Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Home Again

We're back from a restful week up North. Now comes the busy time of unpacking everything, doing the laundry, catching up on the garden, the bills, and our friends' lives.

A couple of momentous things happened. Thing 2 caught his first fish! He reeled it in, landed it on the dock, screaming the whole time "I caught a fish!" I was hustling down to the dock, but by the time I got there, the little 6 inch trout wriggled off the hook and jumped back into the lake. Thing 2 was so excited, he was shaking all over. My little boy is Type I diabetic, and he thought his blood sugar was low. I didn't think he was, but had him go test anyway. Welcome to an adrenaline rush, dear. Needless to say, he's now "hooked" on fishing. Every moment he could from then on, he was out on the dock, fishing, for two days after that.

The other momentous thing, was that Thing 2, my cautious son, after his first trail ride of the year, actually wanted to go again. Unfortunately, the second ride was much longer, and apparently the first ride had no galloping for the kids, so he freaked out when they galloped. He stayed on the horse, though, and finished the ride, but he wasn't happy about it. Hopefully he'll remember the good ride.... Thing 1 is doing much better, and if he rides a lot next year, will probably be able to move up with the adults.

I managed to make buttermilk fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy on the cook stove. Yum! I also made pancakes and sausages, and bacon and eggs. I love hot breakfast. I wonder if I should start making it more for breakfast here at home? Thing 2 loves it, I know, but Thing 1 doesn't eat much breakfast, like his father. The crowning glory, though, was making cornbread in the oven. It took 1-1/2 hours to get the stove up to 350F, but it cooked the bread nicely. One of the families cooks a turkey in the oven every (Canadian) Thanksgiving. I'm not that brave. Besides, the stove heats up the cabin so much, I was literally "sweating over a hot stove," and had the door and all the windows open on the cabin by 9:00.

It's very sad to see the state of the forests up there. The pine bark beetle has turned once green forests into swaths of rust-colored death. Global warming has taken away natures checks and balances for the bug. Four consecutive days of -40 temperatures are needed to kill it, and that hasn't happened since 1996. Many places, including where we stayed, have logged off all the pine, since the lumber is marketable for only two years. Thing 1 was very upset, since most of the forest where he liked to play was gone, to be replaced by a huge pile of brush.

The loss of the trees was showing itself in other ways, as well. Every year, a little squirrel runs back and forth behind our cabin, storing pine cones for the winter. It'd be so busy, starting before I got up, making maybe 100 trips each morning. I'd feel guiltily lazy compared to this little creature, storing up winter supplies to get through the long, cold winter. This year there was no squirrel, its food source gone.

Our weather has been very strange for summer. Our usual dry July and August have been cool and rainy. My new clothesline hasn't been used much, and I had to put a plastic tent over the tomatoes, for fear of late blight. I actually started the wood-burning stove yesterday, it was so cold in the house. Mr. E's favorite apple tree is dropping apples three weeks early, and some of the trees in the neighborhood have started turning red. I've heard of tomato summers and cabbage summers. This was definitely a cabbage summer. I'm wondering what this winter will bring. Will the cold weather continue into the winter? Or will temperatures remain mild? Should I store my nuts (sow more veggies) for the winter?

Today I'm doing laundry, and making more bread. I need to find the kitchen after everything got dumped there on Sunday, and I had a disastrous pizza night (what was the deal with the dough? It acted really weird.) I have peaches I need to deal with, as well, and decide if I'm going to can them, make cobbler, or what.

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