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Month: December 2011

This Boy

This Boy

I begin and end each day with this boy.  I wonder who are you?  I wonder why are you trying to drive me crazy?  I wonder where are you going in such a rush?

He’s like a tidal wave, a force of nature; he’ll sweep right over the top of you and leave you wondering what the hell just happened?  He’s all earth and fire, so solid and powerful, but flaring up with the force of the sun.  There are days where I am blinded by him; there are days I feel like I’ve been hit by a car.

He wakes me, standing by my bed saying Mama, you look beauyifuw.  I know I don’t, I’ve been up half the night with him, but of course I am won over.  He’s like toffee, he’ll hurt your teeth but the next day all you can remember is the sweetness.  You’ll always go back for more.

He takes the world on at full tilt, afraid of nothing.  Up and running at 9 months he hasn’t stopped since; my heart is in my throat all the time, afraid for him, afraid because he is not afraid.  But a ladybug in the shower has him calling out for Mama, reminding me he is such a little boy.  But not a baby anymore, no not that.

He is relentless, exhausting and he  Trying to hold him back feels impossible, to my shame I resort to bribes, he loves chocolate more than anything and sometimes its all I’ve got just to get him to change track, to please, please stop.  I don’t feel like I can do it sometimes, be the person he needs me to be, give enough for him to be satisfied.   They are both so different, can I be what they both need and still be me?

But when he puts his arms around my neck and squeezes hard, when he holds my hand at playgroup and says Mama, come wid me; when he holds my face in his hands and demands my attention his eyes saying I see you, see me;  I know then I am the Mama that he chose, he trusts me to be the right person.  He knows I’ll come running when a ladybug emergency crops up, it is me he calls for at night when he is all tears and blurry edges.

Since the moment he came into being it all changed and he was never what I expected him to be.  He moves, like a beautiful decorated elephant, inexorable and shining, delightful yet imposing.  His eyes say that he has been here before, and when I stop, when I step back from the Mama madness and the worry and the frustration and the exhaustion I know that this is all part of the plan.  His eyes say so.

This boy.  Frustrating, beautiful, clever, exhausting, terrifying, hilarious, unstoppable.  My boy.

Mama in Training

Mama in Training

One thing that I miss about having a ‘proper’ job (apart from having a ‘proper’ lunch break and ‘proper’ sick days) is the opportunity to take training, to learn and develop in one’s field.  I’m a knowledge lover, I really can’t get enough of the stuff, and while I do a lot of reading and thinking on my own I miss the chance to learn from an expert, to really open myself up to new possibilities.

It was with this in mind (and honestly feeling a bit grumpy and uninspired) that I wandered over to Heather’s blog, Beauty that Moves.  I love her blog, it is a great mix of serenity, action and beauty, with some good solid info thrown in.  I’d been reading her series on holistic health and wishing that she did an e-course that wasn’t vegan when, tada!  She announced a new e-course learning about whole foods and nutrition, exactly what I’d been wishing for.

Since we moved and knowing what our goals are with the farm, I’ve realised that I would like to step things up to the next level when it comes to my family’s nutritional health.   I’m not sure what the ‘next level’ actually entails but I’m pretty sure there are beans there, and probably fermented beverages.  So, after talking with Stephen, I signed up for her lovely course and will be starting it in February.  That seems like the perfect time to be working on a project like this, lots of inside time during the very cold weather and a bit of inspiration when it is so desperately needed.  It will also give me some time to consider spring planting and seed ordering, perfect timing.

The second area in my life that needs a bit of attention is my wardrobe.  I did a big purge when we moved, anything that I didn’t wear or didn’t suit me anymore was gone.  I also packed away all my summer stuff, which left my side of the rail looking a little…pathetic.  The clothes I have are great, they look nice on and are good quality.  I’ve had some of my skirts for over a decade and hope they’ll last for another.  But with two boys, two dogs, several chickens and lots of cooking in my day, things rarely make it past one wear before they head for the wash basket.  I noticed that there are certain items, more easy to wear and practical, that I’d love more of but I’ve had them a while and they just don’t make ’em like that any more.

