Friday, July 31, 2009

A new game

A storm blowing in from the Gulf, some strong gusts of wind and a bountiful supply of leaves fluttering down from the heavens led to a new game devised by Ellen and her friend Rachael.

They spent an hour enjoying the chase of these elusive targets..running back and forth as the gusts would release their prizes! I say who needs "Fisher Price" to have fun!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A "frickin awesome smile"

Of course, the day after I posted camp pictures, these amazing pictures came up on the website of Elizabeth. She has definitely perfected the "smiling while you are in the middle of a deadly rapid" technique. Elizabeth was a good subject, but after working on my photography skills, I give a lot of credit to the camp photographer! The title of this post came from a story that happened last year at camp....Elizabeth and a group of girls were paddling down a river and struck up a conversation with a group of boys from a nearby camp....apparently after they left the boys realized that they never got the girl's name but knew the name of the camp they attended. The next day a letter arrives at Camp GreenCove....and says:
Hey Camp Greencove Girls,
Us FCC guys (Falling Creek Camp) had a good time seeing some of you at the Tuck. We just had finished a two day paddling trip on the Tuck so we were pretty tired. Normally, we would have talked and hung out, at least I would have (that girl with the white kayak had a fricken awesome smile)....and so on! Well, Elizabeth has the only white kayak and does have a pretty nice smile (Thanks to Dr Whitley) so the camp directors figured out she was the recipient of the letter and delivered it to her; but not without reading it to the whole camp at their morning assembly! Needless to say, she was teased unmercifully. They framed it and she has it on her desk!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

We miss our girls, but I bet they don't miss us!

Our girls have been at camp since July 1st and won't be home until August 8th.....thankfully, technology helps with keeping the parents updated by posting pictures everyday of campers and their activities. Both Sara and Elizabeth are paddling fanatics and they have paddled and kayaking on just about every river within driving distance of the camp. In between their outings, (some are 3-5 days long and they camp out overnight while paddling down the rivers) , there are lots of fun camp activities such as Camp Olympics (Liz was on the green team and Sara was blue) and "Down and Dirty"; they have a big food fight with chocolate sauce, chocolate pudding, sprinkles and socks filled with powdered sugar that they whack each other with! They also bike up and down the mountain trails, horseback ride, sail, rock climb and name just a few of the activities These are just few of the many fun things they do!

Sara is practicing her strokes but
still looks "cool"

Elizabeth - kayaking on a difficult rapid

Sara is learning to kayak.

"Down and Dirty" (above)

Sara - jumping into the water to clean offafter "down and dirty". She is on the left in the black shorts!

Blue team wins gold medal - Sara in middle

The green team is serious about their color

Elizabeth - kayaking


Scenes from the country

Bountiful gardens!

Green beans, cantaloupe and watermelon...

Our golden friends!

One of our many"buggy" friends

Log cabin as the sun is setting

This is a crazy looking fungus...looks like a brain!

Using my new found photograpy skills I learned from the internet!

Can't we go out and play?

Beautiful eggs!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Give me Liberty.....or give me death!

After cleaning up accidents, several chewed up books, midnight outings for her to relieve herself and general puppy chaos....I might prefer the latter! Actually, the oh so sweet "puppy breath", snugly soft fur, sweet butterfly kisses, constantly wagging tail and the pure joy in Ellen's face make it all worth while. The fact that I am an animal lover doesn't don't worry we will have Liberty!!!!

Why did we get a dog? After dropping the older two girls off at camp, Ellen and I were headed home from North Carolina and there was a strange sense of emptiness. Five weeks of this seemed unfathomable. Ellen has been asking in a wistful voice for a dog for months, read every dog training book we have and even spent her hard earned "bunny money" on another dog training book. So, on the drive home, an idea hit me. Why don't I let her get a dog: it would keep her company while her sisters were at camp, there would be no better time to do this since she is out of school, and ten years old is such a good age to get your first dog. So, I said "Ellen, I think the time has come for you to get a dog". She looked at me with wide eyes waiting for the punch line to the joke! When it did not come, she said "Really?", still not believing her ears. I confirmed it and she jumped up and down and was so excited for the next several days......her only concern was Sara who is supposed to be able to pick out the next dog. I made the executive decision that we would just have to have three dogs (poor me) and Sara could pick one out when she finds the perfect one. (She has been looking, with no success for a year, trying to find the perfect one)

What is her name? We named her Liberty Belle. 1. We found her after four days of Internet searching in Liberty, Texas. 2. It was right after the Fourth of July and it fit with the theme 3. Her mother's name is Belle!

