Our favorite local mini-golf place was lovingly carved out of an existing dairy farm by the farmer's son, who was looking for ways to keep the property in the family and to keep the farm open. The course is beautiful, and lovingly landscaped in ways that pay homage to farming in New England. And it doesn't hurt that the ice cream there is outstanding.
Dean suggests that next season we keep track of our scores across all games played, to crown one grand master at the end. My suggestion was that we not keep score at all anymore, given that we're all now playing at an equal level and games generally end with no more than one or two strokes separating first from third. I'm fine either way, just as long as we're getting in as many games as we can. We might even head out again today.
The other current favorite outdoor activity is shooting Dean's bb-gun on our home range. I appreciate the fact that allowing a child to use a gun of any kind is not everyone's cup of tea. Dean's was a gift from his uncle, my brother Tony -- a responsible, dedicated outdoorsman who does bring home a deer or two during the season (which he is able to process completely -- tenderloins for the freezer, sausages, home smoked jerky) and who believes that teaching children gun safety is vastly superior to leaving guns a mystery (since that's what can lead to tragedies should an unprepared kid come into contact with a gun at some point).
We're super, super careful. Dean's wearing safety glasses, which you may not be able to see, the course is set up to avoid both anyone's walking in the area as well as to ensure no stray bbs do any harm (it's a mile of wooded conservation land with no public access beyond the target), and the procedure of safety on/barrel up is followed after every shot. And the reality is that the archery set that we have and use is actually the more potentially lethal (although of course THAT has all it's own safety rules as well).
So here we are, getting the most out of these last few weeks of summer -- made s'mores for dessert this week and looking forward to more badminton this weekend. My brother Tony and his wife arrive tomorrow from southern Missouri for a week's visit and we're planning to do some kayaking on a local lake as well as show them around Boston. Things just keep getting better.