Tuesday, September 27, 2016


It has been a while since I grabbed my camera on my morning walk to let the cheepers out of the coop. Today the colors from the rising sun were so autumnal and warm that I thought it worthwhile to get a photo or two.

(Sunrise, as viewed through the hydrangeas.)

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(All dressed in gold.)

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(Toward the sheep shed.)

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(Early morning sun.)

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These days, a sunrise is nearly identical to a get up and get going hour. Still, our morning is relaxed. Breakfast is late.

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I do some random writing on the computer and then I am off to pick up Snowdrop. It's definitely walking weather and I have a stroller ready for her. She appreciates that, but says the equivalent of a "no thank you" when I offer to place her in it. Instead, we push it together, eliciting smiles from passersby.

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I have a hankering for a second cup of coffee and indeed, I'd made myself a second cup of coffee at the farmhouse -- and poured it into my travel mug and then left it on the counter. So I suggest to Snowdrop a walk to the coffee shop and the little girl happily agrees. Oh, the joy of having house, school and coffee shop all within a few minutes' stroll!

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At home, she is somewhere between wanting to climb everything in sight and wanting desperately to nap. I nudge her toward the latter.

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She wakes up spirited and  ready to take on the world.

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These days, more often than not, I bring Snowdrop to the farmhouse after her morning in school. It's always a surprise, therefore, to watch her at her own home -- she will have developed a new love, a new interest, even in the short while we've been away from playing there.

Today she affirms what the teachers at her school have already noted in her: a love of dressing up. She has a few toy "jewels" and she'll spend a long while figuring out how to put them on and how to close the clasps or slip on a bracelet.

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And she just loves to sport a hat. What does it mean to a child who is not even two to pretend? To dress up? Sure, her mommy will wear a necklace, but the hat play is quite outside Snowdrop's everyday experience. Are you born to love imagining yourself to be someone older? Fancier? Is she our next milliner extraordinaire?

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Her mommy and daddy come home just a few minutes earlier than usual and so I propose to go out with my daughter for an evening aperitif. It's been a tough work week for her thus far and it promises to be a tough month going forward.

But first, mom and daughter take a minute to snuggle...

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A quick drink then with me...

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... and a return home -- daughter to her family, me to the farmhouse. Today, we each turned on the furnace. It's getting to be chilly out there now. Fall weather. And that's a good thing.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Monday in photos

Well, there will be few words here today. I was busy! Let's run through the most smile-producing moments: breakfast!

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And of course, my pick up of Snowdrop at her school. The girl is in a super independent mood. Go to car by herself. Get into the car seat by herself. No no no -- she'll tell me if I offer help. With a smile and a plead for understanding.

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At the farmette, she surveys the possibilities.

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What is that house? -- she seems to ask.
A writer's shed. I'll tell you about it one day...

The chickens listen and wait and then move on.

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At the farmhouse again. Play with toy food! That's her favorite right now, hands down. (Note the animals carefully arranged in the chair, waiting for the "food.")

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I'm mixing soup!

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Thank you, Snowdrop!

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Can we add some stuff from the fridge?

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It's time for your nap, Snowdrop.

Afterwards: cookie baking!

I can't eat all the cookie dough I want? You sure?

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You can lick the beaters, Snowdrop.

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Happy times: to sit around the table. Together.

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The day draws to an end. Snowdrop takes out rubber bands for a pony tail. Well, okay. Here's the little waif, trying to figure out how to work small rubber bands.

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And now it's evening and Ed and I listen to the debate.

It's been an incredibly full day.

Sunday, September 25, 2016


Snowdrop is famous for always rising early when she is here at the farmhouse. Today, the morning of her overnight is no different. I hear her chatting to herself up in her crib just as the sun rises over the horizon. A few minutes later, her chatter is louder and I know the gig is up.

Little one, so long as you're up at sunrise, would you like to see the sun rise? It comes up -- we have light. It goes down -- we have a dark night.

She stands in her dinosaur pajamas and considers the implications of this. Then she turns toward the farmhouse with a wave of her hand and a sweet bye bye sun!

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I don't quite give her breakfast at first. Just a yogurt to tide her over.

Here she is, anxious to put on her polka dot sneakers, which she found waiting for her on the counter.

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Those go on after your bath, little one.

There, shoes on, ah-ah up, girl happy.

