I knew it was going to be rainy for the morning yesterday, so I tried to plan inside things to do. I went to a local diner and had gingerbread pancakes for breakfast (yum) and started my annual re-reading of "The Hero and the Crown." I didn't get very far, but it was a nice thing to read while my pancakes were cooking.
Then I headed north, to one of those outlet-mall towns. The outlets were of not much interest to me, but there's a fantastic independent bookstore, and, as it turns out, a little hole-in-the-wall donut shop that makes pretty darn good donuts. Not as good as the much-lamented local donut shop that closed this year, but pretty good. Anyway, I killed time in the bookstore (and bought books, because that's often what happens when I kill time in bookstores). And then headed further north to the Merck Forest and Farmland, a non-profit farm/environmental education/conservation place. It's a working farm, with cows and sheep and horses and pigs and chickens and fields etc., but the back 100 (or 200, or 300) is woodland that's crisscrossed with roads and trails, and it's all open to the public. Oh, and they have their own wind turbine and solar panels. My kind of place.
It was still drizzling when I said hello to the chickens and the pigs, but later dried up and turned in to a lovely sunny day. Unfortunately, the vegetation was still very wet, and the main road in to the forest was mud the likes of which I haven't seen in quite a while. And some of the trails were only trails in the loosest sense of the word. I could tell where they were, but they were more an indentation in the vegetation than a lack of vegetation. So I got wet, and muddy, but generally had a good time. I almost blundered in to a huge patch of stinging nettle, but sylvantechie
is as paranoid about stinging nettle as I am about poison ivy, so I've become pretty good at identifying it. I took about one step in to the patch, paused, looked around and saw what I was getting myself in to, got a stick, and waged mighty war on said patch. I won, though not without minor victories on the part of the nettle. Stinging nettle, for the record, stings like a mo-fo if you brush up against it.
I really dug the fact that on the way back, I could tell I was getting close to the trailhead because I could hear the sheep bleating.
Then sylvantechie and I went to dinner, and then later to get ice cream (note to self: most people's idea of a sundae is way to large. And ginger and chocolate is a lovely combination). And then when we got home, my mother, mother-in-law, and brother all called in nearly perfect succession (quite a feat. I got off the phone with one, and about a minute or less later, the next called).
Yey. It was a good birthday.