Wednesday, May 31, 2006

This May Be It

Mud is very nice to feel
All squishy-squash between the toes!
I’d rather wade in wiggly mud
Than smell a yellow rose.
Nobody else but the rose bush knows
How nice mud feels
Between the toes
(... and Hannah)
May will soon be over and we will into the month of June. With June comes all kinds of wonderful happenings, birthdays, anniversaries, the end of school and more warm weather and picnics. And best of all James' and Nate's return from Florida.
Today was another warm day but not as warm as the past two, somewhere in the 80's. We took it easy today, did laundry and mailed bills. I am finally feeling somewhat caught up with myself. I've also been eating mostly fruit and drinking water, tea, and watered down juice. I figured this would be a good time to go on a fruit fast as there are only a few people to feed. It's funny how often the mind gravitates toward food even when the stomach isn't feeling hungry.
I just talked to James. He is in Port St Lucie and sounding very tired. It is always hard to hear the exhaustion in his voice when he is so very far away. At least he is not alone and the long days of driving are over until it is time to come home. Yesterday was a long day for me too. It was just my normal Tuesday routine (Ladies' prayer and a few groceries) but it seemed a long and tiring day. I was up very early and went to sleep twice during the day. Today was better and I think I can really get something accomplished tomorrow...

Have You Seen This Man?

We are looking for the identity and whereabouts of this man, seen here running from the scene. He looks suspiciuos and we are hoping to capture him and have him dunked. Or at least give him a good soaking with the garden hose.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Picnics and Partings

Yesterday was Memorial Day and we had a gathering of friends and family for a picnic. There were sausages and salads, hotdogs and hamburgers, jello, watermelon, cookies... more food than 30 people could eat. I thought maybe we would have a nice relaxed game of croquet or bocce ball but instead there was a wild and crazy water balloon fight. No surprise, it was ninety degrees and besides, water wars have always been a popular picnic sport. There was also a game of football and a lot of visiting. Rachel fed watermelon and peanuts to the dogs and I tried to take pictures but wasn't very successful. After the crowd thinned out and it started to cool down, James started a fire and we roasted some marshmallows with Becky and her kids. We tried singing some campfire songs but only Becky and I were singing. The others were looking at us funny and didn't bother to help us out at all so after a little while we gave up too.

This morning James and Nathan took off for a job in Florida. They'll be gone for about two weeks and so the rest of us are on our own for a while. I am already looking forward to their return. Somehow I just didn't want them to leave at all this time.

Monday, May 29, 2006


Remembering all those who so willingly give and have given their lives for our freedoms.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

It's a Dirty Job

Well, Bethany had a hankoring to get her hands dirty this afternoon, so she came over to help me with some gardening. The job had been starting to look a little bit overwhelming and I was glad for an eager helper. Since Beth was out there to help me, everyone else's curiousty was aroused and we soon had a few more helping hands. We were able to finish planting almost everything except the corn,which will be going in very soon. Now if I can only be more diligent about watering this garden than I was with the peas which seem to have stopped growing altogether. This time we made mostly raised beds to plant in. The idea here is that the roots of the plants will have more room and that will produce healthier plants. I hope it works because this was a big job. Beth is planning to get some onion sets and maybe some garlic too. I'd also like to put in some winter squash and pumpkins. It is a big garden, I hope I can keep up with it.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Take a Hike!

Never blog about your day's accomplishments until they are actually accomplished. Now that it is evening, I can tell you that in spite of the fact that I didn't want to get out of bed this morning, I did get something done. While it was still morning, Nate and I set out some of the vegetable plants that I bought last week. We made raised beds in the garden and put in our pepper plants. Later this afternoon, near supper time, we were able to get in some tomato plants, summer squash and zucchini, and cucumbers. It is looking good and I am hoping for a wonderful crop of veggies this summer.

Between gardening ventures, we headed out to Ellison Park for another hike with Shelly and Jessi. We found a few families of geese who weren't sure whether they liked us or not. They did, however, like our sugar cookies. We took a great hike on the rim of one of the bluffs on the northern edge of the park. The kids love to run on ahead of us and prove how much younger, more agile and better shape they are in than we. The truth is that we are just too busy taking pictures to run. The kids had fun and so did we.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A Very Nice Day

The warm weather has returned! It's time to finish up that flower garden I started and get those vegetables planted. It's a day for getting things accomplished (now that I am finally out of bed).

Yesterday was my run-around-day. I wasn't shuffling children like Priscilla and Jamie, I was dragging them along instead. We went to Ladies' Prayer, Kohl's, K Mart, Payless Shoes, and Wegman's before we finally came home again. Then I made a batch of strawberry jam, a giant chocolate chip cookie, and supper before we had our Bible study which got started a little later than ususal. Wednesday is usually my day to catch up again at home after a wild Tuesday. So today I shall see how many "at home things" I can do before the day is over...

