Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Dead, the Living, and the Breeding Heart...Sounds a Little Like a Zombie Movie. But it's not.

So I have this thing for cemeteries.

I love cemeteries. Not the sterile, modern cemeteries where all the markers match....I like the ones where every tombstone is different from the next. I REALLY like the old cemeteries where I can wander around looking at the names and dates and imagine what was going on in the world during that person's lifetime.

Cemeteries are the best sources of baby names. Of course, you'd hate to tell your kid you named him Ezra because of some dead guy you never knew, but what the heck, right? After all, I have one kid named after a fictional paleontologist (I was reading Jurassic Park while I was pregnant with her), and one kid named after the Northern Exposure character, Joel Fleishman. That reminds me, by the way; I really need to make up some false circumstances to explain their names. Quick! Give me a really famous true-life scientist or explorer named Ellie!! Find some ancient rabbi named Joel in my family tree! And Jasper??? Named after Jasper Johns. Do I LIKE Jasper Johns? Not really. I saw him mentioned on page something or other in my college Art History class and went, "COOL NAME." Jules? 9-months pregnant and needing a "j" name when I glanced at my coffee table and saw 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Camille? I just grabbed that one out of thin air. And I am REALLY sorry I didn't name one of my kids Ezra. Because Ezra is a cool name. Dang.

Anyway - back to cemeteries. I'm studying Texas history with my boys. And I'm such a dork. I'm TOTALLY into it. The boys WERE into it, and now they're just kind of finding the situation to be somewhat embarrassing and awkward because I just can't stop talking about it all. They're like, "Oh God! No! Please, NOT get out the butcher paper. You do not need to do a timeline!!" I totally dig timelines. Since we are mostly unschoolers, my kids aren't used to this flurry of activity and they don't quite know what to do with it. Anyway, did you know Canary Islanders came over here to colonize under Spanish land grants? We LIVE on one of the original Spanish land grants!! See how I used TWO exclamation points? I told you I'm excited. Anyway, we visited a Canary Island Cemetery nearby and it was freaking awesome.

It is unmaintained and massively overgrown. The wildflowers sprinkled throughout were just breathtakingly gorgeous. Something about the old monuments in various states of disrepair....being overtaken by the such colorful representatives of new life, was extremely beautiful. I also like seeing the kids playing among the tombstones. Kind of similar imagery, I guess.

The cemetery is sprinkled with seashells. I'm not sure what the significance of this practice is. I'm very interested in finding out. From what I've read, they represent eternal life and they sometimes symbolize baptism of the deceased.

So yeah, spring is sprung. The kids put began planting the garden. Joel was in charge. The rows are somewhat crooked. Joel blamed it on the little guys. I think it is more likely that he simply couldn't see what he was doing. It is usually breezy here - and March blows in like a lion, right? So this is Joel gardening in the gale - hair being even more unruly than usual.

He was a great supervisor. He was really patient with the little guys. Here he is saying, "Dig the hold about this deep, okay?" for like the 100th time.

And here's some of our herd - grazing in the GREEN field. Why am I all-capping GREEN? Because last year it, during the drought, it was nothing but DIRT. It was so ugly. Now? It is soooo soothing to the eyes. The cows sure are happy!

And look! Our first calf of 2010...what a sweetie. I'm so glad he's got all this lovely green clover and grass to roam around in.

We have wildflowers for the first time in 3 years. Rain is amazing! Especially when you're not used to it. How do I describe the fields here? They look like someone took a giant paintbrush and started painting. Our front pasture is bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes, buttercups, and other pretties whose names I don't know. The scent that blows in through our windows is so sweet that it gives me a slight headache by the end of the day.

OK - well, wasn't this a lovely and peaceful post? Didn't we all need it after the nastiness on the news?

Speaking of news (no! I shall not speak of it!!) - my dad and I were having a conversation about the Health**** Bill and he casually called me a Bleeding Heart Liberal. This is not a derogatory term in our family, by the way. Anyhoo - I thought he said "Breeding" Heart Liberal. And I thought that was funny. Hilarious in fact. So freaking hilarious that I am seriously wanting that tag for myself. What do you think? I've been Sardine Mama for a couple of years, now. I'm ready for a change. How does Breeding Heart Liberal sound for a blog? Hmmm....pondering that one.

Signing Off as Sardine Mama (possibly for the last time - considerin' a name change)


  1. Breeding Heart Liberal? Love it!
    Hey. My dad (social linguist) did all his research in cemeteries. You know..what groups settled where and when. You can chart it historically by language changes on the tombstones. (with dates and stuff, ya know) That? And he just likes being in cemeteries.

  2. Oh my gosh, I love cemeteries too. And I have a bunch of pictures. The ones you posted here are simply beautiful. Maybe I'll soon post some cemetery pictures. You inspired me. :)

  3. LOVE the Texas flower photos! My Mama lives in Austin and so does my heart! Love the tombstones. I love the scared look my kids get when I can tell the point where my enthusiasm for a commented question they gave me goes off the deep end. I wonder if I'll ever scare them into stop asking so many questions. . . . I like your Breeding Liberal Heart! It must be Spring and the Smell of Blue Bonnets, can I say LOVE one more time in my comment? Love To.

  4. cemeteries were never much to me until I moved to Stamford and there were some really old ones (1600's). And it is amazing how many old ones there are and fairly good condition. Your find would be wonderful to explore!

  5. OH, I love cemeteries too. Old ones anyway. And rain is great! When we moved to TX a few years ago our back yard was about 2ft high with GREEN grass. Then it was brown and dead for a few years. Now it's getting GREEN again!! Yay for rain!! Oh, it should rain tonight and tomorrow. Fingers crossed.