Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Remlinger Farms

For years I have been hearing about the glory that is Remlinger Farms.  It's about an hour away, so in past years it had seemed too far to go with a little one who needs naps.  Now that Zane is older and can last a lot longer, we took the plunge!

Remlinger is ostensibly a great place to go for harvest stuff, but it has tons of rides and fun for the kiddies.  I knew it might be wet, so I carefully got Zane kitted out in rubber boots, a raincoat, and I brought an extra set of dry clothes for him.  But then I forgot all that stuff for myself, except I did remember my boots only because Zane reminded me.  After we had been there for about a half an hour it really started to rain, so I put the camera away and didn't get many photos.  I did however, get completely soaked.  Luckily it was pretty warm, so I didn't get cold.

At first Zane spied a train table inside by the bathrooms, and I thought I wouldn't be able to drag him away.  Then we got out into the rides area, and right away he wanted to go on some mini-canoes.  Due to the wet weather there were no lines for rides, and Zane floated around the loop 4 times.  He only got out because the train was coming!  The train was a wood-powered steam engine with quite a long set of cars attached.  It took us on a great ride around the farm and then through a minimally haunted tunnel.  Zane loved it!

We headed out into the rain to play on stationary tractors and a fire truck.  Then to the antique cars that run on a track.  Zane was very excited that he got to drive!

I only convinced him to stop for lunch and bathroom breaks by saying that I needed to go or eat, and I needed him to help me.  After lunch he caught sight of a sandbox, and of course we got stuck there for a while.  This kid would choose a sandbox over just about anything else.

We ran through a blow-up haunted house ten jillion times, and then made it over to a bouncy house.  Watching Zane in a bouncy house always stresses me out.  There are always big kids in there acting like maniacs, and Zane is drawn to them like a moth to flame.

Zane then "drove" a stationary school bus, where he ordered me to wait out in the rain until school was over, and then I could get back on the bus and go home.  Harsh.

It was time to head over to the rides!  Several of them were sized just for kids, so Zane had the thrill of going on a carousel swing and a mini Ferris wheel by himself.  A girl got into Zane's Ferris wheel box with him, and they had great fun pretending to be lions escaping from a zoo.  Meanwhile, I huddled under a sliver of an edge of an umbrella and dripped.  Then we got to go on some very wet whirling pumpkins, and we could control the up and down motion with a push bar.  Oh the power!  I was about done in by the whole day and the wetness, but we still had the roller coaster to do.  It was a teeny tiny little thing, and Zane was determined to go on.  I am not a roller coaster fan, and it was almost too much for me!  It was the only thing we did all day that Zane didn't ask to do again.  I asked him if it was fun, and he said yes.  Then later that evening he said it was scary except that he liked the "flat parts."

We managed to pick out a pumpkin before we left, as I felt it would be very sad to drive an hour each way to a farm and not get an actual pumpkin.  At that point in the day we were not at all choosy.

We got back to the car and I took off wet boots and jackets and got our dry shoes on.  Zane was lucky to get his nice dry pants and socks, too.  All I had was a McDonald's napkin to wipe my face dry.  What a fun but exhausting tip!  Zane has mostly not been napping these days, but he sure fell asleep pretty quickly in the car.  I think we shall have to come back in the summer and have more fun!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Maine 2012

In mid-September Michael and Zane and I took a trip to Maine to visit relatives.  Zane was great for the trip, but there was some nasty turbulence during one of the flights that I did not like.  At.  All.  I used to be a very nervous flyer, but luckily I am now only a little nervous.  When they told those of us waiting for the bathroom to sit on the floor immediately and find any seat to buckle into ASAP, I only died inside a little bit.  Obviously, we survived.

As usual we first spent a few days in the peace and quiet of Harpswell with my Dad and my stepmother.  The weather was lovely, and Zane really liked the big yard.  We spent quite a lot of time exploring and playing.  My Dad has many garden plots, and Zane immensely enjoyed helping dig out weeds and truck compost to the garden in a wheelbarrow.  My Dad found a fireplace shovel for Zane which was just the right size!  We'll have to get ours out, too.

My "little" brother Brady is now 26, and his cedar play equipment in the side yard was now used as a grape arbor.  It looked like it had been taken over by rot and lichen.  At first I didn't want Zane to get on it, but it turned out to be amazingly sturdy!  Way to go CedarWorks!  I even discovered it was sturdy enough to hold me on the swings, too.  We ought to send them a testimonial!

