Sunday, August 26, 2007

Flatlanders at the Birchmere! What could be better?

So we've been staying close to home lately. Hard enough to find a pet-sitter, much less someone willing to care for livestock, kwim? But early this spring DH suggested we see if the Flatlanders were going to be anywhere nearby this year. A quick search and, yes!, they were on the August calendar at the Birchmere in Alexandria, a close 150 miles away. I ordered tickets for the second show, Friday, August 24.

DS announced he would have a sleepover at Grandma's house and they could check on the chickens that evening. The sheep, llama and cats would be okay till we got home late that night and a dog-sitter was the last of our worries. So with everyone taken care of DH and I were able to leave around 10am with time to stop at the Eden Center as I wanted a few things from the vietnamese grocer and hoped to find some origami paper like another homeschooler had shown me she picked up there. Ended up eating a late lunch at one of the restaurants at Eden Center after shopping and heading over the Birchmere around 5:30pm.

They hand out line numbers starting at 5pm but, tho we could park at the front door, we were already 60 down by the time DH picked up the tickets at the will call window. A quick change of clothes and we were ready for the evening. It was kind of strange going in as we appeared to be on the younger end of the audience age bar. Since we're both over 40 now, it's usually the other way around. Talked to several people while we were waiting but didn't know a soul there. It was fun to browse the cd rack at the Birchmere's shop -- had enough variety it almost seemed like old times.

The Flatlanders were great as usual. Been going to see a range of live music for almost 35 years now and these guys routinely make the top 10 every time. It's amazing how consistently they deliver the goods. On top of the great regular part of the show, we had a treat as Bill Kirchen (of Commander Cody, and more, fame) was two tables down from us and sat in towards the end for several songs. Jenny Scheinman , accompanied by Tony Scherr on guitar, opened the show with an acoustic set we really enjoyed. Unfortunately everyone has to go home eventually so we did. No ringing ears as in years past but with lots of good music resonating through us.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A new source for pocket change?

Here's DH with his hastily thrown together basket of garden produce. He was prepared to enter the individual vegetable categories at the county fair but hadn't really considered the real money-making possibilities of the special classes. At best a blue ribbon for a plate of 5 red-ripe tomatoes would net $3, but throw together a dozen or more different types of home garden crops and he claimed 12 bucks for third place.

And after watching my DMom win a first place in the farm-garden implement arrangement category last year, he decided he could do that, too, and won another 15 bucks for his first place entry (photo below) featuring his favorite old metal gathering dishpan.

Well, I thought he should have some competition so I put together an arrangement featuring an old straw hat and a few of my favorite (hand) tools. It took a respectable second place, thank you very much. And that was with a whole wealth of entries -- I was glad to see them all because the first year the category had set empty with none. Last year was the second year it was listed and DMom couldn't stand that no one had entered the year before so when I added the class to her entry form before submitting it to the fair office (not exactly "fair," I know) she came up with her first place "garden guy." It was sort of a scarecrow kind of arrangement with a barn fork for the face and torso, some plant material for the hair, etc. Maybe now folks will see the potential for fun with this category. And that will mean all kinds of ideas to steal for use here at home!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Rhubarb leaf stepping stones

Last year at my suggestion, my Garden Club tried our hand at making stepping stones out of concrete using rhubarb leaves as a mold. The project was so successful we did it again this year.

DH and I are planning a small patio to the left of the front door in a little-used space bordered by the driveway, house and sidewalk leading to the door. We'll use a dozen or so store-bought (well, yard sale-bought) square stepping stones to make a flat area for a chair or two maybe with a side table but the leaf-shaped ones will be set-in here and there, not so much for walking, but to get to a spot for weeding, etc. I'll set them in loose dirt with a layer of sand underneath for a firm base but I don't want to take a chance on cracking one from too much traffic or loose placement. They're supposed to be fairly sturdy but they're too pretty for everyday use. (Bet you never heard that phrase applied to a stepping stone before!)

The directions we used came from this site: rhubarb leaf stepping stones There are lots of sites with directions for making stepping stones using old cake pans, pizza boxes, etc. for molds, too. No need to buy a special mold.

