Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sunday Swoon: Supper in the Park

This past Sunday was a lovely day, and we were all aching to get outside. Clover had lots of energy to expend, seeing how she’d been cooped up all week with us sick people. She needed a walk in the park; we needed to eat supper. So, we resolved to combine the two, and had supper in the park.

I whipped up an insanely easy, but delicious, supper and had us packed up in less than 30 minutes. In our little plastic containers I had purchased just for those occasions, I placed two boneless, breaded pork chops each, some stuffing, and a side of long-cut green beans. I added a brown gravy to the pork chops (something I made out of a package and later regretted – I typically make a buttermilk roux gravy for pork chops, but it takes longer). I added a container of capped strawberries, and threw a bottle of honey into our basket. I made sure everyone had a fork, gathered some napkins, and packed a cooler. I hunted down an old sheet to use as a tablecloth, and we headed for the door.

We decided to go to Norris Dam State Park, as it is close to home and Clover likes to walk there. She gets tired of the same ol’ walking places, so we try to mix it up for her. Besides that, the park offers a really nice picnic area on the East side of the dam, with an array of wildlife and wildflowers to be photographed.

When we arrived, we unpacked and set to eating. It seemed we were all famished, as hardly one word was passed between the three of us. Only chomps and deeps swallows could be heard amidst the birds singing and some children playing far off to the side of us. It didn’t take us long to finish up, and then we packed the picnic, stored it in the car, and took Clover Beene for her walk.

Beside our choice picnic table was a long stretch of young trees, and beside it was an easement for the power lines that wind through, offering a small bit of field – and Clover loved that. She sniffed and hunted for “hoppers” while Ashby took advantage of the young growth forest. She tugged, swung, climbed, and played on just about every tree in there. She stopped to count rings on the only old growth stump we found. She lost count after about 5. It had been there a while, and was very decayed. I accepted this opportunity of natural child playtime, and took lots of pictures. I set focus on some wildflowers, while she hunted for sticks to play with. Clover continued to sniff, and dragged Tim along with her.

We walked a short piece down to the lower picnic area. There I caught more photos of wildflowers, and some wild berries. Ashby played with a huge stick she had found, and sat on the “mushroom topped” tables – at least that’s what she called them. She played on the rocks that border the parking area, while Clover sniffed and sniffed and sniffed some more. She was drawn towards the scent of a deer, which came remarkably close to us. They must be used to people in the park. I caught a great picture of it (posted below).

After letting the kids play just a bit more (Ashby the ruler of the bathrooms, and Clover the ruler of the nose), we took the road back to the upper picnic area, packed up the kids and left for home. It was a great Sunday in the park… relaxing and refreshing. We highly advise “Supper in the Park!”

And now... for the pics:

Pic-a-nic Basket

Yummy Food

Dessert: Strawberries with Honey

Ashby chowing down.

Young forests = Good Fun

How strong is she? Well, the tree still stands.

Nice try... but we see you!

*sniff, sniff* My Favorite Thing!

Wildflowers in the Park

More sneezes - I mean, Wildflowers - in the Park

Thistle in Bloom

Lots of "Do Not Eats"

Ashby's favorite thing... A Stick!

Ashby on her "mushroom table"

"By the power of this stick, I shall rule the bathrooms!"

A lovely, curious little deer

An ugly picture of the dam due to "Dam" power lines.