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Archive for the ‘Family Fun’ Category

The Summer List 2018

Happy summer, my friends!  I hope you all had a fabulous Fourth of July.  It’s my favorite holiday and I always try to make the most of it.  This year, summer seems to have snuck up on me – I’ve been in go-mode for months now, and I’m ready for a bit of breathing room, so hopefully that’s coming.  Every year, I go crazy making a wish list of all the things I want to see and do and eat in the hot months, and while I never get to it all, it’s fun just to dream.  If this summer is anything like the winter and spring have been, it’ll be way too busy – but I’m determined to squeeze some fun in.

  • Family vacation season!  Spend a week on Lake Placid – hiking, kayaking, and swimming from sun-up to sun-down.
  • Related: climb another high peak (or two).
  • Read The Summer Book by Tove Jansson.
  • Fill up on sweet summer greens and juicy stone fruits from the farmers’ market.
  • Start running again!
  • Pick blueberries at Butler’s Orchard and bake something yummy with Peanut.
  • Hike Big Meadows at Shenandoah National Park.
  • I don’t know if this’ll happen, but I want it to, so I’m putting it on the list: spend a weekend with Rebecca on Virginia Beach.
  • Get my bike tires pumped up, figure out how to hitch up the kids’ trailer, and start taking some family bike rides on the Mount Vernon Trail.
  • Kayak Fletcher’s Cove as much as possible, and check out the Ballpark Boathouse too.

There – ten things.  There are so many more that I want to add to the list – like a Nats game, camping, learning guitar, baking a s’mores tart, going to the splash pad or pool every weekend… but I’m trying to keep this at least decently achievable.  I know I’ll do one or two – the family vacation is booked, and I should be able to muster up the reading.  Wish me luck, sunshine, and some work-free weekends, my friends!

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Happy Fourth!  We’re well into summer now, but I haven’t closed out spring.  Another busy season has flown by, and it’s time to check in and see if I managed to cross anything off my list of hopes and dreams for the spring.  Spoiler alert: I did, a few things, but of course not nearly as much as I’d have liked.  Between work, Peanut’s school, helping the nanny find a family to replace us when Nugget starts school in September, and a personal project that I’m working on (details when I can, and no it’s not a baby or a move) there wasn’t much time for fun.  But I did the best I could.

  • Catch up on the 52 hike challenge – I’m several weeks behind.  Calling this done.  I’m still a few weeks behind, but we’ve started hitting the trails a lot more now that winter is well behind us.  Four hikes over the course of a trip to New York to attend my college reunion and see family definitely helped.

  • Decide on a destination for summer travel and start planning.  Done!  I’m notoriously indecisive, so I tried something new this year: starting from a premise of not wanting to fly (we flew with the kids twice last year and it was exhausting; I want a break) and came up with four destinations within driving distance.  Then I gave the list to Steve and let him make the final decision.  He decided on the Adirondacks, so we’re heading to Lake Placid later this summer!  I chose a week, booked us lodging, and started the fun part – deciding what hikes to do!

  • Visit Mount Vernon and see the baby animals (that was so much fun last year).  Done!  My parents and their good friends were passing through on their way back from Hilton Head and we all went together.  The baby animals are so darling.
  • Take Peanut and her doll Willa to tea at the American Girl store.  This didn’t happen – hopefully this summer.

  • Hike the Bluebell Loop Trail again.  Done!  This is going to be a spring tradition for as long as we are in NoVA (so, hopefully, a long time) – it’s gorgeous.
  • Read Beverly Nichols’ Merry Hall trilogy.  Nope – whoops.  Got busy with library deadlines; same old story.
  • Pick tulips at Holland in Haymarket again.  Sadly, this didn’t happen, and not because we were busy – the extended disco winter killed the entire field!  What a bummer.  (They’re calling it the Great Tulip Tragedy of 2018.)  Hopefully we’ll make up the loss of tulips with an extra good haul at the Summer of Sunflowers.
  • Start the process to get approved as a Girl Scout troop leader.  Process is what it is.  Peanut’s school loved my idea of starting up a Daisy troop, but I haven’t been able to convince any of the other moms to sign up as assistant leader.  I’m thinking I need to let go of this one and just find Peanut an already existing troop to join.
  • Bake a strawberry-rhubarb pie with a lattice crust (with fruit from the farmers’ market, if possible).  Wouldn’t that have been yummy?

