John M came by on Friday to have lunch, visit with the family, play a quick game of ping pong, and take a look around our farm.
So far John has won 2 out of every three ping pong games we have played, winning a Reuben in the last bout. However, with the children giving him a little family-treatment, I swept this game, 21 to 9.
Annaliese is wielding a broom, Caspian a paddle.
Hard to say who won. Other than me. 21 to 9. Did I already mention that?
Sunday Annaliese had a birthday party to go to with her friends. Our good friend, mother of the two beautiful blond girls who often appear in pictures here, volunteered to take the troop.
(Those scratches on Annaliese's forehead: During bath time the other night she and Caspian applied some of Alexe's face mask to their faces, and then shaved it off with a razor. She came to get Alexe in tears, naked and sudsy and streaming blood down her face, saying how careful she had been and not wanting us to be upset.)
With Annaliese away at a party, we had a half hour lounging in the sun with our boy before the father of the little charmers showed up with Leah, the younger girl, and took Caspian to the park for a play date. That left Alexe and me with alone time, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. We went hiking on our future farm.
But for that half hour, the little boy had all our attention.
I walked the perimeter of the property with the current owners last weekend. Alexe had not had the tour, so we did a quick stroll in our hour through the oak woods, down by the spring/pond, and up through the lower pasture.
The land has been neglected for over 20 years, but we're going to fix that soon enough.
We're both very happy, and excited. My farm girl:
Tuesday, Alexe turned 30.
We had lots of fun over the days leading up, talking about how everything she did she was doing for the last time in her 20s.
Alexe had to go to work, and she took the little man with her on the produce run. With no kids, I had time to put up a balloon covered sign in front of the store, (there was a helium tank in the Main Street office that I borrowed,) get some shopping done for dinner and dessert, and pick up the house a little.
The moment I had both kids again, some time around 11, a friend called me and told me he had found my tractor, and I needed to grab my check book and get out to it now.
A very nice older gentleman with a farm in the country was diagnosed with a heart condition. He decided to sell everything, and while he has the time and the funds, he and his wife will get in their very nice trailer and travel around the country.
It was sad.
He sold me everything I need to bring our farm back to life, for pennies on the dollar. From the 4 wheel drive tractor with a loader and a dozen attachments, (disk/harrow/bush hog/finish mower/plow/box blade/grader blade/spreader/post hole digger, etc.) to a 200 gallon diesel tank with an electric pump, to piles of chains and logging tools, to buckets of electric and barbed wire fencing tools, insulators, clips, posts, the electric fence charger, a 100 gallon water tank, it just went on and on.
Awesome presents, for me. Alexe appreciates what I do for her and us with my tools, but she doesn't get all that excited about them.
So we had to race home, making it by 1, and I fed and dropped the kids in their beds for nap time, and got going on Alexe-things.
Cake: Every year Alexe gets a home made cake, and I've been adding layers over the past few years. This year we were looking at six. It started with homemade applesauce, something I've been doing with a bushel of apples we bought that lost their crunch last week.
Mix, stir, measure, and there's a pile of goop. Too much for the mixer to handle, so finished by hand.
Bake, cool, whip cream with cinnamon, confectioner sugar, and vanilla paste, assemble, sprinkle with confectioner sugar. It turned out nicely.
The birthday girl.
There she is.
At 2:30 Jackie, the same lovely lady who took the girl's to the birthday party on Sunday, had both kids over to her house for a play date. In that time I was able to get dinner completed, and pick up the house, do the laundry, etc. These are not things I often do, and though my girl loves wrapped boxes, me doing these things makes her smile more.
Dinner was a beef stew. I like throwing these together, as long as there's time to get them going early enough so they can simmer for many hours. They're even better if you age them a day or two.
We had dinner, presents, and cake on the porch.
The cake, unfortunately, after being cut and having time for the cream to warm up, lost its structural integrity. Some for the chickens, plenty left for us.
My tractor. On, after the closing tomorrow at 2, our land.
The nice gentleman who sold me the tractor was in a rush, so I had to move everything I bought off his property yesterday. Once again Jackie took a child for me, Caspian heading over to play with Leah while the two older girls were at school.
With two trailers, using the tractor to load them both, then loading the tractor and driving to our farm, unloading the tractor to unload the rest of the equipment, then loading the tractor up again and heading back to use it to load more heavy stuff, rinse repeat, I was at this until 4:30, after starting at 8. On the first trip the tractor had to squeeze onto the trailer behind the bush hog, leaving the weight too far behind the axles. After almost getting thrown off the road when the trailer started weaving at 27 mph, I drove the 15 miles into town at under 20 mph. Things went more smoothly after learning that lesson.
Jackie picked Annaliese up from school, and then kept both our kids, along with her two, all day.
We had her and the girls over for a pizza dinner. A paltry thank you, but having these kind of friends: one of the many reasons we've decided we love living in a small town.
Today we turned Alexe's produce run into a family trip, sans Annaliese, who was at school. Caspian ate three bananas, after two large breakfasts, and then had lunch at 11:20.
The last night of soccer. Caspian, and the team he barely made an effort to play with. He sure loved the snacks after each game though.
Annaliese got it this year. The games weren't very well organized, but in between the chaos she got a few great break aways, a couple goals, and lots of high fives.
Tomorrow we close on the new land, and we have a couple coming to see our blue house in the afternoon. Wouldn't that be perfect.