Enter Kathy and her Backwoods Mama Sew Camp.  I read Kathy’s blog and as well as loving her lively writing I love her style.  The patterns on her e-course look perfect for me, the kind of thing I could wear again and again.  Now I have a decent sewing machine I feel more confident about approaching patterns that use knits (it’s less fun when your machine eats them and/or tears holes where seams should go) but with the comfort of some support along the way.  Her course is a download so I am planning on getting it while Stephen is off over Christmas (it is a gift from my beloved, and I will gift him in return by disappearing upstairs for several hours while I make clothes for myself.  Win win.), that should give me time to indulge in some creative time and I’ll end up with some new and wearable clothes!

The thing I love about the patterns that Kathy has created is that she is:

a) a mama

b) has groovy style

c) is a farmer so surrounded by animals and mud.

So the patterns she has created are practical and have a busy mama’s life in mind, made for me I’d say!

At first I felt guilty about spending money from the family budget on things that are just for me, but then it occurred to me, this is my job!  And what do you do on a job when you want to move forward?  Training!  I realised how important it is for me to take on some new ideas and skills as we get ready to begin our adventure  into hobby farming this coming spring.  As we become more self sustaining in food I’d like to have better skills in preparing, storing and choosing what we should be eating.  The more I know, the more I’m empowered to make good, and hopefully tasty, choices on behalf of everyone in my family.  Recently I’ve become more and more the primary cook for us all but I feel stuck in a rut; I’ve been searching for something but didn’t have a clear idea of how to implement it.  I’m really hoping this course will change that.  And as for the sewing, who has time to shop?  Plus I find it extremely difficult/expensive to buy decent, well made clothing that fits and suits me.  Apparently shops really don’t care about mums in their late 30’s who have a round tummy and chickens to chase after.  Weird.

This coming year is going to be one of many new discoveries and challenges, but whatever comes up I’ll be well fed and super backwoods stylish.  Sounds like a pretty good start.

The Kitchen

The Kitchen

I know I have been remiss in my posting of house pictures, but a combination of no internet, terrible light over the last couple of weeks and busy days that mean things aren’t at their photoshoot best, means it has taken awhile.  But today we have the magical combination of sunshine, new crafts keeping the boys busy and a reasonable night of sleep leaving me somewhat motivated after lunch.  I was also super inspired by Jacinta’s pics of her beautiful new kitchen, it really looks stunning.

Ours is not quite finished, we haven’t had time to sort out the backsplash,  there is a little cladding on the island still to do and we need to finish the painting; other than that we are done!


So there you have it!  The cupboards are cherry wood, stained darker to get to that mid century modern colour.  The counter tops are made of concrete, one of our builders (Adrian the Reiki Master) made this for us and I love it.  He even managed to do me a sloped drainer to avoid that icky pooling of water, it’s fabulous.  I decided on a wall mounted oven for lots of reasons but basically because I’m lazy and don’t want to bend down all the time; the hob in an induction hob, it uses less energy and is safer given that the island is also our eating area.  It heats up instantly and has a cool digital slide control that makes me feel like Jean Luc Piquard, though I didn’t expect to I really love this hob.  The island is 8ft wide by 4 ft deep, the overhang is 2ft which is perfect for sitting at, just before we moved in I managed to find some great retro bar stools that are really padded and comfy, perfect for hanging out in the kitchen with a comfy bum!

As we’ve done throughout the house, in this room we’ve merged old and new.  The cabinets are new but they reference the mid century modern style that we love and inspired us when designing this house.  I chose light fittings that have a retro feel and there are bits and pieces such as my scales (made in Holland in 1964) and my retro feeling kitchen aid mixer and le creuset kettle that add to the vintage mood.  Though this is a modern house we wanted it to echo the styles of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s that we so love.  Over time I’m sure I’ll be adding a few more details (pyrex is my friend) as well as a retro wallpaper splash back that will make this even more unique and personal.

As I imagined before we moved in, this is where I spend the majority of my time.  Being at the heart of the house makes it so easy to cook and socialise, sometimes hours go by and I realise I haven’t moved from this space!   It has plenty of room for prepping, cooking, eating and just plain sitting down with a cup of tea.  Bread rises in record time on that sunny counter; food goes from stove to plate with ease.  Even in the short time we’ve lived here, this kitchen has seen many happy times,  I’m looking forward to many, many more.

Outside Time

Outside Time

There really is no better way to spend a morning than outside with friends.

