Friday, July 31, 2009

Blueberry picking called due to rain

I had visions of blueberries dancing in my head; but not today. Instead we will be sewing and playing our musical instruments. That somewhat quiet day is finally here; without the benefit of a homemade pie.

Hike at Nobscot Boy Scout Reservation

I love having the Nobscot Reservation practically in our backyard. I love being able to be outside, in the woods, looking for toads, frogs, animal tracks, flowers, anticipating the view from Tippling Rock and trying to figure out what building is what from up there. I love being able to see Big Blue and knowing I have hiked up there as well.

On yesterday's jaunt we stopped by the Small Pox graveyard and wondered what it must've been like to be sick and sent away to a Pest House to die.

The big sighting for the little ones was a large frog. I got a picture of him, but only through some sticks that offered him a wee shelter. We all love the excitement of a great find. For me the big sighting was fruiting bodies on Indian Pipe. This soporific plant has always intrigued me. There is a lot of it in the Reservation. Still every sighting is always rewarding.

And this time, I took a handy map gleaned from the internet -- so we ended up right where we started. Already I'm looking forward to our next walk in the woods.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Canobie Lake Park

I never made it to a roller coaster. The group I was with leaned more towards water rides and other thrill rides that involve way too much spinning for me. I can be taken to a great height and dropped, turned upside down and sent screaming along a track, but no spinning... Still, it was a fun day, and there were no accidents.

Seeing the old rides, like the caterpillar, a house of mirrors, tucked in among the new comers brought back some wonderful memories. Both of these were favorites for our group. They probably did each of them three times.

In the end, a good time was had by all. They are looking forward to next year already.

Today will be a more down to Earth day -- weeding the gardens. Probably the kids will be miserable, but maybe not. Everyone needs a little down time.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Canobie Lake

We are off to Canobie Lake Park today with the church. It is a trip for the altar servers and youth choir members. Here is hoping it is a great trip for all, with tons of fun and no accidents.

I haven't been to this park since I was probably 12 years old. Last time it was for a Gillette Family Day picnic. Those were the days, when companies would reward their workers with a day off of fun for them and their families. I am sure it is much bigger than I remember. The little ones have already lined up the Dramamine so they can confidently take on all roller coasters. I peaked at the website and it looks like they have a very nice cork screw coaster. Personally, I can't wait.

I've been asked to take my camera with me... If this were a normal family trip, I never would have considered leaving it home. But being one adult, and thus, no one else in tow to mind the camera while I take on the wet rides, I was planning on leaving it home. Now I'll be carrying a dry bag. Maybe I'll get some great shots for the effort.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Busy as a bee -- or two

Today's to do list was so endless I kept forgetting what was on it. So I made a list, and then promptly crossed off half of it. The Rig will still run fine with the broken front driving light, and the bank is not so disparate for my money. I postponed a trip in their general direction until Thursday or Friday. So today, I seam sealed the water slide (hoping for a fix), went to the library, went for a walk, read with the little one, got the particulars on taking care of a cat, and played taxi to the stars. The flute lesson and the church meeting cannot be postponed.

Still maybe later we'll go for a quick swim to cool off.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Girl Scout Night with the Brockton Rox

What a great time we had last night at the ballgame. This is the second time we participated at Scout Night; a deal that can't be beat. For $10 per person, (cheaper than the quoted price of $18 because we watch the game, stay for the fireworks and movie, but don't sleepover), the girls get a patch, and everyone gets a great seat and a voucher for $5.

For many of our Scouts, they hadn't seen each other since the close of school, so this was a wonderful opportunity for them to catch up, watch some great baseball, get their face painted for free and eat their way from one side of the park to the other. I love seeing the girls together; getting along, teaching each other new camp songs, doing the wave. A great night was had by all.

Brockton Rox we'll be back. Great seeing Nana and Grandpa, too! Happy Birthday Grandpa!

Friday, July 24, 2009

A walk in the woods

Yesterday we went for a walk at the Nobscot Boy Scout Reservation. Finally, after taking many previous hikes there, we took the trail to the tower. Granted you can't climb the tower and get the view you see at Tippling Rock, but now when we see the tower on the horizon we can say, "We climbed up there."
It was a great walk for crawling over boulders, photographing flowers and such, and for getting out in the cool summer air.
The one down side was there were no printed maps at the sign in station, so we committed a map to memory. The hike up was fine, but on the way down took a wrong turn and ended up down the road from the camp entrance. Life was not over. Still finding a great toad, did not keep the younger set from getting nervous.

