Friday, May 8, 2015

Remembering . . .

  I pulled Rachael onto my lap and held her close, feeling her wispy brown hairs dance onto my cheek. I looked into those dark, dreamy eyes and we talked about brown eyes.  I slowly rocked back and forth and gave myself over to the emotions.   The crib was coming down in just a few minutes and I wanted to just sit with my growing-up baby and remember.  Remember how all those babies looked, scrunched-up and swaddled, all tiny on the mattress.  Remember the piles of newborn diapers and wipes, the first sitting ups, the baby howls, the smiles that greeted the morning and mama.  Those endless times of rocking and rocking and wishing Jared would just let me lay him down in that crib. The quiet late afternoon golden moments, light streaming through the dormer, holding my babies and reading and reading and reading.  The screws that held together the well-used rungs, the splints tied on, the trip to WalMart for a crib mattress.  Mostly I wanted to remember and feel and let it all wash over me in holy gratitude for the hours that passed like instants.  Grateful for the then, and grateful for the now.  Wishing the now would just pass a little slower and that the thens hadn't gone so fast. Feeling like here was an end, and knowing that a bend in the road was ahead, even being on the bend, but wanting to look back, just a little longer, before I really turned the corner. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Nature Meets Farmboy

Ripping February wind blew across the dry, brown Salt Wells basin.  The grey skies, tinting at times with pink and orange and blue, looked down cold and distant on the dry fields. Mamma cows followed the feeder, first with their big dark eyes when the tractor started, then with their big, bulky, calving-fat bodies, like they hadn't seen food in days.  All of them so hungry, their bodies needing the nourishment for labor or milk.  Their babies hopped and played after them, staying close to those protecting ladies, the source of their warmth, food, and safety.

"I've got to go check on that one," Farmboy motioned with his head towards Echo Mountain where a laboring cow lumbered back and forth, tail cocked and back-end tense.  He thought out loud, next, about how the next bit would play out,  "I need to get the side-by-side and take it back up to the house, get some gates, maybe a horse and trailer, got to get the cow where I can help her. . ."

Just then, as an answer before a pleading prayer, Hyrum came down the fields, siblings in tow, all strapped in the needed side-by-side Gator.  Farmboy hopped in, and hurried to check on the cow.  We watched as he gently prodded her across the fields.  We stayed in the warm truck, playing "I Spy" and "Telephone" and waiting.  We wait often-wait in trucks, tractors, at windows.  These kids, they are champion waiters.

My phone rang, and Farmboy needed gloves.  Off we went in the truck, the kids and I.  Another un-uttered prayer was answered because a bunch of gates lay at the edge of the field and the side-by-side was full of baling twine.  Farmboy fashioned a chute and had that patient, calm, good, sweet mamma pinned in.  He looked up at me, grey eyes determined and pleading.

"Could you please hold the tail?  Here's my gloves."

He stripped off his coats and sweatshirt, wind biting at the thermals underneath.  He rolled up his sleeve as best he could, donned the latex gloves, wishing he had longer vet gloves in the truck and went to work.  He murmured comfort and encouragement and I cried and prayed over that good mamma.

"It's coming, all four feet first . . . no, one foot is back,"  Farmboy drew out his arm, thought for a moment, and went back to work.  "It's twins, and they're trying to come at the same time," he breathed heavily now, trying to maneuver the unseen babies, trying to comfort the anguishing mamma, fighting against nature's honest mistake,  Nature's way would have that mamma give up, dying in her plight.  But nature met Farmboy in Salt Wells that evening. And while man's arm is puny, Farmboy's isn't.  Neither were the prayers we uttered in every pull and breath and contraction.

Finally, two tiny hooves appeared and then a small black head.  The little baby landed in a slimy thud on the cold frozen ground, and Farmboy heaved a sigh, "it's gone."  He pulled the limp calf away from the staggering feet of its mamma and went right back to work.

"It's breathing," I started to say, but that mamma beat me to it.  She started cleaning that little limp baby with all the fervor of instinct and care a new mother has.  She prodded and moved and worked and moaned and bellowed and wailed.  I held her tail, crying and praying, and wondering at it all.  I looked up at the stark mountain and wondered why.  Why work so hard for this?  This dying baby calf, this laboring, languishing mamma, the yet unseen twin. 

Farmboy struggled and pulled and grunted and worked, and soon another set of hooves appeared ahead of a small black and white face. Its tongue lolled out of its head and I thought it was gone, too.  But Mamma had other ideas, and as soon as that baby landed, she went right to work, selflessly cleaning and prodding and licking her babies well.  We stood back, breathless and grateful and amazed.

