There is a giant oak tree in our neighbor’s front yard, and over the last couple weeks it has started raining acorns on our house.  This has had several consequences, some expected and some unexpected.  First, the acorns have caused a frenzy of activity among the local squirrels and chipmunks as they industriously prepare for winter.  This comes at a time when Everett is going through an explosion in language and he noticed the commotion right away.  “Quirrel” and “chip” have become two of his favorite words – they are the first things he says when he wakes up in the morning.  Once downstairs, he stands at the doors and windows calling for them:

Fortunately he never seems to have to wait very long before they appear.  Gramma came to visit us for two weeks and was able to see this new behavior first hand.  During this time Everett got LOTS of attention and play time.
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It was fantastic for everyone, though since she left he has been looking for her as well.  Also, she shared with us a piece of the collective wisdom of grandparents that we initially found unbelievable but have since put to good use: it turns out that the bakery in most grocery stores keeps free cookies on hand for children, and all you have to do is walk up and ask for them.  Who knew?

The acorns are also one of the first signs that summer is ending.  This has been the most pleasant summer I have ever experienced, and I think Melissa feels similarly, but it has clearly been unusual for Wisconsin.  The two crabapple trees in our front yard never bloomed or never produced any fruit; the produce from our shares in a local farm arrived two weeks late, and most tomato varieties never arrived at all.
Lastly, the acorns signal the coming of fall, which means two things for us: Tosafest and winter preparations.  Tosafest is an annual celebration in the village of Wauwatosa where they close the roads and have lots of food and artists and musicians (and beer, of course).  During the celebration we ran into almost everyone we know in the state of Wisconsin.  For some time now Everett has been getting antsy in the stroller but couldn’t walk very far once on the ground.  At Tosafest he put shoes on and walked further than he ever has before.

As far as winter preparations go, I have assembled a long list of house repairs since we moved in a little over a year ago.  Our house is 80 years old and last winter we experienced a lot of cold-related problems: the attic is uninsulated and unvented, so the heat that escapes from the second floor causes the snow to melt which in turn causes huge ice dams which causes water to enter the roof and drip through the ceilings.  The bottom edge of the siding was never sealed to the foundation, which allows so much cold air to come in that our bathroom pipes froze last winter.  I could go on but you get the idea.  I have been making progress on these projects over the summer but not enough, and how I am in a dash to get everything done before winter.  Fortunately, collection of firewood has been going well and we are looking forward to cozy nights during the long winter.  Thanks to the squirrels and chipmunks we have a huge supply of acorn hulls for kindling.

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