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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Treasure Hunt

Today's spider haiku-

Baby spider webs
Growing in the compost pile
Many bugs to eat

(Going back and forth about whether "pile" is one syllable or two for the purposes of this haiku. I went with one in this version but it could easily be two syllables and just take out the "the".)



Eva and I spent some time digging up garlic today. I am amazed at how much we found- and such large cloves! We dug up about 2/3 of what is back there so far.

Saturday, August 29, 2009



my friend dawn took this photo of samuel and i at the captain bogg and salty concert we went to last week at sellwood park. samuel actually got up on stage and sang one of the na-na-na parts in the song. truly amazing. a few years ago we may not even have gone to this concert- too loud, too crowded, too much...

i love being able to allow space for my kids to grow in ways that feel comfortable and enjoyable to them without the pressure of a time line, ill-conceived notions of a *right* way to live- each of us reaching for what feels best for us where we find ourselves rather than struggling with outside directives that attempt to fit us all into the same mold, as though there can only be one mold. here's to a life of our own making, our life, for us.
just back from the park. so lovely with the crickets and bats and sunset and gorgeous moon moving toward full. eva swinging told me she was afraid of swinging for a while because the swing went so high up and now she is enjoying her time swinging again. i know how she feels. sometimes when i swing i can't imagine how i ever swing higher than the ground and other times it is just the thing, swinging higher and higher with the wind blowing through my body clearing everything out, making way for deep breaths and expansion.

samuel's new sword has him temporarily a part of the cavalry on our walks, even going so far as to request a walk today and then another, all of us seeming to need movement, finding peace and clarity in the movement, in stillness around us. where is everyone? suburban life gives the illusion of no one but i know they are in there somewhere. i smell their barbecues, see their garage sale signs, catch a view of a car coming and going now and then. we see their dogs, their cats. imagine living so close to one another and knowing nothing. happy to smile hello to those who pass by on their way to other parts of their lives.

Saturday, August 22, 2009



Eva with her pine cone rabbit she made earlier today and asleep in her chair cave with Albert this evening before go fish. Albert started fussing and woke her up.

summer abundance

Whew- this afternoon (late) and apparently this evening as well- who knew it was so late- I processed the produce from both of my CSA baskets. One came yesterday afternoon and I picked the other larger one up today at the farmers market. This is what happened with all of that produce-
- so much corn cut off the cob and frozen (I am officially tired of corn on the cob. It doesn't take long because it is just too sweet for me to eat often. I love it more in tamales and in the middle of the winter for the kids.)
- corn and peppers prepped for tamales later this week
- chicken cooked, also prepped for tamales
- minestrone soup made! (I used the chicken broth, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, onion, garlic, basil...)
- half of the eggplant not used in the minestrone roasted for dip tomorrow
- peppers chopped and frozen
- tomato, basil, pepper chopped for sauce later this week (I may end up just freezing this because I am not in the mood for pasta right now, particularly with the minestrone.)
- salsa made!
- so many cucumbers chopped and ready for salad or dipping
- lettuce chopped, washed, spun and ready for salad
- gravenstein apple and blackberry crisp made! (We picked a few blackberries yesterday and the apples came in the second CSA basket today!)

What's left? There are a couple of tomatoes on the counter for cheese sandwiches and morning toast with butter. There are still potatoes and cabbage from prior weeks in the refrigerator and um several {ahem} zucchini. What's a cook to do with so much zucchini? It has to be one of the more optimistic vegetables. I also have a counter full of watermelon (yellow and red), cantaloupe (two varieties), peaches and apples (the first of the season!), if you can believe it. The fruit is from the farmers market and the upick. Oh yes, there are also fall raspberries that I think will end up in a smoothie tomorrow morning. Did I mention peaches? The abundance of this time of year is near gushing at this point. Enjoy the season. The flavors are endless.

And now to play some go fish with Eva. She has been waiting for me to finish up with the food for quite some time now and has been dividing her time between Albert and the new disc swing I put up for her in the back yard a few days ago. I meant to get a picture of her on the swing but my camera has been lost for several days and only just recovered. Photos will have to wait until after go fish!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

tid bits

I walk with trepidation through the clover-filled lawn, wary of the honey makers buzzing around my feet, unable to talk myself into putting shoes on every time I go outside- it is summer after all!- and also understanding so well why the bee sting works, how it protects the hive and keeps its members safe. Yes, whereas before my bee sting (pre-bee-sting) a few weeks ago, I would have been respectful of the bees, I am now hyper-vigilant, uber-respectful, ever protective of my feet and their tiny stinger-filled bodies, hoping to create a yard where bare feet and bees can coexist peacefully. Perhaps if I told them how many flowers I plant in their honor? I am also much more aware- thanks to the bee sting and to Albert who loves to eat clover- of just how much clover is growing in my yard!

