Thursday, September 30, 2010

This Reminds Me....Election Day Approaches!

...just beyond my birdfeeder, I see the leaves begin to turn yellow-ish and red. Soon: Halloween and then,
Let's Say Good-bye to as Many Piggies as Possible!  Nov. 2 can't come too soon for me!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Farm Yard Madonna 1.2

...I like these photos of the annonymous mom and child on so many levels. Adorable. The colors: clear and strong. Thanks, young Mom, for wearing a co-ordinated ensemble! She looks so strong, yet tender with the child. Texture: the grass, the tree bark, the gravel, the painted barn, the rope of the swing. Movement: some mildly diagonal lines create a subtle tension; the squirming baby (the star of the show). Space. I don't mean to "praise" my own "work". This was just a random good catch; saved for ever in the vastness of the internet.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sunday Recreation...

...we took a meandering bike ride around the area, stopping to visit the Wagner Farm, the last working farm in our area, now part of our Park District. Makes a great place to bring little kids for fun and pictures. Later, when they are in school, it provides for field trip opportunities. The experience of the homemade rope-and-tree-limb classic American swing is not lost on the kids. And grown ups enjoy it, too.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I'm still "on spiders"...

...while mopping up my ratty kitchen the other day, I found this tiny little guy: it's one of the 5,000 different species of Jumping Spider: about 13% of all spiders--who knew? They don't hurt people, eat lots of insects or whatever else is small enough. And they are considered "curious" or inquisitive, since they don't automatically scuddle away if you put your hand out to it. Click on the image....etc.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Wild Life in the Kitchen....

... it's fall, so the spiders want to come in and get comfy for the winter. Generally, I don't mind this. Spiders are helpful, as they eat insects and one another; they are interesting and educational, since whenever I see one, I take a picture, Google the description, ID the thing and learn about it. This is likely a Yellow Sac Spider, among the most common found in the home. Unfortunately, these spiders have a necrotic venom and are believed to be responsible for most common spider bites to human.  So, next time I see one in the house, I guess I need to get rid of it.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

For SkyWatch Friday...

...looks like a close-up of the moon, but it's some turbulent clouds in advance of storm earlier this week

A Visit from the 19th Century...

...on our own street. The elderly gentleman pushing the cart will sharpen your knives and scissors blades for a nominal fee. The cart holds a grinding stone operated by a foot pedal. He's been coming here every few years as long as I've lived here; he looks the same now as in the mid-1980's. Cool.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

July in September...

...Baby July is now her own little personality--and is it sweet!Tho this photo doesn't show it well, this may be nearly the happiest baby I've ever seen. I say "nearly" since our own Blonde Guy, now part of the CA-2, was happy, smiley and delightful as can be.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Alice Inspired...

...she has learned about trucks of various types, and the back-hoe. She made a picture of the cement mixer truck for her Grandma. I love the happiness, pride and good humor that shines from her eyes as she displays her little masterpiece.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Seriously; for the Record...

...tiny hand or foot prints must be added to the wet concrete in the new basement floor. We introduce the Gardener and older daughter with children, Alice and July. They await the interesting fun of the concrete pour. (These kids will never need TV or Video games--real life holds too much interest!)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Shorter Days, Chill in the Air...yep,

...time to watch for Spiders. This funnel shaped web is located on the outdoor front window sill at the house. We keep small stones and shells...memorabilia there. I was thinking about cleaning it off when I noticed this web. At first, I saw several tiny black spider-y footies at the bottom. If the spider feels movement in the web, it runs out to grab the unlucky insect-bite. So I won't clean off the sill until the spidey is done with the web. (I like spiders.)

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Concrete Delivery was Exciting!

Alice and her Mommy came over to watch; (baby July napped upstairs at Grandpa's; how did she sleep thru that racket?) This may show up on Ruby Tuesday!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Construction Progress...

...few days ago. The first trickle of wet concrete starts to flow to fill the forms. Soon it will be basement walls in Ph.D's new woodshop room.

Goldfinches and Sunflowers: Match made in Heaven...

...I let the sunflowers run amuck in the yard each year. I love the bright colors against the blue sky and the Gardener Next Door is an expert in flower arrangement. What she doesn't use, the many goldfinches pounce on as soon as the seed pods are ready. Sometimes I can count a dozen or more birds in the small yard, chowing eagerly on the seeds. It seems like it's a good thing that so many can eat here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

These funny, late summer baby birds...

...the last nestlings of the class of 2010, they are fledglings in late August and even September. This little thing is a baby goldfinch, from what I could see. Hubsy said he got all wet in the birdbath, then crept underneath the bath to sit in a secluded area to dry off. The Goldies normally perch primly on the water dripper, sipping the clean pristine water. This fellow must have lacked "an instruction manual" or a parent, dove in and decided he didn't like it.

