Solar Eclipse, 2017

I move like a pendulum
or an iron bell
all for the simple act of a step.

A living weight within joins extra all around to turn
the path from room to room into a feat more fit for
Polo's string of words sent with spice
than for a provincial life here in this small town
set like a stone in a bride's silver band.

But the particular feet that wake me when
they tumble from the room beside are 
remarkably, enviably, light.

Tethered to bed with weight and weariness, to me
the steps sound so quick and swift.
The confidence confounds me.

Like sun and moon joining,
these small bodies rise,
sure and unaware of their singular wonder.

Highway Robbery, i.e., She Loves Vegetables

While I stuff beans into jars on one side of the table,

she's busy pilfering from the cucumber pile.

 And when I move to the other side of the table to finish the pickles, she gobbles the beans.

Two More Test Knits

Millie finished another test knit, and the designer needed pictures of the finished product, so we plopped Cadence on a tub and snapped a few.  (Man, she's cute...)

Pictures for the second test knit didn't go so well.  Grumpy and tired right after church, this angelic child let me take five pictures without her crying.  I then put her to bed.   We'll try another day...

North Country Kids

It doesn't seem possible, but I was pregnant with Ezekiel the last time we drove to see our North Country kin.  Everyone agrees that that's five too many years between visits.

We thought we might stay an extra night, but the milk inspector was due for a visit, and the family was already stretched to their limit finishing all the necessities before Monday.  Next time, we'll call the milk inspector first, just to make sure Scott and the boys won't have a slew of extra chores on their plate.  Then there'll be time for more games, more tent-sleeping (withOUT a pregnant belly), more story-swapping, more guitar-playing, and more knock-knock jokes, because everyone needs more knock-knock jokes.

Zeke was a wombkin last time, clean and warm inside my belly.  This time, he was free to gleefully layer himself in manure from head to toe.  The girls kept laughing because after jumping off the manure pile multiple times, he walked right into the center of a barn gutter and got stuck in more manure.  On the way to church the next morning, I half-heartedly tried to clean him up with baby wipes, with little success.

He would be the happiest farmer.

The boys made a fire and served up s'mores!  All you can see here, though, is John's magically floating cowboy hat.

After church on Sunday, I tried for a quick picture of all the children together.  Cadence was coughing, Aidan was shooting me...success!  (Rebecca, the girls want you to show this picture to Corynn so she will believe how tall John is these days.  He towers over me! Still just as polite and thoughtful as ever, though...)

I ordered them under the tree for one more, but Aidan was still determined to shoot me.  Oh, well.  It'll do.

A short time for play and tall tales after lunch, and then we were off.  We're already hatching plans for the next visit-- a longer one, for sure.

Na-na, Na-na, Boo-Boo

Our eldest daughter, our Baby Bumpkin turned Rose Red, this lovely girl misplaced from her rightful life in an English cottage, just turned fifteen years old.  She is downright gleeful when she reminds me that she can legally drive in just one year.  She mocks my pain.

She says I'm just too much fun to tease and that it's not her fault, but, still...she mocks my pain.

We got home from cousin-pickup and grocery shopping at 2 o'clock, at which point I decided that in addition to making Millie's birthday supper and birthday cake, wisdom dictated I also make farmer's cheese, yogurt, and a batch of feta cheese.  This is my explanation for why these pictures are lacking, and also, the reason why after offering to help when he and Debbie arrived, Rundy said, "Well, you are looking a little frantic."

All's well that ends well, though, and a day that ends with a table full of people who love you, a poof, and a wish to christen another year, is a good ending.

It only got better the next morning with a birthday breakfast, delayed one day in order to share with Candida.  Happiest of days, Mildred Elise!  We love and cherish you in spite of your stubborn march forward in age.  Here's to another year of growing and learning and stretching and-- gulp-- to driving next year!

(Birthday meal for a someday recipe on buildabelly: day-old General Tso's chicken, overcooked vegetables and all...

...and the brownie ice cream cake, much firmer and tastier the following day, because, for the good of mankind, I checked.) 


...or, if I were precise, Afternoon and Evening Trippers.

John's pretty great at pulling things out of his proverbial hat, which sometimes results in last-minute trips to the park and a pit-stop at Walmart for HAM SANDWICH FIXIN'S.  (Can you tell deli meat's cause for celebration around here?)

After depositing us in the parking lot, John left to run the length of the trail, with plans to meet us back at the waterfall in a few hours.

Not only was Cadence unimpressed with the ham, she was ready for a nap.

Truth be told, all it took was putting Cadence into the carrier to convince me that I was also ready for a nap.  Lump-on-a-log.

The children and I wanted to explore a bit before we went back to the waterfall, but before the trail evens out into moderate hills and dips, it begins with a slew of stairs and a Very Steep Hill. Millie took this picture of me lugging myself forward, in desperate need of oxygen, with a baby on my back who soon began mimicking my audible huffing (which made me laugh, and I didn't have enough oxygen to spare for laughter!).  Lucinda scorned my travail.

Ahhhh.  A flat stretch.

Our destination was not the trail's end but a side route to re-visit the stream and swimming holes we've enjoyed in the past.

We never seem to make it much beyond the second curve of the stream because there's so much to enjoy in a relatively short stretch.

The secret swimming holes appear out of nowhere, with shallow shelves dropping into chest-deep pools without much warning.

I was figuring out the easiest route up the rocks when I glanced up and saw Aidan dancing around a spider at eye-level.

Annika discovered that the slow current moved her gently down the stream, and soon enough,

merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, all the girls joined in.

We would have stayed longer, but we had to rush back down the trail to make the appointed meeting with John by the falls.

We lucked out, too, because rain cleared out the swimming area for us before the sun came out again.

I stayed in the shallows with this (newly!) water-loving girl,

while they jumped off the diving board and walked the falls with John.

I think this is one of our favorite places.  Then we stopped at the library, which is another favorite place.  Finally, we got home at bedtime, the Most Favorite Place of All.