It was cold but not too cold, enough to hint at things to come; enough to stop us lingering but not enjoying.  I wonder if our next walk will be in mud or snow, over hard ground or soft?  It doesn’t feel yet like winter, but the wind…the wind says it’s coming.  But when?



Blokey Bloke Bloke

Blokey Bloke Bloke

Some men are so naturally maternal, it would take just a small hormone tablet and a few group hugs to become a giant breast. They genuinely like to cuddle and talk about feelings. They listen intently when women talk about serious issues. Things like diet and lifestyle, the inherent strength of alternative medicine and the need to be kind to small furry dogs that defecate on the floor are topics to be debated earnestly over herbal tea and a nice slice of cake.

In many ways, those men have got it totally sussed. How can they go wrong? They’re not your Les Dawson, rollers-in-the-hair-push-up-the-fake-boobs kind of guy. They’re completely earnest and sympathetic, don’t forget shit all the time and are non-threatening to both genders. It goes beyond metrosexuality into pure genius and must be a precursor of a next evolutionary step for us less enlightened blokes.

But here’s the thing. I’m probably being massively stereotypical but, well, they annoy the shit out of me. They’re just too bloody serious. Guys are supposed to have a sense of humour and an appetite to rival a pool full of piranhas at swim-time on a hot day. But you’ll rarely catch these men eating a meat pie, scratching their belly in delight and smacking their bird’s backside in playful ignorance of the fact they’re supposed to be talking about the merits of Arnica for an ouchy knee. They don’t understand the rules of being a bloke. So to do my bit for young men struggling to find the way of a True Man, here’s my top ten tips to being a top fella.

#1 The “Made You Laugh Rule”
OK guys, this one is really really important. It basically goes like this: whatever you say, no matter how inappropriate, unsympathetic or downright rude, even if you are completely in the wrong and should by rights have your testicles nailed to a broad-leafed tree, if you quickly say something witty that gets a genuine belly laugh or involuntary snort (even if it’s quickly stifled by a missus horrified at her own response), then you’re in the clear. No one can give you grief when you make them laugh, it’s the law.

#2 No One Respects A Guy Who Blubs
Unless you failed in Rule #1 and your testicles are indeed in way too close contact with a large tree, hold them in fellas. Women will lie to you. They’ll say it’s ok to let it all out. Don’t for a second believe them. It’ll hang over your head until eventually, you’ll be faced with the choice to either shave your chest wig and read up on Low Carb Diets, or relocate to El Salvador and start life again as a gunslinger to reclaim your masculinity. Just don’t take the risk, I mean, there really isn’t much of a life in gunslinging. Or El Salvador for that matter. Besides, the sight of a big hairy bloke blubbing and blowing a snot bubble isn’t pretty. It won’t get you a sympathy shag. In fact, nothing good can come of this.

#3 Never, Ever, Ever Admit You’re Lost
This one is tricky because women are getting savvy to the fact that as blokes, we naturally despise and see weakness in men that ask for directions. Unfortunately most of us are cursed with an absolute lack of instinct for choosing the right way when faced with a 50-50 guess. You might be forgiven to assume it’s no big deal or that it’s ok to use a GPS, but think about it guys. Twenty thousand years ago, your hairy ancestor was loping through the tall grass looking for lunch. Would he have stopped beside someone who “looks like they’re a local” and asked for directions to the nearest herd of tasty wildebeests? No, indeed not. He’d have smiled confidently, given the bemused bystander a casual wink and leapt into the grass with a flourish. Of course, he might have starved to death, but at least he’d die knowing he’d not humbled himself by admitting his ignorance or succumbed to temptation to rely on technology purposefully imbued with some of the most irritating voices on the planet.

#4 Instructions Are Optional
It’s your instinct to set them aside and dive in. Embrace it. Whether that’s the insanely complicated toy your son is desperate to play with and was supposed to come assembled but arrived in 1,237 individual parts, a rather large tractor, raising small livestock or the latest software package, it makes no difference. Real blokes should just know how to assemble / operate / repair anything and get huge respect from being able to do so. There are however some notable exceptions: a) the washing machine, b) sewing machines and c) The Joy Of Sex, position 37. That one could really hurt you.

