Monthly Archives: October 2007

Hiketober: Week 5

Week Five is a short week!

Day 29: Appleton Farms Grass Rides, Hamilton, Ma
There are several old carriage paths that lead through the woods here. they are wide and green and quiet. Catherine and I had a nice hike passing by a stone pinnacle that once sat on Gore Hall (once the library at Harvard). Even though we spent just over an hour there we left plenty of trails unexplored for some other day.

Day 30: Warren-Weld Reservation, Essex, Ma
This was a cute little property tucked away down a quiet road. Catherine was particularly fascinated with the leaves today. She loved the way they crunched beneath her feet and she went shuffling through them at the trail head. Once up on my back she kept leaning out to grab leave off the branches of nearby trees.

Day 31: Halloween Surprise Reservation, Middleton, Ma
After trying on two occasions to find this trail (and failing) we decided to take our last hike of the month on a trail I spotted on the same road. There was only a sign with the usual message: carry in, carry out- watch for hunters- be respectful. With out a map we went in blind and quickly came upon a rude bridge and a wooden staircase going up the bank on the other side. We walked for a while through the woods and with no sign of a loop trail, we turned back towards the car. A pleasant hike, indeed.

I feel as if there should be some sort of wrap up now that the month is finished. I had a great time hiking my way through October. I was thrilled that I was able to find a distinct hike for each day of the month all so close to home. I now have an arsenal of great places to go for hiking, picnics and romps in the woods. I feel as if I had become jaded by the abundance of commercialism in this area, and this month I was reminded that there is more to the North Shore than malls and movie theaters. I spent some quiet time with my daughter showing her God’s handiwork and I had time to myself to ponder His plan for me.

Leanne suggested creating a GoogleMap of the locations that we hiked in. Thank you, Leanne, here it is!


View Larger Map

Halloween 2007

pumpkin!

Happy Halloween!

This is the first year in, well almost ever, that I’ve lived in a place where there’s a chance of having trick or treaters. We’ve got a bowl of candy and a jack o lantern to welcome the little ghouls, goblins, fire fighters, princesses and whatever kind of kiddo that might grace our steps tonight.

live blogging Halloween (updated periodically)

5:35- one bloody surgeon
6:23- paintballer, “cereal killer”, ‘the Scream’, vampire, ghost
6:26- punk rocker and ghost punk rocker
6:29- grim reaper (with dad to collect the candy because his creepy gloves inhibit his candy grabbing)
6:32- Pumpkin seeds start to toast
6:53- an onslaught- pirates, ghost pirates, edward scissorhands, a NE Patriot, 2 gals in pajamas, a vampire and many more!
6:59- two boys in black robes
7:00- Pumpkin seeds are out for the snacking!
7:06- Hannah Montana, geisha, “fearsome, gruesome, skull headed wizard”, grim reaper
7:19- Police officer, gypsy
7:23- two skeletons, a scarecrow, a soccer player
7:35- Piglet and an angel
8:00- That’s all folks!

Jack O' Lantern

Hiketober: Week 4

Hiketober: Week 4

An iffy week for hiking. We had some great days, some not so great.

Day 22: Ravenswood Park, Gloucester, MA
When we got to the park this morning the entire parking lot was full. Ravenswood is obviously a popular place to get some fresh air. I found a spot on the street, popped Catherine in the backpack and we were off. There were several trails to choose from, but we decided to take the “Magnolia Swamp Trail”. Although I hate to admit it, all I thought of along the trail was Shrek! I think the word swamp will forever equal Shrek for me. The trail was nice, it went down steeply into the swamp and then wove its way through the woods before hiking back up the steep grade. Catherine was non-plussed, I think, as she slept through most of the hike.

Day 23: Life sometimes just gets in the way.
No hike today for various reasons. I’ll try to make up for it later.

Day 24: Urban Hike, Freedom Trail, Boston, MA
Peter and Catherine and I spent the day showing Sara, Matt and Bella around Boston. We walked much of the Freedom Trail from the North End to the Public Garden. It was a long day on our feet, but fun to play tour guide again!

