We have been up to our ears in stuff to do lately, and right as this crazy season has come to its peak, the boys and I left town! We left Andy to tend to the Homestead on his own. He dehydrated, pickled, canned, steam-juiced, and brewed lots of tasty morsels and beverages.
Before we left we helped him pick a bunch of apples from a neglected tree in town. He's using these apples in particular for hard cider. He's made it before, and it is the perfect combo of dry, slightly sweet, apple-y effervescence. Hopefully this batch turns out just as good.
Axel is so homestead. He was born here on the floor of our living room. He has eaten homestead dirt, played in the galvanized steel tub under the water pump, consumed plenty of fruit that has fallen off trees here in the orchard, chased chickens, hiked trails, played in the Moon Cabin, explored the root cellar, dug in the garden. He has played here almost every day of his life. This is what he knows, and I think that is so cool. And, so homestead.
Asa appreciates the Homestead with a wider perspective than his brother's. He remembers living in a neighborhood, with neighbors close by. He remembers having his own room, probably, even though he didn't sleep in it. He understands that most places have modern plumbing, with flushable toilets, and a seemingly endless supply of water to do fun things with, like bathe everyday, or run in the sprinklers. But he doesn't complain about not having these things. He has decided to embrace this for the adventure that it is, I think. Because he is always up for an adventure. I think the Homestead has definitely become home for him. He loves it for its complexity, and freedom. And so do I.
The goats and sheep are heading back to their winter home soon. We are going to miss them. The Homestead is going to be a less poopy, furry, noisy place, slightly less demanding, until next spring, when they will all come back to do it all over again. At least we will still have the chickens, and the cat.
Asa and Axel found another skull. I think this may be a sheep skull from last year. They are fascinated with bones, skulls, and creepy stuff in general. I used to tend to avoid bones and cadavers while walking around. I didn't feel the need to pick them up and examine them, probably because I was taught that they were gross. But having boys has opened to me up a whole world of things I didn't used to do. It's awesome.
Apples are on the trees in late summer, just like they have been every late summer for 120 years.
Another familiar image in late summer here in Montana. A smoke-covered fuchsia sun. Beautiful.