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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What a difference a flute makes…


Emily has played a flute for several of her fourteen years.  I remember visiting when she had been playing only a few months and I recognized the song she played—The Great Rock Candy Mountain.

A year ago she and Laura moved here, with instruments.  Emily was assimilated at once into the high school marching band, swept up even before school began.  When she came back from band camp a year ago she said her flute broke almost at once, but someone loaned her a flute. 

So began our regular treks to music stores, for this repair or that.  We went to the music store recommended by the high school band to have some spring replaced or key unbent, and picked up the flute on the way to an event.    “Try that out,” Aunt Janice suggested, pulling away from the curb.  It wasn’t even repaired!

We found a music store several towns south of us.   The staff could always repair whatever went wrong with the flute.  The last time we were there, before a concert before the end of the last school year, I asked into the price of a replacement student flute.  I flipped my calendar three months ahead and wrote “Buy Flute.”

My daughter purchased Emily’s old flute on EBay.  It was a well used student Armstrong flute when Emily got it.  She named it Luna, for Neil Armstrong’s trip to the moon.  Emily practiced often; the band has an extensive repertoire; the kids are expected to be proficient, from memory.  Frankly, I never thought Emily much of a flutist, but I admired her spunk. 

She and Laura and I went to the flute store last week, and laid Luna on the counter.  We could hear a student’s lesson from a room down the hall; we had the showroom to ourselves.  The man behind the counter brought out three used instruments, told Emily to run the scale then play one of her marching songs. She repeated on another flute, then played a note I’d never heard.  “Low C,” the man said.  Emily grinned.

The two of them eliminated one flute, then another. The man brought out another flute for Emily to try.  I waited in another corner of the store. The last flute sounded so rich and mellow I went back to watch her play.  Emily was beaming.  She can really play.  She even riffed a couple notes.  It was the one, a Gemeihardt.

As he was writing up the deal, the man reached into the case and brought out a two thousand dollar Gemeihardt.  “Try this while I ring you up.”  The sound was beautiful, and this from a grandma who is tone deaf.

The musician behind the counter took back the flute and played it for us.  He played it like a jazz instrument; the notes talked to each other.  He told Emily its pads made the difference.  Then Emily took Ginny, and a new bottle of valve oil, and we left.  


Monday, July 29, 2013

First Sunflower





The first sunflower, the one growing outside the wire.
Buds at the juncture of every leaf!


The other sunflowers "saved" from the deer, must be another variety.
They are over six feet and just beginning to indicate blossoms.

Laura thinks it's first because it's short, "like we are."

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Band Camp


Last year Emily was starting her new adventure.
I thought she was so brave, striding straight into a band of strangers,
Nothing in common but music.


They couldn't wait; we went early.
They blend right in.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

A “Real” Farmer’s Market


The girls see signs on corners and lamp posts for farmer’s markets, and wonder if we could ever visit one.  I promised them a visit to a real farmer’s market today.  Today we went.

I have a work in progress blog post titled What do you do with a National Park?  I am the “Come Here” who also grew up a few miles from here; I can appreciate the forlorn history of lost farms and still recognize the park is here, make the best of it.

In a nutshell, this was a farming valley.  The Cuyahoga Valley National Park was sprung on the valley, literally in the dead of the night, by John Seiberling and fellow philanthropists who not only had a personal vision of the valley, but could fund congressional and presidential campaigns.

It was a benign, directionless park for several years, until the director, Bill Birdsell conceived the extremely ambitious plan of acquiring the valley’s farms for the park and returning the valley to its agricultural roots.   The acquisition was welcome by those who were willing to sell the family homestead and bitterly contested by those who weren’t.  In the end more than four hundred homes went to the park.
 
That was about the time we moved here.  We looked up a retired sheep farmer to see about wool. He had none.  The park had approached him to “lease back” his farm and engage in farming, as they saw it.  He was bitter.  “They” had torn down five generations of barns and fences and now they wanted him to put it back together into their vision of a farm!  He spat on the ground.

Mr. Birdsell literally fell in his traces, pushing on.  The next park director spent a career here.  A trifle above the residents of the valley, but with a more benign vision of the valley, under his leadership miles and miles of trails fit for the urbans came into existence.  Many of the buildings that had been acquired decayed and were demolished.  Other farms were refurbished and leased out to what can only be called gentleman farmers. 

