All in a day’s work

Although I have worked off and on at random things over my time on Earth, a stint as a publishing exec, a tour of duty as a project manager, even a career as a contract painter, I’ve been a stay at home mom for the vast majority of the passed 21 years. Both my husband and I are of the belief that if you’re going to have children, you should attempt to raise them yourself, rather than leave the job in the hands of a daycare centre. I realize this is not always the case for most families; they either can’t afford to survive on one income or both parents are career oriented or what have you. The logistics of such arguments aside, we agreed that I would stay home for my children and keep house. I’m sure many self-professed *feminists* out there are going to have a shit-fit reading my homesteader attitude, but know that I’ve had that confrontation on more occasions than I can count, and I’ve always won the debate.

Fortunately for our cause, the finances are such that there is no inherent need for me to work. There’ve been rough patches over the years ( let’s face it, raising four children is damned expensive) but for the most part, we pulled it off and made it through. The jobs that I have had were purely out of boredom during those times in my life when I wanted something else to talk about other than potty training and parent/teacher interviews.

At this point I am what my husband and I laughingly refer to as “semi-retired”. Two of my children have grown and left home, only two remain, both of them heading into their teenage years. All in all, I have enjoyed my life and look forward to its future. Parenting has been fun for me, always challenging and having a homesteader attitude has benefited me greatly in all of my endeavours. Today, for several reasons, I’m going to post a photo journal of my day, lest you, dear reader are like my in-laws and believe my time is filled with soap operas and bon-bons. I also, for myself and posterity’s sake, wish to journal my accomplishments today, in the possibility that someone may use what I post to their advantage.

I grant you fair warning, this post is long, this post is involved and it has the potential for being mundane for those whole-heartedly against a woman with a homesteader attitude. For RSS subscribers, I’ve cut down an excerpt, to save your load time, incase you’re not inclined to read on.

First up was the fun stuff. Bathroom duty. No pictures, HA! Sorry, but the pics of my bathroom are for a future (hopefully near future) post of my completed renos.
I love cleaning the bathroom almost as much as I love doing laundry. I’m not kidding. Even though my bathroom is currently under construction, there’s a certain sense of satisfaction with cleaning it. When I walk in the door, it’s a little grimy, got a bit of a smell, needs a bit of organization, but when I walk out everything sparkles, smells great and sits in perfect order until tomorrow, when I get to do it all over again.

Of course, as always, there was laundry to be done. I’m not the sort to have a “laundry day”, although it seems I do the most on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  Although there are times when I spend my entire day doing laundry (sheets, beddings, curtains, slipcovers etc. ) I don’t like the idea of laundry building up in such a way that I would need to devote an entire day to it. Like I’ve said more than once, I love to do laundry. The weather was such that I could hang the loads out on the line without my fingertips freezing from the cold. The best part about hanging laundry outside is the smell, cliché I know, but it’s the truth.

Doing laundry takes time, and since my “To-Do” list was fairly long today, I needed to multi-task. Being that my laundry room is through a door in my kitchen, the obvious way to fill the time  waiting for the washing machine to run its course was to bake.

I bake from scratch, as another thing I believe in is not eating processed foods. Most everything my family ingests is homemade, unless it can’t be helped. I don’t buy packages of french fries, I slice  homegrown potatoes. If I could mill my own wheat, I’d make my own flour. That’s not to say we don’t ever eat packaged foods, there are the rare moments when I’m lazy and make everyone fend for themselves and who doesn’t love a box of KD?

While waiting for the washer I started with some Haystacks, such a simple recipe, super quick to make, no baking required.  That led to some brownies, since the cocoa was out. Ooeygooey goodness right there, I don’t care who you are. A quick swap out of the washing machine, wet clothes into basket, a new load in, and it was on to oatmeal cookies. I have an ingenious little invention, a mini ice-cream scoop, which makes perfect sized, uniform  cookies every time. Baking six dozen took up enough time for another washer swap out. After getting the third load in, enough to fill my clothesline, I finished my baking with two dozen golden bran muffins. After sorting them out into various containers for the freezer, I now have enough snacks for  next week’s lunches, with a few leftovers for afterschool munchies.