  • Write letters to my grandmother, and get up to New York to visit her at least once.  We made it to New York to see my grandmother in early June, and I did manage to get one letter off to her – would’ve liked to send more, but one is better than none.  Hoping to see her again a few times this summer.  Every moment is precious.

All things considered, a pretty good spring.  I didn’t get through nearly as much of my list as I’d hoped to, but that seems to be par for the course these days.  I won’t lie – I am starting to feel a little beat down by the incessant go-go-go of life.  I wouldn’t mind being busy if there was a little time built in for the things that make it all enjoyable, but the past few seasons have felt like one long slog of almost all work and no play.  Sometimes summer slows down, so let’s hope for that.  I need a good long stretch of sunny days for splashing, picking blueberries, and sipping seltzer on the patio.

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Now begins the season of the year when I have lots and lots of fun to recap.  After three-and-a-half blissful days at Cornell Reunion, we jumped in the car to drive another three hours east – because the fun wasn’t done yet!  When we realized that we would be in New York in June, and that my brother and sister-in-law were targeting the same timeframe for a trip back east (they live in western Colorado), we decided to coordinate our visits and get some family time in.  Dan and Danielle arrived late on Saturday night, and by mid-day on Sunday, we were all together!

 

The first order of business, naturally, was splashing and hilarity in Nana’s backyard.  What else?

Yes, spraying the children with a hose is always a good idea.  An even better idea: give Nugget the hose.  We all got wet.

After we got out of our soaked clothes and into some nice, dry attire, we headed to our family friends’ house for a cookout – always a treat.  Great food, great company, and tractor rides – what could be better?

Grandad had never driven the tractor before, but that didn’t stop him from taking Nugget for a ride!  (While I hyperventilated up on the deck.)  Don’t worry – he has his own ride-on mower, so I think this was pretty similar.

Clearly, they had a good time.

The next day was lake day!  We all love my parents’ place on the Sacandaga – I don’t feel like we get there nearly enough, so I can’t imagine how much Dan and Danielle must miss the lake (although they seem to like their new desert abode).

Our first stop was the marina.  My parents usually moor their boat right off their lakefront stretch, but this year they decided to rent a slip for it instead.  I can see why, because it was a lot easier to just step right onto the boat rather than worrying about ferrying family members out to the mooring, unclipping – and all that.

I am Nugget of Alexandria.  You will board my boat, sail across the sea, and restore the heart of Te Fiti.

Grandad sailed most of the time, with the little swab as his helper and lap buddy, but Uncle Dan also took a turn at the tiller.

I can’t remember the last time I was out on a boat with this guy!  Best day.

Peanut spent most of the sail chilling with Nana in the cabin, but she did poke her head out of the hatch for a little fresh air on the bow.  The kids weren’t actually allowed up on the bow but they still got the breeze.

Dan and Danielle and I hung out up there and talked for a long time.  (Steve was on the boat too – back in the stern – I swear.)  I just love this picture!  Look how lovingly Danielle is looking at her niece and nephew – melt my heart.  I just wish we had more time together.  ((sob))

Eventually we docked back at the marina, piled back in the cars and headed over to my parents’ camp for a cookout – what a way to end the day!  The kids wanted to stick their feet in the icy cold water, so we all took turns holding them down at the bottom of the steps before it was time to wrap them up and head to the terrace for cold beers and a delicious grilled dinner.  And there you have it – just a few snaps.  I’m sad that it was such a short visit – although we did have one more adventure up our sleeves, which I’ll show you on Friday – but it was good to see Dan and Danielle even for just a couple of days (and my parents, of course, but we see them plenty).  Now I’m trying to scheme up a visit out west!

