Thursday, October 31, 2013

News From the Punkin Patch

It was a busy day full of little punkins. We had four most of the day, but as many as eight passed briefly through. (Yes, I still have hair.) Now that I have cut way back on my outside childcare (I have one small child four days a week), we are able to have my grandchildren in the house a day or two without Grandma (me) feeling like she's about to lose her marbles.

Today my little ones all referred to me as "Grandma". Nobody called me "that lady" and I think that is terrific! Tomorrow will be another busy day. I wonder what games we will find to play?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Whack in the Head

There is so much to be thankful for in this world. Sometimes I just need a whack in the head to get me thinking straight again. I don't know the DiMartinos personally, but I know plenty of people who do. I'd met their mom a handful of times previous to the Boston bombings and my brother in law plays ball with their dad. That makes their story hits pretty close to home.

P is for Pull

P is for Pull.

I noticed them loading the truck when we went out to the bus stop this morning. It's a big truck, one with a flatbed trailer and eighteen wheels. They strap a bazillion crates of apples on and haul them out of the orchard either into storage or down to Mott's where they're turned into juice and applesauce.

The girls got on the bus and I returned to the house and my computer. Outside the front window I heard the low roar of machinery; tractors, trucks... but was barely paying attention. It's one of those sounds, like the apple sprayers in summer, that I've become accustomed to. Background noise, stuff that could almost lull me to sleep.

I'm not sure what made me get up and look out the window, probably the fact that one of the engines was either running a little longer or revving higher than normal, but I looked just in time to see the Peterbuilt spinning its tires in the soft mud of the lot across the street.

Being the naughty girl that I am, I grabbed my camera, popped the card back in (I'd taken it out to look at last night's party pictures...) and turned out the computer room light to record the excitement.

The tractor spun its tires in the road as it worked to pull the truck and its load of apples out of the mud. (Yes, there is an orchard road but the rig needs to make a wider turn.)

In no time at all, the big rig had its tires on solid ground and was able to move under its own power. Good thing I was quick! It took all of two minutes and maybe not even that. Tractors make even big problems small.

For more ABC Wednesday fun, click here.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fried Cakes

Today was fried cake making day. I haven't yet deter- mined just how successful we actually were... (They didn't turn out quite like I'd envisioned.)

... but I do have a nice little collection of dough- nuts. I'd try again, but I think I need to weight, uh, I mean "wait" a while. Don't want too many of these things hanging around.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Pumpkin Patch (and Big Pumpkin Day too)

Big Pumpkin Day comes to our local primary school every October and all of the kids (along with many of their parents) get very excited. It's a day full of hayrides and fall fun and the kids even order special T-shirts to commemorate the event. But little sisters who don't go to school don't often get in on the fun.

Seeing as I had seven rather nice looking pumpkins growing in my yard this year, I decided to have some fun with Rocky and we had our own Big Pumpkin Day this past Friday. I cooked up some homemade pumpkin colored play dough on the stove in the morning. We made two cute "fallish" paper projects. (I love the Q-tip skeleton idea Hannah found online and Rocky was pleased with her paper pumpkin too.)

I had one very happy little girl when we brought a real pumpkin inside and made a jack-o-lantern. I've never before carved pumpkins with the little ones I babysit, but then I never had a ready supply of pumpkins. It was a fun-filled fall day and I sent her home smiling from ear to ear.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Our New Car

No, it's not the truck...

We had too many trucks, so when the original owner of our blue truck offered James a trade to take it back, James said yes. I wasn't keen on the blue truck anyway, I like Ben's truck better, but Hannah kinda liked the blue one, even if it did have an orange stripes down the sides.

The "new" car arrived on a flatbed trailer and im- mediately garnered the attention of everyone in the house, which included Bethany, Hannah, and me. James was out meeting with a client about a potential job and our phone calls and texts to him went unheeded as we tried to decide what this kind man with the car on his trailer should do with it. Thankfully, James arrived home just before the darkness got very dark and they rolled the new baby off the trailer next tot he barn for the night.

She only spent one night in the yard before being moved to the safety of Barn 2 where she will hopefully be restored a little bit at a time. She's a monumental project, but looks like a lot of fun too, and I think she's much better looking than that old blue truck. (What's that? What kind is she? A 1948 Chrysler Windsor.)

Pretty cool, eh?

O is for Obsession

O is for Obsession and if this ever makes it to ABC Wednesday, it will be the latest entry ever.

Don't you just hate when something occurs and your mind keeps playing either events or scenarios over and over? Although I was way beyond tired last night when I climbed into bed, my mind was working overtime. After tossing and turning for a while, I finally tried taking Benadryl and drifted into a fitful, restless slumber. Today being Saturday, I had no real reason to get out of bed early, yet found myself in the shower a little after 7 am.