Before hanging the clothes on the line, I made a pit-stop at the chicken coop. I swear Harry thinks she’s a rooster, because she was crowing to beat the band. I could hear her in the house squawking to be let out, she is just so damn loud! That’s her, on the right. She’s the boss of the coop these days. The boss used to be Tessie, the white one, but since the fox incident, she’s a little lame and has lost some respect amongst her peers. Chickens are carnivorous and cannibalistic and like many animals living in packs, the weakest link is lunch. We’re quite surprised she’s still alive. I realize now I never did post that update on the massacre. Let’s just say, I found Tessie under the deck and her tail feathers aren’t as fluffy as they used to be. We nursed her back to health, but she’ll never be the same. I got a little sidetracked at this point, because the chickens can get friendly and need a bit of attention. Once they were all down from their roost and ushered out the door I made a mental note to refresh the water in their pen. When the ducks were still here, the water needed to be refreshed twice, sometimes three times, during the day. Now that there is only the four of them, the bottle lasts a couple of days (the ducks used to “swim” in the trough)  I noticed it needed to be washed and refilled, but that could wait until I had the hose out.

The beauty of the day made for the perfect opportunity to do some gardening. After hanging all three loads of laundry on the line I gathered up my tools and prepared to play in the dirt. Today’s garden overhaul took place around the giant Sugar Maple. This is a big ‘ole tree, who unfortunately won’t be with us much longer. His trunks are starting to split, I can’t imagine he was taken care of over the years. He’ll probably come down in the fall, after all the leaves have fallen and I’ll surely be sad to see him go. I don’t plan to have him taken down to a stump, I have an idea to pursue which would require leaving about ten feet of trunk in the ground, but for that, you’ll have to wait. The garden surrounding the base of the tree is where we grow potatoes. At least, this year.

This garden gets three layers in the spring, a fluffed up layer of leaf mulch, a layer of peat/manure mix and then a layer of cedar mulch on top.  This may be my final year using my beloved sphagnum peat as after further research into my favorite gardening medium, I’ve learned that it’s really not so environmentally friendly. Although it’s a fabulous resource, it’s not “renewable”, at least not in my lifetime. I’ve discovered that sphagnum takes upwards of 220 years to renew. This is not cool. If I can find an appropriate outlet, I think I’ll try coconut hair in the future. I was going to post the whole process of preparing this garden, but, the post is going to be long enough as it is. After laying the mixes, I rearranged some of the plants as some needed to be divided, there’s not much in here, a few hostas, some daylillies and a bit of English primrose. And plenty of room for potatoes! Since I had the hose out soaking the peat, it was fine time to refill the chicken’s water bottle.

Today’s do it yourself project was poly row covers for the kitchen garden at the side of the house. This is a test garden of sorts, it used to be called the “garbage garden” because I stuck things in it that didn’t have a rightful home. It’s also the garden friends and family were welcome to raid at any time. It mostly contained the leftovers of divided plants and things I had dug up, but didn’t have the heart to dispose of.

Last week I told you about buying a new tiller and this is the garden we tilled. Only about half of it. I’m going to attempt Square Foot gardening in this space to see how it works out. Next year, I plan to try Straw Bale gardening. I’m already tired of the Square Foot method, and I’ve only just begun. It’s become obvious that Square Foot gardening is really designed for people with small vegetable patches, not people like me who is trying to do it in a 15×30 foot garden. There’s just too much space to fill (ironic, I know) with odd planting times and this and that scattered about. Life is easier just planting all the tomatoes together, all the lettuce in one row, all the onions in another. Anyway, today I made row covers, mini ones, since normal sized ones just wouldn’t cut it in a Square Foot garden because of the method of laying out plants. Instead of posting pics of the row covers, I’m going to create a page with step by step instructions and all the photos. Not sure if I’ll get it done today, but soon.

I also started a new compost box in the kitchen garden, forgot to take a picture of it though. I find that with so many gardens, it’s useful to have compost piles all over, this way, I don’t have to use the wheelbarrow as much. And, as I’ve said, I get lazy now and then.

I only suffered 3 major mishaps during my day. The worst of which inspired my next endeavour. Setting up a grow station in the cabin and moving ALL of the seedlings. Normally, I set the seeds on shelves with flourescent lamps in the laundry room. This leaves me easy access to check on them whenever I feel, without having to go out the door. Today, changed all that. While pulling a load of clean clothes out of the washer I hit a tray of potted plants, toppling the whole fucking thing into the washer. Not only were the plants un-salvagable, but I had a washer full of dirt and needed to re-wash the load after cleaning the tub of the machine out. Hence, the seeds are OUTTA here. Thankfully, Paul came home early from work, and set about stringing the lamps for me. I’ll post pics of the new setup when I get out there to re-start the seeds.

