Here in Ohio we’re winding down from one of our hottest summers on record, and Autumn is just starting to peak her head around the corner, ready to run out into the open and shake the leaves out of the trees. Here in the Nilsen household we have no air conditioning and tend to get cranky when the mercury climbs too high, so hopefully we’ve seen the last of 105 degree heat indices for this year.
Despite the heat we’ve had a great summer. I’ve enjoyed Yoselin being old enough to do more involved play this year, and it makes me all the more excited to see her grow in body and mind in the coming years. She’s already smarter than I am.
Our month started off with a trip to the waterfall in nearby Richmond, Indiana. I’ve been coming here since I was 10, and I was excited to share it with Yosi for the first time. She loves water more than an otter, and since the river rarely reaches past her knees, she got to explore quite a bit. Interesting bit of trivia about this falls: it’s not the original course of the river. It was diverted about a hundred years ago to accomodate a mill.
My favorite thing about the Whitewater gorge area is the wealth of fossils in the shale lining the gorge. The specimens are mostly coral and shells, but a friend once found a trilobyte, which would absolutely make my day. In my youth of Creationism conference and Duane Gish children’s books my dad and I would come here and discuss the results of Noah’s flood. This summer, after half a decade of inner tension on the issue, I finally came to peace intellectually with the fact that the earth is much, much older than any of those Gish books would have had me believe, which felt a bit like finally taking a breath of fresh air after being inside working all day. I had finished Rachel Held Evans’ book Evolving in Monkey Town just days before, and going to the gorge to pick up fossils felt like hugging an old friend you haven’t gotten along with for a long time.
Yosi found a small feeder stream below the falls and had a great time climbing up and down its little drop offs and sitting in its pools. I tried to explain fossilization to her, which mostly consisted of her splashing around a lot while I droned on about mineral replacement. Actually, most of my forays into educational parenting could be summed up as “she splashed around a lot while I droned on about ________”.
The hot summer was brutal on my pumpkin crop this year, and only two strains out of the four varieties I planted survived. No Maximas even pollinated. The Connecticut Fields all died on their vines from a combinations of Powdery Mildew killing the leaves and maturing the fruits too early, and a vicious army of squash bugs moving in to finish them off. As best as I can tell squash bugs descended from an original mating pair of Satan’s pubic lice. Strangely, the culinaries turned out beautiful, as did the Jack-be-minis. We were able to finally perfect our recipe for fried pumpkin blossoms, concocting a batter from pale ale, honey, pomegranate liqeuer, graham crackers, eggs, ginger and cinnamon.
Yosi turned 3 this month, and we celebrated privately with a trip to Veach’s, the best independent toy store in a 50 mile radius. I can spend hours here. We told Yosi beforehand she could pick out a toy for $10 or less, and she ended up deciding on a train engine and a flashlight with different filters you can put over the end.
At the end of the month our good friend Emily left for college in South Carolina, and our friends Chris and Molly had a party for her. Yosi loves this group of friends because she’s one of the only children and gets way more attention than is healthy for any kid.
The next week was the Great Darke County Fair, which doubles as the annual conference for Inbreeders Anonymous. I think. We go once so Yosi can see the animals and then leave discreetly before too many people see us.
Like I said at the beginning of this novel post, I’ve enjoyed Yosi’s increasing ability to sustain more involved play sessions. We can actually make-believe real stories now, as we did one day with her prince and princess figurines, blocks, and dragons. The prince just wanted to have a simple meal with the princess, but those pesky firebreathers wouldn’t allow it. Everything was fine till the Stegosaurus showed up. Then the prince got roughed up a bit until the princess got tired of the whole thing and decided to break the Stego herself and ride it like a horse. All in all a great storyline.
August was a great month, and we’re excited about enjoying Fall with our daughter. On the schedule for September (hopefully) – pumpkin soup, homemade winemaking, the Ohio Gourd Show and Prairie Days, and finally finishing the entire BBC Walking with Dinosaurs series with the little one.
Thanks for reading, and happy hunting in your own parenting adventures!