Haus Meister reminded me the other day that the latest blog post still began with “April” in the Middle English, thus galvanizing me into action! Especially as August with all its busy-ness is hard upon my heels—it’s time to catch up on the doings around here!
Farewell to “Brockhall”
Just about this time of year in 2020, this lovely chestnut oak, a full and rich green in its day, suddenly decided to go dry brittle brown on us and it wasn’t a drought. No signs of life from it in 2021, we were at the mercy of the local tree men who were themselves overbooked after several Spring and Summer storms, not to mention the resurgence of Covid. Finally, at the start of this summer, a crew came out and took down the tree the kids had named “Brockhall,” after a giant tree in the Redwall book series. Gone but not forgotten, it lives on in the five deep stacks of logs waiting for the autumn splitting, and two huge stacks of milled wood in our workshop waiting to become furniture as the need arises.
Meanwhile, back on the Farm
The barnyard has been in a state of flux lately. In June, Rascal sold his entire stock of rabbits to a family who were interested in homesteading. That officially ended the rabbit chapter here, unless one of the little girls wheedles for one—and only ONE—rabbit in the future. ;). We all learned a lot about the furry beasties, and which of them were good mothers, and which were not. Also which little blighters managed to exploit unexpected exits in the rabbit hutch.
I just realized this picture had been taken before the Rouens and Khaki Campbells had grown out their adult feathers. They really are a striking set, except it turns out there are five males and two females in that set.
The Pekins and the two roosters hatched last November became meat birds as we began a “farm to table” aspect of the farm life. However, on the very day those seven birds went to processing, an Orpington hatched seven chicks in our hayloft! Fortunately, we were on to her before any chicks made a leap out of said hayloft, and they had a happy start on terra firma. Only three survived the first week, and they are already running all over the barnyard and add a good deal of entertainment. Amusingly? Mama Chicken decided as her chicks grew that their ideal roost would be in the rafters next to the hayloft ladder. She wins in the end!
As in workshop news, that is. Haus Meister and Rascal spent a week at a Blacksmithing Institute building a Tire Power Hammer to complement our home smithy. It was a fun week for the two of them! Rascal is definitely meant for that kind of work and we’re intrigued to see where his discernment path leads as he progresses through high school.
Greetings, dear reader! For the record, this is the fourth attempt I have made to summarize our family’s doings in the last four months, so hopefully in this case, fourth time’s the charm!
At the end of May, we celebrated our 16th Wedding Anniversary.
Happy 3rd Birthday, Rosebud (back in June)! You keep things happily hopping!
We have not been idle at Misselthwaite! Well, there have been many days of poolside enjoyment once Haus Meister found out the botheration that plagued us with this pool last summer. I could definitely sum up our fine summer weekends as “Chlorine, Celtic Music, and Cookouts” as we enjoyed the two great things a previous owner left us: a poolside charcoal grill and speakers installed on the workshop adjacent the pool. Haus Meister could stream his favorite Celtic Music podcast (Thistle Radio on Soma FM, for the curious) while the kids swam and we supervised both the kids and the cookout. So many fun summer Sundays this year!
Meanwhile, our farm bustles with activity. The chicks we ordered in April arrived and were duly added to the Home Science/Economics course we joke that we run on the side. Sadly, one chick, very likely a Sicilian Buttercup rooster, passed within three days of arrival. However, his loss was accidentally supplemented by the hatchery, who seems to have inadvertently added a male to our “straight run female” order. Enter “Brewster: The Accidental Rooster” to our poultry flock.
Oh, and magpie ducks. They just seemed like a good idea.
