Actually, in March, when my daughter was in town to do the floral arrangements for a local wedding, she shared with me the news that she and her husband are expecting their first child...my first grandchild. Why, you might ask, even HOW, you might ask, did you manage to hold THAT news so close to the vest? Well, Jenn asked that I keep their secret until they'd had the opportunity to share their news with Benoit's family in France, some of whom would not learn of the new addition until they took their vacation to the U.S. and to visit with Jenn and Ben..in August! That is a LONG time to keep a secret that is such an exciting one!
Now I REALLY have to decide what I would like to be called by my grandchildren....maybe I'll let them decide....
|Jenn and Ben|
|Tree that took out our power|
|Street sign taken out|
So, to us, Irene was like the proverbial bad cold....it was three days coming (our preparation took three full days), three days here (well, technically, we were only without power for a little over two days, but the crazy rain started a full day before we lost power) and three days going (we have spent the last three days, since the power was restored, cleaning up after the storm). The fallen trees in the woods will become winter fuel for the wood stove. The seeds from the glorious sunflowers will be stored for next year's crop. And the goats and chickens will, for at least the immediate future, see me as their FAVORITE person....they all hunkered down for the storm in their fortified shelters, and were OH SO HAPPY to see me every time I went out to check on them ...er...FEED them...food seemed to calm their nerves!
|Sky After Irene|
|Joe with Fallen Tree in the Woods|
|Garage Apartment, unscathed by earthquake or hurricane|
|Loading up debris from Demolition|
|Upstairs, being gutted|
As for the gardens this summer, they displayed a varying degree of success. Our freezers are full of produce and we have eaten fresh harvest every day this growing season. We will not put in a fall crop this year, as we will be traveling a fair amount for work (again). I have made many, many quarts of tomato sauce from my cherry tomatoes. I did not peel or seed them, but whirred them in the blender, threw them in the pot and cooked them down until they were a smooth sauce. To some batches I added eggplant, and to some I added kohlrabi. The tomato sauce is delicious, and I have quart bags filled and frozen for winter cooking.
The latest flowers to show us their stuff are the Moonflowers. Beautiful, huge white blossoms, best enjoyed in the evening and night hours, they are hard to photograph in the daylight, since they close their blossoms in the morning. Still, I did get some pretty decent pictures of them as they opened at dusk.
Sadly, Joe's tobacco was a casualty of the adverse August weather. A couple of plants, ones that he'd kept in 2-gallon pots, survived, but the tobacco in the field is pretty much a goner. The corn was a huge disappointment, as were the cauliflower and onions. We won't waste our time with them again next year. Tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, kohlrabi, spinach, peas, potatoes, beans, eggplant, bell peppers, strawberries were all winners. We have been enjoying our first "bunches" of grapes from the vines that seemed to take FOREVER to get started, but which eventually did produce a tasty fruit, with promises for many future years' bounty. We learned a LOT this year in our experimental gardening. Hopefully, next year we will work smarter, not harder!
And, even as the August weather was conspiring to bring a hard end to our summer growing season, I happened on a FaceBook group from my hometown, Bowie, Maryland. I joined the group and was immediately treated to a mega-trip down memory lane. Two of my brothers have also joined in the fun on that group and we have been having a great time. I have reconnected with old friends from grade school, and have even discovered a lady who grew up with us and who now lives right in my current town in Virginia! My brother Ray and I were "commenting" on a post this morning...I from Virginia, and he from China, where he is currently on business. At one point Ray wrote the words that I have now decided best represent me, and therefore, are my FaceBook profile picture!
Of course, we are all looking back now, and thoroughly enjoying it.. but, as one of the group's members noted, we are looking back over the other shoulder....
And....while August was spinning out of control, I was tied to my computer two nights a week taking my class....I take the exam (for my first try) at the end of September. I'm old, my memory isn't what it used to be, my attention span isn't what it used to be....so I will feel EXTREMELY lucky if I pass the exam on my first try...a LOT of people, much smarter than I, have had to take it several times before passing.... At least the class time is over. Now it is just the buckle-down-and-study-for-the-exam time....(wonder where I will fit that in?) Meanwhile, everyone else remains busy, doing what they do best.
|Goats and Chickens|