And so it was especially poignant to head out today. After breakfast of course.
And after a secret cuddle with Oreo.
Not too far, south of where we are, there is a segment of the Ice Age Trail that has been a reliable hiking path for us. And while working on prairie restoration in that area during my absence, Ed discovered another segment of the trail
and so this was our destination. It's not a particularly arduous hike -- but perfect for a moderate Fall afternoon.
Barking dogs at the trail head notwithstanding. (It brought back memories.)
And hunters: forgot about those. I left my blaze orange vest at home. Oops. (This hunter was after squirrels. You can see in his pocket the tail of success...)
It's good to be walking these Wisconsin hills again. They are such familiar trails for me! Even new segments aren't really new: I know this terrain -- the oaks, birches, the occasional white white pine or maple -- they repeat themselves in ever beautiful patterns. Novel, but familiar. With the glimpse of the farmlands beyond, peaking through, now that the leaf cover is nearly gone.
Afterwards, Ed suggests a beer in nearby Paoli. This is my guy, feeling himself to be thoroughly entrenched in our life in the Midwest. After all, it's Sunday afternoon, the Packer game is on, people head to the local bar. Of course, I can count on the fingers of one hand the times he and I have grabbed a beer at one of our local bars. And you could not get us excited by a football game ever.
And yet, he sips his amber ale and I sip my spotted cow and eventually he strikes up a conversation with a long-haired gentleman to his right. The guy is there with his wife and they both bear symbols of Packer devotion. They've come to catch the tail end of a Packer win. And to put down a few dollars down for a chance at the prizes (packages of meat!) that are being given out at the bar.
Did you ever hit the jackpot here? Ed wants to know. (Ed would not eat red meat if you paid him.)
Oh sure. Every now and then we win the meat. There are cheeses too. And then cash prizes.
Is it legal? Ed asks, because he is amused at all instances where the law attempts to set a moral standard and fails to do so.
I don't know, but every bar does it! The guy knows darn well we're not from this particular village, so he throws in -- even in Madison!
Ed grins as the guy's luck percolates again to a win -- of four fat sausages and some ground beef patties.
We stop by the Chicken Store across the street. Blasted place. It's what caused me to day dream about raising chickens in the first place. But I know they're not in favor of keeping mean roosters, so I feed the owners (and various sundry people who come and hang out there) stories about Oreo attacks. Just as I catch their sympathy, Ed describes how much Oreo adores being held and coddled by him, to the point of purring as he, Ed, rubs the rooster's little red temples and the ladies at the store melt and say awwww... and I pull Ed away before he has them purring equally loudly at his tales of chicken bonding.
In the evening, my girl comes over with her husband for a spaghetti dinner.
Last time I was pregnant was exactly thirty years ago, almost to the week tracking my older daughter's current pregnancy (she is due in January and, too, my youngest was born in January). But you know, we live in such different times that I'm in no position to dig into my own reservoir of lessons and recollections. I watch these guys and I learn from them.
Hey, good to see you! -- I say when they come in. Now, could you show me what I'm doing wrong with my iPhone? It's refusing to.... (etc.)