Sunday, August 29, 2010

Summer's End

Sweet Summer is drawing to a close. I'm trying not to mourn its passing, but I can't help looking back and feeling a twinge of sadness that another part of my girls' childhood has passed.

We went to the pool today for one last summer swim. It was hot...91* today, but the water was cold because of the 3 previous 50* nights. We ran into friends there, the girls had a blast and wore themselves out. I watched them play, thinking "it will never be EXACTLY like this again!"

The local kids will be starting school tomorrow. We have a two day reprieve, beginning on the 1st. Two days to finish up any unfinished business before our days become not so free again. Two days to pack it all in.

This year, my baby starts Pre-School. Time passes. Things change. Do I really, truly wish they would stay the same? Of course not, of course not. Another season will come, and with it new adventures. Let's drink to Autumn!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Around the Ridge

Summer is winding down. Late summer is a time that leaves me gasping from heat and oppressive humidity. In other words, not my favorite time of year. I've had to water the garden twice in the past week, but we received a much needed rainfall last night that refreshed both the garden and my soul.

The risk of roasting in our skins outdoors has not kept us from enjoying Poplar Ridge lately, however. No matter how hot it gets, it always stays a few degrees lower in the woods. That is where the dog and I have been walking lately, and we come home covered in burrs (a sign that Fall is on its way).

The girls are growing some beautiful, tall sunflowers in circles in the garden.

This week, we tied the tops together to create a sunflower fort for each of them.

My second crop of corn is getting ripe. I picked over 4 dozen ears this week and froze 8 pints of corn that we will enjoy this winter.

Every single ear had worms at the tip, but that's the consequence of choosing not to spray my garden. They still turned out quite a lovely butter and cream color.

The barn kitties (still un-named) moved themselves from the back yard to...guess where? The barn. Both seem to be doing well and I think they plan on sticking around.

Even Kali is pursuing some cooler indoor activities lately, such as playing dress-up with the girls.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Bright Idea

JP and I have already tired of our new kitchen, so recently we decided to change things up a bit. We're not really tired of the kitchen, just wanted to improve some lighting issues. JP found these instant pendant light adaptors, which I installed in the recessed lighting fixtures over the bar.

Here's the first one...It took about 45 minutes to install. You can see the boring old recessed light fixture on the right.

Here's both of them. The second one took 15 minutes to install. Go figure.

Just heard on the news that they had to euthanize the Kodiak bear at the zoo because of debilitating arthritis pain. We'll miss you, Rocky!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Garden Haul

Just a quick pic of what I picked in the garden today. It was a bit more varied than it has been lately, since it included a Sugar Baby watermelon and a sweet red pepper.

The girls also had a chance to play on our friends' giant slip-n-slide, so I stitched together these stills to make a choppy slo-mo video.

Fun Times!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Feelin' Groovy

Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the morning (summer?) last.
Just kicking down the cobble stones.
Looking for fun and Feelin' Groovy.
-Simon & Garfunkel

Our much anticipated summer vacation week blew by in a flash, but we enjoyed every minute of it. Now I am trying to get my head around the fact that summer is coming to an end. Next week the girls start soccer practice, and it is probably just another week or two after that until school starts again. This year L will be attending Pre-School for 3 days a week, and J will continue Cyber-School in grade 2. I'm ok with it though. I gave myself the opportunity to play this summer, and although it was mixed with periods of hard work in the gardens and yard, we packed a LOT of fun stuff in.

JP and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary on Tuesday. We spent Monday afternoon - Tuesday afternoon away from the girls. We ate Indian food, stayed at a Hotel out of town, watched a movie, and had time to converse...just the 2 of us.

Unfortunately, we returned home to find my Mom unwell. She got worse over the next 2 days and finally ended up hospitalized for Pneumonia on Thursday. She is consistently improving, but still not home. The girls have had a crash course in Hospital Etiquette, and although their behavior there is not stellar, they do pretty well. My Dad can remember the days when children were not permitted as visitors in Hospitals, recalling a day when his mother spent over an hour visiting a relative in the Hospital and left him alone in the car in the parking lot.

Missy L won a coloring contest sponsored by a local community newspaper, and was awarded 4 tickets to the county fair AND some money for food and games. We went out in the heavy heat Wednesday evening to take it all in. We ate food-on-a-stick, rode crazy carnival rides, and looked at the 4-H animals until dark.

The following morning we got up early and headed for our favorite amusement park, Idlewild. J earned a free ticket there from the bank by making deposits twice a month to her account throughout the school year. It was overcast and not crowded, so we enjoyed a fun day there and were on our way to the van to leave when it began to rain.

