Grandmaman came to visit, hiking in with a backback full of snacks and treats.
The frozen berries were especially nice on the hot day. We had a leisurely time reading on the porch before heading to the pond to cool down.
I haven't adequately explained how cold this pond is. There is no chance of acclimating to it, there are simply short dips that numb, and and recovery in the sunshine. The kids have been getting braver and braver though, so we went for a short swim across riding on my back.
The water level has come up about 18 inches since we put in the rock damn, and a byproduct has been more grass and leaves floating out as the water reached them. We're just going to wait them out, the pond cleaning game has lost its allure.
Cute, eh? Annaliese actually went first, but we didn't coordinate pictures until Caspian's turn.
So we went again. And then again, because Caspian had to go the same number of times as his sister.
At this point I was a popsicle.
With lots of chanting and encouragement, a perfect demonstration of peer pressure, we got grandmaman to take the plunge. Twice.
We headed North the next morning to visit the aunties. Making good time, we stopped for some snacks and a play break in a nice little town, and the kids made instant friends with this 6 year old. She was quizzing them on where they live, and it was fun listening to the kids run through their list of places, (Annaliese hit on Rutland, Hartland, Shrewsbury, Vermont,) and when she and Caspian agreed that they lived in Water Valley most of the time, the little girl looked puzzled and asked, "is that in Essex?" I got a kick out of it.
Right before Auntie Caitlin's house we stopped in Underhill for some full-fat softserve. I know yogurt is all the craze right now, but I'm still confused that there is nowhere I have found in MS that sells a simple chocolate-vanilla twist full-fat soft serve, yet in health-conscious VT, it's almost everywhere. I guess the dairy state has its own weaknesses. You certainly have a harder time finding a deep-fried-everything joint up here.
Auntie Caitlin's house! I got here with the camera just as Caspian escaped the tickle hammock.
um. He likes balloons. Caitlin and Jim's house is looking very nice, with the new blue roof and white paint and rock-landscaping Caitlin has been working on.
Taking advantage of her freshly practiced rock moving skills, we started work on a dam in Caitlin's brook. While moving stones, with all hands helping, Caspian said "Deer!" We looked up, and standing in the shallow water on this side of the brook, between Caitlin's two brown poodles, looking very confused, was a fawn. Literally feet from us, standing between the kids like another dog. Our theory is it mistook the dogs for its siblings, and ran up to join them.
It ran off, and we saw it a couple more times as it looked for its mother farther upstream.
A little to eat, and we headed over to Auntie Natalie's house for a party.
This was awesome, a redneck hot-tub, Vermont style. A sap tank, a circulating pump, a burn barrel, with a wood fire, and copper tubing running the water in a constant loop.
Natalie's addition looks great.
The kids saw that hot tub and wanted in. After Uncle William got in, there was no keeping them out, so we changed at the truck, and off they went.
There were so many cute pictures that followed, but my phone died right after this picture. Everyone else at the party was tasked with recording the swimming in the hot tub, the much snacking, the horse shoe playing, the swinging in the hammock, the skeet shooting, (kids did not participate in that,) etc. I hope to get some of those pictures at some point, but from here out you'll have to take my word that the kids had a great evening.