Mmmmm- there was finally some kale in one of my CSA baskets. I cooked it tonight in olive oil with squash, tomato, garlic and red pepper flakes. (Another word for this would be saute but I usually avoid this word, particularly in the past tense, because I can never remember how to make the little mark over the "e"...) I served it over sprouted grain pasta which was good but sort of a stretch to actually call pasta. This got me thinking and I looked up pasta, which, as it turns out, is "dough with flour, water and/ or eggs," so maybe sprouted grain pasta is not such a stretch after all. It would have been lovely with some Parmesan as well.

We have discovered that our guinea pig Albert loves strange singing and high pitched whistles and squeals and will make his happy purring noises over and over again when he hears these noises. Yesterday Eva was making high pitched squeak noises while blowing on a leaf and Albert sat on my lap purring again and again. It is great fun for all of us. He will also march right up to a plate filled with watermelon and begin eating a slice all on his own. Why wait? He is currently in his cage with a slice of watermelon Eva must have put in there with him, dubbing it "Albert's slice" and he is beside himself with guinea pig enthusiasm, jumping about, bubbling over with chirps and chortles, eyeing the watermelon from over here, from over there. Guinea pigs appreciate abundance as much as the next species.

Yesterday evening I was in our back yard checking on the garden after another hot day and I decided to check out Momma Yellow Jacket in the shed. I was surprised to see that after all that tug-of-war with her a few months ago, she was nowhere to be found. Her nest was gone and there was not a yellow jacket in sight. This was particularly perplexing to me because there have been a number of yellow jackets flying around the apple tree lately, presumably eating the tent worms living there? I had just assumed they were from Momma Yellow Jacket's brood and that the arrangement between us had worked out quite nicely after all. She had a safe, sheltered spot in which to raise her um baby yellow jackets and I had yellow jackets eating the tent worms. (Not a great proposition for the tent worms, I realize, but they seem to be maintaining their numbers regardless of the yellow jackets. At that level I chalk it all up to Mother Nature. What, really, can I do about yellow jackets eating tent worms, after all? Wait- if you use insecticides and other forms of whatnot, don't answer that question!)

Of course I also noticed the four large spider webs spanning the shed door in various permutations. There were two across each azalea bush, one higher up and one across the um lawn mower itself. The number and size of the spider webs and the fact that one was actually using the lawn mower as a web anchor really illustrates just how long it has been since I mowed the lawn. I had been thinking about mowing at least the part near the garden that keeps growing due to watering (It doesn't rain here during the summer, at least not enough to support a lawn, and I don't water the lawn. Whatever part of the lawn that survives the summer has to make do with what little rain we do get. This makes for very little mowing during the summer months, something I enjoy after the twice-a-week mowing in the spring.)

Like I said, I had been thinking about mowing the lawn but what with the spiders and their webs using the doorway and the actual lawn mower, I guess it can wait a few more days or weeks or gosh, how long is spider season again? And what about the clover? If I mow the lawn, there goes the clover and what would the bees think of our treaty if I mowed down their clover? Yes, I think the lawn can wait. I can use my energy to pick more blackberries, which I am hoping to do tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

un-school-y

watering plants- horticulture, biology, ecosystem studies
cooking- chemistry, home ec, basic skill development
roller skating- gym, sensory integration studies
playing with the fan- physics, auditory experiments
photographing spiders- art, biology
building water contraption- shop, physics, problem solving, geometry, recycling
checking out ants under bricks- biology
watching Planet Earth- biology, ecosystem studies
talking about fairy clothes- dye techniques, sewing, home ec, death and dying (for the rabbit)
playing with new hamster puppet- story telling, speech, fine motor development
Albert- biology, developing responsibility, developing empathy
playing DS- developing responsibility, memorizing skills, strategy skills, math skills
lego building- money management, fine motor skills, story telling, geometry
talking on the phone- social skills, basic skill development
reading Moomin books- reading, story telling, listening
sticker book- art, fine motor skills, design, organization, writing

Hmmm...what else?



