"We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike." ~Maya Angelou

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Fall Farm Camp 2015

The Richards kids had the first day of FFC all to themselves. Half the day we spent in OKC, lunching with Uncle Able, visiting a fancy chocolate store. It was my birthday you see.  I still have not had a cake…not that it is important, at all.   I did receive some stunning autumnal roses from Abbey, who was out of state at the time.
     This mural is on the side of the COOP in Waukomis and I love it.  Waukomis is located on the path of the Chisholm Trail, the route the cattle drives took when going from Texas to Abilene, Kansas. Knowing that, this picture is perfect: longhorns stopping to get a cool drink on the long walk north.
    It is even more appropriate that these kiddos would have their picture taken with this picture because their Great Great Grandfather and his brothers worked on those cattle drives. It was on those trips through the area that they picked which piece of land they each wanted to claim as their own, if the land was ever opened to settlement.  It was, in 1893, and they all raced in the land run and staked their claims.  We still own that quarter of land and that is where I still live. That night we stayed up late and spread the quilts on the grass to watch the stars.  There was also quite a bit of running around with flashlights, trying to catch the cats (but then, you knew that).
     The next morning, the Korenaks joined us for Day 2. It began with doughnuts from Cresent (hooray!) and lots of playing in the treehouse and exploring the gardens together,.  Here we are, having lunch, including newly picked tomatoes from Aunt Ann's heirloom tomato plants.

As you can plainly see, they were already hyped up and crazy as loons. There is nothing better than cousin time at the farm where you can run free, yell loudly, stay up late and watch the stars.
      We took a trip to the Hennessey Libray pumpkin patch after lunch and naps.  I always try to buy pumpkins there because the money goes to support the library. Everyone got to choose their own pumpkin plus one for A & K and one for yours truly. We stopped at the Mexican ice cream shop on the way out of town for a cool treat.
       We then had to return to the playground at Waukomis because everyone wanted to slide on the huge metal slide one more time.  This giant is 12  feet high and a straight shot to the ground.  What a rush!  It takes a while for them to work up the courage to slide the first time, but after that they love it.
    Another of our activities on Friday was the gathering in of the birdhouse gourds.  This is the first year in five or six years that I had a good crop.  We will dry these and next spring will have them to paint at SFC 2016.  These are also great for painting as snowmen, witches heads, Santas, Easter bunnies and, of course, simple bird houses for the wrens and smaller birds.
   All the kids were good workers, picking and stacking until we were done.  We ended up with the wagon heaped to overflowing. Each gourd is shaped differently and is beautifully smooth.

Yes, it was a bit chilly that morning. We also discovered another wild tomato plant hiding in amongst the gourd vines. Who knew?  I guess the birds have been getting all those this summer. This harvest will become a family tradition I can assure you.  Now we let them dry for a bit, sand them and they will be ready for painting.
     Able and Kari joined up that evening for a bonfire cookout. Hotdogs, Smores, pea salad and chips. The usual fare for the Blakley group.  We did some group storytelling and then all the kids slept on sleeping bags in the music room. This was the first time even the littlest boys stayed there all night. They're growing up.  We were all up bright and early Saturday so we could have breakfast with A & K before they had to return to the City to work at the shop. We had scrambled eggs, fruit salad, toast and English Muffins and bacon. The best breakfast ever.
    After a little outdoors play and kitchen clean-up we loaded into the vans and drove to Daze in a Maze to meet Abbey and Brent. Everett was delighted to see his mom again. It was probably a huge culture shock for Abbey to come from Washington D.C. and George Washington U. business meetings to Daze in a Maze in the middle of nowhere, Oklahoma.

         We walked the mazes, rode ponies and had a picnic under the tent.  This is also a regular feature of FFC because: 1. It is a good time for all  2. The people who run it are good friends of mine and I taught all their children in elementary school. There is also a petting zoo there, which the kids really love. This year they had a miniature pony with a little colt beside her. Here is the entire crew on the hay rack ride. This is a great shot of everyone. Sometimes the magic works.

      We came home tired, wind blown and dirty and laid our weary heads down for a naps all around.
That afternoon was scheduled for work on the treehouse and planting bulbs.  I got all my tulips and daffodils planted, along with one big bush and two mums.  All the kids, plus Abbey and Audra helped dig, amend the soil, plant, cover and remulch.  Thank goodness they were there to help, or I would never have gotten it all done. Oh, I also planted one lovely new blue Iris that I discovered languishing in a plastic bag in Atwoods. I hope she makes it.
     Martha and Christy came by for a little visit and I give Christy some of the gourds and some crocus for her gardens.  The kids love to see and visit with Christy. She is the woman who took their lizards to her daycare classes to show to her kids.  Today they showed her around the gardens and took her up into the tree house as well.  I'm glad they are so fond of her. (By the way, her Great Great Grandfather was one of those cowboy brothers too.)
      Zach and Brent added a climbing rope wall to the tree house, the big pulley and rope, another ladder up to the top, the pirate steering wheel AND installed the new round flat swing for the little boys to swing on. Yay! Progress is made.  Tomorrow we are stringing little fairy lights up the tree and around the house.  We also took lanterns up top this evening and hung them on nails. No, they don't have real fire in them, just battery lights. It's a little pirate ambiance.

     There was another campfire tonight and we had frito chili pies and chili dogs, pickles, lemon pudding and Cheesy Dibbles.  We all took turns singing our college school songs around the fire and the kids and grandma played pirate in the treehouse. Today there was a tremendous amount of digging in the pile of dirt left by the landscapers. This happens every day and is the absolute favorite of every child on the place.  Amazing. Why are we building the treehouse? I know. We have asked ourselves that same question.
      Little Rowan and Everett, one year apart in age, have a great time together, except for the times when they are trying to murder each other in some way. While I was resting after the planting jag, I sat on the porch swing enjoying the front plantings while the girls made chili inside. These two little guys played up and down the porch, rode their trikes around and then took a ride on the two horses together. They are adorable beyond words.

.We have not been on any snake hunts this Fall. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

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