up at the property

A little while back, my parents purchased thirteen acres of land about two-and-a-half miles from our house. After months of house plan creating and all kinds of official meetings with house-building people, the building process is finally underway.

This month the foundation is being laid. Next month the house gets framed up. Also next month, my parents move in with us so they can help out with some of the work and supervise. (That’s also the month that we have three full weekends of play performances, our family travels to upstate NY once and my husband and I fly to NYC once. June is going to be a blurrrrrr.)

The wonderful thing about this whole arrangement is that:

1. My husband is working close to home.
2. My husband can go to work as early as he wants (because he doesn’t have to wait for any house residents to wake up and clear out) which means he can come home sooner.
3. The 13 acres are wooded and my kids love to play there.
4. The kids can play on the aforementioned 13 wooded acres while my husband works and I run errands (or sleep).
5. The older kids are old enough to actually go over there and work.
6. The older kids can bike to the property all by themselves.

This week Ted came with his backhoe and moved lots of dirt. The kids thought it was awesome. (And when a hydraulic hose broke and started spraying oil all over the place, the kids thought it was even more awesome.)

Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel, yes?

Also, you can’t tell by the pictures, but it is LOUD up in them there woods. And not because of the heavy equipment, either. It’s loud because of the cicadas. The whole woods is a-buzz with their whiny whirring. It’s enough to give a person a headache. (My husband thought there was a car alarm going off for the first two hours he was there.)

Seven years ago when the cicadas last made their appearance, my little brother—the one who likes to pretend he’s a groundhog-eating caveman—harvested (collected? caught?) a bunch of the cicadas and fried them in a skillet with some butter. He served them with a choice of sauces: Ranch dressing, ketchup, and honey. My then three-year-old daughter was intrigued. My brother offered her one. She popped it in her mouth and ate it. We have it on video.

The older kids are doing actual work up there: helping to take measurements, bending and setting and cutting rebar, reinforcing the forms, and moving dirt. They get cuts and blisters, and, like a real construction workers, they bandage their wounds with electrical tape. They come home from the property filthy beyond measure.

This same time, years previous: baked brown rice, strawberry spinach saladmy favorite thingscinnamon tea biscuits, rhubarb streusel muffins, caramel cake, pinterest, the boring blues, fowl-ness (a butchering tale)


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