My mom made several round molds with scalloped edges by cutting strips of plastic that was originally intended to make a protective form for filling with leaves -- like you'd use to protect rose bushes or fig trees from winter weather. She set the circle on a square of plywood (scrap, of course) and covered the wood with a couple of plastic grocery bags (recycling, you know). I made this one using an extra large cake pan I found at a rummage sale for a quarter. DS put a handprint in the middle for me and we added a few leaves (ivy, fern, small hosta) around the edges. The leaves fall away after the concrete dries but the imprint remains. (BTW, that's not a stain at the bottom of the circle -- that's dirt. It's a stepping stone, remember?)

These are all stones from the first (2006) attempt. Haven't picked up this year's stones yet. Left them to dry at the meeting site as it's recommended you don't move the stones for at least 24hrs after making. They need a chance to set-up first. Helps prevent cracking, etc. Here's three more stones completed last year -- think the small one was a hosta leaf, rather than rhubarb.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Treehouse finished!

Good news is the treehouse (Christmas 2006 present for DS) was finished by January 10 and I took a few pictures on Jan. 14 for DH to show off at work. Yes, I realize this is old news but it did happen this year. And that makes it still new around here.

The house part is 6x8-feet and the deck adds about 2 feet on the front and 3 feet on the one side. So overall dimensions run approximately 9x10-feet. DH says he wonders if it will raise our property taxes...

I think he did an excellent job building it: quickly and with minimal expense. He used two black walnut trees in the backyard for the main supports and cut down a small walnut tree that needed to be thinned out of the sheep field. He set it in concrete tho we had quite a discussion on concrete's pros and cons. Couldn't get a definitive answer on how long it would last with or without the concrete so we went with it. DH promises to keep an eye on the wood and will set up another support should the log decay too quickly.

I didn't mind sacrificing the two walnut trees as they both had heavy iron rings mounted on them from where the previous owner had hung an old hammock. All the trees in the back are too tall and without low-hanging limbs to allow for a true treehouse so we went with this modified version. He used some lumber from an old shed he'd dismantled a year ago, shingles left from our new roof and any other salvaged material he could find. Total cost came in at under $200 and considering we'd priced a few of those free-standing swing/treehouse combos at $500-$1500 without nearly the space of this one, I have to say he did a great job at holding down the cost.

Friday, May 25, 2007

First day in the big pen!

Yes, more chickens. Our life has been revolving around these guys lately. People who come to visit say watching the chickens is better than tv. (I don't know how to compare as we haven't watched tv, other than dvd/vhs movies, in so long I can't remember what that's like -- tho I know when we're at a store with a wall of tvs playing we all turn away as the jumping video seems to hurt our eyes. . .)

We bought electric poultry netting from Premier1Supplies and tho neither DH nor I had any experience with electric fences, we managed to get it up and running without problem. We went with a solar battery energizer and one section of the longer-length netting at 164-ft. This makes a good size pen for these little guys but we may need to add another section when they're full-grown. Premier says the charger can handle up to three (3) sections, so we'll see how it goes.

For now, DS likes it and I think I will, too, as we can walk around and sit with the chickens (note lawn chairs) instead of having to stay outside the pen or hunker down under the overhead netting of the dog pen. The netting is set up in the same area of the front yard. Lots of nice shade and close by so we can just look out the window to keep an eye on them when we're kept inside by work. I can even see them as I type as they're only 15-ft away from the window by my desk. Here's what the view looks like:

To give them plenty of air, we're letting the nestboxes door hang open but DH stapled the landscape netting across the inside nest openings to keep them in and other animals out at night. First chick to hit the fence was Quirrell but as s/he's* an escape artist it was probably for the best.

*Quirrell has ear tufts and the beginnings of a beard so probably a green egg layer (Aruacana/Ameraucana mix) but as we ordered those straight-run we're not sure yet which ones are pullets and which are cockerels.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Chicks ready for the big outdoors!

They've grown a lot in a month and the weather's improved to the point we're ready to let them out for their first day in their new pen. They spent the night in their portable chicken house and DS went out this morning to open the door.

I'm very glad to get them out of the garage! I read about the "chicken dust" that settles on everything but, thankfully, until the last couple of days, it hadn't been noticeable. Now I can see it in the air and on the shelves and everything else in the garage! Good to get them out in the fresh air -- that stuff can't be good for them to breathe all the time and it certainly isn't something I want drifting into the house through the open garage door. Can't imagine anyone keeping this many little guys in their house and how much dust and debris that would distribute around the home. . .

