Sunday, April 29, 2012


This is the first weekend we have not been hiking in a long time! 

The kids were cast in Robin Hood, Jake will be King Richard, Chandler is the widow and Ben is a merry man.  All of the roamschool kids who tried out were cast, which is pretty awesome!  It's a MUCH smaller cast, just 40 compared to the 90 or so in Oz.  80 of those being under age 8.  I had complained to Chan just last week that knowing the history of trying to cram as many kids into the play as possible, they'd probably cast someone to play the bow and another kid to be the arrows. 

Today we...well, Matt and Jake, mainly Matt, worked on the house.  All of the new fascia boards are up except in the very front over the porch and in the very back over the back steps.  That has become a small nightmare, in fact.  I wish we had the money to just hire someone to deal with it for us.  We are out of our depth and have spent more time trying to figure out ways around the problems than actually working toward getting anything done.  One thing is for sure, it can't remain the way it is.

We had a HUGE lunch.  I grilled corn and turkey dogs, Matt made mac and cheese and baked beans, there were chips and cold drinks and I put a cobbler on to bake on the BBQ coals.  Then forgot about it because I was so full, then remembered it later and the bottom was quite black!  The top was fine, so we ate that with ice cream and...maybe that's why we barely got anything done on the house.  Too full to think!

In the last of the weekend news, I have decided to put off the AT a while longer, it's my dream-not something the kids want to do, though they are game to give it a shot.  I just can't imagine trying to get myself and 3 kids through each and every day of hiking, setting up camp, cooking, the weather, the terrain, the insects, the other hikers, the distance we have to travel...getting up and doing it all over and over and keeping us all safe, fed, hydrated, found and well.  I can wait a little longer and just go on my own.  In the meantime, we are researching the Florida Trail, at least a good long section of it.  That won't be a physically demanding as the AT.  Plus it goes right through Orlando. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Week End

It's been a good week around the castle, early in the week, we straightened up and ran errands, getting ready to go off camping.  We went on a short backpacking trip Wednesday and Thursday and then on Friday, Evan graduated after passing his GED with excellent scores!
 We started at the house, went to the waterfall, the point, through the boulder garden wildflower area, Linden Meadows up the cane Creek Trail through the hogback boulder area and camped at the old beaver pond.

It was around 7 miles total, a nice walk in a beautiful area!


 The ceremony was held at the college, we arrived early and the kids were able to chat and visit a while, and so did the adults!

The spring graduating class!  The program serves around 1100 students a year in the northwest Alabama area.  Around 100 showed up for the actual ceremony.

After the ceremony, we had cake and punch at the reception and talked to everyone a while, then headed to Taco Bell at Evan's request.  We had a great time getting to chat with everyone and relaxing a while before the drive home.

Today, the kids are all off at auditions for the next play, it's a musical, so Jake worked all week learning his song. 

I am at home, I get so worked up at the auditions that it was agreed, I should just let Matt handle them.  The kids were up, dressed, fed and ready to go before we even woke up this morning, they are all so excited about another play.  I hope they do well and get cast!  Several friends are trying out, too.  It will be lots of fun for them to get to hang out with everyone again like they did with Oz.  It's an older cast, I am hoping it will be a better experience-and less germ-riddled!  haha

Monday, April 23, 2012

Down By the River

There are times when I wish I could photograph more than static images.  Wind, smells, sounds, feelings.  A single snip of an entire moment does not always do the memory justice.

Yesterday was much like that, the cool temps, the steady breeze, the heady scent of honeysuckle and privet and blackberry, clover and vetch all blending together.  There were thousands of wildflowers lining the road, covering the fields, bunching up like shy children peeking around the base of trees.  Dragonflies silently wove in and out between our feet, hunting and herding the gnats in the long canyons made by the roadway between the thigh-high grasses on each side.  Sometimes one or two, sometimes so many we stumbled like drunks, cutting short our stride suddenly, trying not to step on one.  There were green and blue darner and common whitetail skinners, the darners sleek and fast, the skinners large and more clumsy, looking exactly like they way a child would draw a dragonfly, all long ovals.

We saw snakes and birds and ladybugs, evidence of armadillos and deer, there was a huge dead catfish half-eaten and right in the middle of the road.  And scat, prints, trails, the occasional crash off in the trees, all signs we'd just missed something, a coyote or fox, a deer or maybe a raccoon.  Dead shrews littered the roadway like stand-in rose petals in an anti-wedding.  The sun came in and out of the clouds, the wind every blowing, the air warming and cooling like that first glass of sweet tea-still warm from being steeped with swirls of coolness from the quickly-melting ice.  Tea like that, you gulp.  Air like that, you gulp.

Swimming snake!  It happened so fast, I did not get a decent shot, but it's a venomous snake!
You can tell because they inflate their lungs in order to float.  : )

By the 5th mile, Chan was ready for a break.

We opted to head back, making it a 10 mile walk, and the clouds started gathering!
Last time we walked on the refuge, it rained, so we should have been better prepared...

We hid out under the bridge, getting back there JUST as the rains hit! 

It cleared out nearly as fast as it brewed up.

Leather Flower

I don't know!

Beaver!!  We saw two!

See how clear the sky got!!

By the time we got back to the van, Ben was tired!

sunset over the Decatur harbor

Blue eyed grass


Butterfly pea

cow vetch

crimson clover

Green Darner

Hop Clover

Horse Nettle
Indian Pink
The roots, which contain spigeline were once used to cure intestinal worms.

Queen Anne's Lace