Thursday, June 27, 2013


Today on my run/walk I noticed that the ditches along the road are spectacular!  Ditches are usually places for weeds, mud, runoff and wandering drunks heading home at night.  Not the nicest of places most of the time....until these few weeks in late June.  In these weeks the ditches are full of color!  A usually unsightly place takes on a new look for a few weeks a year.  If you walk or run on these roads, there is something to behold from close up.

They may be weeds, but they make me smile when I go get my mail every day!

This was what I saw at the halfway point this morning  :-)
in a ditch!

I am hoping that what feels like the ditch I am living in now (the farmhouse under attack) will soon bloom.  Right now it looks like a dirty, disorganized mess!
Mid-destruction....let the hundred year old dust start flying, achoo!

You thought I was exaggerating?  You can't even see the thin layer of dust covering everything!
I knew this process would be a messy one when we started.  I have been fortunate enough to miss out on most of the destruction and construction in the farmhouse.  I usually show up after the fact and just clean up and paint everything.  This week has been quite different.  The old floors were torn out revealing 100 years of dust and dirt!  Yipee!  Shopvac to the rescue!  I feel better already, knowing all that dirt has been cleaned up!  Out with the old and in with the new...plywood floors...for the next month.  The major change will have to wait until the hardwood arrives from parts unknown. It is currently "on the boat".  Could be here in a month, could be in 6 weeks.  I figure I have waited 5 years, what is 6 more weeks, right?  Argh!

I can't wait until my plywood floors turn into something as beautiful as this...
Ditch in full bloom!
In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy our blooming ditches and endure the dust and disruption.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

If I Had A Million Dollars....

I'd be rich!  At least according toThe Barenaked Ladies.  And the cottage and farmhouse would both be  finished the way I see them in my dreams.  But alas, we are not millionaires, so my dreams have not come true just yet.

 One of our favorite past times is dreaming of all the things we are going to do to the farmhouse to finally finish the place.   One of my concerns way back when we purchased the farmhouse was that the cottage would become the neglected afterthought.  I feared it would crumble into disrepair and always come in second place when it came to putting money towards repairs or improvements.  Given that we are not millionaires... we have had to make choices.

I have had to really try to get the cottage a little respect.  Last year it got a few long overdue upgrades.  This year the job is almost finished.  Don't get me wrong, there is still plenty that could/should be done, but we are on a positive trend here!  The farmhouse had to take a backseat last year to the cottage, "Take that farmhouse!".

I love the cottage!  This week I have been cleaning out at least 25 years of crap and I keep finding more and more memories and find myself falling in love with the cottage all over again.  For such a small place with relatively sparse storage space, we sure did ferret away a lot of crap over the years!  This was the year for me to do the big clean out!  Throw away memories with reckless abandon!  Clean slate!  Get rid of the clutter!  Well, kinda...let's not go crazy here, I'm not quite ready to get rid of that orange, yellow and black sunset hooked rug yet and the baseball hat collection is still intact...except for the ones that disintegrated!

The cottage 2009....where my children learned to love this place.
The cottage 2013...with her new foundation, siding and new decks, she might just live for another generation to fall in love with this place!

While I was cleaning and throwing things away I came across something that has been hanging in the cottage for many years.  It goes mostly unnoticed.  I stopped my cleaning and read this ode to the shore.  When I received this work I thought it was nice but it did not mean the same thing to me then that it does now.  I can really relate to it now.  She capture this place perfectly!  I thought I'd share it here and maybe you can appreciate it too. 

Down Home

What is my Maritime home besides family and friends?
It's the sea, sand and smell of the salt air on the Northumberland Strait.
It's the quiet stillness before a summer storm or the sound of flags flapping in the wind.
It's a sea breeze whistling through the spruce boughs or driving down a road overgrown with alders.

It's seeing fields of clover, boarded by goldenrods, 
with a sprinkling of Queen Ann's Lace, Fireweed and Blue Flags.
It's a cloud of dragonflies in late August and multi sea birds
 gathering in flocks to feast as the flies pass by on their one day
 exodus each summer.
It's cranes standing on stilt like legs, waiting patiently at low ebb,
In the shallow pools for fish and small crustaceans.

It's crabs, clams, razor fish, starfish, quahogs and mussels
 and of course lobster too.
It's deep purple jelly fish with threads of silk like stingers
swimming gently with the tide.
A snorkel and a mask, exploring a sea world,
finding bubbles of silver that look like a mermaids broken necklace.

Above in the deep blue it's white clouds splattered
with different character forms.
It's the cottage, the shore in summer,
the drive out the Tyndal Woods Road
with memories of childhood days around each bend.
The robins looking for that last worm for their young
before a spectacular sunset turns day into night.

PEACE,TRANQUILITY, HOME, land of my roots.

Sharon Ann Hire-White

Yup, she captured many of the things we love about this place and none of them cost a million dollars, so what am I worried about anyway?  Especially on a day like this......

Our first walk on the sandbars....priceless!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Start or Finish?

Are you one of those people who has several unfinished projects going at all times?  Do you come up with great ideas and start more than you can finish and leave a few abandoned?  OR Are you the person who has a couple projects going and won't begin another until they are finished?  A person who likes to see something through to the end, regardless of the outcome?  A multi-tasker or single minded?