Eva and her water contraption- see, all the water goes in through the straw...

one sock



and now to start the other...

Friday, August 14, 2009

signs of fall

The cooler weather has many people thinking about the upcoming fall, for better or worse, depending on your point of view. Or maybe no view? Maybe it is just is, and will be, eventually fall. There have been other signs of fall's approach. Yesterday morning while sitting outside for my morning meditation, I saw the first Canada geese flying overhead. It was a small group, nothing like the massive flocks that will eventually fly by, but a start nonetheless. The last couple of days I have also noticed a few trees here and there starting to turn- hints of the reds and oranges to come on a leaf or two or three. And today Eva pointed out that our blueberry bushes are starting to turn as well. Sure enough-it is that transitional time when you can still find a few berries left on the bushes right next to the newly turned red leaves.



There are still more than a few hot days left of summer to come. I am confident there will be plenty of sunny days to ripen the blackberries, heat up the tomatoes, take us back to the river, get us {finally} to the fountain. Fall is, after all, a transitional season, on the way to winter's plateau. Let's just say {for now} that the transition to the transition has officially begun.

As if in evidence of the push and pull of summer and autumn, yesterday we were filled up with both as we witnessed a double rainbow in the middle of a much needed downpour after spending some time at the upick- picking blackberries, of course. The blackberry is, after all, one of late summer's sweetest gifts.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

what I did with the eggplant

This is a variation of a couple of different eggplant dips I looked at.

Chop everything up in the food processor (or do it by hand with a mortar and pestle for a different effect...)
roasted eggplant (at 350 with holes punched in it until soft- 30-45 minutes or so)
a little pepper to taste (these were hot but not the hottest)
basil
garlic
lemon juice- about a teaspoon
olive oil to desired consistency

I ate this with crackers, tomatoes and cheese. Crusty bread and focaccia come to mind as well.

green bean respite

I made more soup with green beans today. I am warming up to them, particularly after last Saturday when I was allowed to exchange my green beans for an eggplant. Shhhh. I was told explicitly not to tell the owner- they can't have CSA subscribers just changing up the baskets every week, willy nilly. There is a rhyme and a reason to what is in each basket. I totally get that. And I was so appreciative! I jokingly asked if I could barter the green beans for an eggplant and then without thinking any more about it, I went to buy an eggplant and the man working there sort of whispered to me- {Do you really not want your green beans?} And I said- very excitedly, seeing where this might be going- {No, I really don't want them.} And he weighed the two, compared the weights, asked if I was OK with the eggplant costing less than the green beans (Was I OK with that?!!) Yes! Sure! No problem! He took the bag of beans and I skipped off with my eggplant- vowing to not mention it and to certainly not make a habit of it and wishing him a lovely eggplant-filled day!

Today's soup-
green beans
potatoes
red beans
peas (put in at the last minute when everything was already cooked- nothing like over cooked peas!)
garlic
basil
chicken broth (any kind of broth will do)

Make as you do soup! Delicious! Samuel had two bowls of broth with crackers for dinner.

We have had some amazingly dreamy weather complete with rain and warm air, a real summer rain. I feel very satisfied weather-wise and spent a good bit of the day outside in the garden cleaning out spring plants, helping the beans (not green beans) find a place to climb and planting lots of seeds for the fall and winter (lettuce, mesclun, radish, carrots, kale!, spinach ). Eva came out for a while and used the old dump-the-bag-of-seeds-in-one-place method with the spinach and carrots. It should be fun watching them come up. I marked them this time. Last time I am convinced the seedlings got pulled by accident, which is can what happens when I am too tidy. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, I notice. I also planted a pepper plant I found at the store while buying pickling supplies- so healthy and big I thought he deserved a chance in my garden- and some more flowers for the hummingbirds who are loving the hyssop, by the way.

OK and tonight I am planning on pickling some green beans. We shall see how it goes!



