Sieve is handmade squares of 2×4 and old screen, fashioned together by our dad. The real reason he made them now escapes me. But my brother and I had so much fun that summer siphoning dirt through our strainers. Searching for pretend crystals and gold (and part of me truly believing in the impossible possibility). Feeling the dirt, soft like strands of brushed hair, after it passed through the different sized screens. After the rocks (most of them shockingly plain), sticks, bugs, and other infiltrators were properly sifted out and discarded. We were prospectors and frontiersmen. Construction workers and engineers. Archaeologists and gemologists. How come more children aren’t playing in the dirt, filtering it through Dad’s homemade screens, discovering what it is on the grain level? Finding it underneath their fingernails and between their toes. And in their memories 25 years later.

It is plump berries in a silver strainer, hamburger meat in a white plastic one, steamed broccoli, long spaghetti noodles, fresh apples plucked from my mother’s trees. Clean water flowing around food God so graciously provided for my family. Being the chef, baker, and kitchen-creator for my Magnificent Seven. Though some days it seems like one more task at the end of an endless day, I am blessed to be well enough to cook and have provisions to do so.

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