|Oldest GK, now 12. HOW did that happen?!?|
|Allana age 9 demonstrates correct hay rack ride attire; a wild fur hat |
so as not to disturb any of the Leopards that roam our wood lands.
The two that live the farthest away are just 30 miles up north, the one nearest us, a mere 4 miles and of course the middle child, lives in the middle just 15 miles from the farm.
As they have grown, as their families have grown, the hay rack...has shrunk!
With spouses and kids and a nephew of our daughter-in-laws who has made it the last three years, we number 14 if all show up. But this year both of the daughter-in-laws had to work and so in their place, a boyfriend and his daughter.
We bring drinks and snacks and take the same route every year because it is a tradition which is just a 3 syllable word for "same old thing." We head north out of the drive with Keith at the tractor wheel and Fannie the Great Pyrenees bringing up the rear.
She follows us the entire route.
We head west a short distance on the road, wrap around the back of the neighbors machine shed counting the number of OUR peacocks hiding out in THEIR rafters. We swing south along the railroad tracks and then east over the tractor patch that runs between two fields.
|The art of snacking while riding (and juggling multiple nephew drinks)|
is a skill best taught to the youngest generation
by the middle generation.
Out there, we can barely see any other farms and we are surrounded on all four sides by fields.
|You'll note everyones attention is to the right but for the life of me|
can't remember why. Perhaps I just fell off the wagon?
On this last ride the sky was bright blue the weather was cool but very tolerable and I was beyond happy. But I try not to gush about these feelings of extreme contentment and familiar joy or I'll be laughed at by the masses.
I don't travel with sentimental types.
We stop at the neighbors woods. Walk around the south side of their large pond and run into her in her gardens where she revels about how much the GK's have grown and can still hardly believe that the 14 year olds she used to hire to help with their landscaping, are all grown men.
|With a promise of being allowed to act goofy in the next picture,|
they follow my request for normality
Our oldest son even proposed to his wife 12 years ago out on the neighbors pond after borrowing her canoe for the romantic invite to a lifetime together.
The walk around the pond takes about 30 minutes and we stop for a few annual pictures. One year I'll get my act together enough to print off some of the thousands of pics on my computer and do some comparisons of those past hay rack ride photos. Yes, I will.
We end up back at the hay rack, snuggle back in with pillows and blankets, holding tight to the smaller kids to avoid any tumbles off the straw bales. Keith will usually ask one of the boys, please excuse me, men... to drive the rest of the way home so he can enjoy a few minutes of leisure travel with the rest of us. We finish off the cookies, cake, etc and swallow down the cider, hot chocolate which remains. Some of it actually still housed in thermos but much has been spilled on the floorboards.
We are pulled back up the drive and disembark. Blankets filled with straw are shook out and the food trays, garbage taken inside. A bonfire is started and after letting our bellies rest a full 10 minutes we make S'mores. I am ridiculed by my children who have forgotten...again...that their job is to adore me, when I choose to totally CHARCOAL BLACK my marsh mellow before squeezing it between 2 graham crackers and a hunk of real chocolate.
The wussies in my family prefer to toast their marsh mellows a vague tint of tan, which is acquired by standing at least 10 feet from the fire and just waving the cushy white tweet in the direction of the fire. Hardly worth lighting the wood at all if you ask me, but no one ever does.
The GK's and Fannie making their way around the neighbors pond.
And another fall, comes to an end
And another fall, comes to an end