Day 25: Sally Milligan Park, Beverly, MA
Another hidden gem here in Beverly. We were able to carve out a good half an hour hike out of this woodsy enclave.

Day 26: Pingree Reservation, Hamilton, Ma
It was sunny this morning but dark in the forest in Hamilton. I love the way that the sun filters through the trees so that it is dark in one spot, but very bright in others. The darkness and the quietness made for a very peaceful hike. We moved slowly along the trails stopping often to consider a twig or leaf. Catherine has been taking charge of the map holding duties so I occasionally have to stop to wrangle the trail map from her. Across the street there were several dog owners heading down the trails of the Appleton Grass Rides. We’ll have to try the trails there soon.

Day 27: Rain

Day 28: Extreme Laziness brought on by other plans and late night baseball.
Sometimes it is nice to play a game where you make up the rules. It’s nice to follow them, but sometimes it is even nicer to change them. We got up, went to church, had lunch, went to a Marines Band concert, had dinner and watched the Red Sox. That’s a pretty full day!

Five Years

Wedding Day
Five Years Ago

The Woods
Three Weeks Ago

Five years ago, I had no idea what adventures were in store for us. I didn’t know we’d travel all over the United States, let alone take a trip to Russia. I didn’t know that we’d start living greener, more simpler lives. I didn’t know that we’d have a wonderful girl named Catherine, or that my job would provide for all three of us with extra to spare. I didn’t know that we’d buy a condo in Danvers, or that my ideas of fun would change to include stacking up blocks in a nursery.

All I knew is that I loved you and wanted to spend the rest of my life with you. Here’s to many more years of discovering what that life will bring!

17 Months

Catherine is 17 months old as of today!

Slide!

She has been quite busy in the learning and growing departments.

The other day we were playing with a little beach ball in her room, and I heard her say the word “ball”. Later on, we were out in the living room, and I asked her if she could go and get her ball. She walked over to her room, picked up the ball, and brought it out to us. Wow!

Her manual dexterity has really taken off – she’s great at taking things apart and putting them back together. She’s got the hang of buckles and clasps, and I’m sure that she’ll figure out how to unbuckle her car seat pretty soon. At church on Sunday she had slipped a crayon out of its wrapper, and then put it back in. The other night, she was playing with an accordion filing folder, and it appears that she has learned how to flip through it: either quickly with her first two fingers, or slowly by just flicking her index finger.

A few nights ago, Catherine took Becky’s cell phone into her room, and (probably slightly by luck) speed-dialed my phone and then babbled to me for a bit. She’s got the cell-phone posture down pat – she’ll hold it in between her shoulder and ear, head cocked to the side.

She can now not only climb up the front of her high chair, but also the side, up and over. She can also easily climb up into our desk chair and operate the computer.

She’s picked up from us the practice of blowing on her food if it’s hot. We all have fun taking turns blowing on our food when we have a hot dish. 🙂

As for saying words, she’s got: mama, mommy, dada, hi, hiya, ball, teeth, up, kitty, “ted” for her teddy bear, and we heard her say “might” quite clearly the other night, but there wasn’t any context behind it, so I’m not sure she’s got the comprehension. 🙂 There are a lot of other words she clearly understands, but doesn’t actually say yet, like nose, banana, and shoes.

Dear Catherine, what will you do next?

Spread the Love

Over the past couple of months I’ve used Vegetable Oil to stir fry veggies, but Sara, Matt and Bella Janssen have been using it to drive across the country. No, really! The Janssens are a month and a half into a one year tour of the country in their veggie powered RV. Their goal is to educate folks about sustainable living and alternative fuels.

I had been a reader of Sara’s blog, Walk Slowly, Live Wildly (which was full of inspiration for a simple life) when she mentioned that they were downsizing from their apartment to an RV. They spent a while refurbishing the interior with earth friendly, sustainable materials (bamboo flooring, sunflower seed counter tops, etc.) and now their on the road, “spreading the love”.

living lightly in Boston

Peter and Catherine and I met up with the tour on Tuesday evening and our families got to know each other over Thai food and pie. On Wednesday we all hopped on the train and zipped into Boston. We walked a good chunk of the Freedom Trail, had lunch in Quincy Market, visited the ducks in the Public Garden, checked out Harvahd Yahd and grabbed some Vietnamese noodles for dinner.

