Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rooster in the Woods

There has been a white rooster hanging around in our woods since last Thursday. He runs out to crow fiercely as we drive by on the driveway. He even came across the road when J and I were digging stray daffodils last weekend and attempted to peck me. (Why did the chicken cross the road?) I attempted to catch and eat him. Neither of us were successful. This is just another chapter in our book of random livestock wandering free on Poplar Ridge.

J accompanied the dog and I on our daily walk this morning. There was still frost in the shaded areas. We marveled at the beauty of it, as well as the contrast of the blue sky and sunshine.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Under Wraps

I finally got a rough draft drawn of my landscaping project for this year, thanks to the input of my Landscaping classmates and instructor. It is a fairly ambitious project, seeing as there is NOTHING here, so I'm hoping to work hard this year, and reap some of the rewards next year! I am really anxious to get started, but it's still a bit early to plant around here, so I guess I should start digging! I will share more as I have things to share!

First off, I visited our friendly neighborhood BigLots store yesterday, and came home with 10 trees. I got 8 Cleveland pears (an ornamental variety - to line the driveway), a silver maple and a red maple. I am waiting a bit to see if we can use the tractor to dig 10 holes before I tackle that project myself.

In the meantime, I salvaged a huge bunch of daffodils that I noticed down across the road. J and I planted almost 60 bulbs at the base of some of the trees around the house. I hope I didn't traumatize them too much, but I'm pretty confident of the hardiness of daffodils.

I also waged war against the multiflora, the prolific wild rose that is EVERYWHERE in this area. Since our property was basically empty for at least 20 years before we bought it, the wild grape vine and multiflora had pretty much taken over around every standing tree.

In the meantime, my Dad had his cousin here this week to help build. They got up the rafters for the roof.

They were also able to put up the "lookout" on the house. This will be the first cupola on top of their house, with views out the windows for 300 degrees. The room beneath it is load bearing for the roof and cupola, and will be the bathroom: the heart of the house!

When it is covered to protect against rain, it looks like some mad science project under wraps.

Hooray for Spring and growing things!

Friday, March 26, 2010

It's (ah) subliminal...this kiss, this kiss...

I've had Faith Hill's song running through my head all day today. It's not a bad song to have stuck there, I've had worse. I think it's because I lay awake the last night, as I frequently do, thinking about my girls.

I was wondering how to hold on to their innocent, beautiful childhood and yet allow them to grow and learn and experience apart from me. Is it possible?

The soft, sweet time when I tuck them into bed each night is what I'll miss the most. How much longer will J want to do our special kiss sequence? We give each other a feathery "fairy kiss", then nuzzle noses, followed by a soft kiss on the lips. After that, we blow kisses to each other. Finally I take her small, dimpled hand, and after stroking it, I kiss it, and then squeeze it three times: I-Love-You.

L likes to give "wedding kisses", which are on the mouth, and involve several seconds of wagging the head back and forth. She won't let me leave her side until she's also given her "one big hug", which will sometimes leave me gasping.

The puppy, who is now 6 months old and nearing 50 pounds, has her own signs of affection. She is an ear nibbler. To her credit, she does it gently, but rather sloppily...sort of an affectionate kiss/wet willy.

I wouldn't give it up for anything, and I hate missing bedtime because it is like velvet: soft, hushed and dark. I think about those two little bodies and their arms reaching out for me in the night of their bedroom while I lie awake in my own.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Kite Flying

The girls got new kites on Friday. We tried to fly them Saturday morning with disappointing results. This afternoon, however, with a rain storm on the way in, was a different story. J had a grand time with her flying frog.

Even Granddad got in on the action with L's butterfly kite (click on the photo for a bigger image).

The wind blew some energy into me after a busy afternoon at work.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring and Strings and Dirty Things

Spring is officially here! Today I finally realized why it doesn't feel completely Spring-ish despite the lovely weather. There is nothing blooming here! Mom and I planted 50 or 60 crocus bulbs last Fall, and sadly, only 2 of them have come up. One is almost ready to bloom!

The buds on the big Hickory tree out back are swollen and will soon pop open. Things are greening up. It smells like rain tonight.

We celebrated the coming of Spring for most of the day yesterday. After finishing Suzuki Violin Book I last winter, we FINALLY got around to having J's "graduation" recital yesterday. All of her very favorite friends were there, and it was a very special time. I admit to getting a bit teary...it's what Moms do!

We were invited to an impromptu bonfire/cookout last night. It was wonderful to arrive into the circle of our dearest friends and hear the screams of the children calling to our girls. It is like coming home to hear and feel that complete acceptance. What better way to usher in Spring!

Today I felt compelled to do some Spring cleaning. I swept and blew all the winter's worth of dried mud and cinders out of the garage and off of the concrete drive. After being outside all day, the girls smiles were smudged with dirt, as was mine, I'm sure.

