photos from a birthday weekend spent picking apples at the wsu orchards, sprinkled in with a whole lot of nonsense, is about to happen in this post. are you ready?

this is the view of our house from inside the coop. lucky girls. 

I am happy to report that I am a new mama eight times over. Four hennies in the coop out back, and four chickies in the brooder in the basement. Yikes. I absolutely love it. As of now my ladies are finally clucking happily in their coop again after I (stupidly) let them out (way too soon) the other day for ranging and then had to usher them back up into the coop before nightfall the hard way. With a fishing net. 

My ladies are STUPID. Or else stubborn. Oh my gosh I just love them to pieces. 

The other day Linda gave me her very first egg. It was on the day when she was being the biggest turkey ever. I thanked her profusely, because that is the kind of thing I take very seriously. A woman's ovulatory output is a gift and not to be taken lightly. It felt like a "Hey, I like you! I don't hate it here!" greeting card from Miss Lonely Linda just for me. Of course it's Linda's egg. OF COURSE. Linda is the stubbornest. There's got to be a correlation. On the days she's allowed outside to range she immediately roosts up in the lilac tree behind the canning shed and she DOES NOT BUDGE. You can reach up there with the back end of a broom and poke her rudely in her bum and she does not care. It's all sneak attack grabs at her thighs with Linda and then she gives you THE LOOK as you carry her home. The rest I can catch with the net, after cornering them between the juniper shrub and the rose bushes, but Linda. Linda makes you work for it.

The guy at Tri-State was really fantastic when I went to buy that fishing net. Here's this dumb girl in the fishing aisle, worrying about net thread count or whatever because heaven forbid I trap my ladies with synthetic netting material, and the dude goes, "Goin' fishin'??" like it was the last thing on earth I would be doing (well, it is) and then I said, "Yes, I am. For chickens." He laughed and shook his head and backed away slowly, and there I was left to ponder whether I wanted a wood handled fishing net or aluminum? And then I drove through the McDonald's on the way home for a Diet Dr Pepper and got to reenact that exact conversation with another guy, the drive through window guy, because the net was too long to fit in the trunk so it was angled next to me through the passenger seat and he was like, "Here's your soda, uhhh, nice fishing net?" 

I was afraid that I had traumatized the poor ladies with that fishing net but ironically enough, every time I've had to play chicken hockey I've been rewarded the following day with a big fat egg. So, I mean . . . chickens, man.

Earl the Squirrel was outside running laps this morning across the top of our crooked old fence, back and forth from his oak tree at the edge of the lawn to some pot of acorn gold near the front that he must have discovered. I'm not normally one to name my backyard squirrels or anything, but this guy is just the funniest dude, you'd have done it, too.  

I love to watch Earl in the mornings. He is very intense about things. Occasionally he'll stop at the window and I'll glance in his direction from the work table in the kitchen and we'll have ourselves a real moment. That Earl is a soulful old dude. He knows what's cookin'. He scrambles so loudly with his nails against the wood as he goes back and forth in his duties that it's hard not to feel he's become a necessary fixture in our morning routine. "Hey, Earl," Huck says to the window when he comes into the kitchen for a waffle. He looks like he's in pretty good shape for the winter, that Earl; he's got his beady little eyes on the prize. 

I think my favorite thing about Idaho that my penchant for romanticizing the stupidest things gets fed out here like a king. ;)

Please to appreciate Huck's Lloyd Christmas hair. (I kind of miss the swoosh.) (But seriously is he not the cutest thing or what, crap.)

Giant sunflower meets giant sunflower seed addict, begets much pondering on the meaning of life, et cetera. ;)

The WSU orchards are open for the next weekend or so, if you're in the area you should definitely plan to spend a few hours there before the season ends. 

And there goes Earl again. He has easily been back and forth with at least 6 acorns since I sat down here just now.

I worry when I write posts lately that I might sound sad. This is a funny, funky time in the life of Ye Olde Natalie, and I'm not sad, per se, but I'm definitely feeling things. (And starting Clomid again soon, so, you know. WATCH OUT. ;)

I'm still figuring out how I feel about Idaho Round Two. You know, life in Idaho the first time around was marked with a whole lot of sadness, and that old sadness scared me when we first made plans to come back. I didn't know if it would find me again. But New York changed me more than I realized. The stress of my life in the city--the people, the keeping up, the competition, the games--it was a lot, and now that it's gone, it's noticeable.  It takes a certain kind of person to thrive in that environment, and while I loved it there--oh I loved the city--I definitely don't think anyone could ever accuse me of having thrived there. It wasn't a perfect fit. Dressing for the angles of a stressed out version of me was fun though, I admit. Clothes fit worried Natalie different than they fit healthy Natalie, and I embraced it as best I could, but I was hard and I was uptight and I was worried all of the time. Now I sometimes feel waylaid a little, but I never feel that New York edge, and I am so grateful to see it gone. I'm dressing for the softer me again, literally and metaphorically. It's good. It's an adjustment. It's hard for me, because this is my limitation right now in my life, but I'm happy. Sorting through things, yes, getting myself prepared for another round of fertility treatments, yes--another round of exposing my vulnerable hopes to the harsh air of possible failure--but I'm welcoming it. The different ways I experience myself and my life out here has been both melancholy and sweet. And the different decisions New York pushed me to make have made this time in Idaho so much better, so much easier, so much more whole. New York stretched me hard and fast and put me through the wringer, but it's made Moscow me a better Moscow me, and for that I'm so thankful.

And I guess I want to say for those following along, and for those especially who are maybe on a similar plot line as me, trying to navigate new-old changes and not sure how to label these feelings that swoop in and out when things get upended: I like it. I'm good. I am whole and I am raw and I am experiencing it all. And I'm in it for keeps.

There is no looking back.



Is it warm where you are? It is fully not warm where we are. It is freezing here already. If 70 counts as freezing. (Does it?) My instagram is a veritable autumn leaf salad right now. Summer it is not. Heat up the soup, bake up the biscuits, pass me the slippers. 

I was putting away the last of the summer the other day and telling myself it was a bummer that it was over, but it's not really, it's not too bad at all. I mean, it is a bummer. I'm all for loving the season you're in but summer has started edging out the fall for me on my favorites list. But. The sun still gets warm in the afternoons. THE WAY THIS PLACE SMELLS IN THE FALL IS OUTRAGEOUS, and I'd forgotten the gorgeous pleasure of fifteen minutes outside in a reclining chair bundled up in a sweater while the sun does it's best to warm the inside of your eyelids, and you fall asleep twice without really meaning to while the kid draws hopscotch squares with the sidewalk chalk. It could be worse. I'm not mad atcha.

Anyway. Three of my favorite outfits from the end of summer are below. For posterity! And also  for the affiliate links. winksmile winksmile ;) ;) You never know. 

aaand GO!

sandals: ricardo medina

botines: ricardo medina (guys, worth the investment)

favorite tee ever: the bee + the fox