How do you make the most of visits with far-flung family?

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Continued from last week: another photobomb of a post with the rest of our long weekend at Cornell, because I literally couldn’t fit all the fun into one post without losing all of my readers.

We were up bright and early on Saturday morning and found ourselves almost the first people in Collegetown Bagels.  (Yes, since you asked, we did go there every day.)  We filled up on bagels and delicious Ithaca Bakery coffee (iced for Steve, hot for me) before heading off to the “State of the ILR School” talk.

There’s interesting stuff going on with the school now, and a big group of alumni turned out to hear what’s up – it’s a small program, but well-known in most of our fields, so we all have a special affinity for the school and an interest in seeing it continue to do well.  The Dean told a story about a group of students taking over his office with a list of demands – later, I told Steve that occupying an administration office was a quintessentially ILR thing to do and almost a rite of passage.  We got a good laugh out of it, but I do love how passionate my fellow ILRies are about things.  (In my day, our planned takeover of Day Hall – to convince the University to sign onto a multi-school pledge not to sell sweatshop-made apparel in the campus bookshop – didn’t end up coming off, but if it had, I will have you know that I was put in charge of paper towels and orange soda, a grave responsibility.)

After the State of the ILR School, we killed about an hour hanging out with our friend Seth in the courtyard while the kids ran around and got their wiggles out, then headed to my sorority, Alpha Phi, to see what they’d been up to.

There was fresh paint on the walls and a new courtyard, but the house looked pretty similar!  Steve and the kids and I wandered around and poked our heads into my old rooms.

The Butterfly Triple (sophomore year), shared with my roommates Megan and Mary Allison.  I remember it being bigger?

And my room in the G-wing (junior year), shared with my little sis, Betsy.  So many fun memories in both rooms…

Now that I’m a mom, I’m a little more anxious about the idea of my kids joining the Greek system, but I have to say – I had nothing but positive experiences.  I mentioned that to the current Alpha Phi house mom, who was a sister when I was a pledge, and she was glad to hear that.  I was never hazed, because our international headquarters had a strict “no hazing” policy and our local chapter had a strict policy of following the international policy.  As the current house mom put it, they didn’t see any point to hazing – didn’t think it was a bonding experience and felt there was a better way to build sisterly bonds.  So instead of scrubbing floors with a toothbrush (or worse) I was taken on ski trips, showered with gifts from my generous big sis, serenaded in my dorm room by the most popular a capella group on campus (also courtesy of my big sis), and generally loved and protected by dozens of older girls as I was finding my way on campus.  No “sketchy boy” got within ten feet of any of the pledges, but we did have a fun trip downtown to go to the movies and dominate a Vermonster together.  And did it work?  Well… my best friend (and godmother to my children) is an Alpha Phi, and we all still love and support each other today.  So I think it did.

Enough waxing poetic about my sorority!  We had fun poking around – and the house mom showed me the secret stuff, which I can’t tell you about (sorry…).  And I went composite hunting!

Found freshman Jac, looking extremely wide-eyed.  Probably fresh off being rescued from a sketchy frat boy at a mixer.

And senior Jac, much more confident in her own skin.  But clearly, I didn’t have it all figured out at the ripe old age of 21.  You can’t tell from the picture, but I’m wearing electric blue eyeshadow.  Yowsa.  I said to the house mom, “What was I thinking?” and she responded, “You were thinking that it was 2003.”  At least I had something going for me: my bestie by my side.  Rebecca and I have been inseparable since sophomore year.  (She actually started trying to be friends when we were freshmen, but I was convinced she was way too cool to want to be friends with little old me and so she must have an ulterior motive – so I blew her off.  Fortunately for me, she kept trying.  And by junior year, I had the earth-shattering realization that I am actually cooler.  Let me tell you, that was surprising.)  Also: yes, I chopped off all of my hair junior year.  This was me starting to grow it back out after it occurred to me that I didn’t actually want to look like Annette Bening.

