Sunday, April 6, 2014

What a hike!!

Thankfully my fingers are not feeling as weary as my legs, so I think I can still get a few thoughts jotted down tonight!  Alida was plum tuckered out this evening after our big day and fell asleep while I was holding her just now - she was waiting patiently for us to candle eggs and we didn't finish a conversation with our housemates in time.  So she is where the rest of us hope to be as soon as possible!

We got an invitation a few weeks back to hike to Massanutten peak, something we have been wanting to do for a really long time.  A friend of Emily and Jonas' grew up at the base of the mountain and we were being invited to hike up the trail they use to the top.  Seemed like a fabulous opportunity!  We weren't sure how it would be with kiddos along but were told it was about a 2.5 hour hike.

Today was the day!  We headed out around noon with Kali on her bike, Alida in the jogger and the rest of us on foot to Emily and Jonas' home where we were to meet up.  Their home is exactly 2 miles from our home and then their friend's home was about 1 mile from that.  By the time we started the hike, we had already traveled 3 miles.  That was the flattest of the walking we did, that's for sure!! But every step was so very worth it!  The picture here is from Mountain Valley Road and our final destination is the farther peak to the right - I'm kind of glad Jason didn't point that out to me on our walk into town as I was not honestly sure what our final destination was until we got there. I knew the top, but now looking back on the day's adventures I'm kind of glad starting out I didn't know quite how far our legs would take us (we figure 10 miles plus).  Jason gets the medal, as he carried Alida on his back all the way up Massanutten mountain!  I carried her some of the way back down and that was plenty for me.  I think we will all be feeling some underused muscles tomorrow and I'll be going to bed tonight with that good tired feeling all over!  Alida did hike a good portion of the way down the mountain because all the leaves were super slippery under foot and we were worried about falling with her in the pack.  As it turned out, some of us found that sliding down the mountain worked better than anything!  Listen closely for a little giggle:

What I'm still getting over is the fact that we did this hike from our home without setting foot in a car. A true Sabbath for us!  Here's some more pictures and then I'm getting horizontal!

Kali was incredible - she rode her bike 2 miles, hiked 6 or more and then rode her bike home 2 miles and we could hardly keep up with her. I didn't hear one "I'm tired" the whole way.  BUT she also did not complain a bit getting ready for bed and Jason and I are still up and she didn't do her normal arguing about going to bed before us - I haven't heard a peep out of her so my guess is she is sound asleep!
At our final destination - pictures really don't do it justice!
Enjoying an apple cookie and some pumpkin seeds at the top. She was quite perky, having gotten a ride all the way up AND a nap!
Yes, Jason is holding Kali's ankle!
We were able to see Emily and Jonas' home from up there. How fun!
We are extra smiley here since Alida has become a fan of turning away from the camera and not letting us get her face in the picture.  So we had several people entertaining us during this photo shoot (including showing off their belly buttons)!
The whole hiking crew!

See the turkey vulture soaring?  They were having a grand time up there...  Quite understandable, as we found it to be a fairly magnificent place to be too!

We are back to eating weeds, and other news...

It's going to be a two blog posts evening because I can't combine all the adventures of the day into one!  So this is the one of random odds and ends and then I'll get down to business on the other one!
Can you see the little male mason bee in the bottom far right corner.  I think they are super cute!
I think we have bought close to 100 pounds of carrots this winter from our friend who operates Seasons Bounty Farm. I think this is the best carrot we have found to date!
Weeding the onion beds landed us this mess of winter cress.  I'm loving that it is that time of year - when everything is greening up and we can start consuming all sorts of delicious "weeds."
Not sure there is much to say about this one!  She was entertaining herself the other evening and came up with this.  There is no end to the creative juices flowing through this residence!
FIRST CHICK hatched this morning with another soon to follow and two more while we were hiking.  Hopefully lots more peeping will be heard throughout the night tonight.  Exciting for the young and old alike!
I am posting a picture of them each looking at the incubator alone since they are struggling to share the space - neither wishing to give up prime viewing abilities.
There's the little chickie who gets the prize for being the first out of the egg.  The one that followed was a little dark one. Alida is eager to get her hands on them!
First "nettle eggs" of the season!
They accompanied the sausage and squash winter cress soup superbly for this morning's brunch.
We are expecting busy bees and so added some additional housing for them to expand into.  Here's hoping they like it!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Today is so springlike...and that is no joke!