DH built the mobile chicken coop from USB and ripped 2x4s and elbow grease. Unlike the portable house in the backyard which is on wooden skids, he used 4 small lawnmower wheels to make this one mobile. The chain link dog pen was a giveaway. The chicks are small enough that they can squeeze through it so DH put a wooden stake inside each corner and to either side of the door, then used a partial roll of landscape netting (like vinyl chicken wire) to keep them in the pen. The pieces meet at the door and we use long vinyl-covered twist ties to close the gap there so we can open and close it.

Three overlapping pieces of netting cover the top of the pen and are weighted with wood to either side. Means everyone except DS has to stoop while in the pen but it keeps the chicks in and, hopefully any cats or other birds out. I don't think it would hold up to a larger predator but the pen is in the front yard only about 30 feet from the front door and 10 feet from the driveway. It's already proven its protection against T-cat, our hunter. He tried to get in by climbing the overhanging crabapple tree and didn't like getting caught in the net.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

How could I forget Dinosaurland?

Dinosaurland is the best! I can't believe we didn't get around to taking DS there until now.

20+ years ago I went there anytime I was headed north with my DSis and her kids. They knew all about Dinosaurland and wouldn't let her pass Winchester without going there on the way or on the way home. Somehow I managed to let it slip my mind until I was reading a list in Charlottesville's The Hook, I think it was, about summer car trips. And there it was!

So there's DS in front of the sign. Must have taken 4 dozen pictures if not more during the almost 3 hours we spent there. He wanted a picture with all the dinosaurs and he wanted to tell DH and me all about them. Not to mention read all the signs and do a little prey/predator acting. Finally I sat down along the path and watched as he and his dad stalked each other through the dinosaur displays. One would turn away while the other would run ahead and get in position for a staged dinosaur attack.

DH had never been there either -- didn't even know it existed until I told him how we were going to spend the day. Fortunately he enjoys a bit of play-acting and is always willing to traipse along after DS on one of these field trips. Didn't hurt that the gift shop had a small book shelf stocked with Virginia and military history tomes plus a section with a variety of beer-making supplies and wine yeasts, etc. He even wants to go back again. And DS is already asking when.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Chickens in the backyard, chicks in the garage. . .

It started innocently enough. I've always wanted a few hens, just for the eggs, you understand. And after years of telling DH how much he'd like them, too, he finally agreed.

Of course, the annual homeschool picnic at the Salatins' Polyface farm that always starts with a farm tour might have had something to do with his capitulation. He loves all things "sustainable ag," don't you know.

So we ordered 25 brown egg layers from McMurray Hatchery and I couldn't resist adding 6 straight-run Aruacana chicks to the mix. That makes 31, plus McMurray will send a "rare breed" chick with any minimum order of 25, so we were expecting 32 little chicks on April 16. Instead we received 44!

The fine print says they may need to add a few chicks to any orders that don't divide by 25 evenly. The shipping box sizes make it necessary to have certain numbers in order to keep the little guys warm on their cross-country trek. So we keep combing the catalog trying to figure out what kind of chickens we have. Guess we'll know more when they all have their regular feathers.

That covers the chicks in the garage -- soon to go out to the portable coop DH has been working on in odd moments for the last week or two. The backyard girls came from a family that had hatched them from eggs last spring but didn't want to keep them any longer. They offered and I jumped at the chance to have eggs before August!

So Madame President and her committee arrived a week or so ahead of the chicks we'd ordered. DH put together a small hen house in the backyard and the girls came home to roost. (sorry, couldn't resist!) Madame President is, I think, a silver-laced wayndotte (or is she a cuckoo maran? her eggs are very dark brown...) Miss Dolly is a barred Rock, the three brown hens are Aruacanas. They have the poofy cheek feathers (do I know how to describe poultry or what?) and lay lovely light green eggs. Jabberjaw, the white hen, is an unknown, tho she lays brown eggs so maybe she's a type of Rock, too?

Whatever kind they are, they're doing their job of laying eggs -- every day we get either 5 or 6 eggs and they're so entertaining! DH even says he likes that they "talk" to him while he's working in the yard.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

How about a little ice for Valentine's Day, honey?

To some that question might give rise to expectations of diamond-encrusted gifts but when DH looked out the window this morning he was referring to the beautiful but dangerous stuff coating everything outside.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Rain. No, sleet. Next comes snow? Whatever.

Can't decide if we're lucky or not. The winter storm forecast for the next few days showed up this afternoon with rain. Now it's turned to sleet -- I can hear it hitting the windows and the pavement is white, but not the grass.

There's very little traffic on our country road but that's not too unusual so I can't attribute it completely to the weather. DS is disappointed as he wanted to build another snow fort. Maybe by tomorrow we'll see a bit of snow tho the word is it's going to stay with this till tomorrow afternoon. May get an inch or so of ice accumulation by the end. Our power flipped off and on earlier this evening but other than that we're warm, dry and cozy.

I'd put a frozen pack of what I thought were skinless boneless chicken thighs in the refrigerator to thaw this morning but when I opened the vacuum seal bag I realized they were chicken breasts instead. So instead of the stuffed thighs I'd intended to make supper tonight was Leanne Ely's Garlic Lime Chicken from her book "Saving Dinner." It's quick, good and any leftovers are a treat -- need I say more?

Served alongside a brown rice and black beans combo souped up with some green onion and homemade salsa and topped off with a whole peeled carrot, the chicken went over well with DS. The whole carrot is one of our new ways to eat veggies. DS was getting bored with carrot and celery slices and tossed salad more than once a day just isn't for him as he says. So whole carrots, whole turnips, a wedge of fresh cabbage -- these are the ways we get in some of our raw vegetables. Whatever works, ya know? And, surprisingly, it's been kinda fun chomping on a carrot like Bugs Bunny. Tho DS has no idea who that is... Kids these days, huh?

Oh, here's the recipe for that Garlic Lime Chicken, too.

Garlic Lime Chicken

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon thyme
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 tablespoons lime juice

In a bowl, mix together first 7 ingredients. Sprinkle mixture on both sides of chicken breasts.

In a skillet heat butter and olive oil together over medium high heat. Saute chicken until golden brown, about 5 minutes on each side. Turn down the heat, remove the chicken and add the lime juice and chicken broth to the pan, whisking up the browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. Keep cooking until sauce has reduced slightly. Add chicken back to the pan to thoroughly coat with sauce and serve.

*Substitute boneless, skinless chicken thighs for breasts.
*Cut breasts into 2 or 3 pieces each, if desired. Shortens cooking time by a minute or two on each side and helps us keep portions under better control.
*I find that I can reduce salt to 1/2 or 3/4 teaspoon without notice.
*If I don't have limes, I will substitute lemon juice. (As always, fresh squeezed is best.)

Monday, February 12, 2007

lost in a book

How odd to go along for months looking for books (fiction) that satisfy and then find a handful all at once! Chick lit doesn't cut it, romance isn't working, mysteries haven't worked for years, historical fiction -- uh, uh. But when I grabbed "The Android's Dream" by John Scalzi off the New Books shelf at the local library, I was caught up in a fun story!

Now I've finished Scalzi's "Old Man's War" and am almost through with its follow-up, "The Ghost Brigade." DH is even willing to lay aside his usual military history tome and give "Old Man's War" a shot -- yeah! First time in several years we've read the same fiction. Now if only I didn't have to wait till May to read "The Last Colony."

And when searching for a Star Wars book for DS, I stumbled across John Varley's "The Golden Globe." So now I've finished his "Mammoth," too, which was so enjoyable I ended up reading it to DS after he asked me a million times "what's happening now, mom?" Just picked up "Red Thunder" and "Red Lightning" by Varley this afternoon and hope they are as entertaining.

Oh, it's so much FUN to have new authors to explore! There's a winter storm headed our way according to the National Weather Service and I have books to read!! I couldn't ask for anything more. Last thing DH said as he went out the door this morning was "are you sure you have books to read?" He knows me well.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

More books!

Yeah! The mail came, the mail came!

Doesn't take much to excite us some days but DS and I were both dancing around when DH came in from work last night. He'd been by the post office that afternoon and there were three packages for us. Three, count'em, three!

We were ready for bed so all we did was open them to see which orders had come through but first thing this morning, DS started in on the first book in a new Star Wars series he's discovered. The series is by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta and titled "Young Jedi Knights." The book DS received is the first in the series, "Heirs of the Force."

