Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Father's Day Hike

Last month I saw where a new hiking trail had been formed not far from us, so we decided to give it a shot on Father's day.
 The trail had lots of white dashes painted on trees, but there were times when it wasn't quite clear which way to go, and we did end up doing one loop twice by accident.  There were so many berries teasing us - not quite ripe yet.

Our favorite part was an old cemetery, which is located just off the trail.  I later learned this is the Boone-Hardy cemetery.  It went from very primitive stones:

To slightly less primitive (most of the stones were from the 1800s, although there were a number with no markings):

To (in comparison) more ornately carved stones:

The fence was fallen in most parts, and we found the old gate propped against a tree.  In google, I found that the town is hoping to restore this cemetery as an area of historic interest.  I hope that will happen.  But it was an interesting place deep in the woods. 
The trail doesn't have a name yet, but perhaps if more people hike it, it will shape up and earn a name.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Bluegrass and Brews

Last month we decided to take the boys to hear a friend's band play bluegrass music at a local brewery.  I had been to a flea market the day before and found a bunch of inexpensive games, so I brought them along to keep the boys busy.  I figured the more busy they were, the longer we would get to stay.
 One of the things I picked up at the flea market (for $1.50) was this stacking cups set.  It came with a mat and timer, as well as a dvd to show the sequence.  I spent the next three days refereeing fights between the three boys, who all wanted to use it at the same time.  They time themselves and started a wipe erase board with their personal records.  At the brewery, every kid in the place gravitated over to check out the stacking cups.  The boys were good about sharing with the other kids, and teaching them how to do the stacking sequence.

We also brought Blockus and Qbitz.  both of these are thinking games.  The boys were really content to do these activities and listen to bluegrass.  It was a successful evening, and I know next time I'll be bringing our bag of games! 

Readers, do you have a favorite board game?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Bathroom Humor

Sometimes I can't help but find amusement when people get creative in public bathrooms.  In May we went to the Harry Potter festival in Roanoke.  This was the first year.  I was amused when I went to the bathroom in Ravenclaw.

Of course, no Hogwarts bathroom would be complete without Moaning Myrtle...

Then in June, we went to hear the band of a friend play at Chaos Mountain Brewery.  They displayed some bathroom humor as well:

How about you readers?  Have you seen anything funny in the bathroom lately?  Is that a loaded question?

Hope everyone had a great July 4th! 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Gardening 2017

May was very rainy here.  So rainy I could not get into my garden for weeks.  I would sink six inches in the mud.  Plus it developed an underground stream running through the middle.  I tried planting some seeds during that time, but they didn't come up.  However, plants that I put in during April are doing well. 

In another section I replanted beans, kale, and a few other things that never came up.  I also have a number of tomatoes and peppers going.  Plus herbs from last year - lavender, comfrey, lemon balm, mint. 

So far, we have only eaten lettuce, swiss chard, and turnips.  Hopefully now that it isn't so rainy, my garden will start to perform better.  I ordered some peanuts and plan to plant those as well.

Readers, do you have a garden this year?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

King's Dominion

To kick off the summer and celebrate the successful end of 2nd grade x 2 + 4th grade, the boys wanted to go to King's Dominion.  We left early and arrived shortly after the park opened for the day.
Cort tried to spike up his hair to be taller for some of the scarier rides, but alas, he didn't fool the measurers.  He was still able to ride some milder thrill rides, like the Ricochet, the Avalanche and what used to be the Scooby Doo (which was my first roller coaster, when I was about 13).
Pierce has been trying to learn French through an app called Duolingo, so he wanted to go up in the Eiffel tower replica.

