Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Morning of the Day She Did It

Last Friday, while I sat in the garage studio with the door open, letting the amazingly cool air into the house, I watched Lillian play on the sidewalks.

It was significant: the day before, while I was out at the reservoir riding the horse, Lil took her bike out ... and began to ride it.

She had a teeny bike years ago, tried it, didn't figure out the dynamic, ignored it. Then this bike, a couple years ago, same thing.

I'm not sure what made her leap out in intuition, but she got her bike out and declared she would learn to ride it. And she did.

On Friday morning, she was wheeling it like a scooter up and down the sidewalk, when suddenly I heard her call, "Hah! Gran, I'm riding my bicycle." And so she was.

A bit later, the little girl from next door popped over, and I heard these beautiful words from Lil: "You want to ride bikes together?"

In the course of their morning zooming, they visited a yard sale down the street. Lil, in red, assists Kendra in securing a purchased plush pig to her handlebars.

Bernie thinks that me helping Lil learn to ride Dink made a difference. I think so; riding without stirrups probably helped her gain that sense of balance she needed. And now, riding the bike will help her learn how to adjust for speed when the horse trots.

Truly amazing, truly wonderful.

Friday, July 20, 2012


This crawling piece of crap was not on any of my tomato plants, a circumstance for which I am truly grateful. 

Instead, it was on my experimental potato plant in a garbage can -- in the late spring, I'd put several sprouty russet potatoes in a garbage can, covered them with a few inches of dirt, and have been adding decorative bark to the growing stems.

It's a failed experiment -- the stems showed little or no interest in making tubers. I may have started the experiment too late for success. Perhaps I'll try again next year.

Odd that this hornworm chose the potatoes instead of the tomatoes, but I'm glad it did. My ire was much less. How I wished that I had a chicken to eat this bug! But since it was on a worthless potato project, I merely clipped off the stem and put it in the City garden stuff recycle bin, where it can be fertilizer for one of the many excellent City compost utilizations in the future.

Haha, hornworm, you lose.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Past the Hotness

The heat wave has rolled past, off to trouble the Mid-West, no doubt.

Last night, we shivered as the cool night air poured in the bedroom windows, snuggling close to stay warm. The mattress topper and the comforter were stacked by the closet while the hot weather made the nights miserable, but we didn't try to use them because Howie was sleeping on top of them.

"Just tell the damn dog to move," one might say, but Howie isn't a "damn dog." He's a sweet old gent at 11 and we don't want to trouble him. Today I washed the comforter, but wrapped the mattress topper in an old, clean king-sized sheet, and put Howie's clean travel blanket on top of it.

We're not going to need the mattress topper until probably November, so How can rest his creaky old bones on it. He's not a stinky dog, and has no fleas, so no worries.

Tomorrow we go to a family party for a six-year-old (six in the pic, see?) at which there will be limited seating and much heat. I plan on taking a couple of our folding quad chairs and a spray bottle of water to mist myself down at intervals.

The comforter is clean -- I hope tonight is as chilly.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hundred Degrees Days

When the air outside is as hot as a bad fever, and what you can afford to air condition indoors is still too stuffily hot, and your front lawn (such as it is) is dying from dehydration, The Thing is what you want to efficiently cool your body, gently water your lawn, and make the heat wave a Resort Experience.

It can be a hundred and five, and when that mist hits you, your hair on your arms will stand straight up in total coolness-plus.

You will gasp, and your lawn will thank you.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Why This Blog Is So Sparse These Days

Joan Maria, sleeping in Dziadzy's arms.

Born on June 14, seven pounds, seven ounces, she has a faint drift of reddish-brown hair; her eye color is still indeterminate. She has the most graceful little fingernails I have ever seen.

When she and her mother came home from the hospital, Sebastian was all a-tremble with curiosity and concern. He very carefully had some quality sniffing time -- matching up Joan's scent with the strange smell that had been on John's shirt after his visits to his wife and newborn daughter. Now Sebastian parks himself by the baby's little sling-chair when Alex brings her out to doze among the bustling rest of the family, and he has a different look in his eye than he's had before; I would heartily advise strangers not to approach that baby too flippantly.

Howie was really intrigued by the carefully-held bundle that was brought into his house, too. Did they bring a cat in? Another dog? He sniffed her, and his expression changed from What is this? to what looked like a big goofy grin. Aw, it's a Baby! Howie has explained in no uncertain terms to the cat that The Cat is not allowed near The Baby.

Now while John and Alex have their hours full with Joan's care, and Lillian can hardly bear to be off doing her own thing in favor of helping with the baby, the household is really not all that disrupted. Joan is amazingly peaceful, still mostly eating and sleeping, only squalling when her diaper is changed.

So then, why is this blog so sparsely posted these days?

Simple. My friend Cathy the Mad Horsewoman has got herself a trusty little steed again, so I've been riding with her three times a week, and it's wearing this old woman right out. So much so that as I looked at the weather this morning, and saw that the temperatures for the next three or four days were going to be well over a hundred degrees, I was relieved that it would be too hot for riding.

I can stay home and snuggle the baby!

P.S. "Dziadzy" is Polish for "Grandfather" and is pronounced judgie.