A Hilltop Sea


When the day lilies begin to blossom, wide swathes of orange appear by the roadside, and all vases glow brightly for the few weeks following.



The luxury of gathering blooms by the armful never grows dull,


nor does taking pictures of girls enjoying the same.




A Blackcap Burgler

Who can guess what Susannah's so contentedly munching?



 My favorite berries?
Stop, thief!

Biding Time

Echinacea grew belated and tall from seeds I sowed over a year ago.   Since the chickens routed my cutting bed, they're about the only ones left to snip.

But I'm not the only one who likes them.

Good thing there's enough to go around.



John's friend Candy Ben is pretty awesome.  He's been nothing but kind and gracious to our family since I first met him, and the latest in a string of gifts was a repeat invitation to pick in his great-uncle's berry patch.  It's a huge, family patch perched in the wind and sun on top of a green hill, with  long rows of bushes hanging heavy with berries.

We drove home with buckets brimful, and thanks to Ben's thoughtfulness, his great-uncle's generosity, and my berry-plucking family, we were able to put up many quarts for the winter.  


There was even space leftover to snitch a few.

Lemon-Blueberry Bread

...fresh from the oven and swimming in lemon glaze.

Even slightly burnt on top,


it's still good enough for seconds.

Zoo and Carousels

Without fail, John always ruins my plans.

On Saturday, he was supposed to be in Rochester all day, and I had mapped out the day thusly:
-Girls and I weed the garden in the burning sun for many hours
-Mop the floor, do laundry, etc., etc.
-Take children to Greenwood to swim and/or watch a movie together and eat mountains of freshly buttered popcorn, depending on the weather, so their memories of childhood and their mother aren't completely unfavorable

Sounds pretty good, right? But, nooo, Mister Grinchy-pants had to surprise me by not leaving us for the entire day.  Instead, he woke up early and made a fancy breakfast before telling us to put on our bathing suits and get in the van.

Which, incidentally, explains why we're all wearing bathing suits under our frocks at the local zoo.


Mom O. gave us a year's joint pass for the zoo and children's museum, but this was the first time we'd gone to the zoo this summer.


As happenstance had it, free face painting met us midway up the hill, so John and I paraded around with these creatures for the rest of the visit.

We began our trip to the zoo with a go-round on the free carousel, so it only made sense to end it with another.

 En route to our next unknown, John stopped at the gas station, and I failed at taking a picture of all the rest of us.  If only that big, red face hadn't blocked out everybody, it would have worked.

Next stop?  The third of the area's six free carousels.  (We went to a second park/carousel before this one, but I forgot to tell you.  Now you know.)  John took Zeke for a walk, but not before giving us orders to go to the playground, climb up the ladder, zoom through the tube slide and then proceed to the sidewalk where we were to ogle the vendors' goods.

Step 1:  The tube slide.

I shot through, too.

Annika and Luci disobeyed while I was sliding down.  Papa did NOT say to shimmy up the poles!

Step 2:  Ogle the vendors' wares.    That we did, and we found widjiwat transport!

We also matched clay scat to its owner, and Piper got to pet a skunk skin.   Poor stinker...


Step 3:  After ogling the wares, John commanded us to ride the third free carousel of the day. 

 These collages are from the second and third carousels combined.    I took a picture of the "Rules of the Carousel" sign at our second carousel of the day because!  I thought!  all the! exclamation! marks were! Funny!!! Plus, it states that we weren't to horse around.  


What's the Grinchy-pants going to pull from his pocket next?! 

MORE Fun?!


I know.  We were tired, too, but the park containing the third carousel also has a free water park, so, following John's orders, we topped off our visit with an hour of play.

He is such a dictator!


Luci parked herself by this little spout for at least 20 minutes.  

The water would periodically vanish in order to fill up the yellow buckets in the sky (see above), and each time it spouted back, she screeched with delight.



After a while, the girls got tired and cold.  It was nearly four o'clock, and we hadn't eaten since breakfast, so we wrapped things up.



Next stop was McDonald's for the girls to use their dollar gift cards from a local reading program followed by the creamiest custard around.  Joey's charges $1.50 for a "small" custard cone, which is actually a huge custard cone, and less than that for Italian ice, so a splurge for all is less than ten bucks. 

Thanks, Joey's.  We freely give our devotion and our free advertising and our ten bucks.