I can no longer ride the super spinny rides like the Scrambler, so Paul took one for the team and rode the Scrambler over and over (it was Pierce's favorite ride).
Reid turned out to love the roller coasters.  He wasn't tall enough ride the most intense three, but he rode all the ones he could (Cort was so jealous - he just needs to grow that last inch to be able to ride the ones Reid rode!).  I had a blast riding the Anaconda with Reid, which goes upside down three times and also goes under water.  It came out around the time I had season passes to King's Dominion in high school, so it was kind of like returning to an old friend.  Over twenty years later!  I couldn't stop smiling.

Here is Reid (yellow shirt) getting ready to go on the Grizzly, his last coaster of the day.  It was late and by this time there were no lines anymore.  Unfortunately, the boys were exhausted, and the drive home involved a lot of bickering.  Then we hit a closure on the interstate due to an overturned tractor trailer.  So we sat there, exhausted, staring at the sea of headlights in the dark.  It was almost 1:00 am by the time we got home!  Overall, though, we had a fabulous day, and the boys can't wait to go back, hopefully a little taller next time. 

Readers, do you like roller coasters?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Not Quite a Complete Disaster Camping Trip

Five years ago, we took the boys on a day trip to Fairy Stone State Park, and had such an excellent time we thought we'd like to camp there at some point (for fun, here is my first post about Fairy Stone - they were so little!)

So Friday night we got all our gear packed up and Saturday morning we were out the door around 7 am, to get to the park by 8.  We wanted two full days of fun.  When I booked our site, there was no chance of rain, but two days later the weather had shifted.  We were hoping that the storms would pass quickly, if at all.

 Once we were set up, the boys were already complaining they were hungry, so we decided to fix an early lunch.  It was supposed to storm in the evening, so we decided to make dinner for lunch and save the sandwiches for storming weather.  Sweet potatoes and corn on the cob and hot dogs hit the spot. 

Our roomy REI Kingdom tent.  We hadn't used it in rain before, so we were hoping for the best.  REI makes high quality gear, in our experience.  You can see my comfy camping cot.  Paul and I can sleep on the ground, but with plenty of room in the tent, I figure why not bring a cot. 
After lunch we hit the lake.  They have a playground for the kids that is so much fun.  Luckily, it wasn't too terribly crowded.  The boys had a blast.

The water was cool but not too cold to enjoy.  I wished I had brought a swimsuit, but at least I remembered the boys'.

While the boys were swimming, Paul took our kayak out.  The boys each took a turn, too.  By the time it was my turn, the first storm was rolling in, so I decided to wait until the next day. 

After dinner, we went to look for fairy stones.  After all the rain we've had, we found tons and tons of fairy stones!  Reid found over 100!  Everyone had bulging pockets on the way back to camp (you can see my old post for a chart of how they look).  The evening was the perfect time to search, because everyone else seemed to be back at camp for the night.  We had the whole place to ourselves.

Reid checks out his fairy stone collection by lantern light that evening.  We went to sleep around 9, but then the storms started rolling in.  We really got pounded!  Over and over again waves of storms rolled through.  Thankfully, our tent with rain fly was excellent.  Not a single spot got damp.
Unfortunately, Reid woke up around 4 am complaining of stomach pain.  Then by 6, Cort was up as well, and started vomiting in the woods behind our tent.  Having kids struck down by the stomach flu in the middle of the woods when you have a bunch of gear to pack up is not a good thing.  Cort threw up again and again as we rolled up sleeping bags and put away chairs and such.  No coffee this morning.  It seemed like we would never get everything packed up. 
Thank goodness we were only an hour drive away.  It was a VERY long hour.  We were sad we didn't get our second day of hiking and kayaking and fairy stone hunting.  We'd had such a great time the day before.  Paul said, "Maybe next time we can just do a day trip again".  I have to say - I second that!  And hopefully our next overnight camping trip (wherever we go) will be much smoother.  

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Up to Something

On Mother's Day, Paul and I had just finished cleaning up dinner when he said, "I think the boys might be up to something".  We went to look outside.

They were carrying one another around the place on an old WW2 stretcher that came from my grandparents' garage.  Good thing they don't know where my big bandages stash is...