Fun Stuff: We decided to make a bed for her! Ellen picked out the fabric from my infinite amount of fabric scraps I have (all waiting to be smocked, but, oh well) and she designed the layout. We put it together and stitched Liberty's name on it. You can see the the finished product!

Maisy also loves her and helps us dog sit by playing with her...their favorite game is "who can get the stick". Needless to say, Maisy usually wins!"

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Fruits of the garden

My garden has been very productive this year! It has also produced many topics of humor (for Gary) I am growing watermelon and cantaloupes (of which I am quite proud, never having achieved this before) so I now get to hear daily comments from Gary..."Look at the size of those melons"; Layne's melons are the biggest around, Need me to see if your melons are ripe?"; the list goes on and on and he never gets tired of those jokes! Until he hands me a cucumber and I am not even going there!

P.S. Have a nice day! :)
P.P.S. That cute little girl who was such a good sport to pose for my picture.....I grew her in my tummy!

Friday, July 17, 2009

You can't make this stuff up if you tried...only in LA - Part 2

Just as I was proudly (and I do mean proudly) hitting the "publish Post" button on my blog (so glad to break my two month streak of non blogging), Ellen and her friend burst through door laughing and talking so fast that I couldn't
understand a word! I said "what is going on?" Speaking at the speed of light they said, "we were taking a walk with "Liberty" (Ellen's new golden retriever puppy; next blog subject!) and we decided to make a pit stop in Gran-E's bathroom." Let me preface this story with the fact that this is an outdoor bathroom/washroom and very "rustic"! As Ellen was "doing her business" a butterfly flitted by her...she thought it was a bit strange that a black butterfly was in a bathroom but upon closer inspection realized it was in fact a "bat". In her words, she "spazzed" out and was so freaked out she couldn't unlock the door so was trapped in the bathroom with a bat in the belfry, I mean bathroom! Now, we are in the country.... miles from anyone so why is the door locked? Anyway, she and Reagan raced back to tell me and being the overprotective mother that I am, I said "Oh, that is is my camera; go back and take a picture and I will add it to my blog!" They agreed and I waited thinking "How perfect is this timing as I was just talking about critters!" (see blog before this one) I guess most mothers might be worried the bat would bite them and they could get rabies but hey, I just resurrected the blog and that thought was not on my horizon! When they returned, they said they could just not get the picture as the bat was flitting around to quickly to get a pic and they did admit "it was a bit scary". Now, back to reality and over my blogging triumph, I realized that I had probably asked them to bite off a bit more than they could chew. However, still determined to get the pic for this blog, I took the camera and off we went. The pic of them walking Liberty and still talking very excitedly about the bat is above. I went in (admittedly timid). Even, Mrs. Dr. Doolittle is a bit afraid of a bat in an enclosed area! We searched in vain and the girls helped, to no avail. I guess we disturbed the bat taking his afternoon constitution! But, we will go back and try to get a pic this evening, hopefully hanging from the rafters as bats do! Now, that I am back to blogging...if we get the pic, you will see it! Stay tuned!

Only in Louisiana!

