Walter had a couple of days off school. I took a couple of days off work. And the three of us headed over to the Mississippi River to drive the Wisconsin leg of the Great River Road. We started in Dubuque and made our way up to the Twin Cities, stopping at whatever looked like fun along the way.
Our first stop was the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. They have turtles on top of turtles. (On top of turtles.)
We stopped at several spots that promised great views and were never disappointed.
We hiked at Nelson Dewey State Park and Wyalusing State Park.
These two took some time deciding if the cave was worth exploring before bravely crawling in.
A chilly picnic stop at Lock and Dam #9.
We hiked along the 7 bridges trail, but only made it to bridge 5.
Can you spot the frog? I don't know how Nate happened to see it.
We made a quick stop at Lark Toys - one of the largest toy stores in the country.
We picked up some Interstate Highway Bingo to add to our travel entertainment. I remember playing it as a kid, and it's just as fun now. I only did a little knitting. The roads were too curvy for me. Still a sleeve and a half to go...
And a stop at the National Eagle Center - a surprisingly awesome place to visit. We saw eagles up close and learned some amazing eagle facts. Did you know that an eagle shoots it's poop 6 ft? Now you know.
It was a great little trip and we found a few places we'll probably revisit in the summertime.
In case you didn't get enough here, there are some more photos on Flickr.
After school, a snack, homework, and a little TV time, Walter and I snuck off across the street for a little pre-dinner adventure. The maples have their fall colors on so we did some exploring and picture taking. We collected leaves and walked through the tunnels of branches – a "secret hideout" as Walter saw it. He loved taking photos and discovering what his camera would do if he pointed it at the sun or pushed different buttons. I love watching him experiment with the camera. Here are a couple of photos from him:
And a few from me:
He liked the cool feel of the bark on his cheek. We took photos to help him remember the feeling. :)
Well, not really a "farm" report, but a little update on the goings on around here.
Walter is loving kindergarten. He runs out to me after school with a big smile on his face and tells me he's "exhausted." And then continues to skip to the car and jabber on about this and that, filling me in on his day. I love picking him up from school. I love his energy.
He's got soccer and swimming keeping him busy two nights a week, and those activities have given me a little extra knitting time. Knitting during chilly soccer nights is a great way to keep my lap warm. I've been working on a sweater and it's been slow going, but I finally feel like I'm getting somewhere. Just a couple of sleeves and a waistband to go!
The honey has been harvested and the bees have been put away for the winter. The harvest was smaller this year, only about 7.5 gallons, compared to last year's 10 gallons. Ramona was weak all summer long so we didn't take any honey from her. Both hives have plenty of honey left to keep them going through the winter. We'll see if they are strong enough to make it. Time will tell.
Molly is the same old Molly. Her hair has grown back from her summer cut and she's dropping tumbleweeds of fur all over the house again.
The chickens are doing well. Black Licorice is finally off the nest – done being broody for now. We've got some molting and our egg production has been down a bit, but we hear that is all normal fall chicken activity. Susan, the owner of Cluck, the chicken store down the road, has been a great resource to us. We often go to her with our chicken questions and concerns. And she's taken a liking to Walter. She even let him name the new chicks she's been keeping at the store. "Friendly" and "Dorothy Vader" are pictured below. If you're in the area, visit Cluck! It's a really cute store selling all sorts of chicken supplies and chicken art, including some fun metal pieces made by the Billmeyer artists, Jim and Nate.
We've already done a little pumpkin picking and carving, and since this pumpkin is already covered in mold, we plan to do some more this weekend too. Did you know that chickens love pumpkin guts?
In the home improvement category, we can finally check the driveway off the list. Brand new asphalt makes for a fabulous biking surface. Nate's on the hunt for a new basketball hoop now that we have space and a flat surface.
And, I saved the most exciting news for last – Nate has qualified to run the Boston Marathon! Whoop! Whoop! Nate ran the St. George Marathon in Utah on Oct. 5 and finished with a time of 3:07:14. (To qualify for Boston he needed to finish in under 3:10.) He's been training hard for the last, um… well, a really long time, and managed to take 20 (TWENTY!) minutes off his previous marathon time. That's a LOT of hard work. We're excited to head to Boston in 2015.
(Thanks for the photo, Jim!)
That's the news from our homestead. How's the fall been treating you?