He found what turned out to be the fourth book in the series at the library book sale last week. Devoured it in two days (not bad for a 7yo!) and then when we looked in the library catalog we discovered the rest of the set of 14 available -- except for the first one in the series! So I turned to and found the first book at At the rate he's reading, I think he's going to finish it tonight so we picked up the next five books in the series while we were at the library this afternoon.

The other two packages were ostensibly for me but DS was still excited about at least one. I ordered three more Dinah Zike books for our homeschool collection: Dinah Zike's Big Book of Science for Elementary K-6, Dinah Zike's Big Book of Social Studies (Elementary K-6), and Dinah Zike's Big Book of United States History. He's enjoyed the things we've done using her other books and I thought I could use another boost her books always provide.

They can be hard to find, tho, with Amazon only carrying a couple. I usually order from her site, Dinah-Might Adventures, but this time I found them on eBay from a storefront that carried several titles by Zike and offered free shipping if I purchased more than two books.

The other package was a paperback by Sue Gregg and Emilie Barnes that I ordered from, too. It's titled "The 15-Minute Meal Planner: A Realistic Approach to a Healthy Lifestyle".

I have a set of Sue Gregg's cookbooks that I really like. They're a little heavy-going at first but I've found quite a few recipes I wouldn't want to be without. Especially her Blender Oatmeal Pancakes. Talk about fiber -- and delicious! DH says he could eat them a couple of times a week and I don't feel bad about fixing them either as they're pretty good for us, too.

Thing is, I don't know that it was essential I have this book but it's mentioned several times in the 7-volume set that I have and every so often I run up against a reference to a recipe that's only included in this particular book. And I tend to be a completionist or whatever LibraryThing calls those of us who feel the need to own all of an author's works. I'm not always that bad, tho -- for example, I only own 10 (the 7 Basic cookbooks plus "Four Food Storage Plans," "Yeast Breads," and "Holiday Menus") plus this new one. I'm sure she has several other books available -- somewhere.

Blender Oatmeal Pancakes

1-3/4 cups buttermilk
3 eggs
2 tbs oil (olive oil preferred)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups rolled oats, uncooked (this is the same as Quaker Oats Old-fashioned oats in the cannister)
2 tbs sucanat or regular white granulated sugar (optional - Gregg suggests crystallized fructose as an option, too)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder

Place the first 5 ingredients in a blender container and blend at high speed for 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and mix in thoroughly, but briefly, using blender or rubber spatula.

Bake on moderately hot griddle or in hot waffle iron for waffles. Makes about 16 4" cakes.
The recipe is correct as written -- it calls for no flour, just old-fashioned oatmeal. At times when I'm out of buttermilk, I have substituted a plain yogurt thinned with a bit of water in place of the buttermilk. About 1 or 1-1/4 cups yogurt plus 3/4 or 1/2 cup water as needed to make the total of 1-3/4 cups called for in recipe.

The 2-min blend is essential to getting the recipe to work. The first few times I tried this, I did not let the blender run the full time and couldn't understand why the pancake batter was so-o-o runny. Ended up adding as much as 1/2-cup flour each time. Finally I decided to set the timer and actually "follow the recipe" (a novel idea for me) and, voila! It works like a charm.

Monday, January 29, 2007

What's for dinner the week of January 29?

The freezer needs to be defrosted so we've been trying to clear it out by planning menus around its contents rather than what's on special at the grocery this week. Making some headway but it can get boring without forethought.

Today I grabbed a pound of sweet Italian sausage, a quart of pork broth (from cooking a fresh pork shoulder in the roaster oven a few weeks ago), 10 boneless chicken thighs, a package of cheese ravioli, 6 cups of chopped red cabbage, 4 leftover hamburger buns, some dressing, and 6 pork chops I cut from a large boneless pork loin purchased back in October. (Always seems to be the least expensive way to have chops around here.) These things will be the basis of several days (most of the week?) worth of meals and hopefully give DH a few frozen MREs for dinners at work.

I pulled the casing off the Italian sausage and tossed it into a pot with some chopped onions. Broke up the meat as it sizzled, adding about a cup of sliced mushrooms along the way, then drained off the oil. Next I poured in 2 quarts of home-canned plum tomatoes along with their juice and added a teaspoon of kosher salt and black pepper. A mini-muffin-sized chunk of frozen homemade pesto went into the pot along with a 1/2 tsp. or so of dried oregano after the other ingredients had simmered for about 45 minutes. I left that to simmer on low while I boiled the mini-cheese ravioli and added them to the soup pot just before serving. Yum! It was pretty good for a throw-it-in-the-pot-as-you-go recipe.