The end of the day came at around 4:10pm, when the first of my clusters hit. It was a bit late, and that honestly left me with the hope that I would make it through the whole day without one. Not so lucky. The timing really sucked too, as the kid’s bus was coming down the road and I would need to be copacetic to absorb the day’s recaps. Thankfully, they were patient and waited until it was time to make dinner before unleashing an onslaught on me.

The biggest news of the day was catching Mr. Fox. There was a lot of conversation the week surrounding the attack on the chicken coop regarding what to do about the fox. Some wanted us to shoot it, most did actually, but we opted for a live trap. We decided that if he indeed was male, we would just relocate him in the hopes that he’d refrain from invading our coop again. If it was female, well, the intent was just to let it go and hope for the best, on the off-chance that she had pups to tend to. We had a local trapper set a live trap behind the coop and today we caught him. Paul loaded him into the truck and headed over to the trapper’s place to drop him off. He absolutely stunk to the high heavens. Lin had used skunk bait to attract him and that made for a smelly meal. Strange that we didn’t smell it before he ate it!

On that note, it’s time for the day to come to an end. If you’ve stuck it out this far, I commend your patience!

I desperately need a hot bath, a hot tea and a cuddly on the couch with the kids.

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25 Comments

  1. April 21, 2010 at 1:16 am

    What a lovely, inviting peek into the window of your life! It’s like a psychologically sophisticated version of The Waltons. I’m looking forward to a life more like that ASAP.

    • April 21, 2010 at 7:52 pm

      It’s like a psychologically sophisticated version of The Waltons

      That’s awesome! My life has been described as a lot of things, by a lot of people, but this is the best ever. Any updates on houses? She’ll be here in two weeks! (as I’m sure you know :P)

  2. willowbatel said,

    April 21, 2010 at 2:24 am

    I’d really like to get a clothes line. They’re really eco friendly, and they look nice. Maybe I’m just old fashioned like that though.
    Wholly cow, you must pay a fortune in groceries every week. How can you afford all of the supplies for all that baking? They certainly look worth the expense though. Very rude of you to post such pictures and not be able to send some my way. Lol.
    For being so “lazy” you sure do put a lot of effort into things. I’d just stick it all in the ground and call it good. Here you are taking measurements and making soil mixes. Too much work. I’m tired just thinking about it all. And the fact that it’s 11:20 has nothing to do with it. lol.
    I’d thoroughly enjoy having a pet fox. They’re really smart and very strong so if there was ever an intruder in the house, they’d kick ass. A pet fox and a pet wolf, those are the next canines I would like.
    I’m so glad we got such a good look at your life today. This big of a post has certainly been a long time coming. Very good read.

    • April 21, 2010 at 7:36 pm

      Hahaha…actually, I have such a well stocked pantry that I don’t have to buy much for baking on grocery day. I usually just need to fill up on one thing a week, flour this week, chocolate chips next week, etc. One of the perks of having done this for twenty years! It’s cheaper for me to make a tray of brownies then it is to buy a box of twinkies. I don’t usually mind all the work and I enjoy the science of experimenting with different things….plants, soils etc. And remember, the veggies are how I’m feeding my family these days, I have to make sure they’re the best I can get them for canning, freezing and such. And besides, I don’t work….lol….as my mother in law says, I’ve “got all the time in the world”. I’m glad you enjoyed the post…and you should get yourself a clothes line (you probably have room for one of those laundry umbrella type things, they work pretty good)

      • willowbatel said,

        April 22, 2010 at 2:31 am

        I’d really enjoy being a housewife. Honestly. Staying at home everyday to work in the yard and bake cookies and hang the laundry up to dry. It sounds like so much fun. I know I enjoy doing yard work and baking when I find the time. I don’t actually mind doing the laundry either. Dishes though, those I hate. I can’t stand washing dishes. Don’t know why, just can’t stand ‘em. My sister washes the dishes everyday, and I do all the yard work (including scooping the dog poop) that’s how much I don’t like it.
        I want to be able to do that too. To be able to remove myself from the “food grid”. Somehow producing one’s own food provides a much higher level of satisfaction.
        We actually had a clothes line but someone removed the pole. My neighbors have an umbrella type thing and I’d like to get one too. I have no idea how much it would cost though, and that’s the main issue with a lot of the projects I have. If my mom would just let me get a beehive… did you know that bee pollen is selling for $15 a pound right now?

