Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Glorius Summer

At the end of August I took Zane to the Evergreen State Fair.  This is a very nice small fair that reminds me of the one I grew up with in Maine.  We went last year, too, and had a blast.  I bought Zane a full-day pass on the rides, but only a few tickets for myself.  I really should have gotten the full-day pass for myself, too, as there were still a lot of rides he wasn't allowed to go on by himself.  This year we went on an evening after work so that we could also see our very first monster truck show!

We got to the fair in good time and had plenty of time to whirl on tea cups, ride motorcycles, trains, airplanes, run through obstacle courses, and try our hand at winning dirty plush animals.  I did pretty well at the dart throwing, thank you very much!  I think the coolest things were huge clear bubbles which floated on water with a person inside.  The balls were unzipped a bit, Zane crawled inside, and then the ball was re-inflated.  Then Zane was shoved off into the pool!  When I was little I would have been freaked out a bit by these, but Zane loved them.

We had some time before the monster truck show started, and Zane was eager to see some of the animals.  I was glad since last year I had to drag him to the animals.  We saw lots of fancy rabbits and chickens.  I was running out of cash, so unfortunately we only munched on a corn dog, some egg rolls, and some food I had brought with us.

Then it was time for MONSTER TRUCKS!  I'd never been to a show and didn't really know what to expect.  There was a line to get in, but the grandstand was a bit more sparsely populated than I thought it would be.  The announcer tried to whip up the crowd, but the crowd was kind of tepid.  Before the show people were walking around looking at the trucks, and some sort of monster bus was giving rides in the distance.  When the show started those engines were LOUD!  I was surprised to see about half the kids without ear protection.  I wish I had some!  The trucks faced off in pairs and did a short hairpin-turn obstacle race.  In the end Wrong-Way Rick won, and he did it driving backwards!  After this was a race with some beater cars.  One of them was such an awful racer I think it was actually demolition car version of a clown.

During a break in the action there was a kids' dance mosh pit where stuffed animals were handed out.  At first Zane was too shy to join, and by the time he did join the animals were gone.  That was a bit of a bummer.  Then we headed over to some National Guard vehicles he had been ogling.  He wanted to go in, but I said we probably couldn't.  As we were peering into some sort of armored vehicle a guardsman asked Zane if he'd like to go in!  What a huge smile on Zane's face.  The man gave Zane a tour of the truck and let him sit in the turret of some sort with a periscope.  I was really surprised at how awesome Zane thought it was, as we talk way more about monster trucks and construction vehicles than about military ones.  I think this was the highlight of his Monster Truck Rally experience.

From the moment we got to the show Zane had noticed a huge stack of junked cars in front of a ramp. After the thrill of the military vehicle Zane was ready to go, but just before we did the big stunt happened.  Mr. Dizzy in his matte black car had been really talked up at the beginning of the show, and now he was ready.  We were standing almost in front of the ramp when Mr. Dizzy revved up and came at it.  As he went over the ramp flames shot into the air which shocked Zane and I, and then he crashed right into the pile of cars.  I let out an "EEP!", and Zane declared he didn't like it at all.  We watched Mr. Dizzy drive off and the pathetic smashed cars get cleaned up, and then we headed out.

We found an ATM outside of the grandstand and I got some money so we could have a caramel apple and a drink.  It was really late and already getting dark, so we headed home.  My clever plan was to stay out until bedtime so that Zane would fall asleep on the way home, but he was so jazzed by the experience that he stayed awake until I got him home and into bed.  On the way home in the car he told me an elaborate story about a robot garbage truck made of diamonds that could crush any other robot out there.

Well, in a complete 180º turn, our next adventure was bread baking.  Zane had been asking to do it, so when we had a full day open before a school potluck, Zane and I made challah.  Challah is such a lovely bread to look at, and you get to braid it, paint on eggs, and sprinkle on seeds.  What could be better!  I usually get the urge to bake in the winter and then have a hard time getting dough to rise in a cold kitchen.  This time it was summer, and we also have a newish stove which has a warming pad on it which is just perfect for helping the bread along.

 Zane eagerly put on his chef outfit he got from Grandma for his birthday.  He really enjoyed mixing the dough and did an excellent job of kneading the dough.  I was really quite impressed.  Waiting for dough to rise can be pretty boring, but we managed to have some activities in between.  We went out for brunch during the first rise, and when I asked for the check more quickly than usual, I proudly explained we had bread rising at home.  I felt so homemakery.

Next we got to PUNCH the dough, and after another rise braid the dough.  One more rise and we were ready to paint with eggs and sprinkle with sesame and poppy seeds.  Zane is a good egg painter, too, and really took the job seriously.

The bread came out beautifully, and tasted amazing.  Everyone at the potluck was very impressed.  Usually when I make something for a potluck I expect to have about half of it for leftover, but the whole thing was gobbled right up.  A little too successful!  We'll have to make another for us soon.

In early September we headed out for some blueberry picking.  I think that's when we went last year, but I guess the blueberries ripened a bit earlier this year due to our abundance of hot sunny days.  The berries were pretty sparse on the bushes.  Still, we had a good time.  It's a lovely way to spend a morning.

The next weekend we headed to the Seattle Tilth fair which is all about urban gardening.  We had fun playing in the park, eating honeyed roasted corn on the cob, and making a fairy wand.  I saw some raw peanuts for sale with their greenery still attached.  I thought it was pretty cool to show Zane how peanuts really grow, and I bought some.  We tried one uncooked to see what it was like, and it was like a tasteless plain white bean seed.  I roasted them at home, but they never really got to tasting yummy no matter home much I roasted them.  If I ever get more raw peanuts I'll try boiling them.

After the most amazing summer ever, on September 17th I finally conceded the end and packed away the pool, the slip 'n' slide, and the fans.  Many people are sad that Fall is here, and while I'm usually sad, too, this year I just feel really, really satisfied.

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