The hamburger buns helped round out the meal a bit as I spread garlic butter on their cut sides and heated them in the toaster oven till browned. DS peeled carrots and prepped celery to go along with the main dish and we called it done!

The chicken is thawing in the fridge for tomorrow's cooking spree (tho all I know at the moment is whatever I fix will include the dressing as an ingredient) and I'm going to brown the chops and make an oven dish a la Barbara Goodfellow and her Make It Now, Bake It Later! recipes. (A friend gave me the original books years ago but it's nice to see there's an updated book available as some of the original recipes had become very dated!)

Oh, the pork broth went into a small slow cooker with 2 quarts of home-canned green beans and a little kosher salt. I added 4 (still unsprouted! Yay!) homegrown potatoes (chopped) to the pot after the first hour or so on high and they're done now and ready to cool for fridge storage. The beans will be reheated for lunch and/or dinner tomorrow.

And in the morning the red cabbage will be simmered in its own thawed juice along with a little chopped onion and a couple of diced apples (peels still attached). I'll add about 3 tbs cider vinegar and the same amount of sucanat (or brown sugar) after the cabbage is tender and let it simmer another 15 minutes or so. Then serve it for lunch with either the chicken or pork chops -- whatever sounds best at the time of decision.

Dinosaurs rule!

Well, we spent Saturday at the Smithsonian. Specifically the Museum of Natural History. Yes, 7 y.o. DS is wild about dinosaurs and has been for several years. I finally caved in and we're working our way through the several dozen dinosaur books on his bookshelves -- creating a unit study as we go.

We drove up to Vienna early Saturday morning and took the Metro into D.C. DS is also a train fanatic and as this was his first ride on a subway, he was ecstatic. DH leaned over the seat at one point during the ride and whispered to me to take a look at DS's expression. His grin was so big it practically split his face and, oh!, the starry look in his eyes! Well, it was one of those moments that parents live for, I gotta say.

Then came the museum. T-Rex skeleton, diplodocus, triceratops and more. We about 3 hours before hungry overcame us and we had a decent lunch in the museum's basement cafeteria. The afternoon went by fast and tho we made it through the mammal exhibit and even managed to look at a few meterorites, it was soon time to go.

The ride back to Vienna was interesting as the subway was packed due to a rally held on the Mall earlier in the day. As usual the platform appeared packed till we managed to work our way past the crowds huddled around the bottom of the steps. (Why don't people spread out on those platforms? Must be related to the way cars always clump together on a highway...) Anyway, we ended up boarding the second train to come through the station going our way, so there was a slight delay. DS didn't care for the crowds and I guess I really can't blame him as he so very rarely runs into groups that large since we live out in the country with open space so available.

Most of the people traveling our direction were headed for the stops near the end of the line with commuter parking so we stood for the trip amongst a group traveling to meet a charter bus, having come in for the rally. DH couldn't resist asking a man standing behind me, wearing an Iowa Hawkeyes sweatshirt, if he was from Iowa. Turned out he was from a town just down the road 20 miles or so from where DH grew up so they enjoyed a chat during which we learned his group was from near Charlottesville so that almost makes them neighbors. I love coincidences like that!

After a car picnic of crackers, cheese and fruit, DS managed to fall asleep on the almost 3-hr. ride home. (Yay! That doesn't happen often!) DH and I took advantage of the time and turned the car stereo full to the front so we could listen to a few old favorite cds. Started with one of DS's favs while he was still awake -- C W McCall's Greatest Hits. From there we went to Roger Miller with all those great sing-along songs he recorded. Next up was a little bit from the Flatlanders but it was getting late enough that I needed something a little more driving to keep me awake, kwim? So DH popped in the soundtrack from Dazed and Confused

Okay, now we were awake and groovin' -- plus this soundtrack always gets us into a discussion of past lives. DH grew up in Iowa and graduated from high school in 1984 while I, being the elder partner in this marriage, came of age in the late 70's . Makes for some interesting flashbacks when we get the chance. More on that later.

Got home before too late and DS immediately woke up demanding to call his nearby grandmother to tell her of the trip and confirm their plans for Sunday afternoon. Ah! Home is good.