        • April 22, 2010 at 2:54 pm

          We both know you’d make a fabulous housewife, Willow, and when it comes to dishes, you do what I did, raise a buncha kids to do it for you. And get a dishwasher when they start complaining too much….lol I can totally envision you living the life I’m currently living. The resources and talents that you have now, nevermind the passions, are going to put you on a farm someday, raising prize winning bees earning you a vast fortune in honey. (you take care of the honey, I’ll deal with the bee’s wax, and we’ll knock Burt’s Bees out of the market) Is the pollen (are we talking wax?) so expensive because of the lack of bees these days? I can absolutely see it. I bet the breeding of bees is big business right now, somewhere in the world too. You and I are thousands of miles apart at the moment, and we’re both suffering from a lack of bees in the garden. It’ll be interesting to see the impact it has on the harvest this year.

          • willowbatel said,

            April 23, 2010 at 1:49 am

            Lol, I just need to find a husband who’s as insane as I am. And he also needs to make a crap load of money. hahaha, I’ll remember that dish washing philosophy. I’d honestly love to be doing what you’re doing. Not even 20 or 30 years from now, but today. I might change the setting a little, but I’d like the plot of the story to be very much the same.
            I would love to stay home all day to work on prize winning honey bees. I’m just not allowed. Instead I have to go to college. It’s rather annoying to be quite honest. I’d much rather just go work in a top notch nursery for a few years, and then job shadow a bee keeper for a season. I’m pretty sure I’d learn everything I need to know.
            Native honey goes for about $10 a pound (8-10 ounces of honey) plus you can take the wax and make candles and also use the bee’s natural anti-bacterial stuff to make medicine. That stuff is very expensive. I don’t know exactly how much it’s going for, but I know a lot of doctors like it. If we teamed up, we’d make tons of money lol. Do you have room for one more at your house? If not I could just stay in the chicken coop. They’re pretty snuggly right?
            I have almost NO bee’s flying around. We barely even have humming birds. I only just saw one today. Most of the pollination in my yard is done (I’m guessing) by the flies. With all of the dog poop we have (the little dogs poop about twice a day each) our yard is full of flies. I’d say we have at least 150 buzzing around at all times. It’s weird though because I’ve never actually seen them lay any eggs or found any larvae.

            • April 24, 2010 at 8:50 am

              Again, I’ll be the annoying mom and tell you to GO TO COLLEGE. Take things related to your interests and you might have some experiences that you wouldn’t have otherwise. And hey, you might just meet the perfect man in one of your classes! Think of the possibilities of specializing in horticulture! That’s a powerful line of work, especially in this day and age and it’s right up your alley. And when my knees hurt too bad to bend down, you can come and bee (heh!) my gardener!

              • willowbatel said,

                April 25, 2010 at 3:19 am

                I don’t think I’d have a problem going if it weren’t for the fact that it’s suddenly become a requirement. That and I missed the date to sign up so I don’t want to go in and ask. I’d rather just wait to sign up next year and take all of my classes at the college. Then I could focus all of my time and energy on college and a job. Of course, I won’t be able to get bee’s until I’m in my 20’s if I do that, but… yea. I think my mom just doesn’t want me to get bees because she thinks I’ll never leave. I’ve told her I won’t be leaving until I’m out of college anyway, so I’ll probably be here until I’m 24. Now that I realize that that’s 8 years away, I’m suddenly scared. Lol.
                Hahaha, my mom was considering putting me up on Craig’s list today. The caption underneath my photo would read “will do garden work and landscaping”. She never mentioned what my price would be though. Would you like me to find out? Lol.

  3. webmistress said,

    April 21, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Damn girl your a busy busy beaver, you have your work cut out for you dont you? Always take time to unwhine and relax…like the say all work and no play makes a dull girl. You almost seem like a robot mommy…you do this, that and the other, then you do that, this and the other and then you do the other, that and this *whew* i`m tired for you. I have’nt been in a chicken coupe since I was a kid this brings back memories. Oh and ouch to pour Tessie thats great Mr Fox was caught he’s lucky nobody attacked his ass!

