moments from the week

kids playing in the snow


Moments from the past week.

Zion walking barefoot in fall leaves wearing jacket and long underwear

fall outfit

kids working at the table around piles of fabric

homeschool doll-making

Lijah climbing the roots of a new-fallen tree

storm damage

Zion sitting with the dogs watching the airport

boy and dog adventures

Harvey decorating halloween gingerbread cookies

seasonal cookies

pancakes cooking on the griddle: four plain, one chocolate chip, one banana

special orders

Zion cuddling with a friend's guinea pig

guinea pig visit

snow on the trees at first light

Oct. 31 dressed up as winter for Halloween

the boys posing in their Halloween costumes

Happy Halloween!


a pandemic halloween

Halloween was obviously a little different than usual this year. We had talked about putting together some sort of trick-or-treating plan with neighbors, but then didn't do anything about it; since nobody among the group we usually go with was enthusiastic, we decided to just skip it. And we didn't have an awesome family celebration planned like some people (nor could we watch a movie, which I hear lots of folks did). Still, we made some things happen! Mainly the costumes.

Lijah with green face paint, goblin ears, black cloak, and knife

assassin goblin

Zion as a ninja (with yellow boots)

ninja (plus practical boots)

Harvey with cloak, straps, and dagger


The boys had firm ideas of what they wanted to be a couple weeks ago, if not before, but nobody started any real work on getting the pieces together until a couple days ago. Mama got them some new clothes—a green shirt for Harvey, black sweatpants for Zion—and Harvey and Elijah used cloaks from previous costumes. Leah did a little sewing to make Harvey belts for his potions and knife. I worked on the weapons.

Candy-eating got started early, when Grandma came over with a bag for each boy. They went through enough that lunch was pretty small. Mid afternoon we headed to church for a costume parade, photo-op, and candy pick-up. It was a delightful, lively event; I only wish it hadn't been limited to 40 people, because there were more people who would have come if they could have; it could have been even more lively! The boys were disappointed none of their friends were there, but they still participated with enough enthusiasm to earn their next hit of candy.

Just after that event we headed to a friend's house for a social-distanced backyard celebration with a couple other families. The kids played, we all had pizza (one pizza per family, over 12 feet apart), then we set up trick-or-treating stations around the yard and rationed out the candy. It was actually super fun; I'd almost rather do that than regular trick-or-treating, especially if we could lose the social-distancing part.

the boys bundled up celebrating with friends, orange leaves in the background


The only problem was the cold—the very cold—which cut the proceedings a little short (grim precedent for social-distanced gatherings this winter!). We needed a fire! So on the way home we stopped by another friends' house, where there was one. And one more chance to trick-or-treat!

Lijah warming his hands at a fire in a metal fireplace

the goblin got the coldest

It was good. And best of all (from an ancient parent's perspective) it was all over by 6:30! So were able to get to bed early and both maximize our extra time-change sleep and get ourselves well-adapted to the new time. I was glad for the extra sleep because the morning's sugar crash was hard enough as it was... but that's another story!


voting day

I am so mad that events of the last four years have forced me, at just the first opportunity, to go back on my vow of November 2016 to never vote for a white man for president ever again. Oh, how optimistic I was on that fateful morning of 11-7-16! Now not only will I be voting for Joe Biden, I'll be doing it with a huge amount of enthusiasm—not for him as a candidate, maybe, but to repudiate all the hatefulness we've seen in the Trump era and move us back towards a world where I can have the opportunity to vote for a woman or person of color under retirement age. Just about everybody I know has already cast their ballot in this election, long since—Leah mailed hers in like a month ago—but I wanted to actually do it in person. Feels more real that way. More violent, even. Sure, Bedford turned red on the Covid map last week, but all those new cases were high school kids; we vote in the middle school, so it should be totally safe. Here goes nothing!

moments from the week

Zion and Lijah playing in a leaf pile

they all came down

Moments from the past week.

