Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Anybody Out There?

Hi friends.

You know how it is. A few days turn into a few more days, a few weeks fly by and then you don't exactly know how to restart the conversation.

The move was pretty traumatic for me. We had much help, it was overwhelming. Have you ever felt so grateful it hurt? Pain was kind of the theme for me for a few weeks. Good and bad pain. Funny how grief does that to a person.

So I grieved leaving our farm and friends and animals and the mountains and cried myself to sleep for a few nights as we headed west.

Then our caravan made its way through Midland/Odessa and headed south. The hot, dry air seared my skin and felt like medicine. We laughed as dust devils swirled tumbleweeds across the long, flat highways.

All of a sudden a pulsing energy filled the vehicles.

We were headed home.

My friend Raymond pulled the big truck over in the middle of absolutely nowhere across the highway in front of a cinder block farmstand.

Coyanosa is the name of a little spot I suppose you could call a town, if you were extra generous. A sweet, Mexican lady spoke to me in Spanish and I was thrilled beyond delight.

We grabbed at least 20 canteloupe, picked fresh that morning. Peppers. Onions. Eggplant. Watermelon. Honeydew.

Said our muchas gracias, loaded up and continued south. Not too far down the road, majestic blue, craggy mountains appeared in the distance. The overwhelming scent of canteloupe comforted me, just as did the sight of those familiar peaks, and I couldn't help but speed it up a little as we headed home.

It is hard to explain, but as we finished up the last hour of our several day drive, the pain of leaving completely washed away.

Having the children explore and exclaim "It's better than we imagined, Mom!" was the cream in my coffee, and you loyal readers know how much I love cream in my coffee. Picking handfuls of figs from our tree and sitting down in the backyard, looking out to the mountains was even better than I imagined.

I had taken a look through the house back in April, but never saw all the cabinets, closets, pantries and shelves. Can you believe all our books fit? And so did all my kitchen stuff! And bakery equipment?

So we made it here safely, unloaded, unpacked, and have been settling in for the last month.

There have been tough moments and sometimes I miss my friends so badly it hurts me physically. And sometimes grief over Philip's death gets mixed in and hurts us all deeply.

All that said, I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that being here in Alpine is good. It is so very good.

Can you believe that in one month's time, I have been with my parents on three occasions? Twice here and once in their house. And they will be here tomorrow to help us celebrate Nora's birthday. Quick little visits. But my mom and I almost giggle when it is time to say goodbye instead of cry because we know it won't be that long til it is time for the next one. Not too long ago each visit ended with tears and heaviness and wonder how long, six months? Two years?

And can I tell you what a relief it is to be living in town? I was a bit afraid that the move to town would be beyond difficult for us.

It is not.

We can walk to church. And do.

Everyone rides bikes to school. I bought a bike for myself yesterday and no longer have to steal, I mean borrow Maggie's to accompany the little girls to their school. I can ride my bike to the computer class I am taking down at the library.

After all this time, I have finally learned how to cut and paste and do a spreadsheet! How in the world did I run a business without being able to do a simple spreadsheet?

It is hot here in Alpine, but the temperatures are consistently 10-15 degrees cooler than the rest of the state, with low humidity and gentle breezes. The drought has been hard on the land, and wild fires have ravaged thousands of acres. Even so, every morning as Rose and I bike the couple of miles over to the middle school and the sun rises and the mountains glow pink and the big sky looks like baby blanket blue, I marvel at the beauty that won my heart over thirty years ago and has caused it to live in longing all this time. And I feel like we have finally come home.

I guess I need to write another post about food and farmer's market and new friends and hikes and dog walking and hot springs and flash floods and Lost Mine Trail.

But in case I get distracted with real life, I have to tell you two very important things!

I knew we would probably be able to purchase raw goat's milk at the farmer's market, but imagine my delight to meet Mr. Roberts at our market who sells his daughter's Jersey cow milk, cream and butter. All raw. That discovery was one of the sweetest gifts I have received in a very long time. I was already thrilled about our new home and new town and all those other goodies, but to be able to get raw cow's milk? A few blocks from our home? I think I might have scared that poor farmer, I was probably crying with joy.

Second important thing: Electricians were here today, and should finish wiring in my bakery equipment tomorrow. New business cards have been made and I have been delivering them around the four little towns in our vicinity.

OK, third important thing, kids are doing great in school. Making friends. Maggie and Patrick are participating in Cross Country, Maggie, JV, Patrick varsity. They both placed in the meet in Pecos last week. Maggie, first place! I am proud of them.

And fourth, Brownie and Blackie and Tabby made the move here just fine and seem to have happily adapted to town life. They love to sleep on our Saltillo tile floors, nice and cool, and I enjoy walking them from our house up to the University campus and up the hills where I get a fabulous view of the sunset at evening.

Thank you everyone for your encouraging notes, prayers, kind words. I have missed you blogger friends a lot, but wondered if I would ever get back to writing, since I was so worn out from the last year and a half or so. But here I am, so I guess we are back in business. I have so many things to tell you. You are going to love Alpine and the amazing Big Bend region, here in the mountainous chihuahan desert. I have no idea how this farm blog is evolving, but I guess we will find out together.

PS coming up, the southwest version of stuffed patty pan squash.