Wednesday, February 26, 2014
A little bit of back story, as all good authors of serial publications will give:
Charlie once asked me why I am not ticklish. I have a secret. My secret is that I am ticklish, but I won't tell him where No, I won't tell you either. I always just tell him that to be ticklish, one must possess some level of innocence, and I have grown too evil to be ticklish any more.
So, today I am starting to get a nasty headache.
I exclaimto the ceiling tiles, "I do not need a migraine today! Why does the Universe hate me!?"
Charlie, with impeccable comic timing, as usual, replies, "Because you're evil not ticklish, that's why."
Well played, boy. I'll get you next time.
In a conversation during morning snuggles one day:
Charlie was lying to the right of me, and Abe to the left. Charlie sneaked away while I was talking to Abe, but I noticed.
Me: Where did Charlie go? Did Spider Monkeys come and carry him away to be their king?
Me: They make one out of thorny vines.
Abe: Then they paint it!
Me: They don't have any paint! But they put berries on it for color.
Abe: That's why they wanted Shawlie; so he could teach them how to paint!
Yellow has always been my favorite color, at least so far as concerns the lifetime of the individual in question. Yet Abe has, for some reason, become convinced that I used to like purple best and have thrown it over for another color like some kind of unfaithful painter. After breakfast, Abraham clearly had this weighty matter on his mind:
Abe: Mommy, do you like purple?
Me: Yes, but yellow is my favorite.
Me: Yes, but yellow is my favorite.
Abe: Why don't you like purple best anymore?
Me: I don't know. Yellow is just so happy all the time.
Abe: No it isn't! I'll show you!
He procures markers and draws picture of a frowny yellow sun. The frowny face is drawn on with purple marker. The child has a sense of dramatic presentation that has decidedly advanced beyond his years.
Clearly, my argument is invalid.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Not with a whimper, but a bang.
After the walk alone, I took a walk with children. One of the best things about a walk with children is that everything is twice as tactile with them. You can't just walk in snow, but must lay in it. You can't just lie in snow, but must eat it. You can't just admire an icicle, but must sword fight with it. And no matter how many times it has been proven that your snow boots are not water proof above the ankle, you must, at all costs, walk in the run-off stream. Feet aren't truly cold until they're frozen, after all. When I walk with kids, I don't see wildlife. I see Wild Life. I see kids. So if winter isn't done yet, that's okay with me. I don't have to drive in it anyway. Neaner, neaner, boo-boo...
|Honey Locust don't care....|
|Wild Chipmunk sighting|
Thursday, February 13, 2014
The Hill (otherwise known as most of our yard) is good for a few minutes of entertainment, especially now, when we've had snow, followed by ice, followed by snow. That creates the perfect sledding environment for severe injury and possible dismemberment. The problem is that lugging the sleds back up the hill quickly tires us. It's like waiting in line for the Mean Streak at Cedar Point for an hour and half only to have the ride over in four minutes. Cost-benefit analysis fails to impress.
There are always things to see in the woods after an ice storm. There are icy trees, and icy grasses, and icy rocks, and icy moss, and icy... ice? There are also probably deer and rabbits, but two boys make too much noise to see any of them. That's okay. Really it is, because boys are meant to make noise and climb things and eat the icy ice. Sort of like monkeys, really, except I don't know how monkeys feel about ice.
Traipsing and ice munching turn out to be a cold business. That's where lighting things on fire comes in. Well, that and really how do you know you're having fun if fire isn't involved? So after we hiked to Where the Moderately Untame Things Are, we started a little camp fire in the snow. This involved dry cedar sticks, leaves, magnesium, a Swedish neck knife of some sort, sparks, and a great deal less swearing than you might expect given that there were two children present. Also, a butane lighter when the kids weren't looking, because a real Bushman knows that the first rule of survival is "Always cheat."
