Orchards and Australorps

I told you all this day was coming…

“O hai. Ahma cheekin.”

“What we are dealing with is a miracle of evolution… All this machine does is eat, sleep, and make breakfast.”

These little gals were born in Iowa on a Sunday, packaged up on Monday, and winged their way to the post office here in Vermont, arriving early Wednesday morning.

And you can hear Jen absolutely falling in love with them in that instant.

So we now have 2 Rhode Island Reds, 2 Black Australorps, and 2 Plymouth Rocks living in a plastic tub in our laundry room.

Welcome to the farm, bebe chicks. Oh look, I see you’re pooping already. Swell.

Fortunately for them, someone doesn’t care about the potential for a chicken caca surprise.

(I believe this one is “Mabel?” Might be “Mildred.” I can’t tell.)

I’m happy to report that they are growing like tiny peeping weeds, and they’ve doubled in size since the day we brought them home.

In fact, they’ve become so grown up that they were ready for their first field trip a few days ago. I cobbled together a little chick enclosure outside with some hardware cloth and stakes.

Eat your heart out, HGTV carpenters…

And so the chicks got their very first taste of the world outside of a processing facility, cardboard box, and/or a Rubbermaid tub:

Lots of happy peeping and dust bathing happening in there.

Anyway, I’m sure we’ll have lots more to say about these girls in the days ahead.

In other news, yet another Vermont rite of passage has been completed recently…we went to an apple orchard.

“What our apples lack in flavor, they make up for in ‘on the ground.'”

Yep. We drove out to Burtt’s Orchard, which was about 30 minutes away, and picked a huge bag of apples (a “peck” I’m told?) right off the tree.

“Okay, we pull from here…”
“Then drop ’em in here…”
“Aaaand… What happens now?”

Their McIntosh weren’t quite ripe yet (but they are as of a couple days ago, according to that website!) but the Jersey Macs have been pretty darned amazing. And the old-fashioned apple cider donuts were mind-blowing as well. Honestly, I’m thinking another trip might be in order this weekend sometime…

So, generally speaking, that’s been the last couple weeks ’round here.

Oh! I did convince our landscaper to drive his tractor up the giant hill in our yard, effectively creating a hiking path for us… That’s white-hot exciting news.

I’m told it was the steepest thing he’d ever driven up on a tractor, and…likely he won’t be attempting it again.

That said, it afforded us this new vantage point of our property…

Tiiiny Subaru!

I’m sure you’ve all had to hear us gushing about how beautiful it is up here, so I won’t bore you with it again.

But seriously…

Okay, see you next time.

Sunsetting a Summer

While it might not feel that way to many of you, we’re rounding the bend on summer up here in Vermont, and the first hints of autumn are beginning to nudge their way into view. Temperatures at night are dropping into the 50s, and the daily highs are settling back down to an easily manageable 72° or 73°.

And so to put a bow on what has been a most interesting and educational summer, my little family’s first in New England, we caught up with Grammy and went on an overnight trip to Nantucket.

We took the slow boat, like you should, out of Hyannis…

“Bye, Hyannis!”
“Whoa!”
“Look how far down the water is!”
“Hey.. When’s the last time this thing was USCG inspected?”

And, after a couple meditative hours of bobbing on the Atlantic, we eventually arrived:

As an aside, there are few better moments in life than the one that’s captured here. The island, and all your precious time on it, stretches ahead as the ferry eases into the dock. The sweet smell of land returns after a couple hours spent crossing the sound and fragments of my childhood kaleidoscope together with the changes to the island throughout the years. Memories swirl and ebb like cat’s paws on the water, there for a moment and gone again.

Okay, that’s enough of that nonsense.

Once we disembarked we picked up our rented Jeep along with some coffee and cranberry muffins, dropped our overnight bags into a room at The Beachside hotel, and then beelined for Children’s Beach so Daphne could go swimming.

“Oh, hey! This is a pretty big pool! What’s it called? ‘The Atlantic?'”
“Hmm. Somebody might need to see to the chlorine… I’m just sayin’.”
Bbbbbrrrr…”
“Hey, go tell somebody to turn the heat up, will ya?”

“Okay, this is not so bad…

And here, just in case you’re interested, is a picture taken in the same spot, roughly 35 years earlier.

Yes, that’s Young BumbleDad there in the water, splashing around like an idiot. (Also featured is a BumbleUncle on the right, and a BumbleCousin there in the middle.)
Oh look. I’m still that idiot.

We spent about three hours hanging around Children’s Beach before the sun started to bake us a bit. At which point we had to drag a very reluctant Daphne out of the water.

Because we had to embark upon a mission.

You see, one of the most important artifacts that must be procured during any child’s trip to Nantucket is the Turk’s head knot bracelet.

