New pictures are up in the gallery from May and our trip to Washington DC. We camped outside the capital for four nights and visited the Air & Space Museum, the East Wing (Modern) of the National Gallery, Natural History Museum, National Archives, Mount Vernon, National Zoo, and the monuments on the mall. The Air & Space Museum was a highlight for Piper and she thought it was fun to see John Hancock’s signature on the Declaration of Independence. I think that camping and going to the water park attached to the campground was probably her favorite. We did get one round eye moment when a guide at Mount Vernon said to us that George Washington could have been standing right where we were when he found out that he had been elected President of the United States.
As for me, surprisingly, I found Mount Vernon the most interesting. The guides and the presentations do a wonderful job of humanizing the person we associate with the stiff figure on the dollar bill and quarter. Another highlight for me was seeing Burt Rutan‘s Spaceship One hanging right next to Chuck Yeager’s X-1.
We did have one exciting moment at the campground. After two consecutive days of obnoxious teenagers keeping our area up far into the night we were looking forward to a quiet night after the campground emptied of weekend campers. It was not to be: at 2:15 we were awakened by a LOW flying helicopter directly over our campsite. At first, I thought that a medi-evac was landing (which makes sense if you knew the stories about were I grew up) but that was quickly dispelled as blue lights winked on rather than the expected red ones. It turns out that we were separated by a coordinated police raid by one empty campground directly to the front of us. Lisa and I watched as Virginia’s finest hauled two of our fellow campers out in their underwear, cuffed them, and took them away. Of course all of this takes time and as any camper knows, if you get woken up at that time of the morning the most compelling of your needs is to go to the bathroom. Lisa and I weren’t getting out of that tent for all the tea in China.
We also managed to see two of our friends who had moved to the DC area three years ago. Chris and Mary are looking good and are settling into the area. It was good to see them – I hope they liked the S’mores.
In other news, Piper starts her Horses and Unicorns art class this week. The class runs for a week and she will draw, sculpt and just focus on her favorite subjects. Her riding lessons continue and Lisa reports that she has made great strides in learning to “post” correctly. Last lesson she was was riding “no-hands” while posting to improve her balance. I’m pretty impressed given that she’s only on her fifth or sixth lesson.
I know you are all waiting with bated breath for the bee hive update. I went into the hives today and confirmed that one of our packages failed to establish itself and died out. The sole remaining hive is going great guns though. I combined the supers from the dead hive onto the gonzo hive to form a bee highrise. With a little bit of luck I think we should be harvesting 3-4 supers this year (90-120 pounds). I hope all the honey is like what I saw on the top today – clear, sweet, and very floral tasting.
The woodchuck is still waging war on the garden despite the low fence. I’m afraid we’ll have to either upgrade to the higher fence or just live with his appetite. At least he has been ignoring the tomatoes. We’re very proud of the health of our yard this year. We have a great variety of flora and fauna in our area.
The second half of the title of this post refers to the crazy way our front yard has been mowed. I went to mow the lawn today and noticed both that the clover I’ve been encouraging has spread throughout the front yard and that the bees were actively working the clover flowers. What’s a beekeeper to do? All the world knows that clover honey is one of the most sought after and besides it seems awfully ungrateful to mow down your own bees! So my front yard is now mown with loops and swirls around the clover patches. Its very pretty – really.
And lastly Lisa and I have been chewing on our summer reading list. I’m working on Deep Economy by Bill MCkibben which focuses on questions surrounding the continued viability of economic growth and the current American lifestyle, the way our food is produced, and the necessity of developing robust local economies. Sounds dry I know but he is a very engaging and effective writer and he makes heavy subject matter pleasurable to read. Lisa is reading Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. The central premise of that book is that children are suffering from “Nature Deficit Disorder”, a condition that older people would find ludicrous when compared to how they grew up. I know that my parents and even myself spend entire days outside playing. In his book Richard Louv explains how he believes that outdoor activities are essential for child’s intellectual and emotional stability and development.
To wrap up this LONG post – we’re hamster sitting for three weeks. Wish us luck and the 1 1/2 year old Binky good health. Did I mention that Hamsters only live for about 2 years…