A necessary part of every trip to my Dad's is a meal at the Dolphin Marina.  It had been completely rebuilt since my last visit, with an even better location and view!  The food was a wonderful as always, and we were blessed with an amazing sunset with rising crescent moon that even had the manager stepping outside to take photos.  Michael is a big fan of Cook's Lobster House, so we went there, too, and saw another amazing sunset.

My Dad has a boat in the harbor at the Orrs Bailey Yacht Club, and I was hoping to get Zane out to see it, but the weather wasn't quite right for it.  Instead, Pa Jim (my Dad's grandpa name), took us out for a row and a beach walk.  That's Zane and PaJim at the top of the post by the Cribstone Bridge.  Zane really enjoyed the row and was a very good boat rider, just as he had been when my Mom and I took him in a canoe in the spring.  He only got worried when we got out at a beach and pulled the boat up a bit.  He didn't want to walk far and wanted to get right back in the boat, which I thought was odd.  I asked if he thought the boat would float away, and that was it!  I assured him it was very safe, and then we had a great time on the beach.  I was very impressed that he even thought of that possibility and was concerned!  I hope he always pays attention to detail and keeps himself safe ...

We got in a nice walk in the woods before we needed to leave for Camden.  Behind the Harpswell Town Hall and transfer center is a great set of trails.  I had forgotten that it is also a place that people like to build fairy houses!  We had a nice relatively flat walk through the woods, saw estuaries, and saw fairy houses and renovated one (fairy houses are made of found natural materials and should be small and look like they blend in with the landscape).  Then we took a shortcut, and you know how that goes.  The old trail turned into a steep and rocky washed out gully.  We climbed over and under and around trees and scrambled up slopes.  It was awesome!  Zane only pooped out a little at the end.  He even named a beetle.

It was finally time to say goodbye and head to Camden for the rest of the family.  We managed to get in lunch at Moody's Diner and for dessert Zane had his first whoopie pie!  Such a shame he couldn't finish it, and I had to eat some.

Camden was chaos.  My Mom has a lovely house with a guest room.  The guest room was currently occupied by my brother's family of four while they got ready to leave on their cruising adventure.  This was wonderful for Zane, who was very excited to see his big cousins.  I ended up coming down with a nasty cold, and I had a lot of trouble sleeping, so I was physically miserable for much of the time.  I loved having people around for Zane to play with, and the big family dinners around the dining room table were a treat for me.  Zane loved all of the new toys (little Legos!) and books and games to play.  Grandma's white board was a big hit, too.  Julian and Ian had homework, so Zane was very serious about doing his own, as well (preschool activity sheets).  We had one near tragedy when Zane fell off cousin Julian's shoulders while Zane was trying to climb down from a bunk bed top he had been forbidden to go up on without an adult nearby.  Zane really clunked his head and gave all of us a heart attack.  Both Julian and Zane learned a bit about listening to their elders.  I'll bet it lasted about three days.

We took Zane and Julian to the Owls Head Transportation Museum.  I thought I had remembered there were interactive exhibits, but at first we had a hard time finding them.  Zane was a little put out that he couldn't fly an airplane.  Then we found a little plane that let you experiment with airplane controls and see how they worked.  Michael and Julian headed off into the rest of the museum while Zane and I hunkered in the gift shop playing with trucks.

Luckily Michael and Julian discovered the mother load of kid fun!  There was a corral of tiny metal vintage-esqe cars to drive.  An old fashioned bus went around the grounds, but Zane wouldn't leave the mini cars, so Michael and Julian went on that.  Then there were about five winged bicycle contraptions that were loads of fun, but a bit tough for Zane to manage.

Then, we spotted the sand box.  Paradise!  A sandbox loaded with mini heavy equipment and surrounded by actual heavy equipment.  We go in sandboxes all the time back home, but Zane can never get enough of digging in sand or dirt.  It was pretty hard to drag him away.

One disappointment was that the gift shop no longer sold Michael's favorite spark plug mug.  We have one at home, and he was hoping to buy a backup.  I don't even see them with a quick internet search, so I think ours is now extra precious!

The weather in Maine had been pretty lovely, but the one day we planned to watch Ian's football game it was cold and rainy.  Zane and I tried to watch it, but we ended up heading back into the car.  I really wanted him to nap, so we went for a drive.  He didn't nap, but we did see a lot of farms, and an amazing lot with lots of broken down old fire trucks.  I have no idea what that was all about!  I just typed derelict fire trucks in hope maine in Google, and found the place!  Firefly Restoration.  The big silver barn is what we saw and drove around.

