About a month ago, something happened out on the ranch. Something big.
We got cattle back on the property. And in a way, we got the property back, too.
You may recall that last spring, my folks got out of the cattle business. I toyed with keeping a few head, but there were a few too many hurdles, and I ended up letting the idea drop.
So the cattle all left, and the grass grew. And grew. And grew. It was so thick and full of foxtails, and later tarweed, that it was neither fun, nor really safe to wade out into the fields.
But just a month ago, the man who bought my father's herd brought back a herd to graze down the pasture. Around the same time, we got a rain, and my father used his tractor on the softened earth to make a path. And things changed.
We started taking walks again.
And appreciating our home from different perspectives. Then, something even better happened.
The cattle started having babies. Lots of them.
They run and play right outside our back fence.
And we appreciate these sights now more than ever.
In fact, it is a beautiful morning. I think I'll take a walk!
Recently we had "Career Day" at Foothill Elementary. Mae was her perennial favorite--a veterinarian. She is nothing if not consistent. And she does seem to have a real gift with animals, so it does really suit her. We even put a splint on her little dog's leg!
Abigail was much less settled, but finally was inspired by the lanyard, which caught her eye and made her think of being...a scientist.
She does look like she means business, doesn't she? I couldn't be more proud! ;-)
Actually, soccer season came and went. Yesterday was the last game. We DO have All Stars, which the girls will play (by default...top 4 from each team, and we only have 3). But they are still psyched by the "All Star" label. And Mark, despite his earlier self-proclaimed hiatus, will coach.
But here they are, Coach Schlaefer and his girls.
Yes! I am actually going to post something WITHIN 24 HOURS of its actual occurance!
Yesterday, as you know, was Halloween. Big doings when you have 8-year-olds. This year, as has happened every other year, the girls came up with a costume idea, which we then built together. For the past two years, the costumes have been "paired"...they go together in some way. Last year, they were a cucumber and a pickle, which I absolutely loved. We made identical costumes, but had a sign on each. Such a fun idea for identical twins, isn't it?
So here is this year's winner:
Abigail is "Homework", and Mae is "The Dog who Eats the Homework". Abigail actually copied her math facts homework from the prior night, making a few wrong answers, just for authenticity (although she rarely gets one wrong in real life, notes the bragging mother).
Mae had many offers for a new home, especially from the older children. What more could you ask for in a Halloween costume?
We did our normal routine, driving around the neighborhood, looking for signs of Halloween. In such a rural setting, trick-or-treating is pretty low density. We ended up visiting about 10 homes. And that was just right.
It was a very Happy Halloween.
Last Sunday, I ran the Shaver Lake Triathlon for the 4th time. Well, I ran most of it. OK, two-thirds. It was my bike's fault.
I had no business doing this in the shape I'm in, but darn...it was great to be up there! Note that I am the only one wearing a wetsuit. I needed the extra buoyancy, just as insurance!
And the best part was sharing the experience with my sister, Karen, and nieces Casey and Megan. All of whom kicked my butt. And yes, those are our ages on our legs. You know what is inspirational? The overall winner was 52! A Sunday well spent.
Lady's Bathtub was a wonderful swimming hole because it was deep, and clear, and calm. But there were other holes with other attractions. Next, we went to "The Old Hole". This place was a step up on the excitement scale, with sections of white water surging over slabs of smoothed rock. Which, of course, everyone jumps in and rides like a water park ride. Yes...even my precious babies.
The third hole we visited was just gorgeous. It was called Aggasiz.
It sounded like Aggasi, as in the tennis player, which I thought was unusual. When I was researching to confirm how to spell the name, I found this little tidbit at northeastwaterfalls.com: "This formation is named for noted Swiss scientist Louis Agassiz, who observed and described evidence of glacial activity which suggested the Ice Age." Having been there, I'm still not sure of the link, but also I found that the hole is also called "Indian Leap".
Yes, one of those. Despite the gorgeous surroundings, it was not my favorite.
I mean, I love leaping just as much as the next guy, but the tiny little target hole just freaked me out a bit. It's the deep, dark spot (with a visible rock right close to the middle!) at the bottom of this picture.
My niece, Hannah, taking the 20-foot plunge.
Some of our intrepid family members in the hole. And here goes Mae.
Oh yes she did. Not off the top, but she was in the mix.
New Hampshire in the summer is a thing of beauty, filled with lush green vegetation, and clear bright sunshine. And a fair amount of humidity, which is not as pretty. The summer weather makes the local swimming holes very important. We visited several. The first was Lady's Bathtub.
"Lady's" is a wide, deep, slow spot in the Pemigewasset River ("the Pemi"), which flows through Lincoln, NH. Lincoln is a small, ski town in the middle of the White Mountains, and it is Mark's hometown. This was our destination for a big family reunion and memorial service for Mark's father. Mark has many wonderful memories of growing up in this amazing setting, and was so happy to share it with the girls.
But the relaxing and floating didn't last for long. Because there are things to be done at Lady's Bathtub.
Like building dams.
Mark and his brother, John, set to work on one of their favorite pasttimes at the river, which of course is building the biggest, best damn dam they possibly can.
They put everyone to work.
During the course of our stay, the water level in Lady's rose a foot.
Of course, the day we left, it rained, and I'm sure the dam was washed away.
How's that for some good, clean, summer family fun?!