I'm trying to think about other things, but my mind will continue to bounce back to the original obsessive thought until the issue is resolved. The terrible thing is that it isn't an issue that I can resolve at all. I am just a spectator and there is very little I can do to help.

For more ABC Wednesday fun, click here.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Not So Good News

We received bad news this afternoon...

Life is full of adven- tures and obstacles, and some folks are simply more up for a challenge than others. Our friend L. is one who has big ambitions and the stamina to go after what seems impossible to most people. With a great love for both people and animals, she was living what may have looked to outsiders like either a dream or a nightmare, depending on their perspective. Last night L.'s dreams came crashing down when the humane society came in and seized her animals.

It's been a rough year for L. in many ways. Spring arrived with torrential rains which washed out early plantings and turned lower pastures into mud holes. There was a wild animal of one kind or another that stole in during the night this summer and in one week took out most of her chickens along with a pet turkey. One night in August, presumably the same creature left a deep gouge in the hind quarters of one of her best riding horses. And then one of the horses, perhaps a newcomers to the barn, turned up with worms. She treated the bunch of them twice but it was looking like a stronger medicine was needed. Then L. got sick herself and ended up in the hospital.

The world  in general is not kind and under- standing. No sooner do we see a dog panting in a parked car then someone is ready to call 911 with little regard to whether or not the animal is actually in need. Because L.'s horses are rescue horses, some of them quite old (one is nearly 40), she is constantly being turned in to animal services. She never had to worry before, but everything came crumbling down this fall. Horses who were healthy and fine this summer started losing weight in spite of being well fed. Before she had a chance to recover from her own illness, get back on her feet and remedy the problem, she was faced with another problem; a warrant for her arrest on charges of animal cruelty and neglect.

Last night, before we knew any of this, Hannah asked her Dad if we could take in three of the horses out at L.'s farm. She had already gotten rid of two. We have a shelter, all we would need is a fence to keep them from wandering. Her dad almost seemed willing to think about it... Now we can't take them even if we wanted to because they are "evidence".

Please pray for L. who would do anything for anybody and tried so hard to do what was right and good, and also for my daughter, who loves and misses "her" horse, and her friend who is devastated and worried about "her" horse too. Many of these horses came from previously difficult situations and have made remarkable strides in their well being. K.'s i one of those. Pray for understanding and clarity on the part of those who will hear L's case, for L herself., and for the animals that have been taken off to who-knows-where. They are all loved by children, teens, and adults who went out for lessons and did their part to help take care of them.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Three; Three Grandchildren, Three Pictures, and 3X Thursday

One little flower in the vase today (not counting the school bus girls). Yesterday and the day before were full of activity. I had to remind myself again that toys are really jewels scattered across my living room... and kitchen... and, and... We filled breakfast bowls (actually Hannah did), provided snacks, and doled out macaroni and cheese at lunch time. We even attempted naps, though only two small flowers actually closed their eyes.

I was just dozing off to sleep, four and a half year old Lucas snuggled up beside me, when Simon (he's 3) let out an ear piercing howl. I literally flew off the couch. I missed the preceding event, but apparently Sofie bit him. There was no blood, just a heartbroken little boy who finally let his Grandma wrap her arms around him in a warm and hopefully comforting hug. "I don't ever want to see that dog again!" he howled as Lukie slept through the entire event. Rocky watched in wide-eyed wonder, while I was relieved that my little dog hadn't left any visible mark on the child's hand.

It's actually been nice these two days with grandchildren, but I never could have done it without having trimmed back on the children I watch on an everyday basis. It's really Hannah who is watching these three, even here, but I get the benefit of looking into the sweet little faces of my grandchildren and hearing the funny things they say. Aubrey called me "that lady" yesterday, but when I asked her what my name was she said, "Grandma Martha." I think she just isn't sure exactly what she's supposed to call me. She's been calling me Hannie (sounds like Grammy...) and now is beginning to make the differentiation.

I am off to play 3X Thursday at Kristina's. I hope you'll come and play too. The more the merrier! Bring some cookies and cider, or better yet a batch of fresh fried cakes and join the party.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

News From the Flower Pot

We had a "garden" full of "flowers" today and somehow, though I'm tired, I am
not thoroughly used up and exhausted, at least not yet. We endured yelling and crying, love and laughter, a bit of bossing, tantrums and tender times . There were animal crackers and milk, peanut butter sandwiches, and fruit snacks. Naps didn't happen, but there was a little bit of quiet when Hannah put some music on the TV.

I made it to Webster for Ladies' Prayer this morning, but didn't stay for Bible Study. Even so, it was good to be with friends in prayer, and I came home just in time to fix Mom's breakfast and coffee. She was just getting dressed when I returned a few minutes before 11 o'clock. 