Tonight, though I am exhausted, I am happy. The fresh air, the sunshine, the friendships, the accomplishments, all these have combined to create a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Library Association

I attended my first ever meeting of the local Library Association last night. I was invited to become a "Friend of the Library" in the early Fall this year, but had never yet made it to any of the meetings. Honestly, although they undoubtedly invited many people to become "Friends", I felt very honored. I love this Library.

The local Library was one of the first places I discovered when we moved to this town almost 7 years ago. J was just 6 months old at the time. I worked part time for about 3 months then we made the decision that I should stay home with her, which I did gladly. I wasn't prepared, however, for the isolation that I felt after the long hours at work were a thing of the past. The only people I knew in this town were the ones I worked with. I didn't know anyone else with young children. I didn't know where anything was except for my (ex) office, the bank and the grocery store. And then I found the Library.

They had a wonderful Children's Library, complete with hundreds of board books...perfect for a toddler's little hands. They had a Story Hour program for even the littlest of people, and this is where J and I met some of our first friends. We have gone to many, many Library programs since that first one, when J was about 18 months old: the annual Teddy Bear Picnic, Summer Reading Programs, lectures/book signings by local authors, movies, and most recently an Un-Birthday Party! And now, I found myself on the "inside", at a meeting of the Board of the Library and other associated "Friends".

Unfortunately the recession has affected Libraries everywhere, and ours is no different. Over 20% of the State funding was cut for this year, including 100% of inter-library loan funding, and 100% of Summer Reading Program money. The Library has decreased it's hours of operation by 4/week in order to decrease costs. I have frequently requested books through inter-library loans when I need a specific one for J's schooling, and we rarely miss a Summer Reading Program. These budget cuts affect ME! Luckily, the "Friends of the Library" and some other benefactors have given money in order to continue the Summer Programming. As a Library "Friend" I am trying to think of ideas to help my Library, but I haven't come up with any stellar ones yet.

I received a Sony Reader for Christmas. I really liked the idea of having several books on there that I could read when ever I had time. It was about 6 inches high, 3 inches wide, and 1/2 thick and quite light. JP was able to download several books for me for free, including all of Jane Austen, Mark Twain and some Jules Vern. I found it very inconvenient to read, however. It took nearly a minute for the page to turn after pushing the button, and since only a couple of paragraphs at a time fit on the page, it was stop-and-start reading...not very much fun. I toyed with pushing the page turn button before I was done reading a page, but was unable to coordinate the timing. Ultimately, I decided to return it. Truthfully, I felt a bit guilty for ignoring my friends, the books. Could I be a Sony Reader owner AND a "Friend of the Library" in good conscience? Perhaps not...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Surrounded By

I don't get out much. We had to go South to Morgantown to get a new E string on J's violin yesterday. As we got closer to our road, everything was more and more snow covered...right up to our mostly melted driveway. I hadn't realized that elsewhere it looked less like winter than it does here!

Looking out the door, you wouldn't know that it has been above freezing during the day for the past 4 days. Basically everything is still snow covered, although it is down to about a foot or less deep in most areas. Tonight it is only supposed to be 33*...

We still have banks along the driveway that are quite high. This one is over 6 feet tall! This is the first time the driveway has been uncovered for a month.

There is still over a foot of snow and ice on parts of the roof.

There are some odd looking "sculptures" in the banks from the snow melt.

I have taken advantage of the sun yesterday and today to hang out my laundry. I have to slog through the snow to do it, but that, if nothing else, gives me hope for Spring.

Mom and Dad have been able to work for 3 days straight on their house.

They now have 5 rows of logs up and have placed the studs for the inside walls.

I am anxious to order plants, but have been waiting for my landscaping class to be over so that I have a better idea what to buy. The last class I had was Feb 4th...the day before the big snow! We still have 3 more classes, but will not start back until the 18th. I bought some seeds to start inside in the meantime, to tide me over.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

T.G.I.M. (Thank God It's March)

Whew...February is over! It was a bad, bad month. My heart always feels just a bit lighter when I turn that calendar page to March. There is hope that the winter will finally end. The weather guy said that we should still expect 6-9 more inches of snow before April. Sheesh! 6-9 inches is NOTHING compared to February! No problem!

The temps have been above freezing the past few days, but since the sun is still hibernating, it has done little to de-bulk the piles of snow around here. There is no where to walk right now since our paths are socked in with all that snow. I guess I should get some snowshoes! I have been walking the dog down the driveway in the mornings, which necessitates me walking her back UP.

I stepped on the scales this morning, and realized that February has actually been good to me! All that snow shoveling, hauling of water and wood, and tromping through 2 feet of snow and up the driveway has melted 5 pounds of winter blubber right off!

Digging is also a good way to burn calories. I can hardly wait to start planting things! Maybe I'll start some seeds this week. Dad says that St. Patrick's Day is the day to plant peas. I'm thinking that we won't even be able to see the ground yet by St. Patty's Day.

Here's hoping...