Friday, March 30, 2007

Morning Mud Walk

There is no school here today so I have four extra children rather than just one. The morning was cool but sunny so we decided to go for a walk. It seemed a good way to spend some time and help the kids burn off some extra energy.
We walked farther than I had intended and some of them were pretty tired by the time we got back home. Too bad that doesn't settle them down much. They seemed more wound up than ever at lunchtime.
Troy and Tyler are leaving at about 1:30 so I'm hoping for a quiet afternoon...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Thursday Thirteen

March 28, 2006
Thirteen reasons to love spring...
1. The snow melts!
2. It's warming up outside!
3. The birds are singing.
4. The flowers are growing.
5. Sunshine and blue skies.
6. Easter candy.
7. The grass turns green!
8. The peepers start peeping!
9. The kids can go outside.
10. We can start opening the windows to let fresh air in.
11. Barbecues and potato salad.
12. Walks in the orchard.
13. Summer's coming!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Teal Lake

May 2004
Affectionately named "Teal Lake", our back yard puddle has lost its allure. This year we feel no affection and just want the problem to go away. Unfortunately, the water has little intention of leaving without a great deal of encouragement. Since this amount of water is a relatively new dilemma we are not quite sure how to approach it (other than to wear boots). We really don't want a pond, rather we would much prefer to have our backyard. Right now the weather is still cold enough to keep the water somewhat fresh but it won't be long until it starts to stagnate and the mosquitoes decide to move in. Please pray the Lord gives us wisdom on how to deal with this problem as we have few options. Luckily, Jasmine isn't much of a water dog so at least I'm not dealing with a wet, muddy dog every day!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Pick Up Sticks

It was a rather soggy morning but this afternoon the sun came out and we ventured outdoors. Troy had some fun throwing sticks and pebbles in the "lake".
The yard is in desparate need of cleaning up as it is full of dead sticks and grass, stones, old black walnuts and acorns. It's the time of year to haul the rakes and wheelbarrows back out of hiding and put the kids to work. We all sleep better after a hard days work and it feels so good too!
Okay, I'm going back out now!

Right on Schedule!

The crocuses have arrived!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Early Spring Walks

The snow is finally gone and we are able to take walks back in the orchard again. There is an abundance of mud and water. Wearing boots is definitely a good idea.

Hannah and I were able to walk twice last week, on Wednesday and Friday. The first day there was still a good amount of snow but by Friday there was very little left. Jasmine loves the walks too. For her they are more like runs and she always comes back home exausted.

The trees are still all bare and brown. Its hard to believe that in another six weeks or so they will be covered with pink blossoms. What a beautiful world God has created! I'm looking forward to enjoying the orchard in full bloom and will have to post another picture of our barns when the trees are flowering.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

In the eyes of my Grandpa, I was likely born too early. He was just two days shy of his 60th birthday when I arrived in the world. Grandpa and I would share the next 35 birthdays before his passing on to Glory in 1999.

When I was small, I was pretty sure that grandpas didn't pay attention to things like the birthdays of little girls. Surely he didn't remember that my special day was so near to his own. It hardly mattered that we often shared a birthday dinner with cake, ice cream and gifts to follow. In retrospect, I think little girls probably don't pay much attention to the birthdays of grandparents.

As I grew older my grandpa's birthday became more and more of a treasure, as did Grandpa himself. I began to realize that our shared birthdays were numbered. When Grandpa turned 82 my cousins rented a banquet hall and we had a celebration. This was repeated again at an even fancier party house 8 years later on Grandpa's 90th birthday. In 1999, when Grandpa turned 95 my secret fear became a reality. My cousins again threw him a birthday party, this time at one of their homes. I wasn't able to be there, but was instead in Louisiana visiting my husband who was away on a job. Deep inside I knew it would be our last shared birthday, but this time we were not together.

That June Grandpa was ill and taken to the hospital where he suffered a massive heart attack. When he regained consciousness, we gathered at the hospital hopeful for a chance to visit with him and show our love. As I stood beside his bed he looked up at me and said, "Oh, there you are!" He wrapped his arms around me and as I received that last hug, I also took in a last breath of that sweet Grandpa smell. I held his hand but I hardly knew what to say, instead the tears wanted to flow. I thought of all the times he called us "little rascals", all the family picnics and holiday gatherings. I thought of how that hug felt just like all the others he had given me through the years.

He went to be with Jesus that night and there are still times when I miss him terribly. Funny thing that a child should grow up totally missing the fact that there was something special about her in the eyes of her Grandpa. I really never knew until that final night. "And Grandpa, you told me not to go too far... Don't worry, I'm not too far behind."

Friday, March 23, 2007

Goose, Goose, Duck!