The roses and Jack enjoying the rain.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

more about peaches

How's that for a straight forward title. Yesterday and today have been all about peaches. So far, 38 pounds of peaches has broken down into 2 quarts and 12 pints of canned peaches, 12 1/2 jelly jars of peach jam (that 1/2 jar was eaten up lickety split by Miss Eva who then ate almost another whole jar of jam that night. She loves it!), one peach-blueberry crisp, another one waiting to happen on the table (a few peaches are still ripening and are destined for crisphood), a few eaten here and there, tasted and nibbled, and a few that went directly to the compost pile due to excessive (un-cut-out-able) mold. Not bad. I am feeling positive enough to pick some more at this point and see what happens. I would love to can some more and I would love to have enough around to make a couple of smoothies and some juice (what with the watermelon so abundant and all).

I was tasting the peaches as I prepped them for canning today (to make sure they were can-worthy, you know) and was struck once again by how the flavor can vary so much from one peach to the next. Peaches are one of those fruits that can be so earthshatteringlydelicious that the taste brings tears to my eyes. Others are mealy and blech, inedible. There were definitely a few in the batch I picked on Thursday that turned out to be so extremely peachy I thought I would have to sit down to fully appreciate their flavor. That good. Definitely of the tears-to-my-eyes variety. It is at times like these that I am struck by just how good life can be and it turns out you really don't have to look any further than the peaches ripening on your table to show you the way.


Peach jam yesterday. Peaches and corn...

I am now officially canning peaches.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Eva and Owl flying

video

owl crafting

Today turned out to be an amazing day for food! Tonight I made Soupe Au Pistou (at long last I got some tomatoes in one of my baskets...) and it was as delicious as I remembered it, possibly rivaling Minestrone as my favorite soup. Possibly. I also made a quiche and put in some potatoes and zucchini, but of course. And a peach-blueberry crisp. The fruit was so sweet I only used a little agave syrup in the topping to sweeten it. And peach-watermelon juice. Oh the amazing abundance of this time of year. There are cucumbers and carrots for all. Watermelon. Everything is flowing over into the freezer to be enjoyed both now and later. If you are curious about abundance, a trip to the peach orchard will surely show you the way...



Eva was inspired to make this stuffed owl today. She did everything except sew up the bottom to keep the stuffing in. She saw a similar owl on the cover of a button craft book I have checked out from the library- Button it Up by Susan Beal. After she finished with his wings, she sewed a piece of thread on his head and used it to fly him around. He will also sit on your wrist, as shown in this picture.

peach time

We picked peaches yesterday- 38 pounds- and I am hoping to turn them into jam in the next couple of days. When I say *we* I use the term loosely. In truth, Ellen and I picked peaches; Eva ate peaches, climbed in trees, made leaf art; Samuel ate peaches and talked on the phone. Peach picking is a lovely respite from the heat of berry picking. With all of those trees, there is bound to be at least some shade. It has also cooled down considerably in the last couple of days so that peach picking, which is normally pleasant anyway, was even more enjoyable yesterday. I am, of course, hoping to go back soon for more!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

flowers

Tonight I was outside planting flowers with Eva and I stepped on a bee. I was actually pulling up dead clover and pulling off fat purple clover flowers to dry. I stepped right into a patch of white clover, totally unthinking, oblivious to the bees below. She stung my toe and can I just say how much that bee sting hurt? Un-bee-lieve-able. Beelieve it. I slathered it with toothpaste and took apis and it is still throbbing now, nearly an hour later. Eva was so helpful, running for the tweezers so that I could pull the stinger out and then running for toothpaste. She said, "Momma I sure know how much that hurts!" Yes sweetie! She was stung just a couple of weeks ago at the park underneath her pinkie toe and we didn't have toothpaste or apis at the time. Ai yai yai.

It's interesting and funny that I did not want to pull the stinger out with my fingers, which is something I have done for Eva on a number of occasions. Too squeamish? I think I was convinced it would hurt far too much if I touched it with my hands and I waited for the tweezers.

I sat and looked at the stinger, saw the little fluffy bee-ness attached to the stinger, thought about the bee who was now dying somewhere in the clover field, and hollered like mad. I was in such a bad temper all day that hollering and shouting about the bee sting and how much it hurt was surprisingly cathartic. And then at other times it just hurt so much I wondered aloud at the power of the bee sting.

I wish I could have said, Little Bee, just give my foot a little nudge, a gentle tap, to let me know you are there, give me a chance to move my foot! before exploding all of that pain into my toe. Just let me know and I will move my foot so fast you won't even remember it was there and we can both bee on our way...



Flowers from the nursery we were planting this evening. Yes, that is a unicorn in the box with the flowers. Also present? Several packets of salad greens and radish seeds. Oh and carrots!



