Friday, September 20th, 2019

Akiva Fords the Massawippi (Hiking Friday)

On Wednesday, Iris was running across the playground at school when she slipped and fell. She landed on something that tore her pants open and left a gaping wound on her knee. The cut could have used at least eight stitches, but my experience bringing kids to the hospital for stitches hasn’t been so great so far, so I decided just to tape her knee up. I forgot that they don’t just use tape at the hospital: they also use liberal amounts of surgical glue, which I don’t yet keep around the house. But by the time I realized this, it was too late to stitch her up, so the scar will just have to be a bit bigger than it would have been had we gone to the hospital.


Meanwhile, Iris’s knee isn’t as bendy as it usually is. Instead of going for a walk in the woods, I take the kids on a bike ride down to the Massawippi river at the spot where, the summer before last, the children used to go swimming. Akiva decides he would like to cross the river by himself while Iris & I sit on the bank together.

















“…I did it!”

Sunday, September 15th, 2019

100 Things

In second grade, the kids need to bring in a collection of 100 small objects to use as math manipulatives. Not one to settle for pebbles or pennies, we made 100 wax hearts, ten each of ten different colors.


Friday, September 13th, 2019

At the Wounded Trees (Hiking Fridays, Val-Estrie games)

With their chests un-girdled,

with the ropes cut at last,

the trees breathe deep.

Their wounds are laid bare to the light.


After school, we walk around the former Val-Estrie property—

still known as Val-Estrie due to the failure to acquire any other name.




On the way back from our walk, we stop among the tall cedars that grow just at the beginning of the games trail.




As Iris looks closely at things growing on the ground,




Akiva pulls loose stuck ropes that have been cut from the trees.




Slowly, people have been taking off the ropes that girdle various trees.




I have removed some. Others have removed others.




To soothe the trees’ wounds, my children give them hugs and kisses.




Trees are our companions.




I try for a posed photo amongst the cedars. My models have issues with the sunlight.




“Ow ow ow ow!”




“Perhaps is you face in opposite directions?” I suggest.




I take over 100 photos. All of them have cute children in them, which is a boon to any mediocre landscape photo.




Trees in the sunlight, sunlight in the trees.




I fill a bag full of ropes to take to the trash. There are many left.




 Slowly, slowly. Perhaps one day the ropes will be gone.


Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

Deer at Dawn

Every morning, in the blue light of dawn, six deer come to graze in the field behind our house as the sun burns the fog from the cool ground.


Saturday, September 7th, 2019

















Saturday, September 7th, 2019

…& I pulled a rabbit out of a hat.

On the way home from my folks’ house, we adopted a rather large white rabbit.




His name is Tucker. He is very sweet.




Sunday, September 1st, 2019

Demolition of the Ramp


The house came with a ramp. It is useful for people who cannot ascend stairs. Currently, we are all fortunate enough to have good use of our legs, so we decided to demolish the ramp and put the wood to uses that would better suit our needs. Martin began by removing the handrails.




Next, he took off some of the planks of the main ramp. He put the ramp itself aside for later.

I was thinking perhaps it would come in useful as a one-piece item, but I changed my mind.




He unscrewed all the rails and boards of all parts of the structure.




Akiva assisted with the drilling—




—and the pulling of nails.




Iris collected all nails and screws.

She separated them into various containers, sorted by length and head type.

She put those which were deemed unfit to go back to work on another structure into a bag for recycling.




She also organized the wood according to size.




Everyone worked beautifully together excepting me.

I just took some photos, did laundry, fed people, and enjoyed watching my family.







Monday, August 26th, 2019

Oakwood Cemetery



We visited my folks’ house.

I didn’t take enough photos.

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

Brighton State Park VT Camping, Day 3




bubbles on fire!

















At the end, Iris stubbed her toe.

Friday, August 16th, 2019

Brighton State Park VT Camping, Day 2

The Hack family arrived yesterday. We met them after our hiking swimming & canoeing were over, to end the day in playing. Today we took the shore trail out to Indian Point— named for the Native Americans mentioned in yesterday’s post— where there’s supposed to be a foundation for their building somewhere, but by the time we got there we’d spent so much time picking blueberries that no one had the energy to look for an old foundation. It was beautiful the whole way, with fog rolling over land, loons looning in the lake, and blueberries hiding in the bushes.




At Indian Point, Iris found a painted stone against a red pine. The front reads “Just Breathe” and the back is tagged #smileforpaigey. Heather and her friend Laura, who had phones and phone service and whatnot (out of Canada I am out of service, so it was truly a vacation!) looked up the tag. It is sad. Here at home, looking again, had I known that 14-year-old Paige died only just over two months ago, I would not have let Iris move the stone. But I did let her move it, on the condition that we would bring it to other beautiful places. Someday, Iris will leave it somewhere for someone else to find and carry on.




After returning home loaded with blueberries, we ate lunch and headed back out on the lake in a canoe. The lake was mirror-flat. It was just beautiful. Akiva paddled at the prow of the canoe for nearly two hours of floating and playing on a tiny almost-island in the middle of the lake. Iris was still tired from paddling yesterday & didn’t feel the need to share. I didn’t take any photos, tho. I didn’t want my camera in a canoe, no matter how flat the lake. Then the kids played volleyball-soccer, we all ate dinner, the kids roasted their first-ever marshmallow on a campfire, and we all crawled happily into our big, sandy bed.



  *   *   *


Here’s an article explaining why I don’t take a camera on a canoe, published on August 13th, 2001 in the Fairbanks News Miner. This is from the Sitka Sentinel, which has a better archive. Silly us! The people told us they weren’t going to tell the press, but they must have chatted about it to enough friends for it to finally come out nearly two weeks later. I wonder who told them that we’d headed down to Haines.