We were glad to show our visitors around our fair Capital and were thrilled with a tour of their rig. I’d highly suggest checking out their tour site at Live Lightly Tour. If it looks like they’re coming to your town keep your eyes peeled for the big blue bus!

Our photos are here and don’t forget to Spread the Love!

Nano, nano

With a little bit o’ the old birthday money, I bought myself an iPod Nano 3g. Let me just say that this thing is gorgeous:

iPod Nano 3g

I got the black 8 GB model. My old iPod was a 20 GB 4th gen, so I’ve had to prioritize the stuff I really want to sync to the Nano, but I still find that I have plenty of space for the things I really want to listen to.

The Nano’s implementation of Cover Flow is excellent, and the user interface design is just beautiful. I love the way it grabs snippets of cover art and movies, and floats them around while I’m browsing through menus. It’s also got some fun games, and the screen resolution, brightness, and color are terrific. It’s actually not too bad to watch movies on the screen, and I love being able to have videos and photos of the fam with me in this matchbook-sized device. The size, of course, is one of the best parts – it fits right into the coin pocket of my jeans.

Many other have reviewed the 3rd gen Nano, so I’ll leave the full-fledged reviews to them. “Awesome” sums it up for me.

P.S. I now have a 4th Gen iPod that I’m looking to sell. I thought I’d toss it out to my blog readers before it went up on Craigslist or eBay.

P.P.S. Ditto on the above for a Panasonic DMC-FZ20 12x zoom digital camera. Sorry, this has been taken. Thanks, Beth! 🙂

Hand-me-Downs

There are few things better, in my mind, than shopping for baby clothes. Every little outfit is so soft and adorable and colorful. You can get away with things like frilly collars and ruffles that you can’t do with older kids. I just love looking through racks and racks of little dresses and sweaters and onesies and shoes!

But filling a baby’s wardrobe with new outfits can be very expensive. It also takes a huge toll on the environment. Each outfit has needed energy to produce it and fuel to get it to our stores. We buy the cute little clothes, dress baby up, snap a few pictures and, before you can say monkey, your little one has grown out of them. Wash, rinse, repeat with the next size up.

There are a couple of age old, time tested, practices that can keep your baby clothed in style, your wallet full and the earth happy: Buying used and Hand-me-downs. We’ve done both in the past couple of weeks.

Twice a year, here on the North Shore, the Children’s Drop and Shop is held. It is a several day event- the first few days local parents drop off anything they want to consign- labeled and on hangers. All these clothes, toys, etc. are put on display and the last few days you can go back and buy. Everything is clean and in great condition and usually at 50% off the retail or greater!

I only found a couple things to buy this time around but I got great deals on them. A Gymboree brand collared shirt (with the tags still on) for $1. (normally $15-$20) and this super cute dress for $7! It is a win win win situation. The clothes are all being reused which the earth loves, they’re cheap which I love, and the consigner gets a percentage back which they love.

We also love hand me downs! Catherine’s fall wardrobe has been almost completely stocked by two wonderful women: my cousin Angela and my good friend Joanna. Their girls have grown out of some nice clothes and Catherine is more than happy to wear them. Hand me downs are almost always more comfy since they’ve already been worn in! Again, the more times these clothes get worn, the less strain on the environment there is.

We are fortunate to have a great children’s sale and some even greater friends and family. You can check out your local thrift shops, yard sales, Goodwill, Salvation Army, craigslist or Freecycle for some great deals on earth friendly kids clothing.

Hiketober: Week 3

Alrighty, here’s the rundown of Week 3 of Hiketober.

