A grey drizzle has settled over our little hill today. The chickens have yet to notice. I have watched them chase one another across the driveway, pecking at the grit and salt by the sides of the road. Ambling back across the yard, with a flutter here and there, they end up back in the garden, nibbling snails and earwigs.
Yesterday, though the clouds dampened the sky, it didn't rain. So after I met with Aidan's teacher prior to school, Nadia and I went for a fall foliage drive. We went down to Brookfield, VT, and up to Allis State Park. All the parks are locked up for the fall at this point, but we parked below the gate, and walked up the long hill. The maples, birches, beeches, and ashes have all dropped leaves (the beeches didn't seem to be holding on to too many of their leaves like normal. I wonder why?). Nadia yelled "YELLOW!!" and filled my vest pockets with leaf after leaf. At first, it was ok for me to take them from her and put them in my pocket, but soon Nadia had to do it. Eventually the pockets were also lined with small rocks and sticks. Who says I ain't got nuttin' in my pocket?
Eventually Nadia noticed places where the wind had made deeper piles of leaves, which are of course, for the sole purpose of walking in. We ran and laughed as our feet shot leaves everywhere. Near the top of the hill, her little legs began to get tired and she asked to be picked up. I put her on my shoulders, and away we went. This is a state park in the woods, with campsites and leantos, built by the CCC in the 30s. (Time for a new Great Plan?) The road turns to gravel at the check-in building, and loops around, with small driveways off to each campsite. This is a pretty unique place because there is no pond for swimming, and the site is on the top of a hill. From some sights you can see South/Southwest. From the main building you look North/Northeast. And from the best site, you look over the hills east/southeast of Brookfield that are separated by deep gullies and ravines and a few flat valleys. On a clear day, I am sure this view must extend to New Hampshire. Even with the clouds balancing on the hilltops, it was a beautiful view, with deep splashes of color and texture on the hills beyond.
As we walked, Nadia would yell, "Yellow!" at most leaves, and we began discerning between the colors, and mentioning that they were all still "Leaves". When a bird chirpped or cawed or jayed, we would stop and listen and Nadi would whisper "Buuurd." We scared a grouse (which, let's be honest, sorta scared us) who took off with the heartbeat sound of its wings pounding the air, and our ears. I stopped and pointed and we watched it fly away. I also mentioned that we had scared the bird. The second one scared me less and we laughed.
My favorite part of our walk was on the way back, when Nadia got off my shoulders and picked up a stick. She traced the cracks in the pavement with her stick for a good half a mile. Very deliberately, she would stop, crouch, and trace. At one point, she shoved her stick in the crack so deeply that it stood on end. She backed up, leaned back, put her hands out to her sides (palms up) and yelled, "Woooooaaaaahhh!" Unbelievably adorable. I resisted the urge to make a big scientific discovery out of it, and just allowed her to enjoy it, echoing her woah, and smiling. I then turned and continued on my way to see what she would do next. She slowly examined each crack for a time after that, trying to jam her stick into it, but never meeting with the same result. It always fell over. A few times she left her stick and then went back for it. She ran up and poked me in the butt with it and said, "Bonk!" then laughed like a crazy person. Eventually, I showed her how to use it to swish the leaves around, and about half way back down the hill, stuffing my pockets with more leaves had taken precidence, and she dropped the stick. Again, I resisted the urge to interfere, deciding that the experience was worth far more than the object.
She never mentioned the stick again, until dinner, and has yet to look in my pockets for all those rocks and leaves. Our walk took nearly two and a half hours, and was a wonderful way to spend the morning before heading to grocery store, off home to nap (for her), and then to pick up her sibs and head to the library.
At each stop yesterday she asked to go potty, and I pulled off the diaper and helped her to squat in the woods, avoided the thr grocery store bathroom, and we peed at the library. On diaper, off diaper. On panties at home, diaper to go out. (Sometimes we use thick undies and vinyl pants, but only have a few pairs... they tend to get used up quickly).
