Wednesday, May 16, 2007


May 24th is the Blogiversary. Chickenblog will be celebrating 5 years of deep thoughts and other musings. You are invited to the party. On May 24th grab a cupcake when you sit down to read Chickenblog, because you may be the big winner of a $50.00 Amazon gift certificate!

Seriously. I want to create a little buzz, spread a little fun and mark the day with a surprise gift for some fortunate individual, like you. Have you sent me a comment? Sign-up and send a comment to Chickenblog and your name will be entered in the drawing. I am small time people... this is not a spam generating, capitalist conspiracy with viral attachments. It's just me, the Chickenblogger, feeling giddy about posting to this very blog for 5 years.

The chickens were the inspiration for this online message board and family newsletter. Like me, they scratch and peck, and they cluck with a mighty fuss whenever they have news to share.

So, do not delay. Sign-up today. Come to my virtual party, help me celebrate, and you may take home a prize!

Post From the Past...

July 25, 2002

Alex asked, "Where do rhubarbs grow?"

I remember when rhubarb grew in my mother's garden. She baked them in to pies. Strawberries, squash, corn, sunflowers, cilantro, and onions grew there too. There are photographs that capture moments and bring to my mind all the sights and sounds of many summers ago. Each snap shot, grainy and small, is like a synapse triggering memories so vivid I am transported back in time. I can smell the pungent squash blossoms, and newly turned dirt. And I can taste each strawberry; one for the bowl, two for my mouth.

In one photograph, we are crouched together, Billy, Mom and I, and at our feet are the zinnias she grew from seeds. The heads of the flowers are big and brightly colored; they match the intensity of the sunlight that makes us squint at the camera. We are in the front yard, beside the driveway, where Dad parked his red pick up. And the ground looks hard and dry. Mom must have been diligent about watering those seeds. She must have worked very hard to make anything grow where it was so dry and harsh.

I recall the green hose, and Billy in drooping diapers, and the look of impish glee on his face. He loved to splash people with the hose, to be in command of the water. We feigned anger when he wouldn't surrender the hose, but I can still hear the laughter that ensued when he sprayed us, or even when we talked about Billy and the garden hose. There must be a picture of him, somewhere, full cheeks dimpled and wet, standing in the overgrown grass by the front porch. He will be smiling so fully, you can feel his joy.

And it was summer when Hans was born. He is in the garden too, and it must be early evening, but still hot enough for nothing but diapers. A blanket is spread on the ground. Bill sits proudly beside the baby, who lies next to him. Hans is small, with dark hair and he looks healthy, and even determined. Who could say, then, what he was prepared to do in his life; his newborn body is decidedly strong and alert.

And there are sunflowers over my head, not in the picture with my brothers, but in my recollections. I remember standing on a chair to look in to the face of a sunflower and feel the hard black seeds packed in rows. I remember walking the two or three blocks to the feed store to buy a packet of sweet corn seeds. And I can smell the bales of hay and straw, alfalfa, and the chocolates on the counter. Through the tack room, which was leathery smelling, passed the aquariums and in the back shed, were chicks and ducklings, and stacks of grain sacks and feed. And walking home, with the heat radiating up from the asphalt, I watched the sheep in the pasture across the way.

It is past and present. It is recalling and surrendering. It is immersion. It is so deeply engaging, that I can touch and hear, and smell and feel those places and events.

'Rhubarbs' grow in gardens, where summers are hot, and children are born and play. They are harvested, with strawberries, and baked into pies, by women who dig in the dirt, rake, and plant seeds, and water and weed, and work very hard to help things grow, even in difficult places. Rhubarbs have poisonous parts. They are not sweet. It takes extra care and effort to allow them to fulfill their potential and become healthy, and good, but some women have the patience and love to make it all come together.
Updated, November 15, 2020. My Mom has been organzing photos, particularly the ones her Mom, Eunice, had. It's been a massive undertaking, because she is scanning them, editing them, and then taking the time to redistribute them to all the family. I so appreciate her work, and care. This one came recently, and I remembered writing this post, and only imagining the picture, even questioning if it was a picture that existed as I recalled. I am so happy to add it here. My Mom is holding Bill, and I am crouched beside them. This was taken in Ramona, California, about 1970. I still drive by that house sometimes.


Tarie said...

Me me me! I want to enter the contest. =D Advanced Happy Blogiversary!

Natalie said...

You, you, you are totally in the hat! Thanks for playing with me.

Tarie said...

Re: post from the past: You're a good writer, Natalie! I could vividly see all those images/memories you painted with your words. Evocative writing. :)You should write a memoir and have it published! :)

Natalie said...

Tarie you are so an ego tonic. Thank you for always throwing encouragememnt my direction.