I'm rarely early for anything, but this year I was a whole week early for Father's Day! For some unknown reason, I was thinking that Father's Day fell on Sunday, June 14th. I woke up early, letting Steve sleep in, and helped the kids make Daddy breakfast in bed, gave him his cards and gifts, and all the usual hullaballoo. Then I checked my email and noticed a sale ad for Father's Day gifts that lasted all week long. "That's odd," I thought. "Why on earth would they be featuring gifts for dads the week AFTER Father's Day?" Then I checked the calendar, which I had looked at countless times in the past few weeks and yet somehow never noticed the little words that denoted Father's Day as June 21. We all had a good chuckle over that one, and Steve got the latter part of his Father's Day ritual (a yummy barbeque dinner) today, on the REAL Father's Day! Too funny.
Yesterday we took our niece Caitlin on a "little" road trip to Jefferson's Monticello (in quotations because it was the longest road trip our family had been on in years, and the kids were not up to it. After a couple hours of incessant squabbling, neither were we! I don't know how my parents ever survived long road trips with all of us kids when we were little, because I know we were just as bad - or worse - as our kids were yesterday!)
We spent a long time on the grounds, waiting for our turn to go inside (tickets were sold out for tours until 4:40, and we arrived at 1:00. So if you ever go there, reserve tickets online the night previous and avoid the wait!) What a fascinating place Monticello was.
Jefferson considered himself a farmer and plantation owner above all else, and set about cultivating crops and hybridizing plants in a very scientific and orderly manner. They have recreated what his acres of vegetable gardens looked like on the grounds today. The University of Virginia (which was founded by Jefferson) students cultivate the crops, and employees of the Jefferson foundation take home the produce.
I had such a great time wandering amongst the gardens - there was a huge variety of very interesting plants and vegetables flourishing there. This is a type of cabbage - isn't it wonderful?
I love the dusty blues, purples, and reds that are in this cabbage.
I really look forward to the time when I can have a garden of my own. I really want to teach my kids how to cultivate the soil, plant the seeds, and care for the plants as they grow. There is something so rewarding about biting into a home-grown ripe tomato (unlike the refrigerated "fakes" sold in stores = refrigeration ruins the texture and taste of tomatoes) or a fresh green bean.
We're living in a rental house right now, but if all goes well we'll be in our own house before the end of the summer. I don't want to jinx it, so that's all I'm saying just yet!
I adore these giant hollyhocks - aren't they so bright and cheerful? The bees were buzzing gleefully around all the gorgeous blossoms.
Eliza really enjoyed the flowers too. She has learned all sorts of things about plants in science class at school, and it's fun to hear her talk about soil, nutrients, and other things plants need.
In case you're wondering where Hyrum is in the midst of all these pictures of Eliza, he was always off running around in the garden. I tried to get him to slow down long enough to take his picture, but he wouldn't have anything to do with it. Eliza, as you can tell, quite enjoys getting her picture taken. She's modelling one of the summer outfits I recently finished sewing for her. I was going to put elastic in the bottom of the sleeves, but she wouldn't let me - she liked them loose, just like her baggy pants. That way, she explained, she can do gymnastics freely.
We were all impressed by the gigantic remnants of this tree trunk at the corner of the back lawn. I had no idea a deciduous tree could get that big! It must have been struck by lightening or died of disease, but even the trunk is quite amazing.
Eliza had a great time trying out a feather quill pen for the first time. She did pretty well! It really is quite remarkable how people were able to write so beautifully with quill pens back then - it was truly an art form.
Jefferson and his family members are buried in this cemetary, which is just down the hill from the main house. I love the beautifully grand wrought iron gate that marks the entrance.
I don't have any pictures of the inside of Monticello - photos were not allowed. One thing that surprised me about Jefferson's house were all the Native American artifacts displayed in the front hall (brought to him by Lewis & Clark, whom he sent to explore the west). I think of Jefferson as an appreciator of things European, but I forgot that he had great interest in and respect of Native American culture as well. He was quite an amazing man, and had many admirable qualities.
So here's Hazel, escaping up the stairs, unwittingly modelling the back of her little sundress. The other two outfits (see previous post) were made with velcro closures in the back, but I finally got smart and made the bodice a little roomier, then did a bit of shirring at the very back to take up the excess. This way she can get it on and off easily, it provides plenty of growing room, but the front of the dress is smooth.
I'm planning on making a tut for this soon, hopefully this week, so stay tuned!