That little braided guy, there.

As a kid, I used to wear these things nearly year round. Or at least until midwinter, when they got so disgusting that they were essentially rotting right off my wrist. At which point my mother would make me cut the stinking things off with a pair of craft scissors.

But!

Each time we went to Nantucket in the summer, we’d replace them.

And while Daphne is still working on being comfortable wearing this one (and honestly, on wearing jewelry in general), we’re slowly getting there.

Alas, after a Steamboat Pizza, a couple beers, a night’s sleep, and then a quick Jeep jaunt around the island the following afternoon…it was already time to leave Nantucket again.

But, as you may or may not know, there’s something you must do on your way off the island…

And this was Daphne’s first time:

Two pennies overboard ’round Brant Point light

Doing so ensures you’ll come back to the island someday. Or, as I told my wife, life goal #847 is to have to throw two pennies when leaving Hyannis, assuring I’ll come back to the mainland someday…

Maybe.

See you next time.

There Will Be Bawks

You know, I had a solid, “posting once a week” schedule thing going there for a while, and then work exploded under my helmet and I utterly lost the groove.

But I’m beginning a mini-vacation as of today (taking a few days off this week), which means I have a bit of extra time on my hands…so,

Hi!

How you doin’?

Good, good. Glad to hear it.

Us?

Oh…you know. Doin’ our thing.

Daphne actually has a minor cold right now, and is sniffling and coughing a bit while lying here on the couch next to me.

“I daid doh’t dake mah pictdure now, Dad…”

Hopefully it’s just a little 24-hour bug.

Since I last posted for you all, Jen’s parents have come out to visit us and stayed in nearby Burke for a week, and my mom is currently staying nearby and our plan is to catch up with her over the next couple days as well.

So there have been several grandparent reunions for Daphne, and she’s absolutely loved seeing everyone during their visits to the NEK.

Getting down on some post dinner Vermont maple creemees from one of the local stands. You are permitted to exhibit your jealousy now.

And, speaking of Vermontishness, we recently made a pilgrimage up to the VT DMV in Newport to take yet another step in our quest to become real residents here.

“I hear the practical is pretty hard. Can you show me how you hold still using clutch control on an incline again?”

After which we did a quick walk around Newport which, like most places we’ve seen here, is lovely in new and entirely unique ways.

This is the view from behind the DMV, for example…

Then we dropped by a park up in Derby Line to let Daph play for a little while, since she was so incredibly well behaved while we filled out 45 minutes worth of automotive paperwork earlier.

And, when we got back home, we sloughed the old Texas tags off the Nanny Car and replaced them with our fresh, green, Vermont plates:

So, while we’re clearly anything but local, we now at least appear that way at first glance. As opposed to sporting those high visibility black & white plates that instantly branded us “damn flatlander!” from 50 paces.

Oh, and the more astute of you might’ve noticed something new there in the background… A little red edifice, perhaps?

Yes, our chicken coop arrived a few weeks ago

That tree line with the moon looks an awful lot like one of my Aunt Minka’s paintings.

A bit blurry, but you get the idea.

This picture also humble brags about all the sunflowers that we’ve done absolutely zero work to plant or cultivate but have popped up on their own simply to look beautiful there in our tea herb garden.

Anyway, it follows that a chicken coop would imply chickens themselves. But before you get full-grown chickens…you get baby chicks.

Six baby chicks that have indeed been ordered, and which should be hatching here in the next 12 days, give or take. At which point they’ll be crated up with some snuggly straw, provided a dollop of some bizarre hydrating goop, and will hop a flight to us. We pick them up the moment they arrive at our local post office which, all things being equal, should be sometime during the week of August 23rd.

Which means there will be a lot of chick pics here for you in very short order.

I’ll be sure to keep you all posted.

Teefuses

Doesn’t seem possible that it’s been a month since we moved in here, but it’s true!

Although, when I think back to the pulpy blob that was threatening to engulf our house a month ago…

Here it is attempting to swallow the Subaru.

…versus what it looked like after the dumpster was hauled off…

No pulp blob here!

it does feel like it was that long ago.

To celebrate, we had an outdoor dinner, just as we did the very first night we stayed here.

Albeit instead of Subway, this time we had Fenway Franks, carrots and Ruffles. And Saturday was an absolutely perfect day for it too. 71° and sunny.

I really love her, “Okay Dad, that’s, um, getting kinda weird” face at the end of that video.

And, speaking of time marching on, another important milestone was passed last week:

“Yeah? You should see the other guy.”

Yep. The girl lost her first tooth.

And I’ll tell you, that’s a really weird moment for a parent.

