Sunday, August 30, 2015


The kids with their new zip line.

Homemade zip lines allow for lots of play in the speed and overall safety level (excitement!) of the ride.  At this point I think we've struck the right balance of fun and safety.  

The view of the kids running silently to the zip line after school, hoping their sibling doesn't notice them before they get a few rides in, is super gratifying.

The kids and I took a hike through the back pasture.  Our little herd is growing.  That black cow is 3/4 jersey, 1/4 angus, and about 4 months old.  He's getting close to his mother's size already.

We decided to go to the top of our hill on the way home.

More zip line fun.  It's where they're hanging out these days.

Waiting for his turn, Caspian climbed the tree.  I was called over from across the yard to come help him get down.  He explained he couldn't climb down because all his itchy parts were itching.

Planting the fall garden with the kids.  Alexe has been slightly upset by my insta-garden, and the fact that mine is bigger than hers.  She's slowly remembering "same team".

It turns out planting goes very quickly when I'm making rows with a hoe, one child is sprinkling seeds, and the other is following to cover the seeds.  We put in turnips, spinach, kale, rutabagas, radishes, and something else.  Everything but the rutabagas have come up.

The helpers were great while I had their attention.

A family walk around town, the first of the cool weather season, and the sun setting over the Airstream as we walked home was lovely.  We snapped this to send to u.c.Nick and tempt him to come visit already.

They turn adorable as soon as they know it's past their bedtime.

Inch by inch, row by row.

Alexe and I had a lovely day together on the farm, her mid-week day off with the kids in school.  I wandered through the kitchen while she was out to pick the kids up from school, and saw this:  Homemade brownies and cool milk set out.  Lucky, loved kids.

I'm still prowling around for stones to finish (start) landscaping the fish pond.  In the meantime the kids decided they couldn't wait to go swimming.

The zip line has developed a new game:  At the end of the run, when you're way up in the oak tree and out of reach of your sibling, you can tie the tow rope to the tree and recline, enjoying a high perch, and delaying your sibling's turn.  The game was developed by Annaliese, but enjoyed by both.

A little mahogany, a little joining and clamping and gluing and sanding and urethane...

And voila, a backplate for the kitchen sink.  (I may be scraping the bottom of the project bucket.)

Unpacking Annaliese's homework folder one evening last week:

Alexe mentioned changing the color of the chimney one evening.  I went in the shop and found some left over facade paint, the good stuff with baked in primer left over from the Blu Buck buildings, and gave it a go.

We liked the color, funky and bright, and I finished it off the next morning.

These kids are not lacking things to play with/on.

A little jaunt to Oxford, Square Books Junior.

Followed by pizza at 6 and Tubbs.  

There was a Sunday morning spent organizing closets.  And bookshelves.

Gingerbread cookies were made to take to a pool party at our friends' house out in the country.  I don't have any pictures from the party because we were busy swimming to the sounds of the musicians singing and jamming on the porch.  A fun crowd.

This afternoon before heading to the store to do paperwork and play on the computer, we went to the back pasture to collect rocks.

Sarah was a bit surprised to see us in her field. 

Alexe and Caspian headed in.

Annaliese stuck with me.  She may be going through a bit of a daddy phase.  Exhibit A being her homework folder.  As someone who's always wanted to be a parent, it's pretty rad.

A couple pictures of what I spent some time on this morning.  Moving all the equipment out of the overgrown hedge and inside the fence line where the goats will keep the weeds off them.  

Which freed up the hedgerow to be mowed down, and prepped as a neat spot for the winter hay.

In the clearing efforts of this past winter, these are all the stones I unearthed over 3 acres or so.  There are no other rocks anywhere else on the property.  We don't know what these are going to be used for, (there's not nearly enough to do the pond,) but it's going to be something special.

Peanut Butter, silhouetted against her mother.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Family life, around the projects.

In the blink of an eye our babies are now first and second graders.  They met their teachers on a Tuesday night, and started school two days later.

It's been several weeks since then, and they are both doing well; happy to go to school every morning, and happy when they get home each afternoon. 

This is morning #1:

And coming home that afternoon.

Annaliese reverted to the private little girl who has a social life that is none of our business.  It takes 15 to 30 minutes each day for her to come out of her shell.  This year she's started to share more about her days over dinner, possibly to compete with her chatty brother who talks about his days non-stop.

Alexe was at a food-safety class in Oxford on this first day of school, so they chilled in my office and yammered about their day until we were ready to go home.  

Sunday brunch at Addriene and Taariq's house.  In a house full of friends and food, this is where mother and son were hiding out, full plates on their laps.  

Annaliese is happy at school but not particularly challenged.  (The gifted program just started up, and the reports of sitting with 5 kids and doing extra work while classical music plays sounds promising.)  Annaliese is self-supplementing, and turned this book report in to Alexe.

She's also periodically packing the school lunches...

With the end of summer laissez faire, we're having proper sit-down dinners each evening.  

It's priceless time.

These are home-hatched chicks that this little hen sat, and is now doing an excellent job raising.  That makes for home-born chickens, pigs, and cows.  We have a couple goats that are ready to burst, and the others are being very friendly with the billy.

She's always figuring out new tricks on the rings.  

The airstream with power and water, just waiting for u.c.Nick to come for a fall stay.  He's back from Moscow and finding projects in the North East, but we have hopes he'll turn up soon.

Annaliese often times has her homework done before we have time to sit down with her after dinner. 

Caspian has been loving a full social day, followed by a cooler farm that he can race around.  He's always on the periphery of what I'm doing, sometimes helping.

Collecting flowers from Alexe's garden.

If his sister can do something, he'll figure it out momentarily.

I love it when the crew is out in the front pasture when I come home.

I don't know what this started out as, but eventually they had little cars and were building a village.  It's not where I thought it was going at first.

In Oxford for a birthday party; somehow I only took one picture, of Caspian fueling up before running back to the pool.

Alexe and I were having a lovely moment relaxing on the porch during a rain storm.  The kids stopped by mid-naked-rain storm game of tag.

Pressure washing the tractor.  Eating an apple. 

The new garden, before I put up the final side of fencing to keep the chickens out.

Annaliese decided we needed some decorations around the homestead.

We don't know where this talent came from, certainly not from her parents.

And with the end of the summer we said goodbye to our favorite young adult.  She headed back to school for her senior year of college, after helping us all summer at the store, the hotel, the farm, and a couple stints as a babysitter. She's an amazing young lady, who is more aware and capable and interested than any of her cohort we know.  

She hand-stitched that apron for Alexe.