Upstate NY is making another attempt at spring. The season has officially begun and with it come all sorts of wonderful things.

This morning I woke to sunshine and the sound of geese flying overhead. The Mourning doves were cooing and several other birds were chirping their good mornings too. They're such beautiful morning sounds!
The abundance of ponds, orchards and wooded areas make this the perfect place for Canada geese to stay for the summer. There is a pond just up the road where several geese will once again raise their young. They come back each year and give us "what-for" when we drive past as they are crossing the road.

The ducks are scouting out nesting grounds also and think Teal Lake might be the place. If it wasn't for the fact that the water will eventually stink, they would be fun to watch. They'll likely move up the road when we start pumping the water out.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Take a Gander at This!

There's a funny looking texture to this mud. Had me confused for a minute but I finally figured it out. (The goose droppings helped.)

It was a pretty good day to take a walk, so we did. If I had been a little smarter I may have worn my boots... I didn't. The snow out there is once again perfect for snowballs and snowmen. Hannah and I met a snowman out there but he was very cold and didn't even say hello. We left him standing all alone, surrounded by deer tracks.
As with other springs, there was not much to take pictures of but snow, mud, and barren apple trees. We did see plenty of deer tracks and goose droppings, and a bunck of snail shells that were left lying in the grass after the flooded pond waters receded. Hannah found them interesting.

The Babysitter

Move over Nanny, here comes the "Babysitter"!

Sorry, he doesn't change diapers or give bottles but he is good at "sitting". Works with big kids too!

(PS. This is not at my house.)

Monday, March 19, 2007

My Brother Tim

He looked like any other normal baby boy but there were times when Mom worried that something was drastically wrong. Her pregnancy had been normal with no complications but the labor and delivery were less than perfect. An induced labor, an inability to breathe, and a mid-forceps birth all contributed to her fear.
At first she thought he was deaf as he didn't startle like other babies, but later on she was sure he could hear. There were other things too that I don't recall. Most people tried to assure her that everything was fine, but deep inside she knew they were wrong.
My brother Tim is severely autistic. When he was a little boy he lived at home, but as he got older he became more and more difficult to control. He would run in front of traffic, go inside the neighbors houses uninvited, or just plain disappear. Today we hear of autism often and it is applied to a wide variety of idiosyncrasies. My brother was one of those rare children who spoke little, didn't learn his boundaries, and basically retreated into a world of his own. Finally the decision was made to place him in an institution where he would be safe, enabling Mom and Dad to care for their four other children.
When my sisters and I were little girls, we would often go along with Mom and Dad to visit Tim. This was an every other Sunday routine, with a ride through the country side and a stop along the way, either to pick up some snacks from a convenience store or to stop at a fast food restaurant for a burger and fries. Tim would gobble his food down as fast as he could, and then watch us as we ate ours. Inevitably one of us would break down and give him the remainder of a milkshake. I can still see the smile on his face as he finished it off.
Today Mom and Dad still faithfully visit Tim and take him out for a ride. It has been a painful road for them to walk these past 48 years as they have watched their son struggle through life. I have seen Mom shed tears and Dad shrug his shoulders as they continue on in their love and commitment. My mom and dad are a tremendous example of faithfulness, never giving up, always loving, and looking forward to that day when Jesus will once again make their son whole.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

A Green Birthday (Okay a white birthday)

Happy Birthday to my favorite son-in-law! He's really a Leprechaun in disguise. Last night we gathered at Beth and Adam's house for corned beef and cabbage with homemade carrot cake for dessert. Mmmmmm, good!


Friday, March 16, 2007

Things Are Lookin 'Up (or not)

It's been cold the last couple days but the geese think spring is here. There are hundreds of them heading toward Lake Ontario every day, flying north. The sound of their honking calls me outside as they fly overhead.

There was also a pair of ducks out on Teal Lake yesterday afternoon. They'll be all settled in and ready to raise a family just when we get ready to pump the water out of the yard.

I was just informed of the snow expected tonight... Sure is cold enough for a blizzard!

