Monday, August 19, 2013

Meet Cindy 8/18

Losing a beloved pet is one of the toughest things a kid has to face.  Thomas wholeheartedly loved and adored Buttercup, and her loss hit him hard.  Usually I suggest waiting a bit before jumping into getting another pet.  But, in this case, David and I agreed it would probably be good for Thomas to have a new friend sooner rather than later.  So, after spending a few hours doing some research, and making a list of requirements and pro's (no con's), and sleeping on it a couple of nights, it was off to PetCo.

Do pets look like their owners?
Thomas has wanted a ferret for a few years, now.  And, he certainly proved his commitment to caring for a pet with Buttercup.  A ferret is certainly taking it up a notch or two in terms of time and attention, but I am confident Thomas is up for it.

Hanging with William while her house is arranged
We already had a hutch suitable for Cindy.  Everyone pitched in getting it assembled, setting up her litter box, filling with bedding, and getting her food and water situated.

First snack in her new home
Because Cindy is still fairly young, she needs "wetted" food as well as dry food.

Bonding with Thomas

She and Thomas have already spent lots of cuddle and play time together.

Found a pocket

And she displays the typical ferret's knack for squeezing into small, cozy places.

It's been a big day ... time for a nap     

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Goodbye Buttercup 8/16

This is Buttercup.  Very sweet.  Very fuzzy.  She's been with us for just over a year.  David had taken the boys to WoofStock, an event for dogs and their fanciers, and Thomas came home with ... a rabbit.  Go figure.

Princess Buttercup

For a "prey animal" she was incredibly comfortable and trusting around the "predator/hunting" critters in our family. And, honestly, she never had cause to be wary around her furry sisters and brothers. Dogs, cats, rabbits ... They all hang out together at our house.

Grooming with the cat

Buttercup loved hanging out with her people and investigating whatever we were doing.

Workin' the iPad

I was in the parlor when I heard it.  "Bunny's not moving!"  That was Michael, who had taken a carrot upstairs for Buttercup to munch on.  Before I even got up the stairs, I heard the sobbing from Thomas and Michael.  She had been fine and lively in the morning when Thomas checked on her.  Now she was lying on the floor, not moving.

After an appropriate time for crying, we wrapped her up in a towel and laid her in a box.  David dug a hole in the back yard under the "pet" bush.  Michael put the ill-fated carrot into the box with her, and William added a flower picked from the yard.

Wrapped up and tucked in

Thomas and Michael, having been Buttercup's caretakers, filled in the grave.

Her boys performing their last service

Michael fetched a chunk of concrete from around the firepit, and I wrote on it with a large Sharpie to make a marker.

We will remember her

Final rest

This evening Michael made the best carrot cake ever, in honor of Buttercup.

We are not a religous family. We do not believe we will be seeing Buttercup or any of our loved ones in any recognizable form in the Afterlife. But we cannot deny the power of ritual and ceremony to soothe the breaking heart in a time of acute distress. We treat the inanimate, lifeless body with the same love, tenderness, and respect as we treated the living being. Not because we believe it matters to the departed loved one. But, because it matters to US.  It soothes US. It helps to fortify, strengthen, and burn into our memories the love and vital importance of this particular Life in our Lives. Like an emotional photograph that we can keep with us until it is our time to pass away. 

Goodbye, Buttercup. We will miss you.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Mug Shot 3/15

This is Jenny.  We've had her for about six years.  She is sweet, loyal, protective, very large, and not too bright.

Her favorite game to play is "nibble the butt".  Anytime any adult starts tickling or wrestling with any kid, and the kids starts squealing and giggling, she will join in and nibble the kid's butt, causing them to squeal even more.  Jenny certainly knows how to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Home! Eventually. 7/16

Today was my last day on Retreat at Kit's place.  I've missed my family and home, and feel ready to dash back into the fray.

Just a few parting shots....