The director was a farseeing person.  He fostered the large coalitions and conservancies that would buoy up his park, provide resources for park projects.  They are great money machines; I’ve looked at their 940’s.  We have the Conservancy for the CuyahogaNational Park.  It was able to purchase the old Richfield Coliseum, home of the Cleveland Cavalier basketball team for two decades, and bulldoze it to the ground.  Now acres and acres of meadow and wetland. 

There is the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy.  The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway…in short, the Cuyahoga Valley is a good place to be a non-profit, if it pleases the park and the park’s constituency, which is, on the whole, anyone living outside the valley.  They have no idea how the great underbelly of the park works.  That is the thesis of my unfinished blog post.

In the meantime, Jan and I took Emily and Laura to the Howe Meadow Farmer’s Market, the market produced by the Countryside Conservancy.  The signs at the entrance banned all but service dogs and announced the Conservancy would facilitate any debit card transaction at any stand.


At 9 am, in spite of the drizzle, the meadow was filling.  It is a lovely market, and with only a few captions, the pictures speak for themselves.  I can sum up our support with Jan’s remark, “No matter what kind of dirt they grow it in, three dollars is exorbitant for a head of cabbage.”  It’s really about the booth fee the Conservancy charges for organic weekend farmers to sell produce to residents of surrounding urban areas.



The market and the music


A tiny bit of the lines for the croissants and the blueberries


Colorful rainy and cool day attire


A tiny taste of the offerings

Friday, July 26, 2013

What I did while the painters painted the barn:



A damsel fly


A bumble bee, loaded down


A butterfly in the phlox


The weeds in the gravel

I followed a dragonfly around the garden, but I couldn't get behind him for a picture.

It was noon, and the pictures I managed were from above, a tiny winged creature
casting an out sized shadow on the ground below.

Like an old black and white horror film.

I put those in the trash can.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Barn


I mentioned a few times Jan and I bought this house for its studio, an empty room about twenty five feet wide and forty feet long, sitting over a basement garage of equal size.  We kept two cars in the garage, and a lot of room was left to store thread and other weaving odds and ends in the beginning.

In a year or so it was apparent the thread we could weave up exceeded our storage spaces. We needed a storage building.  We especially needed a docking area for semi trailer trucks to use, as they took up the entire width of our road, essentially stopping everyone below us (all the rest of the street!) to enter or leave until the driver (and Jan and Mom and I) off loaded and moved our freight.

We could not afford a regularly constructed building, so I looked into storage sheds I saw in back yards.  Sheds were not nearly large enough, and we were directed to pole barns. Posts are driven into the ground, a concrete floor poured, the shell is attached, the roof beams go up, shingles, voila, it’s a pole barn in a few days.  Ours is about twenty four by thirty two, and a third the cost of standard construction.

We kept our weaving supplies in there, the truck drivers loved us.  So did our customers at shows.  If they wanted to order more of some garment I said I had to look in the barn for more thread; they sighed, “The barn, how romantic.”   When we retired we offered the empty barn to my brother and brother-in-law for a workshop, and they could not move in fast enough.

The barn is more than twenty years old.  About half way through that life I called the manufacturer to get some advice on painting it.  The sales representative must have come straight out of his chair.  “Lady, that building needs painted every couple of years!”  So, we had it painted.

Once Jan and I moved out, I paid no more attention to the barn’s needs. A year or so ago Tom said the east side of the barn was showing rot, probably from moisture from the weeds and bushes there.  He intended to nail plywood over the damage.

I called the contractor who’s done major repairs to the house, and we walked around the good old barn. After a complete circuit Jim said the building was sound, except for areas of the shell on the east side.  “If this were my building, I’d just put siding on it,” Jim said. How ignominious, I thought, but agreed, and we walked back, Jim marveling the survival of the siding on one coat of paint in all those years.

“I’ll miss the vertical lines,” I told him as he worked up a rough estimate of siding. Jim snapped right up.  “You know, we could look into that vertical metal siding that’s on all kinds of buildings these days.”  I knew exactly the stuff, and he came back later with a quote.  So, for the same price I paid to build the barn twenty years ago, I got it sheathed in lovely, vertical, grey slats of metal.  It is, indeed, good for many more years.





Except the doors.  They were altogether too white. The glare set my teeth on edge when I drove by.  Laura and I went to the store to reconnoiter grey paint chips.  She selected two, Jan narrowed the choice by half.  I consulted with Tom on paint brushes vs. rollers.  Tom doesn’t deal well with change; we learned he was not in favor of painting the barn door.  When he left I asked Laura “What else should we paint on that barn door?”  “Sunflowers” she said.








Saturday, July 20, 2013

Python Day!



Notices all over town


Pythons all over town



Laura and Melody at the game station.  That's a Python Shirt!

Emily and Madison have just opened the Python Activity Station.


What really brought Laura?


THE TALE OF THE PENINSULA PYTHON

The tale of the Peninsula Python has had a truly lasting effect on the Boston Township/Peninsula area, taking on almost mythological characteristics.

The story of the python begins shortly after D-Day during the summer of 1944.  As the legend goes, an accident in the Ira Cemetery in Bath involving the Cole Brother's Circus resulted in the escape of two large snakes.  One snake was later found dead near Doylestown.  The other apparently decided to roam the Cuyahoga Valley, terrorizing the local residents.

The first sighting of the python occurred on June 8, 1944, along Riverview Road in Northampton Township, about halfway between Ira and Everett.  Local farmer, Clarence Mitchell, reported that he had seen a snake 15 to 18 feet long cross his fields and slide into the river.  It was spotted later that day by Mike Bobacek on the other side of the river, near Szalay's corn fields on Bolanz Road.  Days later, Paul and John Szalay saw mysterious tracks, "like from an auto tire," weaving across their corn field on Akron-Peninsula Road, a few miles south of Peninsula.  Those doubting the existence of the python decreased in numbers on June 23rd, when Mrs. Vaughan on Northampton Road saw the snake climb over the fence of her chicken yard with a noticeable lump in its middle.

Peninsula's mayor, John Ritch, decided to set up a community-wide search by mobilizing the local Civilian Defense group into posses.  Sunday, June 24th found many area residents gathered in Peninsula with weapons in hand.  Mayor Ritch had the foresight to restrict each posse to only one firearm in order to avoid a tragedy in all the excitement.  In addition, the town was besieged by media types from the Akron and Cleveland papers, who had been sending news reports on the python all over the world via Associated Press and United Press International.  Adding to the confusion, the Ohio National Guard had picked that weekend to practice maneuvers, marching into the now "captured" village.

A call came that the python had been sighted up on Fred Kelly's land on Route 303, near what would later be the Peninsula Player's barn.  Hundreds of people swarmed the area, but to no avail, since it was soon discovered that the call had been a hoax.  The hunt resulted only in ripped and muddy clothes and a few red faces.  But just to be on the safe side, many people kept a vigilant watch, in case the python should reappear.  There were reported sightings a few days later in the village of Boston and during the month of July in Macedonia and Northfield.  August 1st brought the last reported sighting of the python.  The snake dropped out of the branches of a tree in a backyard in Boston village, causing the woman who resided there to faint.  After the summer of 1944 passed, it was supposed that the snake would be able to hibernate in one of the many caves in the valley area.  Nevertheless, anytime a snake of unusual size is found near the Cuyahoga Valley, someone always conjures up the Peninsula Python.

The debate over the existence of the python continues to this day.  Those who saw "something" stand by their stories.  Those who claim that it was all a hoax single out the original source for all the news stories, the Cleveland Press' Bob Bordner.  Bordner, a feature writer who lived on a large farm on Major Road, took every opportunity to get publicity for the Peninsula area.  Other stories that Bordner promoted were the Phantom Horse, the Richfield Wildcat, and more than one hidden cache of gold coins.  In addition, he is largely responsible for the widespread popularity of the Hinckley Buzzards and the Woolly Bear Caterpillar.  Bordner later published an account of the Peninsula Python in the November 1945 issue of Atlantic Monthly.

