Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Top of the List

The boys enjoying their favorite vacation past time.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Life's A Beach

Ah, well rested and tan. What a way to be. Life should be more like a vacation than the stressful thing most of us turn it into. St. Augustine, what a great beach town. A nice mix of laid-back ocean living and history. First ingredient to a relaxing vacation, find a nice place to stay. We found a house on the ICW (Inter Coastal Waterway) that housed the Butler clan quite nicely. It was the old home place of the people who owned it. While the houses around it were big, newer homes with no shade this place kept its big trees. A nice breeze blew through constantly which made it a joy to be outside any time of day. Next ingredient (at least for me) add lots of water. Having the ICW right out the back door made it easy to get some paddling in most days. The beach was a short drive away. The sand is so highly packed here cars can drive on the beach and also wheelchairs. My SIL was plain tickled that she could roll right up to the ocean's edge. We spent a great deal of time on the beach swimming, boogie boarding and shelling. Co's find was a complete conch shell. Both boys fell in love with riding the boogie board and ranked it as first on both of their lists. Throw in good seafood, sightseeing and perfect weather and you have a lovely mix for one great vacation.

Some of the highlights other than the ocean were Castillo de San Marco, Ripley's Believe It or Not, a walking Ghost Tour, putt-putt and a boat ride where Guthrie saw a sea turtle and dolphins.

Saturday, August 13, 2005


One of Co's first words was bazzies. It was also his first food, blueberries. There is something so satisfying about home-grown fruit. I didn't put in much of a garden this year as we have so many other farm things that need doing (not to mention all the sailing!). Amazingly, I haven't missed it much. I do miss harvesting tho and the berries have helped. In contrast to a garden that requires constant work year after year the fruit trees and bushes require very little. The first few years they need extra nourishment and care. Then once established they just give and give. Most of the berry bushes were here when we bought the farm. This year I have dried approximately 10 gallons of blueberries and frozen around 7. And it was a bumper year for raspberries. There are several gallons in the freezer and one batch of dried waiting for winter granolas. Not to mention all the pies and cobblers that were eaten. A nice reward for not much effort.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Old Stomping Ground

Well, there I was missing all the old stuff and low and behold my old elementary school has kept a few of the oldies. The jungle gym and other climbing things are gone. However, the old slides and swings are still there. This metal slide is one of the fastest. With no step at the top its just one quick trip down. And the nice, tall old swings are still intact. The school itself has been added to and updated. Wonder how the equipment slipped through. Glad it did. Maybe the chances of getting hurt are greater on the old stuff, tho I don't remember anyone getting seriously hurt. But taking away those risks also took away the rush of finally being big enough to feel confident on the big slide or jumping out of the swing. If all the risks are taken away at an early age how will the kids face the more risky challenges as they grow?

Dragon Park

Another good thing about the big city is there are more creative minds and resources to draw from. Most of those old playgrounds we grew up with have gone the way of modernization. Back then, each playground had something unusual, unique. I would get excited about certain things around the city. There was a stand-up merry-go-round over on Nolensville. There was some sort of tether thing you grabbed on to and swung around below the resevoir and giant concrete tubes over at Sevier. Now everything is generic. No matter where we go it is pretty much the same plastic thing. Luckily, one Nashville playground has kept a piece of its history. Fannie Mae Dees Park, more commonly known as Dragon Park kept its piece de resistance. Twenty-five or so years ago the community got together and built one huge concrete dragon. They then covered it in broken tiles creating wonderful mosaics. If you look carefully you can find local people and celebrities. I have no idea how much it cost tho it seems a group of enthusiastic parents and interested people could create similiar items in their own communities. What a way to bring people together. Finding donated items, building structures... The possibilities could be endless.

The Dragon Itself

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

You Can't Go Home Again

Every time I go to Nashville I am amazed at the changes. The traffic, the new buildings, the prices. Someone has bought my grandmother's house. The house was in our family for 61 years. The man who bought it is 'remodeling' it for his family. in my grandmother's day it was a 3 bedroom house. Across one side of the house was my grandmother's dining room and living room. She loved those rooms as they were combined into one huge room. All that is left of her house is the foundation, 3/4 of the wall of the front of the house and 1/4 of the back wall. Why these smatterings wereleft I have no idea. Apparently he is planning on making the original single story house into 3 stories. It is rumored to be a $1,000,000.00 house when it is finished. When I heard about the possibility of her house being torn down I thought I might be more upset when I saw it. I wasn't. The memories I hold for that place is in my heart, always will be. What was upsetting is that the neighborhoods I grew up in are changing from middle-class, one family homes to $1,000,000 hulks that leave no yards, no places for children to run around in. And how many parents will actually grow to know their children in those places if they have a several thousand dollar a month mortgage? Glad I left the big city a long time ago.

On the other hand the big city is a nice place to visit once and awhile. The boys and I had a great time visiting some old haunts. We headed out to Cheekwood the first day. The Cheeks were one of those old, big money families that left their mansion to the city. It houses a nice art gallery and is surrounded by lovely gardens. We were drawn this time because there were 6 large, outdoor mazes to ponder. Two years ago Cheekwood had had treehouses. That was a great exhibit. Unfortunately, the mazes did not fare as well. The mazes were too simple in some cases, non-existent in others. We did enjoy walking the grounds tho.

The second day we made a visit to Ellington Agricultural Center where the International Tree Climbing Competition was being held. They had several large trees 'roped up'. Part of the competition seemed to include the ringing of cow bells far out on some of the higher limbs and dropping foam rods into targets on the ground. While we were there they didn't have any announcers so it was hard to tell what was going on. Looked like fun tho, I'd like to give it a try. The equipment looked mostly like what we use when rock climbing. Another walk thru some beautiful gardens was a nice ending to that trip.

And of course no trip to Nashville would be complete without a stop at Dragon Park and the Cumberland Science Museum.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The Boys in the Hood

I don't suppose anyone could ever say that we have too few interests. I do suppose I could say we have too many. That is one way to find out your likes and dislikes. the boys have been wanting to learn archery for over a year now. We found a very inexpensive beginner bow, so what the heck. It has always been one of those sports that looked easy to me (tho I knew it wasn't). Now I know. It doesn't take long to get the action down tho trying to hit the target - that is another thing entirely! Both boys did very well. Guthrie jumped right in there and hit the straw bale second arrow out of the quiver. Nice strength and concentration, that boy. Co, as always with anything new, was a little hesitant. He never backs off in the end tho and produced several strong shots. They will split the sheriff's arrow soon enough....