Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Been Busy

 
I haven't posted much for awhile because it's been too crazy around here!
 
I decided at the last minute to get a load of wood mulch for my flower beds before our company arrived.  Actually, I wanted to weed and mulch around the pool - in part to discourage the hiding out of frogs.  Then I weeded and mulched the smaller of the 2 flower beds, and unloaded the rest onto a tarp to be used on the other bed at a later time.

Last week I had 2 days of medical tests and appointments, followed by the arrival of both of my brothers, one sister-in-law, and 4 nieces and nephews.

JP and L made a fast trip to IN on Tuesday and Wednesday last week for his brother's funeral. 

In the past week we've made 3 round trips to the big city, one to the camp where our family reunion was held, and one to Indiana.  It's been nuts.


This is all of J & L's cousins on my side.

The kiddos seemed to enjoy each other's company.  We played in the pool, and played games.


We spent one day at the Science Center in the city.  Of course we coordinated our trips in and out of the city with the traffic from a baseball game, so we spent 5 hours in the van.  Grrrr.

A practicing "zero gravity" tasks

L getting ready to bounce!
My Dad wanted to try to break open a watermelon using rubber bands.  They used almost 4 bags of them before the thing blew!  JP has a great slow-mo video of it on his iPad, but I'm not sure how to get it HERE.  I'll work on that.
 

This is the ball of rubber bands that had been
around the watermelon!
The reunion was a lot of fun.  There was a pretty good turn out, only 5 of my 20 first cousins didn't make it.  All of my aunts and uncles were there, except for the couple currently living in Uganda.


Just a FEW of my cousins!
I have spent this week so far doing laundry and putting things away from having lots of company.
 
Early Wednesday morning, the Power Company came through and delivered a load of wood chips outside my garden.  So, yesterday after work, I mowed and weed eater-ed down there and started laying down landscape fabric and putting wood chips on the paths.  Today is supposed to be a lovely and not too hot day, so I am heading back down there now.

Where's the Bear? #84

Uh oh!  The bear didn't hold on very well when he was up in the tree!


Hope he's ok!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Where's the Bear? #83

Today the bear discovered our "Giraffe Tree."


J discovered it back when she was 5, and before this property was completely cleared.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Frog Research

JP and I removed another 13 frogs from the swimming pool cover last night.  A few of them were gettin' busy, if you know what I mean.  ACK!  I decided that some research was in order to be able to confidently face the challenge of the pool frogs.
 
We have been completely stymied as to how the frogs are getting there, seeing as our pool is nowhere near a body of water where we ASSUMED that frogs would need to breed and grow.
 
Well, I discovered that the frogs in our pool are actually tree frogs, and we live IN THE WOODS. 
 
Cope's Gray Tree Frog
picture from paherps.com

Apparently, these little guys migrate from the trees to small standing bodies of water from May - August to breed.  I guess it just took them a couple of years to find our pool.

More research reveals that proper chlorine levels should keep them out of the pool, so if I'm ever able to achieve that, we'll be golden.  Of course, it has rained 2 1/4 inches over the past 48 hours, so I'll need to re-shock the pool, etc.

SIGH.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Brother

JP's parents with his 2 oldest brothers, J (baby) and D (toddler)
 
We received the sad news today that JP's oldest brother suffered a severe bleed in his brain following a fall this morning, and has just been taken off life support.


It was an incredible shock, and we are all still trying to process it.

D was 18 years older than JP, and was long out of the house by the time I came along, but I felt accepted and felt loved by all of JP's siblings on meeting them.  I found D especially to be an extremely gentle, quiet, and unassuming man.  He and his wife always seemed to have smiles on their faces.

JP & D
 
I have great memories of a weekend that D, his wife and youngest son spent at our home when J was small.  He was always so very appreciative of everything we did or cooked for him!

 
We will miss you so very much, D.

Toad-in-the-Hole

We first discovered the tasty dish called "Toad-in-the-Hole" while reading Danny the Champion of the World, by Roald Dahl, several years ago.  It is basically a Yorkshire pudding, with sausage links in it.

Lately, I've found that it can mean something entirely different.

Almost every morning, I find that something has created a hole in my potted purple peppers (how alliterative!)


Almost every day, I dig it out, and find absolutely nothing in there.

The other night, I caught the culprit in the act!

Toad-in-the-Hole

In other news, L and I created the 4th manifestation of "Lazy Laura" the scarecrow, and posted her in the garden.  She is supposed to be keeping the cicadas off of my blueberries, but I don't think it's working.

Where's the Bear? #82

The bear is knee deep in wildflowers today, trying to catch butterflies!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Open Season

We were finally able to get into the pool this afternoon!


It has been a long and frustrating journey to get to this point.  We all worked together and got the cover off the pool right after Labor Day.  It took us until the first Saturday in June to get a water truck out to deliver around 3,500 gallons of water to fill up the pool.  I had the pump, filter and chlorinator hooked up and ready to turn on right away, and had been up to the city the day before to buy a mineral filter for the chlorinator.

Soon after the pool was filled, I noticed a connecting hose leaking, and then it blew out right in front of me!  We had to go back up to the city to buy new hoses the following day.

The opening package of chemicals from Amazon was delayed until Tuesday, so started up the pump then, and realized that I had a major leak from the chlorinator.  It appears that I lost an O ring when closing up the pool last fall.

After yet another trip up to the city last Friday for the O ring, I filled the filter with diatomaceous earth, and set about dumping in the chemicals.  Things really didn't clear up right away like they have done in the past, and the following day, when I usually have sky-high chlorine levels, they were normal.

In the meantime, I have relocated 11 tiny frogs from the pool to the creek down at the bottom of the hill.  I think I have finally captured them all, as I haven't seen or heard one for the past 3 nights.

I have continued to fiddle with the chemicals, but the chlorine level remains low.  I vacuumed the entire pool, and scrubbed down the sides on Saturday, and we put the steps in on Sunday evening.

This afternoon, the water finally looked crystal clear, and although the chlorine level was still lower than normal, the girls and I jumped in.

Hip hip hooray - summer is actually here!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Where's the Bear? #81



The bear has been picking strawberries lately.  They are delicious!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Summer Starts Here

The girls' last day of school was on Friday last week.  JP took off work for the long Memorial day weekend, plus Tues. & Wed., so we've been too busy to blog about it!  Tomorrow is back to work for he and I, and it will be CRAZY!

 
For the past few years, the girls have ridden the bus on the last day of school to our friends' house, along with a lot of other friends. 


 We have ice cream and pizza for them, and lots of water toys - squirters, water balloons, etc.  Usually the boys gang up on J, who is completely drenched by lunchtime.


I've been hanging my clothes on the line in the sunshine again, which I love.  I thought the juxtaposition of J's t-shirts was interesting:  they showcase her eclectic musical tastes.

I turned this upside down to be easier to read,
but it just looks weird!
Tonight we took the cover off of the pool, so that I can order a truck of water and start putting chemicals in to get ready for swimming season.  These 2 little frogs have been living in the fetid water on top of the pool cover for the past couple of weeks.  They have been singing their hearts out after dark.  The girls have named them Merry & Pippin, and we plan to relocate them to the spring down the hill tomorrow.


On Friday, the girls and I will venture north to do some summer clothes shopping, and go to an appointment. 

Those are the immediate plans and activities of Summer 2016, what's happening in your neck of the woods?

Where's the Bear? #80


The bear is wondering if this Lupine is pronounced "Loo-PIN" or "Loo-PINE."