Sorry for the presentation but this is not the easiest blogging software to work with......Bryan, I need some tips on how to move and type around these pictures! But, in a monumental effort to get back on my blogging, I am going to leave them how they are and explain my title!
First, the snake......this happened right when school was out. We made our annual summer move to the Log Cabin for the summer....we leave the day school is out and do not return to Hammond until the night before school starts...we are so lucky! Anyway, we have some friendly little critters (mice) who have been keeping us company so I decided to bring a feline friend to live in the country this summer in hopes our acorn hiding, rubber boot eating, breaking into rice bags, furry friends would vacate the premises. On the first day...success! Suzy (our brave little mouser) was stalking something.....she stopped by the big linen closet on the front porch and in my proud moment of glory, I thought, "I bet she has already found a mouse"! So, I leaned down to peak under the armoire and got an nice surprise...a six foot snake all curled up and and not happy about being stalked. Gary was not home, so my best course of action (I thought) was to leave it be and when Gary got home we would capture it and set it free! I had already determined (with Charlie Gambel's help) that is was a non poisonous rat snake. So, I went to do a little housework (you know my house is always soooo clean) and after about thirty minutes decided to check on my new friend.....I walked in and knelt down, peered under the armoire and you guessed it; no snake! I looked over my shoulder to my left, still crouched down and there was the snake, stretched out in all its glory, not three feet away from me. (see pic above); I know, observation is not one of my best traits! So first, I freaked out: screamed a blood curdling scream, and jumped back at least three feet! Elizabeth came running and well, wasn't exactly worried about me...her first reaction was "Wait Mom, let me get the FLIP so we can get this on my documentary (she is documenting her whole summer with clips on her FLIP (a small handheld recorder). So, I did what every good mother would do with a six foot snake in her house....I waited! Once we were set up to film, I opened all the sliding glass doors and we slowly "herded" the snake out of the house. He graciously cooperated and from the pic above you can see, let himself out. Let me tell you, he was not scared of us at all! Whew, that was a long post; now for the next pic:
If you can't tell what that black blob under our bathroom sink is: it is a baby raccoon that, unbenownst to us, ran in our Hammond house as we were packing to leave for North Carolina. Let me start off by saying we are never very organized (I know that comes as a surprise to anyone that knows me), but we had completely packed the car the night before except for the things we would need for the cartrip like coolers, food and of course the IPod. With two children in high school, it would be unheard of to go ANYWHERE without the Ipod to play through our radio! We had a ten hour drive and wanted to leave at 8:00 and would arrive at 6:00. We were taking the girls to camp in North Carolina but spending a few days with the Sharps before camp started. Right on schedule at 7:30AM, we were putting our stuff in the car ( I was so proud!)....all the girls got in the car and I went in for a last minute turn off of lights ect., check of the house. I walked into the bathroom and again, let out a blood curdling scream. Have you ever been eyeball to eyeball with a baby raccoon? Am I Damn Dr. Doolittle or what! So, I gathered the girls, accessed the situation and decided that if I could "snake herd", I could "raccoon herd"! I got the broom and the plunger (typical raccoon herding tools), closed all doors in the hallway, opened the kitchen door and with the great success of my snake removal, was sure I could shoo this critter out the door and be on our way right on schedule. Baby Raccoon did not agree with me....he ran up under the sink, wedged himself between the wall and the sink and took all four paws (although they look just like human hands) and held onto the pipes with a death grip. No amount of poking and prodding changed the situation. And yes, Elizabeth once again, ran and got the FLIP and has this documented! So, my next move is to call Dr. Bryan Crothers, a biologist who live around the corner (Sara's best friend; Laura's Dad) Luck was with me for once: he was home and rushed over with an assortment of capturing devices like big nets, nooses and such. After thirty more minutes, he said there is no way we are dislodging this critter unless we kill him and that was not an option. We decided that he needed to calm down and maybe he would come out on his own and Bryan could then capture him. They are destructive creatures so at Bryan's suggestion, we removed just about everything from the bathroom, put cat food and water in the bathtub and closed the door. Another lucky thing was that Euhla, my maid of ten years, was there to clean that day, and she said....just go and I will peek in from time to time and if he comes out, I will call you. It was now 10:00 AM so we took her advice. Around two o'clock, about halfway into our trip I get a phone call from her. "Da Coon is off da sink and is on da flo" (and that is the closest tranlation I can type). I called Bryan, he ran over and he and Euhla worked to capture it, bless her heart, for all my past complaints about her, she is worth her weight in gold! It had now climbed up between the toilet and the wall but was much more accessible. I am told (by Laura) that between Euhla pushing and poking with the broom and plunger on one side of the toilet and with Bryan on the other with his tools, they successfully captured the poor little fella and released him outside! Mission accomplished and we made it to NC only two hours late!
Since I have written a novel (making up for two months of not blogging) the last picture speaks for itself.....where else in the country can you have a sink full of beautiful fresh shrimp (probably fifty pounds!) In the words of Forrest Gump's sidekick "Bubba": We will be eating shrimp stew, shrimp cocktail, shrimp scampi, shrimp gumbo, boiled shrimp, fried shrimp, get the picture! I have so much more to blog about! Later....right now I am typed out!
However, I have so many more stories.....thanks Julie for the bit of encouragement to get back in the game! She emailed me "Less puppy playing, less swimming and more blogging!" It worked!