What’s Up, In Pictures


We are about to emerge from the log jam of April and May, and I have a few minutes to post some pictures snapped in recent weeks. When last I left you, Cayden was duct-taped to a cart in the driveway. Since then:

We returned to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, which I described four years ago here. It is a massive sheep spectacle-meets-craft fair, with a healthy dollop of Americana.



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Hadley and I kicked off our respective softball seasons. On a Saturday in April, we celebrated at a sun-soaked lunch.


Since then, virtually all of our games have been rained out.


Last weekend, we partied at the Potomac Hunt Races. On that day, it didn’t rain, but the wind blew like the dickens. Still, lots of fun for the adults:



Kids, too:



Between races, Hadley, Cayden and crew hawked decorative horseshoes and pulled in a nice profit.



Back on the farm, we discovered one of Blackie’s relatives inside the bar. Our cat Olive has also been wriggling through a narrow gap beneath the door, so it appears that cat & snake are tag-teaming the rodent population inside. Cool.



And finally, Felix, our semi-feral cat, continues to defy the textbook prototype of a barn cat, by getting fatter and fatter. His stomach nearly touches the ground and mouse-sized mats ride his back, because he’s too tubby to groom himself. More on that later.



Postscript —  I can’t conclude with that blubbery feline. Frequent storms and volatile weather do yield some nice sunsets, like this one last night.




A Quick Tip


I’m really too busy right now to post a post.

Too busy to bother editing a sentence with the word “post” in it twice.

But I don’t want to deprive other parents who are desperate to corral their kids and get some work done. It’s important to keep the community abreast of new ideas and solutions:

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I can’t take credit for this… this… whatever “this” is… I wandered out of the house and discovered the boy in this state of confinement. (Actually, this was Martin’s brainchild. The other kids were clambering to be next.)

Need I highlight the virtues of this invention?

It requires minimal supplies. It offers containment, yet ease of portability.

Just be sure to rest the child on his back, rather than face down… especially if you intend to leave the dollified kid unattended with siblings nearby.


Ski Report Finale


If you missed the first ski installment, check out part one.

Otherwise, let’s wrap up this chapter.

The highlights — or low-lights of the trip? They can be summed up in photos.

Here’s day one, on the Deer Valley slopes:




Here’s Martin, approximately 30 minutes later:



This, my friends, is not a broken collarbone.

It’s a separated shoulder.

I know this because the Park City Clinic provided the diagnosis.

And I farmed out the radiograph to virtually every veterinarian in my personal network.

Horse vets are like regular MDs — they just have furrier patients.

My friend Sarah has a son who is a real doctor — he actually treats people — and he summed up the diagnosis succinctly:

“It’s not a broken bone; it’s torn ligaments. The gap you see is between the acromion and the clavicle, which are two different bones. Recovery varies; when you’re no longer in pain, you can take off the sling.”

He was right.

In Sundance Film Festival fashion, I’m giving out awards.

Martin earns the “down but not out” award.

Despite his separated shoulder, four days later, he was back on skis.

Behold, evidence of his recovery:



Understandably, Martin was a wee-bit tentative.

I tried to bolster his confidence by leading him through “the enchanted forest” — a narrow, mogul-ridden trail squeezed between a narrow stand of trees.

What can I say?

It is a path preferred by little kids, parked on short, stout skis.

My cousin and I navigated the challenges and emerged. We awaited Martin.

Eventually, he appeared.

That was NOT F-ing Enchanting!” he shouted, skis tossed over his good shoulder, as he trudged down a nearby logging road.

Martin: I offer you both the “down but not out” award and the “good sport” award.


Brynn receives the “most improved” award. Zilla set out as a newbie, edging along the bunny slope bottom, at a glacial pace. But she wrapped the week rocketing down the green runs, from the top of the mountain.

Her story isn’t remarkable. Often children adapt to skiing, thanks to fearlessness and close proximity to the ground.

Still, it’s a marvel to watch.


Zilla and her miscreant crew…