Now is my chance to speed things up.
Annaliese has started making meals, some edible, some creative expressions that include every herb and spice in the pantry.
The door on the brand new walk in cooler was faulty, and they had to ship us a new one.
We found the bathtub we wanted for our upstairs bathroom, and the faucet to go with it. Sink and counter and commode installed. (Baseboards still missing.)
We've been to the park to play, attended endless birthday parties, and hosted one for Caspian's fourth.
This year we took the kids, with a friend, to the movies. Pre-movie time in the arcade, popcorn, candy, and a viewing of Epic in 3D. 4 and 5 year olds do not like keeping their 3D glasses on, and a G rating doesn't mean that you won't watch the last 20 minutes of the film with 4 kids piled into your lap.
Post-movie party at the park, with pizza, and the blueberry birthday cake Alexe made for our little boy, per his request.
There have been porch-pickin' pool parties with friends:
We've been joined by home-grown chicks, four, and since have lost 3 to various travesties.
Ms. Betty at the newspaper was visited by her son, and they started clearing out the old herald building on Main Street in preparation for selling. That building, under the endless piles of hoarded junk, houses the full history of printing over the past hundred years, from the smelting, type setting and printing machines of the 20s, through the letter presses, paper cutters etc., up to the first computerized type setters, ending in three little macintosh computers. Annaliese did a bit of stealing while I was visiting with Jim, and had her first out-of-family return of stolen items. It included lots of wailing on the sidewalk outside the new newspaper offices.
We had to spend a week at the Blue House, moving all our stuff out, and fixing/touching things up in preparation for the new tenants.
We had some good times on the porch eating the traditional moving-day takeout.
The kitchen french doors had to be replaced, along with a hundred other little things we neglected when we were living there and busy with other things.
We've been out for pizza after the family of the owner who passed away during a gallery opening on a Friday evening here re-opened his restaurant.
We've sorted through the tons of baby clothes we forgot we had in the attic of the blue house, and taken many trips down nostalgia road.
We've played family-Jenga.
Alexe and I got away for a date night, and found that Dixie has ruined eating out for us. Nothing competes with Chez-Dixie, and that particular eatery is only available one night a year, on Alexe's birthday.
We took a family trip to the dentist, Caspian's first.
Cliff and I snuck in another morning of fishing.
There was an accident with Annaliese's piggy-bank, and a super-glue project to fix it.
Alexe, looking particularly fine, and I were called away from a birthday party when our neighbors called the cops about one of our new pups getting into their garbage. They went after her with a shovel, and they reported her for being aggressive when she growled.
Granted, she is a pit bull.
So we left the kids at the party to scoot the four blocks home, put the dogs up, and while I was doing that, Alexe received a ticket from the polite and apologetic police officer that when I read it said she had been arrested and released on her own reconnaissance to appear in court later this month.
The siding is finished on the house.
I could have moved the scaffolding up here from the building, but instead a chose to go up and down that ladder several hundred times.
Annaliese made this meal/installation for the birds. Not sure what the toothpicks were meant to accomplish, I had to pick a few out of my soles over the following days.
We're thinking of calling the farm Turtle Hills. They're everywhere. (I love turtles.)
The Spring was lovely and cool, if a little wet, and we have been able to eat outside under the pecan tree a few times.
Annaliese continues to be my morning "helper" 2 to 3 mornings a week, and while I'm busy working, she often finds little side projects of her own, like applying full sheets of temporary tattoos to her belly.
Some days she's just full of herself.
Caspian is still going to the learning center until noon each day, and then I have both of these helpful characters until Alexe gets home around 4.
Another set of shelves in the corner of the kitchen. It turned out we had all sorts of things at the Blue House that needed a place to live up here.
At some point I took my beard off.
We harvested two pigs, roasting one whole, butchering the other in the kitchen. It was a long day, starting at 5:30, finishing the work and eating around 6. If I get to it I'll put a full post up about that day. The other two pigs were brought to the butcher on Wed., and will be in the store as sausage some time next week.
Caspian and I took care of the pig transport to Billy Ray's house, where Caspian hopped on the various swings. The girl were at the Oxford Farmer's Market working the BTC booth.
That left us some rare boy time, and we took a hike in our oak forest.
We received some excellent branded hoodies from u.William's sugar maple operation in Vermont.
Moose Mountain Maple. Hmmmm, Turtle Hill Pork?
The steel wagon wheel railings are installed on all the porches. They look pretty great, even with laundry drying on them. (A pulley laundry line running from the porch high into the pecan tree is on the list.)
And those are some of the highlights from the past month or so. There's more to do on the house, but the list is now something I can count on my fingers, and shrinking every day. My mind is already feeling light and free and enthused for the next thing, and there are some fun and sufficiently scary thoughts on that bouncing around in my head. Alexe is finishing up her edits of the book proofs, and the layout and design looks great. I'm gearing up for another long drive north with the kiddoes, but this year Alexe will fly home with them, and I'll have the time to wander down the east coast and visit with folks on the way.
The fall could be very exciting.