Most of the outings we take are just barely out at all. Mostly, as my nephew would say--mostly, we just go out in our yard. It was the acre itself I fell in love with, before I stepped foot inside the house. It has a lot to offer. A couple of defunct gardens, soon to be revived. A slope to roll down, if you're of rolling age. Enough space to whack around a few golf balls, if you're so inclined. A creek and wetlands. All sorts of plants courtesy of our botanist landlords and Mother Nature. A shed full of junk. Madronas, a tree I love so deeply. And featuring recently in our lives, the sandy patch and mole hills.
The sandy patch was created by the sewer contractors when they laid the pipe. As was the giant puddle at the drive entry and the strange mossy tire tracks in the yard. While they certainly didn't hydroseed as they promised, the seem to have broken up and distributed all the bulb clumps. It's almost impossible to get around out there without stepping on shoots. I can't wait till they bloom and I can see what they are. But all this digging, by moles and men, has dug up an awful lot of easily accessible rocks. They're right there for the taking, just slightly snuggled into the dirt so as to maximize the pleasure of digging them out--a little extra dirt for little fingers. So Jane has become quite a rock lover. And this is the story of a girl and her rock.
I used to worry about her falling down during our "outings," but she can walk so well now, even on our corrugated lawn. She falls a lot and says "bonk!" but it's usually no big whoop. But there are still all sorts of dangers around for a mama to worry about.
Like the deck stairs.Not the best footing there, with two round rough pavers, then on up to cinder blocks, before the stairs begin. As you can see top right, there is no rail around that part of the deck or the other side of the stairs. Something to finagle before spring really springs.
If you're Bete Noire, there's Jane herself to worry about. She may be pretty gentle, but the shrieks!
Sometimes it's better safe than sorry. That baby's getting a little nimble.
Bete is also a danger to herself and others. I once watched her slip from a branch 30' up, after crying there for an hour, and narrowly miss impaling herself on a fence. After which she casually bathed herself. She likes to climb. She's a pretty tough fighter. Occasionally she poops in a mole hill ("That's not a rock!") And I'm pretty sure she runs around like crazy to get Jane excited on purpose.
Death From Above.
Well, Jane chased Bete to her heart's content and then she decided it was such a nice day she'd take her hat off. And then mama took her socks off. "Sockieeeeees!"Aaaaaaaand, she's off!"Bonk!"Mama: Oh my God! She almost fell on a nettle. Wow, they're really getting big. I should do something about that. Haven't stung myself on a nettle since I was a girl. Amazing a plant could hurt so much. Didn't I see a recipe in a gardening book for nettle tonic? I wonder how it would taste.
Jane: Shhhhhhh...She's looking at that thing. Do you think she would notice if I put this rock in my mouth? Slowly....slowly...
Gah! No Jane! We don't eat rocks! Probably all she hears is "eat" and "rock." Maybe I can get here interested in something else. Here! Here's your hat, little sausage!
Hat! Hat! [smiles] Hey--BACK OFF MY ROCK!
Nice try, mama. We know where we're not wanted. My rock and I are going elsewhere.
The act of toddling up the hill and falling down again made her jolly again. Her fits never last long. Fits, no; moods, yes. I was still sitting in the same place, twisting my torso round and leaning on my hands to watch her. Suddenly I thought of that painting by Wyeth. Which Wyeth was it, and what was that painting called? I wonder if I can get a picture like that. Oh, hello feet! Look at you, blinding me with the reflected sun. How happy you are to be almost bare! What's that sound?
The sound of a girl zealously sucking on her rock.
Moral: Beware flights of fancy, mothers and fathers. And keep your eye on the rock.
[PS: I know the spacing is wonky here. I just have the hardest time getting it right and frankly, I'd rather go have a cookie and read Red Bones near my husband than fool with it. If anyone has any tips, they are very welcome.]