the river, quickly

We're doing lots of learning with friends this fall, but we don't have as much time to adventure as I'd like. "School" with friends is Monday, Wednesday morning, and Friday. Wednesday afternoon we have our park day. Thursday is Grandma's house day. Saturday is full of playing with friends, and Sunday the same plus church. So it's pretty much only Tuesday that we can just take off into the wide world. And even then other pressures and commitments call us. So our trip to the river this past Tuesday morning was a short one. But no less delightful for it!

the boys in the canoe on the river in warm clothes

bundled up for the water

It felt wintery as we put the boat in the water. As I buckled my life jacket over layers of sweatshirts I was very aware that I really didn't want to fall in. And once we were on the river every tip of the boat as anyone adjusted their position just about sent us into a panic. For a little while. Then we got used to it, and even started to enjoy the downdrafts and gusts ruffling the water as they sped towards us.

We paddled far enough upstream to see the hill at October Farm Riverfront in the distance and wish we had time to go there, then turned around. On the way back downstream we stopped at what we call Mosquito Island, figuring it would be safer at this time of year. It was, and we had a pleasant time exploring with only imaginary coyotes and mountain lions to run from. The boys found some pottery scraps that we brought home to puzzle together (they were a crock jug), and Harvey spotted a mailbox that we left there.

Harvey posing with a mailbox on a post in the woods

the box wasn't actually attached to that post

When we got back to the boat launch after about an hour the old men fishing were surprised to see us again so soon and asked if we had gotten cold. Nope, I said, that was just all the time we had for the morning. How has life come to this?!

more

some things I enjoyed today

A monarch butterfly on the drying laundry.
Drifts of beautiful molted chicken feathers.
Late October raspberries.
Dogs laying in the sun.
Mowing the lawn, but slowly.

everybody knows smores now

I remember a few years ago when I made my first perfect smore. It was before the wonderful fireplace we have now by the deck, before we even had built our first fireplace out in the yard: back when we were burning wood in the Coleman kettle grill. Innocent days indeed! Smores weren't so common in our life back then, so when I finally made a good one I was very excited, and took a picture. That's natural, I think. But now well-made smores are to be expected in our yard, since we make them on average of a couple times a month all year round, and we don't take pictures of all of them.

And it's not just us now! One of the few upsides of this pandemic is that lots more people have realized they need to have a place in their yard to have a fire—nice for entertaining outdoors at any time, and essential in the colder months. So naturally they're all upping their marshmallow-roasting game too. Last night we were circled around a charcoal grill with friends, and all the kids turned out satisfactory smores even in those somewhat difficult conditions (there's always flames with charcoal, apparently). I wouldn't have chosen these months of isolation and fear, but if we're dealing with a pandemic at least we get to enjoy lots of chocolate, marshmallow, and graham crackers to ease the pain.

jack-o-season

I'm not good at jack-o-lanterns. As soon as the pumpkins show up at the farm the boys are are ready to bring one home, but I always want to wait—so much can go wrong with a pumpkin between the beginning of October and the 31st! And never mind carving them before Halloween morning... the squirrels will eat them for sure. Obviously, that's a little too pessimistic and joy-killing! So it's a good thing our boys have other people in their lives who are ready to embrace the fun of pumpkin-carving all through the fall. Often it's grandparents; yesterday it was Mama, taking over the morning of school while I was at my monthly staff meeting at work, who made it happen. She only got little pumpkins, one each for the boys and their friends in our school group, so I'm still on the hook for the "real" jack-o-lanterns next week. But they had a great time carving, and now our porch is starting to look appropriately seasonal. Plus looking at the pumpkins we already have will help me not forget to buy the next batch!

Elijah's little jack-o-lantern on the porch

seasonal

so cold!

On Friday we were digging on a trail at our friends' house and it felt like full summer: sweat was literally dripping down my face as I worked. Then over the weekend the weather took a turn, and now today it didn't crack 60°F all day. And I've got to say, I'm not ready for the cold! That's true for two reasons. There's the usual way, which is that my body hasn't adapted to the sudden change and all day I had trouble shaking a chill. But also that our house still has a couple broken windows and a broken front door, so that any cold outside can come right inside. I was expecting I'd have to do some repairs before winter, but now it looks like winter is just about here! Oops. Elijah tells me he'll help me with the door, though, so that's alright. Maybe we'll get started tomorrow.