Tuesday, March 31, 2009


It was really quiet at the log cabin on Sunday (unusual)! Quietness is not something that happens often in our household so for a while, I just enjoyed it! However, curiosity got the best of me, and I began to go searching for everyone. I found them out in the yard, enjoying the beautiful sunshine and sounds of the country. Sara is reading "Marley and Me" for the second time. She is dying to go to the bookstore as she has read everything of interest to her in both school and city library (Hammond doesn't have the best facility!) Elizabeth is reading Inkheart and Ellen is reading the series by Percy Jackson that starts with "The Lightning Thief" Big John and Aunt Miriam have provided us with many good books, but by far, the Percy Jackson series is the biggest hit with all of them and now their friends. Sara has read the four books that are out no less than five times each! In May, the fifth one comes out and it is already on Sara's calendar to hit the bookstore the day it is released. Ellen is reading voraciously to have them all read before it arrives! She is on the third book, so she will make it. The shot of her above is her usual position at the Hammond house in her "reading tree" In her zest to read this series, she gets home from school at 2:45 and will read until dark in this tree. The other place she picks to read is in her room, sitting on the floor, wrapped up in her curtain! She usually has a bunny or a cat with her!

"Larger than Life"

Elizabeth has been complaining about how boring her Biology Honors class is and how the teacher drones on and on with notes. Lately, the teacher decided to spice the class up a bit and gain some interest with class participation. Every now and then he assigns a student to present notes and if they get really in to it, they will present them with a power point computer presentation or some time of prop. This week was Elizabeth's turn and she decided to show the teacher how to get the interest of the class. She took her notes and not only made a PowerPoint presentation but presented them to the tune of "Larger than Life" Now this was done completely to the surprise of her classmates (except her close friends, one of which filmed this for her) and her teacher! Check it out! Unfortunately, the video doesn't capture the hilarity of the power point which she says it is the funniest part of the presentation (hard to believe). I haven't seen the what she had on the computer but I have a hard time believing it is funnier than what is in this video!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Zourich -aka The Frankenstein

This boat is a barge that we bought with ten partners about 5 years ago.....when we purchased it, it was in great shape with all the amenities you could ask for (wine cooler, washer and dryer, ice maker, leather couches and the owners even sold it with the liquor in the cabinets!) We estimated they left about $2000.00 of alcohol on the boat! The boat was sold by some oil company who just wanted to unload it so it was purchased at a great deal. Well, before most of us had time to set foot on the boat, Ivan (hurricane from five years ago) hit and sank it....we dredged it up and the dredging company actually dropped it again so technically it sank twice. Most of our partners threw up their hands and decided to cut their losses as they didn't want to fool with renovating and all the headaches ahead. So, slowly but surely, we started putting the boat back together....it was about 60% finished and was actually dry docked in Chalmette and lifted out of the water for painting (all 85 tons of it) It is about 85 feet long, sleeps 18 to twenty in beds and has two bathrooms and a full kitchen! Then.....Katrina hit. When the dust settled, we drove down to Chalmette to see if by some miracle, it was OK.....it was nowhere in sight. After months of searching for it by boat, Gary rented an airplane and searched by air.....he found it ten miles away from where it was dry docked (hoisted in the air and secured by huge chains) with the pylons that it had been attached to completely pulled out of the ground and still attached to it. It was sitting on a sandbar half in the water and half out. Needless to say, it was in worse shape than Ivan left it and had been completely gutted by the wind and water. Can you imagine the force that can rip a boat from a dry dock and drag 85 tons of boat ten miles with huge pylons attached to it? For the next several months, every time it rained, Gary and Pat would jet off to Chalmette and boat over the the Boat to see if it could float off the sandbar and be towed home. Three months later, it was still there and then after one particularly hard rain, Gary got the coast guard to two it home. It was a very depressing sight to view but the Gary, Pat and the three other partners left, squared their shoulders and got to work. Two and half years later, you see the final product and Saturday, we all spent the night on it and are enjoying the fruits of their labors! The real name of the boat is the Zourich II (Dick Kelly had a similar boat named the Zourich so this is the sequel.) We affectionately call it the Frankenstein as it is a monster of a boat and every time it dies, it is brought back to life! We plan to enjoy it as much as possible before the next hurricane season starts!

