Friday, July 10, 2015

Hooray for Free Feral Food!

My favorite kind of fruit is the kind I don't have to grow. Fruit is a pain in the ass, man. It needs so much water, often a lot of space, seems to succumb to diseases or insects or deer more often than not, and needs maintenance in the form of pruning.

This is why I'm so thrilled that it's black cap season again.

Maybe you call them wild raspberries or black caps. Maybe you don't call them anything at all, because you, like me before I moved here, don't know what they are. They're a berry that grows wild all over the place here. They look like, well, small black raspberries. They have a similar taste to raspberries, but deeper, sort of jam-like.

I love them.

I mean, I love the taste of them, but I also love the totally free nature of them. Free of cost, sure, but also free of labor. Except for the labor of picking them. And I feel no pressure to do this, because I didn't expend any energy growing them. So if I feel like it, as I did this afternoon, I can say to the kids, "Hey, want to go pick some black caps?" And of course they do, because they want to eat the black caps. And then we can stroll across the road to the edge of the woodsy area of our neighbors' beach and pick some. (They have more on their side than we have on ours, and they don't care if we pick them because they are awesome.)

Jack and his nascent digestive system didn't get any. He had to wait until we got back up to the house to have his applesauce* and yogurt.

In less than ten minutes, we had a pint of berries that I didn't pay for or care for in any way. The only labor required was checking for poison ivy around the berries and picking them.

And cleaning up the inevitable Black Cap Face, which frankly doesn't even happen until bath time, so even that isn't an issue.

So nice on so many levels.

* Applesauce made, pleasingly, from the free apples we got from our elderly neighbors before Jack was even able to eat solid foods. I knew I froze it for a reason.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Aaaand, Break!

After three straight days of activities for children--swimming in the village, soccer, and a play yesterday--this abnormally introverted mother is rebelling. I refuse to load the children into the minivan today for any sort of summer fun. We are not leaving the property. I won't even put shoes on them.

Because I'm the mom, and I say so. Sorry, kids*.

* Truthfully, my children seem almost as content whacking plants with sticks as they do going places to do things. Cubby, however, is getting old enough that he wants to be around more kids and do more things, so I'm making an effort to get him to stuff. Still, today it's sticks at home, because I find all this running around exhausting and ultimately, I'm the one with the car keys.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Straight From the Soccer-Playing Horse's Mouth

Upon arrival and viewing the chaos of fifty or so kids plus their parents milling around on one field: "Once we got here, it was more scary than I was expecting."

Ten minutes and a few shots on goal during a drill later: "I think I'm getting the hang of this!" (And then he tripped over his ball and fell, but whatever.)

Half an hour later: "Mom! I'm playing the soccer!"

As we were leaving the field: "It was different than I expected. No one kicked me in the shin guards."

While brushing his teeth before bed: "I love soccer. It's my favorite thing."

I don't know if the love affair will last, but at least it started well.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Big Day Has Arrived

Sports were a significant part of my childhood. I played baseball and ran track and did ballet and tap and even hula dancing when we lived in Hawaii. But mostly, I played soccer. A lot of soccer. For a lot of years.

I sort of forget about that now, because sports are no longer a significant part of my life. But they're about to re-enter my life in the form of my suddenly enormous son:

And his smaller sidekick, who refuses to believe he is not also playing soccer. (He is not.)

Cubby has his first-ever soccer practice tonight at 6 p.m. He is very excited, although also nervous. I've done my best to coach him on passing and dribbling and shooting on a goal and not touching the ball with his hands. And, of course, making sure he's appropriately attired.

Suitably sporty clothing courtesy of Nana*; shin guards, cleats, and ball courtesy of me. The matching colors were totally unintentional, but strangely pleasing.

The practice starts at pretty much Jack's bedtime, but I have to take him with me to the field. Plus Charlie, who is going to be very unhappy when he realizes he can't get on the field with Cubby. A. is going to meet us there after work to help wrangle the non-soccer-playing children. The logisitics of getting this one child to his one activity are kind of exhausting. Plus, it's supposed to be about 85 degrees with choking humidity. 

But excitement is still running high. Wish us luck.

* Who is now--a mere six days post-surgery--doing laundry, cleaning bathrooms, and making dinner with the help of her "knee scooter," whatever that is. You really can't keep a good woman down.

Monday, July 6, 2015

A Life of Crime

Before my sister came to visit a couple of weeks ago, she asked if there was anything she could bring the boys. And I said water guns for the beach. I figured I would regret this, but, well, you kind of HAVE to have water guns at a beach, right? We always did as kids. And I knew they would love them.

They did.

Jack is withholding judgment on his for the moment.

They brought the water guns back up to the house yesterday when we were done at the beach, and grabbed them first thing this morning when they went outside. Shortly thereafter, I went out on the front porch and heard Cubby yelling, "No, Charlie! You're wasting ammunition!"* 

Then Cubby came stomping up on the porch and announced in a most disgruntled fashion, "That Charlie. He doesn't know anything about robbing churches and stealing golden jewels."


I think maybe Cubby's moral compass is starting to point a little south.

* I'm sure those of you in the drought-stricken West of the country appreciate his concern about wasting water, though it's not so much an issue here.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Treating the Parenting Hangover

We went to a Fourth of July party yesterday afternoon at which the children had the time of their lives AND we all stayed for the fireworks. Which meant after dark. Which meant my kids didn't get to bed until 10 p.m. For the older ones, this is about two hours after their usual bedtime. For Jack, this meant he was so discombobulated he didn't know what the hell was going on and actually didn't go to sleep for the night until 11 p.m.

And then he was up at 12:45 a.m. And Charlie was up at 3 a.m. And then Jack was up again at 4 a.m. And THEN, he got up for the day at 6:30 a.m.

At this point, I felt worse than I would have if I had spent the whole night raging drunk and awakened with a hangover. Plus, I didn't have the fun of getting drunk, since I had not one single alcoholic drink all day yesterday*.

So, not to put too fine a point on it, but I feel like shit.


I had a capital "p" Plan for lunch that was guaranteed to cheer me up. We have one ripe tomato on the single tomato plant in a pot by the kitchen door. We have bacon from the MiL's pig. We have lettuce from our CSA box. We have the MiL's amazing sourdough bread. And, of course, mayonnaise, because we always have mayonnaise.

Basically, we have the makings of the best BLT in the universe. And I was having one for lunch. So there.

But wait! It gets better!

Just as I was putting Jack down for his second nap of the day at 11:30 this morning, A. decided to go to the farm store for some pipe or something and took Cubby and Charlie with him. This meant that I prepared and ate my amazing sandwich ALL BY MY MYSELF. You may recall how important this is to me.

But wait again! It gets even better! After my sandwich, I had some White Lightning ice cream.

It's not quite as restorative as a full night's sleep, but it's all I can manage at the moment. Happy 5th of July to me.

* Although I might have made up for this with, um, three of the homemade whoopie pies someone brought to the party. If you can't have alcohol, sugar makes a pretty good second choice.