Monday, May 22, 2006

Not So Hot

The weather today is "not so hot". Actually, it's rather cold for being so close to the end of May. Right now it's about 47 degrees but with the wind chill, feels more like 42. (That's what the newspaper says.) A good day for baking cookies! I'm sure it will warm up again soon but for today I am glad for long sleeves and fuel in the oil tank downstairs. Oh yes, and for French vanilla cappucino too.

The Apple Blossom Festival was this past week. On Saturday the kids and I watched the parade and ran into several old friend up in town. It's always nice to meet up with people that I haven't seen in a while, especially friends from the church in Sodus. There were lots of hugs and smiles. I can't help but think of the reunion we'll have in heaven someday... Anyway, James took Hannah and I to Bad to the Bone for a late dinner and we met Dave, Leta and the girls there. On the way home, since it was already a tad after 9 pm., Hannah asked if we could go to the fireworks that signify the end of Apple Blossom. How could we say no? Amazingly, without any effort, we ended up in the same exact spot on the field as the boys and we hadn't seen them since the parade. So... now that the Apple Blossom Festival is over, it must be time for summer. Yeah!!!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

It'll All Come Out In the Wash... Maybe

The other day I decided it was time to wash the sheets on our bed and being the practical type that I am, also threw in several miscellaneous items; a few shirts, some underwear, socks, and my rose colored sweater. I hate to wash a small load when my machine is built to take an extra large one. This load was maybe medium sized, not too small but big enough to feel worthwhile. When I went to throw everything into the dryer, I discovered that my rose colored sweater was not quite colorfast. My boys are now the proud owners of a few pairs of slightly purplish socks and my bottom sheet, which is supposed to be cream colored, now has some funny tie-dye looking spots from being wrapped around the sweater. The worst part is that my favorite man now has light purple underwear. They were brand new and very white when they went into the washer and soaked up the color quite nicley. Oops! Lucky for me he doesn't seem to mind too much. Sorry, James!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Two Plus Three

Two adorable little boys...

 three pretty little girls.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A Double Blessing

My great grandma Shafer had a happy face and smiling eyes. She was born in 1882 and it was said that her roots went all the way back to the Mayfower. At the age of eighteen, she was married to a man twice her age and together they raised eleven children, seven girls and four boys. Her third child was my grandma, my father's mom. The family lived on a farm up in the hills of Allegany county. By the time I was born, Great Grandma was 81 years old. As a child, I remember her living in town with Uncle Leo and an orange cat named Timothy.

I remember visiting Grandma's home as a little girl, and being filled with wonder. The house was old and smelled of must and natural gas. It seemed big and mysterious, with a curved staircase to the mostly deserted upper floor. I was filled with curiosity and longed to explore, but didn't quite have the courage to brave the unknown rooms alone. Most of our visits were spent in the dining room where there was an old wood burning stove. While Mom and Dad visited with Grandma and Uncle Leo, I would study the old furniture and photographs and peek into Grandma's bedroom. Her slippers were always side by side under her bed. Outside we watched the chickens in their pen by the garage and searched for four-leaf clovers in the backyard. We played in the dry fall leaves that dropped from the huge old trees that lined the street. Grandma once showed me a spearmint plant that grew by the back steps. When it was time to go home, we would hug her good bye. She was soft and smelled sweet, like a Great Grandma.

As I grow older, I wonder more and more about these people who gave me my heritage. Who passed on their love of flowers or children? Did someone back there love to read or draw pictures? When I look in the mirror I see little glimpses of people long passed on. Where did I get my nose and eyes? Who left me my hair color or the ability to see without glasses? Where did I get this double chin? Ahh, Great Grandma, there it is on you! You've always had such a pretty, smiling face. I barely noticed the chin. If this is one of your gifts to me, I'll thank you, and wear it with a smile.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Bee-ing Busy

Today I have been busy with laundry (washed, dried, and folded three loads), cleaning the upstairs bathroom (I actually washed the floor!), and gardening (I planted the flowers I bought on Saturday). It feels like I got something accomplished and yet there are so many tings left that I need to do. My third quarter reports have yet to be done, school is getting lost again in "real" life, and the vegetable garden is also calling... After supper tonight I have a VBS meeting at church and then my day will come to a close. I'm sure I will be tired and ready to crawl into bed.