    • April 21, 2010 at 7:28 pm

      Words of good advice WebMiss! I do take plenty of time for myself, I’ve got a ton of hobbies and I always try to remember to have an *experience*. I think that’s why I’ve managed to keep it together all these years, I have always made a point of having a good time. There is the odd time when I do feel like a “robot mommy”, who wouldn’t, right? That’s a lot of school lunches over the years…lol. I guess it helps that I enjoy what I do, for the most part. And when I don’t, I find an adventure to go on so I don’t feel like a mom for a while. Just last year, I left’em all behind…hubby, all four kids, cat, dog, chickens and traipsed off to Florida for ten days with a girlfriend to drink margaritas by the pitcherful and wander amongst the alligators! 😀 And there’s times when I do NOTHING at all (remember the day last month when I sat around and surfed the internet alllllll day and accomplished nothing?…LOL) (Hey WebMiss, do you have a personal blog, or are you just writing for Swaggtalk?) If you do, can I have the link?

      • webmistress said,

        April 22, 2010 at 2:57 am

        You do it all in stride it looks like, your an extremely active person which is good, at least nobody could every say your lazy because you clearly are not. As for blogs I consider swaggtalk100 to be my b log lol although its me, him and our design who manage it, but i`m starting to focus on more personal matters soon not just “swaggtalk” related ones, you can come by ours to see me anytime you want though…i’ll surely be back here because your full of silliness, realness and just a “I dont give a damn” type of person. Thanks for letting us into your world.

  4. Sarah Baram said,

    April 21, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Where do you ever find time to blog to all of us?! You do so much! I would personally love more gardening pictures!
    And, I can’t agree more with you on homemade meals. I cook for my family twice a week, trying out all sorts of fresh recipes. I also cook with the children I nanny for and try to teach them the importance of healthy, freshly prepared food.
    Again though, what a great post and I would love, love, LOVE more!

    • Sarah Baram said,

      April 21, 2010 at 9:38 pm

      Oh! Just thought of this, and feel free to call me predictable but your post immedietly made me think of a great book. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barabara Kingsolver. It’s more written by her whole family as they go on a quest to eat fresh for a year. I feel like you would love it!

      • April 21, 2010 at 10:20 pm

        I’ve read excerpts of the book but had forgotten about it until now! Thank you, I think I’ll put that on my wish list for next month’s book purchases!

    • April 21, 2010 at 10:17 pm

      I blog between projects mostly…lol. When I sit down to eat breakfast, I go online, when I sit down to lunch, I go online etc. Like now, I’m having my tea before bed, and I’m online. I don’t watch much tv and I have this compulsion to always be killing two birds with one stone, so whenever I have a moment to fit in computer time, I do. Sometimes it takes me an entire day to actually get a post written! This post took me about 4 hours and 8 saved drafts to write, I did it in between cooking dinner, bringing in the laundry and pauses in the conversations with my kids. Does it really sound so hectic? I have never really thought about it, but after reading everyone’s comments, I’m getting the impression that my life looks pretty chaotic…lol. I knew I kept “busy” during the day, but does it really sound like Mighty Mouse on Redbull?
      Teaching kids to cook when they’re little is the most important step in raising healthy eaters, they learn the satisfaction of sustaining themselves and then tend to stick with it as they grow up.
      The growing season is just beginning up here in the Great White North, so I’m sure you’ll be getting more gardening pics than you can handle over the next few months!

  5. April 22, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    Oh, I really liked this post! Aren’t you good with all your baking? I wish I had the patience to bake more often.
    And well done for catching Mr.Fox, that sly devil…

    I would gladly trade my corporate job to come and live with you! (hint hint)

  6. webmistress said,

    April 23, 2010 at 1:14 am

    Old fashion values, in the modern world thats just great, it takes a real woman to take on all the daily events and chores…cooking, cleaning, gardening, shopping, schooling…etc. Its not for everybody, but alot of us ladies can handle it.not because we can, but because we love it too!

    domestic is the way to be – all you ladies need to pat yourselves on the back

    • April 24, 2010 at 8:43 am

      Sometimes my “old fashioned values” get me in the most heated arguments. I’ve been told I’m not setting a good example for my girls, I’m setting the “movement” back a hundred years, blah, blah, blah. But really, I’m an overly independent woman, with a big mouth and a whole lot of attitude, who can work a table saw AND an oven timer….hehehe. Thanks for your vote of confidence WebMiss!

