fantasy reading in our house

Harvey is currently plowing through the Harry Potter series. He's about a third of the way through the last book right now, so I have some hopes of speaking to him again at some point tomorrow evening. This is his second run at the series; he started reading it the first time after a friend recommended it to him last year, but got stalled out in the middle of book four. This time he came to it on his own, and he's going strong to the end. You can read of my mixed feelings about the books here and here and here; given that, I think I've done a fair job of not being too scathing about the stories. Actually, as we talk about them I'm surprised by how much I remember!

Still, I continue to assert (privately) that better books exist. Like Dial-A-Ghost, which I picked up at the library books sale this past weekend. You could make an argument that Eva Ibbotson did what J.K. Rowling did first, and better (she seems to have been a very good person for not minding particularly much when Rowling made the big time). Certainly, her books have more humor and liveliness. It's natural to wonder why Rowling's work gained such wide popularity and cultural dominance while Ibbotson's, though successful enough, didn't. I don't think it's only the publishing juggernaut that lined up behind Harry Potter; it seems to me that Rowling pioneered a certain sort of authorial focus that leaves her books empty of everything but plot and one-dimensional characters acting out their roles like the guys in a sitcom. That's a satisfying combination. Maybe I'll pick up The Prisoner of Azkaban again and see what I'm missing.

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lost and found

Yesterday was too beautiful for any boys to want to go to Pokemon League, so I went by myself to uphold the honor of the family and fulfill my duties as a League Leader (sounds so impressive!). At the end of the session Michael commented on how many jackets and sweatshirts had been left behind by kids playing over the last month. I took a look at the coat hooks, and noticed one jacket that was very familiar: clearly Harvey's. Then I saw a sweatshirt of his, and then another jacket. Yes, there were lots of items left behind, and more than half of them were left by one child. My child. Good thing he doesn't tend to get cold, or he wouldn't have been able to survive the last few weeks of chilly spring!

moments from the week

Lijah in costume for Bedford's Patriots Day festivities

Patriots Day festivities begin

Moments from the past week.

the boys eating lunch on the back porch

first outdoor lunch of the spring

Lijah licking his fingers after eating a smore by the fire

smore time!

Lijah crouching by the waterfall out of Warners Pond

spring whitewater

Harvey looking at a broken-down cabin in the woods

urbex in the woods

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revisting the farm

When Harvey was small we went to Drumlin Farm all the time. Really, he was there at least once a week. Zion too, but he didn't have as many years to totally appreciate it, because when Harvey was about six he got bored of everything the farm had to offer, and our visits slowed to a trickle. Or maybe even stopped entirely, because in advance of our visit earlier this week Lijah had no memories of the place at all. Even the other boys' recollections were hazy, but as we pulled into the parking lot it all came rushing back to them. "I remember that hill! I remember that path! I remember that rusty old plow!" And it was all just as fun as they recalled.

Zion and Lijah watching lambs in the barn

lamb barn

The main reason we were there was to see the young lambs and kids, and they didn't disappoint. We stopped by the lambs first, and we were in time to watch all the sheep get let out of the barn for the morning. They were very enthusiastic, especially the slightly older lambs. "Gamboling" is the word, I think. Everyone there felt the need to video their enthusiasm for life and the great outdoors.

lambs playing in the field

yay! sun! grass!

At the next barn the kids were even more enthusiastic, but our own kids were over the baby animal thing and ready to move on to places where they could play. So we did the horse barn, and the egg sorting in the chicken house, and the old tractor climbing structure. I enjoyed visiting the greenhouse (I'm jealous). By this time it was the middle of the day and we had the place about to ourselves as all the families with preschoolers headed home to lunch. The friends we were there with eventually did likewise, but we were—of course!—prepared with a picnic, so we were able to dine right there on the farm, by the big rhododendron forest. Then the boys entertained themselves in the forest for the next hour or so, til I called them away to run some races on the hill and then finally head home for a well-needed rest.

It was lovely. The next day we got a mailer from the Audobon Society, completely coincidentally, advertising a half-price membership option. I think I'll take them up on it!

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spring can really hang you up the most

You know, it's actually kind of hard to tell what the weather's doing these days. It was rainy and cold this morning, then by lunchtime we were eating outside on the porch in the bright sunshine. By that point it was warm enough for Harvey to be in shorts and short sleeves, but the rest of us were still wearing our long underwear. At one point Lijah was barefoot but wearing mittens; then he took them off and left them out in the garden, where they must now be blowing around in the wild wind that came up late afternoon. Hooray for spring!