Monthly Archives: April 2015

April 21

First of all, I feel bound to inform those of you who didn’t realize it that I posted about losing our beloved cow Tulip on April Fool’s Day. She never existed, but I did capture those pictures of cows during my exchange student year in The Netherlands. I also spotted that calf on a bike ride in Friesland and was absolutely smitten. But no cows traveled home with me. No animals were harmed in the making of that post.

The “burial site” is really just some logs, compost and greens in my first attempt at a specific type of garden bed, called a hugelkultuur bed. Hilariously enough, a neighbor’s visiting mom recently asked them with great concern if we buried a dog in our yard. It does look suspicious. That’s why I thought of that post in the first place. I’m hoping it’ll look a lot better once all the food and flowers are covering it. Plus, with time it’ll shrink. Otherwise, we’ll just be “Those neighbors. You know, the ones with the grave.”

Did I fool you? I hope you at least get a chuckle out of it.

In the past few weeks I have been buried under piles of mulch, speech-language pathology textbooks, a strange medical event, making the most of the boys’ spring break week at home, and celebrating my little guy’s fifth birthday. I’m clearing away one pile at a time, but will not be posting here often until late May, after I’m done taking my SLP national exam.

In the meantime, I wanted to share some pictures of our yard and garden. The layers, textures and colors are breathtaking right now. I feel so thankful to live here and to have nurtured this property along to better health. There are plants, bushes and flowers blooming now that weren’t four years ago because the soil was so poor and/or they hadn’t been pruned. This is the first year I feel like we’re really seeing it all come together in health. It’s a daily treat to look outside to the canopy of pillowy blossoms, the soft flowers carpeting our grass, the eye-achingly bright azaleas, the dogwood’s pink flowers, like fall in the spring, and the promise of food to come with our peas, chives, lettuce and berries growing up as fast, strong and colorful as my boys. I am so grateful.

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Remembering Tulip

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Itty-bitty Tulip. Simply the sweetest.

We recently lost our dear Tulip. She’s been with me my entire adulthood, a faithful reminder of my year in The Netherlands and reliable provider of high-quality pastured milk for our family. I brought her home as a calf at the end of my exchange student year in Holland. My parents weren’t pleased that my hideous Rotary blazer covered in pins from around the world wasn’t a sufficient souvenir, but what choice did they have? They certainly weren’t going to pay to fly a calf back across the Atlantic.

She was the cutest Holstein Friesian calf I’d ever seen. Remember City Slickers? Norman had nothing on Tulip, though he was responsible for inspiring my desire to own a calf in the first place. I came across her on a bike ride in Friesland. She was tied up to a tree and I immediately wanted to rescue her from a fate of veal. I made an offer, and come June 1996, she was mine to take home.

Tulip was the reason I learned to make cheese and always had an abundance of aged Gouda in the house. As much as we enjoy eating grass-fed beef, we couldn’t handle consuming Tulip. Instead, she rests among my garden beds and near the boys’ swingset, keeping us company even in death.

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RIP, dear Tulip. We are thankful you were in our lives for so long and that even now we can keep you close.

We hope that the city of Seattle will soon recognize the importance of allowing cattle on home properties, so other families don’t have to hide their precious heifers from their neighbors and friends.

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Tulip enjoying a last moment in Holland, before coming back to the US with me

 

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Tulip’s family and home of origin. I may need to go visit again and pick up another calf.