Saturday, October 30

Should Have Gone Longer

Wednesday came and went, with nary another episode. "Yay," I thought. "We beat the beast!" So, when Thursday dawned and all were well, we did all the things we had not done Tuesday (due to the storms) or Wednesday (due to the quarantine) - we did swimming lessons and music lessons, we did groceries and costume tidbit roundups. We hung out the laundry, and we worked on the trail. It was quite the busy Thursday.

Friday, Zorak and the boys cut more of the trail. This is the last leg, and it runs alongside the creek. It'll flood when we have the heavy rains, but we have another path we can take to see the tiny creek burst its bonds and overtake the meadow. This part, by the creek, has a slightly Watcher in the Woods feel, only without Bette Davis skulking about, thankfully. Then there's a stretch that is more like a bower in a Victorian garden. It's stunning. We crashed in the living room and made fun of Avatar over a supper of vegetable barley soup with garlic cheese biscuits, then ambled to bed for a much-needed rest.

This morning, however, Em says her throat is "prickly". James and Jacob both voluntarily opted out of activities this afternoon if they still feel as poorly as they do right now. John feels fine, and is getting a bit panicky at the thought that he might go down, too. I think we've gone through a week's worth of Emergen-C just this morning. May have to hide that box.

And there's the tea kettle. Better go get to steeping!

Kiss those babies!

Wednesday, October 27

Quarantined Wednesday

We are home and quiet. Kids are napping and quiet. I am 2/3 of the way through spritzing ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING down with Tea Tree Oil. No, it's not exactly the scent I'd like wafting through the house, but you know, it beats the smell of vomit. Or fear.

James came out to the living room last night, around eleven, to tell us Jake Rabbit was sick. Actually, what he said was, "I think Jacob is sick. I heard him cough, fall off the bed, throw up, and run out of the room."

So, uh, yeah. We ran the numbers in our heads really quickly and figured he's probably not field testing impact gear, or trying old MREs. Poor kid was not only sick, but utterly disoriented. Not a clue what happened, or why he was out of bed. What a lousy way to wake up, huh?

Zorak did the dirty work of cleaning up the room and setting up the cot for him. I got to draw a bath with lavender and eucalyptus, run a washcloth gently across his forehead and mutter "poor dear". Really, I felt bad. I got the sleepy smile and the whispered "thanks, Mom", but Zorak's the one who did all the hard work. (It's okay, I thanked him later. That's how teamwork goes, right?)

This morning? John's green around the gills, and James slept until well past ten. (We are, actually, slow morning starters around here, but that was late-late, even for him.) Jacob's still a little wobbly. If I thought they'd let me, I'd wrap Jase and Em in saran wrap and air filters for the next 48 hours. That being somewhat out of the question, however, we're settling for the usual routine:

Wipe everything down.
Don't touch anything.
Drink your emergen-C.
Stop touching things.

If I have to, I'll strap a tissue box and a trash bag to every person, give them each their own Camelbak, and feed them all in separate rooms. A general cold, I can handle. Even the stuff that leaves everybody feeling wrung out and sluggish? Well, those have their up sides, really. But things that make them puke? And they're still mobile? Seriously? No. Cross contamination is not an option. Quarantine! Isolate! Nobody else must get sick!

Kiss those babies!

Saturday, October 23

Autumn Trails

With the boys away at Cub Haunted, the Littles and I are enjoying a slower pace than usual. We watched Thumbelina and Barney with no mocking commentary from the Peanut Gallery. We even ate in the living room, and napped on the bean bags. Yeah, we're acting like we're two years old. At least one of us is, right? Well, they've got some very good points, those two year olds...

Then, we opted for an afternoon hike on the trail. The camera, as you can see, is still in full-on Nessie/Bigfoot mode. I took 75 pictures, and these were the best of the best.
The trail forks and meanders. There are straight paths and curvy loops. It's nice. This shot is looking down at the kids as they double back past a fork in the trail.

We took the Logging Road, this afternoon. Those stumps are the remains of fallen trees that Zorak and the boys made useful before they rotted. The stumps will be placed at various spots along the way. We'll enjoy them until they woods reclaim them. The rest is stacked on the woodpile, ready to enjoy this winter!
And we found more hickory trees! Actually, we found the nuts, and figured if there's not an old adage that says, "Where there are nuts, there's a nut tree," well, then there ought to be. The nuts that weren't already chewed on or burrowed through, we brought home. And somehow, there always seem to be some extra hulls in the pockets...

Always good for boats! This was the last shot I got before we had to go search for flowers to float in the boats. I'd forgotten how nice the pace of the littles can be. This was a truly delightful afternoon. And now, a bath, and supper, and then, an early bedtime (because I can get away with it tonight!)

Kiss those babies!

Thursday, October 21

First Family Canoe Trip

James' Scout Troop took a canoe & camp trip earlier in the fall, and they had so much fun Zorak called from the tent that first night to give me a heads up that "we've gotta do this, together, sometime!"

