A Little Bit Western


The B List

Aug 23, 2016

It’s hard to deny that summer is drawing to a close. The days are becoming noticeably shorter, I’m starting to see a few migratory birds acting as though fall may be on the way, and I can no longer ignore back-to-school prep. When I think back on this past summer it was pretty good all around, and a few B-list highlights include building, berries, bites, bales, and bikes.

Our children really grew in their freedom this summer and they continue to develop skills, the least of which are their independent carpentry techniques. They have spent all summer building, constructing, destroying and re-building an old pallet crate they have deemed the tree fort. Their fort has taken on a life of its own and currently features a (non-functioning) fire pit, a (fully functional) garbage can, an area for their most precious treasures, and a bathroom zone (please don’t ask). At any given time this summer at least one pajama-clad child was wandering the yard barefoot while two were randomly hammering, ahem, “building” onto this structure.

A highlight of the summer was the sheer volume of berries! Chokecherries were particularly bountiful in our yard and we picked, jellied, picked again, froze, and picked once more for good measure. The children proved to be especially efficient pickers and took pride in their work. They also ate a lot of fresh chokecherries, marveling at how they “dried out” their mouths, and they apparently stashed a fair amount in their pockets too. Of course I didn’t notice that until after I had washed their clothes, but what’s a day of wash without surprising discoveries?

This was also the summer of bites, as swarms of mosquitos descended upon us in early August. I was also the recipient of my first bee sting, which turned out to be completely harmless. Slightly more harmful however was the spider bite I also managed to acquire. I must admit I never fully believed spider bites were that big of a deal. And at the beginning, mine wasn’t a big deal either. Although two weeks after I was bitten and my hand swelled to twice its normal size, I couldn’t remove my watch, and I could feel every heartbeat and every loud noise in my hand, I realized what all the fuss was about. While two medical professionals actually recoiled at the sight of my bloated hand, they did get me on the track to recovery and my hand is (almost) back to normal.

Our family once again spent quality time making bales. Between the cutting and the checking and the baling and the hauling, we have endured plenty of “together” time. One could argue we almost spent too much time in close quarters. Between the “she’s repeating me!” and the “are we just about there? When are we gonna get there?” and the eye rolls that punctuated baling, there were a lot of picnics, ladybug hunts, and storytelling. Apparently the latter events are those that memories are made of.

This summer also proved to be successful from a bike perspective, as our two older boys learned how to ride their two-wheelers. Given the rocky and unstable terrain of our yard, teaching our kids to ride a two-wheeler was not very high on my priority list. It turns out it was high on their list however, and they took it upon themselves to modify their training wheels so that they were lifted off the ground. They climbed to the tallest hill in our yard and I happened to watch them teetering down the hill toward the house picking up speed as they went. There were a few collisions and they both had a few scraped knees, but nothing will compare to the big grins they wore coming down the hill that first time.

This was a summer to remember and it was a nice balance of work and play. It looks like fall has some pretty big shoes to fill.

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