Many local people feel that the Peninsula Python was just another of Bordner's well-orchestrated publicity stunts.  Those of a more generous nature will grant that the python may have been a harmful diversion from the tense situation in Europe that summer.  Nevertheless, with the passage of time, the possibility of the event being a hoax has taken a backseat to the event itself.  The impact of the large snake on the area has been unmistakable.  For many years one of the local Little League teams has been named the "Peninsula Pythons" and several years ago a 10-kilometer road race was called the "Python Run."  In addition, a 15-foot mural by Honore Guilbeau in the Peninsula Library and Historical Society immortalizes the summer of the python.

Randolph S. Bergdorf
Peninsula Library and Historical Society


PENINSULA PYTHON DAY
SATURDAY, JULY 19, 2008


Honore Gilbeau mural face of the Peninsula Library and Historical Society

Industry in the Valley


Friday, July 19, 2013

This time next year


The last flower bed is sorted out, in spite of the stifling heat wave hanging over us.  We screened a lot of dirt and moved a lot of plants in a couple hours each evening, since the last time I've mentioned gardens.

Starting at the steps, we dug up more than four hundred colchium bulbs--our dad's fall blooming crocus. Jan figures she brought about forty bulbs from the old house, and planted them in front of the porch rail. 

As we unearthed them we sorted them first into a bucket.  When it was full Laura planted the bulbs in a section of the other front garden.  The bucket refilled; Laura planted more.  Over a hundred in the last sweep of the other garden.

The next bucket full went into a grocery bag.  So did the next. Hot, dirty, sweaty, Hamilton on shovel grew careless with the shovel, slicing into bulbs.  Hot, dirty, sweaty, grandma did not mention it. We filled another bucket one afternoon before we knocked off.  We went back out in the evening to continue excavating the damn things. We'd left off in the vicinity of that third grassy sidewalk crack. There were exactly three more!

Hamilton moved Aunt Laura's miniature iris into the ramp angle and along the bottom of the deck. Jan, Laura and I picked out ten perennials to plant and have fill in the next couple of summers.  Laura and Hamilton planted them, Hamilton put down the first mulch layer.  We leaned on our literal and figurative shovels and admired our work.

And the bulbs?  Laura and I packed them fifteen to a paper bag.  We stuck on the label Jan wrote about our dad and the bulbs that cost ten percent of a week's pay.  We've given them away to family and friends and friends of friends.  There are four bags left on the bench, and I know I have homes for them.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Charity

  
I was thinking of myself, posting yesterday, but not looking for sympathy.  We just play the hands dealt, and they do change from time to time.

Something happened today that will cause me to write a letter.  I’ll practice on you all first.

I live in a community of less fifteen hundred souls, disproportionately adults, most going back five or more generations.  They loathe change.  As a twenty five year resident, I remain, to quote Russell Baker, “Come here, not from here.”  Unfortunately I come here with ideas.

I work at the town hall.  At the time I started, it had been restored by the valiant effort of a committee of citizens and is now leased to various business tenants, the rents funding the upkeep of the building. As it should be.

From the beginning there has been friction between the trustees of my township, who own the building and the land, and the committee which oversees the building as to assignment of some responsibilities, in spite of a lease that defines the duties of each party.   

The parking lot is one area of dispute.  Poorly paved, unmarked, parking was helter skelter as occupancy grew.  I fell twice, catching my toe in holes.  I surveyed the building’s tenants; everyone was unhappy with parking.  Other tenants were especially unhappy; they had clients coming to the building.  In fairness to the committee, the “from here’s” who used the lot excused it as “it’s always been that way.”

 In fairness to the tenants, it is a professional building, the tenants are attorneys, accountants, architects; they expect marked parking, a finished and graded lot, and especially handicapped parking, the lack of which could cause any one of their clients to be offended and sue them.  In short, we conspired, and we threatened a rent strike if our complaints could not be aired.  I just love a good cause.

A year or two of unpleasantness was required; we got the lots paved and marked.  As the only person who read and understood the Americans with Disabilities Act, and had the most vested interest in handicapped parking, I asked for input on the layout of the ADA parking.  I reviewed the plans, asked that the spot closest to the door be turned ninety degrees, still in compliance, but allowing the driver to leave without backing up.  It was painted to the original configuration. 

