Friday, April 29, 2011

It's the most uncomfortable time of the year...

There is always a point in the early spring (which this year has come much later in the calendar year due to it being inordinately cold for an extraordinarily long time) when we don't like looking at the berry field...
These will turn green, instead of yellow-green, won't they?


These will fill in, won't they?

We do know some hard truth about the baby field...

Winter damage is visible.

You can see that the lower portions of the canes are quite leafed out...but the upper portions -- not so much. Babies are more susceptible to winter damage, and it shows up on the top of the canes.  These should look somewhat better over time, but it will not be a good year for this field.

And sadly, as you go around the county, you see that we were not the only ones to suffer winter damage...It looks like Whatcom County may have a short raspberry crop this year...and the longer La Nina stays around, the more challenging it gets.

So we take whatever positive weather news we can --  and we hear that next week the rain will be WARMER!
That's progress...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter was a double blessing...

This year we celebrated Easter with both sides of the family! Usually it's one side or the other, but this year was special because the littlest Honcoop, Miss Brielle, turned ONE on the very same day!

That's worthy of 2 ham dinners, I must say!

We enjoyed the noon meal at my sister Meg and brother-in-law Jim's home. She set a lovely table for us all:


We had a lovely spread of food as well:



I've become the designated deviled egg maker, taking over for Mom. I can now rival her abilities in the deviled egg department, but not in the pie department, so we always like to have Mom bring dessert -- This time rhubarb pie, and Strawberry Mile High...yum! Dad requested "14 dozen" deviled eggs, but 4 dozen did the trick...

We left full and happy...
And then enjoyed the egg hunt at nephew Lance & niece Jessica's place,
Home of The Birthday Girl!

Miss One Year Old Brielle!

Her brother, Colby...

Her cousin, Madelyn...
It's fun to have egg hunts again!

The kids had fun, even as it began to rain, and the fickle adults all congregated here:

Pretty lame!
We let the kiddos' parents and grandparents direct the rainy hunt.


Great Grandma & Brielle 

"Auntie" Cait & Brielle



After the somber contemplation that comes on Good Friday, Easter Sunday is always a happy day...
And none happier than this year, with it's multiple celebrations of life!

Monday, April 25, 2011

We interrupt this Long Winter...

...for a weekend of Spring!

What a treat! Sunshine, temps that went beyond the 50's...Ahhhh, blissful! The county was noisy with tractors and buzzing lawn mowers, and the ka-ching of cash registers at nurseries everywhere!

And lots of people were smiling -- did you notice that?

We smiled too, but not easily until the end of Saturday. Our favorite forecaster had predicted a week of drier weather, and a sunny weekend. "Drier" had turned out to be a relative term, and meant that we got only 3/4" of rain over the first 3 days of the week, instead of the 1 1/2" of the week before. This was making it very difficult to get the field ready for planting...it was still pretty wet...

We knew that even if most of Thursday and Friday were dry, the soil would not be in optimum condition. The forecast trend indicated that our next opportunity to plant would be mid-May -- and no matter the soil conditions, planting that late is not optimum. It became a matter of choosing which was less bad...So -- we decided to try to catch this window.

The trick would be to delay planting as long as possible into Saturday, allowing the field time to dry -- while also getting enough workers to plant the field in a short amount of time. We weren't going to work on Easter Sunday, and besides, the rain was supposed to return by then.

Randy did a great job getting the dirt ready, and our friend, Gregorio, really came through for us, getting a crew of 20 (count 'em!) workers!!


We started planting at 2pm on Saturday, and finished by 7pm. Of course, Randy's day had started much earlier as he had to go over the field with the cultivator one more time before we started. Then he had to mark the rows. Planting day is always a lot of hard work, but I was blessed to have my load lightened as Jess and Caitlin joined the crew to help! Cait filled buckets with roots; Jess ran the buckets to the workers as they needed refills, and I got the cushy job of driving the truck along as we went.

I did take turns with their more difficult jobs...so I did suffer a little, but not nearly as much as last year. It was a treat to have them work with us, and to know that they were enjoying their day in the sunshine.

We all smiled big, and sighed with relief at the end of the day when every row was planted. It was a great weather day, and we had a crew of hard workers who did a quality job. So satisfying to get the job done...This is the latest we have ever planted.

Now we can sit back and wait for them to grow...

Doesn't look like much, but under that flat spot is a future raspberry plant...Grow, baby, grow!

To cap the day, Dillon and Tiffany showed up with a delicious berry crisp for our dessert that night...a perfect tribute to the work of the day.

So much to be thankful for...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A long neglected chore...

I vacuumed my fabric upholstered furniture today. It's an event -- because it doesn't happen very often.

My grandma did this same chore every week, and maybe my mom did too, for a while. I remember doing it for her on Saturdays. Me, not so much...but a while back, while sitting in the living room with guests, we laughed heartily at something, and I slapped my hand on the arm of the sofa and created a "poof" of dust.

That was motivating.

So now, 4 or 5 months later, I finally dug out the upholstery tool, and went to it.