Ferrel violets living it up in the yard. Eva put a brick fence around them so they would be protected. I am hoping to transplant them to a less in-the-middle-of-the-yard spot, but I guess that is the lawn-mower part of me showing itself. The other part of me, obviously, thinks it is adorable and beautiful and also thinks the flowers will probably stay there until it freezes. No more lawn mowing then, after all. Eva is incredibly persuasive when it comes to flowers staying put in the middle of the yard.

Monday, August 3, 2009

shoot Albert doesn't like the yellow squash either...

There are several articles that I read in O Magazine when Samuel was a baby that I go back to in my mind over and over again. One article in particular- an article about a woman's mother coming up with new systems for doing things around her house and for her family- is something that I think about- chuckle about- particularly at this time of year.

Here is the new system I have been chuckling about today. I have paraphrased it from how I remember it in the article-
~After you have bought your produce, go ahead and line the produce drawer in your refrigerator with the plastic bag the produce came in. When the produce molds, simply pull up the plastic bag with the moldy produce inside and place all of it in the trash.~ Easy Peasy. I love this one. I chuckle, laugh out loud even, every time I think of it.

Here is how this new system played out in my house, in my mind today-

(Keep in mind that this summer I have not one but two CSA's, in addition to my trips to the farmer's market, the u-picks, but of course, and my garden- although truth be known, I seem to be a more enthusiastic gardener during the cooler months and am now in the process of planting more greens for the fall and hopefully winter. The kale goddess is with me, urging me on... )

Also keep in mind that I love produce- including vegetables! It is not my usual thang to have moldy vegetables around- mostly. I do eat them. Lots of them. Yet even I, lover of most things veggie, have favorites and *un*favorites in the vegetable realm.

So, let's say, for instance, there are some particular vegetables- hmmm... like maybe green beans and yellow squash? that have become inordinately abundant in my home over the last couple of weeks. No need to worry that I am already done with green beans after eating a few cooked ones on a salad. No need to fret that the yellow squash is piling up with no end in sight...There are two routes I can take with such vegetables and both lead to peace of mind eventually. I call them mold and freezing, respectively.

Mold goes something like this- Simply leave the vegetables in the refrigerator (of course through all of this you are thinking of ways to use said vegetables, just not getting around to it because you are too busy eating all of the bounty that you do love...)- as the new system suggests- and they will eventually mold. Trust me. You can put them in the compost pile as soon as you see evidence of mold or you can wait until more of the vegetable is covered- waiting for the mold to spread takes the pressure off trying to salvage the rest of the vegetable, which I have been known to do. Right. The vegetable I don't like molds and I cut off the mold and put it back into the bin to try and use the rest of it another time. Good grief.

OK and freezing the vegetables is fairly straight forward as well. In this case, though, you need to go to the trouble to prepare the vegetables- in this case green beans- for freezing. Prep them, blanch them, freeze them. Think of all of the soup recipes you will use them in when December approaches....And then next April, pull them out of the freezer, all coated with ice and freezer burn, and deposit them into the compost bin. Either way, it seems, they end up there.

That's crazy, you say. Why not simply put the green beans and yellow squash out into the compost bin immediately (you mean like I do with the fennel?- yes.) or even better, find someone who likes green beans and yellow squash and pass them on to them. What a great idea. Anyone want some green beans and yellow squash? How about a veggie trade. I will give you all of my green beans and yellow squash in exchange for your eggplant and kale!

I'll tell you, I think the reason I don't just chuck the veggies I don't like {as much} immediately is because I am infinitely positive on the vegetable front and really keep the faith that one of these days I will find just the right recipe and that even if green beans don't miraculously become my favorite vegetable (I think I am well past that, after having eaten one too many over-cooked beans from my childhood), they will at least {perhaps} be an appreciated ingredient somewhere, sometime.

After writing this and thinking about it and looking about, I did stumble upon a delicious soup recipe that I enjoyed last year with green beans and yellow squash. Score. I remember wanting to make it last winter with the yellow squash that I had frozen (see, you can apply either method {molding or freezing} to different vegetables, depending on your mood and inclination). Unfortunately, I did not freeze green beans last year, so it was a no go on the Soupe Au Pistou. Next winter I will be prepared! I will have frozen green beans, frozen yellow squash and canned tomatoes, all on hand and ready for whatever soup presents itself. (Just as an aside here, I eat every.single.tomato that passes through my door and would definitely trade green beans for tomatoes any day.)