Despite getting turned around, I would hike there again in a heart beat. I love being out in the woods for a walk. That and the fact, I printed a map off the internet. Next time.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Another type of squash flower

In another area of our yard we have another garden that has a variety of squash, pumpkin, and gourde plants. The seeds were joyously spread, so there is no knowing what is truly growing where until the fruits of our labor appear. But unlike the One Plant, here many plants are observing polite garden boundaries and not overrunning each other as well as the tomatoes or basil which are quietly growing nearby.


It's true, you can't tell a book by its cover, and you can't tell what is in a person's heart by their appearance. I am reminded of the Home Alone movie where Kevin finds a friend in a rather shabby homeless woman. This lesson is taught to us from our childhood on, but we still pass judgments based upon looks, size, color; you name the quality and someone will use it as a basis of hard and fast fact.
And today, on a lesser playing field, the garden, I feel I have done it again. During today's early morning walk and review, I noticed that pumpkin is not looking like a pumpkin after all. But I made the earlier assumption it was a giant pumpkin plant based upon the plant's size. Looking at the developing fruiting body I would say this garden coup is being staged by a buttercup squash.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Male and Female

A male flower.

A female flower.

There is so much to learn about life from gardening. I love going out to our patch everyday and seeing the changes.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Momma, said don't jump. Momma said don't jump.

That ain't the way we play no.
That ain't the way we play no... on the waterslide. (Sung to a song from the 70s...)

For three years I've been the meanie laying down the waterslide rules.
One person on the slide at a time.
Absolutely no jumping.

Well Saturday we had a family party, and there were multiple sliding gigs and jumping going on.
I looked over and commented, "They shouldn't be jumping. It will pop." Then I thought well maybe I've been an ogre these three years, not letting them have their fun; the rotten mother that I am. And maybe jumping is all part of the waterslide experience, and I have been denying them their due enjoyment.

Now fast forward to yesterday, when four sibling friends were over to slide in the sun. The slide anchored and inflated; the friends, 6 of them were put to the task of setting up the water component. And lo and behold, whenever they climbed on the structure, it deflated under their weight.

I investigated and found two small holes... and many many stretched seams.

Momma said don't jump...
That ain't the way that we play, no.
That ain't the way that we play...
and we're not playing anymore.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Water Country

Have you been there? In Portsmouth, NH?

Today was our first time and it was awesome. Of course, being the only parent with the girls, it was a bit tiresome, and hot, but all in all, what a place. I would love to be able to go there again. Ideally it would be wonderful to have someone there to carry our towels and watch our shoes so when we get off the rides we can be toasty warm, instead of iceberg cold. And then it would be awesome to come home to cleaned up kitchen, instead of dirty dishes stacked neck deep due to the home bodies. And they wonder why I was upset... I shouldn't complain, I have job security. Yeah right...

The girls were great. They got tattoos.

SKUNK, You win!

It turns out our little backyard gourmet is of the black and white striped variety. I couldn't sleep this evening so I took a turn by our window and watched the little hole digger looking for his next patch of grass to uproot. It's big...

The internet says to spread cayenne pepper and rags soaked with ammonia about the yard. Will do -- first thing tomorrow morning. In the mean time I hope he doesn't like pumpkin plants, basil, corn or tomatoes.

Friday, July 17, 2009

One Plant to Rule Them All

I have to wonder why seed companies put more than one gigantic plant seed in a package. For this one plant has taken over our entire back garden and it is spreading out into the lawn. Why would you need to plant more than one of these babies? I wish I could find the seed packet to find out the spacing. Should the seeds be planted in mounds 12 inches or 12 feet apart. I would think one plant per backyard would be perfect spacing.

This plant has tendrils wrapped around the corn, peas, beets, and it is heading for the rhubarb.

It is the one plant to rule them all.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I have a wonderful niece

For this evening's movie my niece created HP shirts for the lot of us. Each shirt has a unique HP quote on the front and states our affiliation to Dumbledore's Army on the back. Totally cool.

And what to do while wanting for the movie to start? She put together packets of HP word searches.

The niece is phenomenal. The shirts are wonderful. The word searches were awesome. The movie was priceless. I am all set and waiting for 7a and 7b. Bring it on.

ISBN 978-0-578-03189-7

Forever Yours got its number today. Once the ISBN is associated with the text of the book, without an act of congress, little can be changed. So for hours I have been making formatting and small editing changes. Five times I have thought I was finished, uploaded the file, and then upon reviewing the printer ready doc, saw errors. Okay, four reedits were do to spacing issues that happened when it was formatted for printing. But the last two sessions, those changes I should have caught earlier.