I have been pondering this thought for the last week.  I think, or like to think, that I am more of a finisher.  Some may argue.  Maybe more accurately, I am a finisher compared to the Starter I live with.  If you think about this then maybe we are the perfect match, he starts things and I finish them.  He comes up with about 100 brilliant ideas every week and starts one after another until the next brilliant idea lures him away and then I go behind and finish the ones I feel are worthy.  This should be a great symbiotic relationship.  But....I have a question.

Does it bother the Starter that many of the projects are unfinished?  Does it bother the Starter that someone else finishes the project... not the way they would have?  On the other hand, does it bother the Finisher that they don't have much going on because they just can't move on until they see the current project finished?   As for you over achievers out there who start and finish MANY projects simultaneously, what's that like?

This year is year 5...or 6 of the great farmhouse renovation.  That is a long time for something to go unfinished in my book. Unless you consider the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, which has been under construction for over 130 years.  This isn't a cathedral....I am ready for it to be done!  Of course, once it is done what will I do with myself up here?  There have been enough starts and finishes over the past 5 years to satisfy both of us.  We have little victories every year.  This year I am hoping for some big victories.  Maybe I'm setting myself up for disappointment.  

Looking forward to arriving one year and not being able to write in the dust that covers everything!
Of course the dust is a sign of progress, of the work that was done over the winter so I should not complain, right?
This year I am taking things into my own hands and trying to get as many projects "finished" as we can.  All we need is time and money, right?  That money thing always puts a glitch in things.  I still want to get on one of those HGTV shows where they come in and rescue the poor exhausted homeowner and work miracles on the mess the owners have created.  We are so close but still so far from having that dream home.  I just hope we finish before my patience gives out...and I'm a pretty patient person.

This year... floors!  That is the numero uno job.  It may take all the patience and money we have but by golly, we will have floors and whatever else we decide to start or finish.

Maybe the floor won't look like this in another month!
Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Busy Being Busy

I knew once we got back from our trip to Spain, life would blast past us and everything we have been looking forward to, for many months, would be here before we had time to blink...or pack.  I was right.  Although, I did have just enough time to pack....see?

I even remembered to bring the dog!
We left Houston on May 23 and after a brief stop for a wedding in Kansas City, MO we headed to Madison, WI to anticipate the birth of another grand baby. I must say KC was way nicer than I expected, you should visit.  Little did we know when we planned this trip that the actual birth would occur a mere 12 hours after we arrived!  John Francis Lee has perfect timing!

John Francis Lee
May 27, 2013
7lbs. 15 oz.  20.5 in.
Man with perfect timing!
Grampy and I took care of Daniel and Christopher while Mommy and Daddy took care of John.  Grampy could only stay for a couple days, but I got to stay for 11 days!  I feel younger and very much older at the same time.  Two busy boys and a precious baby will do that to you. I mostly did the cooking and played with the boys and Mommy and Daddy took care of John. Except between 8 and 10 pm when I got to hold John and blissfully look at him while he rested in my arms or sucked on my finger until it was time for him and Mommy to call it a night.  So sweet!  Even sweeter since I knew I would not be the one waking up at 1 a.m. to feed him.  I got to sleep all the way until 6:30 a.m. when the older boys woke up for their day.  Until this morning when Christopher climbed into bed with me and said, "I was going down the stairs... and I kept going to the basement... so I could snuggle with you."  Only problem with this preciousness was that it was 5:42a.m. on the day of my departure....right before my 7 hour of not so perfect timing.  I did enjoy the snuggling though.  How cute is that? The entire time was filled with episodes just like this.

I thought I would be able to share all the Daniel and Christopher " isms" but the fact is that I have forgotten most of them, sigh.  So many cute things come out of their mouths that it was hard to keep track of them.  One I do remember is that Daniel was fascinated by John's umbilical cord in the hospital and the little clip they put on it and asked about it.  Well, for the next few days he kept trying to say umbilical cord and it always came out "invisible cord" which kind of makes sense too!
The other memorable "ism" was at the dinner table when we were eating lasagna and one of the boys said "Lasagna in the highest" with his hand held out like a cantor at church!  The entire family chanted "Lasagna in the highest" several times, always with one or both of the boys raising their arm like a cantor for the congregation to join in song!  Good times!

Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Meyer Wiener.....
The week was full of fun and excitement, some scolding and a little crying and lots of love.  That's what family life is all about.  I thought about when I brought my third child home from the hospital.  Don't really remember much about it but I know there were two little girls who were excited and curious about this little boy who had entered their lives.  There was a Mom who was exhausted and a Dad who was very proud and probably exhausted as well.  I don't think this homecoming was much different...except the two little girls were boys in this case.

Now that's one proud Grampy!

and an excited brother

baking Gigi's birthday cupcakes and cake, can you tell it is early in the morning?  
The boys are energetic and happy and I'm just trying to keep my eyes open!  So not a morning person!

One adventure after another!  Spain was amazing!  The first half of our annual migration was extra special with the birth of John and hanging out with Daniel and Christopher.  We are now on our final leg(s) of the trip to the shore.  Sadie the Wonder Dog knows there is a prize at the end of this journey, she can smell it in the air already! And I am starting to get excited about all the work/fun to be had at the shore this year.  Stay tuned, it should be another summer to remember.
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