"Does this count as a date?"  Farmboy's eyes twinkled in Promontory evening light.

"Best date ever,"  I smiled back, wiping a bit of muck off my boot onto the frozen ground.  We hugged and turned to see Jared get out of the truck, reverence and wonder on his face.  He didn't say much, but stood and watched the mamma and babies from a distance.  Eventually he motioned towards the western skies,

"Look at that," he said, nodding towards the brilliant sliver of sunset, almost stifled in the heavy blue night.

"That's neat, isn't it?"  I agreed.

And then I knew why--why all of this.  It's for our benefit and use.  It's given to us, from a loving Father who knows all.  He's given us the good things of the earth, the beasts of the field, fowls of the air, the herb, for taste, smell, food, raiment, strength of body and enlivened mind.  To please our eyes and gladden our hearts.  For us to use, not to excess or extortion, but to use in gratitude.  And to take care of.  Because in all of the caring for and praying for and working for we recognize His grace in a sunset, a new life, a wondering boy. Gifts to us from a loving Father and his Son.

So, then it was time to leave.  Farmboy washed in the icy cold trough, enough so Rachael let him sit by her on the way home.  As we drove through the fields, bumping and thinking and pondering, a clear voice came from the back seat,

"I never want to be a farmer's wife.  That's disgusting."

Well, I'm glad I'm a farmer's wife. . .

Monday, December 8, 2014

'Tis the Season . . .

"It won't be snowy," I said, half thinking and mostly doing.  Doing dishes, laundry, cleaning, organizing, dressing, hair, bathrooms, dishes, weeds, raking, dinner--doing it seemed everything that needs doing in a house.  Doing it all about half way. 
The sun shone in the valley.  Bright, warm Thanksgiving sun.  November sun that shines golden and warm and thankful to be shining.  The last hurrah of the sun before the gray takes over.  The sun that enhances the last of the royal statice in the garden and the remaining emerald strands of grass.
"It will be muddy, but not too cold and not snowy."
I was wrong!  Thankfully, we had boots and coats, a few gloves and hats, and a Magaw a bit more wise than me.  We didn't freeze trudging through the two-foot deep snow.  We didn't loose Pops as he cut a path for us all.  We didn't loose Dad as he happily drug out the choosing.  He drug it out so Magaw and I would KNOW we had good trees.   When we set up those trees full of forest life, a bit scraggly and see-through, not designer at all--when we set those trees up we would remember we looked them all over.
Rachael skimmed across the snow on her still-baby sized feet.  Matthew and Emma sunk and giggled and threw snowballs and giggled.  Jared's boots filled with snow and then water, but he held it together.  Hyrum didn't want it to end too soon--he is his mother's son.  Magaw found the trees.  Dad and Hyrum and Pops cut them down.  We threw snowballs.  The sun shone through the mountain forest, dropping golden drops of shining water off the evergreens.  And we drank in that smell.  Ahhh.

Emma, playing with the newly set out nativities.  The Nativities are played with all the time.  Since Hyrum was a toddler, they are a source of never-ending adventures.  One day we won't have any littles to play with the flying wise-men and hold the little babies and break the brittle Josephs.  Every glued together crack and missing ear will be even more special then.  

Christmas story magic.  

Thursday, November 6, 2014

We really did have summer.  
We basked, gardened, farmed, ranched, vacationed, broke noses, played with cousins, camped with the Young Women, The Boy Scouts, and Good Friends, picnicked, read stories, swam, swam with cousins, reunioned in Ephraim, played at Bear Lake, woke up early, stayed up late, explored the river bottoms, fireworked, said "Hello" happily and "Goodbye" tearily, batted mosquitoes, sprayed weeds, looked at stars, entertained neighbor kids, enjoyed story time, pulled weeds, and tried to hold onto the moments just a little longer.  And Then . . .

First Day of School 2014

UEA Adventure 2014


Rest stop near Morgan

Playing in the Leaves at the School!

Halloween Fun!

Rooster's #11 Birthday!

Kathy's Miracle
We planned and worked for months.  We informed, asked, smiled, copied, organized, spent hours on the phone, disagreed, laughed, cried, pleaded, prayed, and pulled our kids all over the place planning our 5K and fundraiser for Kathy and her family.  

She moved to town just 5 months ago.  We picnicked together, watched kids play together, worshiped together, gardened together, and began forging friendships.  Our time together was limited, though, and she became sick.  Our hearts broke for our new friend, and they continue to break.  So, one warm late summer day, we met at the park determined to do something.  Could we really do anything?  Carissa's brain child was born, and the scheming began.

