The Hillhouse

The Journey of a Mother and Son

Alice in Waldorf June 19, 2013

I’m a bit behind in documenting our life’s adventures. More tedious tasks like planting the garden and finding chicken sitters have taken up our time lately. But as we worked under the hot sun in the garden today, Elihu stood up and said broadly (with his shirt off and his arms open wide to the sky), “This is the first official day of summer! We don’t have to do anything for anyone but ourselves!” I know just what he means. No more students for a while, no more school, no more commitments. No more nothing… but everything else, of course. Started by cleaning the gutters and weeding the garden and will soon turn to the far more arduous job of cleaning of the coop – but that’s all pure joy, really, because as Elihu said, we do it for ourselves. It feels good to work hard and see one’s progress.

But I digress, as my objective now is to share some of the delightful moments of the past few weeks. The eighth grade, under the direction of their teacher Jessalyn (seen in a previous post of a field trip to her farm) produced a most surreal and wonderful version of Alice in Wonderland for which I played piano. The score was one of the most challenging musical endeavors I’ve faced in quite a while – and it was fun, fun, fun. A great experience all the way round. A great way to send the eighth graders off…

Alice June 2013 109Here we go…

Alice June 2013 135Abigail gets the fourth grade centered as they prepare for their role as the cards…

Alice June 2013 092And then Jessalyn gets her class ready too…

Alice June 2013 089Some last minute directions…

May June 2013 Alice 304It’s been a long week of rehearsals. One lil man is pooped already.

May June 2013 Alice 280The audience in the round assembles…

May June 2013 Alice 266The characters backstage are ready…

Alice June 2013 142The show begins.. this is the famous Tea Party scene

Alice June 2013 141Alice meets the Caterpillar

May June 2013 Alice 262(Jackson as the Caterpillar)

Alice June 2013 154The cards are summoned by the queen. MacKenzie did a simply fabulous “Off with their heads!”

Alice June 2013 171And the trial begins…

May June 2013 Alice 279It’s Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee!

Alice June 2013 157Ruby sang beautifully as the Mock Turtle

Alice June 2013 208Alex was perfect as Humpty Dumpty with his recently broken leg

Alice June 2013 221The White Knight played so marvelously by Adam

Alice June 2013 225He has an audience member hold his horse

Alice June 2013 206The White Queen – Elihu just loved Caroline’s performance. Understated yet hilarious.

Alice June 2013 245The Red Queen, the White Queen and Alice (and Elihu far right)

Alice June 2013 128The fourth grade is relieved now that it’s all over!

Alice June 2013 100My car pool buddy, eight grader Ava, as the White Rabbit (with her gorgeous and proud mom)

May June 2013 Alice 317A fine, fine show. At first I thought it could never be done. The costumes, the props, the eurythmy, all the coaching and assistance in general were nothing less than impressive. Grace did a wonderful job as Alice – and was present in every single scene! Congrats, Jessalyn and your amazing eighth grade – plus a shout out to fourth grade teacher Abigail and her spirited fourth grade class as well. What a show. !!!

 

Much of May May 13, 2013

Always too much to tell. A slower pace in the country? Occasionally, but not often. The first half of May has been very busy here. Rather than tell you all about it, I’m offering a photographic retrospective of the last two weeks. Hope you don’t mind – there are quite a few pics here…May Day 2013 165Starting with a surprise visit one morning by Phil on his tractor, who’d come by to plow our garden. He’s doing it for nothing. Just being a kind neighbor. I told him I felt guilty about his helping us like that, but he responded that Mr. Sessleman had done it for him once upon a time, he was just passin it on. Hope I too am able to pass on some helpful kindness one day.

(This is earliest May – note how few leaves are on the trees, then compare to similar shots just a week later)

May Day 2013 177I like this shot – tractor, Elihu, goose, all in motion…

May Day 2013 180Elihu runs down the driveway after the tractor

May Day 2013 057May 3rd, the fourth graders dance around the May pole while singing (in harmony parts!) and weaving very intricate designs with the colored ribbons. This is a rite of passage for fourth graders at the Waldorf School.

May Day 2013 065Elihu and Dierdre bow to each other before the dance

May Day 2013 047Grandma and Grandpa were able to join us…

May Day 2013 084

My mom remembers dancing around the May pole when she was in fourth grade, too!

May Day 2013 092A nice looking group, these wonderful fourth graders.

May Day 2013 016Goofburgers!

May Day 2013 099Elihu enjoys a little picnic with his grandparents

May Day 2013 155We take a look at the weaving job

May Day 2013 156Lovely up close

May Day 2013 160Then Elihu helps carry it off…

May Day 2013 118Now for a quick family picture…

May Day 2013 120Before zipping off to catch a duck…

 May Day 2013 146Notice Elihu, to the right…

May Day 2013 122No bait used – nothing but extreme motivation and a finely-honed technique

May Day 2013 136Duck time

May Day 2013 126A fine end to May day!