Post-Phi House, we met back up with our dear friend Seth for more ice cream, obviously.  The Dairy Bar was bumping.

Full of sugar-fueled energy, we clearly decided that a hike through the Cornell Botanic Gardens was in order.

WHERE IS THE TRAIL.

I recapped this hike on Wednesday, so won’t bore you with a repeat of all the pictures.  After wandering through the Botanic Gardens for awhile, it was back to the Phi House for a reception, then off to the lake for our final Class of 2003 dinner.

We were early, so we squeezed in another hike – this time around Beebe Lake, where I used to run as a freshman.  Memories!  I also used to swim in the swimming hole with my floormates from Jameson Hall and…

…jump off this bridge into the gorge below.  Yes, it is as high as it looks.  And apparently, as dangerous.

Whoops.  That plaque was not there when I was a freshman with a hobby of flinging myself into the lake from 35 feet up.  For the record, the worst thing that ever happened to me was a case of swimmer’s ear, and I’ve lost count of how many times I jumped that thing.  But still – don’t try this at home, kids.

Anyway!  Trail pounded and memories reminisced, we found our way to the final Class of 2003 dinner.  The Big Red Marching Band was there serenading all the small children with a lively rendition of everyone’s favorite hockey cheer: “We’re gonna beat the hell out of you!  F*ck ’em up, f*ck ’em up, go CU!”  I fully support the sentiment, but it did seem like a weird choice for the fifteen-year crowd, most of whom had their little kids in tow.  What’s wrong with the alma mater?

No worries!  Once the Dinosaur B-B-Q was open, everyone forgot about the music.

Nugget had a bit of a tough night, but it was nothing that couldn’t be solved by hurling rocks into Beebe Lake.  Although he wasn’t pleased when he had to stop his rock-throwing to smile for the class picture.  Life is full of disappointments, buddy.  For instance, your alma mater may lose to Bemidji State in the Frozen Four hockey tournament.  That’s a thing that can happen.  And it is very upsetting.

And so ended a blissful weekend!  But not the travel – we were off to Albany to visit with family, about which more next week.  And I’m sure we will be back to Cornell – every five years for reunion, and eventually I hope quite a bit more, because I’m planning to sell the school with everything I have when it’s time for my kiddos to apply.  As you may have guessed, my four years there were some of the happiest of my life.  My only regret is not sticking around an extra year and picking up a Master’s.  In many of the most significant ways, I became who I am at Cornell.  I met my husband and my best friend, chose a career, figured out what I like and don’t like and learned a whole lot about myself in the process.  I know and love every inch of this campus; it’s home.

Far above Cayuga’s waters
With its waves of blue
Stands our noble alma mater
Glorious to view

Lift the chorus, speed it onward
Loud her praises tell
Hail to thee, our alma mater
Hail, all hail Cornell!

Far above the busy humming
Of the bustling town
Reared against the arch of Heaven
Looks she proudly down

Lift the chorus, speed it onward
Loud her praises tell
Hail to thee, our alma mater
Hail, all hail Cornell!

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Now that the high summer hiking season is finally here, I’m trying to be on the trail as much as possible – which, admittedly, isn’t much given our schedules that never seem to lighten up.  But a few days out of town was a golden opportunity to do some hiking, and we took advantage of it – hiking three times during our stay in Ithaca and once more in the Shawnagunks with my whole family (pictures to come next week).

Ithaca Hike #1: Robert H. Treman State Park

Treman State Park was one of Steve’s and my haunts during our Cornell days, but we usually just plunked down somewhere and hung out.  Since I’d read that there was a swimming hole and cool waterfall, I wanted to check out the hiking, so we added that to our reunion weekend agenda.

Sadly, the swimming hole was closed because there was no lifeguard on duty – maybe it was too early in the season.  (New York summers are glorious, but they last about five minutes – that was one of my biggest complaints when I lived up north.)  Ah, well, we weren’t wearing our bathing suits anyway.