The Apple Blossom Festival is this week. When we lived in town there was no escaping the noise and excitement, but here, away from the crowds, we actually get to enjoy the real Apple Blossom Festival. The orchards are gorgeous! The Lilac Festival is also happening and the air is filled with the scent of blooming lilacs. The is nothing like it. They smell so fresh and pretty that every time I walk outside, I want to stick my nose into the flowers and take a deep breath. Mmmmm... The bees are finding them irresistable too.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

This is me and my very favorite mom!
It was a nice Mother's Day. We went to church and afterward headed over to my Mom's house for a picnic lunch. Wehad a yummy picnic lunch, played bocce ball and croquet, and sat around and visited. A couple of kids climbed up on the woodshed roof (Shhh! Don't tell Grandpa!) and we took pictures. I wanted to be sure and get a picture of myself and each of my sisters with my mom, something I noticed has been lacking lately. I got a chance to see all of my kids; Jim is back from vacation ( now he needs a rest!), Dave and Leta stopped by with Sara and Alysa, and Beth and Adam came over with their cat, Louis. On the way back home we stopped down at the pier at Webster Park and saw some of the sunset. It was cold but so pretty.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Apple Blossoms

It has been an amazingly beautiful spring. We have had more than our fair share of sunshine and warm weather. Last night, after another gorgeous day, we had a good soaking rain. The apple blossoms are bursting out on the trees and the orchards are in full bloom, at least most of them. It seems that some of the older trees take a little bit longer to flower than the newer smaller varieties, but they are every bit as pretty when they do. I have come to love the orchards all year long. They are as intriguing in the winter, covered with ice, snow, and old, unpicked apples, as in the spring covered with blossoms or in the fall drooping beneath their load of ripening fruit. I am so blessed to live here on this little farm in the country. Every year I am filled again with the wonder of God's creation and awed by His mighty power.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Rain Keeps Up!

Well, I didn't see much rain today. The clouds rolled in but the rain never made it. It was good though because we took a ride out to the Everson's with James. Mr. Everson took us for a walk back in the woods and showed us different kinds of trees and how to tell them apart. He used bog words like "deciduous", "indigenous" and "conifer". We learned how to look at the bark and leaves to tell what kind of tree it might be. Kinda tricky, I think. I guess it takes some practice. We also went out deeper into the woods in the Jeep. There was a cute little log cabin back there which Mr. Everson built. I wish I could have one in my back yard. That's all we need, right, more buildings?

Well, it was a wonderful day and we took plenty of pictures. There were trilliums, pink and white, Mayapples, ferns, and lots of different trees, ash, elm, hemlock, and abunch of sugar maples. The Eversons make maple syrup and we bought some to take home with us. Mmmmm! I also learned that there are "Mother Trees". They have lots of kids just like me!


by Hannah

The sun did not shine it was too wet to play so we sat in the house all that cold, cold, wet day. We sat there we two, we sat there all morning, and I'll tell you what guys, it was getting quite boring--wait, that's not how it goes. Ehhh, oh-well, sounds pretty good to me.

Afroova. We're gonna go for a walk in da woods. Well, if it doesn't rain a lot. I like walking in da woods, do you? Me too.

On Tuesday night I fell off my bike and hurt my hand and knee and shoulder. What fun! Actually, I was turning and I think turned I turned too much and my tire kind of spun around and my bike tipped over. The scary part was that I landed in the road and I had to get up quick before a car came by which was hard because my bike was in the way so it took a while to get up. The chain fell off but I decided to wait until Wednesday to fix that. It was exciting. I like to ride bikes, Falling off them can be fun too but it hurts.

Coffee Break

Everyone needs time for a little rest and relaxation. Today the sun is gone away and the clouds have rolled in. Although I much prefer the sunshine, there is also a special kind of beauty in the overcast sky and a gentle wind and rain. I often have to remind myself that God made me waterproof and the rain is to be enjoyed as well as the sun. Rain, in the Bible, always represented a blessing. We need the rain as much as we need the sun and too much of either one can be detrimental. Without the rain, everything shrivels up and dies. Without the sun, plants cannot grow and we also become lethargic. We need a good balance of sunshine and rain. So, enjoy the rain and look forward to more sunshine down the road. In the meantime, put on your raincoat, find a little kid, and go outside and stomp in the puddles!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Bird Watching

Ben wasn't the only one watching the birds the other day.

Monday, May 08, 2006

For the Birds

Ben had a little fun with the camera late this morning and got a couple of really good shots.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Hey, It's May!

Looking forward to using the tire swing...
...climbing up in the tree house...
...sleeping at "Hannah's Place"...
...a bonfire with marshmallows to roast...
...picking vegetables from the garden...
...croquet and bocce ball...
...and having a picnic!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Duck, Duck, Goose!

It just might be "a good day for a duck". The sun was shining when I first opened my eyes a little before 7 am. this morning, but the clouds have rolled in and it is darker now than when I got out of bed. It's looking like rain. My dad always jokes, "I hope the rain keeps up." Now what do you suppose that means? Well, in honor of the ducks (and geese and swans), I thought I would post a few more pictures. (I know, "they're for the birds".

