This past weekend was sunny and super warm, just lovely. Saturday was meant to be the day when we could do whatever Paul wanted for his birthday. In the morning this was basically yard work. We cleared up a lot of debris (natural and human) in the yard, and I got some things done in the garden. Then we headed out for lunch at a favorite restaurant, followed by a geocache expedition. Clark has been complaining a lot about geocaching (“it’s all you ever want to do”) but the fact is that our afternoon was super fun and we probably wouldn’t have done what we did if that had not been the impetus. There is a nearby park that we love and have gone to many times, particularly because there is a little brook there. Well, it turns out that right across the street is a nature preserve with, the rest of the brook there! We didn’t even go hiking-just walked about 50 yards from our parked car and felt like we were in the middle of an enchanted wood. It was really warm out and the clear water was very inviting and naturally the kids got super wet from playing in the water.
Clark was especially pleased and proud that he scaled the sheer dirt wall along one bank.
And, like something right out of a picture book, they caught a frog. Even if it never happens again, this is how I want to remember their childhood-getting along, playing in nature, wading in a brook, and catching a nice big frog.
When we were all worn out we headed to another nearby park to find three caches (Clark sat in the car reading.) Then it was back home where we had one of our very favorite evenings-Game Night with Liz and Eleanor. The pizza was extra delicious, the games super fun, and the special birthday cake spectacular.
The joke here is that when I was 41 I was “forty-WONderful”, but what could I be when I turned 42? 42 Legit to Quit, of course. And they got a fancy bakery cake and had them inscribe that on it, to the merry amusement of all. Here’s Eleanor’s picture of it.
Sunday was Mother’s Day and at this point we were, to quote Paul, “celebrated out.” All I wanted for Mother’s Day was to work in the yard and have Paul make hamburgers for dinner. Done and done. Actually, it was really great. We repaired the lawnmower and were finally able to mow the entire yard, including an additional area. Paul took down dead limbs from a big tree, I pruned the heck out of the blackberry bush, and everything looks so much better. After 11 years here we’re in a bit of an evaluative phase. Things grow a lot in 10 years, so trees and bushes are overtaking paths and things. We did begin reseeding the lawn and confirmed that the reason for the huge patches of no grass are due to grubs, which we will treat. It’s been kind of nice planting my cosmos and zinnias from seed without having to worry about the chickens, and ditto for the grass seed. I got a darling birdfeeder and spinny thing for the garden for Mother’s Day, and I got Paul a rosebush and new plant hooks for his birthday, so we’re freshening up those spaces, too. Getting the yard in shape is making me look forward to summer and I really hope that everyone plays outside in it.
My mom came over to join us for dinner and it was a nice mellow evening. Some obligatory portraits:
And at the end of the day we had the delightful surprise of discovering baby squirrels in the owl box. How darling!
Today Tabby and I were wonderfully spontaneous and went biking at Duke Farms before she had to go to school. It was a gorgeous morning and the biking was fine. We stopped in at the Orchid Range
And also sat for quite a while next to a big pond, enjoying listening to bullfrogs and green frogs (I think) twang back and forth like banjoes, along with lots of birdsong.
Finally, thank you to all our friends who have been so kind in expressing condolences about Pippin.
It’s been a difficult week. There are dozens of times a day when I look for him or think he’s still here. Although it was hard for us, though, I am actually consoled by the fact that he was having good days right up until the end. Afterward we found all these old pictures of him as a young dog and it really made me see just how elderly he was. I never thought of him that way, but when I compared him to the dog who used to jump on people I could see that he had indeed changed. He had a great life and we were so lucky to have him.
And, just a couple of days after he died Tabby and I were in the car and saw…a bald eagle. I stopped the car and it was low enough that we could see it perfectly clearly. It glided in circles over and over again right over our heads. You might recall that my first sighting was with Pippin on one of our special walks. I really felt like he was checking in, saying hello, reaching out.