I promised Miss Peanut that we would come back one day when the swimming hole was open.  (She is really into the idea of swimming holes right now – we’re going to have to find one for our summer vacation later in the season.)

Foot shot!

How did we never find this part of the park when we lived in Ithaca?

Ithaca Hike #2: Cornell Botanic Gardens

One of my agenda items that we didn’t actually get to was a hike in the Cornell Plantations.  Next time!  But we did hit the Botanic Gardens, which was almost as good – there were lovely trails to explore, our friend Seth was by our side (at least until he peeled off to go hear a talk about online dating???) and our tummies were full of Cornell Dairy ice cream.  Not bad!

Started out on a pretty grass path down from the Ag School into the gardens.

Note to self: order prints for grandparents.

Forgot how much I love this garden!

To keep the kids on the trail, we told them that the plants eat children.  Peanut was skeptical but didn’t want to risk it.  Nugget bought the story hook, line and sinker.

I AM STANDING IN THE EXACT MIDDLE OF THE TRAIL FAR AWAY FROM THE CHILD-EATING PLANTS.

Hey, you know what?  Whatever works.

Yard Woman: A Statue of Me.

I really wanted to explore the herb garden more (and get some ideas for my patio garden back home) but tempers were short and nerves were fraying.

Ithaca Hike #3: Beebe Lake

The final hike of the Ithaca leg of our trip was a spur-of-the-moment addition.  The final Class of 2003 dinner was scheduled for the lakeside tent (YES!) and finding ourselves with extra time on our hands, we headed over a little early.  As it turned out, we were the first ones there – so nerdy – except for the Dinosaur BBQ employees, who were still setting up.  With time to kill, we decided to walk the trail around the lake, where I used to run as a Cornell freshman.

The sun was still high in the sky, but was starting to dip a little bit, and the dappled light coming through the trees was just dreamy.

As we wandered around the lake, I pointed out my favorite spots and views.

Cornell is gorges!

I used to jump off this bridge with my floormates, freshman year.  (Yes, it’s as high as it looks.)  And there were usually people climbing the sides of the gorge and jumping down into the lake – as rainy and snowy as Ithaca can be, we knew how to make the most of nice weather.  Upstream a bit is a lovely swimming hole with little waterfalls that we would slide down.

So, this is a new addition.

Eventually we circumnavigated the whole lake and found ourselves back at the tent.  Ended the evening with Dinosaur BBQ, the Big Red Band, and my classmates, watching the sun go down on another reunion.  We exchanged hugs that had to last until 2023, and the next morning, we were driving east – toward the ‘dacks.

Where have you been hiking recently?

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Summer travel season is here, and with it – the first trip we’ve taken out of town since (I think?) December!  And it was a good one – up to Ithaca, New York for my fifteen-year college reunion.  Also: how has it been that long?  Get ready for a massive photobomb of a post…

We rolled into town around lunchtime on Thursday – the kids were excited.  We left Virginia at 6:00 a.m. and they were up, bright-eyed and raring to go, at 4:30, wanting to help us pack the car and demanding to know when we were going to Ithaca.  Keep in mind, these children had never been to Ithaca.  Our reputation for delivering awesome destinations is just that impressive.

Anywho, our first stop was a no-brainer.  Since it was lunchtime, we hit one of our favorite spots: Collegetown Bagels.  CTB, as Cornellians call it, is situated right at the intersection between Collegetown (technically off-campus) and Cornell proper.  It’s open early and late and was one of our regular haunts as Cornell students – especially after Steve and I started dating, we spent many a late night sitting at a table inside CTB, extending our evening and getting out of the cold.  The CTB patio was our meeting spot for dates, too; it was a good middle point between my sorority house and Steve’s grad student apartment complex.  Long story short, we love CTB.

Iced coffee and vegetarian bagel melts.  Clearly the bomb.

(This was my favorite order at CTB: veggie cream cheese, sliced tomato, and melted Muenster over the top.  Perfect.)