May 2013 Merck Forest 007…and a fine start to our Merck Forest field trip as Elihu chases a turkey vulture across a field…

May 2013 Merck Forest 024Visiting pastured sheep, Elihu dashes off in hopes of seeing birds…

May 2013 Merck Forest 107The view was gorgeous. All I can think of is how much labor was involved in clear cutting the old growth forests and making them into farmland – at this elevation and nearly three hundred years ago, no less. Boggles the mind.

May 2013 Merck Forest 040We visited pigs that lived out in the woods. !

May 2013 Merck Forest 065Kids feeding kids.

May 2013 Merck Forest 056Too cute!

May 2013 Merck Forest 083Now to see the beautiful draft horse

May 2013 Merck Forest 093The class sang a song about horses (in a round!) as they admired her

May 2013 Merck Forest 097Ben found a B on the horse’s side

May 2013 Merck Forest 112Elihu and I head up the hill to the barns in search of swallows

May 2013 Merck Forest 143Bingo! Such striking markings and color

May 2013 Merck Forest 148What’s this? A pigeon’s nest…

May 2013 Merck Forest 149With eggs! Hope mom comes back soon to brood… think we scared her off

May 2013 Merck Forest 147We watch the horse get hitched up to her gear. They really do farm with the horses here at Merck Forest.

May 2013 Merck Forest 152On the trail to the car everyone fills the ‘elevator’ tree

May 2013 Merck Forest 153Nora and I are having mint chocolate chip! This girl’s amazing – she used a balled up piece of tin foil from lunch to make a baseball, and found some sticks… within minutes she’d started a full-on baseball game.

May 2013 Merck Forest 157We’re at the local Battenkill Dairy – our ice cream was made right on the premises. All of it. !

May Apple Blossoms 2013 005Ah, the apple trees…

May Apple Blossoms 2013 008And the flowering Quince, too

May Apple Blossoms 2013 035Look who’s returned one week later to till! Thank you Phil!!!

May Apple Blossoms 2013 017While Phil works, Elihu picks violets..

May Apple Blossoms 2013 026and picks…

May Apple Blossoms 2013 029and then makes ‘Violet Angels’ in them…

May Apple Blossoms 2013 039Next on the agenda, some Cinnamon fiddleheads from our woods for supper. They’re fuzzier than Ostrich ferns (and slightly more toxic) and take a lot of prep. Mainly why they don’t work well in restaurants.

May Apple Blossoms 2013 041Cleaned and washed

May Apple Blossoms 2013 042Boiled, next to be sautéed in butter

May Apple Blossoms 2013 045We actually really liked them.

May wishing well ballet 2013 016Onto the Saratoga City Ballet’s Spring production of Alice in Wonderland. That’s our friend Freya in the middle…

May wishing well ballet 2013 054and this is our friend Mahogany

May wishing well ballet 2013 061Here’s the only boy in the whole group. He is good. !

May wishing well ballet 2013 038Love the en pointe thing. So much harder than it appears.

May wishing well ballet 2013 079All three Waldorf kids afterwards. Mahogany and Freya are in seventh grade.

May wishing well ballet 2013 084We went out for ice cream after the show (Atkins diet took a week off) and it was positively snowing white apple blossoms!

May wishing well ballet 2013 100So pretty

May wishing well ballet 2013 155A few hours later and it’s our annual birthday dinner at the Wishing Well!

May wishing well ballet 2013 106In short order Elihu was playing along with the pianist in the bar

May wishing well ballet 2013 133Elihu’s very favorite dish of all: Frogs’ Legs. ! (I think he’s playing drums on the table with their little leg bones. !)

May wishing well ballet 2013 108Yeeps. I’m trying them too. And they’re actually very delicious. And no, not really like chicken.

May wishing well ballet 2013 131The pic above our table (Saratoga is a racing town.) This is pretty incredible, huh?

May wishing well ballet 2013 138Happy 60th birthday to us!

May wishing well ballet 2013 137Thanks for singing!

May wishing well ballet 2013 142Yay! A picture of the two of us taken by someone other than me. !

May wishing well ballet 2013 141The Wishing Well is an old-world joint. Lots of wood, mounted moose heads and such.

May wishing well ballet 2013 144Elihu gets a good-night smooch from owner Brenda Lee (with whom I’d sung ‘Exactly Like You’ earlier in the evening – when I requested  it and the pianist had – gasp – never heard of it.)

May wishing well ballet 2013 146Good-bye  WW – see you next year! (We love the place, but must note that our fiddleheads were better than theirs and that the escargot was not good. Wine not cooked off, not enough salt or butter, and gritty. We’re very forgiving, but it was a lot of money for a not so spectacular dinner. But it was fun to actually hear a person playing the piano. Plus I have learned that I cannot casually drink a martini these days. I got fairly loaded on nearly nothing. Times are a changin’.)

This has been our wonderful month of May so far…