Just like that, July goes out with a boom. I have about four blog posts in my head, and they will likely stay in my head until September. Oh, summer. You are like a hyperactive child. Camping! Hiking! Swimming! Gardening! Fishing! Canoeing! Rafting! Biking! Playgrounds! Playgroups! County fair! Art fair! Concerts! Farmer's market! Can I? Can I? Can I please?
So here I am. A dinner of cutthroat trout (pulled from the river), garden green beans (with fennel, pickled onion and fried almonds), and a green garden salad sits happily in my belly.
My garden is a green explosion and I keep meaning to write a post about it, but as soon as I'm ready my photos are outdated and the garden has taken on a new personality. I think it actually changes faster than a toddler. You start writing down all the first words and the next thing you know, words bolted, phrases are ripe and sentences just coming on. All from a tiny seed, warm sunshine and glorious water. It's incredible.
New favorite way to eat beets (thanks to my mom): roasted, peeled, sliced thin, sprinkled with goat cheese and fresh parsley. Yum! Even my beet-hating husband likes it. (Juniper still prefers her beets to be "clean"--no cheese or parsley.)
:: (More) Summer Snaps. Are you ready? I hope I don't crash anyone's e-mail. (I'm sorry guys, but this is the best I can do in these crazy days.)
: Earlier this month, my family packed our bags, threw the canoe on the truck and drove across the great, empty state of Wyoming, landing near the eastern border at Keyhole state park with a HUGE lake (like, I think we only saw one little finger of it). Not far from home we passed a grizzly sow with two cubs, no time to stop. The drive took us all day, we arrived after dark while fireworks erupted over the lake and lightening split the sky in the backdrop. We met with my dad (for 24 hours), and my cousin's family. For the first time Juniper and Hazel met the kid whose clothes they wear almost daily. And for the first time I met my cousin's smart, bouncy, cheery, inquisitive six-year-old who stops only to eat, draw and read. It was dark and I hadn't seen my cousin in five years, her husband in eleven years, and yet we all hugged dark, hooded figures as though it had been yesterday (hooded because it had been raining). Right away, young cousin M whisks Juniper away and asks, "Are you three or are you four?" Juniper slides right into pace with her like a big kid, but turns to me and adoringly asks, "Mama, how old is me?"
The next morning--even before breakfast and morning pees--my kids were swept into my dad's arms and led across the grassy ravine to M's campsite. And from that point on our campground was a swirl of "fairy princesses" flitting through the ponderosas. We had brought the fairy wings and cousin M handed-down the pink dress, which Juniper didn't remove for 4 days straight, except to eat ice-cream. (Oh, the princess phenomena. I have a post in my head about that one, you know it.)
Fairy princesses try out the front-porch swing of a "bear's den."
Meanwhile, Hazel Iris--true to form--fell out of the camper-trailer and rolled down the sharp metal steps pretty much first-thing. In subsequent days and weeks, she would cut, scrape and bump that exact spot 3 more times. The other day, my man noticed she has a chipped front tooth. She's only had front teeth for a few months. This kid, I tell you.
How cool is it that grandpa still motorcycle-camps?
We hiked around nearby Devil's Tower, (or Bear's Tipi, or Bear's Lodge). We talked a lot about the bear who made the claw marks in the rock and the sisters who escaped (there are many versions of this legend). We saw rock climbers and talked to them about their gear. Most of the time Juniper was whining about the wind, but let's not talk about that now (actually, it's getting better--or less windy, hard to tell).
^Native American prayer bundle.^
^Juniper, cousin M and her dad.^
^Cousin M and her dad, me and Juniper, my cousin A. Sorry about all the confusing initials but I forget to get permission and, well, people of my generation are skeptical about internet anonymity. You understand.^
Hazel, our climber. The thing is, she's so good at it. Then, when you're least expecting it, she falls. Not here though. She was as nimble as a mountain goat.
Ice-cream cones afterwards.
And chase in the grass.
A day-time visit back to the bench where we had watched the fireworks and lightening storm that first night.
Relaxing days in camp topped with canoeing and warm-water fishing (walleye!).
Lake swimming. They are just getting their feet wet here; they actually did swim, but I stayed on the beach with Hazel who isn't a fan of anything cooler than bathwater.
Did I mention my cousins drove from Ohio? And my dad from the northwestern coast of Washington? My family is literally spread east to west, north to south. Right now, (I wrote most of this a few days ago) I am with my mom in a hotel in Cheyenne, visiting *more* relatives I haven't seen for a decade. I declare: no more! We need to start wrangling reunions.
I had intended to shove all of July's snaps into this post, but I won't torture you. So goodnight folks. I'll hit publish and start the next one.