Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How do you spell 'cute'?

How do you spell 'will'?

How do you spell 'miss'?

How do you spell 'all'?

Fresh Air Fund

New York City.
Long bus ride.
Meet new family.
In the country.
See cows grazing.
See plows working.

Smell by-products 8-(.

Greet brothers, sisters.
Hugs from family.
Swim in pool.
Pet the ponies.
Hold the bunnies.
Goodnight from bunk.

Bowl a strike!
Pick a tomato.
Family game night.
Family dinner time.
Say the grace.

See the pond.
Play with dogs.
Help with chores.
Play video games
(Rot the brain).

Form new friendships.
Count the stars.
Go for walks.
Chase the butterflies.
Discover new life.

Pack the bags.
Give hugs goodbye.
Promise to return.
Climb on bus.
Wave goodbye.
Home to Mommy.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Obrin and the Great Outdoors

Obrin doesn't seem to like being outdoors as much as we had expected. Guess it's just not what he's used to. I tried to encourage him to climb a tree this morning but he was having none of it. But he finally agreed to smile for the camera while actually touching the tree.

He did seem to like the vegetable garden, though, and picked a nice tomato.

Rite of Passage

Can we talk?
A whispered secret.
Clothes rinsed out.
A drawer opened.
Some guidance given.
Mark the calendar.
Hug girl goodbye.
Greet young woman.

(Mum's the word)

Family Game Night

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rite of Passage

We have to talk
A secret whispered
Clothes washed out
A drawer opened
A calendar marked
A goodbye hug
Greeting young woman.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Family Dinner

Baked chicken? Obrin didn't seem to know what to make of it.
Fried chicken tenders (resembling a certain nugget of the Mc family), he gobbled down quicker than I can yell Diiiinnnner!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Obrin's Here!

This afternoon, Obrin (our boy from the Fresh Air Fund) arrived by bus to a high school about 30 - 40 minutes from our house. It was a scorcher out there in the parking lot, but it was all smiles and breezes when he stepped off the bus.
Right this minute, he's being given the tour of the place by Rosie and some of the others. For an 8 year old little boy far from home, he sure seems brave and friendly and endearing.
When asked what his favorite color was, he prattled off about ten different hues, including different shades of the same color. When we inquired after his favorite animal, he replied tiger (James' fave, too), and informed us he wanted a baby tiger all his own that he could raise. I'm sure Mom will be on board for that! 8-)

Frankenstein's Dog

Sunny was due to have her stitches removed today. So I took her to the vet and sat in the waiting room, biding time till it was our turn. In the chairs across from me were two towhead boys, both with missing teeth, patiently waiting for their dog to be released from the exam room.
It's been my experience that under normal circumstances, boys and dogs are magnetically drawn to each other. Evidently, Sunny knows this, too, and took one look at the youngsters and began lurching over towards them.
What I saw was my sweet yellow lab walking over to the boys with a big smile on her face and a wag of her tail.
What the children saw was a duct-taped, slobbery plastic cone collar flapping around and sounding like hillbilles playing the saw. They saw a shaved and swollen and red ear with wiry black sutures poking out of it every which way. They saw four feet, all with missing fur from being chewed, attached to an almost 100 pound body that couldn't seem to walk a straight line.

As she approached them, they involuntarily flinched and their faces wrinkled in undisguised disgust.

Taking a look at her from their eyes, I couldn't say as I blamed them......

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Day at the Beach

A week or so ago I packed the kids into the car and we headed to the beach. It was a perfect day, with great waves for boogie-boardin', shells to find, jetties to walk. We got to spend some time with Grammy, bought Hermit Crabs, and built castles in the sand.
Here are a few photos to prove it ....

