Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bad Parenting 101

Today was one of those days that ended on a downer. I'm needing encouragement tonight, so come on...give it up!!

We had a good morning, fit a lot in, including letting the chickens out to scratch in the garden and finishing up school before lunch.

I had a great afternoon. I manned the office on my own for about 3 hours before the surgeons made it in from the O.R...felt very appreciated and worthwhile.

I came home and was informed that my children were not well behaved while I was away. The thing that makes me the most sad, is that they are not honest about their mistakes. Of course, when they display this behavior outside of the privacy of our home, I feel like someone yanked my swimsuit off at a beach jam-packed full of people. It feels like a critique of me and/or my parenting, when my attention is brought to my girls' problems.

Of course, this is over reacting on my part. It is surely the duty of every child to embarrass the heck out of their parents at LEAST once in their lives! But I am sitting here in the dark, hunched over the computer, wondering...what should I have done differently? How do I deal with these issues now? Why in the WORLD is L doing so many impulsive CRAZY things lately?

Then, while my self esteem is in the crapper, we discover another sick hen. My confidence in care taking is now thoroughly shattered. I can't even take care of BIRDS for goodness sake! (How can I even be expected to raise 2 children!) I had to call my friend, M, to give me chicken reassurance. "Yes." He says. "It sounds like you are doing all the right things...except for wanting to keep chickens in the first place!"

OK, T...time to take a deep breath and climb out of the swamp of self pity you're currently wallowing in! RADICAL ACCEPTANCE!!

Guess I'll be digging another hole in the woods in the morning.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

So. Much. Fun.

...And not a single picture to show for it!

We had a big bunch of people out this afternoon for a Pre-Memorial Day shin-dig...13 kids altogether, and 11 adults. JP slow roasted a couple of giant Greene Co. chickens in the Big Green Egg all afternoon, then threw on some hot dogs for the kiddos. Everyone brought delicious side dishes along, and the whole thing culminated with s'mores around the fire.

The men played basketball. The kids slid down our hill of topsoil and terrorized the hens. The ladies lounged on the veranda, sipping mojitos and relaxing. It was a wonderful afternoon...lovely weather, yummy food and excellent company. We'll have to repeat the activity again in the not too distant future!

L lost her second tooth tonight. Both girls fell asleep as soon as their lights were out, clean faces shining.

JP and I are heading that way too...for a long, lovely sleep after this long, lovely day.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Graduate

This evening, we had the pleasure of attending L's Pre-School Graduation Ceremony. I would have missed most of it, had I not been standing in the aisle...the graduates were all quite small!

Here's a shot of L and her best buddy E. She just realized on the way home from the program this evening, that she won't be seeing as much of E next year, and suddenly wants to go to "real school" in the Fall too!

We will discuss this matter at a later time!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

All's Well That Ends Well

L had a rough night last night. She hurt her eye somehow (still can't get a straight story on what actually happened), and cried every 10 or 15 minutes for 5 hours straight. This morning, her eye was still red and swollen and the crying persisted. So...we did the only reasonable thing: we left her end of the school year picnic in the park early, and spent an hour and 2o minutes at the Eye Doctor's office. It ends up that she got a tiny scratch on her eye, and after some anesthetic drops and steroid drops, she is a different little girl tonight!

The unexpected Dr. appointment threw our schedule for a bit of a loop today. When we arrived home at 3:00 this afternoon, I thought I'd get J started on some of her lessons, and then get the laundry hung out on the line. Unfortunately, when we stopped at the coop to check on the hens, we found that another one bit the dust sometime between last evening and this afternoon.

So...after starting J on her lessons, I hung out the wash, started another lesson, put the chickens in the garden, started another lesson, hosed out the coop (you get the picture). I sprayed the entire thing down with bathroom disinfectant twice, then left everything open to get purified by the warm May sun.

The hens are all safely back in their lemon-fresh home, with clean nesting material, water and food.

We finished all of J's lessons just minutes after JP returned home from work right before 6 PM.

The unfortunate hen is now 6 feet under out in the woods (well, more like 2 feet under).

I've had a shower. (There's nothing like potentially lethal bird germs and lemony antiseptic bathroom spray to make one want a thorough shower!)