At the library, Aidan went to a comics club, and they drew two, three-panel comics for submission to the paper. He also got a free comic book, and they will meet again next week. We'll always be a little late because it starts at the moment the school gets out in East Montpelier. Ironically, they meet in the East Montpelier room at the library. (Weird).
Sage and I looked up "Princesses and Fairies" for her topic of interest (getting her to read anything but Dick and Jane by herself is like pulling teeth. Why Dick and Jane? Those were our "Schoolbooks" for reading during homeschool. She has since convinced herself that she can't do anything else. *Sigh* Perfectionism is a sign of smartness. And then, that person never feels like anything they do is up to snuff. This leads to being afraid to try. Hmmmm.... sounds like both Aidan and Sage. And me. And Colin. Call us the crippled crazy-brains.) Eventually I got her to enjoy herself, and she didn't want to leave. She took out every copy of the fairy poems by Cicely Mary Barker that they had. Garden fairies, tree fairies, spring fairies, winter fairies, and a fairy alphabet. We also got a book called "Princesses Never Quit," about princesses who are bored and switch with their servants for the day, then go on to always help with the chores. At home, she set the table (her night... I finally wrote it on the calendar... how long it takes me to be organized!) and gave us all assigned seats by putting afiry book at each spot. Colin didn't get it at first, and asked her to remove them. I asked him to let her explain, and whispered "It's ok..." and he grinned. We just moved the books ourselves when we took our seats.
Colin ran into another friend this weekend. Two weekends ago it was his buddy Johnny (who now goes by Juan) at the residency at Goddard. This weekend it was his friend, Sam, who plays in a brass punk band we went to see at the Langdon Street Cafe (Feel free to Google this place. They list their schedule online. We know the principle owner.) She plays the cymbals. Aidan and Sage were soooo impressed. And when she gave them a free copy of the her cd, they were even more impressed. There were lots of little kids there, all dancing in the empty lot under the tent, and marching around the block as this band paraded around Montpelier. A lot of fun! Lots! It is especially nice when we get to do something we like to do with the kids. Plus, I had the nicest mug of beer. Pumpkin Ale. By Smuttynose (I think) definitely not by Sam Adams or Long trail or whoever else makes one. This one tastes a bit like pumpkin pie with hops. Delicious. And orange in tint. I am always a fan of anything that comes in that deep, harvest, rusty-orange.
My application was reviewed on Monday for the psych and counseling program. I should find out today or tomorrow by mail. I will keep ya'll posted.
We payed some respect to Rosh Hoshana this week with sweet dinners and Challah dipped in honey. We had the last of the lamb the other night.... first slow cooked in a wine and cider broth flavored with carrots, onions, garlic, and celery. Then it was broiled with an apple jelly/mint glaze. The veggies from the broth were then mixed with cooked beets and given a maple clove glaze. And last night we had roast beef, mashed potatoes, pear/gorgonzola/almond salad in a red wine coulis sauce, and a tomato basil egg noodle salad. Colin is looking forward to celebrating Sukkot, and building the shelter. We think we are going to put it on the deck, since the tables are already out there. Hopefully, we can have a big dinner potluck for the festival. We're hoping, anyway. Aidan told me the other night that he wanted to be a Buddhist Jew, and low and behold there was a book about a Buddhist Jew in the library. We also got some books on celebrating the Jewish holidays, and cooking for them, and stories and poems about them. We also found out that there are some high holidays services at the Vermont College of the fine arts. So we are hoping to go for Yom Kippur with the kids, to help Aidan see what a temple service is like. Hopefully, someday, I will get him out to Barnet, VT, to visit the Buddhist center out there.
Well, I supposed eventually I should get thee to a nunnery.... oh, no, a grocery store. Bad shakespeare, bad! Stay in thee corner. (I find that I am always saying "Out out dammed spot!" as the children wring their dirty hands, seeking help to get them clean.)
It is pouring now, and I seem to be losing my internet connection intermittenly now. So I should probably post this and get on with my day.
Love you all and wish you were here!