Okay, so not only did I break my promise of a fascinating garden post "tomorrow", but I also failed to post at all for two days. The garden post will wait. Right now it is raining and hailing so the garden is resting and so am I.
Meanwhile, I'll tell you why I've been absent.
We were invited to a bonfire with our friends J. and S. and their kids on Thursday. They just signed papers on a new/old house in the country (as they've been wanting to get away from their house in town for years). So we were celebrating their acquisition of a money-hole/pile-of-never-ending-work not at all unlike what we have (but unique in it's own way as it's a trailer house with additions!). It'll be great though, as it's on 6 lovely wooded acres and they're eventually gonna build a new house anyway.
Ostensibly, the reason for the gathering was that they were burning the nasty old carpeting from the house in a deep pit (and they needed to cut some dead branches and trees, but Nathan had J.'s chainsaw, so we "had" to go). Also as a reason for this visit, there was the complicated matter of Nathan and J. having traded vehicles so that they could use the truck and trailer for hauling a load, then they needed to trade back so that Nathan could return the trailer to it's owner, and then they would need to trade back again the next day as J. still needed the truck.
We did not cook our food over the burning carpet pit. But we had a small fire for roasting hot dogs. The kids all had lots of fun with this, and we all ate hot dogs with a healthy helping of wood ash.
This was followed by the grand tour of the house and property. The property has nice walking trail and a nice wading spot in the river that runs nearby (not near enough to be a danger to kids). It also has lots of healthy poison ivy and poison oak. I had a slight panic attach about this, remembering a very bad reaction Nathan and I had a few years ago. There really was no avoiding it as we were walking around. But there is so much of that awful stuff around here that I've learned how to deal with it and mostly prevent breaking out. I have a whole arsenal. And I think we've been okay this time. So far, I have a small patch on my face and Jonah has some spots on his arm, but if that's all we get, I'll be very thankful. A little itchy rash I can deal with. Oozing-weeping-tear-your-flesh-off rashes over the entire body is a little harder to manage.
And on to the carpet-pit-burning: (Don't worry, nobody's dead or maimed.) We waited until almost dark to start this as we knew there would be black smoke. S. and I were going about our business cleaning up supper remnants. Suddenly-- BOOOOOOM... a huge explosion! It seriously sounded like a bomb and shook houses for a mile around. We were quite a distance from the pit, but we saw huge flames and realized what had happened. We panicked because we didn't know who was down there. At first, I thought Nathan was down there (he wasn't) and maybe kids as well. Nathan, S. and I ran down yelling for J. and soon he came running out and said he was fine, and there were no kids. He was a little stunned. We all had to try to recover from our near heart failure.
Apparently, he had poured some gasoline (I can feel my Dad wincing as he reads this) into the pit. Thankfully, he moved the gas can far away before he lit it. (But even so, I do remember Dad saying never evereverevereverever use gas to start a fire.) He went back and put a match to the gas trail and stood back. It took longer than he expected, but apparently the fumes had built up under the carpeting and such and... well, they exploded. Loudly. Amazingly, J. is completely unhurt and even still possesses eyebrows.
Angels, I'm tellin' ya.
I began to feel like the whole pit-burning thing was a seriously bad idea. S. and I pretty much kept the kids up by the smaller fire while the guys tended the big one, which went on until around midnight. We also reassured the neighbors who came to make sure the new owners had not blown up their house with in 24 hours of sale.
At some point after dark, a child stepped on and broke S.'s glasses. The presented a problem when it was time to go as she couldn't see to drive home. She wanted J. to take the kids in the van and she would follow closely and carefully in the car. Nathan and I thought this a bad idea. At first Nathan suggested that he would driver her home and I could follow in the truck with the trailer. I thought not, so we eventually came up with a complicated plan that I would drive her home and Jonah and I would stay the night so that Nathan wouldn't have to waste gas driving an extra 10 or so miles with the truck and trailer.
So we did. I got all of two hours of sleep due to the moon shining in my face all night, a newly-hatched chick in the incubator that peeped unceasingly all night, as well as half-sleep induced worry about poison ivy (which made me get up and wash with dishsoap at 3:30 in the morning).
In the morning, I went shopping with S. and her sister M. in a city about an hour away. It turned out that I had to drive then, too, as 1), S.'s glasses were still broken and 2), M. couldn't drive a stick well enough to drive in city traffic. But we had lots of fun in spite of my sleep deprivation, and when we got back, Jonah was having so much fun playing with the kids that he never even missed me.
So J. took me and Jonah home when he and Nathan traded vehicles again. Then, this morning, Nathan woke me up at 6:30 and asked me to drive out to their house and retrieve his wallet that he had left in the truck, and get back in time for him to leave. So, I got to drive J's zippy little Honda back to their house again. However, my plans to grab the wallet and go without waking anyone were dashed when the truck was not there. So, I had to wake S. up, and I felt terrible about it. She was quite surprised to see me (and I sure hope I didn't ruin her day by waking up all the kids when the dog barked at me) and told me that J. had gone to Bible study at their church. So I had to drive another 10 or so miles north. Good thing that car is very fuel-efficient, because I ended up driving 50 miles this morning for Nathan's wallet.
And, well, that is the end of my rambling saga of the last two days. Now we're to the rain-and-hail part, and I still have not caught up on my sleep. Sigh.