After we left Williamsburg, we headed down south to Georgia where my unschooling friend Madeline lives with her amazing organic-farmer husband, Nicolas, and her two fantastically adorable and impressive sons. We drove 9 hours just to get there, and I woke up at 5:15 am to get us out of the hotel and to her place at a decent hour. And every bit of it was worth the effort!
We had so much fun and felt so welcome in their wonderful home that we really didn't want to leave when the time came to drive up to the Lovejoy's for a house concert with Amy Steinberg. I think that's why we dilly-dallied so long, lingering over these amazingly moist pancakes that Gillen made for everyone. Gillen was an amazing cook, totally comfortable in the kitchen, and he and Julia bonded over chocolate and baking for Madeline's birthday (though I hear he does that with all the girls).
That afternoon we enjoyed a lovely visit to their farm where we took a nice hike out to a beautiful meadow and field of quartz crystals. The kids had a blast playing "predator," a combination of tag and hide-and-seek through the tall grass. We lucked out that there were no hunters on the property that day, considering it's deer season. Along the hike we got to see a beaver dam and the habitat they're creating in the woods. Crystal hunting was such fun, kind of like being on a geology dig, especially after our recent trip to the Smithsonian rocks and gems collection and Luray caverns (more on those trips later). I kept finding these amazingly perfect small crystals that looked bizarrely like teeth from a crystal monster. I kept envisioning this giant mouth full of crystal teeth along the lines of the abominable snow man or something.
We had a perfectly relaxing, beautiful day with everyone, and luckily we were all smart enough to go to sleep far earlier than we had the night before. The worst part about the whole visit was having to bully them into letting me help, though Nicolas was pretty much a push-over in that arena. I would have stayed and helped him at the farm all day if I could have—hopefully without botching the job too badly along the way. Next time maybe I'll have Jim along with me for a trip to my mom's place, and I'll get to do just that. Though if he'd have seen their hunting set up, he would've been itching to be out doing that! (For the record, I do believe Gillen is at present the only hunter in their family—see another great evil way to get Gillen to push for a trip up here in the spring!