Granted, "sometime" can have vastly different meanings. I was thinking, "after everyone learns to swim, gets Lifeguard Certified, holds security clearances, and we own our own equipment". Thankfully, Zorak doesn't spend all day in damage control mode, so he's got a better grip on things. He meant, "before the canoe rental shops close up for the season". I suppose one of the perks of having kids who aren't likely to do dumb things, like shove someone out of a boat, is that you can do fun things, like get on a boat. (But don't think I wasn't a little bit nervous. We have a couple of wild cards, still...)
So, ok, here's the van. It's a sweet setup. You park at the base, they haul you and the canoes to the drop point, give you a landmark to look for at your out, and send you on your way. I think the van ride is my favorite part. These folks are serious about the term Utilitarian. Check out the duct tape, the improv seating, and the foam wallboard insulation sheets on the sides. The roof liner is shower wallboard. The kids were bummed we hadn't thought to bring dry erase markers. I was bummed we hadn't thought of buying something like thing a dozen lost sippy cups ago.
Here are Em and Jacob, picking out the Best Paddles. Yeah, they're the same size. But there's a difference, I'm sure of it.
Jacob ran point for us. He got the hang of navigating. Jase just sang to himself the whole time. Very happy and content, that one. He got his water legs quicker than anyone, too. Thankfully, he didn't use them for evil.
Much like getting the first scratch on a new car, Em and I very generously got stuck first. You know, so nobody else had to worry about being the first to get beached. (Yeah, you know, in this picture, one has to wonder just how we didn't see that coming... but trust me, there were four year old, erm, I mean forces at work that don't appear in the photo. That, and my reflexes are slow, like an old lady. An old, blind lady who doesn't get out much.)
We ate lunch in a neat little cove. The river was pretty low, which made for a nice stretch on this point. You can see the boys, off in the distance, checking to see if a channel they found is canoe-safe. They really got into the spirit of the thing. That was fun to watch.
Jase got a little restless after lunch. Thankfully, everything he dropped overboard floated, but eventually, we gave him a paddle and turned him loose. He's still singing to himself, even as he works, "paaa-ddle, paaa-ddle, fwim, fwim, fwim" (can't quite say "sw" yet).

AND, we finally got an updated family photo, with all of us. Sadly, the camera is in the throes of death. Sometimes it won't turn on. Sometimes, it just won't focus at all. Sometimes, like here, it'll focus on what-the-hell-ever-it-wants, thank you. So, the picture is a little blurry, like a Yeti family gathering. But those leaves in the background? Lovely.

Kiss those babies!

Monday, October 18

Oh, Dear. Fall, already?

Well, when the spammers begin posting at will in your comments section, it's a sure sign you've let too much dust collect on ye olde (How would you spell that, anyway?) If you need jeans, jewelry, or... pharmaceuticals, let me know. I'm sure I can hook you up.

So, it's October. Yeah. We survived Summer. (pause for a little celebratory shin dig and some cider) As per the arrangement, my reward for not voluntarily slipping into a coma in August is the truly Awesome Display of Fall Foliage. While I'm relatively certain God would get on with the Awesome Display whether I was aware of it, or not, I made an agreement with a smaller, more shallow entity that lives in my head, and haggles with me to get me to stay upright and functional when I really don'wanna... we'll call it... Jimminy. So, "Jimminy" told me if I'd just keep plugging along, there would be Autumn as a reward. And, not saying I wasn't tempted, and definitely not saying we were "productive", by ANY stretch of the imagination. Just saying... "Yay." And, regardless of the set up, I am deeply appreciative.

The garden was awesome, this year. Actually, no, it wasn't. But it felt like it was, until we tallied it all up. We got okra. A few cucumbers, until the barn developed its laser vision and *fried* the plants to paper. As Superheroes go, the barn pretty much stinks. And, um, okra. But, in the end, Summer ended and we were too thrilled to remember to put in a fall garden, and so, it shall lie fallow and recuperate. It shall breathe. (Hence, the Apathetically Organic moniker - just proves itself again and again as THE name for us, should we ever start smoking peyote and thinking we're farmers.) Regardless, we had a lot of fun with it, which makes it awesome, in a way.

Our latest project is a bike trail through the woods. It. is. *GAH* I can't think of an adjective that isn't some variation on "awesome". (Oh, but it IS. It really IS.) And it's late, and it's a miracle I'm blogging at all. Forgive me. Anyway, I can't even explain how much fun this is. The blisters, eh, not so much. And we're pretty sure that several areas in Dante's Inferno are landscaped with the briars native to the South. However, all that aside, all we need now are awesome little plaques "
Poison Ivy, Rhus Radicans,
native to North America, non-edible
Saw greenbriar, Smilax bona-nox,
native to the U.S., freaking impossible to eradicate without napalm
then it'll be just like a trail at the Wildlife Refuge. Without the Rangers. Or the tax exempt status. But those are peripheral. It's nearly complete. Ish. OK, functional. And very exciting. The kids love it. The dogs love it. We love it!

That's it for now. If I write everything allatonce, it'll be another six months before I blog again.

Kiss those babies!