Saturday, November 11, 2017


The first thing that I have to do is go outside and pour hot water into the cheeper drinking bowl. It's solid ice in there and the girls need their fix. (They have a warm bowl in the barn coop, but until snow comes, their habit is to hang out by the farmhouse during the day. Together, in a pack, with the ever present hope that I'll come out and give them some bread.)

And then it begins. The theme of the day.

We really should go out for a hike.

At breakfast, we review the possibilities.

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I don't much like hiking forested trails in November. Even if you wear blaze orange garb, you don't feel at peace with the world when all around you people are shooting at anything that moves. (We're in the thick of the hunting season in Wisconsin.)

We could go to the Arboretum.
Ed balks at this one. It's hard to escape the sound of cars from the highway that loops its way close by. You can do it, but you have to know your way around the forest paths. Me, I get lost.

An hour later: we really should take a walk.

What's holding us back really is not the sound of guns or cars, unpleasant as these might be. It's the weather. It's cloudy. It's cold. By early afternoon, we remain below freezing.

Still, you cannot grow soft. A few hours later, we're driving to the Arboretum. It's close. It's pretty. It's empty. It's vast.

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I remember being here with Snowdrop less than a month ago. I had thought then that Fall was late in coming to Wisconsin. Well now, it sure did not stick around for long! It's winter!

Or is it?

We look around us.

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My, it still is pretty here! I readjust my mindset: here I was, expecting dark, bare limbs and instead I see before me a variety of autumnal colors! True, most of the leaves have fallen to the ground, but not completely. It all looks rather enchanting!

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The forest is now leafless and we do a quick saunter along the more familiar paths...

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... and onto the boardwalk that struts out into the wetlands -- not so wet today! Just frozen!

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Back in the more open spaces, we come across the Arboretum residents. As always, I feel a pang of guilt in my November encounters with them...

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One last glance toward this unexpectedly beautiful landscape...

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... and we drive the short ten minutes to the farmette.

And of course, after a bitter cold walk (not a brief one at that!), it feels heavenly to step into the warm farmhouse, were I get ready to host the little one for an overnight visit.

The girl is bursting with enthusiasm and energy!

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Over a pizza dinner, Ed and I are regaled with her elaborate stories (this one is about her love, her absolute love of little stars. Not big stars, mind you. Just little ones).

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She finds her Sorede wreath of flowers...

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They stay on for the rest of the evening.

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She is intensely into books right now and the usual two or three before bedtime turns into four or five or maybe six, perhaps seven. I am reminded of reading to my daughters at this age. You want another one, don't you? -- I'd ask, as if I were doing them a huge favor, even as I snuggled luxuriously into the next story.

I pause for a while.

Do you want to go outside and look for little stars? It's cold, but we can bundle up.
That's okay, grandma, just read me this book please. She's very good with her "pleases." I am impressed. Once again I snuggle luxuriously into the next story.