I use that designated ADA parking space.  I pull in as if it had been painted as I requested.  My car is legally parked, within the marked area, oriented so I can leave without turning my head see to back up, and several steps closer to the door.

Today a member of the committee stopped in my office, sat down, chatted idly for a few minutes.  I have known her since I moved to town; we smile and say hello at the post office or the hardware store.  I waited for the shoe to drop.

Yes, “they” want to know why I park across the marked area, not in the lines.  It appears I am defying them, denying the parking spot to another handicapped driver (????).  It is perceived as unseemly. I will continue to park there, so I wished her good day and smiled her out the door.

Being curious I walked through the building and asked tenants if they were “they.”  It didn’t take long; the building is half vacant due to rising rents and lack of maintenance.  We all had a rousing laugh.   One even pointed out to me that all three employees of the township (I am one) park “illegally.”  The remaining two are the road guys I mention from time to time, together with the word sunflower.  One parks on the diagonal across two spots at the back of the lot.  Like a person who wants to protect his car from other parkers.  The other retains his unmarked spot, identical to mine, but at the back of the lot.  Neither of us wants to back out, apparently.

So now that I have practiced on you I will write the committee a letter concealing causticity, except on second reading, explaining that I do not intend to stop forwarding all their mail delivered in error to me, I do not intend to hang up on the daily phone calls from people wanting to rent their reception rooms before I have given out the proper names and phone numbers, I do not intend to stop parking at the back of the lot on election day so every handicap spot is available to voters, and I do not intend to stop parking in the improperly marked ADA space every other time I use the lot.

In my survey of tenants today, it was also pointed out that the other two employees who park “outside the lines” are “from here”.  But mentioning that would only be petty.  I doubt I will ever be "from here."







Wednesday, July 17, 2013

On growing short


Once I was five feet six inches tall.  I was five feet six in 2003, when I was measured for a new hip and I remained close to that height for several more years, until the afternoon I was pushing a shopping cart around a big box office supply store.  I lifted a carton of copy paper from a bottom shelf.

My back exploded.  The noise of the breaking vertebra shot straight up my spine and into my brain like the noise of an exploding cannon.  A few more vertebrae settled down, like one of those cheap telescoping travel cups.  I became shorter.

When I straightened up from that episode and took off the brace I was shorter by an inch, with a limp; my titanium hip and leg bone had neither the courtesy nor the good sense to shorten, too. 

The limp was the most notable life change to deal with for the next several years, until the stroke. That was a tougher recovery, but I regained everything except some muscles, especially on my right side.  That leg became shorter yet.  I’m now five two, threeish.

I’ve added a cane to my repertoire as the stroke left me a tad unstable.  That’s what the physical therapist said:  “You’re not a stable woman.”  Magnificent! And it takes a second longer to marshal and verbalize my thoughts, but as a gentleman from Tennessee once said to me, “We may talk slow, ma’m, but don’t assume we think slow, too.”

My previously taller self now uses a cane but finds the world not too changed, except on the occasions I find I am invisible.  I assume this comes with growing shorter; some may be due to growing older. To paraphrase, “I may talk slow, but don’t think slow and don't assume I do not exist.” I still do not tolerate rudeness, unless walking away is an effective statement.


My annoying physical limitations caused me to become more patient, a virtue somewhat lacking in the past.  I believe I appear to be a benign old grandma, with a limp and a cane.  And I am, unless I also become invisible.  I believe some clerks, waiters, and even a grandson may reflect back some day from their dotage and say “How rude I was to that old woman who had to raise her voice to get my attention.” Maybe their behavior will be reformed even in my life time.


1944

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

It's raining in our rain barrel


It isn't easy to water all the new plants in the front garden.The nearest spigot is in the garage below, so leaving the tap open and trusting the valve on the hose nozzle is out of the question.

Even trailing the hose under the garage door and up to the garden, so skippy little children can run down and turn on the spigot involves leaving the garage door jimmied so the hose is not crushed.


One day it came to me:  a rain barrel.  The downspout is right there.  I spent a day researching how to have a rain barrel that was not a blue tub. My heart was more than a little set on a barrel that looked like a barrel.


