Thursday, April 19, 2012

parties and (un)pleasantries

We're hosting a party here this weekend for my sweet new nephew - a traditional Vietnamese celebration in honor of his first month. So it was high time to get this place in order once again.


As I walked around the property, picking up petrified deer bones long abandoned by the dogs, and tossing dead mice to the back field for the coyotes and crows, it occurred to me how completely normal these things have become. They're just part of the landscape here, and I don't so much as flinch at these sights, the way I may have a few years ago. 


But, we're having people over. Normal people, who might be a little aghast at their children unearthing muskrat carcasses and pig's feet while playing in the sandbox (which is where Aki likes to bury his treasures until they're ripe). I'm sure the children would find this fascinating, but we really don't want to scare off all the adults, now do we? 


The more I live this farming-type life, the more distanced I feel from normalcy in an average-everyday-working-woman sense. While others are doing sophisticated things like meeting co-workers for drinks, I'm in the chicken coop with a flashlight slathering salve on a rooster's butt. And the strange thing is, I really don't find it all that weird. Such are my now common sensibilities.


Well, so much for the pleasantries. When the uninitiated arrive, I'll just hope I didn't miss a spot. Which is why I will distract the guests with these pretty bouquets I made for the party using flowers and herbs from around the farm. This certainly makes up for all the not-so-pretty bits of my unabashedly dirty and borderline offensive life, yes?

30 comments:

  1. We also live on a hobby farm and I am very proud of it. We used to live that fancy normal life before and I would never exchange it for what we have now.

    We have those *Normal* people coming in and out of our house all the time and they seem to have a lot of fun. They come to see the lambs, sing around a bondfire, work in the yard with us or even help to clean the sheds...

    I think some of them would love to live the way we do but they are stuck in the wheel of modernism.

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  2. Sorry, I post the last comment under my son's Google account(James)...
    It's me, Nancy at La joie d'apprendre.

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    1. Hi Nancy :) Yes, so true what you say. Thanks very much for your comment!

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  3. We are way to obsessed with clean and orderly, aren't we? (This is coming from a huge germaphobe). I have the same thought about my four kids. I have people coming over tomorrow night for a get-together, and have been scrubbing away, all the while thinking, "Do I really need to do all this?"

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    1. No, my dear, you can put down your scrubber and distract them with pretty things instead ;-)

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  4. I believe we can call it our own "normal" and one I much prefer. I spent the morning picking up mouse bits off the living room carpet. And didn't blink and eyelash. Lovely little flower arrangements - they more than make up for the occasional muskrat carcass!

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  5. Lovely to read that you are becoming so 'out-of-normal'. Could it be because of the place you live in? We are living in a medium-sized city, in a 10-storey apartment and we find it hard to 'un-normalice'..

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    1. Actually, I think it's mostly a state of mind. But, I do feel it's easier to live the way you want when you're not surrounded by other distractions or influences.

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  6. I think that those beautiful flowers and gorgeous bub shall be a big enough distraction!!! We all have such different perceptions of normal don't we? makes for interesting lives though...don't try and hide too much!

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    1. Thanks, Jode. Don't worry, couldn't hide it if I tried ;)

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  7. What an excellent post. Very insightful Jaime. And so true. Love the little bouquets. :)

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  8. Your bouquets are lovely...flowers can hide EVERYTHING. :) Thanks for sharing.

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  9. I think "normal" is relative! I think it's normal to watch the weather closely daily, some people are totally oblivious....

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  10. Great post! My "normal" in no way resembles my "normal" of 10 years ago and I wouldn't go back for anything! To me, THIS is real life not what the media is telling everyone their lives should be like! Your little bouquets will have everyone so distracted that they will never even notice the spare "parts" buried in the sandbox! ;-)

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  11. There are many shades of "normal" and yours doesn't sound unpleasant at all. :)
    ~S.

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  12. I love that your normal includes tossing dead mice to the far reaches of your property! That's awesome! I still tell people about the time I found a tiny live mouse in our recycling bin 10 years ago. Country girl and town girl!

    Your photos are beautiful and soul-calming. Thank you, Jaime. Just looking at them, I feel like I have had two sips of chardonnay. And it's more appropriate to look at soothing pictures than drink wine at 9:17 am, right? So, thank you for sharing.

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  13. Jaime, your life and land are truly normal...it's just that our society has buried all the "muskrat carcasses" under the rug, as well as the beautiful simplicity of life. Normal, good life has been traded for an unnaturally sterilized and complicated existence. There is a simple beauty in the real cycle of life and death, and the acceptance of that.

    Your photos are lovely!

    Mia

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    1. That was so beautifully said, Mia. Thank you!

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  14. I love your writing. Your normal sounds totally charming, although I must confess that being a city girl, I might not recognise a pig's foot or deer bones if I saw one. Unless the pig's foot resembles the pig's trotters that we have on occasion for dinner. The dead mice though, I would recognise, because we have them too!
    I'm sure your guests had a lovely party!

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  15. Thank you all for your thoughtful and gracious comments. I'm loving the country mouse/city mouse analogies :)

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  16. OK, I actually snorted tea out my nose at the image of slathering salve on the rooster's butt. Too funny. But, the "ladies who lunch" or the "yummy mummies" I call them are perhaps a little LESS real than what you have. When I think of being tied to a smartphone, having to keep up with city workplace fashions (I don't even OWN such things) and the lunch scene, I shudder. Give me a really good organic coffee out on my front deck any day, even if I am still wearing my pj bottoms and haven't had a good haircut in, ahem, a WHILE.

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  17. We have found ourselves somewhere in between the city life and the farm life you have mentioned here. Yes, we live right in the middle of a city and we drive to work everyday and meet friends for drinks from time to time...and we shovel chicken shit, toss dead mice and sow as many seeds as will fit in our tiny space. I find that the more I experience the farm life, the more I long for more of it. I could easily do away with the "normal" city/drive to work/go out for drinks life in exchange for more shoveling of shit ;-)

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    1. Ah, so true! You have created a fabulous farm in the city, though :)

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  18. How wonderful to keep tradition by celebrating the first month of life! I do know what you are talking about when expecting company. Country living is different. And I embrace the difference, just like you do.

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  19. I love country life--there is such a purpose in our outdoor chores and our tractors make pretty yard art in the warmer months:)

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  20. It's awesome that you are so comfortable in your own skin. We all have our own path, don't we? I feel similarly about raising four young kids.

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  21. Oooooh! This made me laugh so hard! I wanted to read this post the other day but the internet was being lousy. It figures that I'd finally get to read it after writing one relatively simple.

    You're the kind of friend I want to be able to just call up and talk about gross stuff like salving butts and sticking my hand up a sheep's who-ha. Most of my friends would be disgusted if I delved into that. Sometimes I do it for shock factor... and just to test the waters of the their normality, but really they don't wanna hear it.

    Yesterday I got an email from Jamie's mom saying she was going to spend $1,300 on a portapotty trailer thing for our wedding and I flipped! I was honored that she'd consider spending so much for us, but we're getting married on. a. farm. I'm not trying to put on a show and spend that kind of money on a glorified outhouse! It's just funny how disconnected people can be sometimes...

    I'm planning on using the flower thing to my advantage too. Your bouquets are really beautiful. :)

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