142 is really several days' worth of posts, and this is good because I am way ahead of schedule trying to keep pace with school kids' 180-day calendar. So, consider this a bonus three-pack of learning moments:
We're in Tallahassee this weekend, our beloved city of 10 years prior to moving to Arkansas in August of 2011. It's fresh enough, and Woody's old enough, to have memories attached to the local video store, friends' businesses we pass while driving, and of course, the food co-op. I'm happy that he has these. In my mind, it might be useful some day to have positive memories of places in different parts of the country, or even world.
We're staying with our friends Jennifer and Isaiah in their pretty wooden house in the big Wakulla woods. It's too bad it's raining and tornado weather, because the walks around these parts, especially this time of year, are sublime.
We've been friends with Jennifer and Isaiah since Isaiah was three and Woody was some months old. Isaiah's nine now, and taught Woody how to play Pokemon cards last night. He told his mom, privately, that he was happy that Woody was so “reasonable.” This tickled us both.
The games have been mostly combat-related, with the enemies varying from ninjas to monsters to zombies. This morning, the offensive began at 7 a.m. I was bone-tired, but happy for Woody to get the chance to play.
We went to breakfast this morning with some of Jennifer and Isaiah's neighbors, our acquaintances Maria and Dennis and their granddaughter, Olivia. We ate buckwheat pancakes and drank a twig tea called Kukicha. She had three young silver-laced Wyandotte chicks that they boys were enamored with. The kids played in the garden, serving rainwater “tea” to the plants and feeding the chickens scraps of pancake and pieces of Florida black kale.
I adore their garden, the chickens, the lush vegetables, and the refuse used with artful practicality. The cinder blocks that make the raised beds are mismatched; some are leaning. The chicken wire enclosures are rusty, but the sharp edges are carefully turned inward so as not to scratch. The tables, racks, stands, hooks, and tools are roadside finds and garage sale treasures. There are chipped statues and collections of crystals and waist-high piles of hay, cow manue, and compost. It is the picture of elegance where not a cent was wasted when a need could be met with something free or cheap. I admire those who can craft such spaces. It takes ingenuity, artistry, thrift and diligence. I aspire to all of these qualities greatly.
Back at Jennifer's, another friend, Ken, came over and took the older boys out to the woodworking shop. They made rifles then played soldier in the woods for hours, until the sun was low and the air was chilly. Over the course of the afternoon, they added straps and then bayonets to their guns. They walked around and around Jennifer's three acres, “securing the perimeter” and inventing sniper scenarios.
And today, Monday, we're back on the road. The boys and I are anxious to get back to Daddy Honey, our little wood house, spring in the mountains, and our friends in Fayetteville.