Our overnight field trip to Monterey with our 4th graders was a success -- we left with 47 children and returned with all of them. No one got hurt or sick or lost (at least not for too long). As always, it was a trip watching them experience everything. About a fourth of them had never been to the ocean, and many had never roasted marshmallows over a fire or visited an aquarium.
This is Point Lobos State Park. We took a two mile hike along the cliffs and I was struck by how much fitter I've become since regularly walking at home. No huffing or puffing and my legs never felt the steep stairs and I was able to leap across rocks on the beach with confidence. That felt great.
The weather reports had forecast strong, blustery winds for Thursday, but the day turned out mildly breezy and mild. Perfect hiking weather.
My one disappointment was that we saw no whales spouting in the distance this time. Lots of harbor seals with pups and otters bobbing in the kelp beds though.
I have over 300 pictures of my own that I took of the trip, plus many hundreds from the parent chaperones (I'm careful about what I share on this blog because I have concerns about putting my students up for public view). I spent much of today going through them in order to put together a slide show of our entire trip. It's a slow, frustrating process getting the pictures selected and in order and synced to the correct music. On a certain level, though, I enjoy creating this presentation and have done it for the past three years.
OK, so enough about that. We will now go on to what awaited me when I returned to Frogpond, weary from two days of keeping 47 children safe from the terrors of the sea. I was met in the driveway by a horse who had apparently grown bored with his pasture.
His mouth was full of grass and he could scarcely be bothered to move out of the way so I could continue up the drive to park the car. Normally I'm very happy to see Cornelius, but having to deal with his Houdini ways on the tail end of a two-day field trip seemed extremely unfair. But I got the halter and lead rope and walked down the driveway to where he was still happily grazing. He was very sweet when I haltered him and I think he was smiling.
As I walked him up to his pen, I looked around at the things he'd gotten into -- garbage cans knocked over, poultry grain in the pans eaten, hoof tracks all over the gravel of the area in front of the house. Nothing too bad. I gave my dear boy a kiss and put him away.
And then I saw his "Welcome Home" present waiting for me on the front porch. Backing up a bit, one of my favorite series of books when I was a child was the Pippi Longstocking ones. I had them all and had read them so often that I had most of the adventures of Pippilotta Delecatesa Windowshade Mackrelmint Longstocking committed to memory.
The idea of a horse on one's front porch was enchanting...
...until I fully realized what a horse on the porch truly means.
It means this: The "Welcome" mat sideways and all our shoes scattered about. It also means a giant horse turd deposited on our ice chest that has artistically draped itself all over the sides and down the steps. My brain went numb. I went in through the back door and lay down for an hour before I could even contemplate cleaning the mess up. Would you believe me if I told you that the smell crept in through the closed front door?
The questions: Corny is not a small horse -- so how did he manage to position his big butt so that his poop would land squarely on the ice chest? And, other than Pippi's, whose horse makes a beeline for the front porch when they get out of their pasture? Last of all, what did he look like standing up there, looking through the window and playing with our shoes? Oh, he must have looked cute as hell.
I miss all the good stuff.