I planned our Maine trip to be at the same time as the Common Ground Fair, so it was time to go!  This is a real rural arts fair, with no fairway of rides.  I remember once seeing a woman spin angora yarn straight from the back of a very contented angora rabbit.  We had loose plans to find my friends Ann and Jon, my Dad and Stepmom, and the rest of the Camden crew there.  When I was growing up the fair was much closer to Camden, so I had no idea the car ride would be so long.  Luckily, Zane found it all quite interesting.  Then we had to hike at least a mile from where we parked in a field to the fair itself.  We found out later there were shuttle buses.  Just before we entered the fair Zane stopped to play on a huge pile of woodchips.  Lucky we did, because Ann and Jon spied Zane on the pile, and we were able to spend the fair together!  If we hadn't stopped to play, we never would have found them.  We spent a bit of time looking at a log splitter and Zane investigated some garden sheds that looked just like hobbit houses.

Ann and Jon knew the layout of the fair and managed to get us to the kids' area pretty quickly, after a stop for fresh yogurt with maple syrup.  The kids place was awesome!  Right away Zane honed in on the hammering area and whacked a bunch of nails into logs.  Then off to the mural board with about twenty minutes of splashy artistic fun.  The soapy water for cleaning brushes was as much fun as anything.  Then off to the threshing!  I was excited about that.  I've always wanted to try threshing, and here it was for the kids!  I gave it a whirl, too.  It was extra great, since I got Zane a new book for the airplane (Peasant Pig and the Terrible Dragon) which had threshing in it.  I'd tried to explain it to Zane, and lo and behold here it was!  They were going to do winnowing next, but Zane was off to the hay jump.  I tried to get a picture of him in mid air but didn't quite manage it.

We finally tore ourselves away from the kids' area with a goal of seeing big horses.  On the way we got side-tracked by a garden weaving project.  There was a basket of fibers and plant bits, and anyone could contribute.  It pretty cool to show Zane how weaving worked and then pick stuff to put in.  It turns out Zane's skills lie more in unraveling.

There was a wonderful stall selling garden art, and there was a glittering array of baubles festooning a fountain.  Zane asked about the money he saw in it, and I explained about wishing.  I gave him a penny and he said "I wish I had a real penny!" And then he threw his penny in to the pool.  Hmmm.

The day was hot, and we were starting to get tired out.  On the way to the horses we stopped at the rabbit house.  I thought Zane would love it, but for some reason he was not at all interested.  I asked at the spinning hut about the angora rabbit, and a lady said we'd just missed that.  While Michael, Ann, and Jon looked at bunnies (they are bunny people, too), Zane and I wandered outside and saw mules pulling a cart and also slower horses pulling a cart, both for rides.  I let folks know we were headed to track them down.  Zane and I spent quite a while around the horse paddock watching pacers, seeing folks harness their horses and mules, and looking at a pony with a cart.  Zane saw a sawdust pile and of course had to go dig.  We finally reconnected with the others, and Ann led us to the horse cart rides.  Whew!  I was ready to sit for a while.  We had a lovely plod around part of the fair grounds, and while we were riding we heard, "Zane!  Zane!"  Grandma (Mom) had found us!

After the ride we got some food with my Mom and tried to find the rest of our family with no luck.  Then it was off to find our car.  This time Jon told us about the bus shuttle, and we had less of a slog to the car.  As we were finally pulling out of the fairgrounds Zane said, "Let's turn around and go back!"  It was really a great trip.

I had hoped to get apple picking and a hike up Mount Battie in, but that just didn't work out.  Apple picking was only on days we couldn't go.  When we finally got around to squeezing in a hike up to the tower on top of Mount Battie, Zane turned out to be too tired and cranky, and we didn't make it.  I can see now in pictures from that day he was pretty tired out from the trip.  We did manage to see a snake and a toad!  I also taught Zane the magic of writing on a flat rock with another rock.  This was unfortunate, as Zane then wanted to write on all of the rocks.  On a rocky hill.

The trip ended up being exhausting and a bit overwhelming for me as I was sick and didn't sleep well, but it was still great to do it all.  We made a lot of wonderful memories!  Next visit out will most likely be next summer when my cousin Jason gets married.

I leave you now with a few video highlights.