We picked Calvin up from running camp yesterday, not all that far from home. "Do we have to go anywhere on the way home?" he asked right away - both tired, I think, but perhaps more than that, eager to get home to call his girlfriend. It had been three whole days since they had spoken, after all. Remember that feeling? Sweet. And funny. (Yes, he knows I'm writing this about him.)
Annabel, from the back, chimed in with her knowledge of the ride-home plan. "Ice cream!" she said. And that was true - I had promised an ice cream stop at a new place along the route. It was yummy (but what ice cream isn't?).
"We need to stop for Japanese knotweed!" Harper shouted.
"And I need more Queen Anne's Lace!" I added.
There was an audible moan from the passenger seat (too tired to exercise his new driver's permit in my seat). Because there's nothing my fifteen-year-old loves more than stopping on the side of the road so Mom can pick weeds. But he's a good sport, and ice cream can get you through most any kind of parental torture, and so we carried on. I carry clippers in the car now, because there are too many times I wish I'd had them with me and didn't. (I usually keep a pair of tall boots in the back of the car too, because poison ivy and I are not friends, and walking through tall weeds is kind of just asking for trouble. Or so I hear.) I'm pretty mindful of where we stop and 'pick,' much to the chagrin of my kids who would like for me to stop at the very first spot they find, even if that's in front of our neighborhood post office. Since I'm generally looking for invasive plants anyway (not sure that either of those two things are very 'welcome' by most growers around here), I feel just fine on overgrown state roads, and only taking a little bit. That's all we needed on this trip, anyway....a few more Queen Anne's Lace to add to a dye pot I have nearly ready to go, and some japanese knotweed (bamboo) for a project Harper had in mind. The day before he had mentioned 'seeing somewhere, in a book or something' directions on making a flute from the knotweed (which he knows from working with it on other projects at Koviashuvik Local Living School). Steve puzzled over it with him, unable to suss out the source, and then it dawned on me, "Um, do you mean TAPROOT??".
Of course that was it. Issue 17::MYTH featured a pan flute tutorial by Michelle Housel. The tutorial came in and the issue came out at a time when all of our bamboo was dried out and split too easily...but now! Now we could make it, and I had an eager little guy leading the way, knife on his beltloop, twine in his pocket (always).
These flutes, I must say, were incredibly fun to put together. Just the right amount of work that could be done by the kids and help they needed from me. Not too tricky so as to frustrate them and have them lose interest. And lots of fun stops along the process to check out our work - like testing out each section to see which pieces sounded best (much to the delight of Greta). They were finished just before dark, and we wandered down to the garden to show Pop, who was taking a go at those bugs. Today, we'll do a little bit of reading about Pan, which I think might just inspire some more play with these. Annabel woke up with hers beside her, insisting that she will continue to practice (poor little thing can't get a sound out of them yet, despite everyone around her being able to do so. She's determined to do so and I'm sure she'll get it today. Even if she passes out first from blowing so often and so hard!).
And then, onto the Queen Anne's Lace! Phew! So many good things to be done in a day!