I just finished watching last night's episode of Glee as JP popped in to kiss me goodnight. I must take the dog out one last time, and check on the hens before heading to bed myself.

Oh...and after learning that our blue crayfish was the burrowing sort, we released him last weekend on a mossy bank near our spring. He dug into the bank so fast, that I couldn't even get the camera turned on fast enough to photo-document his get away!

So here's to happy endings, clean hair, and loose ends all tied up! Sweet dreams all!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Great Weekend for the Apocalypse

It was a lovely weekend to experience an Apocalypse, although I must have missed it. I guess we can just assume that What's-His-Name was wrong about the date for the end of the world as we know it (AGAIN)! We did manage to pack a lot in, since we weren't busy with earthquakes, fires and rapturing.

JP went to the city with 6 of his friends to take in a baseball game. Isn't the view of the city from the stadium excellent?

Both during the day and at night!

I also received notice on Friday that my student loans are officially PAID OFF! Hooray!

We got the grass mowed yesterday. I got the push mower out for the first time this year and uncovered my little boxwoods and the edges of my perennial bed. I also finished landscaping around my Mother's Day weeping cherries.

I started turning soil around some trees in the front yard for another flower bed...can't have too many!

JP and I worked many hot and strenuous hours on our raised garden beds. We have over half of them in, including the tiered strawberry bed in the center. We would build 2 of them at a time, carry them into the garden, and then JP would bring 2 scoops of topsoil (left from excavating for the barn last summer) to fill each one. I would spread around the soil and pull out extraneous roots and weeds while he cut wood for the next 2. I also got the tomatoes and herbs in one of the beds, and am hoping that the rain holds off long enough to get some seeds planted tomorrow.

Now I am exhausted, but it is back to the grind tomorrow. 3 more weeks of school for J, although we have already finished one subject, and will finish another tomorrow. L's last day of school is a picnic on Wednesday, then her graduation the following evening. (She tells us that the songs she is to sing for the ceremony "tire me out!")

I have too much going on for the world to end anyhow. I'm glad we got to enjoy the weekend instead!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mystery Solved

This morning my Dad encouraged me to do a bit of research on blue crayfish. What I discovered makes yesterday's finding less mysterious, but interesting none the less.

Check this out:

The habitat of C. monongalensis is wooded hillsides, hill tops and seeps, and this is the general area they live in.

(Information found here .)

Here's another interesting tidbit from the PA Crayfish Reference : "Some crayfishes are burrowers and live far from surface water. They must have underground water though, like a shallow aquifer, underground spring, or nearby water. Burrows can be quite deep with many branching tunnels, some leading to nearby water. If you live in the right places (Southwestern and Eastern PA), you might see crayfishes walking around a garden far from water during the humid summer nights."

So...not a true mystery, just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

By the way, I also identified him as a male! We will probably release him near our spring later today, but he does seem to enjoy the mealworms we have been watching as a Science project.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Stranger Things Have Happened...?

Well, that's what my Dad said this afternoon after his dog found a little blue crawdad under a rock near his driveway. Keep in mind that the closest stream is about a quarter of a mile away down the hill. He's a cute little guy too...brilliantly blue, and about 2 inches long.

It is a pretty strange occurrence. Also strange was the crazy hail storm in town (check out my friends' pictures at Wazoo Farm and Under the Sycamore). We only got a few seconds worth of hail up here, much to the girls' disappointment.

So where did he come from, this tiny crustacean? Was he washed down from a spring farther up the hill (though I haven't seen any higher springs on my wanderings)? Did he fall from the sky like a pinching, blue hail stone? You've all heard the urban myth about the scuba diver found in a tree, miles from any bodies of water, right? Perhaps Blue Boy was dropped by a crawdad munching bird, who was frightened by the thunder. I'll likely never know for sure!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rain, Rain Go Away!

According to our weather system, mounted on a post of the garden, we have had over 21 inches of rain on Poplar Ridge since Jan 1st. On the news tonight, they announced 17 inches in our area in the past 42 days. Even without exact measures, we all feel water logged around here.

We will never be in danger of flooding up here on the Ridge, unless another flood of Biblical proportions is imminent. We are losing portions of our driveway and garden, though. Some of JP's acquaintances have reported their gardens are rotting in the ground.

