Sunday, April 27, 2008

Saturday Afternoon Projects

Today was our first warm Spring day since our one day teaser two weeks ago. (We have been averaging around 42ºF - a bit cool even for the Northwest.) Today was a lovely day to discard coats, don sunglasses for the ball game and get busy on some outside projects in the afternoon. It was an added bonus that Marshal was free to enjoy it. Marshal has been working on a staircase of landscape timbers that he had been dreaming about for a long time. He has been taking advantage of every moment, because by this weekend, life at the hospital will be all-consuming for at least a month or two. It is the plight of a soon to be finishing Resident. He delights in laboring in the out of doors ten times more than over the labor deck.

Drilling holes in timbers for re-bar.

First Four Steps

"Castle City" created by Gabe and Lydia.

Saturday Ball

A solid hit off the tee.

Running start off of first base.

Home plate. (regrettably very out of focus)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Working Son

Yesterday we had gravel dumped on the driveway which wasn't as evenly dispersed as hoped. Thus there is quite a lot more shoveling and raking involved then previously planned. Marshal came home from the hospital yesterday afternoon and set to work with Gabe. Then to our chagrin, we received a phone call that Marshal was on call with an overlooked schedule change. So Marshal returned to the hospital for the night, and Gabe has continued in the task. Today Marshal has been sleeping, and Gabe has been out with wheelbarrow and shovel and then rake for a good two hours. He is motivated by hard labor but also by the US dollar. Dad rewarded him with two dollars this week for his unsolicited hard work alongside him.


Last weekend we had a summer weather teaser and the opportunity to put plants in the ground, move rocks, and prepare for a commercial hydro-seeder to come in and cover 1/2 acre of our landscape with low grow grass and wildflower seed. Marshal has been anxious to continue with our vision while he has spare hours, measuring slopes, picking up landscape timbers after work, and calling for a much needed gravel delivery. We had some surface erosion on one hydro-seeded slope with the steady six-hour rain following the seeding that tested our nerves and faith. We pray and hope for good germination of seeds and roots to take hold soon!

Planted Rhododendrons

Hydro-seeded Approach and New Gravel

The natural screen is budding out with Spring green and blossoms, more hydro-seeding, and the start of a lavender, heath, rock garden.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ball and Ballet

Yesterday was Opening Ceremonies and first game of the season for our Little League player. Gabe is a t-ball player. He has been a natural thrower and a hitter since babyhood. He was ball shy with catching, as he has caught too many in the nose. He tried to get Dad to buy him a helmet with face cage for practice. (He got the helmet, not the cage.) He has been gaining confidence with catching, and his coach even called him a ball magnet, covering first base during practice last week. Wow, did that ever give him a boost and a love for first base position! There is so much to learn in a first sport besides the rules of the game, learning new lingo, paying attention at all times, listening to the coach, following the instruction without delay, and in baseball, the all important keeping your eye on the ball. Some aspects are more of a challenge than others for Gabe, and all so valuable. It is great to see Gabe's love and enthusiasm for the game as he anticipates each practice and game. Out there on the field, he looked like the real deal.
Lydia has been dancing since September. She started out in a pre-dance class for 3-4 year olds and January moved up to Ballet 1 with 5&6 year olds. Ballet poses and movement come second nature to her. She too does what she loves, in her case, twirling, walking on tiptoe, and holding her head like a princess. She has been challenged at 4 years of age to stay focused, attentive, and obedient to her instructor for an hour long class each week. There were a few weeks when her enthusiasm began to flag along with her focus, and I feared we had made a mistake to advance her. She has pulled through and regained her joyful anticipation for lessons and is giving her best, which is all I can ask.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Speaking of CAT Tracks

Cat tracks of the living, breathing kind have graced our soil again. BlackJack, who we thought was long deceased, has returned to us. She showed up three nights ago to romp with Tirza our dog, and I feared in the darkness that the cat was some rabid stray come to attack as I saw the luminescent eyes approach with a constant yowl. She has proved to be the same irrational, unpredictable BlackJack, as fat and beautiful as ever. The huntress and roamer has stayed close these past days. Gabe has been outside with her every moment that I allow, coaxing her for pets and brushing, keeping her food bowl stocked and water bowl fresh.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Master Gardener

We had our land excavated with one scary glitch of tearing up and cutting out over 20 feet of geo-pipe out of our geothermal heating system. Our energy system installer had us back with closed loops and a working system in a day though. We will have hydroseeding done early next week. Gabe has been as anxious as anyone to plant seeds! I left him to his own amusement this afternoon which included hoeing and digging in a little piece of land he claimed last summer.

I was mighty surprised upon discovering that Gabe was not only preparing the soil, but had planted rows of sunflowers, nasturtium, and cosmos seed!

The footprint of a busy sower of seed.

The Gardener's tools, including my kitchen scissors.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

CAT Tracks

Caterpillars at work just outside our door are a beautiful and welcome sight in this first week of April. They have made tremendous progress in the last few days of stabilizing and sculpting our hillside.