Thursday, October 27, 2011
Today while grabbing some clothes from Michael’s room, I noticed there were butterflies in the habitat. I called for Michael, he grabbed habitat and put it on the back deck, opened the door, and we watched off and on for a couple of hours while they all dried their wings, did a strange vibrating thing, and eventually flew away.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
And, a heartfelt thanks goes to Mimi for providing with this industrial-sized sharps container so we don't have to keep storing those buggers in recycled fabric softener jugs ;)
So, this was the second time our family and friends have participated in JDRF's annual Walk to Cure Diabetes. I have to give big hugs and thanks to Kitmama and S and their respective chitlins for coming out to Walk with us today, as well as to Christin for the loan of her wagon....which was definitely put to good use!
Some pix from the Walk:
Sneaking a break...and some crackers....
in the wagon.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Sunday was very much like Saturday, so I won’t go into detail, just hit the highlights.
One thing that happened on Saturday that I did not photograph (because I was at camp) was what a hit was made by Thomas and Michael and their stilts. Now, these stilts are one more of those inventions of Michael’s. As often happens, he woke up one morning with a fully-formed plan to build some stilts out of PCV pipe. We had some around, which he promptly set about using to make his stilts (with oversight from dad). But, they were a bit too wobbly. So, David bought a stouter gage of PCV and they went at it again. Added a coat of orange paint, and here’s the result (this video was taken on Sunday):
According to David (who was there on Saturday sans camera), Thomas (who had built himself some black stilts in the same design) and Michael were a huge hit, with all kinds of people, both kids and adults, wanting to try them out. David’s now got the idea of perfecting the design, figuring out to properly affix the paint, and building a batch of them to sell at next year’s FESTY. Not a bad idea…
We all met up for dinner at the Devil’s Backbone Brewery, which was lovely (thank you, Kitmama and Billy!). We sat on the patio and enjoyed live music, good food, and good beer and wine.
Then, back to camp where I hung out with the kids while Billy, Kit, David and Thomas went back to see the Stringdusters again. All reports indicate that Thomas was beside himself being able to see them perform from backstage, and getting a poster signed by each of the Dusters. After the show, we were joined in camp by a couple of our neighbor campers for a nice fire and good conversation.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Camping at The FESTY was one of the few times we have camped “primitive” with the camper – no electricity plug in, and no water hook up. Having the water tank on the camper was great, though the pump was not working…we just opened up the drain on the bottom and filled buckets with water. The battery ran lights at night, but the electrical outlets in the camper don’t work without a plug-in…which is a great benefit in many ways – no electronic gizmos while camping! As a result, the kids all found other things to do while at camp, including archery practice, reading, drawing, and in Thomas and William’s cases writing stories. I can’t remember spelling so many words aloud in one day!
So, after a morning of hanging out in camp, we wandered off to the FESY grounds again.
Kitmama's Big Bubbles.
...a sporty hat!
So, back to camp for dinner, and the kids found their own entertainment. The younger boys all congregated at the road to sell art…and rocks…to folks passing by.
"Rocks for a quarter, art for free!"
After dinner, I hung out at camp with the five youngest while Billy, Kitmama, David and Thomas headed to the grounds to enjoy some less-interrupted music. In addition to the Stringdusters, David was particularly impressed with Rubblebucket.
Friday, October 7, 2011
After a good night’s sleep, I was up at a reasonable hour making chocolate chip pancakes. These are great from camping because the sweetness is built in – thus no need for syrup – and can be eaten with fingers – thus far fewer dishes, especially when you’re feeding nine people.
The area the FESTY is set up in is a fabulously beautiful valley. Though it was plenty cold overnight, it warmed up very quickly.
LittleMan decked out for climbing.
The Pirate getting a grip.
Of course, there were grown-up refreshments as well…the Devil’s Backbone Brewery was on hand with four choices of their lovely beer on draft.