#5 When You Reach Age 34, Please Stop Dancing
I’m not entirely sure how this works, but from casual observation of male friends, it seems that sometime between the age of 34 and 38, your ability dance without causing serious emotional damage to onlookers will catastrophically fail. In a cruel twist, your perception of how awesome your moves are will simultaneously begin to soar. To be safe, I simply stopped dancing at age 34 and while I believe it to be a serious blow for the world of modern interpretative dance and dubstep, it’s the responsible choice guys.

#6 Vests Aren’t Cool
Unless you’re Bruce Lee, vests really aren’t cool. In fact, that goes for cardigans, waistcoats and chaps. I don’t care what the practical arguments for them are. They. Simply. Are. Not. Acceptable. Oh and that goes for stupid hats with bobbles and ties with cartoon characters on them. The people who make them are laughing at you, let’s not give them the satisfaction, eh guys?

#7 The “Smile And Nod Rule”
This is surprising, but it actually works pretty well. In any given situation, no matter how ignorant you are of the details of what’s being discussed or proposed, just smile and nod confidently. If you feel in the mood, I like to raise my right eyebrow a fraction for added effect. To avoid being called for your opinion, carefully time an attempt at an interjection into the conversation, pull back and nod again as the speaker finishes their point thereby making them believe you were going to make the same point and gaining a valuable ally in your deception. It works on blokes talking about sport, women who’ve had too much to drink and all Belgians. Oh, and of course the Americans too but then you could sit there with your mouth open for most of your life and still run for President it seems.

#8 Don’t Run Without A Shirt
You’ve all seen them. Joggers. As if they’re not bad enough in their natural state, those abhorrent few that think it’s appropriate to run bare-chested should have their buttocks superglued to a hard plastic garden chair and made to watch repeats of The Cosby Show until they weep for mercy (see Rule #2). Blokes don’t jog. We occasionally saunter, do the odd Dad Shuffle or a micro-sprint to catch balloons snatched out of our kid’s hands by the wind. We don’t jog. Especially not without a football shirt and a crowd of cheering women, lots of mud and the prospect of a pint or two at the end of 90 minutes.

#9 Be Hairy, Proud And Loud
I’m not sure about you, but pre-pubescent life wasn’t much fun for me. Nursing the three pathetic hairs that my chin sprouted at age 14 into the rich wig it is today took a lot of effort. Real men shouldn’t feel the need to pretend that they’re 14 and shave so much they begin to resemble Ken (from Barbie fame) in his Hawaiian Outfit. Take the lead from the legendary Brian Blessed and go bushy and whenever the opportunity presents itself, laugh loudly and smack your ample stomach for good measure. Your missus will appreciate it and you’ll save a fortune on toiletries.

#10 Eat, Drink And Never Trust A Belgian
This last one probably doesn’t need to be said, but it’s important to remember nonetheless. You can never really be sure who’s a Belgian or indeed, a sympathiser. It’s good to be cautious, especially around the French. Real men know this and aren’t afraid to ask the hard questions that might just keep their families safe. Personally, I use the Meat Pie Test to confirm the identity of suspicious individuals. In my experience, a corned beef and potato pie works most effectively since no Belgian would dream of eating one without being exposed by telltale involuntary facial ticks.

So that’s it. Ten rules for an honest bloke to live by. Hope you enjoy. Remember Rule #1.

Perfection Impossible

Perfection Impossible

I’m hearing a word come out of my 6 year old’s mouth that really bothers me, I want to take it out of his vocabulary altogether, I wish he could unlearn it, but he can’t.


He says he wants his drawing, or lego or whatever he’s working on to be ‘perfect’ and he is so sad when it isn’t.  I talk to him about perfect imperfections, how we learn from our mistakes, how nothing is ever perfect, how we all make mistakes.  Eventually the sun comes out on his little face, he nods and tries again but still it is there, his drive for perfection.

He comes by it honestly.  Stephen and I are both guilty of being perfectionists, with Stephen it is obvious, he is a high achiever and driven to get to the highest standard he can and he’ll work his socks off until he gets there.  It’s me that says, ‘chill!’ and I know we balance well like that; he drives and I say slow down.  But with me it is my frustration at always feeling that I fall short, always feeling that I can never, ever achieve what is, in my mind, perfection.

How can I teach my kids what I can’t seem to internalise?  How can I pass on knowledge I don’t seem to possess?

