Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hand Carved Bows

I don't remember my mother having to make us go outside in the summertime. Of course, it wasn't 95 degrees in the shade in Vermont, either! On this day, I sent John outside to play and he got creative whittling a bow from an actual branch.

Then he carved one for the little guy who strung it himself with yarn.  Do not look at the knives in this picture, very scary! I don't think I noticed these when I took the picture!

I loved seeing this activity and this bow is still working weeks later. Now that's what Moms are looking for from their kids in the summertime!

A "Grand" Fourth

On the morning of July Fourth, I got up early and decided to make a holiday of it by cooking good food. I didn't want to go spend a bunch of money buying groceries and so determined that we would cook what we already had.
Potatoe salad with lots of hard-boiled eggs, venison burgers made tastier with "All American Burger" packaged seasoning, shish kabobs from venison tenderloin and leftover corn on the cob, and very tasty homemade pound cake with strawberries and fresh whipped heavy cream were all on the menu. I texted the kids to let them know I was cooking.
To our delight, folks showed up including the grandchildren. Sometimes, impromptu gatherings are best. There is so much less pressure!

Cindi and I had on matching outfits.
Golf was the entertainment.
Handsome loves to play with his cut down to size club. He's pretty good!

It was great to see everyone who could make it to just hang out on a mid-week holiday.
Equally grand was spending casual time outdoors with the youngest members of the family.


After years of discussion, we took the plunge and hired a team of men to take down first seven, and then another nine large trees from our yard. Most of the trees were diseased and indeed were hollow when dropped and cut up on the ground. Some healthy ones also had to go because they were extremely tall and located right up against the house.
I have resisted this for years and finally Larry realized that if this was going to get done, he would have to make the phone call. He most definitely called the right small business because these guys were FANTASTIC at what they did, hard working and affordably priced. They worked for a set price per hour which sounded steep until you factored in that four men with chain saws, a bucket truck, a massive stump grinder and a mulch maker ( tree branch chipper) came with.
This is the tree that I will miss the most. I have spent countless hours while sitting on the couch homeschooling the kids, watching the wide variety of birds that have called this tree their home. I have observed many birds in and around it through the kitchen window while washing dishes The birds are still confused because it is gone, and can be seen flying in the sky above this area looking for it.
From the front yard, the bucket can be seen way up in these very tall trees. This was no do-it-yourself job!

 Every time it stormed, we had to go into the basement to avoid being killed if one of these trees uprooted and smashed through the roof. There are only so many "Divine Mercies" one should pray before also doing what can be done to help the situation!
This is one of the big dead ones.
This Hickory was hollow through the middle and stood with a hard lean toward the house. This firewood we will keep because of the beautiful aroma of hickory wood when burning, especially if you smell the smoke from outside. It is heavenly!
The men, who worked from 8-2:30 on both days that they were here, left all the wood cut into fireplace length logs. I was very impressed with their work ethic. Being paid by the hour, you would think that they would want to take their time and leave at 5 pm. Not at all. They worked very quickly, cutting 16 massive trees safely into logs in 13 hours total (over two days).  In the past, we have paid  more for one tree to be dropped then we paid these guys for a whole day.
Most of the wood we will give away. We just don't burn that much anymore, now that we have heat in the basement. A guy on dialysis and his family took a boatload of it and a recent widow at church is getting a whole lot more of it, which the boy scouts have started to cut for her.

As an unintended result of this project, we now have lots more LIGHT in the kitchen, mud room and garage.

Although I don't miss the big ugly dead trees, I really do miss the two pretty healthy ones that were just beyond  the back deck. However, I am grateful that we made this decision and took the needed action to protect our family and our home from dangerous falling trees and  limbs on windy and stormy days and nights.

Still Driving Grandma Dolly

With two cars in the shop, Larry had to drive our new van to work for a week. Grandma Dolly's doctor's appointment arrived and Sam's little car was the only vehicle to take her in. You can imagine how much she enjoyed the ride through town in this two seater! I thought about taking the T-tops off to add to the fun, but technology baffles me so we skipped it.
In a couple of weeks, it will be nine years that we have been driving Grandma Dolly everywhere she needs to go. Greg took her the store weekly for a year, but the girls were never able to help regularly because of their duties at the horse farms. I am thinking that Sam may be just the man to step in and help me out with this pleasant task next year, God Willing.

Herbal Essence

I looked out the window to see the three girls sitting together with their hair blowing in the wind!
I grabbed my camera and took their picture, after they suggested that they turn around to get the wind to blow their hair backwards, not forward!

In Sickness...

Larry and I were both quite sick at the same time for a couple of weeks and experienced a paradigm shift as we saw each other as "sickly" It was very much like shades of what is to come as we age together ( Please God!). We were both on the same medicine, a "Z Pack", usually a terrific antibiotic but which did nothing for the respiratory viruses, manifested differently in both our cases. I remember us looking at each other like: "How are we going to get our stuff done, feeling this badly?"

The non-stop Violent coughing was the worst symptom for me, (which actually caused my rib to break!), a thousand times in each 24 hours and Sam had the very same thing. It was like a terrible Flu. In addition to his respiratory symptoms, Larry's knee(s),(arthritis and bone on bone) were severely painful making each step he took, agony. We were coming to the reality that we are ageing! What a shock. I used to be 19!!!!

We are both much better from the illnesses which took every bit of three-four weeks to shake. Larry will soon be having surgery to repair his knee and I hope and pray that it will be total success like his last one.

I found out why folks who are sick like to talk about it and realize that although it may be interesting to the ones experiencing it,... not so much to the folks who are listening to it!!!!!