Friday, June 14, 2013
Oh, Rapture!Joe took an actual vacation! That is to say, he took a week off of work on purpose, and not because he had to fix a transmission or build a chimney or whatever else he usually has to do during extended absences from work. Not that we went off to Belize or anything. I don't even know where that is. And who would want to go to Belize if they could vacation the way that we do? We started the week with cleaning up all the accumulated junk that has been around our house. If that sounds like work, it's because I haven't gotten to the payoff. Old logs too hard to split, and all the cardboard we could find made for a couple of very impressive bonfires. It had been so long since I'd sat by a bonfire in the dark that I had forgotten how it can melt tension off of you. It was the old adage about the cleansing nature of fire given a whole new meaning. Also, miniature marshmallows (which were all that we had) roast in about 1.7 seconds flat and are much less messy than the big ones. I may never go back. The second night we so perfect that we almost all fell asleep on the blanket in the yard. We might have had it not been for the mental image of waking with ticks in our ears.
Burning things isn't the only way that we know how to have fun and it also isn't the only way we know how to pick up ticks. We also took a trip over to our favorite new Poison Ivy Paradise. I don't mean to be sarcastic, except about the state of Kentucky's total lack of care-taking of the place, because I really do like Quiet Trails Nature Preserve. It boasts at least one (because I saw it!) Scarlet Tanager and a field full of very pale yellow Sweet Pea vines. There are also a couple of ponds with some unnaturally non-skittish bullfrogs, a couple of fungi that I got to look up in my dandy field guide, and a box turtle. Not only that, but it's only about three miles away! For people as hodophobic as Joe and I, that's a major plus. (That's "morbid fear of travel" to anyone who doesn't want to Google it, which is how I found out the word.) And for me, any chance to use my cool military surplus hiking pack qualifies as "major fun."
Unnaturally bold bullfrog...
Sweet Pea and Daisies at Quiet Trails
Ghetto telephoto of what I think is a female Widow Skimmer
Juvenile Northern Water SnakeOur vacation week involved more than a little bit of not cleaning anything up that normally gets cleaned up and watching The Hobbit and Captain Jack Sparrow for the umpteenth time. (By the way, even people who don't have kids should see Wreck It Ralph because it's just really clever.) But the real coup de vacances was that we got Joe to go to our favorite swimming place at the river. Funny how fire and water can both have the same effect on me. Nothing that was wrong seems wrong any more when I am at the river. The river has shiny shells and cliff swallows with a mud nest colony under the bridge. It has Killdeers and tree roots and dragonflies. It has tiny fish and huge fish and crawdads that bump into your feet when they go zooming backwards to escape. It even has the occasional tiny snake, empty turtle shell, or giant grub thingie that turns out to be a larval Dobsonfly. I know you'll be crushed that I didn't take a picture of that one. Mostly, the river has flowing water, blowing breeze, and all my men with smiles on their faces at the same time. And that, my friends, is really something... something that it seems is only ever accomplished by fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies on a normal day. We're simple people.
I wrapped up the vacation by trying to kill Joe. That is to say that we finished building, shoveling dirt into, and planting our box garden all in one day. Before I forget, I really should thank KYDOT for all that loose chip-n-seal gravel that they cover our road with every year before snow plow season. They dump it out just in time for the plows to throw it into my front yard where I cheerfully harvest it for many uses, including a drainage base for a 50 square foot box garden. Who says they don't put our tax dollars to good use? I digress. A box garden really is kind of the most awesome way to go. I have two small raised bed gardens totalling probably somewhere around 75 square feet. That's really not much space. That's less than a 10 foot by 10 foot bedroom. And in that space, I have 8 strawberry plants, 14 tomatoes of different kinds, 9 pepper plants, 4 rows of beans, 1 row each of tennis ball lettuce (definitely recommend!) and spinach, and more carrots than Bugs Bunny could crunch in all his years of animated life. Oh, and some marigolds. I weed, hoe, water, prune, and harvest by hand, fertilize once a month, and decorate excessively. Seriously, I think I need to go back on my meds. Since we put the thing in, I painted two gourds to hang by it, made bead flowers to attract hummingbirds to my feeder there, and made a wind chime for it with old keys and dog tags. Between that and all my bird feeders and houses, I'm going to turn into the world's dumbest looking lawn gnome from all the time I spend standing out in my yard with a goofy smile on my face.