When we moved into our house I was on such a high (still am really!) but after a few weeks the cracks started to show, one big meltdown later and I knew the problem.  I wanted it all the be perfect.  My notion on what is perfect was a little vague but it seemed to involve the children eating big piles of vegetables in an immaculate house after digesting a book on poetry whilst doing crafts.  Tidily.  Yep, that didn’t really pan out.

But I’ve yet to find my real vision, the one where things aren’t perfect but they are really great for a lot of the time.  I’ve yet to sort out what matters to me and what doesn’t, because that is what the quest for perfectionism does to me, it stalls my thinking and makes me depressed.  I think ‘I’ll never get there’ so I don’t even dream and then I’m all grumpy.  And when I’m grumpy I really like to spread it around, yeah I rock like that.

When I apologise to Huwyl for losing my patience (as I do every day) he says something great like “Everyone overboils, don’t worry about it” or “You’re the best Mum, even when you’re angry”, and then I truly know that I suck.  Because I don’t forgive so easily, I don’t have such a light heart and I don’t have the excuse of being 6, I should know better.  But I’m tired and busy and I just can’t quite get to be that great Mum that I want to be, not at 4.30 when Neirin won’t sit still and Huwyl is complaining about dinner and they both want tv and the dog pees on the floor and there is still so. much. to. do.

Watching Huwyl being tripped up by that demon perfection really shows me what an undermining force it is.  He will give up half way through a picture and I understand that impulse.  Like him I’m afraid to see through my ambitions, convinced that I can’t really achieve it, that failure is inevitable.  If we can’t achieve perfection what is the point?  But I’m not willing to let him be hobbled by this, I want to help him look past the myth of perfection and have a clear vision of what it is that he wants and can do now.

But that means I’ve got some work to do.  Because I can’t teach something that I can’t do.  So I’m laying down my dreams for this coming winter season, I’m going to bravely state my goals (in public!) and defy perfection with my ambition.

– Make some of my own clothes, things that actually suit me!  Get to know my brilliant sewing machine and get making!  I’d love to take this course, the patterns look brilliant.

– Sleep, a lot.  A refreshed Mummy is a happy Mummy.  Bed by 9pm at least 4 times a week.

– Take time to learn about whole food nutrition and work on my eating and health.  Losing weight would be great but feeling energetic is the most important.  This e-course looks amazing.

– Write at least 3 blog posts a week.

– Start being kinder to myself over my appearance, head held high and a big smile.  Take time to do nice things for myself so that I can feel good.

– Forgive myself for my imperfections, every day.

– Dream.  Really spend time thinking about what I’d like to do with my life and believe I can.

– Speak up!  Set aside time for my goals and be open about what I’m trying to do rather than keeping it all inside because it isn’t as important as what others want.

– Make a plan for organising and decorating our home, share it with Stephen and make it happen.

– Learn to use my camera, it’s ok if every photo isn’t perfect, the learning is more important.

– Write.  Articles, letters, blog posts, stories.  All those crazy thoughts in my head, put them down on paper and worry if they make sense later!

– Laugh at myself, I want to be less serious with the boys, laugh more with them and help them see that I know when I get things wrong and it’s ok.  I’d also actually like it to be ok.


That’ll do for now I think, not a bad list I’d say.  So when Huwyl gets upset over something not being perfect I can look him in the eye and say “No one is perfect, all we can do is try our best” and know that I’m sticking to that too.

My friend sent me a great quote by Salvador Dali “Don’t be afraid of perfection, you’ll never achieve it.”

Words to live by.



Old Saint Nick

Old Saint Nick

Happy Saint Nicholas’ Day!  The day dawned snowy and festive here and the boys were delighted to find some chocolate treats had been left in their places at the counter, but who doesn’t love waking up to chocolate?

Yesterday Huwyl and I read a story that I found here, then he drew a nice picture and a letter to Saint Nick asking him to come to our house.  It may seem an odd festival for a rampant heathen but I love the theme of kindness and giving, and it reminds me of the years when I lived in Germany and we would go to lovely lantern parades in the chilly December streets.  I think it also helps to turn Christmas into a season rather than just a present fest on one day.  We have cunning plans for spreading out the joy over the course of the month, if today is anything to go by the boys will be more than happy.

After our little celebration the day descended a bit into madness with a tummy bug making itself known and the snow contributing to increasing the mud bath that is the outside of our house.