The weather has taken a definite turn and the wind has a bite to it that lets us know that winter is on its way. My sassafras trees have dropped most all their leaves and so after lunch we headed out to rake them in a pile and have a bit of fun.

The boys found the pile of leaves great to sit in and walk through, while Rocky was intent on raking them into one spot. She was thoroughly distressed by Simon who kept messing up her pile of leaves. I am always amazed at how insistent she is on taking control of other children and situations. Although she was determined, he wasn't having any part of it.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday Morning

It's Monday morning and still dark and gray. My friend Emma is gone on the school bus and the house is quiet aside from the click of the keyboard. I heard Mom make her way to the bathroom and then back into bed, Hannah has not yet risen, and I am pretty much alone with my thoughts. It's a nice moment.

I had a good weekend. Didn't do anything spectacular, but did have a chance to unwind and that is always good. I decided to keep the treasures purchased at the estate sale the other day. It's not that I am unwilling to share, it's just that I don't want to give them away. (ha ha!) So, here they are, two pieces of pottery purchased from the $10 table.

In another life, had I not been a stay at home, homeschooling, mother of many, I might have been a potter. I know what you are thinking... and yes, maybe I still can be a potter, if I ever get myself into it, but right now there are a myriad of other things that have to be taken care of. Maybe I can be content for a time to love and appreciate the work of other potters as I decide what kind of potter I want to be. And maybe I can save up some money to take another pottery class.

I am headed out to breakfast this morning. I have plans to meet a friend at the little diner in town. Don't you just love going out for breakfast? Hey! Here comes the sun!

Della and I had a very nice visit over breakfast and then we came back to my house for a little more visit. I think meeting my friends for real is great fun. Nobody got killed and I think we should meet up again sometime and invite Cheryl too.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Piece of the Journey

We went to bed late last night. I was just drifting off to sleep when I heard a loud crash downstairs. I had an idea what it might be, but found myself leaping out of bed with Mom on my mind. I had been right about what made the noise, a wooden folding table I had left propped against the untrafficked end of the counter, but there to my dismay, also on the floor, was my mom. A quick assessment told me she was somewhat awake and still connected to her oxygen supply. She didn't appear injured or in any kind of pain, just a bit disoriented.

I moved the table away and attempted to help her up. "I'm okay," she said, rebuffing my offer of help. I stepped back to let her regain her composure. She sat on the floor, legs outstretched and arms shaking a bit. I waited for her to get up, but instead she said, "I don't know how I got here," and attempted to lie back down on the floor.

"Well, you can't stay here," I muttered half to myself and once again linked my elbows under her arms and hoisted her to her feet. I turned her toward her room but her legs were rubbery. Setting her back down again, I called for James and we got her back into her bed, covered her up, and wondered at setting the rail to the upward position. In the end we left it down, covered her up, and  closed the door, and went back to bed.

I was wide awake and exhausted at the same time. The clock read 1:27 am. I don't know what time it was when I finally fell into a restless sleep, but my thoughts returned to my mother time and again throughout the night and into the morning.

Nothing has been said today of last night's adventure and Mom climbed out of bed like any other day, made her way to the bathroom, and then crawled back into bed without even so much as a limp. While I went to church with Hannah this morning, James stayed home to make sure Mom had some breakfast and no more unpleasant episodes. Everything appears "normal".

It's a rough adventure sometimes, this journey through life. There are ups and downs, hairpin curves, and lots of obstacles. It's easy to feel overwhelmed, but sitting by the side of the path and fretting isn't going to do any of us any good. Besides, it distracts from the scenery.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Today is Saturday

Today's weather was not sour. It was another beautiful fall day, not as sunny as yesterday but still nice. Of course, I did not go kayaking. It wasn't in the plan. I did go out to Webster though, and I found a cool estate sale with a bunch of antiques.  Lots of glassware; plates, teacups, china sets, more plates, this, that and the other thing. Most of it was pricey, but I did enjoy looking and I did buy something. I'm not sure it's an antique, but I liked it anyway. No photos because it might turn into a gift... if I can bear to part with it. Instead you get some more photos from yesterday.

Prayers for my mom would be appreciated. If I don't bring her meals, she doesn't bother to eat.  She is so very tired and I don't know how to help her.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Lucien Morin Park

My sister Rachel called early this morning. During the course of our conversation, she mentioned wanting to get out for a walk on this beautiful day. She planned on taking her camera along for some pictures and it sounded like too good an opportunity to resist. I asked if I could come too and so Hannah, Rocky, and I met Aunt Rachel at Lucien Morin Park.

