After #Outlander

With Outlander now on hiatus, there are hours to fill. Long, hot, Oklahoma-summery hours. With hours and hours without school to help occupy the children.

So. Much. Time.

Yes, yes, I know there are always 24 hours in a day, but there is something about the heat that makes the days drag. Some days it seems that all I do is make the sweaty commutes to and from work…and try to convince my children that cleaning their rooms is a good way to alleviate boredom. (No, they never, ever believe me—but I try.)

This year, however, I was inspired. Inspired (as in so many things) by reading Outlander. Inspired, also, by the fact that Hubs survived The Widow Maker.

As a result, I wanted this summer to be Something More. I wanted it to be Memorable.

So, I planted more flowers than usual…

Purple Cone Flower
Purple Cone Flower

…and more vegetables.

(Peas, tomatoes, string beans, black beans, jalapenos, leeks, and onions.)

…and more fruit. (I planted a crabapple tree, two apple trees, a raspberry bush, a blueberry bush, two blackberry bushes, and two elderberry bushes. We added a second grape vine (with plans to add two more).

Apples!
Apples!

And I planted plenty of herbs (five varieties of lavender, three varieties of rosemary, curry, two kinds of sage, four kinds of thyme, cilantro, parsley, horehound, ten kinds of mint, dill, three kinds of oregano, three kinds of basil, a couple of stevia plants, tarragon, chives, bergamot, wild ginger, ginseng, chamomile, calendula, lemon verbena, lemon grass…I know I am forgetting something…)

We like mint, don't judge.
We like mint, don’t judge.

And I planted flowers. Lots of flowers.

Borage
Borage
image
Lots of purple flowers.
image
Chamomile and more purple flowers.

And, last weekend…

(insert drumroll here!)…

Cluck!
Cluck!

…we added four chickens to our bramble of a backyard.* Three Buff Orpingtons and one Bar Rock. (I am looking to add a couple of more asap, because apparently there is a thing called “chicken math” where you plan to get three chickens, come home with four, and immediately add two more. Fortunately I am much better at this “chicken math” than “new math.”)

I spent Friday night putting together the coop while Hubs was at work (I might have forgotten to tell him that I was finally going through with all this! Oops! Surprise, honey!).

Coop in the daylight.
Coop in the daylight.

My dad was kind enough to help put together the coop. As daylight gave way to dusk, we kept hammering and piecing things together. It felt good…and productive…so nice for something to make sense again. Before long, we were building by moonlight. I broke the silence to ask my dad if a chicken coop built in the moonlight was somehow lucky. (After the stress and drama of this year, I will take my luck where I can find it.) I could hear the smile in his voice when he answered, “Yes. You’ll be lucky if this coop stays together.”

I laughed like I hadn’t laughed in ages. And it felt good.

It had been a while since I laughed. Laughing felt like tempting fate. I didn’t want to mess with her…she was a bitch! So I had stayed quiet. I had kept my head down. I didn’t want to look too far ahead.

When Hubs was in the hospital, the books were my refuge. I read them, and re-read them. They were my touchstone. They reminded me that True Love was hard and scary…but that it was worth fighting for, worth sacrificing for, and that gave me hope.

I read about the potatoes in Jenny’s root cellar, and I read about Claire’s garden and her wee herbs. I had always loved herbs. As a teen, my room was filled with books about herbs and their uses. I saved money to buy herbs…much like a “normal” teenage girl might buy clothes.

But somewhere along the way, there was not enough time, or space, or money, or…something. Somewhere along the way, I let it slip away from me. Reading the books reminded me of how many things that I loved and let go. And when Hubs had his heart attack, it reminded me that life was too damned short and unpredictable to put things off.

So I bought chickens. Because, I gotta tell you, chickens are friggin’ cute.

We named them all after Scottish clans...one *might* be named Fraser.
We named them all after Scottish clans…one *might* be named Fraser.

Yes, I bought chickens. And I planted herbs, and vegetables, and fruit. I started to study Gaelic, and I researched my genealogy, and I listened to bagpipe music while I watered the plants.

So while Outlander is on hiatus, I will not fret over Droughtlander or obsess about every snippet of series information that ripples across the internet (although I really AM looking forward to seeing Season 2!).

Instead, I will enjoy my summer…the summer that Outlander inspired.

Slàinte
Sláinte mhath.

* Yes, I know that Jamie said that “Chickens make verra poor company.” But he and I do not agree on everything. For example, I am in the “Claire camp” when it comes to neck kisses. Just sayin.’

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14 thoughts on “After #Outlander

  1. It probably depends on how well you are at the moment whether chickens are good company or not. And if they’re inside or out if you remember when William housed some in Lord John’s bedroom after the chicken coop at their plantation was flooded. Sleeping with chicken poop might tend to color your outlook a wee bit 😉

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  2. Absolutely love this one. I love herbs as well, but it’s pretty chilly here (Anchorage) and most of them tend to like it warmer (at least the herbs that I like). Chives do fine and come back year after year as well as some of the thyme. But each year I have to plant a new pot with dill, oregano, cilantro, fennel, along with some lettuces and Arugula. Love saying that word. I have friends with chickens and the egg yolks are so brilliant golden yellow/orange. Afraid our dog would love them too well. Nice to ‘unplug’ from the social media world as well and spend time in the garden. Great idea.

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    • Arugula is a fine word (but whenever I type it, it always looks *wrong*). I imagine it IS hard to grow some things in Alaska, but it is so gorgeous up there that I think it must be a fair trade. Having that much beauty AND a long growing season wouldn’t be fair…all the other states would get jealous.

      (And thank you so much for your kind words.)

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  3. Your clucks are DARLING and the coop turned out great! Verra picturesque! Will imagine you amongst your wee herbs, flowers and feathered friends!! Seems a place filled with life. Will be interested in how much more chicken math comes into play and when your first eggs will arrive!

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    • Thank you so much. It seems like when I sat up at the hospital with a hubs that I walked too close to Death. I’m eager, now, to surround myself with Life. I am relieved that you see it around us. 💗

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  4. What a wonderful post! Very well written by the way. I think one reason everyone is so passionate about these books is that we all have these stories where they have helped us through a tough spot. Their themes are epic, not just their story lines, and our hearts become invested in the ideals they present as they are woven into our own lives and loves. You expressed that very well. So glad your husband is okay and hope he continues to do well. Take care of those chickens and have a wonderful summer!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fantastic post! Very inspiring how you have planned and created this very “rooted” summer in such a positive and productive way. This post was uplifting!

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  6. So, so glad one of your outlets is writing! You were the first blog I really followed and was so glad to have found you. Enjoy your summer – live life well & to the fullest 🙂

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