September 24, 2015

family week - all the other days, in photos

Somehow time got away from me.

Here, in photos, is the rest of family week: days 4, 5, 6, and 7.  Enjoy!

Because there's a rule, isn't there, requiring us to photograph our feet
& hot beverage of choice in moments of serene contentment?

There was just something about that lone cornstalk . . .

Hmmm .... lumber!?  What could be going on here....?

Spice, the resident monkey.

The first board, and a very respectable-looking lag bolt.

Counting, to make sure they're all there.

Every family week includes cats, of course.

The picture of contentment.

Vet clinic

A morning at the "bike park"

My menfolk - I love watching them together!

What's this??  A platform emerges . . .

All - those - dewdrops - !!!

testing it out

family week's grand finale

And good-night!

September 20, 2015

family week, day 3

5:20 a.m.

My Farmer's alarm clock had just rung when we heard quiet, quiet footsteps on the stairs.  Two inside, and one come up to use the upstairs bathroom??  We lay still, waiting.

A tall form entered the bedroom.  "Yes?" I queried, giving up the pretense of sleep, one hand on the snooze button of my own soon-to-go-off alarm.

Nice whispered back, "I think it's going to rain, so we came inside - except Spice, she wanted to stay out."

Well.  Okay.

They tucked themselves into their beds, smelling like campfire smoke.  We got up and showered.

It didn't rain.

Oatmeal around the fire again, and coffee, and then - so that it didn't feel too much like just an ordinary Sunday, I suppose - s'mores.

It was hard to leave our outdoor cathedral for the tables and chairs and sound system effects of a building, but we did, and talked long afterwards to old friends, a delightful surprise.

Mushroom barley chicken soup for lunch, around the once-again-revived campfire, and a few more chapters of Little House in the Big Woods.  It's Lil' Snip's first time through this series, and so much fun to watch him react to our long-time favorites.  Then, off we all go to our Quiet Time spaces: tent, hammock, a blanket in the grass.

A nice, long afternoon nap and a bowl of homemade caramel ice cream later, we are fortified to briefly attend a neighbor's drop-in party.

Supper is our Sunday tradition of fruit, popcorn, nuts, crackers, cheese, and tinned fishes - smoked mussels and kippered herring this time! - eaten around the fire.  The children disperse to their various amusements (jump-roping on the trampoline, using natural dyes to create designs on wood scraps) until Nice remembers chestnuts.  A posse is formed, and returns with a very small basket of chestnuts.  The harvest is apparently only starting, but there are enough for one (and a fraction) each, and the fire is spread out so that roasting may commence.

Lil' Snip still doesn't like chestnuts; his is given to Spice, whose nut was mostly wormy.

Then off they run to search for clusters of ripe grapes on the sprawling, still-not-trellised vine, which they eat with relish while we sing praise songs off of an old sheaf left from my pre-college mission training, the sun sinking lower and lower in the sky.  Finally, I can no longer see my yarn to crochet, and the children get into their pajamas.

Spice:  "When we sleep in the tent, bedtime is FUN!!"

I left them making shadows with their flashlights on the vinyl tent wall between the two "rooms," obediently, somehow, using their whisper voices.  The half moon is high in the pine tree (an intended support for tomorrow's project: a treehouse) and the stars shine brightly on a lone banjo player . . .

September 19, 2015

family week, day 2

Today started with oatmeal around the campfire (resurrected by Sugar from last night's coals), me marveling over my coffee that I had not once heard the back door during the night.  Best first night ever!

Breakfast completed, we walked over to the neighbor's yard sale to see what treasures we might find.  A tall, elegantly carved bird for me, wind chimes for Spice, a clock and photo frame for Nice, and a collapsible tin cup and two wooden cars for Lil' Snip.

Home again, the children headed off with my Farmer to fish, and I set off grocery shopping.  Unfortunately their outing ended with a self-appointed gamekeeper sharing a long list of rules with them, which ended with them dumping their small catch back into the pond.  Last time fishing at that particular location!

Lunch around the campfire again (just the usual summer sandwiches - tomato, cheese, and lettuce) and an afternoon rest before stirring up the campfire once more for suppertime ambiance, and s'mores.  Songs around the fire, and bedtime.

A plain day, but a satisfying one.

Tomorrow, church.  The building kind, I guess, although some of us would just as soon sing around the campfire again ...

September 18, 2015

family week, day 1

It's family week at our farm.

The tent has been taken down from the attic and set up under the sweet gum tree, by the hammock.

The brush was burned away and a campfire laid in its place.

Sleeping bags, thrown out of upstairs windows, have been arranged in the tent - four this year.  Lil' Snip is old enough to brave the elements with his sisters, he thinks.  I hold my tongue, and pray.  They bring down pillows, too, warm pajamas, and flashlights.

It was hot dogs over the campfire for supper, and ears of corn, honeydew from the farm stand down the road, and homemade caramel ice cream.

My Farmer cut an "X" in a nice round log to make a Swedish torch - and it worked!

We sat around the fire and sang.

Inside for tooth-brushing, and into the tent to change into pajamas.  We blessed them and tucked them in with reminders to close the back door q u i e t l y  if they need to come during the night to use the bathroom.

And left them to the night.

We'll sit at the campfire ourselves for awhile, my Farmer and me, to keep an ear out for mischief, or tears in the tent, and then we'll go to bed with the windows open.

It's family week at our farm.

September 15, 2015

why the chicken crossed the road

To the drivers who play chicken with me (and win) on the shoulder-less country road where I walk in the evening:

Your ability to drive precisely down the middle of your own lane is admirable, but misplaced.

Out here in cornfield country, double yellow lines are viewed as a mere suggestion, to be ignored in favor of giving wide berth to walkers, joggers, bikers, buggies, and the random stray dog or cow.  Or when driving a four-mule team on narrow roads.

(Or, in the case of certain pickup-driving young locals, just to demonstrate your independent spirit.)

And don't you think this game is a trifle ill-matched?  When faced with the choice between staring down a Yukon or living to see tomorrow, I will always step into the roadside melange of stinging nettle & poison ivy.


If it's a real challenge you want, you're better off at a demolition derby picking on someone your own size.

{... leaves blogger to Google "living wills"...}

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