Labor Day

Monday, September 5, 2011

How appropriate to have this holiday on the first day of the work week. To be free from the confines of an office job is a heavenly reminder of a life moving toward simplicity. The peaches we bought on a mountain day trip yesterday were turned into peach jam and spiced peaches today, with a few left whole for eating fresh or for making into cobbler.

We ate roast chicken, corn and biscuits on the patio tonight. The chicken was one of our own. Raised free and butchered by its owners. I realized tonight that I, more often than not, bake or roast a chicken rather than fry it. Force of habit I guess. Seems easier to pop it into the oven then stand over a skillet of scalding oil on a hot summer’s day. The breast and thigh meat had a crispy skin and was dripping with juice. Delicious. The corn was succulent and the biscuits flakey. We watched the chickens and goose scour the yard for tidbits then run to us begging for a treat. No treats to be had this night, unless you consider eating your own a treat.

Small patches of life are dwindling now; the little farm is slowly readying itself for a long nap. Except for a short hike, we spent the whole day at home, all of it. It was a Labor and a labor day spent on a small suburban homestead at the edge of town. We ate food we grew and cooked ourselves. We worked up a cleansing sweat. Took naps in the shade where the wind and sun could replenish our souls, and felt pampered as the iPod sang sweetly into our headphones.

During evening chores, we saw wisps of clouds quietly roll in, the forefront of some far off storm that might materialize into rain. I liked the way it felt like a season changing. Afterwards we came in to a soothing lukewarm soak in the tub with lavender soap and candlelight and emerged cool and refreshed. We poured ourselves a glass of cider, the last vestiges of the previous fall and fell into the sofa for a movie; an epic mini-series, long and meandering; a peaceful end to our humble day.

The cool clamminess of the evening air reminds me of the thunder storms I saw in Colorado. Thunderous exhales of light and sound that bumbled across the night sky, lighting up the horizon as it moved through the Estes Valley. These are the kind of fireworks shows I like…thunder and lightening; the perfect combination of flashing light and crashing sound for a day when we can all look back and be grateful. There were no people on this land during the difficult times of our country’s history. Not the Civil War of the 1860’s nor WWI in 1916, not even the Great Depression. The same holds true for WWII and Viet Nam. It’s too new, too modern. Tonight we can relax, safe from the worry of men gone to war in some far off land.

Tonight it’s just a mom, a girl, a dog, a farm and a glass of aged cider.

It’s strange, I think, how Memorial Day and Independence Day and Labor Day can stir such emotions in me, make me feel so patriot, so grateful of those that came before me and how much I owe them for the life I lead. Small thanks from a homesteader in suburbia, I think, but thanks is all I’ve got.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend. I really mean that.

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