The Big-Dig

...the full scope of the expansion. Parts of the Gardener's flower-beds are not here anymore. (plants mostly saved; she's taking it really well ;-) )

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Detour to the BirdFeeder...

...lest we neglect our Feathered Welfare Clients at the feeder: here is a young male from this summer's class of House Finches. Click on the photo to get a better view.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Construction 101 so... "let's have a party!"

...this was last Friday: a good sized hole where the deck and the memories once where! Today, the men and the trucks greatly enlarged the hole and got rid of the concrete wall. The hole is deeper; squared off and forms are laid for concrete. A new crawl-space was placed under existing stucture; and Hubsy (mine) crawled into that to do something "electrical". The plucky homeowners / Gardeners bravely invited the whole tribe of "high-chairs" and their Mommies for chocolate-chip pancake breakfast so the kids could watch the work (from the window). I think the Mommies took off and went shopping for fabric--it was pretty noisey around here. But the digging is over now. I think "concrete-pouring" is next. Stay tuned...

Gracious Welcome and Blessings...

...L'il Pearl's Parents, our wonderful Hosts, bid us join the New Year Celebration Meal. Happy New Year! Especially to those far away and always present in our hearts. We miss you, Kids.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lady R's Hubsy, Sir Goldenheart...

...everyone's favorite Curmudgeon: outwardly gruff but really very kindly; a total push-over for their three beautiful grandchildren.

Meanwhile, on our side of the driveway....

...we learn that "Empty Nester" means smaller Holiday Tables. And we introduce Lady R; I am honored that Lady R is one of my earliest and most supportive "blog-boosters". Many thanks for all your kindly help, Lady R!

So Much News From the Neighborhood and beyond... are in random order; hardly were the MeatFest dishes cleaned, when a new event started! For the many of us who have enjoyed wonderful parties outdoors on the Gardener's deck, this will be unsettling. But take heart! The plan is to add a Dining Area with enough room for all the guests, plus the Peanut Gallery of HighChairs! It's going to be great; see: the Gardener and PhD are nearly smiling!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Listening to Books on Tape again...

...I know I could use an ipod and download from the library; after my walkman wears out, I'll do that. Meanwhile, I just finished a sad but well-presented Tudor-opus by Philippa Gregory: "The Boleyn Inheritance". Really, it's three parallel stories (with three different readers)about Henry's 4rd and 5th wives, Anne of Cleeves and Catherine Howard, with the lesser known stange story of Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford.
Lots of heads rolling; but Hans Holbein the Younger, one of Henry's painters figured into the "Anne of Cleeves" story; I realized I knew little about this artist, so got a book from the library called "Hans Holbein the Younger--Painter at the Court of Henry VIII" Stephanie Buck and Jochen Sanders. The gorgeous book was meant to go with a 2003 exhibit of a large body of Holbein's work. I am reading all the essays about the works; Holbein made intricately accurate sketches of his subjects, then executed the painted portraits from those, I learned. Holbein had the knack of capturing the subjects' very souls in these sketches; many people at Henry's Court had themselves painted to sketched by Holbein.

So Long, MeatFest 2010...'s one last look at New Baby July, born July 9; she snuggled all afternoon with her "St. Louis" Grandpa, as if she knew that she didn't get to see him as often. Tender scene, indeed.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Don't Forget to Try the Chocolate-Bacon-Cheesecake Brownies!

...good, in fact. Not bad at all. Tho my elderly tummy no longer craves extremely rich sweet foods; just a taste was enough. (Especially since no old ladies were allowed, either.) The odd looking morsel on the plate in the lower right is Hubsy's Sweet Spicy Watermelon Rind Pickles, part of an array of homemade pickles he grew, harvested and prepared. (Watermelon from PA)

Molly Prefers the Fruit Flavors, too...

...with the help of her paternal Grandfather.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Alice Wakes Up to Enjoy a MeatFest Lunch...

...topped off by Homemade Ice Cream: Garlic Ice Cream, Passion Fruit, Peach and Dark Chocolate with Hot Pepper. Micah will eat as much of the Chocolate Pepper as he can get. Alice is all about the Peach.

Micah: Future Psych. Major...

...he's the quieter of the Twins, for now. His Dad taught me something I had not known about babies when he told us about their head size and weight vs. body size. As an infant, Micah had a tiny twin-size body vs. a Great Pumpkin of a head. So the poor little tyke's spent the last year trying to figure out how to lift and balance that Bean. But he's caught up now! In addition, he's figured out how to stay up late at night, since he knows his parents want the kids to read: he keeps begging for more books to be read, even after Molly has given up and gone to sleep. (not the best photo of Micah--sorry. The light was awful. Also, that morning he was scratched by a tree branch at the Botanic Gardens. He loves flowers, it is said.)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Face of an Instigator....