We worked on fixing up our automobiles, since last summer was spent fixing up our house. Here and there, we tried to do improvements on the property. One thing I love is the Mary Garden we dug into the hillside in front of the house, which I do not have an adequate picture of at present but for which someone made a significant sacrifice:
My parents, my husband, myself, and the Rascal were the main movers behind this project. Haus Meister had parked our old pickup truck between the house and barn with the plants and everything else we would need to accomplish said task in the truck bed. However, he had to work on the day we were clearing the area and missed the action. Around the time we were discussing lining the grotto area around the yard statue of Our Lady with stone from our property, Rascal recalls a certain huge quartz rock in our woods that would be “just the thing.” After hauling it over via wheelbarrow, the barrow tipped and the rock began hurtling toward aforesaid pickup truck (that he and his dad spent the winter with initial restoration and repainting), and he tried to catch it with his arm. That’s when things went wrong for him, and a month out of the pool!
Not all bad for the Rascal, who turns 14 next week. He thought a puppy might round out the farm well enough, and exactly a month to the day before his birthday, he got to bring home Samwise Gamgee, a hound mix from a local shelter. Sam has been a fun and interesting addition to the farm. At heart, though, I am a dog person, so I’m automatically biased.
Rascal’s ambition to raise and breed rabbits for his own entrepreneurial purpose has resulted in the addition of “Giles” to the farm crew. Giles is much younger than either ‘Dottie” or “Mumsy” but he is a likable rabbit buck. The rabbits have been enjoying the summer in a rabbit tractor framed by Haus Meister and finished by Rascal.
Another interesting happening was that a wandering PEACOCK visited our house in May for a few days and gave us the air of a British Estate before moving on. I wonder where he is now. He was a beauty. Have you read Patricia Polacco’s “Just Plain Fancy”? It was one of our favorites before his arrival and has been immortalized since.
A highlight of the summer was our trip to the seaside. Back in the winter of 2018, when we first knew our relocation destination, I bought laminated field guides of the state’s wildlife and nature for the kids. They were amazed to see ocean life on those guides, after living their whole lives in a landlocked state. Everyone from Miss M up had seen the ocean in Maine in 2012, but Miss M didn’t remember, and there had been four girls since, so this past May we made a day trip to the seaside in our new home state.
But now it’s the middle of August. We have hosted many fun guests this summer. My parents have been in and out. Local friends dropped in for our cookouts. One of my college roommates visited with her family. The next weekend, Haus Meister’s college roommate visited with his family. Rounding it out, our parish priest, and old friend, from our old hometown came up for a few days to hike and canoe with our crew. Just before he left, he offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in our family room. It was less than 24 hours before our new school year began, and if any greater event could end our summer, well, there could not have been. Not ever.
He’s going (dove) hunting soon, and loves mountain biking and kayaking. I just shake my head and know as I did back then that the elderly ladies in the grocery stores were right when they told me it would go by too fast.
Sniff. Way too fast.
Wait–Why is Dino wearing such huge shorts? What was I thinking?
I didn’t make any cakes “from scratch” this year, but no one seemed to mind. Here’s what was left of Miss M’s after the party.
Littlest loves piggy-back rides and begs for them from her big siblings…
….who always oblige. Privilege of being the youngest, as well as adorable. 😉
Our Old Haus went back on the market on the 18th. We’ve already received an offer and are holding our breath that everything goes smoothly to closing next month. Please pray!
It always was a charming little place, and I don’t like it standing empty. Hopefully in 28 days, it will no longer be so.
Summer’s over… don’t I wish? Hereabouts we’re still in our summer hibernation. This is our last week of summer “break” and while some of the kids attended the “Totus Tuus” religious education event at Church this week, I took advantage of the free time to firm up the lesson plans for the first quarter of school that begins Monday. Oh yes, Monday. I am determined that no matter how flexible homeschooling is, barring any unforeseen colds/croups/coughs/epidemics, I will not be teaching after December 14th until January 5th. So we start early, as besides, no one really wants to be outside right now, anyway. 🙂
She’s the unsung beauty of the family, sandwiched between two dynamic redheads. Hers is the only straight hair of the female side of the family, and she’s not helped it much by intermittently chopping parts of it off in the last two years. 😉 She begins her day with a burst and a sparkle and sets off zooming through the rest of it. If she doesn’t often grace the “pretty” part of this page, it’s because she doesn’t often hold still enough to want her picture taken. She is, and always will be, our Sunshine.
