Poconos Flat Travelers Bed and Breakfast

Welcome to the only known Flat Travelers Bed and Breakfast! Located in the beautiful Pocono Mountains, this B&B hosts FTs from all around the world. To make a reservation, leave a comment to any post. And if you don't know what Flat Travelers are, you're missing out! Go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FlatTravelers to find out.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Hello, Hugo, and Safe Journey Home, Malia!

The PFT B&B has had quite a bit of excitement the last few days, with Flat Barbie arriving from England, and Hugo making it in from Tokyo just this afternoon. Emil has been a bit quiet, but whenever we find a new adventure he's right in the middle of it!

In the midst of this, we're giving Malia warm hugs and helping her pack her envelope for her journey home to Hawaii. Here's what she's bringing with her:

1. 7 postcards from the area, including two with winter scenes and one with an autumn scene. She wanted the winter postcards to show the boys who sponsor her; she tells us there *is* snow in Hawaii, up high, but she was also fascinated with the images of a frozen waterfall and of people enjoying a local ski resort.

2. A Wayne County visitors' guide. The B&B is in Lackawanna County, but within an easy bicycle ride of both Wayne County and Susquehanna County, and Malia visited all three of these. The farm we explored yesterday is in Wayne County.

3. "Pennsylvania Outdoors Discovery Map: Poconos and the Northeast"

4. Northeast Pennsylvania Visitors' Guide for Scranton and All of Lackawanna County

5. From Lackawanna State Park: a recreational guide, a copy of the trail guidelines, and a menu from Poppop's Italian Food Concession.

6. Archbald Pothole State Park recreational guide

7. From the Children's Library: the July calendar, and a brochure describing the Summer Reading Club events

8. Her travel journal

9. New clothes, that kept her a bit warmer in the Pennsylvania mountains when her bikini just wasn't enough. Her new outfit is custom designed and handstitched by Kiki Kangaroo. :)

and, #10: Lots of love from her new friends in Pennsylvania! Thank you for visiting, Malia!

The Soapbox Collector

Malia's Last Letter Home

To my family,

I'm coming home! I've missed you all so much! But, thank you for letting me stay longer. Two weeks was really much better than just one.

I don't have pictures to post like we took the other days, but I wish we'd taken the camera yesterday! We went to visit some friends who live on an organic farm, and we had so much fun we didn't want to leave.

When we first got there, the grownups were just finishing with the haying. They had cut all the hay in three fields, and made more than 800 bales from it all! We watched them take the last tall wagonload out, pulling it with a green tractor.

Then, Yellow Raven (age 6) showed us around her gardens. We ate blueberries right off their bushes, and learned about all the plants they were growing. We learned about Sister Planting, which is when you put radishes in with the cabbages and potatoes to keep beetles away, marigolds in with the tomatoes to keep aphids away, and clover in with lots of things to keep weeds out and put nitrogen into the soil. We also learned about Drip Irrigation, where you lay a hose with tiny holes in it out through the plants to water just exactly where they need it, without much water evaporating or being wasted in other ways.

The Soapbox Collector and Yellow Raven's mom walked around and talked a lot too, but I don't know what they were talking about because we were so busy exploring. We played with a flock of baby guinea hens--2 weeks old--in their box in the house, under a heat lamp. They were so soft and downy! We played with the chickens, who really seemed to like Kiki. She has a way with animals, and they all seemed to love her. She liked holding the chickens, and took time to cuddle every single one on the farm! We also played with Jasper, a 10-month-old border collie puppy who is a total natural at herding sheep, and really good at it, but still learning that he's supposed to take them where the *people* want the sheep to go, not where *Jasper* wants them to go! We saw the beautiful stone grotto where Yellow Raven's stepdad might build her treehouse this summer. Whether or not that's the final choice for a location, Jinn Quon and Kiki are coming back out to help build it and learn how to do things like that. Yellow Raven's stepdad is a carpenter as well as a farmer, and he really likes kids, so it's going to be a lot of fun.

We walked through the woods up to the first meadow, where we moved the sheep enclosure while Jasper kept the sheep where they belonged. The fence was so light, just like a net with little plastic poles, but when it's hooked up electricity flows through the net, so the sheep don't touch it! There was a beautiful forest just past the sheep enclosure, with 40 acres of trees that haven't been logged in a really long time, so they're pretty old. But, this trip we took a different path, down to where the wild raspberries were growing. We walked in and around the bushes, eating raspberries until we'd had enough to want to move on. Besides, there were more raspberries growing all over the place.

We walked through the fields that had just been hayed, down to the pond. Yellow Raven's stepdad had just planted two little willow trees in the grass near the pond, and he's going to make a pretty bench to put between them and plant flowers and shrubbery around so that it will be a beautiful place to relax. With the forest behind and the pond in front, I thought it was beautiful already!

When we crossed through the hayfield, we found a mulberry tree! Emil, Barbie, Jinn Quon, Kiki, Yellow Raven, and I went straight up into it to find the best berries and gobble them up! After the blueberries and raspberries, I *thought* I was done with berries for a while--but that was before we saw the mulberries! We stayed up there for a long time, while the Soapbox Collector and Yellow Raven's mom sat on some big rocks just inside the forest at the edge of the field, and talked. Finally, though, we were getting hungry for more than just berries, and we'd drunk all the water in our water bottles, so we headed back to the house.

There, we played in the yard while the moms picked supper in the garden. Yellow Raven has an awesome yard--a swingset, but also two big barns, lots of room to run and play, and a big wooden spool that rolls around the yard if you push it or walk on top of it. Kiki was pretty good at standing on top of the spool and making it roll where she wanted to go--and that takes a lot of balance and coordination! We also went up into the loft in the barn, and saw where Yellow Raven's mom is going to have her art studio. It's a good place for an art studio, with lots of light and really tall ceilings because it's in the loft of a barn. I wonder, though, how many other artists have a studio with chickens and sheep and a dog and all the other animals living down below!

