hey kids, it's the day people won't try to kill you with their cars!

Today is "International Walk/Bike to School Day", and Bedford is observing it with all the care of a squeamish teacher pretending enthusiasm for the mealworms the kids are studying in science.

Led by Selectman Margot Fleischman and other volunteers, the Lane School walk from St. Paul’s to Lane School is approximately 1 mile long, and follows neighborhood streets. The bike ride will follow the Narrow-Gauge rail trail from Loomis Street to the school with police support for all the road crossings.

Note how it says "the Lane School walk" and "the bike ride"—that's because, rather than letting everyone make their own way to school (presumably they know how to find it) administrators are hoping to gather folks at a few central locations in order to have them all walk or bike together. I wonder how many of those kids will be driven to the assembly points?

My favorite part of the whole ridiculous mess is the title of the Bedford Citizen article I linked above: "Wednesday is Walk-Bike to School Day — Drive with Care!" Unspoken subtext: if you try to walk or bike any other day, you crazy hippies, you can just expect someone to run you down! It's funny because it's true... wait, no, it's not funny at all!


artistic outing

a stone bird sculpture; Harvey and Zion in the background

in the sculpture garden

On Saturday I took the boys out to Old Frog Pond Farm, an apple orchard that also has a sculpture walk.

a big egg-shaped porcupine-looking sculpture

porcupine egg?

As we pulled in the boys were delighted to see what looked like an egg made out of porcupine out on the front lawn, and we were instantly sold on the idea of mixing sculpture with apples. It was a chilly gray day, and the morning's light rain had just ended when we got there, so we had the place to ourselves. The woman at the sculpture side of things greeted us warmly, gave Harvey a map, and pointed us in the right direction... then we were on our own to explore.

Zion and Harvey walking in the sculpture park

a farm where they grow art

There were all kinds of pieces by a variety of artists, but all of them shared certain qualities—especially in how much they blended in to the natural (and agricultural) environment. Sometimes so much so that they were hard to spot!

an instalation: white plastic leaves in the oak tree


All the art was very approachable for the kids, and lots of the pieces just cried out to be touched. I'm not sure what the rules really were, but when things looked safe enough I didn't want to hold the boys back. Who could resist, say, this giant mancala board?!

Lijah checking out a giant mancala board

begging to be played with

The biggest piece on the walk was a rusty-brown teapot of a considerable size. We saw it right from the beginning but the path took us away from it, around a pond and through the edge of the woods. When we came to the end of the loop and saw it again the boys ran right up.

the boys checking out a giant teapot sculpture

the biggest sculpture

I was delighted to see it was made out of old leaves stuffed into a structure of chicken wire. Even more delightful was discovering, a little later, that the piece is called "Compost Tea".

detail of the teapot sculpture: leaves under chicken wire

that's what it's made of

I don't think I could pick my favorite of the sculptures we saw—I could barely restrain myself from posting pictures of all of them! There were eggs woven from twigs and carved out of wood; golden dragonflies suspended over the stream and a silvery creature emerging from the pond; suggestions of birds in pieces of branches and cast-off iron machinery; and a sacred circle of standing stones, to name just a few.

The walk was free (though we did pay the suggested donation, despite not being asked—I wouldn't have known about it if I hadn't read the website) so I thought we might support the endeavor by picking some apples... also Lijah was just about demanding it, since he could see them hanging on the trees. So we did.

Harvey and Zion picking apples, alone in the orchard

a real orchard, and all to ourselves

The only varieties left were two I'd never heard of, Green Crisp and another one I can remember. We got both, and it was nice to have to work to find good apples off of real trees in a real orchard.

Lijah walking back through the orchard, munching on an apple

Lijah approves

The only bad part of the day was we came home to find that Leah would have loved to come with us to the orchard, something I completely failed to realize. I'm now working on being a better listener.


on being a crazy person

We're back in the compost business, and this afternoon I went on an errand to pick up a couple full buckets that we had left to sit at a friend's house for far too long. Since I was just going around the corner—maybe a half mile away—I couldn't bring myself to take the car. The blue bike could handle the load fine. It was only as I rode home that I realized how I might appear to the more conventional citizens passing me in their cars on their way home from work: this guy in worn-out carhartts and broken shoes, piloting a ridiculous bicycle loaded down with two open five-gallon buckets of rather fragrant food waste.

In all fairness, I am actually pretty crazy; though I like to think my particular insanity is actually a rational response to the environmental threats our planet is under. So from that point of view I may be saner then the folks down the street who spent the afternoon using an excavator to smash down a perfectly good house (filling two dumpsters full of what, moments before, had been perfectly good building materials) in order to make room for a bigger house (made of newly-cut wood, naturally). For many reasons it might be possible to argue that they're the crazy ones. But they have the numbers on their side, so I get the label. Fair enough.

It could have been worse, actually. On the trip to the pick-up, I was going down a hill when the wind started to lift my cap off my head. I reached a hand up to keep it from flying away just as the front wheel hit a bump, and down I went. It was a pretty hard crash, and I have a bloodied elbow and some serious bruises to show for it. But when the bike went over the only things flying out of it were the empty bucket and an assortment of trash that the kids had left behind. Imagine if I'd been coming home when it happened: ten gallons of slop landing on my back as I hit the ground would have made me feel a lot, lot worse. So all told, I count the outing as a complete success!


more early fall moments

Not as much time to write as I'd like, but enough to take pictures. After the party the boys were happy to have the tables around to enjoy.

Zion, Harvey, and a friend playing a board game on a party table outside

tables outside in beautiful weather

There are lots of things you can do with tables.

Harvey and Zion pulling Lijah sled-style on an overturned table

mush, you huskies!

The weather last weekend was cold in the mornings and hot mid day; hard to know what to wear first thing.

Zion and Harvey walking in the woods; Harvey with winter jacket

morning walk... shorts or winter coat?

It was plenty warm last Saturday for the local church's Apple Fest.

a display of pumpkins at a church fair

pumpkins for the apple fest

And whatever the weather, we like to spend time by the water whenever we can.

Harvey and Lijah by the shore of Spy Pond at sunset

still ponding


this moment

Harvey sitting on the porch floor using a ruler to measure distance on a string

measuring the time line

A moment from the week.