The light of new life radiates throughout the land. Our eyes have cracked to the dawn of spring and we take our first deep breaths of the year's first season. The grass is growing as quickly as it can, the flowers are blooming for the bees, and the trees are reaching for the sky with new outstretched branches.
All that hid itself away for winter has returned.
Like bears, the boys and I emerge from our den a bit bleary-eyed and hungry. This was a harsh season for us. Chelsea had a complicated pregnancy which ended – completely unexpectedly! – in our fourth son. Wow, we didn’t see that coming. Who could predict such an ending? The three oldest boys were left feeling a bit shell shocked over the arrival of their little brother.
What I did see coming was the need to get back out of the house on a regular basis. It is amazing how four boys can reduce the size of a house by 75%. All of them – still five years old and under – never stop. It is a regular cacophony of sound and smells bound in by four load-bearing walls and a roof. It’s enough to drive a normal person mad.
Of course, a great cure for ‘winter den syndrome’ is to go camping. Sometimes, with such busy schedules, we need not go any further than our farm’s field. Freshly laden with a carpet of new grass and blooming fruit trees, we take a front row seat to spring. With our goats and sheep watching from a distance, we set out on an epic two hundred foot trek to our final destination…the persimmon grove.
Despite being in the great outdoors and wild wild wilderness of the hills of northern San Diego, the boys are still boys. The sound doesn’t stop and the smells…well, there’s just new smells all the time. Fortunately, there is a solution for both. The sound out here isn't bound and amplified by thin walls built in the mid ‘70s. It is released into the night sky to join the cackling and howling of coyotes. The smell tends to linger far longer than the sound. It does indeed float into the night sky, but never seems to really go away.
Fortunately, there is a simple solution for the great outdoor-bound boys. We run a tank of warm water and use soap from our sponsor Mrs. Meyer’s. With the dirt and gime (and questionable fingernail contents) pretty much magnetically attracted to the boys, Mrs. Meyer’s Peony scented soap cleans them off and soothes their skin with aloe vera plus olive oil and uses essential oils to give them a nice spring-like scent that even brings their mother into camp.
What’s more, Mrs. Meyer’s products are designed to go down the drain and are certified by Leaping Bunny as not having been tested on animals. Our sheep and goats approve of that! All this, beautifully packaged and manufactured patriotically right here in the USA without artificial colors, ammonia, parabens or phosphates. And we certainly don't plan on eating it, but it's also sans-gluten for Chelsea's satisfaction.
With that nitty gritty little factor out of the way and taken care of, we can move on with the rest of spring. Dirt, goat grime, dog spit, grass stains, good ol’ fashioned food grease and the like all washed away to nothing more than a memory.
On to howling with the coyotes.