Day 15:a) Long Hill, Beverly, Ma b)Ferncroft Pond, Danvers, Ma
We made two hikes today to make up for missing Sunday. Catherine and I enjoyed the trails around Long Hill in the morning. We were a little concerned by the sign, “attention: Hunters allowed 5am-10am. Stay on marked trail” but it was 9:45am and since Catherine’s a pretty loud gal I figured the hunters would hear us coming long before we knew they were even there. For what it’s worth, we didn’t see any hunters.

When Peter got home from work the three of us headed to the Ferncroft Pond trail here in Danvers. It is one of several trails marked as “open space” in town. There was an overlook platform up above the pond and wetlands and a not-too-long trail that looped it’s way through the forest. Just the right length for a predinner hike. Here are a few pictures.

Day 16: Alt Woodland, Beverly, Ma
This was another little hike tucked into a little neighborhood on Grover Street in Beverly. We only had a short time before I was due at the YMCA so we hiked the loop quickly. I am still amazed at how many little trails we’ve been finding that are right in front of us, yet we’ve never known about them. This trail looped out and back and although we knew there were houses within yelling distance, it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. Nice.

Day 17: Town Forest, Danvers, Ma
I had a map today. The map didn’t stop us from losing the trail and getting a bit lost. We even hiked around a bit in land marked “NO TRESPASSING!” It was all very exciting. I’m still not sure how we lost the trail, I was standing at a tree with a blaze on it, I looked around and there was no trail to be seen. The map assured me that it was a loop trail so we bushwacked our way around, determined to find the trail. After hiking under some massive power lines (see the ‘no trespassing’ comment above!) we reentered the woods and eventually found a trail that led us back to our car. We also saw a beaver dam and an 1800’s family cemetery.

Day 18: Stoney Cove & Presson Reservation, Gloucester, Ma
In all the times I have driven up 128 into Gloucester I have seen, but never stopped at Stoney Cove. I always assumed that the pulloff on the highway was just a boat ramp. Today we discovered that it is much more than that. The trail leads away from the highway and winds its way out along the water. The trail splits and you can explore the salt marsh or head out around the cove. There are several great places for sitting on the rocks by the water and Catherine and I were tempted to spend the whole day there watching the sea gulls and cormorants.

Day 19:Beverly Conservation Area, Beverly, Ma
Once upon a time, circa 2002, Peter and I went geocaching in these very same woods. We spent an hour or so looking for the cache and getting horribly attacked by mosquitoes. It was horrible and we never did find the cache and I’ve never had the inclination to go back. But time goes on and things change and Catherine and I attempted the hike again. We took a loop trail (have I mentioned how much I love hiking in circles?) that went up some surprisingly steep hills and then back down them. Compared to my last experience here it was a great time.

Day 20:Tompson Reservation, Gloucester, Ma
We were headed to Gloucester today do a little shopping at the Children’s Drop and Shop so Catherine and I snuck a little hike on the way there. At Tompson Reservation there is a ‘summit’ called Sunset Mountain. It is just a hill, but the top is all rock and there’s a descent view. The weather was practically summer-like and we hung out at the top soaking in the warm sun and coolish breezes before heading back down to the car. Ahhhh, fresh air.

big rock

Day 21:Tompson Reservation
In starting this adventure I had thought that I would try to find 31 distinct places to hike. Today we went back to Tompson Reservation because there were many trails that I didn’t hike on andI wanted to show Peter the view from Sunset Mountain. We hiked through “Boulder Field” where there were, surprisingly, tons of boulders! Big ones too, that had huge cracks in them and huge slabs that had cracked of long ago and slid down. It was very cool. There were some rock climbers making their way to the top of one of the boulders. We just hiked around the back side and looked down on them from above!

Cabinets

As of last Sunday the place where we wash our laundry feels more like a laundry room and less like two machines randomly stuck in the basement. We purchased, built and installed two storage cabinets above the washer and dryer in the laundry nook downstairs. The project was simple, but took a little time to get installed. My psyche is so much more calm now that all the laundry paraphernalia and overstock housegoods are tucked away in their own place and not floating about the basement.

Here’s the before and after and all the rest of the pics.

before Before after After