October 25 dawned bright and autumnal.  The kind of blue that only happens in October.  We gathered, sleepy-eyed and anxious, a culmination of emotions and efforts almost to the breaking point.  Would anyone come?  Did we know how to organize a race, an auction?  Was it going to flop?  What would we do with the thousands of dollars worth of donations from good and generous people and businesses?   What would we say if we heard one more snide comment?  But mostly, what if no one came?

Sondra, her girls, and I marked the race course.  Michael and James measured and remeasured the route.  The Knights had the Taylor's lawn decorated.  Ryan gathered tables.  Kate and Carissa and Kristie and Amber and Cindy and Susie and Sondra and I were working on the fumes of little sleep and anxious hearts.  We blew up the final balloons, wrote the final signs.  The Party Barn was brimming over with donations, and all were ready and at our posts.  I ran home in a brief moment, to frantically get my kids and whoever else's kids ready to bike and run.

I know my brothers will be here, I thought.  I know as many Rees' will come as can-- my heart lifted a little with that thought.  It really is good to have family.  Good for so many reasons.  Caroline and Becky were organizing all the kids at home.  Theirs, mine, the neighborhood!  What kindred spirits to recognize that need.

I ran out the door again, heart pounding.  Janeal was just leaving her home, and I thanked her for coming!  At least we would have someone else!  And then I looked up.

Hundreds of people filled the road.  They'd come.  My eyes filled with tears in gratitude.  I wished Kathy could have seen them.  They came for her, a stranger, but they wanted to somehow help lift her burden.  They were showing her love.  And they came.  

The race started and I will never forget the pictures in my mind.  Some serious runners, but mostly families.  Ally pedaling with all of her 10 year old might, wearing a shirt in honor of her mom.  The ladies from the care center where Kathy was.  Spiderman.  Nikki, taking charge of the registration and making it happen!  Fancy t-shirts, Kaden and Jared, winning the mile.  Hyrum flying by on his bike.  Emma and Jace, wondering how they had biked the 5K instead of just the mile.  Quin, diligently pulling Makaell across the finnish line.  Caroline and Becky and Adrienne, loaded full of kids.  My brothers and their families, getting there late, but racing just the same!  I wished I could have raced with them, ran around the Taylor's turn and cheered and waved.  I wish I would have gotten to the auction sooner, by the time I arrived, it was over.  Everything was purchased, generosity flowed.

One day I may post pictures.  I don't have any for now.  But the day and experience buoyed my soul.  I wish I could take Kathy's pain away.  I wish her cancer would go away.  I wish her Luke had lived.  I wish she would live.  I wish her children and husband didn't have to go through this.  I hope she knows a little of the love we feel for her and her family.  I hope that that love can be a balm for her family.  It is for me.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring is Here!

Spring has Sprung!

The sun came back, and so did the slamming of the screen door.   What a glorious, happy sound.
We eat dinner too late and go to bed far too late!  Sometimes the kids go to school with yesterdays' grass stains still smeared across winter white knees.  The world's green (for now!) and all is bright yellow and green and easter-egg hued.



Tomato Plants

For Sale

Order now to be delivered by Mother's Day.

To order call Hyrum or Jared Rees

Variates include:



Amish Paste *heirloom*

Cherokee Purple *heirloom*

Sunsugar (delicious orange cherry tomato)

$0.25 per plant

*Order soon-limited quantities available

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Four-Year-Old Wisdom
"The Bath is HOT!" Matthew said, running into the kitchen buck naked.  "It is hotter than CHESTER!"  Chester just turned 100 years old and is apparently one hot man.
"It is hotter than a heater!  NO!  IT IS HOTTER THAN CHESTER'S HEATER!"

Monday, January 27, 2014


We like to talk about the "best things" at dinner.  Last night Emma told us a great story.  She and Hap and Princess were out ice-skating on the ditch/pond in the borough pit in front of our house.  A rock jiggled out of place, leaving a puddle of water.  Princess hurried over to the the little puddle and lapped up the water.  Not wanting to miss out, Hap ran over to a smaller rock, pried it up out of the frozen earth, excitedly watched the water pool under it, and then he leaned down and lapped it up.  Emma told it matter-of-factly and without any questioning.  To her this wasn't strange, watching her brother lap up the ice-puddles like a puppy.
Does this reflect absentee parenting?  Did we forget the safe-drinking water lesson?  Have we come this far?  Our oldest son never left the house without his own personal bottle of hand sanitizer.  And now this . . .  Perhaps we are tired.  Perhaps we are lazy.  Perhaps we should sent Hap out the door with his little reminders:
"Did you remember to put your pants on?"
"Are you wearing clothes?"
"Please don't drink in the gutters."
It really is the little things that are most important.