Thursday, June 2, 2011

Nature Hike

We haven't yet gotten any window air conditioners for this house. It actually stays quite cool with all the shade around us if we can get the house cool at night. But it didn't cool down Monday night, and Tuesday it was over 90 with choking humidity. That was enough of a spur in my side for me to dig out the old, broken screen door from the basement. Someone had apparently ripped the bottom of the screen back in order to climb into a locked house. I spent a good half-hour stretching the screen and re-tacking it down properly. Then I vacuumed the cobwebs and wiped the door clean and hung it on our back door. After the addtion of a few duct-tape patches, the fresh air came in while the bugs stayed out.

We managed to live through Tuesday with the help of six fans, as long as I didn't wash any dishes, run any laundry, or cook any food. When the cool, fresh air came in my bedroom window yesteday morning, I sprang to life. I had a lot of dishes, laundry, and cooking to do! After the house was clean, I set to work baking some gf rhubarb muffins, preheating the oven, of course, while I mixed them up. After a good fifteen minutes of preheat I opened the oven and set the muffins on a cold oven shelf, then was suddenly overwhelmed by the smell of gas. The fan I had pointed on me in the kitchen had blown out the pilot light that our ancient oven depends on. I closed the oven quickly, turned it off and waited a few minutes for that round of gas to dissipate, then left the door open to let the gas out. Within a few minutes the gas smell had blown out the open windows. I called my landlady who agreed to send her husband out to light the pilot that evening (I figured I'd probably blow up the house if I tried). Then I trecked down the hill to our nearest neighbors who were kind enough to let me bake the muffins in their oven.

Seeing that my work was done, and the day was still gorgeous I announced to the kids that we'd be going on a nature hike that evening if they got all their school work done and picked up their things. School and cleanup has never gone so smoothly! We packed a picinic dinner and a bottle of bug spray, then headed out as soon as Matt got home from work.

Naomi and Hannah rode scooters while the path was paved, then folded the scooters, put them in the stroller, and walked, ran, and skipped alongside Emma and Toby riding in the red wagon. "Mommy, what's that good smell?!" Hannah asked, taking as deep a breath as her little lungs could hold.

"That's fresh air, Hannah," I chuckled, "It's trees, and flowers, and grass, and wind."

"Mmmm, it smells good!" she glowed, then skipped happily away. But her mood quickly dipped when we didn't immediately find the perfect picnic spot. "I'm so tired!" she whined. "I want to stop now. This is too much walking. Oh, oh, ohhhhh," she moaned, "I can't walk any more."

"See bicycle!" Toby announced cheefully as a rider whizzed by us, "Go fast!"

Matt agreed with Hannah that it was time to eat, so we stopped at a bench along the trail and enjoyed our dinner while we watched the other people pass by. And as soon as a little sugar hit her brain, Hannah was again basking in the glory of nature. "It's sooo pretty out here, Mommy," she swooned, "this is just the kind of dinner I like! I like to eat outside and see the flowers! Oh, thank you, Mommy for taking us on a nature hike!"

"I thought you were too tired," I probed.

"Well," she thought out loud, "I was...but now I'm happy again."

After returning to the trail head, the kids played awhile at a playground until the sun sank behind the trees, and the air turned cool. We stayed out entirely too late, and then had to bathe all the kids to rid them of bug spray. It was after 10:00 when they were finally tucked in bed, but I guess that's what summers are made of: cool evenings outside, picnics, bug spray, late bedtimes, and priceless memories.

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