“Let the world wag.” ~ John D. Rockefeller
Knock Knock. Who’s There?
Me, that’s who. (And another ‘who whoo’ further on.)
Yes, I’m still here, and I promise we haven’t fallen off the grid no matter what the lack of communication might suggest. There’s been no time for holiday cards (again) and even fewer phone calls (still), and practically no drop-in social visits since summer. Friends and family who followed this blog probably did so thinking they’d at least be kept in kid photos and life details. So sorry to have mislead you.
It was six years ago that we sent out the last holiday card and update. Our youngest was still a toddler, we had a freak snowfall in Houston, and the card was adorned with a melting snowman (RIP, Rosco) as well as a nice family portrait by the creek from the weeks before. It’s the same framed one that hangs above our fireplace mantel to this day.
Six years ago. Shame on me.
I know now that juggling two babies and two toddlers at one time was merely priming the pump for the action that was yet to come (which is now). Mom, Dad, Friends — You were all kind enough to warn gently, but clearly we weren’t listening. (We were probably just sleep-deprived).
And, as we are learning, teenagers don’t like to listen either. (Only they are getting plenty of sleep.)
Suddenly knee-deep in the never-a-dull-moment Teen Madness, the wise advice of sticking to 1.5 kids per family finally started to sink in, only it was too late to back out. College is just right around the corner; it’s ‘Go Time.’
Perhaps eye-deep is more appropriate.
I manage to hold on to some sanity in day-to-day living and running a school by going for walks outside, watching the birds, snuggling with the kids in the morning and at the end of the day (they still do this!). It feels good emerging from the over-consumptive meat-centric ‘holidays’ that begins with Halloween and ends with New Year’s. Texas is no place for a Trash-Nazi-Hoarder in the best of times. I soon came to realize that becoming vegan was the redneck equivalent to duct tape: it may be sticky and inconvenient at times, but it really holds everything else — environmental, conservation, education, kindness and compassion — together. My parental tool box would be useless without it, however unredneck living the vegan ethic may be.
As for the 20 years with my best friend in the whole world, I look forward to the day everyone else moves out of the house and I can have him all to myself again. To start this milestone year off right, we went back to our favorite spot — 15 years ago before we had kids — and took them with us. Now, they understand the magic of The Big Bend in West Texas. That post will be coming…provided I have some time.
The decade mark also seems the right time to get some perspective.
First Read of 2016
Okay, so good thing I wasn’t a wife 100 years ago; he might have thrown me out before the Paper Anniversary. But my baby loves this dirt-playin’ kid-lovin’ bird-chasin’ non-conformist, and that just works for me.
Resolutions of 2016? Nothing new, just more of the same — loving, laughing, living.
Mr. and Mrs. Dirt after a hike up to
‘The Window’ in the Chisos Basin
Top Posts of 2015:
- (1/19) We Are All Animals
- (2/27) Vegan Holy Grail! Chocolate Cake, an FAQ
- (3/2) Mish Mash Monday …DIRT! Giveaway
- (4/12) Homemade Dirt Lasagna, Feeding Worms
- (5/11) Human Doing – What My Family Taught Me
- (7/1) It’s The Little (Exoskeleton) Things
- (8/16) Dr. Deb Interview – Keyhole Garden
- (10/27) Roosters Don’t Lay Eggs: The Unseen Cruelty of Yard Hens
Looking Up! Always.
You might already have surmised that it was a great year for birds in 2015. It was! Our second in a row learning about each of the unique species we ‘collect’ means that we have graduated to citizen science. So for 2016, we will count actual numbers of species we see, then log them digitally through Cornell University’s eBird database. Birding is a beloved hobby and a continual learning experience for us, but keeping our eyes out for these lovelies is more about the health of our environment than it is about our own personal pleasure.
That is hard to admit. Birding is pleasure, if you ask me.
We ended last year with 254 species — two shy of the year before — the bulk of which came from within a 20-mile radius of home. Another 50 or so came from road trips, and several cuties were utter and complete surprises all in themselves. Such fun, these little nuggets of feathers.
Every little bird has a story behind it, and every one of those 254 stories makes me smile. We can do better than that, so for this New Year, we are upping the ante to 300 species for 2016.
So look out, Little Birdies, here we come!!
2nd To Last Bird of 2015
Vermillion Flycatcher, Female
(Ain’t she a beauty?)
Can you guess who whoooo dropped in to see me
the first week of 2016?
(Hint: She’s ‘great’ and she’s ‘horned’ too.)
Related Birding Posts of 2015:
- Chasing Feathers: The Best of 2015 Birding (Part 1)
- Backyard Feathers: The Best of 2015 Birding (Part 2)
When’s the last time you visited the blog? Have you even noticed the clean new look? Or that I paid to remove those annoying targeted ads that showed up when traffic suddenly increased? (You’re welcome.) It was well worth the money spent, and a big wonderful thanks to WordPress for not making me want to pull the plug for one more year at least.
But mostly, I want to thank all my fellow bloggers and followers for all the ‘likes,’ thoughtful comments, re-blogs, shares, interaction, and otherwise being a part of my home-away-from-home, with special kudos to top contributers:
Thank you all for joining in on my crazy, dirty life. I appreciate you all! And I look forward to hearing from you throughout 2016.
All Tucked In For A (Short) Winter’s Nap
What posts would you like me to focus on?
Garden? Kids? Nature? Travel/Field Trips?