BEFORE:

AFTER:
There! Doesn't that look better?!

Perhaps these kind of results have something to do with my motivation.

And for those of you who right now are composing a pithy comment about the dog I vacuumed off the couch, this note: No dogs were vacuumed or harmed in the making of this blog.
The Little Opportunist just jumped up there when she saw both my hands were busy.

But she did look pretty cute, didn't she....

  I digress...

I should report that despite the lack of visible change, I did perform a "poof" test, and we should be good again for a couple of years. I also checked for any spots on the upholstery and discovered that the fabric I chose causes vertigo when examined closely. I saw spots all over -- the room, I mean. Most spots weren't real -- but the bad news is I'm not sure which ones they were.

All this concern for the The Room Where Nobody Goes...
I never planned to have a room like that. In fact, I have always eschewed the practice of creating a "formal living room". My plan was that the family room was where the kids would gather, and the living room was where the adults would gather...But -- the family room is open to the dining room which is open to the kitchen, and everyone congregates there...
...which is lovely -- you know -- everyone wanting to be together.
In the meantime, my living room is lonely and has become The Place Where Flies Go to Die...
(and lately, Where Puppies Go to Do Stuff They Shouldn't)
Sounds pretty dire for a room that really looks pretty inviting...


I moved my glider chair in here because it's a pretty perfect room for reading -- sunshine over your shoulder (well, once in a while), cozy fireplace for the cold rainy days (all the time lately)...navy blue walls (okay maybe that's weird, but I love it)...a piano...a mix of old & new furniture...
I love sitting in here, sipping my coffee, reading my book...
But its a little lonely, so next time you stop by, make my day and sit with me in the living room.

But do it soon, before I have to vacuum again.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pale & Puny...

The sun has come out recently -- though it has not been accompanied by warmth. I took some pictures of the berries which are valiantly trying to grow in these winter-like conditions. They are looking pale, peaked, puny...





They need warmth, sunshine, less rain...

As do we all!

The forecast is for fairly dry weather, so we are hoping that by the end of the week this field will be full of raspberry root stock -- ready to grow as soon as the weather cooperates!

It's going to be a busy week!


Friday, April 15, 2011

The Faces of Accountability...

Try to sneak a snack at our house, and this is what you will see:


Someone knows how much and how often you are eating.

It gives one pause...One is forced to consider what one is doing...

Fortunately, these diet police are easily bought off with a corner of cookie...
So in effect, they ARE reducing my food intake.
At least that's the way I like to look at it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

That's a fine how-do-you-do!

This morning, Spring just came right out and thumbed her nose at my previous request.


Apparently, I did not ask nicely enough...My freshly mowed lawn was covered with snow. Our freshly fluffed dirt field was white. I thought I said "please" as in "please STAY" as in you are welcome here...

We are still on Planet Earth, aren't we? Where we supposedly have 4 seasons?

On the upside, Miss Madelyn was here today, and when we went outside for puppy duties, she exclaimed excitedly, "  'no, Auntie! 'no!"  (which being interpreted means, "Snow, Auntie! Snow!" though at first I thought she was echoing my sentiments, "NO!" about snow...) Anyway, it helps one's attitude to have a child want you share their excitement...And that was easier to do as the "no" was melting.




Miss Madelyn was her delightful little self, here playing her own version of The Car Game -- which is sooooo fun! She makes up the rules, and when I put a car in the wrong spot, she shakes her head and gently says, "No, Essie..."

Unfortunately, at the same time, puppy Olive was in a particularly manic state...Toddler, toys, manic puppy -- not a good mix. So, Olive gets to have a lot of crate time, which only heightens her mania when she is set free...

This was the kind of mood she was in -- when I tried to take her picture, she attacked my camera strap. She flew about the house, stealing toys, and security blankets, and jumping up on the coffee table where all the Fisher Price Little People were gathered in tidy rows waiting for their turns on the merry-go round. Daisie had to get very gruff with her, and Olive was in no mood to take that lying down -- and oh! the noisy wrestling that ensued! Oh! The endless reprimands, and Little People rescues...

Unexpectedly, our biggest challenge was the confusion that resulted from the overlap of a potty-training puppy and potty-training toddler in the same house. You would think the similarities would be a double win, with each encouraging the other. After all, treats were awarded for each successful effort. However, by the end of the day, I had Olive happy to go potty in the house, and Madelyn thinking she would prefer to go outside!

I'm not sure how that happened. I know for a fact that I never gave Madelyn a dog treat...because I was really careful about that. Maybe she just didn't know who I was talking to when we were outside and I was repeatedly saying "go potty"... I caught her before anything...uh...untoward happened...

I may never get to babysit again...

All in all, it must not have been traumatic for either one, as Madelyn basically declined her daddy's request to go home. She wanted to stay here... be still, my heart!

And Olive, then free to run about, ironically decided that she would now spend the rest of her day sleeping.
I must have a word with her about her schedule...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring, please stay!

It acted like Spring yesterday giving us all hope that perhaps one day before July, she will come to stay for good...or at least until summer, if summer comes this year.