Friday, March 20, 2009

I dream of Jeannie wins Regional Science Fair!

Yesterday was the Regional Science Fair for 4th, 5th and 6th grade. Let me preface this entry by saying that at Holy Ghost it is a voluntary event to enter the Science Fair in the fourth grade, and you are competing against the 5th and 6th grade of which it is mandatory. You start in the classroom and if you pass the mustard, you get to go to the gym (Holy Ghost gym). Just to get to the gym is a big deal for a fourth grader! So, once you get to the gym, you compete with all the 5th and 6th grade projects that made it to the gym and only ten projects are chosen from the gym to attend the Regional Science Fair at SLU college. Needless to say, when Ellen and her friend won a spot to go to regional, it was very exciting for them. Most children would be a bit nervous for the Regional Science fair knowing they are up against the best of the best: all 5th and 6th graders. What is Ellen's first thought the morning of the competition? "Mom, can I wear my fake ponytail...it will be funny to see who notices that it is not real.". Amused, and now over the science fair after six years of participating (third child syndrome), I agreed that was a wonderful idea! So, Ellen clips in her fake hair piece and off we go to the Science Fair. Now, we haven't practiced with our partner since the gym so we do make the effort to show up a little early to do a few run throughs. Of course, Ellen's main concern is casually showing up and seeing when people notice that she is now "I dream of Jeannie"! It takes about one run through and her partner Racheal starts laughing and is the first to figure it out....slowly some of the other Holy Ghost student start to notice and, of course, Ellen loves it. One of her friends summed it up perfectly...."with Ellen, you expect the unexpected" So, after two run throughs, they were done an on to the fun stuff.....talking and hanging out with friends until the judges came. I did however, dethrone " I dream of Jeannie" back to Ellen during the judging as I didn't want a judge distracted with trying to decide "is it real" the whole time they were presenting their project! I have to say I was surprised when they came back with a first place ribbon, however, Ellen.....she quickly clipped the hair piece back in and was on to more exciting adventures!

Not to be outdone....Sara competed today and could not let her sister "one up her". She also brought home a first place ribbon and will go on to compete in state. They only let the 7th and 8th graders compete in state so the ponytail will not move on!

For all those that read my blog with young children, I know Science fair is a blip on the horizon right now, but when you get there, call me as we have some good projects that they have presented. This year, Ellen's title was "Draw your own Conclusion" She tested three crayons; Prang, Roseart and Crayola for the properties of smoothness in coloring (technical word is laydown ), flaking, strength and vividness. Prang is made of soybean oil, and the other two, paraffin wax so there were some major differences in the crayons. Sara's title was "We are N2 Beans", and she tested the affects of nitrogen on on bacteria in soil and how it affects growth in plants. We have some other winners in the vaults of the past so give us a call when the time comes!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Signs of Spring

Gardens are growing, clovers are blooming, horses are feeling frisky, chickens are laying and azaleas are blooming! My favorite time of year is here! I know I don't have it as bad

those that live in the North but Spring is

still a breath of fresh air! Never mind that it

got so hot, we turned on the upstairs AC, it froze up and dripped through the kitchen ceiling!
The azalea below has a story....six or seven years ago, Charlie bought about 200 one gallon azaleas for the country....we spent weeks planting them and couldn't understand how he could buy so many at one time. Now they are everywhere and are big and when in full bloom are beautiful. Now I say "Why didn't he buy more!"

My birthday present of twelve chickens back in June are now giving back and I get about 20 eggs a day. Nature provides a beautiful palette.