Charm and practicality did not come together.  I already have the finest downspouts in the universe; that pipe runs down the side of the house, under the driveway below, and out to the ravine, fail-safe for twenty-five years.  


Jan and I went shopping and found this one.  The downspout does not terminate in the barrel, the barrel ties into the downspout.  


Tom installed the barrel over the weekend, and it received his seal of approval.  There is a clever gate that closes when the barrel is full and lets the rain water continue its course out to the ravine and the creek below.





After three weeks of rain we are stuck in a week of hot and humid, with no forecast of rain until week's end. Tom couldn't wait that long; he filled the barrel from the well and Laura and I gave it a test run yesterday.





It is so hot we needed to water again tonight to keep all our transplantees happy.  But, five days of hot and humid just turned into a mighty fine thunderstorm, and it's raining in our rain barrel!






 A song of my mother's:



Playmate, come out and play with me

And bring your dollies, three

Climb up my apple tree

Holler down my rain-barrel
Slide down my cellar door
And we'll be jolly friends forever more



But she couldn't come out and play

It was a rainy day

With tearful eye she breathed a sigh
And I could hear her say



I'm sorry, playmate, I cannot play with you

My dolly's got the flu, boo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo

Ain't got no rain-barrel, ain't got no cellar door
But we'll be jolly friends forever more

Monday, July 15, 2013

Alberta rocks


You recall Alberta's garden, in all its glory last week when I dropped Emily off to work the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts with Linda.


There was a bag of kale for us last week, but I didn't see Alberta. Today Laura and I went to collect Emily back from her adventure.  Alberta heard us come in, and when we left she was out there, with a bag of produce to take home.


Oh, and how did we like the kale from last week.  Of course we loved it.  Well, she didn't know, but since we did, she would fill another bag with kale.


I told her the world was in awe of a ninety-six year old's garden, and could I please take her picture.  She reached up and smoothed her hair.  I want to be just like Alberta when I grow up.




Thursday, July 11, 2013

How much did it rain, you ask

Today social media is just abuzz (a-twitter?) with yesterday's denouement of the two odd week, outdoor play.  With very few credits, I have picked off several pictures to re-post.



A friend of a friend of a friend posted this.  It's watermarked; probably from a whole collection of good stuff.


With this picture the valley scenic railroad cancelled today's schedule and hopes to have the tracks repaired for tomorrow. We are sorry to inform you that we have to cancel train service for tomorrow - July 11th, 2013 due to flooding.We are hopeful that services will resume on Friday, July 12th.


Greenberry farm, a working farm in the park.  A shame, a day's lost revenue and a lot of repair work on hand.


Downtown Akron, the amphitheater at Lock Three, and captioned Dock Three.  Lock Three was a lock on the Erie Canal and it is part of the Towpath Trail system that now runs almost contiguously from Cuyahoga into Tuscaroras Coounty, more than one hundred miles. 


Water continues to run downhill everywhere it can.  On the way to the library this morning I asked Hamilton and Laura if they wanted a good look at the river.  Of course they did.


My puny picture does the monster little justice.  Most days it is a reasonable river, moving along smoothly, its high rock walls visible.


Hamilton had seen enough; Laura was mesmerized by its roar. The Peninsula Garden Club maintains the flower boxes on the bridge.  There is a box about every other segment.  Groups of women take it in weekly turns, and they're often seen with their gallon jugs of water, working their way along the sidewalks.  The ironwork is very '30's, and was specially cast for the bridge.  When the bridge needed replaced fifty years ago, ODOT put forth its generic bridge replacement plan, and the good members of the Garden Club stirred up such an outpouring they got themselves a bridge that holds flower boxes for their year round decorations, and flag standards.  Every section with no flower box flies an American Flag. Today included.

And here is my 10:49 pm text from Emily, verbatim:  Were done for the day.  It rained for an hour while we were setting up and it was BAD rain.  Ur probably asleep and i hope i didnt wake you.  All rugs in booth.  An hour in the morning.  Waiting for dinner.  It was really fun.  Smiley face icon.

