Thursday, September 18, 2014

End of Summer (almost)

Our end of summer has been even busier than the rest of the season, but packed with so much fun and adventure I'm not complaining.  Though we may need a vacation from it soon!  I always think fall will be that--a settling in and resting up time, but then it begins and what do you know? We are busier than ever with homeschooling, 4-H, chorus, music lessons, etc.  Maybe we'll slow down for winter.

Anyhow, here are the few pictures I managed to take on our latest adventures:  Camping at Hermit Island with family and friends, and a women's only (dogs too) hike up Tumbledown Mountain.

More to come soon--in the next couple weeks:  Common Ground Fair, Deerfield Fair, Burlington, VT and the Portland Marathon!  Whew.  I'm tired already.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Summer Work (mine)

 Summer work:   Harvesting, cooking, lots of weeding, some bee keeping, swarm watching (unfortunately not catching), lots and lots of running, beach days, bike rides, BBQ's, a bit of sewing, a little preserving.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


These goofy kids have birthdays this week.  Eleven and Nine.  The past few years we have had a separate party for each child, but this year the adults pulled rank (and some bribery too) and convinced them to have one shared party.  Its amazing what your kids will agree to for a bouncy house.  

    Waiting for guests to arrive

                       Still waiting....

                      Lemonade stand

     Fun with washi tape

     More fun with washi tape


                  Squirt guns left over from a hospital event (just as much fun as the bounce house)

    Preschoolers "smoking" pretzels

    Paint markers on glass

    The giant giraffe bounce

Happy Birthday Kiddos, we love you!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Summer Through Running

Every spring my man tries out running, for about two weeks.
This year it stuck.  Early each morning as the sun is clearing the tops of the trees we slip out the door for an early run.  Every morning he gives me the running update:  day 67, day 71, day 79 and counting.

When we started this routine it was cold and dark at 5 a.m.  We layered on hats and pants, pulled our fingers into our sleeves and watched for slick spots where the night's dew may have frozen on the pavement.  

We run only 2-5 miles, depending on the day.  Its a quiet, often fast run with little time before our respective days must begin in earnest.  Rob wears his high tech ear phones, wireless.  He dons his sleek iPod holder (he's always had a thing for fanny packs!) I'm in my running uniform:  black tank, blue shorts circa high school track.

The mornings grew warmer and brighter, until the end of June when we rose at 5:00 to daylight bright and hot, and mornings so muggy it was hard to tell if we were sweating or if the moist air was just condensing on our skin. Back home we stretch on the porch, sweat wet back prints marking our place when we stand.  

These mornings the garden snails cover the road with slick trails of slime. They congregate in hundreds, and crunch under our feet when we are careless.  The mama in me toe steps around them, but the gardener in me cheers a bit at the sight of so many massacred by passing cars.  

Rob runs each day without fail (against the better judgement of many seasoned runners). He rolls sore muscles, stretches daily, and drinks more water than he's ever drunk. He is excited about salads for dinner.  He is adding miles, feeling good, looking fine, and did I mention he is fast?!  I haven't had a speed workout like these since high school (could be the shorts). 

Still high summer, but already the shift in sunlight is noticeable.  With prickly skin and deer flies hovering we watch the sunrise over the tops of neighbor's barns. Breathless and light on our toes we alert deer in the fields, and avoid escaped cattle in the road.  We wave to the farmers as they start their days, the only people we ever see on these early runs.  

This morning the air was cool, and dry.  It was a welcome change from the sticky humidity we've been wading through for the past few days.  Today's was the kind of air that leaves you feeling feverish while you run, sweat cooling fast on prickly hot skin.  Giving me goosebumps even as I sweat. 

This weekend Rob raced his first 5K since high school.  He rocked it.  Before the race he was so nervous he said he'd never do it again.  Afterward he was already planning for the next one.  I think he's hooked.  And it's pretty sweet.  

Thanks for running with me Babe.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Running through Summer

I'm deep in the throws of marathon training, past the halfway point and not looking back.  
That means lots of running, the bulk off which happens at 5:00 a.m. before the kids are up.  
That means by the time bedtime rolls around (theirs) I'm ready for sleep myself, or close to it.  That means I haven't felt the desire or capacity to sit down at a computer and craft some intelligent, possibly witty, or endearing, (could I maybe hope for even inspiring?) thoughts on our family happenings and the challenges and wonders of my life these summer days.  Its been nearly a month since my last post, but everyone in my house is in bed already (I won't mention how embarrassingly/wonderfully early it is) and I'm not long behind, so a very quick note on our days.