The past couple of days have been lazy...just doing a little around the house and visiting Mom in the hospital every day. Today we got 2 kittens from a friend so that we will have barn cats to keep the rodent population down.

As you can see, the black one is a bit more skittish than the white one. We are waiting a bit to name them until we are sure they are going to stick around, but we are tossing around some names: Bert and Ernie, Flotsam and Jetsam, Tom & Jerry. I don't know...any ideas?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Un-Birthday Party

You might remember recently that I blogged about my recent lack of concentration, a.k.a. craziness. Yesterday was the jewel in my crown of nutso. I showed up a day early for a Birthday party that L was invited to. My friends were most gracious about my mistake and invited us in for tea and a movie with the boys. We returned today, and L had a lovely time with her friends...thanks folks!

Today is President Obama's 49th kudos too to Mr. O. Here's a fuzzy little guy to make you smile.

As a follow up to my last post, I am showcasing the rest of my garden today. Lest any of you think that the vegetable garden, all 5000 square feet of it, is immaculate, let me enlighten you. All of the pretty veggie pictures from before used the best shots and judicious use of the Photo Shop crop tool. Here it is in all its weedy glory.

I also take lots and lots of pictures, and then delete at least 50% of them. I took several shots on 2 different days of the girls in their matching pioneer bonnets and aprons, but still didn't really get any great shots. These were some of my sewing projects recently. The girls requested that I make matching ones for their dolls too, so I have more projects to work on!

Today I have been hauling more river rock. I surrounded the sand box and these 2 huge boulders that JP rescued from beside the road with his tractor one morning. Now they appear to be islands in a sea of stone.

JP just broke the news to me that someone we know was killed by the Taliban. Wow...that makes this war seem really close to home! One of my college classmates, Glen Lapp, was one of the 10 medical workers killed in Afghanistan on Friday. You can read the story here.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Whoops, I did it again!

I managed to arrange it to do my grocery shopping in the "big city" of Washington again this week, dropped the girls off at the Eagle's Nest, and sipped my free Frappuccino while strolling down the grocery aisles. I figured that I deserved the reward after making through another 26 hours without power this week.

We had a big summer storm on Wednesday, I carefully drove home through the swirling leaves and bending and breaking trees after spending most of the day in the auto repair shop. I wasn't surprised that the power was already out when I got home. The storm was short lived...only 30 minutes or so, but the destruction lasted longer. A walnut tree came down next to Mom and Dad's house.

Several poplars had huge branches come down.

No damage to our homes or vehicles occurred though, just to my comfort. The girls and I played lots of board games the following day, and were rewarded at the end of the day with a shower (hooray!) a full day earlier than we expected.

The remainder of this post is an homage to my garden and the growing things on Poplar Ridge this summer...

I've got lots of produce coming out of the garden these days.

From left to right and top to bottom: acorn squash, butternut squash, beans, cabbage, cantaloupe, pumpkin, cucumber, onions, corn, watermelon, sweet peppers, tomatoes (click on the photo to enlarge.)

My perennial bed is spreading, growing and blooming.

The little strawberry patch of alpine strawberries bears sweet and tiny fruit all summer.

This crazy squash is going nuts in the compost bin. Any ideas what it could be? I don't actually recall eating anything like this last year!

Mom and Dad were off celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary today. JP got home the earliest we've seen him all week. We are gearing up for our summer fun week as a family...stayed tuned!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Swimming Hole

JP and I needed an uplifting activity after the depressing movie (The Lovely Bones) that we watched last night. So tonight we have been scheduling his yearly "summer vacation" week since the girls collapsed into bed. Last year we moved during his week off. The year before that, we worked on several projects around the house. This year, being in denial about the many projects we have on the back burner, we are planning to play. Our 19th anniversary conveniently falls into that week, so one of the reservations we were working on is an overnight get-away for the two of us. (Mom and Dad have already agreed to watch the girls.) Another one is our yearly Idlewild trip.

The girls were tuckered out after a long day of playing. We spent several hours at the Elementary School parking lot riding bikes. J is doing so well...she rode and rode and rode! We realized that L's little bike is really too tiny for her, so we ended up getting her a new bike today as well.

All the bike riding in the sun left us feeling a bit wilted and sticky, so we took our neighbor up on his offer of using his swimming hole. It's a lovely little place, back in the trees, spring fed and deliciously cool.

Even the dog jumped in, though she is not a good swimmer. JP and I had to help her a few times as she was going under. I read some where that the name "Poodle" came from the German "pudel", meaning "one who plays in water". Hmmm. Since this was her first time in the water, I guess I'll give her another chance to display her water dog abilities.

Now I'm ready to collapse into bed myself. Nighty night!