Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Grandkid Week, Part One: Ian

Our grandkid marathon week began on a Saturday when we picked up eight-almost-nine-year-old Ian from the hotel where he and his parents (Kevin and Jessica) were staying for a horse affair nearby. After Johnny and Ian and I swam and goofed around in the hotel pool, we brought Ian home to the farm for his first ever visit without parents.

Ian has been coming here since he was little and always helps with chores. Now he really does help. He knows the routine, climbs the ladder to the horse barn loft, weighs out the horses' hay pellets, adds their supplements, and hands the heavy buckets down to me below so I can feed. He measures the goats' grain while I milk, helps Johnny throw hay down from the loft into the mangers, and spreads grain in front of the barn for the wild birds.
Ian loves feeding the goats melon rinds and doesn't mind being mobbed by them. This time, there was a new baby goat to play with. And a new puppy.

There was also the new barn to investigate. Ian broke up the waste concrete piles left from the foundation pour, used Johnny's big magnet to find all the nails left lying around from the concrete forms, and figured out where everything should go in the new barn.

Then there was the obligatory hike to the river, picking blackberries along the way. Ian figured out how to protect his arms from nettles... put them inside his shirt! He has graduated from throwing rocks into the water, as all children love to do, up to skipping rocks, at which he excels. But, of course, no child can resist wading in the water, even if it's as icy cold as our Agency Creek.

Sunday night we spread our blankets under the trees at Stoller Vineyard to watch a Midsummer Night's Dream by the Willamette Shakespeare company. (You can never start too young watching Shakespeare.) Ian, to my amazement, stayed awake for the entire two-hour-with-no-intermission performance.

Monday we had to return Ian to his parents... and try to rest up before Kinnera, our surrogate grandchild and the only granddaughter in our tribe... arrived on Wednesday (Grandkid Week, Part Two). Kestrel and Cedrus joined her on Thursday (Grandkid Week, Part Three). Hot, dry August, my least favorite month, became a great deal of fun this year.

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