One of the things that sold us on this house is the access to the adjacent forest preserve and all the trails that run through it. I had beautiful day dreams of gathering up the whole family and strolling out the door and into the woods without having to worry about driving and parking and the possibility of not having all the important gear we'd need for a Sunday afternoon nature hike. Like snacks. Snacks are very important to three year old hikers.
Unfortunately, we've only been on two or three decent walks since moving here. It's amazing how much of a time suck raising an infant is. We've had a beautiful fall, the weather has been perfect for it, but all my plans of family walks usually go down in flames when there are naps to be thought of. Not to mention the ticks. Don't even get me started on the ticks.
Okay, I can't resist. Not only have we found at least a gazillion ticks on the dogs upon returning home, not only wood ticks but also the dreaded Lyme Disease carrying deer ticks, but I also found a tick crawling on my arm while I was carrying the baby (and I screamed like a girl as my body went into fits of convulsions trying to shake the damn thing off, because DEER TICK. LYME DISEASE. CREEPY CRAWLY DISEASE CARRIER. GAH.) and Mr. C found a tick embedded in his.... In his...
Well, as one man confided in me on twitter (as if that was possible), and I quote, "My Uncle Nishan once found on his ... Balzac."
So anyway, the walks have not been happening. We went on a short hike last week with Mr. C's parents but it was late in the afternoon and kind of chilly and on the trail we chose to take there were lots of piles of horse poop to avoid. Poop that was hidden under a thin layer of fallen leaves. Dodging those landmines is really fun when you're holding onto a three year old's hand for dear life but the last thing we need is for Chicky to trip over a tree root and fall face down in week old horse apples. Needless to say, the hike did not live up to my expectations.
Oh, and did I mention the hunting? Apparently, hunting season starts in the beginning of October, guaranteeing that our hikes during the best weather for it will take on a whole new level of stress. Horse poop? Ha! I laugh at horse poop when there's the possibility of being stuffed and mounted over someone's fireplace.
I come from a long line of hunters, deer mainly, but I had to do my research to find out the 411 on the full hunting season. There's bird season (pheasant, grouse, Wild *hiccup* Turkey) and Peter Cottontail season, Rocky the Squirrel season and Let's Kill Tod the Cute Little Fox season. Then there's hunting Bambi with bow and arrow and hunting Bambi's mom with a shotgun. That's my personal favorite. Guess taking the dogs out to the backyard to do their business will be a lot more interesting.
We even bought orange vests so we wouldn't be shot at while hiking. I have no joke for that. Feel free to interject.
But I still have my dream. The dream of one day seeing my dogs and my children on the trail, running ahead of me and Mr. C as we hold hands on a warm fall day.
The reality is the dogs will run ahead to gobble all the poop they can find and then I'll spend an hour picking tiny little disease carrying parasites off of them. And the girls will probably start a stick fight and one of them will end up in the ER. And we'll have to listen for gun shots and try not to be mistaken for Thumper.
But, dammit, I'm still going to dream.
Because I look pretty good in fluorescent orange.