Spring break ain’t what it used to be

The grandkids are having their spring break this week. My plans were to take them to the zoo yesterday, which were made pursuant to last week’s weather forecast of sunny and a high of 45°. A little chilly, but if we layered and ducked into the aquarium, and the Australian nocturnal house, and reptile house enough times, it just might be enjoyable. Well, that little plan got spoiled by Mother Nature. High of 30°, and three inches of snow starting in the early afternoon. They played in the snow instead—Nathan, Kaitlyn, and Joshie. Kaity came in first, because Nate pelted her face with wet snow. Then Nate asked me if I would help him get Joshie inside, because he was done, but his little brother didn’t want to quit. They had already been out for about 45 minutes, but I put on my Snowmageddon outfit, and stayed out with him for a while longer. And stayed, and stayed…he’s the Energizer Bunny when it comes to the outdoors. Finally, when it was almost dark, and he was getting wet from the heavy snow, I got his mommy, who was just returning from running an errand, to bring him in. He wasn’t too happy about it, but so far, we’re still in charge. So far.

I googled indoor water parks for something to do this week. That’s not happening. The good ones are already booked up, of course, and the two stars on TripAdvisor ones are too expensive for the quality of the accommodations. I really didn’t want to spend that kind of money anyway. I think it would be better spent on a summer membership to the municipal pool, where I can take them every day, if the weather permits.

The only movie they want to see doesn’t come out until Friday, and I don’t really consider that an activity. So, there’s bowling, if we can get a lane. I’m only counting indoor activities, because it’s supposed to be rainy and drizzly the rest of the week. Bah.

We’re members of the Ohio History Connection, so we’re heading to the Ohio History Center on Wednesday. They have a wonderful exhibit of a 1950s Lustron home, reconstructed on the site, and complete with costumed docents. Lustron homes are fascinating. They were manufactured of porcelain enamel-covered steel. They were touted to be the home of the future, fully maintenance free, and easy to clean, and made on an assembly line. Lustron was the wonder child of an Ohio businessman, Carl Strandlund. There’s one in Marysville, although I don’t think it’s in mint condition, judging from the outside.

All of the historical sites in Ohio fall under the Ohio History Connection umbrella. We started Spring break early on Saturday with a visit and a hike at one of the most interesting locations—the Cedar Bog Nature Preserve, the largest and best boreal and prairie fen in Ohio (there are only two). I don’t know why it has bog in the name, because bogs are different from fens, in that “bogs clog, and fens flush”. Many cautions are handed out about staying on the boardwalk the entire time, mainly because the sedges (grasses are round, sedges have edges) are deceptive. You think you are stepping out onto grass, but you can sink into water as deep as your waist in a matter of minutes, and it’s muck under there, kind of like quicksand. The water stays at a constant 55°F year round, even in the most bitter cold and the hottest days of summer.

If that wasn’t enough to scare the young’uns, the over-the-top warnings about the Eastern Massauga rattlesnakes sunning themselves on the boardwalk, and the honeybee tree with the swarming bees was enough to make Nate want to stay in the visitor center. But we convinced him that, more than likely, we wouldn’t encounter any snakes. I don’t really think it was warm enough for them to be out of hibernation. As I thought, there were no scary encounters on our little hike. There were lots of skunk cabbages poking their little purplish heads through the muck, though. It was fun trying to spot them. And we did see the bee tree, but the honeybees were, as usual, minding their own business and not bothering anyone. I want to go back to Cedar Bog when the spring flowers are in bloom. It’s a sight to see.

We also did a short hike at the Darby Creek Headwaters Nature Preserve. The trail and viewing platforms were built and are maintained by The Nature Conservancy. They have an Ohio headquarters in Dublin. David’s sister Anita is an attorney for the national headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. They do wonderful work preserving natural places for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.

All of that hiking worked up a big appetite. We went to the little town of West Liberty, where we ate lunch at the only fast food place in town, a Subway, which is about the only fast food that I can still stomach. We were lucky to get there ahead of a girls’ soccer team, and a boys’ baseball team. Then we headed to the local ice cream shop, Nanzinger’s, where we had delicious ice cream cones, and I found a source for free-range eggs and bought two dozen. Nate doesn’t like ice cream (he’s not related to me!!), so after we had our ice cream, we headed to Marie’s Candies, a local candy maker. They hand out free samples, and have the best chocolates I’ve ever tasted. Yum. They had all their Easter offerings on display, and I’m going back this week to buy candy for the kids’ Easter baskets. Nate perused all of the delicious offerings, and finally settled on sour gummy worms. What?? I’m beginning to think that this child really isn’t related to me!

Joshie was plumb tuckered out and slept most of the hour’s drive home. The boys said it was a really great day (Kaity had spent the night with a friend and didn’t go with us), and when can we do it again? Soon, boys, real soon.