Post-bagels, the campus food tour (apparently) continued with a trip to the Cornell Dairy Bar for ice cream.  The best ice cream comes from the smartest cows, and the smartest cows come from Cornell.

The kids went with classic strawberry, Steve had “Big Red Bear Tracks” (vanilla with chocolate swirl and caramel pieces, I think) and I had “Ezra’s Morning Cup” (coffee! my favorite).  I can’t say that Cornell Dairy was one of Steve’s and my special places on campus, but I came now and then with my sorority sisters and ate way too much of this stuff in the dining halls.  Plus, we’re trying to convince the kids to follow in Mommy and Daddy’s footsteps (and go to Cornell – but not be lawyers, let’s not go crazy here), and ice cream is obviously the way to do that.

Tummies full of bagels and ice cream, it was off to North Campus for us – time to sign in at the Class of 2003 Headquarters.  (Fun fact: Steve is actually class of 2002, but he kindly goes to my reunion instead of his own.  I’ve offered to take one for the team and go to both, but so far we’re on my reunion cycle.)

Class HQ located, it was time to sign in, get our nametags and our schedule of activities, and see who else was lurking around.  Peanut put on a concert for the class volunteer crew while I chatted with a friend from my major who also happens to live in DC about her son’s awesome hockey jersey.  #ALLCAPS!  A group was gathering to watch the game that night (which ended up being the Caps’ Stanley Cup victory) but we sadly had to beg off – kiddo bedtimes and work beckoned.  We grabbed a small dinner at Wegmans, headed back to the Airbnb, tucked the babies into bed and then fired up our laptops for a long evening of way less fun than our classmates were having celebrating the hockey victory.  Boo.  What can you do?

Anyway!  We were up bright and early on Friday morning for more bagels, followed in short order by 9:00 a.m. ice cream to try to nip a Nugget tantrum in the bud.  It sort of worked.  Then we rushed back to the Airbnb so I could churn out a document and take a work call before we headed to Treman State Park – another of our favorite haunts from the early days of our relationship – for a hike, which I’ll recap separately.

We were all hungry after the hike, so we refueled at another favorite Collegetown haunt – Aladdin’s, a café serving up Greek and Mediterranean food.  Aladdin’s was an extra special place for us: the site of our first date!  I had to snap a picture of the little corner table where we sat for three hours one late August afternoon, eating fruit salad (me) and gyro (Steve) and talking about school, our families, and Altoids for three hours… and the rest was history!  We were sorry to see that they didn’t have their delicious artichoke on the menu anymore, but the dolmades and sangria made up for it.  Back to the Airbnb for more work and attempted (failed) naps, and then–

Back to campus!  Hurray!  Peanut and Nugget found a stage.  Obviously, singing and dancing happened.

We took the kids to the Johnson Museum of Art (super cool building designed by I.M. Pei) because I had thought that there were kids’ activities going on there all day.  Either I misread the schedule or we were too late, but we made the most of it by taking in the view of Cayuga Lake from the gigantic windows on the fifth floor.  I spent a lot of time at the art museum as an undergrad – first in my freshman art history seminar, and later just soaking in the peace and beautiful views whenever I needed to relax and breathe.  Peanut was pretty impressed with the view, but more impressed with the collection of ancient Chinese and Japanese decorative arts.  She asked for several of the teapots for her birthday.  (Sorry, kid, but that’s not going to happen.)

After the singing and dancing and art museum-ing, it was time for one of the events I’d been most looking forward to: the ILR reception.  New friends: ILR was my major, and while Cornellians like to refer to the school as “I Love Reading” because of the volume of reading assignments, it actually stands for Industrial and Labor Relations.  (I do love reading, though.)

I was so excited to be back.  Some of my happiest memories took place inside the walls of Ives Hall – lots of learning, studying in groups and alone in the depths of Catherwood Library, jamming to Vietnam protest songs in my “Recent History of American Workers” class, and plotting to take over the Administration building.

