Monday, April 25, 2016

Pretty, Happy - April 23, 2016

The girls were off from school this past week.  We got a lot out of our free days.  On Monday, we had two playdates and adoration.  On Tuesday, Old Sturbridge Village.  Wednesday, Meme came to us. Thursday, we met Auntie C, Uncle Steve and Caitlyn at Kidcity, and later had homemade pizza in our tree house.  Friday was a recuperation morning and our last session of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd for the year.

{pretty and happy}

When Meme came, she brought three bags of mulch, two bags of potting soil, a Mantauck daisy, two flats of pansies, a small rhododendron and a potted hollyhock.  She brought tools, including a something wonderful called an edger.  We had a lovely morning of raking out the azaleas, putting plants in the ground, laying down mulch and generally tidying. Meme did a lot.  I did what little I could between making sure that Pip wasn't in the tree house, taking care of potty accidents, and trying (and failing) to get Pippa to take a nap. I'm very grateful to Meme and so pleased with the results.  How very helpful it is to have someone come and get you started.  I was worrying about soil testing and researching compatible plants--i.e making things so complex that I couldn't start...but really, it's better to throw a few things in the ground and have a go at it.  It's so good to feel that we're no longer playing chicken with the garden beds!   And now that we've set things out, I'm realizing that we have so much to hope for and anticipate garden-wise--irises and daisies, azaleas, rhododendrons, hollyhocks, peonies, and purple gladiolas.

After Meme headed for home, the girls and I headed to the University Dairy Bar. UConn has an excellent school of agriculture and the cows in the University's herd are happy and pasture-fed.  The Dairy Bar ice cream is made from their milk.   The quality is excellent.  The portions are ample.

We discovered a wonderful magnolia tree near the Dairy Bar; perfect for the littles to climb.

{pretty and happy}

On Tuesday, we went to Old Sturbridge Village.   Every time we visit, I mention to the girls that they may want to have their wedding receptions there some day--it's so lovely.  There's weathered wood, and blossoming trees, wood smoke and pine scent in the air. The village is large---we still haven't seen it in its entirety, despite having visited four or five times.  With each visit, we're happy  to take home just a few tidbits of information and a few impressions.  This time, we arrived just in time to ask questions of a Laura Ingalls Wilder impersonator.   I asked about Laura's relationship with  her mother-in-law.  In Farmer Boy, LIW describes her husband's youth, and goes into extensive detail on all the wonderful things that Mrs. Wilder cooked for her family.  The book leaves the impression that doughnuts, cookies, and apple pie were daily fare---just what they had on hand for snacks.  Then there were the multi-course meals.  I wondered if there  was something a little passive aggressive in this over-the-top account of the the Mrs. Wilder's plentiful kitchen.  Perhaps Laura's husband had praised his mother's cooking a few too many times, and Laura exacted a tender revenge by writing it down in the same hyperbolic terms that her husband described it.   The actress said "no," Mrs. Wilder was just that productive and formidable a cook. Laura admired Mrs. Wilder and aspired to be like her.  So much for my pet theory.

We saw the lambs.   It was the first time that the girls seemed to take an interest in the animals.  Maria was particularly delighted by  a mother chicken and her chicks scratching in their pen.  She thought it was hilarious how the hen bustled about, heedlessly showering her offspring with sawdust.

The replica dress shown aboce was highly adjustable.  It could fit both Pippa and Louisa thanks to it's many drawstrings.  Now, why don't we make clothing like this anymore---a dress that could easily be worn by a child for three years straight!

In the house interiors, there are so many rich colors and patterns.  How very dull is our modern decorating, with our gray and beige and carefully coordinated prints!

{also happy}

This week, we did a fair amount reading and  listening to audiobooks.  We finished listening to  The Mouse and the Motorcycle and Freddy the Detective.  I also finished reading The Trumpet of the Swan aloud to the girls.  That makes three intelligent animal stories!  All of them were great.

I will have to do my funny and real sections later, once I've had a chance to get pictures off Don's camera.  Stay tuned...

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