Friday, November 14, 2014

The Yosemite Field Trip

Wow!  Wow!  Wow!  Today was our 4th grade Yosemite field trip and "Wow!" was the word of the day.  I'd worried that the trip had to be put off until mid-November -- short days, threat of rain and cold days.  We did have the short day (nothing could change that), but the rain came yesterday (and freshened and fragranced the air) and today was a perfect autumn day.  Golden leaves drifted down against a backdrop of granite cliffs and evergreens and the sun was warm even as the air was brisk.

The children were mesmerized by just about everything.  So was I.  It doesn't matter how many times I've been to this place, the magic astounds me every time.  However, today's autumn splendor pushed the experience to a new level.  The loveliness made it difficult to blink -- I didn't want to miss a second of it and scarcely knew where to look.  It was all so beautiful.

There is something so grand about a valley carved out by glaciers.  The place is magnificent, sweetly melancholy and spiritual all at once.

Yesterday's rain actually put a thin stream of water into Yosemite Falls.  Two days earlier, the cliff was dry, so we felt blessed.

Such a lovely day.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pumpkin Wednesday

It was back to school today.  After four whole days away, returning wasn't so easy.  The children were tired and not yet ready to be students again -- chatty, distracted and needy.  I was pretty much in the same state (although I think I hid this a bit more successfully than they did).  

When I bought the class into the cafeteria for lunch, a student came to me and announced, "The office wants me to tell you that your pumpkin is here."  Happy news!  Happy day!  I hurried to the office and there was my friend Dorothea with a lovely home-grown pumpkin that she personally delivered to me.

It's not really a looking-at pumpkin -- it's an eating pumpkin.  Nonetheless, I think that it's exquisite -- deep-ribbed, heavy, and skin of a burnished orange with a silver sheen.  Lovely, lovely pumpkin!

I will enjoy looking at it and then tucking in to eat it -- pie, casserole, muffins...  I love autumn.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Two baby cantaloupes that surprised me.  May they ripen!

So I had a LOT of schoolwork to do over my four-day break.  I dreamt about it three out of four nights.  I did none of it.  Instead, I hunkered down and began sorting out my kitchen.  And organizing the garage.  And getting my weaving stuff in order.  And bringing in the plants from the deck for the winter.  And reading a book (that nothing to do with teaching).  And enjoyed evenings of TV and cooking and relaxing.

This afternoon, as I continued on with my garage-cleaning, a car pulled into the driveway.  It was Becky -- my beloved but not often seen daughter!  We had such a lovely time -- even though we see each other so infrequently, when we're together, we just go on like no time has passed.  That is love.  I'm so very happy that she came.  :)

Tonight I'm getting my teacher hat on again and have lesson plans down and report card grades are next.  It all will get done.  And the universe will continue on its course.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Good Sort of Saturday

It was a very pretty autumn Saturday -- possibly the last really mild one we'll be having this year.  I woke up early wanting to work.  The difficulty is that there is so much to do around here that fixing on any one, two or three things is very difficult.  I try very hard not to flit from task to task when surrounded by so much that needs to be done.  I decided to focus my abundance of energy and tackle one corner of our utterly filthy garage.  It took most of the day, but I swept, washed, and organized that one small corner.  Bruce took a load of junk to the dump and I felt physically lighter after it left.

I did take breaks from the garage and did loads of laundry, pruned some bushes, picked pomegranates  and even read several chapters of a book.  Tomorrow we'll either go shopping, drive up to Yosemite, work on the island building project, rearrange furniture...or possibly do none of these things.  I love these kinds of weekends.

I also must correct papers and get grades together for report cards, but school has been put in the back seat for a short time

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Island Building

While looking at the ephemeral puddle down in the dried mud of our pond, I had a chance to take a long look at our "island".

A sorry sort of island, to be sure, with only a shallow puddle along one edge of it.  Still, once those magnificent winter storms arrive, it will be a true island once again.

So Bruce, I, the dogs and Max the Cat spent Saturday and Sunday afternoon sprucing up the rocky pimple that is our island.  All of the top-growth of the willows and cottonwoods that took root over the years has died over the summer.  So we began cutting it down and removing the dead branches.  Much better.

Bruce then hopped on the Kubota and began scraping the dried muck from the pond bottom to the base of the island.  The plan is to both widen and heighten the entire area.  Originally, we built the island from a load of large rocks that we bought and had hauled in.  We added some soil, but much of the rock was still exposed, with spaces between the individual boulders.  This weekend, we worked on adding soil to the top and sides.  Hopefully this will help the future trees survive more drought.

Island building is a lot of fun.  It's like being a kid and constructing a fort or a tree house or a house under a table with a sheet draped over it.

It's creating a new world.  I love this!

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Ask for a puddle and this is what you get.  A puddle.  What half an inch of rain looks like when the ground is bone dry.

Still, I'm not complaining -- we did end up with standing water in the pond.  A wish fulfilled.  An hour later it was gone.

This was just a warm-up storm.  The next will give us more.