And so it has begun. We get 18 summers with our children and quite a few of those summers are usually behind us before we realize it. With our two boys, we have seven summers left with one and thirteen with the other before they end up being completely legal men. We have the emerging problem of keeping our bolstering pre-teen child interested in our company and juggling his needs against the needs of his 5-year-old brother. Living here in the Sequoia National Forest, entertainment and education of boys should come easily but it still takes some focus and intent. That is what this summer is all about.
We began the spirit of our adventures this past winter as we re-opened our adventures on The Lost Road, a road lost on our property for 70 years. If you read the chronicles, you can see that they are really about me trying to get the aforementioned emerging teenager interested in hiking on our property. The promise of dessert has not gotten old: “Let’s go on a hike, pick some bay leaves, and use them to flavor cookies!”
I’m not sure that cookies ever do get old. 😉
In the winter, The Lost Road is the perfect venue for our adventures but we leave the area to the snakes in the summer. They need to be somewhere, after all, and we do try to avoid their favorite summer-time digs. Our adventures extend to the rest of the forest in the summer.
Our cookie-making has also grown into what we more generally call “tastings.” We have begun a ritual of inviting over friends to experience all of these wonder flavors as well, flavors that we call “Flavors of the Forest.” Just as cookies do not get old with children, we are finding that cocktails at sunset don’t get old with adults and you end up with a whole other level of “coolness” if your cocktail has a homemade bitter foraged the forest itself.
The summer began for us officially last week with the beginning of June. I woke up blurry-eyed Monday morning June 2 and announced:
“The summer will be epic. I don’t know entirely how yet, but I have announced it and so shall it be.”
Nature does not disappoint.
We caught and killed a rattle snake three hours later. We had a dead-snake experiment in place that was foiled when a raven carried away our snake body (the still-venomous head was already buried). Lo and behold, we caught and killed a second rattler on Tuesday as well. We installed raven security and carried out our project. We have a heck of a report. (Look for a video on Facebook this week.)
As if snakes were not enough, we found a litter of kittens on the property which the boys are now feeding and taming.
As for our summer projects here, look for updates on our Flavors of the Forest, including a big terrace renovation for those sunset cocktails. The terrace renovation should be a real trash-to-treasures story. We have the “trash” beginning down in any case on this neglected area of the property (see the video below) and are moving it in a “treasures” direction.
We also expect the summer to take us higher into the forest with an excursion deep into the Sierra Nevada in the Golden Trout Wilderness. We plan an excursion to the Eastern Sierra as well, hitting Bishop and the surrounding areas, perhaps experiencing a new Flavor of the Forest along the way.
We’d love to read more about your adventures too. Toss a hashtag on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram — #18summers — for any quirky awesomeness you have going on.