I mean, it’s a thing that’s supposed to happen, of course. But still…your kid has a gap in their mouth where an incisor is supposed to be. The natural inclination is to rush over there and go, “Gah! What the hell happened?!?”
I’m pretty sure her mother wouldn’t find my jokes about Daphne’s future as a cage-fighting hockey player amusing, either.

And you’ll undoubtedly be less unsettled than I was about it to know that a creepy little enamel-obsessed sprite somehow flitted through our skylight in the middle of the night and surreptitiously swapped Daph’s tooth for legal tender.

Jen took her down to the local dollar store to spend the newly acquired gap funding (yuk yuk) where Daph got to pick out her own toy.

Yeah, a trippy little rubber fractalball seems like a solid trade for a resource that’ll just grow back.

And that’s about all that’s gone down here this week.

See you next time.

Starting to Come Together

Hi there.

So it’s been about a week since I talked to you last (a brutal one on the work front, but that’s not a particularly entertaining story) and things have started to take shape around the house.

Operative word here being started

First, the living room:

Look at the size of those feet!

And you’ll note the happy absence of any pianos in here. (The next décor on the chopping block is that ceiling fan, though.)

Yes, a couple guys from Grunts Hauling Junk showed up a week ago and hauled the monstrosity out of here. Which, while we’re on the subject, was a seriously ridiculous process.
The two gentlemen actually tethered themselves together by attaching a long nylon strap to a pair of chest harnesses. Then they ran said strap underneath the piano, stood on either side of it, and lifted the thing straight up using their legs and backs. They they just waddled their way out the door with it. The whole maneuver probably took about 20 minutes, and I had sympathy backaches for over an hour after watching them do it.
One of them did confide afterward that he’d been working for that company for 4 years and this was the “heaviest damn piano that [he’d] ever lifted.” I apologized and assured them that I’d tried to get rid of it prior to moving in.

I’ll tell you though, the sigh of relief when they drove that thing away was probably audible in Burlington. It’s so nice to have that thing out of our living room…

No pianos here!

Now, the other side of the living room? That’s a work in progress still.

Hey look, a blog post!

The plan over on this side is to move Jib’s bed into a separate room…um…somewhere, and then have our wood burning stove, brick veneer hearth, and chimney built into that corner where the three shelves currently are.

Kinda like this, but with way less cookware

Of course, this is entirely theoretical at this point We have a local guy coming out later this week to take a look and let us know about the feasibility (and cost) of such an endeavor. That said, if I learned one thing from the Texas Snowpocalypse this year, it’s the folly of relying entirely on an electrical company to keep your house, and family, warm. (Wood burns even in the absence of electricity, you see.) So it’s very likely we’re going to work something out here and get one of these things.

You know, I think touring one room in the house at a time is enough for now…

Let’s move on to Daphne, who is doing pretty darn great out here.

Our earlier hike along the back of the property today
July 5th. 73° in the afternoon. Just lovely.

We also took a jaunt to the Vermont state capital last weekend. (Can you name it without Googling? Because I couldn’t.) Daph loved running around the park in front of the State House. And if there’s a Vermont PR firm that happens to be browsing ’round here, I think I have a little girl for your advertisements…

Vermont. Daphne approved!
The Capitol in the capital.

We ambled around for a bit until we happened to come across a Tex-Mex restaurant and, since we hadn’t had much in the way of lunch, it felt almost like a dare. So we went in and tried it.

And it was…passable.

I don’t think I’d go so far as to actually call the stuff “Tex-Mex,” but it was a quasi-reasonable facsimile. I’d say the biggest drawback to it was the utter lack of anything that even remotely resembled spiciness.

Wait! They have chips and salsa here?
Oh. It’s Vermont ‘salsa.

Although to be honest I don’t think this is a phenomenon endemic to just this particular restaurant. We picked up Green Mountain Gringo’s “Hot” salsa at the local grocery store to go on our tacos (the other options were Pace or Newman’s Own…bleh),

Weak sauce.

and I believe my first comment after trying it was, “This is what’s considered ‘hot’ here, huh? Hmmph. What’d they put in it…vinegar?”

So that particular area could use some work. Either that or we’re going to have to figure out how to bulk order some Mark’s Good Stuff up here.

I mean, it wouldn’t be the first time I smuggled Texas fare into New England…

The San Pellegrino just wasn’t cutting it.

The irony of this is not lost on me, though, since it’s always been the other way ’round. I had Marshmallow Fluff, blueberry Pop-Tarts sans frosting, and coffee syrup exported down south when I lived there.

Okay, I think we’re off for yet another Lowe’s trip. We need something to help loosen the soil in front of the house so Jen can plant her hydrangea bushes. I’m sure we’ll have more updates where those are concerned.

I’ll have to catch you all later.