Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Have been trying in vain to have a fun "family outing." We typically go nowhere on weekends, and that seems to work fine, but then I wonder how it would be if we ventured out together (instead of apart). Two weekends ago, another disastrous outing to a garden center. Last weekend, we tried the strawberry picking at the CSA farm we subscribe to. We'd get all the organic strawberries we could eat (part of our subscription, already paid for) and the kids could see where our food comes from.

We drove out to the plains and the kids had a little trouble with the long drive, but with the Pirates of the Carribbean soundtrack, it was tolerable. Then we were assigned our "row" to pick, and pick away we did. Box after box was filled. It seemed like such a short row, but when you looked down and started picking, the universe expanded and you'd work and work and pick and pick, then look up and it see you had done only a tiny bit. The kids did great, with pretty good stamina for their age. We were saved at the end by another family that came along to finish off our row. I think we had about 20 pounds of organic strawberries at that point!

Drive back was long, but relatively uneventful. Kids weren't in love with the outing, but we'd done it and now we were drowning in strawberries. We made smoothies, we made jam, we invited friends over for strawberry dacqueries. I went to the store with a list: cream, ice cream, and cream cheese. Next day I made strawberry scones and strawberry cheesecake. Greg thought his excema was exacerbated by them, so he has stopped eating them. Everyday I eat porridge with strawberries and cream. The kids have a few bowls a day. Thank goodness I recently got a freezer. Many, many have been frozen. They are so good, but perhaps too much of a good thing. Strawberries anyone?


Somehow the computer is not attractive to me these days. I think it was the spring and lure of the garden that first pulled me away, then it was my broken wrist. Now it is the constant interruptions. But I have felt drawn back to post on my blog. I have typed quite a few things, and stuff is always happening that I think would make a good post (like my wrist), but posts are few.

This morning, kid's are at a friend's, so here I am, finally getting things up. Kadin brought home his "writing journal" from kindergarten where he wrote about one sentence a week throughout the year. I realized that in that journal, he had recorded more than I have all year. He documented trips to Ohio, Arizona, Grand Lake, and numerous playdates and computer games. I have lots of these in draft form, have posted none of it, but hope to remedy that over the summer (traditionally my least productive time, but we can dream...). A brief warning that things will be out of order, long, and likely boring, but I want to get them down. One sentence at a time if I have to.


The kids are pretty low maintenance these days, but I still don’t seem to be able to get anything done. A simple task, such as unloading the dishwasher, has innumerable interruptions: the phone rings, the computer doesn’t work, the cat has peed inappropriately somewhere, a neighbor kid found a baby bird in the backyard, the door is locked/unlocked, it’s windy (Kadin needs constant reassurance when there is the slightest breeze), a cat got out, a balloon needs to be tied, etc. And so it goes.

Case in point, yesterday, at about 9am, as I was trying to go the grocery store (after begging Greg to work at home for an hour so I could get some food in) when I looked out one of the few windows that didn’t have curtains drawn (two reasons: one, it keeps the sun out in the morning, so cooler in the afternoons, and two, Kadin can’t tolerate seeing the leaves blowing…) and noticed a man dressed in khakis with a rifle prowling through the back yard. Hmmm. Because he looked like a ranger and there is indeed a lot of wildlife around here, I did not think he was some violent nut job, but it was definitely something new to notice. I went to call the Department of Wildlife to inquire which kind of wildlife he was tracking, when the phone rang. It was a neighbor saying, “There’s a bear in your backyard, keep the kids inside.” Okay, so it’s a bear. Alas, I did not see it and the ranger had moved on into another neighbor’s backyard and around by the playground and the tennis courts, out of sight.

I needed to keep on task and get to the store, so carried on and as I went out to the car, I saw an older man towing a toddler in a wagon. “Hello,” I said, “Did you hear about the bear?” “Hear about it?” he said, “I just saw it. Does this happen all the time?” Turns out he was a visiting grandfather, just out for a walk with the grandson, and by the playground, he encounters a bear. I assured him that while it didn’t happen all the time, it wasn’t that uncommon (and for dramatic effect added that mountain lions were the more typical excitement in the neighborhood).

I saw the ranger again as I was on my way to the store, and he said he’d just lost the bear around the tennis courts. He was waiting to hear on his radio of another sighting. When I came back from the store 45 minutes later, I saw him down at another intersection, about half-a-mile from the house.

Unfortunately, the bear has discovered that neighborhoods offer all kinds of great opportunities for birdseed, garbage, pet food, and BBQ leftovers. We brought in the hummingbird feeder last night but had just used our new-to-us (via Felicity) barbeque for the first time. Tried to burn off all the extra meat so it was not too attractive. Since it was a hot day, I noticed when I went to bed that all the doors were open. Somehow, the screen between the BBQ and the kitchen seemed just too flimsy, so I shut all the doors and left the windows open. Hot days, screen doors, and barbeque grills seem a pretty common and risky combination when a bear is involved. It would be quite easy for a bear to end up in someone’s house or condo and it doesn’t look good for the bear. Best case scenario is that the bear will be relocated. Worst case scenario is property damage, injury, and/or death, most likely for the bear. Welcome to summer…