Thursday, May 31, 2007

Early Summer Beauty

While trying to keep my mind off of the new contacts in my aching eyes, I thought I'd share some of the photos we've been taking in our yard. As Summer approaches it is growing lovelier every day and we are discovering new blossoms and plants all throughout the property.

First, on the porch, is the herb garden in pots right outside the kitchen windows where they are handy for quick snipping while cooking.
We bought two half-barrels from a Mennonite farm in order to plant some tomatoes and peppers on the deck . These barrels smell like they did have whiskey or some such spirit in them before being cut for planting!

The view from one of the flower beds in the upper yard, looking down to the lower yard, in the early morning sunshine.

White Peonies are opening all over the place- I always wanted peonies!

The pink peonies the kids gave me for Mother's Day.

One of the varieties of Iris blooming thus far.

The azalea that I planted next to the mailbox, as well as my Mother's Day azalea, have the biggest blossoms I've ever seen on an azalea! This one is pink, the other is coral- gorgeous!

There are so many colors of Columbine in the yard, through the wooded areas as well as in the flower beds. They are so delicate and fairy-like. Random chance or design? No question!

I purchased this Iris on sale at the nursery. If it's a perennial and on clearance- why not?!

More Columbine, dark purple this time.

And now light purple...

and pink!
Down at the end of this wooded path we found the biggest surprise yet...

A GIANT Wisteria! (the photos simply can't do it justice) In the evening the whole lower yard and the woods smell of this wonderful fragrance. I had been telling Jim that I so wanted a wisteria once we prepared a spot for one, and now we find that it's the biggest blooming plant in our yard!

Except for perhaps this tree, covered in delicate yellow tulip-like flowers.

It may not be blooming, but there is life here. This cute little birdhouse was hanging in one of the shady areas when we bought the house and we left it alone. Walking past it last week I was startled by a tiny bird flying out of it! There is a nest, so it will remain right where it is!

That's all for now, what the photos can't capture is the near constant birdsong from a thousand birds, the fresh air and the singing of my heart. We are so very blessed to be able to live here surrounded by such beauty. If all creation sings God's praises, then our two acres are lending to the chorus quite sufficiently.

Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Memorial Day Weekend

What a full weekend, where, oh where do I start?

Friday after school Isaac had his friend, Ethan- who is soon moving to Florida- over to play. The neighbor girls asked Erin to come swim so we all went to enjoy a refreshing dip in the pool.

When it was time for Ethan to go home, Isaac's friend and our former neighbor, Ryan came to spend the night! His family have stayed close even though they don't live right across the street anymore.

Friday night after the younger kids settled in for bed, the rest of us sat down to watch a movie, Flight 93. Figuring this to be an appropriate movie for the Memorial day theme- I'd recommend it by the way, if you haven't already seen it. Our movie was interrupted by Vali making quite a bit of noise by the back door, scrabbling around as if trying to catch something. I paused the show becuse I'd rather kill any spider right away instead of giving it a chance to surprise me later. Low and behold, there sit Emmi and Vali staring intently at a tiny mouse that Emmi had found in the basement, tag-team tormenting the poor thing!


Something which husbands are very good at is getting rid of finds such as this...

We resume our movie only to pause again 5 minutes later as we see Milo come up from the basement after his own trick-or-treating run with a second tiny mouse. Only Milo doesn't head for the back door, no, his "comfy place" is our bedroom! Jim is on Milo's heels as our manly cat runs upstairs to finish his prey.

We did finally finish our movie, and it was good and we cried. But the memory of it will always be overlaid with the picture of Milo and his catch in my mind! He needs to stick to his prescription diet for now...

Saturday morning I took Isaac, Ryan and Erin to an Organic farm nearby for a farm tour. The guide was informative and fun, and it took me back to my own organic gardening days, inspiring not only memories, but plans for our yard now.

After the tour we went out to the fields to watch the farmer bring in the cows. What remarkable patience he had as he waited for them to gather at his call before walking them up and through the gate into the next field... nothing instant and fast about it.

Saturday afternoon Jim got down to some serious business around the house and fashioned a top-notch tire swing for the kids! As I mowed the lawns, (my time is improving!) Jim and his assistants installed this very important feature to our yard and I'm glad to say that it has passed the initial testing with flying colors!

Sunday afternoon we went to our friends' farm to celebrate their daughter Natalie's high school graduation. The Nobles have three daughters who correspond in age to our three and they have all become fast friends.

In fact, Rebekah and Erin will be going to camp this summer with Emma and Lillian. Their farm is home to several Alpacas and a Llama, who is quite friendly!

Although Kate and Natalie have known each other for such a short time, they have many interests in common, from the Arts to animals.

Sunday evening another longed-for feature was completed as Jim and the kids finished a fire ring by which many a marshmallow will be roasted and long evenings enjoyed. As soon as it was finished they "fired it up" and started whittling perfect marshmallow sticks when a thunderstorm rolled in and doused the flames, though not the fun!

Yesterday morning, Memorial Day, dawned bright and early with us getting into Mohnton for the parade. Isaac was marching in the parade- Main Street America style- with the Scouts. Jim and the girls and I parked our chairs on a sidewalk near the end of the route and thoroughly enjoyed the festivities.

Afterward there was a ceremony in the cemetery to honor those who have fought and died for our freedoms.

A friend sent me the link to a marvelous video on youtube which is worth a few minutes of your time- grab the tissues though.

We invited some friends from church, the Maiolie family, over for some grilling and fellowship later in the day. Jim had spent the afternoon working on getting a rope for another swing in our lower yard over the very high branch that he'd identified as perfect for swing number 2. The Maiolies arrived in time to help test the stability of the ropes and branch after we'd eaten a feast in the lovely afternoon air on the back porch. Today Jim will fashion a seat for the swing, but for last night the ropes were enough for a thrilling ride!

We ended the evening with S'mores after Kate and Laura arrived.

Jim has taken an additional day off of work to finish the swing and work on more shelves for our library. After such a full weekend I hardly know what day it is now! Whew! God is good and has blessed us plentifully with home, family and friendships,... and now S'mores too!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Kate's Prom!

I'll apologize right now for how very many photos I've put here, but there were so many good ones that I couldn't choose which to leave out! And it is, after all, Kate's Senior Prom!

Isn't she lovely?!
Blue Steel...

Mike arrives for the flower exchange- don't stab him Kate!

...and the corsage, so pretty.

Outside the front door, slowly working their way to the dance...

Such a gentleman, holding Kate's door.

The gang's all here for pre-limo photos! These were taken at Val's house, (blue dress) just down the hill from our home. These are some of the nicest kids and they all shared a table at the prom. Although most of them have grown up together, they welcomed Kate into their circle with warmth and friendship.

The lovely ladies!


And the fellas- ham it up guys!

And, of course, the Paparazzi!

Kate and her best friend Laura, our German Sweetheart.

Mike and Kate.

The whole gang next to the stretch Expedition- wow!

They stopped on the way at the ice cream stand where Val works to fortify themselves with milkshakes for the evening ahead.
One last stop at the school before proceeding to the dance. Governor Mifflin has been under construction for the entire year, yet it's still the High School most of these kids have attended, as did their parents, for 4 years and is loved in a way only "community" can explain.

All told, the dance was terrific fun and Kate enjoyed herself there and at the school-sponsored "post-prom party". Now we are moving toward graduation in a couple of weeks, oh my!