Sunday, June 19, 2011


I came to this Aunt-hood gig late. Both my hubby and I are the oldest children in our families. Our children are the oldest grandkids on both sides. And, even after my sibs (eventually) got around to having nieces and nephews for me to spoil, they lived very far away (across the ocean, and South Dakota. Inconvenient!)

I knew what I was missing. I have awesome aunts--on both sides of my family. I have great memories with them--stretching back my entire life.

But now, things are picking up! People have moved closer (mere hours of travel time!! YAY) Plus--more kids to spoil!

Last week, I answered the phone to a teary little voice, informing me that a tragic accident "with a dangerous thing" had "hurt his cute, cute face". Mom was not sympathetic. She was not sympathetic, because the three year old in question was injured when he put the ladder for the bunkbed (the "dangerous thing"in question) up to the counter--against her express wishes and advice--and it slid down (of course!). Fortunately--aunts can be more sympathetic.

I spent today sewing a baptism dress for a lovely niece. It turned out even better than I pictured it in my imagination. I upcycled a vintage linen damask tablecloth (and 1 linen napkin) which gives it a lovely white on white pattern that glows in the light--and it is SOFT--not at all scratchy or itchy. It has a great twirly skirt (a full circle and a quarter!) and very pretty poof sleeves. I will attempt to get photos. Darn this lack of camera!


Last night, when I went out to round up the chickens, it was so humid that there was a layer of fog on the low-lying areas of my backyard (which does have a definite slope to the south-west). It was very green, and gray and still. Beautiful and peaceful.

Of course, that same humidity that gives us all the amazing shades of green, also made the two batches of caramel corn sitting on the counter into moist little sponges. Urgh.

The caramel corn (which fortunately was a recipe that was put into a 250 degree oven and toasted for 45 minutes--and which revived nicely with another half-hour this morning!) was for church.

We (the Primary Presidency) had discussed various gifts for the dads in the ward. We settled on a treat buffet. WIN! We had 5 sisters make 1 or 2 of their specialties--we had a great variety (chocolate with peanut butter, snickerdoodles, fruit kabobs, brownies, and more!)--plus baggies of the aforementioned popcorn.

We thought the dad's would come get a plate and then head to class, but everybody stood around chatting. We have already had requests for this to become an annual tradition.

It was a very happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wildlife Report

A rundown on my local wildlife:

Lots of fat brown rabbits
Lots of fat brown groundhogs

Today was my first sighting of the year for fireflies. How I love them!

We bought a bunch of new chicks today. Yep--this is our third batch this spring. I did finally get some pix, which I hope to post soon.

3 hilarious little kittens that my dear hubby brought home last weekend "so we can find homes for them"--I suspect that they have found it. Pictures of them coming soon, too.

The WonderDog--who has finally made peace with the kittens, and is UBER-EXCITED about the chicks (what is not to love about little balls that squeak, run around erratically, and smell like chicken!?) He knocked the box off the shelf this afternoon, and we had a hilarious scene of kittens chasing chicks, Wonderdog watching the whole scene in excitement, and small girls giggling and trying to get everybody rounded back up. Thankfully, no fatalities, no injuries, everything is hunky-dory!

LOTS of kids--seriously, a dozen. 6 newly adolescentish boys (in the 10-14 range), and 2 teen-ish girls (BigGirl's BFF who tragically moved out of state is in town for a visit--hooray!!) tending 4 little-ish girls. The girls had lots of glamour and crafts. The boys had lots of running, yelling, archery(ish) stuff and most exciting--I let them build a fire and cook out on it, then sleep out in the new tent (yard sale!--it's nice, too!) Everybody played lots of water games because it was almost 100 degrees, according to the sign on the Bank uptown.

Whew! I am ready for bed!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Spring is here (!?)

I have my garden planted!

Now, I know it is a little late in the year, but 2 BIG obstacles stood in my way:

1: We have had so much rain this year that it has been too wet for ANYONE to plant ANYTHING. The farmers are just now getting their corn crop in (6 weeks late).

2: I had to move my entire garden. I have completely given up on attempting to use the "soil" of our yard to grow much of anything in. Pure clay. It is such pure clay that my younger sister once made pots out of it, dried them in the sun (no fancy kiln or anything of that nature!) and they stayed good all summer long. Even when they were rained on. That kind of clay.

So I have opted for raised bed,square foot gardening. I LOVE IT! However--the site of my former garden is now the hugely enlarged chicken yard, so I had to move everything. All the raised beds, all the soil. That process was slowed by my complete aversion to having the rays of the sun touch my lily white (read "fish belly pale") skin. I do my yard work before the sun is up, and after it goes down.

And now it is planted and fenced, and growing for all it is worth (I hope!)

Next step: build the onion & carrot planters and plant all the herbs. We also have "Camp Funnawanna" this week with some of our favorite children, doing all kinds of awesome summertime activities--and letting their sweet mom study for her finals in peace!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Happy Birthday

Today would be my Mom's 61st birthday. Except that she died 10 1/2 years ago. I can't believe how fast that decade has gone by. I am regularly surprised to realize what my mom was doing when she was my age--since I am the oldest, I remember the most history, and I remember clearly. When my mom was the age that I am now, I was already friends with Karen and Angela. She had already changed many people's lives--for the better. She was always a catalyst. She had a gift for bringing out other people's skills and abilities. Even skills they weren't aware of.

I would like to share a letter I received today from my Aunt Debbie--my mom's younger sister.

June 1, 2011 – Wednesday

Today would have been Brenda’s 61st birthday. Last week, during the chaos of my life, I was reading “A Tale of Two Cities.” At first it was slow going and I had no inkling of any memory of reading the book or seeing the movie. All I knew was that it was a book I’ve wanted to read for along time.

And then I began to feel a creeping awareness that these characters were familiar. As the Dickens story unfolded, and I became more engrossed, I could see Brenda’s bright, animated face telling me about vengeful Madame DeFarge, knitting as she condemned people to the guillotine, love-struck Sidney Carton, beautiful Lucy, and unfortunate Dr. Manette. I’m sure I didn’t understand much of it—I can remember feeling confused about why good people were in danger of being executed—but that didn’t dampen our excitement.

How blessed I was, to grow up with such a guide! I don’t know if Brenda had seen the movie—there was a 1958 release that would have had to have been re-shown sometime in the 1960s at the local theater or drive-in—or if she read the book. Either way, she made it come to life for the rest of us. That’s one of my favorite memories—all of us sitting around hearing a story while we quilted, snapped beans or just vegetated. And Brenda was the best storyteller of all.

She also passed on her insatiable desire for learning. It isn’t enough to know about “A Tale of Two Cities”—now I have to learn more about the French Revolution.

Happy Birthday, dear Brenda—your memory lives on!

I clearly remember her telling me the story of "Macbeth" on a long drive home one night. I LOVED it--she made it vibrant. I was seven.