We finished a brief tour of the north country in November. During which we cram seven people and a whole bunch of stuff in the minivan and brace ourselves.
We had Thanksgiving with my sister this year. Here we are at her place shooting in the backyard. (Their backyard is cooler than mine.) This is Reuben’s friend Grant going over gun safety with Jael.
Out of all the children she is the one most excited about guns.
La Femme Nikita showing her how it’s done.
Eating at Sister Sarah’s. She didn’t have a table big enough for everyone but she made up for it with the food. I did not have a single thing I did not love. I want to do it again.
Followed by an evening pedicure by my sister. It’s the kind of treatment I’m used to. 🙂
The next day the boys went out to Idgi and Geoff’s property. I distinctly remember spending most of my childhood outside freezing to death. But my boys think it’s great.
The faces of hardened backwoodsmen.
My parents both love clearing brush. Jael already has this association of Grandma Sandy with bonfires. Jael insists that it is her favorite thing to do as well. Whenever I get some ill-advised high and head out to do yard work she can barely contain herself. If only her mother cleaned the yard more than once a year….
What I think it is is that they’re both borderline pyromaniacs. Dad has had the fire department out to the house several times this summer. And I’m pretty sure my mother sits in her office thinking about what she’s going to burn that weekend. And how she’s going to get it past my brother without him noticing….
Reuben and his colt Sassafras. Jael was sorry she didn’t get to ride this trip. Which reminds me, I distinctly remember spending my entire childhood freezing to death outside while getting bucked off half-wild horses. Jael, on the other hand, thinks it’s great.
Gideon spent the entire vacation packing around what amounted to a bowie knife. Then Grandpa then gave him an axe and let him chop down trees. It was the most fun he ever had.
There, he’s gone feral.
I think their cousin Mia started it. This was a Friday and my mother had taken all the girls to Dayton, Washington for their Christmas festival. Except for Mia. Because she would rather freeze to death in the woods with the boys than go shopping. Meet everyone’s new favorite cousin.
As soon as the boys got home and in the door they kidnapped their cousin Ben as an unsuspecting chaperon and headed for the top of the mountain.
I don’t think they made it very far before Ben realized the boys really were headed to the to top, with or without him. And that he was sadly outnumbered.
He eventually had to promise the boys a dollar, and that he would let them beat him up when they got home, if only they would turn around. A bargain few could resist, I’m sure.
Sounding the retreat.
Will they make it home alive?
Run Forest, Run!
My parents also gave Jehu his early birthday present. It was a chest handmade by my dad’s dad, full of his high school treasures, odds and ends, and miscellaneous tools.
The boys were stoked.
Decorating the Christmas tree with Aunt Nancy. (The notorious disarmer of little boys.)
Reading books with Idgi.
Reuben and Natalie trying to heat mold a Kydex sheath for the knife Reuben made that weekend.
The finished product.
It’s at this point that I always like to mention that my brother is single. Just saying.
The next day the boys were still devastated that they didn’t get to make it to the top of the hill, or beat up Ben, incidentally. So their father, being the nice man that he is, volunteered to escort them to the top. They called me when they were sitting on top of the “D” and I ran out and took their picture. You can barely see them.
Natalie and the babies.
Saturday we had a nice dinner out in the woodshop. My friend Mackenzie came with her brood.
The result being that the real people were entirely outnumbered.
Another one of my friends made the trek out to Deary to say hi as well. My mother is one of the most hospitable people I know. Every time I come out we think up some kind of shin-dig and I invite everyone I know. I remember the Thanksgiving we she invited the entire foreign exchange program.
At the end of the party the baby escaped from her high chair and made a bee-line for the jello.
I looked at her and thought, “What the hey.” Although Ben did point out later that he would have liked to have had seconds. I told him Judith would share but he wasn’t interested. You snooze you lose bro.
Baby takes no prisoners.
In the evening Gideon tried out Grandad’s leather working tools. He was immediately enchanted. So Uncle Reuben piled them in Jehu’s new toolbox to bring home. If Daddy Boy gets home early enough one of these days we are going to move their workbench inside so they can tool around by the fire.
Right before we left we took a whole bunch of pictures in front of the tree. None of which turned out.
We’ll see you again after the thaw. 😉