You can tell I am from Western Washington. Good weather only serves to make us suspicious. Certainly, payback will be coming...

The Farmer was thrilled to do some farming!


I was less thrilled to mow the lawn...but I am enjoying looking at its tidiness today...despite the thick moss that comprises 30% of it right now. I should also announce with joy that the mower did not plug up even ONCE!! This rarely happens when mowing April grass.


The dogs played outside, while I tried to capture some promises of future beauty...


Lilac...

Magnolia...

Daffies, already delivering on their promise...
(these aren't the ones I forgot to plant...you don't want to see those.)

Vinca minor too...

It was a lovely, lovely day...I always marvel how a bit of sunshine can make such a difference in one's outlook...To borrow from Dickens:  I shall keep Springtime in my heart and try to keep it until we stop setting precipitation and low temperature records for the year.

Well, anyway, I'll try.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A new perspective on tedium...

Last week I complained to you about the tedious tasks I have to accomplish...oh, foolishness!

First of all, I put myself in this position with my almost obsessive compulsions.

Secondly, when you consider some of the alternatives, tedium is nice. In fact, I kinda like it...

You see, last week even as I wrote the words about tedious taskwork, my dad was finding himself in severe pain. I got a call that he and Mom had headed to the ER -- and so began my new-found affection for tedium.

For a couple of days, Dad had suffered with bad stomach pains...but they would subside, so he kept just enduring them...And let me say here for you stoical, high-pain-tolerance types -- it is a "skill" that  can turn around and bite you in the butt -- and leave teethmarks! By the time Dad was convinced that perhaps the "11" rated pain on the 1-10 scale wasn't going to go away, it was constant and only relieved by the removal of his now-gangrenous gall bladder.

Gangrene...it ain't pretty...not that we saw it live and in person -- but we were worried to hear that it was even there! We were on secondary infection watch...and though his pain level was down to 6 or 7, Dad was still pretty miserable.

But miserable is a relative state, and since he was much less miserable than he had been, he did feel "better" (In the future, we will ask: "Than what?"). And truthfully, he did make good improvement, but after he was sent home on Thursday, things regressed from not so good, to bad, to horrible. Having learned the vagaries of stoicism, he agreed to return to the hospital by ambulance. There was no way to get him in the car with the nausea and pain he was suffering.

Some hours of testing in the ER identified that the secondary infection we feared was effectively creating a blockage in the intestine...not good, not good at all. Antibiotics, and other measures were taken to relieve his distress, and 18 hours later, he was much improved...A couple more days of ups and downs, finally yielded to more ups than downs, and he is home again -- but finally doing SO much better. We are so thankful and relieved! It was, at times, scary, and all the time, distressing to see him suffer.

And I would have much preferred the tedious week I had previously planned...In fact, I had lots on my calendar last week, and how I hated to call people up and cancel on them...They were counting on me!  But everyone was so gracious, and I realized that despite being inconvenienced, they were glad to take it on because they wanted to bear part of my burden, and support me. You guys are wonderful!!

I wouldn't wish my dad's experiences of the last week on anyone!! No way! But I want to acknowledge that good has come out of it -- We felt so blessed by the prayers, expressions of love and care, in words and in tangible ways...We have a freshened perspective --what was previously a bad day, doesn't seem so bad anymore.

And tedium seems less tedious...

I think I'll go scan a couple hundred negatives...For some reason, it just sounds like fun.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Oh my...

It was a melancholy week, what with all the sadness about town -- and the enduring winter-like rains thwarting our hopes of Spring, and our wish for warm sunshine to cheer us.

I spent too much of the time dithering about, hoping that I would suddenly feel better about life in general...which only made me feel worse.

Funny how that works.

In an effort to pick myself up and go on, I pressed on with one of my projects. One of my projects, dear to my heart, but so tedious that it seems endless.

Perhaps it wasn't a good choice.

I am nearly finished, though, and I want to finish -- to check it off the list -- so badly that I can taste it!  I have this compulsion about family history -- it must be kept. Our lives together must be documented and saved and on record! So, I currently have been scanning all our negatives from pre-digital camera days. The plan is to archive them somewhere safe, in case we need them...

Which likely we never will...and I HOPE we never will, but I will be ready just in case. I am choosing not to think about how many hours I have spent on this endeavor, and that the most likely return on investment will be solely the satisfaction that it's been done. I don't really know that if the house burns down, we will reprint the pictures. After all, my journaling documentation of our history is all in the photo albums, which would indeed burn if the house did...not to mention all my calendars from which, a few years ago, I reconstructed the years that I had not documented thus far.

(Especially the year I had 3 children, 3 and under...I believe I may have taken some artistic license in re-creating that one as it was pretty blurry...but I digress...big surprise.)

Come to think of it, I need to find a way to preserve those one-of-a-kind albums so they have back-up too...

I feel another tedious project coming on!

I need a new compulsion.

About Me

Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life (leslieisverbose.blogspot.com) and one where I can vent. (leslievents.blogspot.com)