It finally got hot here and we've launched into summer proper with camping, family reunions, beach days, lake days, pond days, and too hot to do anything but close up the house and read on the couch days.  Ice cream has become a staple here, including my sister's amazing Sheep's Milk Gelato from Toddy Pond Farm (I don't know how to make a link on this mobile device so you'll have to look it up--it's worth your time).

Wylie has been researching our family history and putting together a family tree.  He's approaching it as he does all projects: with the voracity (voraciousness?) of a hungry bear cub devouring a meal; all gangly and never still, but focusing all attention to the task of the moment. Before this it was Ham Radio and I sense that we're fast moving onto music publication and song rights.  We're not bored much.  Exhausted comes to mind.  I often wonder how much pressure I should put on him to complete these endeavors.  But often his goals are so high that completion is highly unlikely if not damn near impossible (ie. mapping a family tree that will demonstrate that we all--you, me, all of us, have some similar ancestor from nomadic times) so it seems best just to encourage his hard work until a new passion emerges.  It's the process right?  

He and Juniper, along with their two good friends Belle and Ezra, make movies of their own creation every chance they get.  Last week they learned that one of their films won first place in the Maine Student Film Awards, pre-teen division!  We are obviously psyched, and proud.  This weekend will be the public film release, being show as part of the International Film Festival in Waterville, Maine.  

Juniper and Kale spend almost all of their time side by side in the throws of some fantasy game, and are ridiculously cute about it.  Juniper is strong and leads well, and is as savvy as a politition when it comes to getting her way in a game.  She can sweet talk her idea into Kale's head without him realizing it's not his own.  Kale has taken to talking like a teenager, announcing at the dinner table this evening, "I am so done with this soup", and using the word "like"  as often as a 12 year old girl.  

We've been running from one weekend activity to the next, Acadia National Park, NH, summer camp, Grandparent visits, craft fairs, cousins, BBQ's, pool parties etc.  Summer is like a race the way we try to cram it all in before the weather shifts.  But, it's also like a long early morning run.  There's space between the steps to let ourselves sink into the rhythm of it all.  To let our minds wander, to listen to bird calls, and admire the morning haze before the sun burns it off for the day.  We may be hot, sweaty, and exhausted, but hey, this is fun!  And in the end we get to jump in the lake.  

A few camping snaps curtesy of Rob's iPhone:

Good night y'all.  

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


We celebrated the solstice with two very different parties on a day that felt just how Summer Solstice should feel.  The first was wild and raucous, with a band, swimming pool, trampoline, zip line, and badminton.  The second was a quiet bonfire with kids riding bikes through the grass and poking the fire with sticks.
The two combined were the perfect lead in for what summer is for us:  a time to cram in as much outdoor fun, games, and adventure as we can in 2 1/2 months; and a chance to kick back with friends and let go of schedules while the children play in the mud well past bedtime.   

The bees arrived a few weeks ago and are busy with their sisters (and a few brothers) in the bee yard.  I purchased two new nucs, to replace the one I  lost to swarm late last fall, and the other that I combined with my weaker hive.  That "double" hive survived the winter, and now there are three hives full of bees.  When the wind is right the smell of honey is magical.  

Kale has his own little garden bed this year and dutifully harvests what he can, along with gathering the eggs, several times daily.

    Kale's kale.

    One of the parties we attended was an Juhannus Party, a Finnish celebration of the Solstice.  According to our Finnish friend the direct translation is "midsummer celebration" which is a strange name for the first day of summer.  But then again, she reminded us, "summer in Finland is very short!"
It feels that way here some times too.  In acknowledgement of the short season we brave cold water in May, squeezing in as much swimming as we can, until that last warm afternoon in October.  But this spring didn't offer us any opportunities for pretend early summer.  Now that its officially here we're living it up.  State Park swimming one day, crab gathering on the seashore the next, followed by pond swimming off the end of the john boat, and camping this weekend.  It feels a bit overwhelming, and entirely necessary.  June in Maine is good.

   This boy is happy to be out of school!