Zion sitting on a pillow doing school work at our bubble school

bubble school is comfortable

Zion riding towards the bright rising sun

riding into the sunrise

Elijah wading in a stream in his boots

new boot testing

garlic planted in the garden waiting to be covered up

garlic in, finally

Harvey being silly with paper cartoon eyes taped to his eyes

the silliness

my bike lying on the ground with the saddle unattached

I never broke a saddle before...


moments from the week

Zion and  Lijah pretending to gnaw a beaver-chewed tree

busy beavers

Moments from the past week.

kids riding on a dirt bike path

bubble school hits the road

Zion and Elijah running on some big dirt jumps

dirt jumping without bikes

Elijah walking on a log in the woods

at home in the woods

tables set with tablecloths and candles under the lights on our back deck

our deck can be classy

the boys with friends in a stick house they found

they found a clubhouse

Lijah working to catch up to friends on doubletrack in the woods

working hard to keep up

Harvey wading in the full stream at Great Brook

still warm enough to wade... for Harvey at least!


I'm not dead

When I stop writing in the blog it's sometimes hard to get going again. Here's what happened. With the election outcome in doubt, I couldn't focus on anything, and certainly not writing. Any time I sat down at the computer I was drawn inexorably toward checking the news, and then reading to the same contentless words over and over again. You know, there wasn't actually that much happening between when I voted on Tuesday and we heard the results the following Saturday... but people were happy to pretend there might be, and I was primed to listen to them!

Then almost immediately after we got the happy news about Biden's victory, we had a personal farm tragedy: the dogs got out in the yard unsupervised with the chickens and attacked them. They killed one right away, and wounded another very seriously. She lingered for almost two days in our little chicken hospital box, but there was nothing we could really do for her besides making her as comfortable as possible, and she died Monday afternoon. Goodbye, Brownie and Ramona: we all miss you. There were many tears shed. Then after that the rest of the week was pretty normal, but the psychological fatigue and inertia kept me from getting back into writing. What would I say?

So that's what happened. I plan on going back and adding photos for the past two Sundays I missed, and as Thanksgiving gets closer I'm sure there will be more things I want to write about. So I guess you haven't heard the last of me yet.

the bones of the the earth

We took a walk this afternoon at Whipple Hill in Lexington. It was the first time we'd been there in a couple months, and it sure looks different in November than it did in early September! With the leaves down, the steep hilly terrain is exposed, as are all kinds of delightful rock outcropping that tempted us to explore them. (We saw a good-sized group of kids with a pair of adults on the best of them; I wonder if they were another homeschool group?) And from the top of the hill, which is the highest point in Lexington, we could see for miles and miles—much better than in summertime when it's enclosed with leaves. I think we could see Mt Wachusset looming in the distance, but of course we couldn't be sure. It was something impressive anyways! We also spotted lots of fun looking lines for biking. We may be making a return trip there soon!

moments from the week

the boys hiking on a path between rocks

november is rocky

Moments from the past week.

Harvey and Zion petting goats through a fence

we used to visit them all the time...

Elijah riding his bike down stairs

street trials

Lijah working with letter tiles on the floor with mamas, baby, and dog nearby

our school is a family affair

Zion and Havana working on math in the yard

partner work


buddy can you spare a door?

On Saturday Zion was having a delightful time presenting a play for his family in the living room. In the wildness of his performance he ran up against the door and put his hand right through the glass. That put a stop to things! Fortunately, he wasn't hurt at all—he smashed a clean hole with the heel of his hand and his wrist managed to miss all the sharp parts. So since we didn't have to go to the hospital we were free to get mad.

Not too mad, of course, because what can you do? These things happen. Even to 110-year-old doors. Leah's thought was to replace the whole thing, but I was having none of it—I love that door! I was determined that we could repair it, that the oval window was actually a rectangle of glass in a wood frame. Leah did her part and sourced a replacement pane of glass, and I went to work taking apart the door. I soon discovered that I wouldn't be able to just pull the broken glass out of the window panel, so Saturday afternoon I got started making a replacement. It's not done yet. We're glad that the weather was warm over the weekend, and a little concerned that the temperature is now trending distinctly downward. I hung a blanket over the open space (we do have a storm door too, but it's none to snug in its frame) and, having just finished rereading The Long Winter, I've been telling the family that Laura and Mary had it much worse in 1881. But it's safe to say that I'll be working hard on the project tomorrow!