I did get both Kali and Jason this morning with a weather-related April Fool's Day joke.  As Kali was uttering her first moans of the day (the typical way we know she is waking!), I went in and told her to look out the window, followed by letting her know that once again it was snowing.  She uttered a more emphatic moan as she rolled over to see for herself.  It was one of those jokes that the pronounced "April Fool's Day" following provides some relief.  Jason also showed visible relief upon learning that the 10 day forecast did not include snow or the promise of temps down to 0.  It seems like neither of my jokes were that much of a stretch, since we drove home in almost blizzard-like conditions on Sunday from Harman, WV.  The full spectrum of delight (my mother - who gets credit for the message on our car) to despair (me - okay, a slight exaggeration) was apparent upon waking to a white world Sunday morning.  Thankfully it seems that West Virginians are on top of treating the mountain roads and our journey home was smooth sailing (and I even had to admit at one point that the view out our car windows was in fact quite beautiful as the wet snow clung to every tree branch).

But there are no signs of snow remaining around here and the temperatures are to exceed 70 today.  So I've just taken my little mason bee cocoons out of the fridge and will put them out in their little house later this afternoon.  I sure hope that they have wintered over okay and that many will hatch.  Time will tell!  I still have a hankering to get honeybees but I think my desire is just a bit higher than my motivation to do anything about it just yet - still feel like we have our hands full of so much goodness right now.  I love seeing things pop out of the ground at this time of year and we are just days away from making stinging nettle eggs for breakfast!

Speaking of growing things, this morning Kali and I took Alida to her 3 year old check up at the doctor.  She was both curious and nervous about the whole process, but decidedly unimpressed (though remarkably brave) at a real shot.  Every now and then she will remind me that she is "still sad" about it.  She's a symmetrical little gal right now at 40 lb and 40 in, and at the top or skyrocketing off the growth charts, which didn't inform us of anything new!  

Last night at home we weighed both girls and discovered that Alida was exactly half Kali's weight (37 and 74 pounds).  We are not in the habit of weighing each other at home, but unfortunately we had found a first (and oh how I wish the last) deer tick attached to Alida, most likely gotten while playing in the leaves in the woods up by the tire swing.  It almost makes we wish for snow!  So, since we have yet to learn of any better alternative, we were consulting Grandma Benner on the appropriate dosage for the preventative antibiotic protocol for Lyme disease prevention.  I'm definitely tempted to up "acquire Guinea Fowl" on our priority list.  The chickens we have free ranging are doing their part but they don't stray as far as the tire swing from their home base - at least not yet.

The lingering signs around our house of the birthday celebrating from last week include cards on the piano (that Alida peruses throughout the day or transforms into a computer), her heavy little money purse (which is a bit lighter after a trip to both Goodwill and the Friendly City Food Co-op), and just a few pieces of her doll cake (which met or possibly exceeded expectations).  She received quite a number of gifts of 3 dollar bills, but they will only go so far for a girl who likes to buy multiple boxes of mac & cheese at a time.  I was encouraging her today to consider spacing out her spending a bit so she doesn't run out of all her birthday money right away.  She nonchalantly informed me that I could just give her more when she runs out.  We had a bit more of extended conversation...

I loved watching her enthusiasm when opening presents, which seemed more or less unattached to what was actually in the package. The little video below gives a taste of it - she's so excited but has no idea what she has just opened!

Her unplanned for and unfortunate birthday gift was a very short lived virus of some kind. I headed off to work on her birthday after singing to her and getting a few hugs.  A few hours later I got the update that she had not kept her breakfast down and had faded and fallen asleep on her daddy for a morning nap (unheard of at this point unless she feels crummy).  I tried to focus through a meeting or two and then realized it was pointless.  I hitched a ride home around lunch - it is hard to go to work and leave her in the mornings, it was especially hard to leave on her birthday, and it was just too much to be away on her birthday and with her sick (hearing her say, "I want mommy" in the background while on the phone with Jason tipped me over the edge).  It felt like horrible timing for a little gal who had been anticipating this special day for weeks. 

But she seemed to take it all in stride and took a long nap, downed 3 bowls of chicken noodle soup and by the time our Tangly Woods meal rolled around she was bathed and in her chosen birthday attire and jumping around with excitement.  I figured her adrenaline would keep her going and she would crash by the end of the evening but that was not so!  She went strong for hours and from all I could tell had a marvelous third birthday.  She certainly is a little life worth celebrating!