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There’s a Night Hawk trilling his heart out to a ladybird somewhere.  I would answer him but I don’t speak his language.  It’s been a good day.  A day I took “off” because even unemployed people need a vacation every once in a while.

I worked until 10 then began preparations. I loaded one kayak into the truck, organized the cooler and put the water bottles in to freeze.  Then I pulled my tall socks over my britches and headed for the barn. I took a circuitous route to the barn that included a stop at Hoppies in New Ipswich and entailed back roads  to my destination.

Lauren wasn’t there yet so I headed up to the girls’ pasture and determined along the way that it would be a Night day out.  Duetz was picking through the round bail, Night was hiding from the flies in the run-in shed.  Oddly, Baloo was in the “guys” side of the run-in so I gave him a peppermint too just for being there.  Night was reluctant to leave the shade of her domain, but I convinced her to follow me down to the water trough where Robin and Julia had just emptied, scrubbed and refilled the black plastic tub with cool clean water.  From there we ambled down the hill to the barnyard, where, it turns out Lauren and Blessing were already deep in grooming mode.  A quick scrub with the brush, a pick of the feet and we were good to go.

Then the banging slowly worked its way through my thoughts.  I looked over the door and Libby was cast.  She had rolled up against the left-hand wall of her stall and was too close to get any purchase on the wall to roll back.  She had caught her left hind leg in the handle of her water bucket, hung high on the wall.  Though she knew she was in trouble, she remained calm and sensible, the bubble over her head said, “I screwed up here, can someone please give me a hand?”  I walked slowly into her stall.  My hope was that she would not panic and damage the wall, her hind legs or myself.  I sat by her head as she lay prone and talked quietly about how she was a good, smart girl for not panicking and that I could help her out of this mess.  She allowed me to loop a rope around her back legs and pull them away from the wall.  From there, she was able to straighten her front legs and push herself towards the middle of her stall.  When I released her back legs, she scrambled once against the wall then stood.

We headed out through the woods.  A large doe with twin “skippers” bounded off the trail to our left.  The three stopped to look at us as we stood quietly watching them.  I cursed myself for not having my camera with me.

After our ride, Lauren followed me to the house where we made a quick change from barn clothes to bathing suits, loaded the second kayak and packed up our lunch.  We headed over to Willard Pond in Antrim, New Hampshire.

The boat launch was active with moms and kids playing on the rocks or sunning themselves on the shore.  Lauren had just gotten settled in her boat and was floating out into the lake.  I was ankle-deep in the cool water when she said, “Oh look!  A water snake!”  I hate snakes.  There is was, head poking out of the water, gazing at me with its empty eyes.  Never before have I encountered a water snake; I scrambled into my kayak as it dove and disappeared.

July Picnic

Very festive picnic in July

We picnicked on a rock near the island.  I had brought gazpacho and summer corn with sun-dried tomato salad.  Lauren brought the plates, silverware and napkins.

We dawdled on the way home, stopping at EMS to price out kayak car-top carriers and kayaks on sale.  Happily, I didn’t find anything I couldn’t live without.

My neighbor, Wilson, was waiting with a giant oyster mushroom that required immediate attention in the form of digging out all the books, looking things up on the internet, finding recipes and instructions on how to clean it.  Wilson then disappeared for a couple of hours, leaving me with the task of calming my soul, reconnecting with the outside world, and making dinner.  The bugaboo came when I went to light the grill and realized I had left the top off the garbage can containing all the grill stuff including charcoal; it was overflowing with yesterday’s rain runoff.

Dinner accomplished.  Oyster mushroom grilled, fresh tomato with basil, persian lime olive oil, chocolate balsamic vinegar and hand-made mozzarella cheese, potato crisps from the oven and a lovely steak.  Not a bad show for having pulled it together last-minute.

A bright blue Bachelor’s Button has bloomed in the pot on the bird feeder pole.  When I noticed this I also saw an iridescent Indigo Bunting fly to the thistle seed bag.

It was a day of adventure and encounters with nature. When was the last time you just played hookey from life?

2 comments on “Playing Hookey From Life…

  1. Touring NH says:

    Sounds like a wonderful day!! I need a day like that. I just spent the last 2 days cooking. I put 45 family meals in the freezer and 15 single serve meals for my father-in-law. I still want to add some berries to the freezer, but just can’t find the time to go picking. Maybe next week I can find a day to play hookey.


    1. Please do find a day! It is so good for your soul! Berries are in top form right now, I have blackberried coming in faster than I can pick them.


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