I’m here! So sorry for the long absence. Thank you for all the comments on my Flickr photos, Sarah. I posted them last night, fully intending to blog them, too. But things have been so busy, and there is marathon knitting going on taking up all my spare time, so I have been slack in the blog department.
Let me just tell you that we have had something on the calendar just about every single day since last Friday. I am still riding the roller coaster, so to speak. There was company, of course, which was pleasant and fun and the time went much faster than I thought it would. We served dinner on the deck and everything was made on the grill, which my husband and guests thought was very cool. I cook just about everything out there now that it’s summertime.
On Saturday there was a picnic at my in-laws’ church, which involved some of this:
a little bit of this:
several of these:
and a lot of this:
If you are wondering why my childrens’ fingers look bloody, it is because they spent the morning painting. (What? Bathe my children before going to a picnic?? You must be crazy.) A friend, F, brought me this giant roll of paper for them to entertain themselves with.
S4 wanted to lie down on it and have me trace her, so she could paint herself. Who could refuse? Besides, it kept her busy while I was getting ready.
Can you see the potential for disaster here?
No, it’s not the cups of paint on the floor. It’s not the threat of tripping over a child sprawled out in your kitchen, either. No, the danger lurks here:
See those feet? Yeah. They produce effects such as these:
Thank goodness for washable paint, is all I’m saying.
On Sunday, we had ANOTHER picnic to attend with the inlaws. (I like my inlaws, so it’s okay). But I did not take any pictures at the picnic, since I was busy with other things. Suffice it to say that we ate food, visited and talked, and watched the children scamper about. It was lovely.
Monday was our big trip to Lake Erie. I have fond memories of going to Lake Erie. We did it several times a year when I was growing up. Early, early, early in the morning, before the sun was fully up, my mom would wake us up and herd us all into the family car. She brought a sack full of buttered white toast and a carton of hardcooked eggs. My dad was allowed to eat his toast and eggs while driving. We children, unfortunately, were not allowed to eat in the car. We had to wait until we stopped. It was a real catch-.22 for me. I hated eggs as a child, but I was also wicked hungry. Meanwhile, my dad would be up in the front, munching away. Dad would put out his hand and announce the item he wanted to eat next, which my mom would quickly produce, a lot like a surgeon in the operating room. “Toast. Stat.” Or, he would hold the egg up and she would dust it with salt. They were a breakfast team. After he ate, she would carefully pour him some coffee from our steel Thermos into its little green steel cup. The kids in the backseat watched every second of this ritual dining extravaganza with unabashed envy.
Inevitably, my dad would find some hamfest or flea market or mega-garage-sale going on, and stop to browse. Again, more torture. We wanted to stop so we could eat, but we really wanted to get to the beach, and he always took forever going through junk. I remember a radio shop about halfway between our house and the Lake; it sat on a hill, a red two-story barn next to an old farmhouse. There was a gravel drive, and we parked under a giant tree. Dad would go in and poke around while we had breakfast. I choked down my egg as fast as possible, and then washed the taste away by sucking on pieces of cold buttered toast. Neither were particularly good, but I was starving, and you tend to not care much when you’re starving. Anyway, anytime I see hardcooked eggs, I think of going to Lake Erie.
This time, however, we had granola bars and cups of water, and while I did wake the kids up early, early, early, I allowed them to eat their snacks while we were driving. I’m not good at torturing people just for cleanliness’ sake. That’s silly.
We took along my MIL, who I like very very much, and my step-brother-in-law (her son), who I also like very very much, and my nephew A, who is five and hilariously funny with his little facial expressions and running commentary. However, poor A was outnumbered, especially in the decibel department. My girls can belt it out. At one point, I think A asked me for earplugs and an aspirin.
The lake was a great day. We had good weather, it wasn’t crowded at all, and everyone had fun. There was some of this:
a little bit of this:
and we finished up with this:
Then there was ice cream on the way home, and then, since DH was working late that night anyway, we had — you guessed it — ANOTHER picnic at my inlaws. Fine by me. I don’t mind when other people offer to feed us.
Then it was Tuesday, and on Tuesday, I went to a spinning class with my friends M and A. This would not be spinning as in uber-stationary-biking that the cool kids do, but fiber spinning with a spinning wheel and fresh wool. Oh, what a hoot. As I told them later in my “had a great time” email:
Okay, so yesterday morning, I had this mental image of myself sitting fireside this winter, wearing a long skirt and in my bare feet, a heaping basket of freshly-washed wool next to me; in this fantasy, I was spinning contentedly and humming old folk tunes while my cat dozed on the woodpile and the children played with wooden toys in the corner.
My mental image is slightly altered now. There is much less idyllic calm and a lot more swearing, drinking and screaming involved. But I still had a good time last night. I would still like to learn this spinning crap. I’m just not so nearly inclined to go out and plonk down hundreds of $$ on roving and a wheel.
I would have taken a picture of my ball of hand-spun yarn, but it looks more like twine that the cat had been playing with. It’s not pretty. I’m not a natural spinner. But we’ll give it another try one of these days.
On to Wednesday. Berry picking day. We picked another 4.7 pounds of blueberries. The girls helped quite a bit (read: they ate the berries THEY picked instead of eating the ones I had picked). Then we stopped at the market and picked up some other fresh produce to put up for winter: peaches, peppers, and cucumbers for pickles. I’ve never canned any of this stuff before. We may be doing a lot of grocery shopping this winter. But then again, maybe we’ll be lucky.
So, Thursday begain the canning marathon; I started with blueberry jam (post forthcoming). It looks promising:
And then there were pickles, which looked beautiful when I made them:
The next morning, however, with the early sunlight streaming in the dining room window, those pickles looked an awful lot like something out of a B-movie science lab.
Still, I’m willing to try anything once.
On Friday, we spent the entire day with friends and trekked to a yarn store about an hour from here. I have good friends, friends who would drive for yarn. Those are the ones to keep.
Yesterday, we rented a cherrypicker. That’s a bucket you can stand in, and the bucket is connected to a hydraulic boom which can lift you up and out so you can do things like cut down tree branches. And this is precisely what we rented the cherrypicker for. We hoisted my father-in-law and his super duper chainsaw-on-a-stick up in the air, and he cut down some tree branches. Not too many. Just the ones that needed pruning. And then we took turns hoisting ourselves up in the air and looking down at our house from all sorts of angles. It was fun. And the neighbors all came out to see what we were doing with this amusement park ride parked in our yard, so that was worth it right there. I love being a spectacle. I will share those pictures later, because I have a bunch and the whole cherrypicker thing is worthy of its very own post anyway.
Tonight, the girls and I are going camping. We’re gonna sleep out in tents at my inlaws. We got marshmallows and chocolates and grahams to make s’mores, although I think my girls will prefer to eat the ingredients separately and uncooked, rather than in the traditional presentation. It’s okay.
Tomorrow night is knitting “club”. It’s the last thing on the calendar until next weekend. Hooray! The light at the end of the tunnel! I need several days here and there with nothing on the calendar. Overly-cluttered calendars give me hives and a headache. I’m looking forward to that blank white square that is August 12.
Then, maybe I can finally get around to the laundry that’s been piling up since August 1.