Home sweet home!  While I am hoping for two Cornell Engineers, I would not be sad if one or both of my kids ended up an ILRie.  Just like Mom!

We made our way to the Ives Hall courtyard, where there was a big tent full of familiar faces.  ILR ’03 turned out for this reunion, let me tell you.

We had promised the kids that there would be cheese and crackers at the reception.  Fortunately, ILR delivered.

A loved face!  That’s Julia, my sorority sister (not an ILRie, but we throw a great party so she came anyway) meeting my munchkins for the first time.  She has a little one of her own, but came from Texas for the reunion and didn’t want to fly with baby.  So she snuggled my kiddos instead.  Love!

After pretty much shutting down the ILR reception (party animals!), we wandered up to North Campus in a herd for a Class of 2003 dinner – tacooooooooooos.  I loaded mine up, sipped an Ithaca Brewery apricot wheat beer, chatted with more friends and watched my kids run around with the daughters of one of my sorority sisters.  (Does that make them my nieces?)  We hung out on the soccer field where my freshman intermural team (the Tower Pterodactyls!  Eeeeeeeeeaw!) suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Vet School (but I don’t want to talk about it, you guys) until the sun went down and we had two sleepy future Cornellians on our hands.

This post is getting out of hand, so I’ll save the rest – our Saturday adventures – for next week.

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It’s that time again!  My next-door neighbor has been puttering around her garden (flowers, not herbs/veggies) for weeks now, but I’ve been so overwhelmed at work that I haven’t had time, and we had a weirdly extended winter anyway.  But it was time, and Mother’s Day was dreary and grey – just the right weather for a trip to the garden center and some planting between bands of rain.

We went back to an old favorite – Holly, Woods and Vines on Richmond Highway; we used to live less than two minutes from its distinctive palm-festooned entrance and it was fun, if a little bittersweet, to be back in our old neighborhood.  The kids immediately started stomping in the puddles, and I congratulated myself on making sure they had their wellies on.

They also found koi for sale and were completely delighted with their discovery.  Unfortunately, we don’t exactly have room for a koi pond on our little urban patio.  Sorry, kids!

 

Then they took off running, so Steve chased after them while I filled up the little wagon.  I was a little bit sad that we didn’t get to pick out plants together, but they were both being so rambunctious that it was impossible.  Maybe next year.

I paid for the plants and restocked our birdseed, then it was home to dig in the dirt!  The kids were filthy and needed baths, but since we had a break in the rain I suggested we get our gardening done before cleaning them up.  They helped me clean out and prep the pots and we were ready to plant.  (And yes, our neighbors took their fence down.  They’re planning to put a new fence up at some point.  In the meantime, the kids are enjoying having their outdoor play space doubled.)

With two digging experts to assist, I had everything potted in no time.  We’re doing tomatoes and herbs again, and I have two pots of Rapunzel cherry tomatoes (Peanut loves the name, and I had success with that varietal last year), one pot of Sweet 100, and a few pots of herbs including rosemary, chives, strawberry mint and basil.  Next weekend I’ll probably fill up the rest of the herb pots via the farmers’ market; I’m thinking of thyme and another peppermint, at least.

Time to water!

Nothing feels as good as garden soil on your hands.

I’ll bet you’re wondering about the title of this post, huh?  Yes, we have named this year’s garden “Squirrelbait,” and thank you for asking.  The squirrels have been particularly brazen and destructive lately.  Peanut came home with a bean plant in a cup and we planted it a couple of weeks ago, and it took the squirrels less than 24 hours to dig it up and carry it off.  The nerve!  They’ve also destroyed several of our neighbors’ flowerpots.  I don’t know if it’s the lack of fence or something in the water or what, but they’re insane this year.  So we’ll just be grateful if they leave us some tomatoes to enjoy over the course of the summer.  Unless anyone has a tried-and-true squirrel repellant trick (and preferably not one involving cayenne pepper) to share?

Are you planting a garden this year?  Are your squirrels also pure evil?

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