Amazing moth

Beautiful sky

Baily's parting gift

Parting view of the lake

Gimli's sad good-bye

The garden

Stow-away coming home with me for a little R&R

But, before settling back in at home, I headed to our homeschool group's Park Day for some visiting.

L and J hangin'

"What's up?"

"Very funny!"


G and her mama

Snugglin' with mama

Once home, we had a little preparation to do for a visit from out-of-town guests who were passing through.

Friends passing through
And then, finally, tucked into bed after a long, fruitful day.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Not Normal 7/20

This has been an unusually wet summer, even for Georgia.  Though I personally LOVE the rain, and don't mind having a good downpour every couple of days, the big drawback is the resulting proliferation of bugs.  Just about every bug we've got, we've got more of this summer.

So, one of the projects undertaken to get a handle on the bug population (and, specifically, the nest of yellow jackets that attacked me), was moving the camper off the drive and cleaning up all of the leaf debris that has been collecting under and around it.

Clean Up
Once the yellow jackets were located and eradicated (the little buggers!!!), it was time to start shoveling up debris, a job David and Thomas mostly handled.  Michael was helping out, but got a bit distracted by some of the "wildlife" they were uncovering.

"Look what I found!"

Mostly, he was fascinated by these guys:

Not a normal sized worm!
This was just NOT a normal sized earthworm.  It stretched out to about 12 inches in length.  Michael kept a few of them to be refrigerated and used on our next fishing trip.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Tom's New Sexy Mower (7/29/13)

For a few years now, it's been Thomas' responsibility to keep the weeds --- I mean, grass --- in the front lawn trimmed and in order.  He also, on occasion, takes on jobs for friends and neighbors to earn a little extra cash.  This weekend was one of those extra gigs.  And, about half way through our lawn today, the old lawnmower just couldn't do any more.  Granted, we've had that mower for, I'm guessing, about eight years, at least.  And, it's really served us pretty well.

But despite, David's valiant attempts to resuscitate her, it was time to retire the old gal.

Here's her replacement.

Tom's machine

Another electric, self-mulching mower with a bunch of bells and whistles I really don't need to know about because I don't mow the lawn.  But, Thomas seemed pleased.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Guacamole Salad

We originally planned to make up some guacamole to go with dinner. It's one if Michael's specialties. But, having a main dish of flat enchiladas and a side of black beans, I decided that more fresh veggies were in order. 

I used everything from the Fresh Avocado Salsa recipe, plus a bit of extra stuff. On a bed of romaine lettuce I sprinkled the cilantro, some finely diced tomato and yellow bell pepper, and shredded cheese. I mixed up the "dressing" of olive oil, lime juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper, and threw in some very finely diced red onion. Half I mushed into the avocado and more tomato to make the guacamole, and the other half I drizzled over the salad. Guacamole gets plopped in the center, and globs of sour cream to finish off. 

Update:  Turns out when we were grocery shopping this afternoon, Michael accidentally grabbed Italian Parsley instead of cilantro.  Still tasted very good, but will be perfect next time with cilantro :)

Thought Process (8/5)

Some days Michael will come wandering in from somewhere to show me something, and my initial reaction is, "What the heck is he thinking?!?"  Okay, this happens most days.  And, no, I don't say it out loud.  I kind of plaster a Mom-smile on my face and ask an opening question that doesn't make me sound like I'm totally clueless about the inner workings of my youngest child.


Because I had taken the boys to see Despicable Me 2 yesterday.  And as William pointed out, "He looks like Gru!"

This one, on the other hand, I don't try too hard to understand, but just accept him in his total cat-awesomness.

Bagheera, the Great and Powerful

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Prepared (7/27/13)

Michael was invited to an overnight visit with one of his buddies.  It's been quite a long time since he's needed me to pack for him, so although I do throw out important reminders (toothbrush, toothpaste, underwear), he packs himself.  Granted, this pack is carrying his pillow and blanket in addition to basics.  But he also managed to get his laptop in there (critical in his eyes, so they could play MineCraft).  I'm really not sure what the flag is for.