They have (as of this posting) eaten two and are keeping their eyes open in case we leave more out where they can get them.
Bonnie has been doing everything she can to keep the garden (or at least the spirit of the garden) alive into the fall and winter. Here she is re-planting some corn in one of the compost piles. She is a "die hard" when it comes to the garden and we love her dedication:
And finally, before I move on to the commentary portion of this post, It's been cold lately and our pipes in the house are not insulated so I shut the water off at the main to prevent any "surprises." The other day I found a new "friend" waiting to help me with my task:
Yes, it's a snake. It was about 3' long and was using the water line to keep warm. It's not a dangerous one (although we do have those here too) and I just picked it up and let it go a few feet away. It wasn't very interested in me and I am happy to let it go about it's business. You can't really do too much here without finding a "critter" or two so we've learned to share our space and they've learned to share theirs... So far. Yesterday while I was standing in the yard nine deer ran right past me (about 30' away) up from the back field, across the road and down to the river. It sounded like horses running up the hill and when I turned, there they were. It was pretty cool. Ok, on to commentary...
More than one person (locally and back on the west coast) have asked me if the move has been difficult for me in any way. People here have asked me what I "did" back in California and once I run through a description of my job they ask me if I'm bored here and how I could enjoy life here compared to California. So I decided rather than avoid thinking about it I would give it some serious thought and see what I came up with and so I did and here are my biggest conclusions.
I would be kidding myself I said said moving here was a "piece of cake." Anyone who knows me knows that I enjoyed the constant challenges that came from my job in California. There was always something that needed dealt with or something that needed attention. It's not that I had all the answers but I did have input into most things and helped out where I could. Most of the time I was busy from "bell to bell" with this that or the other. It's not like that here. I now have a great deal of time to think and plan and review. Where I used to have to make snap decisions, now I have the luxury of time (unless I encounter an unexpected snake... or skunk). I will tell you honestly that at first I really struggled with my new life. It wasn't that I didn't love this place, it was that so much of my identity was back in California. I was no longer someone with input and answers. I was just a guy working on a house and that was hard. I KNEW that this was the right move for us and that the kids would benefit in ways that none of us could imagine but my selfish nature still hung on to my "California identity."
Now that we've been here almost 6 months I can see the results of this move on my family. Nick is doing fantastic in school and we never hear the complaints from him that we did in California. Gone are the phone calls and notes from school talking about his behavior issues and boredom in class. And he goes outside everyday and runs around with kids in the neighborhood, something he wasn't able to do in California and he is happy. Bonnie has taken to our outdoor lifestyle better than any of us. She loves to just trek around the property and look and touch stuff. She eats veggies right from the garden (sometimes dirt and all) and she sits by the fire and talks about how the coals look like jewels and asks questions about all the stars up in the sky. She is already talking about next years garden. She is a girl with a plan.
So when I consider all the benefits of this move and stack them up against my selfish few issues it's easy to do the math. All of the struggles I've had are simply about me and my ego. There is nothing tangible that I can list that I have lost but there are so many tangibles that have been gained. We have a beautiful house (relatively speaking right now) and property. We have great neighbors and we live in an area filled with history and adventure. And, most of all, we have the kind of life that we really wanted but could not have afforded to have in California. We came here instead of going to Seattle for a job and it's pretty amazing how much life can change based on one, single decision. One, single, RIGHT decision.
Now, I gotta go watch the sunrise.
p.s. Ann wanted to share these photos she took sitting on the front porch on Friday: