Sunday, May 31, 2009

Swinging into Summer

Welcome, summer. Officially, we've got some ways to go, but it feels like summer here. After all, there's a countdown until the end of the year on my whiteboard at school, boats are invading our lake, and it stays light until after 8 o'clock at night. We've grilled our dinners, slept with the windows open, and applied sunscreen. It's a wonderful time of year.

But even though it's a wonderful time of the year here in Wisconsin, I think I can safely say for both of us that our hearts are not really here anymore. Summer screams "family! friends! camping! Camp of the Woods! Big Dipper! Kinzua!" and we're about 10+ hours from all of those things. Our location is just a by-product of this season of our lives, and now we both know that we're not really destined to live across the ocean or even across the country. We want to be closer to our roots, able to visit our families and friends and participate in day-to-day life with them. So next summer, we're determined to be closer.

But for now, we're making the best of Wisconsin. Our garden is growing, still safe from any predatory herbivores who would like to munch on the leafy greens that are emerging from the ground. It is truly amazing to toss a few seeds into the ground, water them, and wait... then wallah! Lettuce! Or zucchini! Or beans! I'm thrilled.

We've also dragged our lawn chair into the lawn to enjoy the sunshine. Dan took a little rest there before we went on a walk this afternoon. We've been going on walks in the past week (tearing ourselves away from the allure of the Netflicks subscription that my mom gave us for Valentine's Day).

In light of our wonderful weather, we've been staying outside a good bit more. Earlier this week we took a walk around Yerkes Observatory. It's a famous place right down the street which we haven't even taken a tour of (yet). But it is lovely.

Today, we walked on the Lake Path around Geneva Lake. We managed to find a spot to park in the small village of Fontana, but I guess from here on out we'll be walking from our house or the college! It's already packed, and we haven't seen nothin' yet! The lake is still quite cold, but there were plenty of families sunning themselves on the various beaches -- tanned, fit and toned parents admiring their adorable children as the kiddos squawked and chased each other. We walked on the south side of the lake, the side of the lake resplendent with various country clubs, boat launches, and huge houses. It's enjoyable to walk along the shore and admire the houses, although sometimes it's a challenge for my Christianity, as I know that I oscillate between envy and superiority while strolling by. But it's still a cheap, lovely date, walking hand in hand with Dan.

I'm sure there will be many more challenges this summer besides thinking about the houses that line the lake, but Dan and I will survive. And in the meantime, we'll miss all of our friends and family who are far away geographically but close to our hearts.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Precipice of Death - A Day of Bikes

Since this blog is meant to update family and friends about our life, I suppose I should give a rundown of the past week. Our garden that you read about last week is doing well. It now has a net over the whole thing to keep birds and deer out. It also has carrots, lettuce, onions, and broccoli planted in it. By the end of this week it will probably be the home to tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, zucchini, and cucumber, well at least the plants and seeds of that variety. Since you last read we have also completed our spring semester. I am completed done with my coursework, and Hilary has two more classes to take this summer. Once I am done with my internship and get a grade, I will be done with school. This fall we are staying in these parts so Hilary can student teach at Lake Geneva Middle School. I will continue to work for OWLS, although it will be under new ownership. That was pretty much it for the week. The weekend held more exciting adventures.

Saturday we slept in, cleaned up the messy house, went to buy some little things (DVD's to back up pictures, and strawberries for daiquiris), went to church and watched the Penguins lay the smack down. Today, Sunday, we went mountain biking. That is right, we. Here is what I have to say...Hilary did great. We went on a 4 mile loop and other than the gigantic, enormous, thrown in the middle of the trail mound of dirt that happened to throw Hilary into the bush and crash, it was a great ride. Here are her remains...

After that we went to Whitewater and got some lunch and ate it in a park we found. Then we were off to look at a road bike. Not my old road bike...
The road tires I got for my mountain bike so I could go fast.

As much as I enjoyed going fast on my mountain bike I also have been looking for a road bike...which leads me to the "looking at a road bike" part.

That fast beast is happily sitting in the living room. I have yet to name her but I will soon enough. I do have to change the rear tire because there is a gash in the one on it. The previous owner gave me a new tire so I should change it, or at least I should. What do you all think?

Now I must be going...I am tired from the bike rides and am wanting some tea.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Fruits of Our Labor

Welcome to May! Spring has been arriving rather stealthily, but after four days of rain, it has announced its arrival! The world is green and the sun's rays are warming our part of the world. Just in time, too, for Dan's parents flew from Pittsburgh to Wisconsin to visit us. I picked them up at the O'Hare International Airport on Friday and Dan and I dropped them back off just today, so we were able to spend the whole weekend with them.

The main reason they came was to watch Dan's Pinning Ceremony, the penultimate ceremony that acknowledges all of the hard work Dan has put towards his master's degree. Officially, he doesn't graduate until August, and there's a ceremony down at the main campus next week that would more officially mark the end of his coursework. But as far as Dan's parents and I were concerned, the pinning ceremony was what we wanted to see.

The pinning ceremony didn't take the whole weekend, but we managed to stay busy. On Sunday, Bruce and Sue helped us with our garden! After deciding on where we'd put our garden, the real work began. Dan started by raking the area.

Then we all took turns turning up the dirt. The cornfields here in the Midwest aren't misplaced, after all. We turned up dirt that was dark, rich, and free from rocks. (We think it had been used for the cornfields in year past that surround our house, but it hadn't been used last year.) Actually, we only took less than a dozen rocks out of our 18' by 7' plot. Not too shabby! I think the Sahlis were a bit jealous, to be honest. Apparently their Pennsylvanian soil is a bit rockier than here.

Then, to protect our future plants from herbivores, both large and small, some folks drove some posts into the ground, while others of us took pictures.

Dan had found a couple of rolls of abandoned snow fence sitting around the barn, which he brilliantly re-purposed as garden fencing. We attached it with wire and zip ties. Because not all of the herbivores would be dissuaded by this, we also had to buy poultry fence and attach it along the ground with yet more zip ties.

In yet another moment of re-purposing genius, Dan found an old gate and made it our new gate. Granted, the fencing is a little rag-tag -- a bit reminiscent of the garden fencing I saw in my drives around Allegany County -- but it was brilliant and (best part) cheap!

When all was said and done, our garden was ready. Thanks, Bruce & Sue, for all of your help!