We went to the fair instead of going to school today!
It was Xander's fifth birthday, so his family, our family, Auntie Janice and Grandma and Grandpa Henderson all drove to Carp to check out their rides. So our whole family except Brendan, who had to work.
We saw horses (and buried some of them in our long-running car game). Uncle Dave had an amusing exchange with his kids "Are those really ponies? They don't have spikes on their heads" "Oh you are thinking of unicorns" "oooohhhhh"
There were many tractors of all vintages, which we admired in place and on (stinky) parade.
Auntie Janice thought the coolest thing was the steam powered boat and little people. "We got to see them put the milk in" said Elizabeth. "Milk?" I repeated, puzzled. "It's what makes it go!"
Elizabeth said her favourite part was "everything", especially the dragon rollercoaster and the ferris wheel. Matthew's favourite part was getting a new stuffy from one of the ridiculously overpriced exchange a duck for a flimsy stuffed animal booths. Elizabeth brought her own money and bought a big pig "Fluffy". She also lent Matthew and her cousins money. Matthew picked a sun he has dubbed "Hooky". Xander got a sun too and Isabelle had a butterfly. Auntie Janice attempted to win herself an owl but unfortunately there were insufficient participants and she got a big frog instead. Xander got to have him instead as it was his birthday!
Amelia got to go on the merry-go-round with me, Matthew, Xander, Elizabeth, Karen and Isabelle. She wasn't quite sure what to make of it. Matthew flatly refused to sit on a horse. Isabelle started sitting and then changed her mind at the last minute. Afterwards Matthew thought he might like to try a horse but we decided to go on different rides instead.
We went on rides until we ran out of tickets. Well - actually the adults mostly watched and reminisced of rides in years gone by but it was fun even if I should have worn my boots.
We went back to Dave and Karen's for birthday lunch from Swiss Chalet and cake. Uncle Brendan drove to join us, along with Auntie Janice's food.
I've mentioned before that our street has a veritable posse of kids in the same age range(s) as our kids, and they all like to play together.
Elizabeth and Matthew especially have spent many a fall afternoon after school bouncing on Simon, Martin and Oliver's trampoline. Amelia likes the trampoline too, but doesn't get too many chances because she's too little to go on at the same time as the "big kids". Luckily they have her favourite toy. So it's a pretty popular place. When they get tired of the trampoline, they bike, run or scooter to our place a couple doors down and play in the sandbox.
It's a pretty sweet setup.
Elizabeth was pretty excited to be invited to join the Black Belt Club (BBC) at Karate recently and today she received her red gi uniform.
Coming on top of learning to spar, it's been a pretty exciting time lately and her enthusiasm has gone through the roof.
"I'm going to be a leader" she proclaimed, enthusiastically. BBC comes with the responsibility of helping out in a lower belt class. Elizabeth can't wait - she's been saying lately that she wants to be a sensei when she grows up.
For very late classes we had been making her wear her pjs under her karate uniform so that she could just hop into bed after class. Turns out that this does not work for a sparring class, after her first one she came out dripping and needed a shower in addition to having to change pajamas!
It was a hot dry summer, which was a bit hard on the garden.
This year I grew peas, onions, corn, lima beans, yellow and green beans, carrots, rhubarb, currants/gooseberries, tomatoes, melons, pumpkins, potatoes, beets, leeks, various herbs and lots of flowers.
The good: My beans, currants, lima beans and rhubarb did great as usual. I planted beets on a whim and they were surprisingly good, if possibly not as big as Janice would have liked. I was also happy with my carrot harvest, especially since I didn't thin them out as much as I should have. Our corn was more plentiful than last time we tried it, and still fun, so I'm counting it as good, but the earwigs destroyed most of the tassels which meant much of it failed to fertilize. Still not getting as many potatoes as I think I should, but it was a decent harvest. The peas were the surprise hit of the season. I didn't even have to battle the squirrels for them, unless you count my children.
I did have a major fight with the squirrels and the earwigs over the sunflowers - but we did get a few heads harvested in the end and the flowers looked amazing for much of the summer.
The bad: I felt like it should have been a good year for the tomatoes but they struggled all summer and only produced a handful of fruit. I think this was related to: one last cold snap poorly timed, super hot summer stressing the plants, poor decision on my part to put the sunflowers in the same bed. The sunflowers took off well before the tomatoes did anything, which shaded them and prevented them from doing much of anything. I did move the sunflowers but too little, too late. Our poor little melons. The squirrels didn't eat them, but the melons never got big enough to eat. Not enough sun? Wrong soil? Not sure. I keep saying I'm going to give up on them but this last attempt was an improvement...
The gooseberries are struggling a bit from being in competition with the hedge. One of these days I need to do some serious culling, but it was not this summer's project.
The ugly: My pumpkin seeds never came up. I tried planting them three times, to no avail. The leeks also struggled to get beyond the stage of looking like grass, but admittedly they didn't get the attention they needed. They are supposed to come back next year, but I'm not holding my breath.
All in all it was a bit of a disappointing year from a crop point of view. It's clearly a good thing we don't rely on the garden for food. However, from the entertainment and educational point of view I think it was a great success. Matthew in particular is quite interested in gardening - I'm thinking the older two might be getting close to being able to care for their own vegetable plot... Maybe next year...
Show karate your splits and get a coupon for a free banana split next door!
Elizabeth was planning to join the karate splits club all summer and finally got around to asking about it on the very last day of the promotion.