After a very long time, the grownups called us to come and eat. The moms had picked all the vegetables, washed them, cut them, and cooked supper while everything was still very fresh. We had brown rice, and a fantastic Asian stir-fry with China Choy fresh out of the garden and marinated tofu. And, we had a salad full of everything you can think of that's ready to pick this time of year--mustard greens, lettuce, China Choy, fennel, carrots, radishes, Italian parsley, and a whole lot more than that. It was yummy!! We ate outside by candlelight, and had a very happy time.
Then we had ice cream sandwiches, made with soy milk so that the Soapbox Collector could eat them (she's very allergic to dairy), and played with the guinea chicks for a little while. We also played with Yellow Raven in her room for a bit. It got completely dark by about 9:45, and we finally left at 10:15. Yellow Raven was very sad that we had to leave, but we promised we'd see her at homeschool group on Wednesday in the state park. I won't be there, of course, but everyone else will. I was so tired when we finally got back to the B&B that I fell right asleep--and so did Emil and Barbie!

Since I mentioned it, I really should have told you about the homeschool group before. We go every Wednesday, and in the nice weather they meet in Lackawanna State Park. I've made lots of good friends there, too. The kids and their families are all so very nice!

I've had such a wonderful time here, family! Thank you so much for sending me to the Poconos this summer. I'm looking forward to coming home, giving everyone big hugs, and figuring out where in the world to go next. Today, Flat Hugo arrived at the B&B from Tokyo, and that sounds like a fascinating place. But then, Emil's from Sweden, and that sounds fun . . . and Kiki's talking a lot about Madagascar, and a researcher who's going to host Flat Shara there in October . . .and, and, and! There are so many wonderful places to go in the world!

Looking forward to being home,
Flat Malia

Jinn Quon and Barkley taking a nap Posted by Hello

Flat Barbie, from Birmingham, England (UK), took this picture of Kiki and Jinn Quon on the balcony. Posted by Hello

Emil and Jinn Quon took some time off from their adventures to play a video game on the Sega. (They're playing Sonic.) Posted by Hello

We sifted through and caught one creature after another, finding different things in different bins. We saw mayflies, stoneflies, water pennies, worms, and more invertebrates. (Don't worry; they all went home safe and sound to the river at the end of the day.) Mr. Pope taught us so much about them, that we were glad he was willing to pose for a picture with us, too! Posted by Hello

Here, Kiki's holding a special examination dish that lets her see the tiny creature she caught more closely. The lid is a magnifying glass! Posted by Hello

Barbie, Emil, and Malia watched while Kiki (in the yellow shirt) sifted through the river bottom to find the creatures that live there. If it doesn't look quite like a river bottom, that's because Mr. Pope scooped up water and dirt from the bottom of the river, brought it to the library, and poured it into these trays so we could explore. Posted by Hello

We walked to the edge of the parking lot at Johnny Rockets, where we could look down into Red Barons Stadium. Tonight, the Scranton Philharmonic was performing, with a fireworks display afterward. The music was beautiful! Posted by Hello

On July 6, we went back to the Children's Library for a different program. This one was called "Be a River Bug," and we learned about all the squiggly little things that live in the Lackawanna River. That's Mr. Pope, from the Lackawanna River Corridor Association, talking. There's a link to their website in one of Malia's letters home. Posted by Hello

After the movie, we ate at Johnny Rockets, a diner describing itself as a "Flashback to the Fifties." The servers have choreographed dances to certain songs, and when those songs come on the jukebox, the servers come out and dance! Posted by Hello

Emil and Malia really liked the nickel jukebox, with a selection box on every table. Posted by Hello

This is a picture of the theatre where we watched Spider-Man. It's supposed to look like the smokestacks on the steam engines that burned coal to carry coal. Posted by Hello

After the visitors' center, we went to see Spider-Man! All right! Posted by Hello

Here you can see us better, riding on the mule's mining helmet. Posted by Hello

This is all of us still playing in the backyard.  Posted by Hello

Remember I wrote you about the day that PonyTails and BuzzCut came over to play? This is them in the backyard on the Slip-and-slide with Kiki and Jinn Quon. By the way, we wrote "PonyTails" before, but she chose the screen name "Forest Elf" instead, later. I'll call her Forest Elf now, but I wanted you to know whom I was talking about! Posted by Hello

Emil, Malia, Kiki, and Jinn Quon pose with a mule at the Visitors' Center. The FTs picked up some brochures and postcards there to bring home. Posted by Hello

Albright Memorial Library has beautiful stained glass in all its windows. These windows are over a landing in the stairway that leads up to the computers, in the reference sections. Posted by Hello

Main entrance to Albright Posted by Hello

This shows the multimedia part of the library, with more beautiful stained glass at the end of a room filled with music CDs, audiobooks, VHS and DVD movies, and that kind of thing. Posted by Hello

This is the main entrance to Lackawanna College. Posted by Hello

This is just part of downtown Scranton. The white car you see is parked in front of the Albright Memorial Library. Posted by Hello

This is part of Lackawanna College, which is across the street from the library. Posted by Hello

While the kids and Malia were inside at the presentation, the Soapbox Collector walked outside to take a few pictures. This is the front of the Children's Library. Posted by Hello

This is part of the Albright Memorial Library's main branch, which is right next door to the Children's Library. Posted by Hello

Inside the Children's Library, Kiki (nearest camera, in red stripes), Jinn Quon (farthest from camera, in denim), and Malia (not visible) listened to a speaker from Fidelity Bank. The speaker told the stories behind the pictures on American currency. Posted by Hello