We have been in the water a lot this summer. The Tuckaseegee River, the Chesapeake Bay, the Pasquotank River, and most often, the pool at William’s uncle’s house. We call the pool the Fairview Country Club and try to get over there every afternoon that is not stormy. It is a small pool with a diving board at one end, and steps decending into the pool at the other end. The steps have been great for the younger children as they get used to being in the water. They can touch the bottom and learn how their bodies work in the water while feeling safe. As they get more confident, they leave the steps and start swimming.
This summer, Hythe made the transition from staying mostly at the steps, to swimming (dog-paddling) from the steps to an underwater bench on the side of the shallow end. He paddled back and forth along the edge of the pool for a few weeks. Then, he got up the courage to jump from the side of the pool into my arms. A few weeks later her jumped into the pool on his own. He was so excited to figure out that he could do it, that soon he was jumping into the deep end on his own and swimming all over the pool. Within two weeks of learning he could jump into the pool by himself, he was actually doing flips into the deep end of the pool. One day he said, “mom, watch this” and flipped into the pool. I couldn’t believe it! He’d not even been jumping into the water 2 weeks before!
He carried his flipping and love of jumping in to all the water we visited this summer, most notably, the Pasquotank River, where my mother lives. The water there is too deep for him to touch, but deep enough to jump safely (we taught him quite a bit of water and diving safety once we realized he loved it so much). He would jump, flip, and dive for as long as we stay at the pool or by the water. He really grew up this summer, and I loved seeing his confidence and abilities grow so amazingly.
I have been doing some natural dying this summer – and enjoying the results. I dyed some garments I made with marigolds from my garden, and got a rich, bright yellow. Then I made an iron bath (vinegar and rusty nails) and dipped the dyed cloth in that. You can see the results in the last picture above. It turned it a bit darker and slightly olive. But, I did not think the contrast great enough for what I wanted, and I over-dyed the iron/marigold garment in a quick walnut dye bath. And, that’s where I went wrong. Either the mordant did not work anymore, or the iron made the shirt take up dyes differently, but I ended up with a dark brown-ish overall color with lots of spots of very dark brown or slightly light yellow. It would have been ok, except the dark brown spots looked like I dripped oil on it (and they were right in the front). Nice contrast with the marigold yellow, but ugh! those spots!! I did another shirt with red onion skins from Flying Cloud Farm, and got a little closer to the color I wanted.
I also dyed a bit of wool yarn to see what the results would be. I loved the color and later dyed the same type of yarn with onion skins. Interestingly,the color was really similar. It seems quite easy to get some kind of yellow (or brown) color with natural dying with the things I can find around here, but I’d like to get some other colors too!
I was away from this blog for a bit over the summer. School let out and it felt like we were off at full tilt. We had cousins visiting nearly all of the summer break (when we weren’t visiting them!). It was fun and occasionally exhausting! We loved visiting with so many wonderful little cousins and their parents, of course – as well my mom, sister-in-law and brother-in-law! There was a lot of happy screaming, lots of play time, and fun suppers.
Over the summer break, we spent nearly a week by a remote river in our area (Tuckaseegee), playing with friends for a few days, then playing on the river just as our small family. It is such a beautiful, peaceful place where we read, play games, explore the river, swim, and fish.
Then, we had a couple of weeks at camp here at the farm, then a week on the coast, and back home for a week of “nothing to do” (except William and I had to work, Anne had a camp, and Evva came up with some major outing everyday). Then, summer break was over. We are back to a routine, which is good. Summer certainly does not feel over though. We have weeks left of swimming, melon eating, and running around barefoot and that is nice.
I’ll catch up here with some of my doings soon, but I leave some pictures from some of our favorite summer fun (excepting the beach, where I did not bring my camera – sun, saltwater, sunscreen, and 7 kids running around convinced me to keep the camera at the house).