posts tagged with 'life'

skunked

This morning I was still upstairs when I heard Leah open the door to the porch and the dogs rush out. A few moments later there was one short sharp bark, and then immediately after it an immediately identifiable smell started drifting thought the open window. Yes, for the first time in a good while the dogs had been sprayed by a skunk. Luckily for everyone involved it wasn't too bad: they must have been spared a direct hit. They smelled bad when they came back in (right away!) but not unbearably horrid; we didn't even bathe them, Leah just got some supposed odor-neutralizing spray and doused them with it. We don't know how much it actually did, but we were able to survive the day in the house with the pups, and that's what counts. It's just as well we didn't have to get them in the tub, since getting sprayed was traumatic enough! They didn't even want breakfast; each of them just found a spot to curl up and they pretty much didn't move until mid afternoon. By this evening they were back to their regular selves—but, I hope, a little bit wiser!

first day of... school?

I was talking to a friend today and she mentioned how unfair it seems that the school year starts so soon after the County Fair. Sure, there was a full week in between but the fair was pretty intense, and we're definitely still recovering. But recovering or not today was the day the calendar said, so we got down to work. It actually went pretty well in our house: the boys even made first day of school signs, though I didn't get a chance to take their pictures. Tomorrow maybe? We worked through the morning, and then after lunch we went grocery shopping (with a stop for a 45-minute hike on the way). When we got home we had to get the house cleaned up and make food to be ready to host six adults and five kids—that's besides the five of us—for dinner. And I had to try and stay awake: Leah wasn't feeling well in the morning so I was the one up before 5:00 with the dogs. Then just now I had to continue to stay awake to do the dishes. I'd love to continue to build routine with another great school morning tomorrow, but I have an in-person meeting at work from 10:00 to 3:00. Oh well, there's always next week, right?

catching up

We've had a summer! And I've had trouble documenting it in a timely fashion. Since mid-July it's been mostly really hot and mostly not rained. We went on two vacation trips, and in between we did Backyard Farm Club every Monday and Park Day every Wednesday. Our oven stopped working and needed to be replaced, as did our dryer, and for one exciting afternoon we had no water to the house (in trying to shut off the water next door they shut off ours too, and didn't realize til we called the police to help us). Lately we've been organizing, and then starting, some big home improvement projects. Right now we're in the midst of rebuilding our front porch, which is taking some considerable time and energy. As of today we're at 729 hours outside for the year, an average of 3.09 hours per day. Things have been pretty busy and crazy; I'm really looking forward to having a school schedule again in September.

mean deer

I love lilies, and they provide most of the color for the front of our house in July. Or at least they're supposed to. For the past two years deer have stopped by for a visit just before each variety is about to bloom and neatly nibbled off all of the buds. So no color this year. And I want to divide the lilies, but I can't even remember which variety is which if I never seem them bloom! Argh...

fly season

With summer comes bugs. It's been so dry for the last few weeks that there are barely any mosquitos, but other bugs are out in force. I was delighted the other day to see the first fireflies in the bushes round the edges of our yard: even as old as I am they're still magical. We experience the magic more later in the summer—right now we all hope to be in bed by the time they start lighting things up—but it's still a wonderful sign of summer that they're out.

Less wonderful is the sudden appearance of the deer flies in many of the woods where we like to walk. I don't know if there are ever baby deer flies, but starting at the end of last week the world seems full of hungry adult specimens. Happily, while I used to be very nervous of them—we've had some terrifying encounters with aggressive swarms on Cape Cod—I've now discovered the secret method for walking in deer fly territory without being bothered: wear a hat. And maybe a shirt with a higher collar. For me, at least, that's all that it takes. They always go for the head, which means that without a hat even when they're not biting me they're driving me crazy by bouncing off my hair. I hardly notice them when I'm wearing a cap. Too bad for the dogs though: the flies are driving them to distraction. The other day I tried to take a picture of them rolling and snapping at the cloud all around them:

Scout biting at his leg in the woods

you can't see the flies in this picture, but Scout knew they were there

A lot of people freak out about bugs. I for sure know folks who hesitate to venture off the sidewalks for fear of ticks, and of course you see plenty of those little signs showing that a yard has been poisoned by Mosquito Squad. Bedford sprays wetland areas a couple times of year to control mosquitos, in hopes of preventing mosquito-borne diseases. At least that's the official justification; it could just be that people don't like mosquitos. I'll definitely slap a mosquito if it's nearby, and I totally understand the public health concerns around EEE outbreaks (thank goodness we don't have malaria to worry about!) but I wish we could find more targeted solutions so we could chill on the spraying. That spray kills the fireflies too!

more

doing things all the time

Every little while I have to write about being overwhelmed. Because I often am. Right now it's feeling like we do so many awesome things, but as awesome as they are they don't leave time either for relaxation or for getting things done around the house. And then when I am home with time to do things I'm either too exhausted or too... well, overwhelmed to be really effective. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday we do school with friends in the mornings; Wednesday and Friday at other people's houses. Monday afternoon is Backyard Farm Club, and Wednesday afternoon is Park Day (on Wednesdays we're usually out of the house from 8:30 to 5). Thursdays the boys go to their grandparents' houses and I try and get my paid work done. Tuesdays are "open" to do outings or go to the library, but it's a real challenge to do both—and now the farmers market is started for the season so we try and get there at least every other week. Oh, and we still have our two regular group meetings, every Tuesday and Friday evening. Maybe other people do more than that, but it's feeling like a lot to me.

full weekend

We've got a lot going on this coming weekend. Tomorrow morning we have the 4H fairground cleanup, and as soon as that's done we want to head to the Tower Park reenactment in Lexington. From there we're going directly to a Passover celebration at Leah's parents house. Then Sunday morning is Easter, and I need to be at church to start setting up by 8:30—but before then I need to finish making a leaflet and cutting out 60+ doves and eggs for the kids to color on (Leah is doing noble work on the doves already: they are not easy). As soon as we get home from church we're hosting an Easter party. Then sleeping a bit, I would expect! Monday is Patriots Day and we're planning to bike to the parade, but that's not until the afternoon, so I expect that the day will feel positively relaxing!

some things I enjoyed today

A monarch butterfly on the drying laundry.
Drifts of beautiful molted chicken feathers.
Late October raspberries.
Dogs laying in the sun.
Mowing the lawn, but slowly.

that answers that question

A couple weeks ago the dogs got sprayed by a skunk. They were sad puppies, and Leah was sad too because she had to be in the car with them for the whole drive home, and then give them a bath (I was no help at all because this was the early morning walk and I was still in bed). As people—including me—heard the story of their adventure, the natural response was, "I wonder if they learned their lesson?" This morning we have the answer, and it's no. At daybreak, back for another walk at the same place they got skunked before, they had another encounter—with the same results. And another stinky trip home, and another bath. In Dog Man: For Whom the Ball Rolls baths are the consequence Lil Petey uses to help Dog Man learn to ignore balls and squirrels, but it takes hundreds, if not thousands, of repetitions; we don't have that kind of shampoo budget.

That's not to say there were no lessons learned: Leah won't be going back to Foss Farm any time soon!

butterfly garden

Years ago I vowed to do my part to grow milkweed for the monarch butterflies. But we didn't stop there! We also have all kinds of butterfly-friendly flowers for the adults to sip on and water for them to drink. So every year we can count on enjoying having them around the place. But this year is something else! In our backyard and along the driveway they're always there—at any moment you can look out and see one. Or more than one: the other day I think I counted eight just in a little patch of our backyard! I tried to get a picture with all of them but they wouldn't sit still and pose, so this is just a sample of the monarch excitement we've been witnessing.

a monarch butterfly in a butterfly bush

there's actually two in this picture if you look closely

I have no idea what's led to the jump in their numbers. I've been joking that we've singlehandedly reversed their population decline, but that's probably not it. Maybe they're attracted by all the weed flowers we have growing in the lawn, because the lawn mower isn't working? Or maybe we've just reached a critical mass of butterfly bush, tall phlox, and zinnias, and are attracting all the monarchs in Bedford. Sorry to everybody else in that case... but you're welcome to stop by for a viewing!

more