We spent a pleasant afternoon at Hampden Memorial Park today. If you haven’t visited lately, it’s worth a look. The spray park is on and they’ve added a bright new playscape:
Before exploring that, though, we dragged the kids up Goat Rock Trail which starts at one end of the parking lot, right beside the ball field.
It’s amazing how quickly you’re out of the park and into the hills.
This was our first time on the trail and, at the time, I had no idea it connected to Gerrish Park, just over hill. We hiked only to Lookout Point, which took about 15 minutes of steep-ish climbing and offered this fine view:
Along the way, we enjoyed plenty of late-spring beauty. Little wildflowers….
Interesting fungi…(I thought these looked like shells!)
And these fascinating flowers:
They’re Pink Ladies Slippers – a member of the orchid family – also know as the moccasin flower. They’re slow growing and some can live for more than twenty years!
Are you wondering why the trail is called “Goat Rock Trail”? I wondered. At first, I thought it was because you had to be something of a goat, yourself, to make it up the steep bits. But, as it turns out, the trail commemorates a goat who died there in the late 1700’s when it got itself pinned in some rocks. Poor goat. You can still visit the rocks, though we did not because we were on the wrong end of the trail.
From the dining room table, hoping to hike the rest of that trail soon,
Today I saw cows in the outfield. They were grazing on a baseball diamond at the local high school. I spotted them while waiting for the girls’ track and field practice to finish up.
Some quick thinking person had shut the gate behind them, so they were contained – but still! Cows!
Not what I was expecting to see!
At first, they were a little upset about being penned in. Then they started eating.
By the time someone arrived to collect them, they had eaten quite a bit.
Too much, in fact, to be lured by the hay their rescuer brought with him.
(By the way, this man isn’t the cows’ owner, he’s the next door neighbor. And, this was his first time driving cattle. He was only doing it as a favor to the owners, who were away from home when their cows wandered off. What a nice guy!)
He brought his sons along, and, together with the policeman, they managed to persuade the cows to leave the enclosure.
Everyone had to work pretty hard to get those cows to go in the same direction all at once.
Watching them work gave me all new appreciation for cowboys (and made track practice go a heck of lot faster, too!).
From the dining room table, certain there’s going to be a bit of clean-up needed before the baseball players take the field again,
I stumbled onto this book at the library last week. Always interested in hearing the experiences of others who’ve moved to foreign countries, I snapped it up. And, it was really an excellent book. The author talks about her year-long sojourn in France, with an emphasis on food. She talks at length about her five-year-old’s school where the lunch menu revolved around things like endive salad and pâté, where there were no alternate menu choices, where the children got two hour lunch breaks and ate at tables with place settings and tablecloths. There were also no snacks. Her daughter howled in protest, then gradually settled in. A year later, the family settled back into life in Vancouver, and the same daughter had trouble adjusting to ten minute North American lunches where the kids wolfed their food and talked with their mouths full. Even if you aren’t interested in altering your family’s eating habits, this is a fascinating look at the culinary habits of another culture.
And that’s how I was reading the book at first. I wasn’t planning on implementing any of the “food rules” I encountered. And then came the day Ginger consumed 1,000 calories in Honey Nut Cheerios alone. That was practically all she ate. Every time she came to the table for an official meal, she picked at her food. She wasn’t hungry. And then, an hour later, she was back at the Cheerios.
Clearly, we had a problem.
So! We became French. (Or, at least strongly influenced by them).
Now, I’m cooking two hefty, well-balanced meals for the family eat day. (Breakfast is still largely serve yourself, though more supervised). We have a nice, sit-down snack in the afternoon. The kids are free to eat fruit and vegetables whenever they choose, but the crackers and the chips and the cereal and the rest of it is off limits unless it’s meal time. Basically, this is how I grew up eating, but somehow I’d drifted.
And, how are the kids taking it?
They are in strong protest mode – so much so, that when I got home from the library yesterday, I found this book in the book bag:
“Someone” had managed to get it through check out without my noticing. I think it’s a hint. France is my children’s least favorite country at the moment.
What interests me most, though, is that their anger is more about control than it is about food. I think they actually like the bigger, more balanced meals. They’re even willing to eat a few bites of the new things I’m pushing – even things as “detestable” as green beans. But, the girls do not like being told when they can eat. Right now, the only French thing that could possibly meet with their approval would be a French Fry.
Oh well, maybe the chocolate mousse I plan to serve tonight will sway them.
From the dining room table (which is seeing a heck of a lot more use these days),
Monday morning: Kipper is finishing up the dregs of CPT America’s coffee. Manny looks on in disgust.
Would you like some Manny?
He declines icily.
Kipper, however, has no such compunctions. He picks right up where he left off.
(Don’t worry. There was only a tiny bit of coffee left in the mug.)
From the dining room table, getting ready to watch an old movie from the 1940’s,