Soupe Au Pistou from Chez Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters

soup ingredients-
1 lb shell beans (for example cranberry beans, etc)
1 onion
bouquet garni- thyme, parsley, bay leaf, cracked peppercorns
1 lb green beans (!!!!)
2 green zucchini (yeah, yeah, what I am to green beans, others are to zucchini)
2 yellow summer squash (!!!!)
2 tomatoes
salt and pepper
1/4 lb orxo, conchilgie (love it!) or orrechiette pasta

Make it like you do soup.

pistou (to be served in each bowl of soup at the table with more Parmesan as well)

6 cloves garlic
2 cups basil leaves
Parmesan cheese
olive oil

grind it up in a mortar and pestel or use the modern alternative, the food processor

And this is why I don't just chuck it all out into the compost pile when it first comes in. This soup is a gem and it is well worth having all of the ingredients. One of my all time favorite soups is Minestrone. This soup is the Provencal version of Minestrone. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

pickathon

I am feeling so tired right now but wanted to say that the kids and I got back this afternoon from the weekend at pickathon. We had an amazing time and I am feeling so glad we went. It was touch and go there for a while and I even tried to sell our tickets at one point due to the extreme heat we have been experiencing here in Portland. It did get hot during the middle part of the afternoon yesterday and I took the kids in our air conditioned car to another air conditioned spot for a while. Eva fell asleep instantly when the AC was turned on and stayed asleep for the near two hours that we were gone. We came back and enjoyed the evening- great music, great food, fun hanging out with friends also spending time at pickathon for the weekend.

The music was all around amazing but of course there will always be a few bands that stand out for each of us- my favorites were Hillstomp, Alela Diane and Breathe Owl Breathe- all so different from one another and lovely to listen to. Hillstomp in particular was a fun concert and we saw them again today at the magical stage in the woods.

OK let's see- the amount of cannoli filled yummy dough I consumed over the weekend was more than my usual and I seriously cannot believe how incredible the food was at Gaining Grounds Farm. Every. single. thing. I ate there was breathtakingly delicious. I have to say that the yummy food really helped make my time there even more enjoyable. There was watermelon and smoothies and breakfast burritos and salads and pizza (the kids said too much sauce), yummy cannoli pancakes, brownies, so many different kinds of lemonade, homemade ice cream... You can probably figure out what the kids ate and what I ate. The salad with pesto penne I ate last night was truly memorable. I even drank coffee. Honestly, the migraine potential from the heat and lack of sleep and the fact that I was so tired most of the time, required caffeine in the mornings. Stumptown reminds me why those of you who drink coffee regularly continue to do so!

I took a few photos- most of them are of some alters and a fairy house, all found in the woods near the wood stage and very close to where we camped the first night. There are also a few of the kids playing.



Samuel and friends playing.



Fun woodsy alters. Samuel and Eva standing near a giant dried flower heart with lights around it. Alter. Funny gnome protector man we found at the fairy house. In addition to several other alters and many decorations, there were also lights strung up in the trees along the paths. The woods were definitely magical, particularly at night.



Fairy house- built by a couple of 13ish year old girls who then used it as their tent. Really amazing to see. Posted next to it was a lovely handwritten plaque-
"Grand woods we give thanks for giving us the strength to evolve, grow and die with beauty."



Eva hanging out after a long day. Getting ready for evening- more music, more food....

Oh and I almost forgot how many times we went and looked at slugs. The first night we camped in the woods in a drainage ditch for lack of a better place and light to search for one. This spot happened to be home to many many slugs- lots of them were banana slugs too. There were also some of those nifty orange footed millipedes and we had fun checking out the slugs and millipedes during our trips to the woods. It was a good excuse to go and get cooled off.

The other amazing cooling off experience at pickathon- to be honest it was one of my favorite things there, right up there with the cannoli filled pastry- was the misting station. They had a garden hose punctured with several holes hung up on a fence in a shaded area and you could go and walk through or stand in the mist and watch the horses who watched nearby. There was even a bench to sit on. You could sit on the bench, feel cool, watch horses, watch children feeling cool, and listen to music on the main stage all at the same time. The coolness to be found there was truly divine! I knew it was time to leave pickathon today when we went to the mister and found that it had been taken down. So much for staying cool- time to go! Next year.