Anyway, it was a great week, lots of sunshine, and... since I have actually begun to water the peas I so carefully planted, they are now growing! I had complained to James that nothing was growing and he simply said, "Did you water them?" Duh! What moron plants a garden and doesn't water it? Only a natural blonde! Sometimes I wonder what I would do without someone to so graciously point out my stupidity. This should onlyserve to make me more understanding when I can't figure out why "so and so" would "do such a thing". Can anybody relate?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Snippets from the Past

Yesterday's blog connections have gotten me thinking back to "the good old days" too. And no, they can't really be the "old" days yet because we aren't even close to being old. Being an adult (does that make me old?) is rather nice because no matter how much time passes ( and it hasn't been much, of course) we never forget our friends. When we run into each other, whether it's in the store or on the blog, it's as if there had never been a separation. The one exception is our kids. They have appeared in the time lapse and have no clue as to who this stranger is and why mom or dad is so excited to be talking to them. "How can you know someone we've never even seen before in our life?" Someday they will understand. Someday when they have kids who look at them, roll their eyes (not that my kids ever do that...) and say, "Can we go now?"

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Thursday 13

Thirteen Things About Ben

1. He's my boy!
2. Lots of people call him "Bob" because that is the name he told the kids at church when we first started going there. They know it isn't really his name but they all call him that anyway.
3. He likes to write stories and has several books he made and illustrated.
4. He loves to read Calvin and Hobbes. Sometimes he dreams that he is Calvin. He also enjoys Peanuts and his favorite character is Schroeder because he can play the piano like a pro.
5. He wears glasses (bet you didn't know that).
6. He would make a great drummer if only he had a set of drums. Instead he drums on everything from tables and school books to pillows and people. Hannah doesn't appreciate that too much.
7. He likes riding his bike and is looking forward to going on some good rides this summer.
8. He burps alot. (He takes after his dad.)
9. He has soft ears and cheeks and they're nice for kissing. (Mom's only, please!)
10. He doesn't like doing math but he does it anyhow.
11. He wants to go sledding if it ever snows again.
12. He talks more than Hannah does.
13. He sleeps in the bottom bunk because the top one is full of Nathan.

And that is my thirteen things for this week.

Drawing a Blank

Here I sit, trying to write something of even just a little value, but the bank seems to be empty. Is there a light on in my attic or did somebody turn it off? Oh well, such is the blogging adventure, eh?

It was another simply sunny day, at least that is how it started off; warm, sunny, and feeling almost like summer, a simply yummy kind of day! We went with Shelly and Jessi on a picture taking hike, first to the bay to watch and feed the birds, ducks, geese, swans, and seagulls. what a bunch of birds! It was just about lunchtime when we left home so next we headed for the park and had a picnic lunch, the first one of the year! What fun, eh? The kids were eager to take a hike so off we went... down the deadly hill that looked more like a cliff to Shelly and I, along the water's edge, and back up the hill to the safety of the van when it started to sprinkle. It was quite a while later when I realized that my reading glasses were missing. Where I lost them I have no idea. I am supposing that I set them on a log or hung them in a tree in order to have a free hand and then walked off without them. We retraced our steps but with no luck finding the lost spectacles. Such is life, you buy some, you lose some. (Isn't that how it goes?) Good thing for relatively cheap reading glasses at Eckerd's. Now I can see again. :)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A Rather Nice Day

Today is a rather nice day. These are the kind of spring days that I love so much, sunshine, warm air, flowers, and everything fresh. Yesterday was also gorgeous. I took a ride out to Priscilla's house (all by myself!) to visit and sit on her front porch. We took a walk around the block and had some lunch at the Philly Steak place. Mmmmm, it was yummy. Priscilla walks often and can go at a pretty fast pace. My short fat little legs kept up with her okay but were getting tired very quickly. I didn't tell her lest I be considered old and wimpy. Us country folks don't get out to walking quite as much as the town folks do. Where would we go? My legs were tired and achy last night but it was a good kind of achy. I need to get out and walk much more than I do. Maybe I'll visit Rachel or Shelly next and go for a walk with one of them too.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Come What May

Today is the first of May and I forgot to leave a basket of flowers on someone's door, ring the bell, and run away to hide and watch them find it. Oh, how sad and dissappointing. Now I will have to wait another whole year. Sniff, sniff... I remember how we used to do that very thing as children. We would make a little bouquet of flowers and put them in a paper cone basket with a handle. Then we would hang the basket on someone's door, usually an elderly neighbor lady, knock on the door and run to hide behind a bush. She would come out the door, look around and then find a beautiful bunch of flowers waiting for her. I recall one woman in particular who lived over by the playground. When she spied us, she invited us in and showed us her miniature dollhouse collection which was all set up in an old bookcase. Ah yes, it is such a disappointment to have missed this truly special occasion.