Fence Fights

The fenceline between our lower field and the neighbors' manicured lawns runs along a hedgerow. With any luck, your collective memories are scanty as mine and you won't remember from last summer when I proudly posted that my girls and I patched it all up so the horses could graze in that field once again.
Not that our patches haven't held nicely to the effects of wind and weather and the push/pull nature of errant vines. I'm sure these are all new areas of the fenceline that have recently become red-carpet invitations for my horses to walk on through to where the grass is, quite literally, greener and weed-free.
Invitations with the not-so-surprising result that a neighbor woke up one early summer morning to a new, adorable lawn ornament in the form of our yearling colt Pippin.
After sheepishly collecting him, we returned him to our upper field where, all summer, along with his Mom Genevieve and his baby brother Finnegan and their six goat friends, they have chewed what little grass there was down to nubs. At this point, what with all the heat waves and grazing going on, we look like dirt farmers.

So I ordered some new fencing materials and waited for the perfect day low in humidity and high in childhood summer laziness, and ordered the troops outside to put in a couple hundred feet of fence.

You'll remember, I'm confident, the wails and moans from the cherry tree branches debacle. Similar effects can be obtained when mandating that their behinds get busy constructing a fence.

But get busy they did, and over two days' time they pounded in t-posts, measured distances, lugged wire panels into place and fought battles with little wire clips.
The big boys got to feel like the men they like to think they are as I handed them my keys and asked them to drive up to where the panels had been deposited, tie them to the back of my car (which is a wannbe pick-up truck) and drive them back down to where we were working.

At long last, after much toil and sweat and a healthy dose of bickering (I called the blue pliers!) the fence was complete and we turned the horses into the field. One mouthful of that sweet long grass and their eyes rolled back into their heads in delight.

We then took the kids into town for some water ice, where their eyes rolled back into.... oh you get the point.

Good job kids!

This is the field they were grazing on....

And this is their new and improved field.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Three slices of Amish to go, please ....

I know it's cliched to say the Amish are quaint. But my dealings with them last week left no other words on my lips. Read for yourself and then you be the judge:

Slice 1
Nine year old Fannie opened the screen door before I got up the steps and told me, sorry, they were out of eggs. Hmmm, I thought. This had been happening a lot since they moved a few months ago. Either out, or not enough to fill my usual order of about 3 - 4 dozen (a week's worth). The hens must not be diggin' their new digs.
I leaned in a little closer and said to the girl, "Do me a favor?"
Fannie was the egg-gatherer of the family and she was starting to look a little nervous now.
"Tell your hens to start laying more eggs."
She looked at me very seriously for just a moment, processing my request, then broke into a gap-toothed giggle.

Slice 2
Out picking up milk, I noticed more kids than usual running about the place. I asked Katie if she had relatives visiting, but she said no, she was just watching some neighbor kids for a few hours. Next thing I knew, I heard a brisk clip-clop turning into the barnyard. I turned in time to see a little chocolate and cream miniature horse turning in off the road, pulling a cart full of grinning and laughing Amish kids, all outfitted in their usual straw hats and suspenders and aprons and bonnets. The boy at the wheel, so to speak, expertly pulled his charge up to the barn and in the blink of an eye the cart was unloaded and the kids clambered all over the pony like termites on a log, unbuckling the leather straps of his harness. Within seconds the little horse was free of his trappings, walked into the barn, and the cart parked. Why is it that my kids can't even put their cereal boxes away?

Slice 3
A couple days later I was at the same farm. While Katie was filling my milk order, I noticed her husband walking their new horse from the barn out to the paddock. He turned him loose, then shut the gate and leaned on the fence railings to evaluate his newest piece of horse flesh. Soon enough, their oldest son joined him, and he leaned identically against the fence, watching the horse in the manliest way he was able. Father and son were near mirror images of each other in their black woolen pants with suspenders, worn work boots, blue cloth shirts and straw hats. It seems no matter the culture, older men and younger men will convene together and talk cars.
But then as I was leaving, I noticed their youngest son had also joined in the observation and discussion. Between father and teenaged son, squatted down on his haunches and peering through the fence, was their three year old boy. Red hair sprouted from under his straw hat, and he wore the identical black pants, suspenders and blue shirt that his elders wore. But as I drove past, he turned to wave, still squatted down, and I saw he was clutching in his arms a cast-off rag doll from one of his older sisters.

Quanit? Please. The word doesn't even begin to descibe the scene.


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