Friday, September 25, 2015

The Things We Do for Love

Now and again, Handy Man and I have a date night on the hill, around the fire.  There is not much I find more relaxing then poking in a fire. This requires a stick and that Handy Man of mine makes sure I have the perfect stick.  Well, he found one, but it wasn't quite perfect and he need to break off a hunk.
Well, it popped up and smacked him in the eye.  When I got home I asked where that little knick in his eyebrow came from and he told me.  As the evening went on, it was as if someone was drawing a wide purple line in slow motion with an invisible marker of course.
This picture was actually three days after the fact.  Poor guy. Thank God it didn't hit him in his eye proper.

Lots of celebrating this week with Buttercup turning seven, Missy Bugg turning nine and Handy Man and I being married a very long ol' time.

The beautiful flowers in the photo below were a present from Handy Man.  Here they are doing double duty.  I always went to Bean's class every year to do some sort of activity. He's moved on to middle school, boo, hiss.  I've also visited Bugg's classes.  This year, Bugg's Brownie troop needed to earn their bug badge and asked if I would do a class for the girls.  I set  up a photo booth with a variety of things from bees or are brought to us via bee pollination. My beautiful flowers were perfect to add.  The girls suited up in a bee jacket and Ceece snapped their picture.

After reading a book about the importance of bees, I was ready with lots of paper activities, a bug pencil with a bee eraser, and cutesy bee paper for notes.
 I taped silk flowers to a small bottle, filled it with water and rubbed lots of yellow chalk all over the flowers. In one center, the girls had to get a drop of water from the jar, hopefully gathering some chalk pollen along the way, run to the end of the hall and put the drop in the jar and run back, attempting to gather a cup of honey.
In another center, I brought models of the growth process of bees and butterflies and they compared the two.

In my group, I brought an empty comb and a full one, explaining how I smoke the bees and remove the honey. In the jars were asters and honey bees, bumble bees and butterflies, pollinators all.

I brought honey sticks for them to try.  We won't have much honey this year. The spring and early summer was too wet.  Those girls need all the honey they gathered to get through the winter.

 Ceece has a friend who is a baker and decorator and made adorable cookies for them.
Gardener E. shared asters with me last year and they have really busted out all over.  We are cleaning up around them and hope to grow more. There is little for bees to eat this time of year. That's why they are so annoying around trash cans and on picnics in fall.  I hope to cultivate a whole garden of asters to feed them in the fall.

Mom's birthday is next Thursday. She will be 87.  It seems that things have been up in the air since SuZQ called in early June to say they were taking GLou to the hospital.  It appears, that maybe at last, we have a plan that stands a chance of working.  The plan is for Mom to move into an assisted living apartment.  If all goes on schedule, this will be her last weekend at home.  What a wild ride. Aunt Tish feels rode hard and put up wet, and SuZQ and Gwanfader and me aren't far behind.  Please pray with me that Mom will find the joy she's lost during this grieving, transition time.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Ahhh, Birthdays

They just keep coming, huh?  Faster each year it seems.  This was a picture perfect birthday.  The weather was just all that.
Ceece snuck over during the day
and gussied up the place with a cutest queen bee theme complete with a shirt she made, along with a photo booth with Bee Silly headbands.  Too fun.

Bugg dug about in the playroom for extra foo-foo for our piks.

Rae brought sourdough bread and I just happened to have some homemade pesto.

 Gwanfader contributed pizza.  Mom made it out for awhile as well, thanks to her kind caretaker, Terri and was taken home by Aunt Tish.

Perusing the pictures when the last celebrator had departed was another round of fun, as the third generation Bean and Bugg were the camera operators.  Not sure what you call this little insect.
 I discovered that while I was in the chicken pen watching the boys chase chickens, there must have been quite a fashion show on the front porch.


Listen, just do what I telled ya!
Just a swingin'
Bubble time
Newest littlest Punkin'

Sweetness in heaps.  

Friday, September 11, 2015

Out to Pasture

When we brought Pippin and Merry home four and a half years ago, we first put them outside in the big hutch Handy Man bought me for Easter. Here we were introducing them to Arwen.

I wanted to have them in the classroom some.

And I knew they weren't long lived in outdoor pens.  That nice hutch has served many functions, but mostly for chickens. They just were so little to leave outside. So, I didn't just buy one indoor cage, I bought two and kept one at school and one at home.  For a time they would stay all week at school and just come home on the weekends.  They say you can train them to a litter box and that is somewhat true.
Can you stand the cuteness.  He was my nibbler.
All of the pee and most of  the millions of poo pellets landed in the the box, but they were masters at slinging Timothy grass and random pellets all over.  We always referred to them as our bad puppies.

His brother Merry was not as friendly, but didn't nibble.
 When I took the bunnies to visit the gramerling's classroom (in another school) , a little boy told him he'd pets those bunnies when his scout group uses our school.  Hmm. Between not knowing who would have access to the bunny boys and the constant mess, I brought them home.

