On Halloween, I turned 65 by Medicare's count, 35 by mine. (At age 50, I started counting backward, making me 35 this Oct. 31st. Time is relative, right?) For such a momentous occasion, I planned a big party. In my head. But my enthusiasm ran out by the time October arrived, along with a series of flu/cold bugs and regrouping after my big trip to the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky.
So instead I opted for three days of goofing off. Friday of Halloween weekend, I went to Daryll's Nursery's end-of-the-season sale with friend Velta. It was a beautiful fall day and we had a great time. I bought a lovely Japanese maple which will get planted in the arboretum eventually.
By Saturday morning, I was sick with a bad cold. But Johnny and I went to the movie Secretariat anyway and then to watch a friend ride in a dressage show. The plan had been to eat at our favorite Thai restaurant in McMinnville after the show but I felt too crummy so Johnny brought take-out instead. All was not lost as we had yummy Thai food for both Saturday and Sunday suppers.
On Sunday, Halloween and my actual birthday, we intended to explore logging roads in the hills by us, arriving eventually at the coast. Although feeling yucky, I rallied enough to let Johnny drive me into the woods. Occasionally, I woke up long enough to get out and enjoy the scenery. We did make it to the ocean eventually. It was fun to see (from a distance) my summer haunt... Road's End, and The Thumb that I have hiked so many times looking for Black Oystercatchers.
In spite of my cold-that-refused-to-go-away, it was a busy week before the next weekend: putting music to the pas de deux with friend Sam; going on my first raptor run of the season with friend Carol; writing my monthly goat column for United Caprine News; setting up the pas de deux course, with added jumps, in our field and practicing it solo; enjoying the baby owls begging for food and flying about (one evening four friends came to enjoy with us); watching Jessica's horse Lily in the Lendon Gray clinic at Devonwood; and doing as little as possible in the way of cleaning up the house to get ready for company on the weekend.
On Saturday, Kevin and Jessica and Ian arrived to celebrate my birthday a little late, on their only free weekend. Jessica cooked her fabulous chili and baked pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, my favorite. Jessica's chili would win any bake-off. She creates a mouth-watering masterpiece, then tops it with several varieties of grated cheese plus avocados. Oh my.
While Jessica cooked, the rest of us, along with friends Barb and Mark, shook the last remaining apples off our apple trees and, adding them to Barb and Mark's apples, pressed cider. Our goal was not so much to make cider as to remove the apples to discourage any more visits from bears. But the cider is delicious and the bears seem to have given up and moved on, even before we took away the last of their apples.
In years past, we have had big cider making parties but big parties take much energy (plus many apples) and we had neither this year. Maybe we *are* getting older. Good thing there are younger folk to keep the tradition alive. Pictured washing apples are Mark and Barb and our grandson Ian, with llamas supervising in the background. Running apples through the grinder is Ian, with Grandpa Johnny's help. And squeezing them through the press are Kevin and Ian, displaying teamwork. Yes, 9-year-old Ian, who has been doing this since he was small, helped with every part of the process.
It turned out to be a happy Halloween, extended-birthday, after all.