Improving a flower patch

Flower garden before weeding.

Saturday we finally took some time to attack the weeds in the newest flower garden. I had hoped to make this my bulb garden, but none of the tulips that I planted survived the first winter in this spot. Fortunately I did not actually move all of them, and they are growing and blooming in the original spot. The irises on the other hand did manage to make it through the winter and even bloomed fairly nicely this spring. The problem, though, was finding them after the grass began to appear. I have included a few shots of what this place looked like and what it looks like now. I have a small picture of the pile of grass and weeds that we pulled out, but it is not all of it. James had another pile of what he took out of the iris end. I ended up grabbing the pitchfork to lift the pile into the wheelbarrow. It nearly filled it up. Good grief!!

View from the iris angle after it was cleaned up.

It was a great help that James did the weeding in the iris part. I started on the north half, which is closest to the concrete walkway. The iris bed is at the bottom of the driveway and touches the grass. We had planned to extend it all the way to the end of the driveway, but never took the time or effort to dig up the last of the sod at the end. This area used to be some of our best grass, but when I was looking for a place to plant the bulbs so they would get more sunlight, I figured it would make sense to do it here where it would seem like we were squaring out the sidewalk beside the driveway. Perhaps it is the soil more than anything that killed off the bulbs. I suppose the seeds germinated after we watered it. My new plan is to put some roses in this area. I would like to fill it with a couple of climbers, but I think I missed the window of opportunity for purchasing any this year. Maybe I could transplant a few of the wild yellow roses that grow at my mother’s house. The mower person is always trying to contain that patch anyway. Hmmmmm maybe if I sneak over there in the afternoon when no one is around, they (my sisters) might not catch on.

Right after we finished the weeding, it was a bed of dried out dirt. The picture above makes it look like the bed is all nice and clean. Today when I stepped out to get the final picture, I noticed it is filling in with morning glories. We added a makeshift bird bath, which I contrived from an unused tomato cage and a tossed out fry pan. Technically it is a stove top wok, and it was great until someone burned something to the bottom and it was all scratched in the cleaning effort. I did see some little sparrows taking advantage of it the first night we set it up. I even found this little wire fence in the shop when I was digging around for the stand. It was a bugger to get installed, but patient persistence paid off. We also purchased some solar lights to wrap around the pole, but have not gotten those in place yet. I hope to enjoy this garden more as the summer goes as this is right below my bedroom bow-window and I can sit in the window and watch. Roger enjoyed the view with me on Saturday night.

Returning the children

So, last week Thursday, we packed up the Clark grandchildren and headed to Bismarck to meet their parents. It was a long night at our place on Monday when Jessica and her family had left and we were alone with these three. Ana was not having the time without parents anymore. She had a major melt down in my room and it took lots of comforting and a little creative story telling to get her calmed down. Jaxon used to love stories about himself, so I tried it on her. I ended up telling her the story of all she had been doing while visiting at our house and ended it with how we would be packing up and going to look for her parents at an airport.

When we got to the airport on Thursday right around noon, we went to the fence to watch for planes landing and sure enough, we were able to spot their plane on the runway taxiing to the gate. We quickly went inside, but not before a pause for the photo seen above. Ana was pretty wired up about seeing PapaMama. Jaxon said the word only with Mama at the front. Just hilarious these two, and David simply followed along. He was quite funny about finally seeing his mother. His answer to the whole thing was not to let her out of his sight. Even on Monday when we went there to watch Jaxon’s soccer match, David would not come near me for fear that he would have to go with us. We tried to promise Jaxon that maybe next summer he could come for a visit without the others. We shall see. He is now at the point of doing summer sports and there are things like plays and such that he can be involved in, so not sure if there will be time for grandma’s house. Maybe we will just take the sister out of his hair.

Grandma and Grandpa with all of the grandchildren!! What a great crew.

On the other hand, we have others to choose from so who knows who might spend time with us. Off to the left I have included the great picture that Jessica snapped at the Herreid City pool on Monday afternoon. I am thinking this will be a great Christmas card.

