Monthly Archives: January 2013

Rosie

By Mary

The other month I ran into a former neighbor who reminded me about how he spent the night at my parent’s house taking care of the four eldest Slattery siblings when my mom was at the hospital having Patrick. Apparently I screamed the night through, before falling asleep on his lap. I guess when you’re two, having Mom away for the first time ever is a rough experience.

Aurora has passed her due date and will be welcoming another daughter into the world any time now.

046
The current baby of the family will soon become a big sister.

angel baby

I adore Antonia, or Rosie as she is often times called.

Like me, she is the fourth child in her family, and her birth order will surely form her in many ways.At this point in her life she seldom used words, but instead stretches out her chubby arms or points towards what she wants.

angel baby Antonia

Usually it’s a way of communication to be held, which just to happens to be one of my favorite things to do when I am in Aurora’s company.

nieces

As always, it will be a delight to be an aunt again, and I’ll be more than happy to let Antonia scream on my lap as she misses her Mama. She may not know it at the time, but gaining a new siblings is one of the best things life has to offer, even if it means being demoted from being the baby of the brood.

Read more about Aurora here:

How I Became a Slattery- A Love Story

Grocery Girl

by Colleen

007

This past summer I was lucky enough to land a job at the People’s Food Co-op in nearby La Crosse, WI, due to the the fact that I am what they call there a “Co-op Baby”.  Sweet Ridge Farm has sold produce on and off to this organic food store for years, and apparently the management has watched me and my siblings grow from toddlers to teens, wending our way through aisles of dried fruit and organic cereals, eating their legendary malted milk balls straight from the bag, and taking more than our fair share of the many free samples of chips and dips they offer in the deli section.  If there is free food anywhere within 30 miles, the Slattery children will find it.

In any case, they noticed my last name on my application, and I was in.  I spent this past summer working part time as a grocery girl, stocking the shelves with an assortment of odd goods, such as seaweed snacks and hemp milk, and chatting with the only other girl in the department, Natalya, from Russia.  When I came back home for break, they immediately offered my job back to me.  Unfortunately, my days of gossip with Natalya are gone, as she has now returned to Russia, and I have now taken the role of Only Girl in the Grocery and Produce Department.  It’s not so bad, really.  Growing up with 5 brothers has made me quite comfortable with guys, and in most cases I actually prefer it.  So now I mostly spend my days talking about Russian literature to my boss, Ed, and directing people to the chia seeds (aisle 2, on the top right).

But what really lights up my day is a visit from the sisters.  Clare and Mary decided to pop in the other day and document my job.  Mary was particularly interested in our wine selection…

004

Knowing absolutely nothing about our wine, I immediately suggested a French one.  You can’t go wrong with French wine, non?

005

Needless to say, Mary did not take my suggestion   Some people just have no taste (or lack an obsession with French things).  But Mary and I do share some things in common.  While she dreams of bikinis, sunshine, and flowers, I dream of the green fields of France and baguettes and berets.  So, don’t be disturbed if you wander into the People’s Food Co-op to buy some dried aduki beans and hear the shelf stocker muttering to herself  in French-it’s just a harmless, dreaming grocery girl.

Resting and Restless

By Mary

In a heavy winter coat and pink snow boots that I am often times teased about due to having two nieces 6 and under sporting replica pairs, I trudged towards “life” also known as an assortment of narcissus bulbs that are being sold at the Viroqua Food Coop. The narcissus bulbs I purchased are a representation of the eagerness I feel for the goodness of springs sunlight.
Throughout the Christmas season I got a slew of Christmasy mail. After that stopped coming the seed catalogs stated arriving in the mailbox. How those catalogs make me happy! I am a child of the sun. In November it is time to give the fields a break.

fall fields

And to put aside the boots that trod through the mud and dust.

 farm boots

The days of cow work on my horse, Mars come to an end as the fog gets thicker in the morning and the days grow both colder and shorter.

ranching cowgirl on horse

Both the Father farmer and the Farmers daughter are getting restless.

farmer and daughter brussel sprouts

My father, a former journalist (but never a poet) has now taken up the occupation of writing poetry. I came across him scribbling with his famous illegible scrawl the morning after Cale’s wedding in a MN hotel room. If any of you know Patrick Slattery you know the man doesn’t just get a little into something, He gives a full 100 crazy choleric percent. In the hotel room I said: So what’s the deal on this poetry thing? His response was that he aimed to not just produce 1 poem. Oh no, the goal for that father of mine is to write 2 poems a week. ” Um, okay” was the reply from me. Fast forward to the next next: by that time he had written 2 more pieces. It has been about a week since he has beecome a poet, and frankly by now, I have totally lost track of how many poems have been churned out. All I know is that he is scribbling and muttering a whole lot.