Is she excited, or what.  I know she's on a high stool, in the hotel bar, waiting for dinner.  At eleven at night! It can't get any better.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Water runs downhill


It has rained for seventeen days; we are under flood watches.  The length of this weather pattern and the amount of rain is unequaled since records were begun in the nineteenth century.  Although the temps are high eighties, it is so humid we might as well be breaking heat records, too.

A couple of weeks ago my daughter Beth called.  She was “on the road’, on the way to a catering job for an outdoor party.  She was laughing.  Like mother like daughter; she was about to spend a hot afternoon under a tent, serving people.  I let her have her joke; even if it was only one afternoon, and she was actually serving whatever her fine restaurant cooked up.  The memory counts.

Today I really am smiling.  I put my granddaughter on the bus to help Linda at State College for a very long weekend at the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts.

My day began at 6:30, to take Hamilton to St. Thomas for an all day volunteer stint. I doubt I got up that early when I had a “real job” back in the 1980’s.  We made the twenty minute trip in total silence and in the down pouring rain.

Back home, rain over, I picked up Emily and her luggage for the hundred mile drive to Linda’s.  She has been to art fairs, and now she would be on the other side, working for Linda.  She’s in for a long, hard weekend, but she’s up to it. A strong little girl with boundless energy.  This is a physically exhausting show; good for Emily to volunteer to be the roadie.

Emily and Linda were so eager to get in that van and go I have no pictures of them leaving.  I took pictures of Alberta’s phenomenal garden instead.  Alberta is Linda’s ninety six year old mother who will not be without a garden.  Every year Linda tells her it will be too much work; every summer Alberta has a garden. I came home with a bag of kale.

Having seen Emily off, back home, a stop at work to finish up for tonight’s board meeting.  Home for a nap, set my alarm to get up and go for Hamilton.  This afternoon’s storm was worse than last night.  The trip to St. Thomas was a lesson in driving that most were passing.  The roads ran curb high in water, many traffic lights were out, sending traffic back to the old four way stop rules, which most were obeying. I hoped I would not stall my car when I had to use the curb lane and turn against the current to turn into St. Thomas, then cross the flood again to get out.  Wipers on high could not keep the windshield clear.

Of course the rain stopped, but all the way to the town hall for tonight’s meeting, and all the way home after I could hear running water.  The lakes are over their banks; water is running across roads; the river is close to spilling into the flood plain.

But the entire weekend at State College is forecast to be beautiful.  That is a relief, as I sent Emily with her brother’s phone, and mine has the storm shield application. It just signaled another flood warning, saying today's five inches of rain really has no place to go.  So glad I live on top of the hill.

Alberta's garden:






Monday, July 8, 2013

The watermelon hole

    
Although it has rained for eleven straight days at our house fireworks went off in the Friday night break, to the delight of all the children and grown-ups who crowded Barlow Field.  Emily professed a little disappointment the show lasted only half an hour, but as it commenced raining on the way home apparently half an hour was perfect.

Fourth of July was a little awkward this year, falling on Thursday.  But it rained much of the day, so no harm, no foul.  Beth and I scheduled a picnic for Saturday, at Camp 61, and the word went out. My only responsibility was the head count, and I could report at least sixteen.  Our house is little expanded from its two bedroom bungalow origins, except the deck and the studio, so all would be well if it rained on schedule, better if it didn't.

And it did not rain until the last guest departed.  It was a deck party!

I had some checking up to do:



The twin cousins, Laura and Francis, born two weeks apart.  They think "twin cousins" is stupid, but I'm the grandma, so turn around for your annual picture.


Caroline and Laura still fit in the same chair.  Caroline just came from a swim meet; those are her events inked on the back of her hand.  Rather clever.


Although one of the last two or three remaining viable branches came down from the elm tree in this current round of storms, 


The watermelon hole remains. I do not recall how many years it has been that children have played Corn Hole with watermelon rinds aimed at the elm's knot hole.  A long time.  Uncle Tom has banned corn cobs from being used these days; the raccoons are simply too fond of corn cobs still reeking of butter.  But deer make short work of watermelon rinds in the ravine, then leave.  


On your mark,


Get ready,



Go, Go, Go.

Final score:  Francis--one; Deer-a whole lot.