Jaxon was able to take swimming lessons here this week. He enjoyed it, and did fairly well, but wasn’t quite able to master the back float and back stroke parts. He is beginning to be pretty confident in the water and even went off the diving board several times. Kenlee and Alyse are like two fish in the water, so they were able to do about anything. Ana and David and grandpa and grandma stayed in the baby pool, and even then we had to walk beside David the entire time. Lily and Marshall were not at the pool the entire time, but they did don their suits and joined in the family fun staying out of the heat as best as we all could. All I know is that I am looking forward to their next visit whether it is in the summer or not until later this fall.

What have you and your family been up to this summer??

 

Days of Grand Kids

I have been so behind on posting, and I will for now blame it on too much going on around this place. Last week we had a proverbial house full of people as all of the grandchildren and most of the children were here for Father’s Day weekend. It sort of started because James’ family decided they needed a Haak reunion. By the way the next one will be in three years and will be held in Aberdeen.

Anyway, the Saturday of the reunion excluded we were at our house except for Nate and Victoria who left on Sunday morning for Las Vegas. Yup, they had their big summer vacation in the desert in the middle of the hottest week in years. Vic said one day they smelled this weird plastic sort of smell and came to realize it was the smell of shoes melting. Yikes, not for me, and Nate who really can’t handle heat said it was enough of an experience for him. I am guessing future vacations to deserts will be during the winter. Ha!!

Do were was I? Oh yes the grandkids. They had a great time playing on the swing set and for the younger of age, as in David, it was a hoot just to climb up and down the porch steps. I have posted a line up of pictures of them all playing outside on the day that Jess and her family had to return to Jamestown.

Kenlee & Jaxon going from chain to chain.

Ana running blow

Alyse came to join in the fun on the slide later on.

 

 

 

 

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David on the steps

Marshal was letting us know that he wanted to stay.

Marshall and Lily with Alyse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has been over a week since they were all here, and though the house should feel empty, we are still finding a few items here and there that were left behind. I think it will be a great reason to make a trip to Jamestown after we return from our jaunt to General Synod. We did run out to Dickinson on Monday night to see Jaxon’s last regular season soccer match. What a hoot that was. As we were leaving, I was thinking of how much we still had to do in terms of packing and planning and getting organized to fly to Baltimore on Thursday morning, but not James. No, his reaction as we were hitting the Interstate was, “Next year, we need a copy of all the kid’s sports schedules so we can go to as many things as possible.” Yes, this said, these plans made by the man who is still coaching Jr. high football and varsity track. Everyone is pushing that he should retire (well everyone meaning his daughters) and he is figuring how we can attend even more events. All this while I am thinking that no wonder I am tired, the wheels are never allowed to rest at our place. As Paulina would say, “You picked him.” I suppose she is right.

Well time to close this one up. Hope you are enjoying your summer!!

Garden Work

Hi, just stopping by to let you know how the garden is going. We had a fairly late start this year, so not real sure how things will pan out. Hopefully fall will be long to extend the growing season. If not we may have to put a green house over the top of the garden. Ha!! We do finally have the fence back in place with the required amount of footage removed to please the Corps of Engineers Inspectors. James is a bit tired of seeing pictures of our garden as problems at the city council meetings once a year. Now to figure out how to move those two trees growing in the back. We did not plant them, but would like to keep them some place in the yard.

Current picture

The first two pictures above and here are before and current pictures of the main garden. I still need to get 5 pepper plants into pots, but am not sure if I will be replacing the opening in the tomato row. I know that where the Beefsteak tomato died, I am leaving that spot open to accommodate the two volunteer cucumber plants. I refuse to pull out a volunteer unless it is really in a bad spot. In fact I nearly through a hissy when I thought that James had hoed off the large sunflower growing along the fence with the cucumbers. When he denied doing it, we examined the plant and found it had succumbed to some sort of bugs. The bottle of spray was promptly dispensed on all of the plants above the ground. The closer cans are tomatoes and the far away ones are peppers. The only thing you can really see at this time is the beans and the potatoes. Yesterday I planted more sugar peas along the posts that are to the right of this picture and mixed some zinnia and dill seeds and planted them into the open area. This might be the weirdest garden we have ever had. Last year we did lots of flowers, as in zinnias and cosmos in the main part of this garden and after tilling and watering, almost all of the cosmos seeds that fell to the ground have germinated. We have hoed out some, but I cannot make myself kill off any more than necessary for the other plants to live. At this point I am not sure about the onions. They may not see the sun as the cosmos grow, but if I have to choose the onions lose every time. Well, not much else to show off today. Perhaps I will find time to post a few more pictures tonight.

