Sunday, November 27, 2011

on the homefront

Amidst the busyness of our days outside the home, we have had weekends filled with beloved house guests, exciting outings and a much needed long holiday weekend.

Jupiter spent many weekends in September and October getting free wood and this weekend we are splitting and stacking it. We are stacking it in a round stack called a holz hausen which holds more wood, looks nicer and some say allows the wood to dry, or season, faster. This wood is for next year. Whomever invented the hydraulic log splitter is one of my heroes. Even with the log splitter, this is tough work, but without it, it would take us years. We love our wood stove and it is providing us with almost all of the heat for the house. The added bonus of the wood stove is that we can watch the fire and warm ourselves by it and it makes us feel cozy and happy.

Last weekend was the local Thanksgiving day parade and it was the best parade experience I can remember. There were many balloons, roving entertainers, marching bands and dancing troupes, it was not crazy crowded like the one in New York and we could park nearby. I love my town!!

Jove's soccer team were the undefeated champs in their league. Jove improved a lot and really enjoyed playing. Next he's trying basketball. He really wanted to learn to be able to play with one of his friends.

Halloween was fun if a bit anti-climatic this year. We went trick or treating with some friends of ours that live in a more populated neighborhood, since we live in an almost rural part of town. The kids loved going out with their buddies. Us adults were a little tired after having lost power over the weekend and dealt with a unusual late October snow storm that brought down a ton of trees. Some nearby communities lost power for a week and a half. Some towns postponed trick or treating because of all of the downed trees and wires. You can see some snow on the ground in the picture of Jove. We counted ourselves among the lucky to not have lost any trees or lost power for more than a couple of days

Our first October house guest was Jupiter's dad who was visiting from the Dominican Republic. He wanted to see the fall colors so we drove out to Bear Mountain to meet up with some friends and we paraded through Octoberfest and took the kids to the Bear Mountain Zoo and Trailside Museums which showcases only local, native wildlife and local natural history. A very interesting place.

Our second October house guests were Maggie and Bruce, one of my oldest and dearest friend's parents. We felt so honored to be included on their East Coast road trip itinerary. They arrived in a snowstorm (the aforementioned Halloween weekend snowstorm), luckily before it got too bad. We had a pleasant afternoon of visiting and I even got dinner on the table before the power went out. The wood stove kept us warm, but of course the real issue is that our well pump doesn't work when the lights are out, so we don't have running water. Hopefully, they'll return when we don't have a snowstorm, or at least when we have power.

On a final note, sometimes events occur that make me feel very lucky, beyond my normal gratefulness for a good life filled with loving family and friends, like there is some magic in this world. This past October, Patricia Polacco, one of my favorite picture book author/illustrators came to our local library to do a a reading and book signing. It was very exciting for the kids and I. She is amazing. She told stories of her family, of growing up with a learning disability, of overcoming it and she spoke in defense of teachers. She is one of my heroes.

She grew up in Oakland, CA and spent quite a bit of time at her grandparents farm in Union City, MI. She lives there now and every summer the town hosts a Meteor Festival in honor of her writing and specifically her book about a meteor that landed on her grandparent's farm. We hope to go there someday.