To be perfectly honest, I didn't even know there was a "park" at the southern end of Irondequoit Bay. I knew there was a swamp with a creek running through it, and I knew it led to Ellison Park. I know the swamp, creek, and woods were a playground for my dad and his brother when they were kids, and a favorite hunting ground when they were teens. I'd been up the creek in an inflatable canoe years ago, but I knew nothing of it's trails or beauty.

We followed scantily marked trails (colors painted on trees) and found ourselves following a web of trails along the creek. We'd walked quite a distance when I began to think these trail might not go in a loop. (We hadn't checked the map before starting out...) They seemed to be leading us farther and farther into the woods rather than changing direction and taking us back where we'd started.

For a moment we were be- wildered, but Hannah the Fearless Trail Blazer came to our rescue. After assessing the situation for a minute or two she forged ahead and we were soon seeing familiar sights.

I have a passel of pictures. Some are incredibly beautiful, especially with autumn showing her true colors. If the weather wasn't forecast to turn sour overnight, I might seriously consider renting a kayak or canoe tomorrow afternoon. I think taking a paddle up the creek and back again would be stunning. It's something I've thought about doing for four summers now, but a fall trip would be even more incredible.

On our way back out of the park we came upon a bit of wildlife. Hannah had told Rocky not to touch him (because he has germs) and then I came along and picked him right off the ground! (Well, how else was I supposed to get a good picture?) He was the icing on the cake! The perfect end to an autumn hike.

PS. My header picture there at the top is also from today's hike. So pretty!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

3X Thursday

Please come to Kristina's and play the game because it's more fun with more people.

What's Happenin'

It's fall. The leaves are changing along with the temperatures and the world is dressed in red and orange. We've yet to find enough leaves in the front yard to rake into piles, but that will come with time. For now I am enjoying the sassafras leaves that blanket the ground out by the barn behind the house. They come in a variety of shapes; left and right-handed mittens, mittens with two thumbs, and mittens with no thumbs at all.

Mom has been sleeping much more the past couple weeks. She stays in bed until about noon, throwing off her meal schedule, and then naps intermittently throughout the afternoon, sometimes even into the evening. I wish I could say her nosebleeds have stopped entirely, but I came home from the farm markets the other day to find several blood soaked tissues in the bathroom trash can. *sigh* In another few weeks she will return to to lab for another check of her iron levels. I've heard nothing from either doctor on her geriatric evaluation, only what I was told the day of the appointment, that they expect mini strokes.

I find my patience level  alarmingly low and am grateful for long weekends which include no children aside from those getting on the bus in the morning. I turned down a reference for a new babysitting job yesterday. I am also seriously considering a computer sabbatical... If I suddenly disappear, don't worry. (I'll return eventually.) And if you should be concerned, we still have a land line which can be accessed by the local white pages If you know my name and the town where I live, you ought to be able to find me by phone.

As much as I want to hang onto fall, winter and cold weather will bring an ability to stay home without that panicky feeling that I should be out enjoying the weather. I'm not wishing cold and snow on anyone, just looking forward to a fire in the wood stove and no pressure to head outside even though there will be times when I'll want to. I haven't been to Ladies' Prayer and Bible Study n weeks. (Maybe that's my problem...)

The photos were taken outside this morning when I headed to the bus stop with my friend Emma. What a beautiful morning! Hannah is home again and they say some colder weather will arrive in time for the weekend. Good thing we have a nice pile of firewood on the back porch!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Yesterday I had two little girls for the day. I am not sure where I've misplaced my patience, but it soon became apparent that in order to preserve my sanity, as well as my dignity, we should probably go out and find something fun to do. I decided to call my friend (and daughter), Bethany. The Hay Maze that had been missing from a nearby farm market last week, had miraculously appeared just a day or so after our visit so I took my two girls and we met up with Beth and her two boys for an afternoon of fun.

Jacob wasn't quite sure what to make of the Hay Maze, but Josh and the girls had a blast. Rocky couldn't see over the bales but that didn't stop her from making her way through the labyrinth. Jake, on the other hand, preferred to be carried. By the time we left Bauman's for the next farm market, the older kids were covered in straw and dripping with sweat.

Since we had all afternoon, Beth and I headed toward Powers Farm Market. This is the other place we visit annually. It has the giant spooky teepees, loads of pumpkins, and a nice variety of animals to feed.
The three alpacas had to be on every- one's list of favorite animals. Wish I could have caught them all in one photo; brown, black, and white with the biggest dark eyes. I think they would make some cool pets.

Before we left the market for the playground, I bought a pumpkin fried cake for  everyone, well, everyone but me. I ate a Macintosh apple instead. Still trying to stay gluten free and apples are good for doing that.

On another note, I woke up with a rather ugly boil on my inner thigh the other day. Never seen anything quite like it. I'm putting "black salve" on it in the hope that I can draw the infection out. Ichthammol. The stuff looks and smells like tar.