...Meet Molly, the sweet "little girl" half of the adorable set of Twins. She was a tiny infant of enormous spirit, capable of throwing fearsome fits when just weeks old!(I witnessed one.) But that's all over now, her demeanor is calm; but she is curious, brave, a born little leader, a problem solver, prone to Take Action. First to find the stairs to the second floor at Grandma's house, then lead the baby-charge to conquer them! She works at stacking toys near her baby-gate to try to climb over. And she teaches these radical ideas to her brother and her older cousin, Alice. A baby-girl to watch.

Let the Fun Commence!

...The Twins arrive, wide-awake after naps and ready for adventure! These Twin babies are the only ones I've ever seen up close. It is interesting to see them in action: different from two playing toddlers, they have unspoken bond between them and "special" energy. Their "blog-names" are Molly and Micah. Their cousins, Alice and July, are still napping in the house; all except the baby will play and sample the special grilled / smoked treats and desserts.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Solution!

at several intervals, photos were taken: that was easy. Of course, I always get to have any MeatFest Goodies I want, as Hubsy will bring me some. Nevertheless, the MeatFest Men do their best to cover their misgivings on the idea. "The thin end of the wedge", you know.

MeatFest Today: The Meander and The Dilemma...

...just over two years ago, MeatFest Modernized due to the birth of Little Alice, granddaughter of the Gardener and Ph.D.; no way was an infant going to DinnerTheatre!
But it was perfect to leave her with the Gents, who included her Dad, Uncles and both GrandFathers. Soon Alice was joined by other grandchildren: Twin Cousins and her new sister, July (blogname). MeatFest is still MeatFest, but the kids get to rough-house all day with their male relatives; a blast for all!
The Dilemma considered above by Hubsy and Ph.D.: The Gardener phoned and asked if I might photo-document MeatFest! I, of course, glad to have a new blog-thread. But how To Maintain The Major Directive Of the MeatFest Manifesto: namely, No Girlz Allowed??

Sunday, September 5, 2010

But, Surprise!

...on that long-ago summer afternoon, the doorbell rang and as I remember, it was Ph.D-Jr. with a small paper plate of grilled meat for us. I thought that was all there was to it, until the doorbell kept on ringing about every 45 minutes, with a new plate and the announcement "hamburgers", "pulled pork", "chicken" and so on late into the afternoon. Much meat was consumed that Fateful Day in all those years ago. Each year since, the 'Fest has expanded. One year, a Great Circle of Folding Chairs appeared like a crop-circle in the driveway. Many Men Met Then to Negotiate the Manifesto of MeatFest. (Basically, this means "we get to cook and eat meat and no girlz allowed").
An exception was made a few years ago, when 'Jr's new young wife, a medical student, was too busy with studies to go to Dinner-Theatre so stayed home--but she avoided the party and studied!

Listen My Darling and You Shall Hear....

...the Saga of First Meatfest!
With The Women (the FunSpoilers) safely on the Tollway to Cheeseland, The Gardener's Hubsy (he needs a blog-name: PhD, since he is one)and son: PhD-Jr. went out and bought 30 lbs or more of raw meat of every kind available! I'm not sure there were guests invited to First Meatfest, so the plan was to grill and eat the whole thing themselves. Hubsy was likely at Boy Scout Camp with the kids in those days, so it was just me: hearing the excited cries of MeatFest! MeatFest Begins! etc. I may have stepped across the driveway to inquire ("does the Gardener know what's going on here?") but was swiftly sent away! "No Girls Allow'd!!! We must start a Manifesto with the Great Rule: No Girls Allowed!"

MeatFest: The History, Tradition and the Manifesto!

You're thinking Cook-Out? No, People, No! This is serious (monkey)business! Like all stories here, it started with a "once upon a time";many years ago, in the Garden Next Door, the Gardener decided it was time for a Ladies Day At the Dinner Theatre (in Ft. Atkinson, WI.) She gathered her daughters, female relatives and friends; abandoning the menfolk for the day, they all drove to WI! But these were no ordinary menfolk...they got up the something BIG! Stay tuned...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Weary Heart Returns Home from It's Travels...

...To find Freddie the FreeLoader waiting on the back porch. Actually, his name is Mack and he lives across the street in a comfortable home with a loving owner. But he's an indoor/outdoor cat who likes to visit our (former) girls. Eventually, I started giving him a small nibble of dry cat food: I know, bad idea. So, at least a few times a week, we are on his route. Mommy's little welfare client. This calls for a visit to Camera Critters!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bad News, Better News and Great News!

Hubsy's one remaining sister, shockingly and suddenly, needed serious surgery yesterday! But the procedure went best that it possibly could. Hubs' went to visit today: she's her cheerful self, no worse for the operation!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

An Antique Fire-Station in Orbisonia...

....if you like Orbisonia so much, Barbb, why don't you just move there?!
...well, we do find it hard to leave PA.

The Last Butterfly of our Season was Freed Today...

He is a spunky male version of a Monarch--see those little black spots on the under wings--that means he's a Boy. He was anxious t...