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And now it is time for breakfast. Pancakes! She doesn't want to help make them. She wants to sit out on the porch in her chair at the table. I catch her gaze out the window...

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She came here with an overnight bag, in which her mommy packed her outfit for the day -- something that'll be fitting for the baseball game the young family will be attending. I am so out of the loop that I cannot even tell what the M stands for. I could look it up, but I let it remain a mystery -- I am that removed from paying attention to ball games. It is an activity Snowdrop shares entirely with her parents.

Okay, breakfast is ready. And yes, she loves the pancakes. With syrup. And fruit.

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We have a little time left for play and having discovered her red wagon on the porch, Snowdrop is excited to take it out for a spin. Meaning she sits and I spin.

I take her to the fields to the east of us -- a bumpy, muddy ride, but with some flower views to keep me happy. When I pause to take a photo, she indicates that pauses are not cool.

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Back at the house, she suggests a game of "let's climb up on anything in sight..."

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... but I tell her it's time to head home.

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After she leaves, Ed and I head out for a bike ride around Lake Kegonsa. It takes us close to two hours to complete the ride, with just a handful of stops to admire the fields of soy...

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... and corn...

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It's a warm day but you can so tell it's Autumn!

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It feels good to be doing bike rides with Ed. We've done this loop a handful of times in the past and so I think of it as our signature ride -- a few challenging (for me) hills, just to make me squirm. This year it still felt eminently doable. Next year? Ah, but we shall see.

In the evening we see the young family again, as they come over for Sunday dinner.

Snowdrop's dad wants to catch the tail end of a game,  and she insists on sitting on the porch and participating. They both eat the predinner snacks which, on Sunday, nearly always include roasted beets, cheese, and olives.

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When she comes back inside, I tell her dinner is in a little while still. She takes control of her space and movement. She puts on a hat. She moves books, She runs to her toy animals. She runs back to the porch. She is on the move!

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And at the end of the day,  so very happy to be eating dinner with the rest of us....

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It was a beautiful day. I did "forget" to do a thorough cleaning of the farmhouse sometime in the thick of it all but hey, if you looked around, you wouldn't notice it. I don't think. Right? Right???

Saturday, September 24, 2016


I say to Ed -- I need a very expensive haircut.
You're gorgeous, gorgeous!
That was before I got the damn plant with the pernicious seeds tangled in my hair! Now I'm a shaggy mess!

From that brief exchange, you may be able to tell that I worked in the yard. It's not that there were no bugs, but it seemed to me that they are packing their bags and retreating, because I could work for many hours and not be too bothered by them.

And work I did!

Right after breakfast.

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If I need a haircut after my efforts, the yard needed something much more draconian before I got out my plant snipper. Some parts (those visible to anyone coming through for a visit) had been "cosmetically maintained" by me even through the worst of the mosquito season...

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But plunge more deeply into the beds and there is chaos. And a lot of spent blooms that should have been removed weeks ago.

So I worked and miraculously, the basic maintenance did not take forever -- just most of the day. I still have a winter prep to do and of course, the raspberries need a sheering, but really, things aren't too bad out there right now.

(Oh, the faithful nasturtium! No wonder Monet was so drawn to it!)

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(And the loyal day lily...)

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(It's always good to consider how it all hangs together, even now, in the Fall season.)

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In the evening, I make pizza again.

And if you think that means Snowdrop was here...

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... you're right -- she was here and indeed is still here, as I invited her for a sleepover at the farmhouse.

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(For dessert -- strawberries! -- I try out her new "restaurant high chair..." She's outgrowing her infant high chair. Time to sit her at the table.)

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(We go out in the dark to help grandpa Ed put away the cheepers.)

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But shhhh now! Talk quietly so that the little one does not wake up until some late hour tomorrow! Shhh!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday in photos

A working breakfast. I've got a future Paris trip on my mind!

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Snowdrop comes over. Food play!

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And her mom stops in as well. Snowdrop is delighted!

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So long as gaga's mind is on Paris, let's pause for a baguette...

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Eventually, there is a nap, and after, there is a walk.
A walk? Yeah! With owl! And mommy! And gaga!

Follow along.

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(Our resident family of wild turkeys.)

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All the way to the creek and back.

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With a pause to admire the slow moving stream of water.

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And then we're home again and the young family leaves and Ed returns and we are back to old routines. Ed, don't forget to close the coop for the night. Ed! Wake up, Ed! Smile...