So what was going to be a busy day of music lesson/library/chores and general running around has now been called to a halt in favour of an easy route which doesn’t involve Mummy driving, moving very far or being in any way jostled.  Right now the fire is on, a pot of mugwort tea is brewing and the house smells like  the granola cooking in the oven.  Huwyl is doing school via some learning computer games (He’s doing division!  Voluntarily!), Neirin is ‘helping’ him and giving me fun projects to make in the form of sticklebrick aeroplanes (we are up to version 5 I think) and I have cunning plans for a movie afternoon and some sneaky lying down time for Mummy.

I know that I need to let out the chickens, get some wood and in sort out the dogs who are filthy up the their shoulders, and then there is the hallway that is covered in mud, the basement that is  covered in mud and the coats, pants and boots that are…well you can see what I’m getting at.  But that’s ok, I’ll manage those in bits and pieces while we continue through our hopefully stress reduced day; as I work I’ll send St Nicholas my sincere wish for a very, very hard frost and perhaps a few feet of snow.  Snow is so much cleaner you see.

Oh Christmas Tree

Oh Christmas Tree

This weekend we indulged in that most Canadian festive pursuit (or should that be North American?), we went and cut-our-own Christmas tree.  On a crisp and sunny Saturday, we set forth, unknowing and hopeful into the wide blue yonder.  Evergreens beckoned and we were powerless to resist.

Map and saw in hand we inspected each different section, assessing each type of tree, the pro’s and cons of this pine or that spruce.  As we deliberated the boys ran in and out of the trees, enjoying the snow and the sunshine.

Despite the ‘help’ from the boys Stephen managed to fell our chosen tree, he then dragged it back to be bundled up and then it was into my car with a tied down boot and away.  It was probably around this time that we began to suspect that our tree was rather on the large side.  It was when we got it home and up that we realised that the tree is rather on the massive side.  What looked ‘no more than 8 feet’ (and I’m quoting) turned out to be bang on 10 feet.  Ooops.

But it is a beautiful tree, epic really.  It stands proudly, pushing furniture out of it’s way as it towers above us, brushing the ceiling with it’s up reaching branches.    Now clad in tinsel and baubles it shimmers warmly, a hub of festive feeling.  But it is the day itself that lifted my heart, the adventure of choosing and the feeling I had of evolving a new tradition.   Watching Stephen and the boys together is one of my great pleasures, I notice how much happier and calmer the boys are when they spend a day basking in Daddy’s attention.

I have to admit, I’m pretty keen on him too.  Despite fighting off a chest infection he happily chopped down a tree and, today, helped the boys to trim it.  They did this without my supervision (I have been referred to as the Christmas Tree Nazi, in the most affectionate way of course) so it doesn’t quite match and there isn’t really a theme and some of the decorations…well they aren’t ones I would have chosen.

I love it.

We are laying the foundations for many Christmases to come, traditions that will be repeated year on year; but this year it is all new and, for the first time in my ‘grown up’ life I really feel that we are at home for the holidays.

Everywhere I look

Everywhere I look

All around me I see something beautiful, I can’t stop being taken aback by it.  I catch very few of these moments with my camera, they usually come when I am busy making breakfast or sorting the chickens, any one of the tasks that pepper my day.  I’ll suddenly look up and notice a sky full of snow, the sun making his glorious entry and exit from the world, the boys all lit up from the fresh air and sunshine.  It’s not that each day is worry or irritation free, it’s not, but when I am caught suddenly by the extraordinary beauty of what is around me I can’t help but be lifted up by it.


The sunrise, the sunset, the stars and the moon; these are all things I’ve seen every day of my life.  I’ve always marvelled at them, found them beautiful, but here there are no distractions, nothing to interrupt their parade of glory.   On a clear night the stars are like torches, beaming so brightly that a 2 year old boy is frustrated because he can’t reach out and touch them.  When the moon beams brightly her light is more than enough to see by, the snow outside lit up purple and silver, promising magic.  As evening falls and I perform the mundane act of putting the chickens to bed, I am transfixed by the soft colours painted ever changing across the forest as the sun seeks his rest too; I return home with a double handful of eggs feeling like I hold a miracle in these small, fragile globes.  As I tuck them in my pockets I think of how many years I dreamed of a country life, I would wonder if I were still dreaming but the cold eggs in my pocket, small yet weighty, help me know that this is real.  I can’t help but laugh.