July pastimes

A long summer break is such a perfect time to learn and practice new hobbies and skills. I know that some will fall by the wayside, but one may also stick and deliver a great deal of fulfillment for years, as playing piano has for Molly.

Both kids have dabbled in pottery a bit in the past, but the weekly class Molly and Finn are taking now has them concentrating on using the potter’s wheel. It is really interesting to see how each responds uniquely to the challenges in the work.

IMG_6341 Molly would love to have a flawless, finished piece at the end of each class and is pretty disappointed if something goes awry. I think she prefers painting/glazing to the handcrafting, finding it more fun to focus on the decoration of a piece that won’t change in shape from what she’s seen. IMG_6344 IMG_6345 Finn, on the other hand, is completely engaged in the tactile process of manipulating the clay. He doesn’t seem to mind when the application of too much pressure in one spot causes his piece to warp and fold, patiently beginning again and again. Throughout the class, as he often does while eating, he brushes his hands on his clothes, his face, his hair. He exits class looking rather like Pig Pen from the Peanuts comic strips. IMG_6342 IMG_6343 We have been enjoying an unusually cool July in central Illinois, so we haven’t felt that the only way to be comfortable outside is within a body of water. Fortunately, the weather continued to cooperate beautifully for Finn’s week of mornings spent just across this cornfield to the south of our subdivision.IMG_6357 IMG_6358 IMG_6351 IMG_6352 Finn participated in a golf camp through the YMCA in which he learned the basics of the game. He really liked it and is hoping to have a few outings later this summer with his dad and uncles. IMG_6346 IMG_6347 (I biked over one morning to do some surreptitious surveillance and came home with this pretty wildflower bouquet for our porch.)IMG_6354Hours-long stretches of time without obligations also lend themselves to experiments in the kitchen. Molly and I tried making bagels this past week, and they were so good! Within 48 hours, all ten were gobbled up, and we had to exercise quite a bit of restraint for them to last that long.
IMG_6340 I mentioned last week that Molly and her friend Kate stirred up an herbal tea blend. Here’s a picture of the pretty mix of dried mint, lavender, rose petals, fennel, and chamomile. Molly has sipped a couple mugs of the brew and says its flavor is “soft and nice, very mild and calming.”IMG_6364 While our current home still doesn’t charm me in certain ways, it did shine yesterday as it proved to be a genuine haven in a rain storm that delivered about seven inches of rain within a few hours. The creek behind our house merged with the neighboring lake — a sight we’d not beheld before. Our neighbors’ sump pumps chugged water into the ditch between our properties all day. Thankfully, our basement stayed dry. Our neighborhood’s drainage system was obviously working just as it should. IMG_6367That meant we were able to help friends elsewhere in town where streets and basements were flooding, tears being shed while they attempted to save more belongings from damage. Hopefully, these next few days will bring sunshine and breezes to relieve the stress that such a storm produced.

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