      • webmistress said,

        April 25, 2010 at 12:36 pm

        Anytime SBC!

        a womans work is never done and the fellas expect us to always do things their way, they have to understand we have ours ways and they have theirs. Your not setting nothing back the way your doing is showing your kids how to be strong and stand on their own two feet.

        Overly independent is better than being over dependent on others, your grooming them to be able to deal with what life hands you. A woman of many talents and skills is a REAL woman.

        give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done

  7. Lisa said,

    April 24, 2010 at 2:28 am

    I’m so glad you didn’t kill Mr. Fox. He is so beautiful and he can’t help that poor Tessie tastes like chicken (glad you caught him before he tried to eat her again).

    Personally, I think the whole point of feminism is you get the choice to choose what you want to do, whether it’s staying at home or becoming an oil rigger….and either way it amounts to hard work.

    • April 24, 2010 at 7:15 am

      Hi there Lisa! I agree with you completely on ALL points. Even though our neighbors and friends and such wanted us to shoot him, we felt the same way you do, it wasn’t his fault, and we really couldn’t blame him for what comes naturally.
      To me, that’s exactly what feminism is, having the choice. And not so much being equals, but also embracing the differences. Thanks for reading!

  8. timethief said,

    April 24, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Here’s my true confession. We are also homesteader types. I suppose you could say we were part of the late 1970’s back to the land movement and that why your days aren’t unfamiliar to me. (Sadly, we also share “clusters” too. )

    Setting that aside we agree that feminism is about choices. I could care less what women in double income relationships dropping their kids off a daycare centers, working in offices to keep up with the Joneses and living on plastic, think about those who choose to remain in the home parenting their kids. Like my mother and grandmother and great grandmother, etc. before me I have always been cheeky, independent and opinionated, and that’s never going to change.

    My husband and I strongly believe that if either a husband or wife can’t or won’t be in the home parenting their offspring they ought to consider remaining childfree. (Notice I did not say childless). It takes zero talent to produce a child – even slime molds and bacteria reproduce. But it takes great skill, commitment and a whole lot of love to parent children well. roperly.

    We chose to be childfree and yet raised 5 that weren’t our own but needed parenting. All told if you count younger siblings and cousins (we both came from large families) then you could jack that number up to 9 kids. And, we did a great job of parenting and tutoring too.

    So I say good on you and your husband. Damn I wish you lived on the coast because I would love to have you two close enough to me to visit.

    • April 25, 2010 at 8:37 pm

      Like my mother and grandmother and great grandmother, etc. before me I have always been cheeky, independent and opinionated, and that’s never going to change.

      There’s a long standing joke in my family, that if you want to know what my mother and grandmother were like at 40, you just look at me, to see what my mother, grandmother and myself were like at 20 or 13, just look at my daughters. And of course, my daughters and I all know what we’re going to be like when we’re older by looking at my mother and grandmother. Although my mother is not quite as domestic as myself or my grandmother, she’s a fabulous woman in her own right. My greatgrandmother was a single parent of 14 kids in the late 1800’s AND the owner of one of southern Ontario’s greatest construction companies at the time. Fire and independence is just in my blood, it seems. The ironic thing is sometimes my oldest daughter has the most issues with my being a stay at home mom. It’s not really that she’s against it, it’s just hard for her to wrap her head around the juxtaposition between me telling her that women need not be a slave to anyone and me doing her laundry…lol. She’ll figure it out eventually, I’m sure. She’s in her own place now, and recognizes the need for balancing a comfortable home and one’s independence.

      You’re very right about the difference between giving birth and parenting. Biology doesn’t necessarily play the biggest role. It’s very important to me that my children respect me because I’m worthy of their respect, not just because I gave birth to them. Skill, commitment and love are definitely the keys, whether you’re raising your own children, or someone else’s.

      I will keep the offer to visit tucked into my back pocket, should we ever decide to head in your direction, I imagine conversations on a porch lasting well into the night.


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