I totally see the reason for editors, layout specialists, and format artists.

My printer ready file is ready to be reviewed -- again... all in all this is still a very exciting day.

Dream Shift

For two nights in a row I have been on the bad dream shift. I knew this insomnia would come in handy. Seriously, the joy of motherhood is never better than when a mom gets to hug and hold away a bad dream.

Signing off, awake and smiling...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

How does your garden grow?

While out patrolling for slugs this morning I noticed that the flowers close to the central stalk of the pumpkin plant are male and the flowers along the vines are female. I had never noticed that phenomenon before. Interesting.

We have three ripening tomatoes. I may pick them and put them in our salad for tonight's dinner. To go along with the four beans I rescued out of our garden. Something has gotten into the garden, (the pumpkin has weighed down the fence...), and mowed down my beans.

Normally I dislike green beans. But beans fresh from the garden are lovely. I might try a third planting once we figure out who has placed the 24/7 reservation at their own private buffet. Strangely enough, it ate all the beans and the wayward poppy, but didn't eat anything else, yet.

The beets are looking good. I have been eying their leaves and their roots. And the corn is tasseling.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Warning: Rant

Why do children behave the way they do?
How can they hide under the guise of homework when asked to weed, then find time to YouTube, Facebook, email?
How can they when making a dinner salad throw in vegetables that are pretty darn close to full size? And when asked to remake the dish, sigh and huff like a dragon.
Why do they run off and sulk when they can't be first down our waterslide when guests are over?
Why when we are in church do they think it is time for a rousing game of hide and seek?
Why are they rude and then even ruder when you call them on it?

I spend every waking breath attending to children. I even spend some midnights hours listening to their woes, and worries. I wouldn't dream about shutting down a request to talk, but maybe the next time I will. The silver platter is tarnished.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Going to the chapel, and I'm

photographing my niece's wedding. I'm going to the chapel, to photography a wedding.

It was a very nice ceremony, and everyone was understanding of the new photographer on the block. Well, new to setting people up for pictures. Stand here, like this. No like this, let me show you. Yes, like that. Put your shoulder here, your foot there. Kiss her, oh I missed it, kiss her again.

Now to sort through the images and put them together in a DVD. I do love taking pictures. In addition to all the images the very lucky couple got a copy of my book for a wedding present.

Friday, July 10, 2009

It's just a good case of bike envy.

See what I am saddled with.
See what I want.

I'm Here

We have a wedding plus marathon weekend. Rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, hot air balloon launch and free plane rides of the kids, a wedding, then girl friends over for a movie and pizza. Photo opportunities galore.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

I'm Up

Yesterday I was in and out of the car 3,000 times. Drop off, pick up, drop off, pick up, drop off... pick up, out to lunch, and home for reading, flute, dance, and dinner construction. This is my summer.

Yesterday I announced at dinner that the girls would to solely responsible to cleaning the kitchen, that I was moving off the on deck circle for the evening.

The initial reaction was, how could you. My thought was, why wouldn't I?

I enjoy being the driver for the stars, but I'm finding out that even though I'm not the one rocking out with the boys at music camp, or hanging out with my fellow geniuses in math, that spending the morning hours shuttling is not a passive sport.

So I am up now for my walk. For I find when I make time in the evening, all I want to do is sit and read for mommy. How could I be so selfish?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

My kind of website

I got this info from a Readers Digest. Check out this link to Do One Nice Thing.

Backyard Wars

We've all heard about the TV show Junk Yard Wars, where there are two teams that have to build something out of junk in a limited period of time. Well here we are having backyard wars. As you might imagine one team is the household staff, humans, okay just me, and the other teams, yes I typed teams are the slugs, (no surprise there), and now the ground hogs. The brazen ground hogs who think nothing of coming out under the cover of night and digging tunnels in the middle of the back yard. Not even availing themselves to the cover provided by the lilies for their horrible digging, but right in the middle of the backyard. It reminds me of the Monty Python line, "I wave my private parts in your general direction."

Yesterday when I surveyed their handiwork I just filled in the mess. Last night when I awoke around 2 AM, and spied telltale signs of digging I knew it was war -- now on two fronts.

I'm bringing out the big guns. It's not going to be pretty. No slug is safe, I am personally inviting all slugs, near and far, for swimming lessons in my portable salt water pool; no experience necessary. And I won't give away the ground hog battle plans. This is a war I am aiming to win.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Raspberry Shrub

At Plymouth Plantation last year we picked up a small but rather pricey bottle of Raspberry Shrub. The label stated that when mixed with water it makes a satisfying fruit drink. It was okay. The girls liked it. But it didn't bring the house down.