So after our wanderings and tastings, we were on hand, and right down in front, for the opening act, Sarah Siskind & Her Infamous Friends, some of the sweetest and tightest harmonies I’ve heard in a very long time. (I would have posted a link, but couldn't find one that does justice to the spectacular vocals and instrumentals that I experienced, sitting there in the grass).
I really appreciated the more relaxed approach in the kids’ area where parents were on hand, but not hovering and squirting sanitizer on everything every ten minutes and telling their kids the “proper” way to do their crafts. Most of the kids were running around barefoot and everyone was pretty much doing their own thing the way they wanted to do it. It seemed to have been enough of a shift for Michael that it inspired him to really sit down and focus on his “art” for longer than I’ve seen him do before. He spent a good half-hour simply coloring a coloring book page, completely filling in all of the spaces, and meticulously staying inside the lines, something he’s never done before. Even at the climbing wall, it was assumed that everyone (including the kids, with some parental oversight) had enough common sense to stay safe with minimal rules posted. Notice most of the kids in the pix are climbing bare-footed, which is most efficient, but which is generally a violation at other walls we’ve visited.
But the best part of FESTY, aside from the fabulous music (obviously), is the people. I did not come across a single person, either working for the FESTY, a vendor, or a visitor, who was not friendly, kind, and pleasant. There is a great blend of people attending, from young families, to college-aged people, to older generations who’ve been attending these types of festivals for decades (think Dead Heads). There was a wide range of fashion choices walking about, and I don’t remember ever being anywhere before and seeing so many people who were so comfortable with themselves and how they present themselves to the world (or, at least, the world of FESTY). Lots of cute dresses and skirts with boots; patchwork baggy pants on guys; unique layerings of unexpected fabrics and articles of clothing; over-the-top dreadlocks; and more tie dye than I’ve ever seen in one place before. It really got me thinking about how I might indulge in developing a more unique sense of personal style as I mature.
The only thing I would like to see changed for next year is the vendors. The food vendors were great, and I believe all were local eating establishments. I enjoyed a fabulous lamb gyro, Thomas and William had the pulled pork sandwiches, and Michael snacked on some outstanding home-cut spicy fries. But, the “stuff” vendors were disappointing for me. I felt sure that I would be able to find a sunhat (I left mine at home, and really needed one!), but there wasn’t anyone selling sun hats. Some of the vendors were selling art or crafts that were handmade, but there were also vendors selling stuff made in China. I think this would be a great forum for presenting artisan-level crafts (with an emphasis on sustainable or Earth-friendly), making it a secondary focus of the FESTY. After all, at least for me, Bluegrass and Artisan Crafts go hand-in-hand.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
So, I have to send out a big, huge Thank You! to Billy and those who arranged for us to attend, as well as to Mimi and Christine for keeping an eye on the homefront and looking after the critters. We are blessed to have so many wonderful people in our lives.
So, miraculously, we were completely packed up and on the road by 10:00 am. That would be three adults, six children, two vehicles, and a pop-up camper. (David had a business trip to attend to, and would be joining us in VA on Friday). That took some intensive planning, preparation, and pre-packing, which was accomplished spectacularly well by Kitmama and I. The drive up was pretty much uneventful (or so we thought). Lunch was a record-breaking 35 minute pit stop that encompassed fuel fill-up, pee-pee break, and making and consuming sandwiches. We arrived at the FESTY camp grounds just after sun-down, and after a bit of wrangling for a good location, dropped the camper and got camp set up. It was at this point we realized that not everything was accounted for; specifically, Kitmama’s cell phone and clothing bag. Ah, well, every trip has it's hitches, right?
Monday, October 3, 2011
This morning a tech came out to install a new windshield on the Sequoia, so all of the boys lined up sitting on the camper to watch. After a blazing, dry summer (even the weeds were dying!), the weather the past several days has been beautiful!!! Lovely, pleasant days, and sweetly cool nights. We even got the goose down comforter out!
So, here are a few shots of six beautiful boys on a beautiful morning enjoying learning something new.
Babyman with bed head.