They've been right here by the computer to keep me entertained ever since. Well, until this past Monday.
They liked being fed on schedule. You wouldn't know there was a critter in the corner until 6 pm when they would start banging their ceramic bowl around until you got yourself over there and fed them.

They would venture out on field trips to the yard and porch, where they were ever loved and adored by the masses.
Bunny Pillows

 Young and old alike.
 This little mister, Pippin, seemed to suffer the ravages of old bunny age more than his brother.  He was blind and this summer was no longer able to discern where to do his business.  I couldn't keep either of their bottoms dry, no matter what I did.  I decided it would be best to move them back out to the big hutch, where the entire bottom is wire.  We sat them close to Strider, in a shady spot, so we would know they were safe, and dry.  We knew he was failing fast. He was so wee, half the size of his brother.
Handy Man felt the time was near and made a box and brought me the lid to write on.  He was right.  Pippin, our little nibbling hobbit boy, laid down to rest on Wednesday and didn't get back up.  I look over at that cage ten times a day. We will miss his soft sweetness.  

Monday, September 7, 2015

Flying Monkeys

The first fifty times I saw on Facebook, or heard someone say, "Not my circus, not my monkeys," it made me chuckle.  I'm kind of over it, until I looked at these pictures and it came to mind.  Ceece has always had several nicknames for her kiddos and in addition to Bean, she also calls him Monkey.  For whatever reason, when I looked at these requested jumping pictures, it reminded me of that saying, only, "My circus, my monkeys."

It is these serendipitous occasions that remind me of the "why" of Playdate.  I was born the sixth of seven and was always very attached to my Mom and my siblings.  With exception to a deviation or two, to another state for a short time, we've always lived close.  When my brothers ended up not with their boy's moms, I started doing Thanksgiving, Gingerbread House Party, and Easter.  Really, most of that time I often did Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day.  Then for years, after Mom and Kaye's health begin to fail, I had them for Sunday dinners.  I knew those grandma/pa, aunt, niece, nephew, cousins relationships were important to me and folks are so busy and more and more those ties are challenged by the times. I hoped to strengthen those ties with at least weekly visits.  Then the new generation began and Playdate was started.

Only now, it seems people, my people, see even less of each other than they did before.  It was important to me to see the  kids and for them to know their cousins and aunts and uncles.  In the above picture, it was sweltering and Bean went to get himself a drink, and brought both of the girls one as well.  That is what I wanted Playdate to be about.

I somehow thought I would model how you mentor little ones in play and creek and wood wisdom and they in turn would mentor the ones coming up and  long lasting relationships would form.
So funny, I had literally just looked at the whirligig and thought, "This was an expensive piece of equipment and they no longer even look at it," when Swee-tee hopped on.

You think I would learn.  Through all those years of providing entertainment, good food and and interest, I really only have a close relationship with one niece.  I generally only see the others at mom's, maybe a holiday, or in those crisis times. It is true, for the most part, with my children as well. They don't see those cousins in the normal routine of their lives.

I love me some Pappy Cakes and I love Pappy too.
So my first Playdaters are growing up and aren't so enamored anymore with Playdates where time and attention of the Gramerly is shared across eleven years.  I retired from all the big holiday dinners, because it was so  much work and attitudes and that time issue made it not much fun.   I suppose it is way past time to realize that family ties are just not as valued by others as they are to me.
A little science fun. We created a pearly ocean in a bottle.
 I always said I had mountain blood of  Hatfield and McCoy type, you know, you belong to me and so that is all there is to it.  You love each other and help each other and you spend time together.  Lands, I'm so very outnumbered.
Hmm, wonder what will happen to all those tiny beads?
It is funny, as I lose my siblings, the ones I have are ever more important. I want to see their face. I want to laugh with them.  Even though my mom is way past entertaining, there is nothing she loves more than to see her kids, her grandkids faces.
Missy Bugg is going try it too.
I know how she feels.  While folks all around me aspired to be president and astronauts, I wanted to be a mom.  As mine started leaving home, my absolute favorite time was when they'd return and be hanging out in the kitchen while I finished a meal.  They are a sarcastic, witty threesome and can crack each other up, and them laughing around the table was absolutely my joy.  I cannot think of another thing I've experienced that made me feel as content, that all was right in my world.
This precious, happy boy. He began dinner before everyone, and remained in the  highchair through the next 40 minutes,  just entertaining us with his hat.

Ahh, as they get older, guess I'm going to have to figure out how to be the Master of Ceremonies at a Three Ring Circus.  

Is that chicken food good?
 Did you think by middle age you'd have it all figured out?  I did.  Don't read any further if you are still holding to that hope.  I got nothing figured out.
Do you recognize this very scary pirate?

 But I sure have some very cutest monkeys.

Happy Labor Day!