Update June 5, 2017

I see it has been nearly a week since I last posted. We have been recovering from the close of the track season, final awards picnic and on and on. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to pack up the uniforms and set the big containers away until next March. I know there are a few “missing” as a slight few (3) of the athletes claim to have turned them in, but they are nowhere to be found in the mix, but that is normal and actually pretty good as things go.

We also had my uncle Gene’s memorial service on Saturday. It was nice with family and people from town, and lots of his friends, teammates and classmates from this area and even some from rather far away, college and high school buddies. It sure showed what they all thought of him. It was good to hear everyone’s stories and I hope that gave those who are having a hard time dealing with it a little comfort. One of his friends choked up twice as he was talking and for lack of a better way to end his speech, he concluded with, “And then the sucker just up and died on me.”

Garden dry and bare waiting to be planted.

Today is another day of regular laundry and hopefully by the time James gets finished with his summer school for the day, it will be time to head outside to get to digging into the dirt. As hot as it has been lately, I am not really looking forward to the outside. Maybe we will clean the freezer instead and we can postpone the garden work until the sun starts to fade for the day.

Well so much for the garden issue. I finished the laundry, Paulina–the walking tomato–came home from the pool a little before James pulled in from Bowdle. After coming home from summer school in Linton and Strasburg, he stopped at the house long enough to grab a sandwich and trade the Neon for the van then head to the service station in Bowdle where we bought it because it smelled hot yesterday and there is a weird rattle in the back end. Results: there is a hose out on the heater that caused the anti-freeze to leak and there is a bearing going out in something, and they needed to order a part for one of them and so he couldn’t just wait for it and come home. When he called to tell me, I was afraid I would have to drive there to get him. Thankfully not.

In the mean time he checked out what was on their lot and found this 5-year-old, low mileage Durango. He convinced them to let him take it as a loaner to see what my reaction would be about purchasing it. I already have my counter offer in mind, but I don’t think they will budge because they already made somewhat of a deal with James. We have two ideas how to get this accomplished, but I reminded James that we need enough left in the bank to cover the trip and some updates on the house. So much for my list of priorities. A different vehicle was towards the bottom. When the owner of the dealership clued in that we had bought our van there and it is a 2009 model with almost 213,000 miles on it, he thought we should be the advertisement. Maybe we could line up all three of the cars we own for the end of the ad. Two of them are 1995 (original) Neons. They don’t even make them anymore.

Well everyone has left for work or meetings, the wind has died back a little, but it is still pretty hot outside. I don’t think that I will try to plant anything today, maybe just get a few things set up in my mind or on paper, or maybe I will get out the gloves and trim the dead stuff off the spirea bushes. They did not winter all that well. Why is it that I just don’t have the energy for any of it this year. I just would rather order take out. Perhaps I need to take a picture of that Durango. We might be eating garden spinach all summer in order to afford that thing even at the reduced used-vehicle price. Hmmmm. What was it my uncle always said, “If you need more money, no need to cut back, just make more.” Ya right easy for him to say, he owned a business. Maybe I better grow more garden and join the Farmer’s Market again.

Birds on the lake

Pelicans and mud ducks in the water.

Last Friday as I was heading to the track meet in Linton, I stopped at one of the little lakes along the road to take some pictures of the birds in the area. Mostly there has been a rather large group of pelicans hanging around that little lake. It must have just the right food to keep them there. I thought I was taking a plethora of pictures and when I finally was able to look at them, there were really not all that many.

I also snapped a shot of a bird I did not know. It is great to be able to search images and find a match. The bird is an Avocet, something I never even heard before, but I have seen the bird at other times. It is really rather pretty, and though this picture is a bit dark on the neck, it is fairly similar to the one on the image I searched. I love the angles of the legs as it walk.