Now fast forward a few months to when I found an old cookbook from 1973, The Encyclopedia of Home Cooking. And inside, in the beverage section is the recipe for Raspberry Shrub. Having raspberries in the freezer, I figured, why not give it a try.

Here are the basic instructions:

1. Rinse 4 quarts of red of black raspberries. We used wild hedgerow black berries that grow in our yard.

2. Crush with 1 quart of cider vinegar.

3. Cover and refrigerate for 48 hours.

4. Strain the mashed berries through a jelly bag, collecting the juice in a sauce pot.

5. Set over medium heat and add 6 cups of sugar. Cook until the sugar dissolves. Skim to remove foam.

6. Store in sterile quart jars, in a cool place.

Until yesterday, I had our stash in the back of the refrigerator. Then I thought about mixing it with some seltzer. And the results are unbelievable. This is a must do, easy recipe that has a wonderful result.


Monday, July 06, 2009

Garden Shots

It grows. This weekend the enemy within broke down the garden fence. It grows big...

Before we moved in, there were daylilies in a few spots around the yard. Being a person that is a penny pincher when it comes to gardening, I tend to spread what we have. Hence we have banks and banks of lilies.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

We were camping this weekend up at Half Moon State Park in Vermont. Because of the rainy weather and being on deck to photograph my niece's wedding this coming weekend I didn't bring my camera. On Friday night, Saturday I missed a beautiful double rainbow when the rains decided to stop, some phenomenal mist that was lifting off the pond, and the first keeper small mouth bass caught by the middle one.

Sunday when we pulled up to this chapel for church I couldn't believe my eyes. It was a simple, yet beautiful structure. And then I remembered my phone has a camera.

Camping was great. It is the only time I can truly relax and get some great sleep.

Friday, July 03, 2009

We have beans!

I have been talking with other gardeners, and we seem to be very lucky. Where other gardens are being swamped by this rain, ours is doing great. Yesterday I noted the beets are developing their roots and we now have baby beans to go along with our peas. Now, if we don't get raided by ground hogs, we should be all set.

I love going out there early in the morning. The grass still wet, the birds singing. It's a great way to start each day.

This weather is also great for finding worms for fishing. In no time yesterday the girls and I had some real beauties.

Happy Independence Day to us all. Don't forget to thank a soldier for all that we have in this wonderful US of A.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Forever Yours is now here!


It is now available to the public via the LULU button on the side of this page or by clicking this link. Come on click it, you know you want to.

Calgon! Take Me Away!

I'm dying here!

Truly, it's not the weather. I can take the rain, soft and otherwise. But right now I have two children each baking their own thing in the kitchen and none of it even resembles dinner.

All three are pulling on those apron strings.

The oldest -- I took out driving today. I firmly believe that driving with a teen is the reason God created prozac. It's just too bad, I don't have any. As a recent motorcycle operator, I know the fear she is going through. I know why she hugs the gutter, and drives at a walkers pace, still she has to learn not to. And I know she doesn't want me to tell her when to brake, but watching the other drivers diving under their dashboards for cover... It unnerves me. The entire time we are out I am begging God for strength and patience.

She got testy today. I got testy back, stating, "One accident and it's over, for you, for me, for your hostage sisters in the back seat..." Yes, we are in a behemoth vehicle, but still...

We have made peanut butter chocolate bars, and banana chocolate popsicles with one budding chef. The kitchen is a mess.

The other has taken over the table for her Elephant Ears, but it might as well be a lesson in reading a following directions. Still she didn't want me help, so I let her go on her own. I guess with all her failed starts and restarts, she is learning, while I wish for quieter times, and for someone to think about cooking a dish for dinner instead of snack or dessert.

And then we have our first FB fiasco. Someone chatted something to someone else who is now in tears. I, of course, lost my nut, (Can I say that?) and said something else that can't be typed here. It all comes down to knowing one's own self worth. On FB or otherwise, know your self worth and then let the world go by. Why do people let others define them?

Never mind getting through the summer, will I live to see another day?

The Enemy Within?

Last year our garden was a 24 hour buffet for a family of ground hogs. This year, it was slugs. And I say was, because, I seem to be gaining the upper hand. For the peas are coming in. The beans are covered with flowers. I have enough sage for the entire east coast, and the beets are developing their tasty roots.

But is there an enemy within the fenced in garden confines? That plant; that ginormous plant that could be a pumpkin is taking over and climbing over the fence. It has stalks bigger than my thumb, and leaves as big as umbrellas.