By Robert Louis Stevenson
What are you able to build with your blocks?
Castles and palaces, temples and docks.
Rain may keep raining, and others go roam,
But I can be happy and building at home.
Let the sofa be mountains, the carpet be sea,
There I'll establish a city for me:
A kirk and a mill and a palace beside,
And a harbor as well where my vessels may ride.
Great is the palace with pillar and wall,
A sort of a tower on top of it all,
And steps coming down in an orderly way
To where my toy vessels lie safe in the bay.
This one is sailing and that one is moored:
Hark to the song of the sailors on board!
And see on the steps of my palace, the kings
Coming and going with presents and things!
Daniel didn't have to go to robotics today because the team could only get into the school building for a couple of hours, so once Adam got finished volunteering at Hebrew school, we took both boys to Colvin Run Mill in Great Falls, Virginia, where we checked out the flowers, the general store, and the mill, though the water wheel wasn't turned on and we didn't stay for the full mill tour. There were geese by the stream and little songbirds nesting in the mill bricks, plus a large vulture perched on the chimney of the historic house. From there we went to nearby Meadowlark Gardens in Vienna, which was quite crowded because the park has many cherry blossoms, but it also has a path through a bog with geese and turtles, a Korean Bell Garden, dozens of flower beds around a pond with koi, and a visitor center with frogs and snakes. Far more tulips are open in that garden than anywhere I've seen outdoors in Maryland so far.
Little birds had made nests in and around the mill...
...and a vulture was keeping an eye on the field from a chimney on the nearby house.
The blacksmith wasn't working today but the little museum about grain was open.
Meadowlark Gardens has flowering cherry blossoms all around the visitor center...
...and circling the pond in the valley.
Here are my kids down by the water.
And here I am near one of the flower beds.
My parents invited us for pizza since they won't see Daniel later in the week -- he's traveling to North Carolina for a robotics regional match, and is excited both for the competition and because he has finally ordered a new laptop that's expected to arrive in the next day. So we had dinner there, then came home and watched the first two episodes of The Borgias, which reminds me a great deal of The Tudors with slightly less explicit sex in these early episodes. There aren't any female characters who immediately jump out as extraordinary (Lucrezia Borgia is promising and the actress who plays her looks uncannily like Amanda Seyfried, but she's still fairly young and innocent), but it's entertaining if historically distorted, and Jeremy Irons is definitely enjoying chewing his scenery, though the delectable François Arnaud almost steals the show as his son. Will definitely be tuning in for part two of this (we postponed part two of Mildred Pierce for this).