The Kitchen Floor

We spend a lot of time on the kitchen floor.

When Suzanna started crawling, we barricaded off an area with chairs and padded the floor with colorful spongey squares. When she started climbing the chairs, we replaced them with baby gates. She soon began moving the plastic fences and slipping around them, so they too went on with time.

The encased sewing machine that held the gates in place remains awkwardly, unnoticed as we step around it day by day. The colorful interlocking pads still line half the kitchen. Unused baby toys still lie in a heap in the corner.

Even after the hours of taking turns playing and reading on the floor with our girl while the other cooks or washes dishes, when she’s down for a weekend nap and we’re enjoying a quiet hour together, we find ourself back on the kitchen floor reading cookbooks and gardening books and jotting notes for our future plans.

Maybe it’s because there are no table and chairs in a place where we won’t disturb our sleeping daughter. Maybe it’s because we’re finding an excuse to avoid looming projects. Probably, though, we find ourselves back on the kitchen floor for the fondness of a passing time. This won’t carry forward to our new place and new life for myriad reasons, except in pieces.

And hard and stained and tired as it is, the kitchen floor represents a stillness and history that we secretly cherish.


Double Yolks and Wind Eggs

Among these four chicken eggs are three yolks. Can you guess how many each contains?

Double-yolk eggs are said to occur once in about 1,000 eggs laid. I’ve found many of these elongated monstrosities over many years of collecting eggs, and there remains a certain excitement to discovering one, from spotting the enormous shell to making bets on its contents to cracking it open and winning double gold.

Consumers of store-bought eggs miss out on this pleasure, because in the United States commercial eggs are sorted by weight and large anomalies discarded. Even normal-sized eggs with two yolks, which do occur, are culled after “candling,” a process of shining a light though the egg to examine its yolk and look for any undesirable matter. One producer in Pennsylvania is cashing in on two-yolk-inclined chickens, selling them by the dozen.

These were our first-ever wind eggs, though, laid two days in a row undoubtedly by the same pullet. Wind eggs are yolkless oddities resulting from a reproductive glitch, as are the double-yolkers. They’re also called cock eggs, dwarf eggs, and least charmingly, fart eggs.

Both extra-large and extra-small have histories of lore surrounding them, understandably. Unlike other errors of egg formation, wind eggs and double-yolks feel delightfully lucky.

The Things I’ll Miss: The Home Place


The buildings on the property we’re soon to leave are falling apart. My daughter is the fourth generation to live in the house where she was born, and she will be the last. Even as the concrete walls crack and the wallpaper peels, the house feels alive, and tired.

The barn is filled with well over a half-century’s accumulation, and the interesting old things fascinate and delight me. Most have gone untouched in the years we’ve lived here and for decades before.

(A series.) It’s easier as we prepare to move to value the positives of this place, where we’ve existed as foreigners for the past few years. Our differences with the people here, with the land, with the weather, are great. But we’ve found common ground in places, and I will spend the months leading up to our final departure examining it, and attempt to make peace.

Among the things I know I’ll miss when we finally depart from this home are Autumn lemon blossoms, tomatoes in November, the back gate, and spectacular Yosemite.