For the past several days we enjoyed the company of Karen and her three children who drove down from Everett to spend some time. Karen’s husband, Kelly, was unable to take time off from his job so he stayed behind and held down the fort.
The kids seemed relieved to be out of the van so they took a refreshing dip in the pool. Obviously some were more refreshed than others. Strip, swim, repeat seemed to be the pattern for the lone male who eschewed all swimwear. But as no delicate parts were burned, we’re all hillbillies so we don’t care and the neighbors already shun us no harm was done.
Wednesday was stuffed full of activities. We loaded up two vans full of children and drove up to Battle Ground Lake. The playground briefly held their attention, then we headed down the trail for an explore. A1 paused briefly when we noticed that the sky was falling. Turns out a lactating squirrel in an overhead tree decided to drop nutshells on passersby… or it could have just been coincidence and she was just gathering food. Either way, her aim was spot on and it was pretty funny. She was fast and my camera is slow, but if you use your imagination and cock your head sideways the brown blur becomes a squirrel head and shoulders (notice the demonic glowing eyes?).
The rustic trails circling the lake would never have permitted a stroller to pass so we loitered between the swim area and boat launch. There the kids threw assorted snack foods to the resident mallards.
As word of the smorgasbord spread ducks of all ages congregated to feast. A2 pointed out that one of the ducklings had a “broken leg” that was cocked up at a funny angle. A closer inspection (courtesy of a Ritz cracker) revealed that there was a small fish hook stuck in the poor critter’s leg near the joint. Now, I know that Ritz crackers and other people food are not the best things to feed animals, so no lectures about poisoning wildlife with salt and preservatives are necessary. But I also know that fish hooks are equally unnatural and far less healthy in the overall scheme of things.
Numerous attempts to get between it and the lake proved futile, but fortunately a park vehicle with two employees inside pulled into the parking lot. I ran over and informed one of the workers about the duck. Several minutes later the other employee showed up and the conversation went something like this…
UPE: “What’s the problem?”
CC: “There’s a duck with a fish hook stuck in its leg.”
UPE: “There’s nothing you can do about it.”
CC: “Can’t we catch it and take the hook out?”
UPE: “You can’t catch that duck.”
CC: “Why? Is it illegal to touch the wildlife or something?”
UPE: “No, you just can’t catch it. Leave it alone and the hook will rot out.”
UPE= Useless Park Employee CC= Concerned Citizen
Now, I’ve never claimed to be a smart person, but my 41 years on this planet have taught me that it’s a waste of time and oxygen to argue with or try to persuade some people. The UPE fell into this category. He obviously had no interest in even attempting to help the injured animal and no amount of pleading, reasoning, etc. would have swayed his stance. So after he shuffled back to his duties of changing the postings on a bulliton board I asked A1 to request to borrow a fishing net from some boys on the dock. With the net and several more crackers we were able to catch the duckling.
Ducklings can scream, did you know that? Mother ducks can be very aggressive when you touch their babies, did you know that too? Most smart people do. But as I’ve already established the fact that I’m not smart one can only imagine the 30 seconds of flying, mud, feathers and cacophony of duck noises. The raucous drew a small crowd who probably thought I was some crazy lady. One smart alec in the lake shouted out, “There’s an easier way to get dinner!”
But in the end the hook was removed (picture courtesy of Karen’s blog, please don’t sue me for copyright stuff) and the duck now has a story to tell his friends.
Back at the homestead we set up for a craft project Karen had read about called flower pounding. First assorted leaves and flowers were gathered from the yard.
Fabric had been prepped earlier with a mixture of alum and vinegar. Once fabric squares, pounding surfaces, tape and an assortment of hammers were distributed everyone began to pound away.
Karen created this lovely work of art and we all had fun.
Next we tried our hand at some homemade ice cream.
Due to allergies we needed to find an egg free recipe on the internet. The ingredients included two pints of heavy cream, milk, two cans of sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and salt. The result was a very rich and sweet concoction that could only be eaten in very small quantities. Not a recipe I’d choose to use again.
Throughout the trip Karen worked on and finished a lovely new sock. She bought the yarn from a local shop where she lives.
The roving I’d ordered with Susan’s birthday gift certificate arrived (thank you again, Susan) so I broke out Old Blue and began making up lost time on my 10 minutes a day endeavor. The roving colors are quite lovely and because the roving was processed on someones farm it has a rustic quality to it. Some processed fibers can be boring to spin because they lack character… not so with this wool. I’m not sure yet what to make, but I’m leaning towards a shawl. The combination of greens and golds reminds me of hay or dandelions.
I also re-cast a tank top with the blue cotton from Rowan. This one is top down so I can try it on as I knit and adjust the size as needed.
Karen and her children were going to leave when I had a dental appointment on Thursday. Unfortunately, I left driving my husband’s car, but with the keys to my van and one of their car seats was still inside of my locked van. When I arrived for my appointment they told me that the time had been changed so I ran some errands and came back to find Karen waiting patiently. Oops! Turns out that it’s a good thing the times had been changed because I was at the dentist for hours. Had my appointment been at its original time they would have been in a real pickle. I hate HMOs. As my Dh pointed out, this is an argument for carrying a cell-phone. I do have one of those pre-paid Tracfones for emergencies, but it was back in the van with the necessary carseat. We really need to get extra keys made too.
I’ve probably left out large portions of the visit, but if/when I remember more then I’ll write about them too. Thank you Karen for coming down, we had a good time and everyone slept hard last night!
ps, Chris at Stumbling Over Chaos just posted a link to a blog entitled “Cake Wrecks” that had me laughing and shaking my head in amazement at the same time. I have quite a few of my own creations to submit to their cause.