ah well

While I wasn't writing in November I was riding. I set myself a goal of riding my bike outside every day of the month, and it was going great: I did some long rides, some short technical rides, and some fun exploring rides with the boys. Winter twilight led me into riding in the woods with lights for the first time, which was fun. Some days I didn't have it in me to go anywhere when I went out after dark, so I just practiced on our street, trying to get my bunny hops higher and my balance better. All good times! But there's a lot going on in our life that makes it a stretch to ride for two hours in a day, or even half an hour, and after my longest ride of the month Sunday afternoon—24 miles, almost all of it off-road!—I just barely managed 15 minutes of practicing yesterday. And today I decided to take a day off. From riding, that is: a lot of other work got done. I'm sure not putting the bike away for the season, though! Now that the pressure's off I look forward to lots more fun rides before the month is out... and who's to say we can't keep riding into December?

our Thanksgiving day

We celebrated Thanksgiving just the five of us, and it was nice. Originally we were going to get together with Leah's parents and brother to exchange food and take a walk, but due to the rain we postponed that until tomorrow. While it would have been great to see them, I think I'm glad things ended up the way they did, because it was actually really lovely to have a quiet cozy day at home in the rain, reading, playing cards, and slowly but steadily making food. And we made some food!

food on our table

a feast!

Leah took charge of the turkey. I made sides: mashed potatoes, green beans, gravy, cranberry sauce, and stuffing. I also made a pumpkin pie, but then when it came time for the boys to add their own contributions it turned out they all wanted to do desserts too. Harvey made an apple crisp and Lijah folded some pieces of Hershey chocolate in Pillsbury crescent roll dough to make some quite delicious chocolate croissants. Zion... caused ice cream to be purchased? Does that count? We all ate very well.

I was especially happy with the stuffing. It was the recipe my mom has used all my life (and probably long previous!), which I don't think I've ever attempted before. Why would I? I've always had the real thing available! My attempt came out a little different but just as delicious, and since only Harvey and I wanted any there's plenty left over. Actually, there's plenty of everything left over: with that spread, we couldn't even finish off the veggies and dip! And there will be more food coming tomorrow. Yikes! Good thing the rain's over so we can get some exercise.

We talked a little about what we're thankful for this year. Mostly surviving covid and enjoying some new opportunities in this strange pandemic world. Zooms with far-away friends and bubble school for the most part, but Thanksgiving around our own table came in for a little love too. I hope and trust we won't have to do it this way again... but maybe we'll want to, every once and a while.


moments from the week

Harvey standing in the Concord River in his boots

cold-weather wading gear

Moments from the past week.

Harvey and Lijah sitting on the rug playing

old toys are still fun

shirtless Lijah eating a turkey leg

he's savage for Thanksgiving

Harvey riding through a puddle on a big rock

wet rock riding

Elijah sitting across a fallen tree trunk over a little dell

he wanted to go all the way across

Harvey and Zion walking along the beach, Blue running after them

Thanksgiving beach walk


winter beach beauty

On Saturday we celebrated Thanksgiving with my parents by taking a walk on the beach. That hasn't been part of our traditional observances in the past, but you know, this isn't a traditional year. It was my mom's idea, but we picked the beach: Good Harbor. They'd never been; we're somewhat familiar. The boys and I were last there a year ago, and Harvey was first there before he really knew what was going on. As always, it was beautiful beach weather.

the boys and dogs near the water at Good Harbor beach

we're at the beach!

Within two minutes of crossing the bridge to the sand, Zion had fallen in. That set the tone for the outing: all the boys got pretty wet, despite having their boots on most of the time. Boots only work when they're taller than the water is deep.

Zion and Elijah in the water, with a wave washing over Lijah's boots

look out Elijah!

Zion especially had to stop occasionally to bale.

Zion pouring water out of his boot, Grandpa looking on

it'll be fine when he gets the water out, right?

Not that anybody minded wet boots or pants. They were having fun! The dogs, of course, had no trouble at all.

the dogs running in the waves

yay for wet paws

Grandma and Grandpa were very patient with the slow pace of our progress down the beach. It was lovely to see them, and we even talked a little bit about what we'd eaten for Thanksgiving to make it seem like a real holiday thing. I don't know that the beach will be my first choice for Thanksgiving next year, but I'm certainly sold on visiting it in November.

the dogs standing on the rocks by the ocean