Thursday, September 14, 2017

Mystery Poo

Every couple of days, I find a lone turd in front of my garage.

It's not the dogs or cats, or the random cattle that meander through here from time to time.

My best guess has been either a raccoon or an opossum.  According to my book, Mammal Tracks & Sign, by Mark Elbroch, opossum scat is "rarely encountered in the field," and consequently there are no accompanying pictures.  The photo of raccoon poo, however, looks similar to the mystery turd, and is within the size range listed.  The book warns, however, that "raccoon scats can carry the parasitic roundworm Baylisascaris procyonis, which can be fatal in humans."

So it would appear that we have terrorist raccoons prowling in front of our garage on a regular basis.  Wonderful.

It makes as much sense as the chip that suddenly appeared in the pickup windshield this summer.  I have confirmed this afternoon that it will NOT pass inspection without repairs/replacement, so the windshield company will be getting more of our business it seems.

By the way,  L got up early yesterday, finished her homework before school, and was even keeled and fairly polite for most of the afternoon.  It was a Wednesday Miracle!

I am off to pick up the girls from school.  J has another game tonight and needs the extra time for homework.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Gahhhhh!

So, school activities are moving along at quite a breath-taking pace.

J is becoming Miss Joiner, and so far has joined:  the Debate Club, the Green Team (school recycling), and the Spanish Club, and is planning to try out for the winter play - auditions are Monday.  In the meantime, she continues with soccer practice for 8 hours/week, and is having more and more games - 3 this week alone!

L is having a hard time adjusting to Middle School homework, which I remember being an issue with J back in the day.  She is so overly particular about her work anyway, that it takes her longer than most.  She is also frustrated that she isn't able to play soccer, but I'm not sure how she would fit it in!

Tonight I am just overwhelmed by it all.  I have used about 2/3 of a tank of gas in the past 24 hours, just picking girls up from 2 different schools, taking L to voice lessons, J to meet the soccer bus for a game, and then driving to said game, and taking her to and from practice tonight.  L had a full on melt down tonight because she didn't get her homework done before bedtime (spent the first 2 hours or so this afternoon goofing off or refusing to get serious about it) and went to bed late, kicking and screaming.  She wants us to wake her early to finish it.

I see tomorrow going down the tubes already.

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Final Countdown...

This weekend was the final countdown until back to school.  We spent it fairly quietly, as we were recovering from shouldering our way through the crowds at the Outlet Mall on Friday to finish up the school shopping.

J had her 2nd HS Soccer Game on Saturday - this one at home, so we all went to watch.  L actually served as ball girl.  Our team won handily.

 
This is the first year in a LOOOOONG time that I haven't been shuttling 2 girls to and from soccer practice and games this time of year, and the first time that we haven't had Soccer Sunday in 10 years!  Unfortunately, the County Soccer League didn't have enough girls for a team for L, and we are waiting on word as to whether she can practice with the Middle School Team and serve as Team Manager for a year before she is allowed to actually participate on the team.

We spent a couple of hours relocating the chicken run to the field of clover that I sowed in the Spring.  They have much more afternoon shade in this location as well.  The hens seem to be happy, and we are getting at least 20 small eggs daily!

Yesterday, L and I finished up a couple of projects that we meant to get to all summer, and the girls got their backpacks loaded up with all of their new school supplies.  I was super impressed that J did that without being asked, and also put away all of her new clothes, packed a lunch for today, and prepped her breakfast as well!  Maybe it's true that "With great power comes great responsibility."

L complained several times last night that she was not ready to go back to school, and that the summer was WAY too short.  Both girls commented that they didn't sleep well last night.  J is super excited for HS, L is pretty anxious about Middle School.  We'll see how they feel this afternoon!

 
All I can say is that it is amazingly quiet up the hill this morning.

Happy Back-to-School to all!

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Great American Eclipse 2017

We finished up our summer vacation this week, by taking a road trip down to SC.  No, we didn't go to the beach, although that would have been fun.  We went to see the solar eclipse in an area of totality, and that was awesome!

Since we left the house at 5:30 on Sunday morning, we were ready to turn in early that night.  We met up with JP's niece at our hotel, and she spent the night with us.

Around noon on Monday, we went to the local library, and sat in the air conditioning to read until around 2 PM.  Then we went outside to their good sized yard, where we found a spot near a tree so we could have a bit of shade (it's HOT in SC!)  We laid on a blanket and watched the earth's shadow slowly cover the sun.  It was amazing that we still had a decent amount of light, even though the sun was 95% or more covered.  The light was eerily flat, and the shadows were unusual.  The crickets began chirping as the darkness increased, and stopped again once the event was over.