poet father

Dad’s wintertime mania isn’t something that I can judge fairly seeing as I am falling apart myself. I have put a considerable amount of thought into buying lambs, seeds, and most embarrassingly a 2 piece bathing suit. Never mind the 2 slight facts that I like water about as much as a cat does, and I am about as comfortable in a swim suit as a Amish woman. Hey come on now, those are just minor details! Buying a bathing suit in January just seems to make sense!

I guess poetry does too in context with seasonal restlessness. All I can say is that I am SO ready for April. As an additional note: Poetry really isn’t that great (sorry Colleen). I mean, really… I would way rather have Dad babbling about asparagus and compost.

Oh Wisconsin, you only have 3 more months of badness left to give!

More about our Farmer Father and Sumner Sister here:

Farmer Father

For Mary

Train Travel

By Kate

I begun and ended my recent journey on trains.

image

Last week my family landed in the kind and frozen city of Minneapolis. Five strangers immediately offered friendly unsolicited advice and directed us to the light rail station, where my tall husband bent his knees a bit and purchased tickets.

image

We watched a train speed in and out of the station at lightning speed, and moved quickly to catch the next arrival.

image

That light rail sure is quick.

image

That train led to the next portion of our journey, which involved an exploration of the Mall of America, followed by a gorgeous winter wedding. After the wedding I headed home with the kids for a week of wood fires, wild siblings, sauerkraut making, and barn building on the snowy ridge. It was great to be home and I have many words and images to share with you from that time.

But now I am home again, in the city, and I am thinking about the train trip home. I made that trip wearing my late Grandmother’s absolutely fabulous coat, which features a huge fox fur collar.

image

Now, my grandmother not only made the best beer brats in the world (see this post for the recipe) she was also an incredibly stylish woman. I had never seen this coat before she died, but I fell in love with it the moment I set eyes on it.

image

This coat was made for train travel. In fact, I felt as though I was time traveling as well. There were only two tiny problems. The first was the fact that the fur blocked my peripheral vision, making it easy for me to knock my very small child over with my baggage now and then.

image

Thankfully my little traveling companion is pretty tough. The second problem is that there is something about that fox fur coat that just screams city to me. I can think of 1000 reasons to wear that here in Pittsburgh. In Middle Ridge? Sigh. Not so much. I’m afraid that coat might be a sign that l’m meant to be a city girl, at least for a while. So I’m glad the last train carried me smoothly home.

I love traveling and I love trains. I love both of my homes- the farm on this snowy ridge top and the brick house halfway up a steep ridge in the city of bridges.

The “Cadillac” of Cameras

By NIcole 

 

Thanks for all the awesome pictures Kate. You have done a great job of documenting our family with your nice camera. But there is a new camera in town thanks to my awesome Dad. I now own the Cadillac of cameras in the family and Kate’s camera has been demoted to the Lincoln. Here are some of my favorites from the recent family Wedding.

Image

 

Image

 

Image

 

Image

 

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

 

 

 

Image

 

Until the next wedding…. 🙂Image

 

 

 

What (Not?) To Wear

By Kate

Last night l held my phone tightly and listened to my three sisters laughing together in a familiar faraway farmhouse bedroom full of tangled dresses, gilded high heels, and mismatched costume jewelry. The big wedding is coming up this weekend and they were trying on clothes. I was not there and have not seen their final selections, but I do know that none of them will be wearing this spectacular piece of thrift store elegance:

image

I know this because I received a text containing this picture and stating ” beware the linebacker clown. she WILL get the bouquet at Cale’s wedding.”

I still think that with very high heels I could have made that dress work, once upon a time when I was not nursing more or less constantly. I will go ahead and blame nursing for the fact that I bought a NEW dress for the wedding, after scouring thrift stores in vain for the perfect frock. I finally found one, at 50 percent off, with matching, towering, glittery heels.  The only thing missing was a roomful of sisters to swirl around and share it with while they ridiculed me.

Thank goodness for texts, and the fact that the wedding is this weekend and I will see them soon.