Easy Curtains

I was asked to make some curtains for a small building that has six windows. The last curtains made for those windows were over ten years old and I remembered that they had been made out of simple bed sheets. I went to Wal-Mart and bought six twin FLAT sheets in this lovely ivory color to match the light gold wall papered walls. Each sheet was less than five dollars,
and was packaged in one of these cute little bags with a snap on them. There wasn't enough material in these bags to make tie backs, but I am sure the kids can find a use for them.
Each sheet was cut in two lengthwise to fill both sides of one window. I kept the large hem that is at the top of each flat sheet as the bottom hem of the curtain and worked with the other end to sew a rod pocket and header according to the length needed by measurement.
It took a few days to finish the project between the ironing, pinning and sewing and the duties necessary in a typical day. They turned out well although not super "full" which DOES let more light in. A "Full" sized sheet, one for each window and cut in two could be used for a drapery that has  more fabric. For five bucks per window, these curtains suffice and I hope they last as long as the last set did!


We were very grateful to spend a week at the shore at a beautiful and comfortable Beach House owned by heroically generous friends of our family. For the first time, none of our adult children could join us and we had a small party of six. We missed our big kids and the grandchildren because they are so much fun to be with.
We had an extremely relaxing week of being together with our "small' family.  We got as much sun as we could during the two days that it shone, and experienced the beach in its many stormy moods. The great crashing waves and the grey and dark blue colors of both the sea and sky were majestic.

The cooler weather lent itself well to the making of delicious homemade meals in the wonderful kitchen. We really enjoyed watching some cable TV all together as we don't have cable at home! It was a nice change of pace to be relaxed and not busy...
To see a tropical storm come through as we watched the rain over the wide horizon of the ocean was a new experience. The kids loved swimming in the pool and Larry and I were grateful for the gift of time spent together in such a scenic and luxurious place.


This is a family Blog so notice that there is no "n" on that title which would be a word I try not to say! However, our entire extended family has had a ball talking about the 'Dam Hill" and the "Dam Road" which have recently opened up after a long period of of reconstruction.
The dam is located at the end of this more than 200 acre lake. It was determined that it did meet meet the requirements to hold back the lake in the event of a 500 year flood. I am not sure that any dam could meet those requirements! Inconveniences ensued which turned out to be a better situation then ever for the residents of the other side of the dam when it was closed for almost two years!
The engineering is amazing and quite a sight to see.
The lake had to be dropped 10-12 feet all around it while the work was done which negatively impacted the beach, but now it is better than ever and ready for swimming! Hot D---!

Who Ya' Gonna Call?

This little lady was playing with her horses in the basement ( in her bathing suit) when she heard a loud "thump".  A few minutes later she heard a "hissing" noise and looked up to see a thick, 5 foot Black snake about 2 feet from her!!!!!!!! She ran up to Meg, white as a ghost and said "There is a snake in the basement." Meg expected to see a tiny little Racer snake and was flabbergasted to see this big snake!
I was out at the clothesline ( had I left the door open????) when they came flying out to tell me! I saw the snake and all we could think was to call a pest control company. The first one I called said " Oh, we don't handle snakes....". I am still waiting for the second company to return my call.
Then Meg picked up her phone and called her husband. Jon happened to be on his lunch break at his favorite place to grab a sandwich which is very nearby. He was here within 5 minutes!
Meanwhile, the snake holed up in this firewood pile near the wood stove. Taking over the situation, and Completely up for the challenge, Jon was able to wrestle this snake from his hiding place using golf clubs (to hook him) and his bare hands! He put him in a  rubbermaid container used to hold legos and took him out the door!!!!!!
Jon then put him in his work truck, not in the back as you might think but in the passenger seat to show his prize (still alive, of course) to all the guys at work. He was at our house for about ten minutes from start to finish! I don't even think he was late getting back from lunch. G-Buddy saw his Daddy being a hero and Meg and I were SO grateful for the way her husband responded and took charge of this dilemma.
Thank you so much, Jon!

The next week, we had a live bird fall into the same woodstove and Larry had to open the basement windows and then the fireplace to let it fly outside!!!!Yuck!!!

 I am wondering if it is time to get a nice normal house in a subdivision!

Afghan Princess

Although my wonderful late Mother-in Law, Sally, will always be the Afghan Queen of our family, I am attempting to follow her example! I did show this baby blanket before but this was the first gift afghan I made in February, for my friend Audrey, due this week.
This one was for Lindsay and her little daughter expected momentarily!

Please Lord Jesus, be with both of these ladies, due on the same weekend, as they bring their children into the world.
Trying something new ( adding multiple colors inside the piece), this one was for Precious.
This striped one was made for the G-man and just finished recently. We expect him to be tall and he is already four and a half, so this one is larger, spread out over a full sized couch.
I can certainly see what my MIL enjoyed about crocheting! She liked to challenge herself and used complicated patterns and intricate stitches. I am sticking to the basics for now, and enjoy this simple activity in the evening hours when my work for the day is finished. I like going to the yarn store to pick out colors and types of yarn, but buy for only one project at a time and finish each one before getting into the next. I am working on my next afghan at this time, for a certain baby boy expected in a few months!

Bridal Shower

Chelsea's Bridal Shower was lovely and a lot of fun because so many fun people attended! Held within walking  distance from  our house, 15 of my family members met here and we caravanned over to the party.
Everything was so nice! Chelsea's Mom and sisters were our hostesses and it was easy to see that all the ladies in her family share a knack for home decorating and creativity.

Cindi, (looking so fab and happy), led us in some great games, including,
This game was a blast!
So many people I love were present and we had a great chance to catch up and also to meet all of the women in Chelsea's life who will be at the wedding.

All of the Littles came to the party and enjoyed this very gentle giant of a dog in his crate.
Our Bride-to-Be wore a white summer dress and really seemed to love the many gifts for her kitchen and home showered upon her by so many friends and family members.