Thursday, March 15, 2007


No matter that snow fell in some places last night, spring is on the way! Any white stuff that appears from now on, won't be around long. Lake Ontario kept the snow away from our house last night and it continues to disappear.
Today we stayed in the house and set Ben and Hannah's wet shoes up in front of the fire. If we have a few fireplace days (like a week or so) maybe they will dry out, maybe... I guess the boats yesterday were't quite watertight. Good thing those kids weren't sailing too far! (Where are those canoes when you need one?)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Whatever Floats Your Boat

The balmy spring temperatures are not forecast to stay with us long, so this morning we decided to venture outside even though there is not much out there but mud and water. The kids found some old cabinets waiting to be burned and pulled them out of the junk pile to use as boats. It reminded me of a poem my dad used to read when we were kids. (If I were a one-legged pirate, ga-lumping around on a peg...) Troy wasn't as impressed as they had anticipated. Maybe if it had been a real boat he would have been more excited.
I was surprised this morning at how much snow melted overnight. There is now more grass showing than there is snow. Well, maybe the water is about equal with the grass...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Ready to Spring

We have had some very nice weather the past few days. I was going to say it has been in the upper 40's but I just looked at the online newspaper the current temperature is 65 degrees! I have the most difficulty with this time of year because the sunshine and warm temperatures beckon me outside, while the mud sends me running back in the house.

The snow is melting fast and beneath the snow the flowers are growing, even I was surprised to see the crocuses and daffodils peeking through. Evidently they are not going to let a little snow and sub-zero temperatures throw them off schedule. They know that spring is on the way!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

Daylight savings time... It came early this year but somehow my computer hasn't yet been informed of the change. It is now an hour behind and likely won't be "springing forward" for another couple weeks. My own body and brain are still struggling with the idea so I figure it might just be good to let this silly machine catch up with the time change in April. Stealing an hour of sleep from the general population, already wrestling with colds, the flu, and newly awakened allergies, seems rather cruel to me, but I have no influence over Father Time and so must submit to the discipline along with the rest of you. Likely by this time next week I will have adjusted and will be enjoying the extra hour of daylight and waking up a little bit closer to sunrise.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Danny Boy

He was born on Friday the 13th to an unwed mother with four older children. Although she wanted desperately to keep the tiny child, she had nothing to offer him, so she made a most difficult decision. He was just six days old when she took her infant son, laid him in the arms of the young couple, and said good bye forever.

Although they had prayed earnestly for a child, the young couple had not expected to become parents that evening. They hadn't time to collect the supplies needed for a baby. They had no bottles or formula, no clothing or diapers, not even a crib for him to sleep in. They left the meeting place in a daze. Several hours later, laden with borrowed supplies, they took the little boy home. The next morning a lawyer was contacted and the child was soon adopted. They named him Danny.

He grew up in a happy home with a mom and dad who loved him dearly. The house was filled with love and laughter. There were toys and games, books and bikes, vacations and Sunday school. He shared his home and parents with a brother and three sisters. It didn't matter that his eyes were big and brown while the rest of the children were blond haired and blue-eyed. He was a son and a brother; he belonged to this family and they belonged to him.

Thursday Thirteen!!!

I was going to post something else, but then I remembered that today is Thursday (which only comes once a week) so here is my Thursday Thirteen for today...

13 Reasons I Like Winter

1. It's so pretty
2. Snowmen
3. Ice skating
4. Sledding
5. Snow days
6. Hot chocolate
7. Blizzards
8. White Christmas's
9. Snowball fights
10 Wood stoves and fireplaces
11. Long sleeves and sweaters
12. Soups, stew, and chili
13. Spring and summer come next!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Marching On

It's been a very cold week so far, colder than "normal" they say, whatever that means. What is normal? I think that means "average". They take all the temperature readings, put them into a pot, stir them up, and see what the "normal" temperature is. It's kind of like adding either hot or cold water to the bathtub and coming up with something comfortable to soak in. When the weatherman says its "unseasonably hot" or "unseasonably cold" (especially within a few days time) I take it with a grain of salt. Its cold today but in a day or two... who knows!
Those crocuses and daffodils can't be too far off, afterall on Saturday night we change the clocks and that is a sure sign of spring...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Coming Soon to a Garden Near You!

This was taken last March 27th. Think we'll make it this year?

Monday, March 05, 2007

Picnic Anyone?

How about a snow cone? Ice cream cake? Baked Alaska? Anyone for Italian Ice?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Cat in the Hat Turns 50!

This afternoon while I was grocery shopping, I was lucky enough to meet my friend, The Cat in the Hat! He was having cake and celebrating his 50th birthday at Wegman's. I was so disappointed to have left my camera at home because, as my friends will tell you, he really is my favorite cat. I have misplaced my Cat in the Hat book and so I took this opportunity to purchase a birthday edition with which I hope to drive you all crazy the next time we meet. I'll be reading it to Troy when he returns on Monday morning and refreshing my memory. "The sun did not shine, it was too wet to play..."

Friday, March 02, 2007

Slow Dance

Yesterday she was faceless and today she has (or had) a new nose. It's an acorn cap that must have fallen or been dropped by a squirrel from the tree above. Actually, she's headless now... Soon she'll be nothing more than a couple of sticks and pine branches.
It's time to send someone out to retrieve the hats and scarves once again.