up towards the top of the 10ft ceilings. Then General Farm Girl swung into action (while yelling at City Chick and Kuhs Kid #1 to also swing into action – all at the same time, literally standing over each other) and somehow managed to douse the mini-bonfire going on while City Chick stood at the ready with a wet dish towel to smother any floating embers. There was a nervous laugh as the contemplation as how badly that could have gone was reviewed. But then –
The magical concoction was at the perfect texture and consistency to be poured over the nuts. It was a marriage of decadence and indulgence as Kuhs Kid #1 and City Chick frantically and carefully stirred and folded everything into the mixture that Kuhs Cowboy was called in to help hold the pan (it had to be a lot to cover 16 pounds of nuts that we did on the first batch!) while Farm Girl ladled it all over the nuts in a deluge of delicious. She got to work on her own bowl last and then we had to spread the nuts over waxed paper to allow everything to fuse and dry together. (Well . . . what was allowed to dry. Kuhs Kid #1 and City Chick were doing extensive quality control checks over the batch.)
Are they dry yet?
Are we over-doing it? Maybe . . . but probably not. We already are planning another batch for this weekend!
December 11th 2008….today it’s been 5 years. I have been compiling a list of things I wanted to tell you, and today I want to pretend that because they are somewhat organized, that some star gateway may allow you to hear them. I will even settle for writing them down just to have let them out of my heart and soul. I need someone to bear witness. I want you to know:
I think about you every day when I wake up…I feel broken and miss being your Luli
I miss the pieces of me that disappeared with you…all the stories of me and how I came to be me that as an only child of a single parent, left with you
I want you to know that all of your tools are safe and either displayed the way we thought you would like in the loft of the barn, or are just downstairs waiting for warmer weather and Andy and I to make more designs with them…you DID get your tool museum after all :-)
The farm is safe. I know you told me you didn’t think I would understand what it needed or that I would change my life to do it…I do, and I did. Not only is it safe…it is thriving. It is alive in every sense of the word. Please tell me you are proud.
I am sorry I didn’t tell you about the garden wall, but I didn’t want to break your heart. I promise I will fix it. I will fix the lights, ponds and the water.
You would be so proud of Nick and Bella. They are wonderful kids and they miss you. When I am sad, they say “Bia would be so proud of you” and we all cry and hug.
Peter and Georgea have been wonderful to me….your friends have been very supportive and I am happy we have stayed close. They both still miss you very very much.
I miss the sound of your voice and all the funny made up names you had for me, especially on Christmas morning when I would find presents labeled “Woo-Wee”, “Wooser”, “Tunklebell”, “Lulatoriatitatunkle”, “Woo Woo”, “Lu”, “Lulabelle”………..
I will always remember you making me feel like I was part of the process in creating new art…you always asked my opinion and even when I was little, if I said something about a certain piece needed to change, you always did what I suggested.
I will take the time to thoughtfully go through ALL of your slides and see what an amazing photographer you were.
When I am working, sometimes I listen to the Beatles and remember how we used to play your records over and over again, and how we stood with candles when John Lennon was killed, and I cried because you were so sad.
I define myself from a memory of sitting in the hallway bouncing a 25 cent ball while you told me the most important think I could ever be is “resilient” and always find a way to bounce back. I am trying. This year was tough.
Because the “me” that I was while you were here is gone, I have become the person I want to be…I am strong, I am passionate, committed, driven, determined, resilient, creative, loving, thoughtful, kind…I think I am a good friend because I have many that i am honored to deserve. I know you would love them :-)
I cleaned out your studio and have made it mine. It is once again a place of creativity.
I watch the sunrise every morning and know how lucky I am.
Dada is here with me, and while we are on the subject of ghosts, thank the Indians for looking out for me. I feel them. They did two wonderful and amazing things that I watched….it was like nothing anyone else will likely ever be fortunate enough to witness and I am eternally grateful to have them watch over me and every other molecule of this magic place.
I miss opera.
Venice is calling me. I need to go write again.
Jerry’s daughter looks like you, and she cried when she found your obituary because she said she knows she would have loved you. She is right and I think you would have loved her too.
I’m not afraid of anything. Period.
I will take your trip to India one day. I promise.
Peter Wright is married and has three kids under 5. Holy crap! Can you believe that?
What happens when you die? Are you with your dad, Ganni & Jerry?
Wherever you are, please also tell Bob Cassilly I miss him too. Tell him to get started on redoing the gates to heaven….I expect to see snakes and turtles in cement when I get there….also tell him I am mad at him for being so careless.
Thank you for all the sacrifices you made and all the challenges you faced as a single parent.
I’m sorry for all the times we fought.
Thank you for the last words you said to the kids…they are etched in their brains.
I know you wanted me to be holding you when you died. I am sorry that I wasn’t there and that you were alone. We got there as soon as we could.
I take photos of everything all the time, just like you did.
The green house is not what it was, but it is magical and grows things like crazy….I know how much you and Ganni liked tomatoes.
The kids are very thoughtful, articulate and have a vocabulary that would be worth all the money I earned when you paid me to memorize Shakespeare, Ann Sexton, T.S. Elliot, William Blake, and others for spending money when I was growing up.
I can still sing Mozart’s “Queen of the Night” aria in German. I can still sing “La Donne es mobile” from Rigoletto.
I taught myself to ride and so far so good…Lauren wants to get a Saddlebred like Crimson Sun as a tribute to you.
I remember how when you spent weekend after weekend out here, I didn’t because it felt like it was your farm and I didn’t feel comfortable or at home here. I AM at home here. There isn’t anywhere else I would rather be.
I am far from perfect but I am doing the best I can and I have a big list to get through until I see you next. Put in a good word for me with whomever is in charge…I have a few more hurdles to jump through :-)
I love you, and I am eternally grateful for everything. I miss you and I hope I make you proud.
- Easter Shenanigans