Yesterday was one of those amazing summer-moving-into-fall days. It was sunny but the tilt of the sun in the sky made lots of good shade, the temperature was a bit cooler and the breeze was pleasant. We set off mid-day - two adults, three boys and three dogs - for a family outing to the east fork of the Little Miami River, which is right across the street from our house. The boys were dressed for swimming and exploring, and we were all excited to see how our new dog would like the river this time. Each time he's been there, he's gotten more adventurous.
When we arrived, I put Roscoe on his long rope leash so he could explore. He followed Oliver right into the water and laid down so that the water was flowing into his mouth.
Baxter was on the look out for crawdads from the start.
He is a whiz at catching them now. Last year, when we would go down he was so afraid that they would pinch his finger with their tiny lobster claws, but he seems to have moved past that. I love that look of pure happiness and deep curiosity that only the natural world can inspire.
Soju, our miniature Schnauzer, loves to wade through the shallow water. So long as it doesn't touch her belly she's happy as can be. She runs from island to island sniffing and checking things out.
Even Doodle, who generally doesn't like to get even her paws wet, joined in the family adventure. Josh coaxed her out to the first island and then she followed us as we made our way up river.
We spent about two hours wading, collecting cool shells and rocks, trying to capture small critters, and exploring various islands we hadn't been over to before. I find days like this so relaxing and revitalizing. Fresh air, cool water, warm sunshine, slimy moss, squishy sand and mud, smooth shells, perfectly flat skipping stones, and shimmery fish swimming by your legs - these are all ingredients for a happy childhood and a perfect day.
As Oliver put it on our walk home: I love our house. We are so lucky.