Happy 70th Birthday, Uncle Tom!
I saved a few pictures from our day touring the operation for a birthday post. My Uncle Tom was only 21 when I was born, my Dad is 6 years older. He was just a kid. He inspired my travels and sense of adventure at a very young age (not my politics though, sorry Tom). He would come home from hunting in the Rockies with a beard, a case of Coors (because you couldn’t get it in South Dakota—he wasn’t even a beer drinker, but it was novel) and beef jerky (one of my favorite products) and all of this seemed exotic to me. I would make him show me the slides from his year at The University of the Seven Seas (a few slides he would breeze through quickly so my Grandmother wouldn’t ask too many questions). It was a shared joke between us.
When I listened to Uncle Tom tell me why he loves raising cattle and researching how to make systems more efficient on the farm I felt uniquely connected to him as an adult. He’s so proud of the team teaching him these new skills too and that was a reminder to me to thank the folks who have sparked my own growth and new interests. The Ponca Creek Cattle Company is clearly a place in the world where Uncle Tom’s contentment and gratitude is so evident.
As we climbed up into the deer stand to see the view below at sunset, Tom described what a Saturday up there felt like to him. He told me that it’s one of his favorite places in the whole world (and he’s seen a lot of it). He described watching all of the animals and how the valley changes when you’re up there for a while…the light and the way the wildlife moves down the creek. So, on Uncle Tom’s 70th birthday I wanted to thank him for the life lessons he’s taught me.
I also wanted to let folks know that to his great nieces and nephews he’s always joked about being called, “Uncle Tom, The Great“. Even though it’s his birthday, I can’t let him get too big of a head, but he is indeed pretty great.
I wasn’t up for too much time in the heat today (close to 90 degrees on Cape Cod today). I did however want to straighten up our little shed and create a space where I could do some sewing this summer. I’m working on a fashion show (STRUT, part of the South End Art Hop, Burlington, Vermont September 11th-12th) and I wanted some of my inspirations to be visible. I wanted the space to feel like the dressing room of a silent film star…elegant, a fainting couch, a chandelier perhaps, velvet and silk and very sensual. However, it’s challenging with the fridge, boogie boards, beach chairs and tools. I did the best I could today. I’m satisfied with the improvement and out of the heat now.
The clipping is from Paul Theroux, a travel writer who lives in Cape Cod. He’s speaking in Provincetown, Mass this Thursday evening. I don’t think I’ll pull off getting to see him, but I really liked his answer to:
What one thing does every educated person need to know?
“That mankind is an invasive species on a fragile planet.” Indeed.
Sunset on the deck.
I made an easy pizza dough with beer (I used a can of Miller Lite). Quick rise yeast. One half a can of beer. Sugar to activate yeast. Two cups of flour and a pinch of salt. I let it raise for a few hours and once again before I put it in the oven. It was the best, crispiest dough I’ve ever made.
It was a rather ordinary autumn day in Burlington, Vermont but the light and weather shifts were really wild. It rained until mid-afternoon and when it cleared it was warm and still. As the day progressed the light became startlingly beautiful. Our whole backyard glowed and it had an eerie quality. The colors were uniquely intense and the sunset had people standing outside or heading down to the lake to watch the drama unfold. I am so grateful that my mother taught me to see beauty in so many ways…both ordinary and extraordinary.