After breakfast the next morning, we headed up the mountain to Magness Tree Farm. This lovely forest is managed by our friend Bill, who was nice enough to let us use the indoor bathroom instead of the PortaPotties.
Thank you Bill.
I am never too ashamed to take advantage of a little nepotism.
There are several trails at the tree farm. We somehow ended up on the 1/2 mile, paved trail, that has many benches on which to sit and signs explaining the flora and fauna of the woods.
If you are very lucky, like me, you might see cute children adorning the benches.
Cute children who, I might add, were very noisy and rambunctious on their riparian ramble. No amount of coaxing on my part would induce them to be quiet, but I continued to read the signs in the hope that something would pique their interest. Everything I read was met with a loud and obnoxious "I know!" from eldest grandson. Finally, it became a joke and all four of them were singing "I know, I know" as we walked along.
We took a little detour to the source of the spring that was the only water supply for the original Magness family. One of the rugrats spotted a woodpecker. I was happy to point out that if they were very, very quiet, they would probably see many more interesting things.
It was like magic.
Suddenly, four children were creeping along, vigilantly peering into the trees to see what they could see.
This toppled tree is full of woodpecker holes.
...and looking. Natalie is examining more woodpecker holes.
We found a great tree for photos.
We crossed a stream on a wobbly plank.
Josh refused to have his photo taken. I guess I had exceeded his quota!
Natalie walked very carefully.
As we followed the trail along, we heard what we thought were birds talking to each other in the trees, so we stopped and listened. I soon realized that it was squirrels chattering to each other. We could see a couple of them sitting on branches and we had fun watching and listening to them.
The next item on the agenda was Dairy Queen.
Josh and Natalie had the star thingy.
Kenzie, Daniel, and I split a chocolate cookie dough Blizzard, because I am cheap that way.
It was not my favourite.
We headed home for a quick lunch and then drove to Charlie and Sam's apartment complex, which has a swimming pool and an accommodating uncle, who spent a couple of hours tossing small children high into the air.I took way too many photos, because I loved capturing the expressions on Josh and Natalie's faces as they flew through the air.
This is the boy who is terrified of water.
Wasn't that exhilarating?
Myself, I sat on a lounge chair in the shade and read a very good book.
[Have you read Cutting for Stone? You should.]
Before anyone was ready, except for maybe Charlie, it was time to go home.
And that was it, until next year.