We have finally been having some nice weather in the last three days. It has been rather busy around here and though I have wanted to sit down and put together a post, I haven’t been sure where to start, there is so much to share, and yet….I am not sure where to start and what to include.

The babies are doing well. Lily was discharged last Monday and is doing well with Mom and Dad. Marshall will likely come home this week. They did spend this last weekend at home, which is 90+ miles from the hospital, but it was good for them to get some rest in their own beds and all the things that go with it. As far as I know they are back in Bismarck for the week or until Marshall gets out. I think the plan is to stay the first night in Bismarck as they have been then head home. The last report I read from the Caring Bridges Site he was up to 4 pounds and 4 ounces so that it pretty good. He ripped the feeding tube out, and they decided to just leave it out at that point. He is a fighter and that is great! He will for sure need to be with the cousins he is joining. We figure Ana will be teaching them how to stomp as soon as they can stand up, and David will challenge them to a, well I am sure he will think of something.

I feel rather silly now because we were in Jamestown on Saturday and I did not take any pictures of Lily. I even had the regular camera along, but never took it into the house. Good grief. She is filling out so nicely and even made some crazy faces for me when I was holding her. It seemed that she was having a night mare, hope not cuz I was holding her. I can’t wait to go back later next week and spend the night and take turns holding each of them. Well the only picture I have to share from the family is of Raja the day she was heading back home. She must have known this was her last day in Herreid for a bit, she wanted to be outside the whole time, until she realized I was packing the car then she jumped up on her seat and would not get out. She is a pretty smart dog. Maybe she will come back for a visit this summer. Well enough of my rambling for now. Hope to find some time to post more this week.

Post on Psalm 121

Every so many weeks the clergy in our town are asked to write an article for the local newspaper. Today was my turn and being pretty much caught off guard about it because I have been running hither and yon with too much on the schedule and a few unexpected events, I was a bit abrupt when the lady from the paper called to remind me about it. After our board meeting, I got home and managed to put together the following article. The hardest part about writing this for me is keeping it to a mere 450 words. I know every college student wishes their professors had that as a requirement for their papers. Anyway, below is the article with a couple of pictures thrown in for good measure.

My help comes from the Lord!

The Psalm I most like to use during a family service for the passing of a loved one is Psalm 121. It opens with one of the most comforting verses in the Bible. “I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” This verse was also appropriate to use this last Sunday as our congregation celebrated Earth Sunday. I always enjoy that Sunday because we deviate a little from the same-old, same-old pattern of sing songs, read the scriptures and me delivering a message.

Looking for food at the base of the stalks.

Snuggled in bed with me.

On Earth Sunday and again at the end of the year, I supplement the message with a power point of pictures. Our final Sunday’s pictures are of all the things we have accomplished as a church, the fellowship we have had and the special services and special events in which we have participated. But on Earth Sunday, the pictures are from nature. Usually I include flowers and trees and pictures of the garden at harvest. This year I had some shots of the Blue Jays and squirrels munching on the tall sunflowers we let grow wild in the middle of the garden. There were lots of pictures of migrating birds and even some of the family cats. It was fun to work on that message. It was easy to place the pictures and figure out the background and tweak the details. Working on details like that keeps my mind busy and away from the things that are weighing it down.

Marshall and Lily together in the crib.

In so many ways April should be one of the happiest months of the year. I should like it for no other reason than I was born in April. It is also the time of year for watching the trees bud, the grass turn green, and getting ready for planting. It is baby calves in the pasture and all things new. But this year we lost my mother’s younger brother to a heart attack, and the day I was returning home from visiting his family in Arizona, I realized it was the 28th anniversary of my father’s passing and somehow April no longer was about new life. “From where will my help come?” God is there for us in all things—the bad and the good. On the day after my birthday, my oldest daughter’s twins decided to enter this world. We didn’t expect them until May, but they had other plans. It will likely be May before they are released from the hospital, but for now we are rejoicing and knowing, “my help comes from the Lord.” May you enjoy this spring.

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