The wood for our raised beds arrived bright and early Saturday morning, but we are unable to even set foot in the garden for fear of sinking in mud up to our knees. The peas and radishes seem to be doing fine, though.

On the positive side, things are looking incredibly lush and green (including the weeds in the garden). All of the trees in the nursery now have leaves, as do all but one of my ornamental pears. Even the tiny hybrid willow twigs that we planted a couple of weeks back have sprouted green whiskers.

Recently JP calculated the amount of water if one inch of rain fell over one acre. By extrapolating (bear with me, Math Man), I came up with the sum of approximately 29,662,500 gallons of water that fell on Poplar Ridge so far in 2011. I'm incredibly grateful for it all too, even though our rain water cistern only holds 500 gallons. I'm hoping this means we will not have a dry summer!

But ENOUGH ALREADY! We need the rain, blah, blah, blah, now dry up! I know I'm not alone in this request.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tooth Fairy

It has been a BIG week for little L! She attended her first sleep-over on Friday night (and came home cranky and tired, but that's nothing new...) Monday evening she discovered her first loose tooth, and by yesterday afternoon it was out!

Several of her little friends have recently lost their first tooth as well. Consequently, she has been hearing tales of the Tooth Fairy for the past week or three. Apparently the Tooth Fairy likes a glass of water by the bedside of the toothless child, in which to bathe. After her bath, the water will retain some residual color and fairy dust (glitter).

J told L yesterday that although fairies usually cannot fly with wet wings, the Tooth Fairy has special magic that will dry her wings quickly. This way she can continue her rounds at lightning fast fairy speed.

In addition, the Tooth Fairy left L a letter, congratulating her on the loss of her first tooth. J received a similar one after losing her first tooth. It's a little different when there is an older sibling around. J's only comment was, "The Tooth Fairy has a computer?"

Friday, May 6, 2011

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep...

This long, long week is finally over. I spent much less time at home than I originally anticipated (you would think I'd learn at some point that my plans never work out the way I intend them to!). I worked an extra half day, and had to go to Washington two days in a row.

My sweet J-Bird is keeping up with her school work despite the craziness. L complains, but is along for the ride. Both dogs are bitter at being locked up all day. The chickens are just pleased that they could spend the afternoon in the garden yesterday, and all the poo miraculously disappeared from their pen while they were otherwise occupied.

This weekend will be make-up and catch-up...AFTER I get to celebrate Mother's Day a day early. The girls are at a sleep over tonight, but we will pick them up bright and early to go out for breakfast...something with piles of whipped cream on top. This will be followed by a trip to my favorite local nursery, as I am searching for a couple of ornamental trees (and whatever else might catch my fancy but is not the least bit enticing to deer.)

Following the "me time", I would like to lay in the hammock with both of the reasons that I can celebrate being a Mom and read to them until my voice gives out.

So here's a shout out to all you exhausted Mom's out there. I wish you all a peaceful weekend that is filled with macaroni hearts, #1 Mom awards, and sweet, sticky hugs and kisses.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Another Busy Day

Yesterday was the first Saturday in a LONG time that was dry. We took full advantage.

I admired my shade box in bloom...

...from both directions. (See the mint starting to come back? I am eager for fresh mint iced tea!)

We planted 50 (I counted wrong earlier) hybrid willow trees, across the road in Wisecarver Marsh. These trees are guaranteed to grow from 10-20 feet in the first year. We are hoping that they provide a natural screen between our property and the next, which is lacking in the hygiene and neatness department. They were very small, only about 2 feet tall, but already bursting with tiny green leaves. At places we had to slog through marsh over our ankles, thus the awesome new rubber boots.

While we were planting, we also cut down myriads of multiflora roses and other brambles, and picked up trash. We filled up the back of JP's little pickup truck.

Last evening, JP decided to burn our brush pile and roast wienies for dinner. By 7:15, the fire was still burning too hot for roasting, so we gave up and fired up the gas grill. In the meantime, the girls found handfuls of worms under a wood pile. They fed these to the chickens, who slurped them up like spaghetti.

We all went to bed early, freshly showered and scrubbed, and slept like babies.

This morning it is raining again. Ho Hum.