 
JP took some really good photos...I'm just going to post them in sequential order.








After we got our fill of eclipse (although we are already planning for April, 2024), we headed north 3 hours to visit with JP's sister and family for a couple of days.  The girls got their cousin fix, and it was enjoyable to see their home and get our Carolina BBQ fix.

On the way home, we drove through Mt. Airy, and decided to stop at the Andy Griffith Museum.


 
 


We had a nice vacation, but it's good to be home.

Today we braved the crowds at the Outlets, and finished our back-to-school shopping.  J has a home soccer game tomorrow, and school starts for reals on Monday.

Whew...welcome to the real world!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

More Summer

L & I have had lots of activities together this summer.  It has been nice to spend one-on-one time with her...something we've never really had the chance to do before!  We've done simple things like take a picnic lunch to a local park and play on the playground...

 
...or climb the trees.

 
We went mini golfing, but didn't get photo documentation.

Last week we went to a nearby village and museum with re-enactors from the late 1800's.  We had the chance to practice our atlatl throwing.


And of course, we've spend lots and lots of time in the car, driving J to and from work at the library.

L also FINALLY had her voice recital.  She did a great job, but looked extremely nervous.  She does not want me to post the video here...sorry.

 
All three of us spent a few hours at the county fair last week.  One of our favorite things, the petting zoo, was conspicuously absent this year.  We did manage to buy expensive food on a stick, and ride a few rides.

 
Today was J's last day of work, although she is returning tomorrow to volunteer for the final Summer Reading Club.  She has had extremely long days for the past 2 days...working 8 hours, and then going directly to 3 hours of soccer practice. She is getting home at 9:30 PM, eating dinner, showering, and going to bed.  This morning, she also had an appointment before work, so it was even longer.  Tomorrow she has a voice lesson after library, and then concussion testing prior to practice - another extremely long day.  Thursday she will finally have the chance to chill out during the day (I think!)  But, she has her first soccer game on Saturday!

The pullets began laying a couple of weeks ago, and now we are getting many beautiful brown and very small eggs.  Today I found 16!  I think that the pullets themselves are quite attractive.  We only have 6 old, balding hens any longer.

 
Summer is winding down, and I always start to feel a bit melancholy this time of year.  I will really miss the girls when they go back to school!  I'm sure that I will still have plenty of things to keep me busy, but I am happy to say that I managed to accomplish quite a few things that have been lingering on my To-Do list for years.

Here's to the final 2 weeks of summer.  Live it to the fullest!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Rain Drops Keep Fallin'

It has rained or been unseasonably cool for most of last week.  It kept us out of the pool, and made it difficult to accomplish outside projects.  I did manage to paint these doors, partly because they are protected under the roof:


They were meant to be green originally, but at the last minute, our builder informed us that the colored doors have to be ordered 6 weeks in advance, and at the time, we needed doors ASAP.  So...9 years in, they are finally green!

JP and I took our yearly Anniversary trip to the city - celebrating 26 years this year!

They had a Pickle festival on the bridge just outside our Hotel, with vendors and live music, so we checked it out.


 
We had a fantastic steak dinner, with complimentary dessert.


In the morning, we woke early, and wandered about the Strip District, and made purchases at the Cheese Store and the Oriental Store.

Saturday was Rain Day in our town, so the girls and I ventured in to check out the festivities and to share a funnel cake.  After about 1 1/2 inches of rain that day, the skies were blue and lovely when we strolled through town.

I stopped to let the girls play on the statue for Union Soldiers near the University.  They used to play on this with their babysitters while I was working in the University Student Health...back in the day.

 
On Sunday, we got the weekly mowing done, and then JP grilled BBQ ribs for dinner while the girls played in the pool.

It was a busy, but fabulous weekend!

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Chosen One

Last month, I noticed an article in a local publication.  It stated that a local business was "sponsoring the Great Garden Contest for the best looking flower and vegetable garden in or around" our county.

I sent in this picture of my garden.



The entries were to be judged at one of the local fairs, and since the fair ended last Saturday, I decided that I must not have been a winner.  Imagine my surprise when I received an email from the sponsoring business yesterday, with news that I did indeed win!

I went down this morning to collect my prize.


Woo-hoo!  I have the best looking garden in or around our county by People's Choice!

Thank you very much!