Most of our volunteer hours here in the park are spent in the gardens, weeding and maintaining or occasionally planting flowers. These last few weeks, however, we were painting. The kids were excited because this was their first painting project. There were days I was convinced they had more paint on themselves than they had actually gotten on the building, but they worked hard and did a really good job.


Seven gallons of paint later, we are all finished and it looks much better. New roof, new windows, fresh coat of paint, all it needs now is a little TLC on the old doors and it will look as good as new. I am so glad we were entrusted with this project because we really did have a good time. Standing out in the sunshine (with the spiders…), painting bugs (and spiders…), running from bees (and spiders…), swatting gnats (and spiders…). I’m pretty sure it doesn’t get much better than that!



Dutch Oven Gathering

William became interested in dutch oven cooking quite some time ago, so for his birthday we gave him his own dutch oven and a membership to the International Dutch Oven Society. He also became a member of the Valley Forge Black Pots, who come out to Hopewell Furnace each month for a dutch oven cooking demonstration.


The members of the Black Pots have always been so good with William. They teach him and include him, even though he is ‘just a kid.’ They allow him to help with just about everything, which makes him feel pretty important to the group. He looks forward to the gathering every month.


They had their latest gathering on Saturday. William had gone to all of the previous gatherings, but this is the first time he took his own dutch oven so he could cook along. He chose to bake some homemade rolls and Can’t Leave It Alone Pudding. Rob helped him and they turned out just perfectly.¬†When everyone was done cooking, it was time to eat. The licenses are not in place to feed the public, but the volunteers and workers are allowed to eat. So the dishes are shared and everyone gets to taste all of the creations, which are absolutely incredible.


I love that this is a hobby William has chosen. He interacts well with everyone and it gives him a chance to be a part of something. There are chapters all over the country, so no matter where we go, he will be able to attend gatherings. He is already planning what he wants to cook next month, which he has decided needs to be something more challenging.

Rolling Right Along

Summer is rolling right along here in Pennsylvania. Somehow we are managing to stay out of trouble. (Shocking, I know.) I am not sure it is possible, but it appears as though summer is already halfway over. Many of our hot summer days have been spent down at the creek where the kids swim until they are prunes. There have been plenty of activities on the side to keep us busy as well.


Last month we headed over to the Chester County Balloon Festival. It was a two day event, but the first day was windy and rainy so we opted to go on the second day. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day… for kite flying. They were not able to launch any of the balloons due to the wind, but there were so many people there for the show that they inflated a few at dusk so at least we could see them glow. It was a little disappointing, but there was nothing anyone could do. We will just have to find another festival to attend.


The Fourth of July found us in Philadelphia. We figured it was the perfect place to celebrate the holiday since that is where the Declaration of Independence was signed. They put on an incredible parade that everyone enjoyed. We really wanted to see inside Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, but everyone else apparently had the same idea, so the lines were insane. We decided that since it is only a little over an hour away, we will plan another trip on a non-holiday.


When we were on our way out to watch the fireworks, we happened upon a small town carnival. We gave the kids the choice between going to see the fireworks and staying at the carnival. Big surprise, I know, but they chose the carnival. For almost three hours they ran around together and rode every ride possible. It was small enough that Rob and I were able to walk around the circle and still keep an eye on the kids. We shared a funnel cake, played some skee ball, watched the kids get spun around every which way. We had a great time.


In other news, we saw our very first flying squirrel! There are actually two of them (that we have seen anyway) and they visit our bird feeder every night. They are extremely fast and cute little critters. There appears to be another critter visiting us nightly as well, only he is not quite as nice to the poor feeder. I had been finding the feeder on the ground every morning so I hung it on a carabiner instead of a hook, and this morning the feeder was still hanging but the windows had both been knocked out. It is now hung back up with bands around the windows, so I am curious how it will look in the morning…


And finally, the fireflies are back in full force. Step outside in the evening and there are hundreds of little sparks every direction you look. Being from the west, I do not think I had ever even seen fireflies until last spring, and they just amaze me. Such incredible little bugs…


Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrasts

When we were in Idaho last month, Nathan won about 20 miniature dinosaurs at an arcade. After we got back home, the kids created their own little “Dinotopia” with clay, the mini dinosaurs and some crushed rock. They had a lot of fun putting it together and the finished project turned out incredible! And very colorful.