After much reluctance, not the least part of which being Trooper’s negative experience with a much different medication, we agreed to try an ADHD medicine for our impulsive little ball of Sunshine. I confess that the day before her developmental pediatrician appointment, I had been chasing her around the parish hall during Mass–in heels, no less–which made me just that much more receptive to the idea. 😉 The good news is that it has already made a huge difference in her life this past month. She sits down to write and draw, which I was barely able to get her to do before. She plays dolls with Miss M and sits to “read” books. It’s just been amazing for her and we have all enjoyed watching this blossom of ours branch out just that much more. On the downside, it’s affecting her sleep habits. Oy vey. Please pray we can help her get that all worked out.
Haus Meister was recently way out West on business and while there, had the chance to go hiking on Mt. Hood.
If I wasn’t already planning on going there with him someday, the pictures he got of nighttime at Mt. Timberline Lodge absolutely sold me. It does not do much justice to the area, he told me. The glowing lights on the mountainside are the machines out grooming the ski area for the next day. Yes, there is snow.
Someday I will see those stars myself, and with him. It’s going on the 20yr plan. Like England. And sleeping without toddlers in the bed.
Going back a ways, on the 4th of July we were thrilled to host a number of family members, including my parents, my sister and her family, and Haus Meister’s youngest sister. We did crazy things like have a Sisters’ Morning Out where we amused a Dunkin Donuts employee by my trying to relay three orders at the drive-thru, went thrift store shopping (I got a new leatherish purse for $2!) and then of course went to the grocery store because I almost never go out without getting a gallon of milk. In Americana news, most of the assembled family went to a baseball game intown the night before (I stayed home and after the littles were in bed, watched the last part of Gettysburg with my parents, a pleasure I hadn’t had in a long time. It’s funny how often we quote that movie in entirely unrelated circumstances).
On Independence Day proper, we attended a cannon firing done by park rangers and volunteers at a nearby Civil War battlefield. It was incredible.
In the department of “Then and Now…”
Grandpa’s little Sweetie, our Posey Pie… who (sniff) looks so small here.
Bossing him around (I was just a second too late to get a repeat–she still puts those fingers in her mouth).
Miss M doesn’t like the fireworks.
Miss M doesn’t like the cannon.
(Oh my, she’s in the same dress, and I have the same expression on my face!)
The baby of the family is GETTING INTO THINGS.
For reasons unexplained, Posey took the tea pitcher out and left it on the floor. Littlest then decided it was the perfect place to go fishing with a pinecone.
Because every house has pinecones tied to string just lying around, right?
And if that wasn’t bad enough…
Mercy me, she’s climbing. She got up there all by herself, and wasn’t she proud. I should have known this phase was coming–she’ll be 15mos on Sunday–but it still took me by surprise. Littlest now even has a special cry for the times when “Oh help, I’ve gotten myself up here and have no idea how to get myself back down.”
Haus Meister, Rascal, & Dino went camping last week with their Trail Life troop.
They had a great time in a breathtaking area.
Rascal says he wants to live here when he grows up. Partly because of the sheer natural beauty, and partly because a Lodge at the Park serves hot cocoa in July.
This beautiful 10 week old likes her new toy.
Rascal the happy biker.
Haus Meister & Dino–happy hikers. That’s Dino’s “T-Rex” imitation.
While the boys were camping, Princess and I went to Sweet Frog Frozen Yogurt.
There you fill your own cup with flavorful frozen yogurt, then add toppings. I had strawberry cheesecake with sliced strawberries and chocolate chips on top. My eyes may or may not have been larger than my stomach.
Likewise. Princess chose watermelon yogurt topped by a chocolate covered strawberry, some things called strawberry poppers, peanut butter cups and a gummy frog.
In other news, Dino outgrew his beat-up worn-in John Deere boots (he got a gently used pair on eBay in his correct size) so someone absconded the old pair.
Posey takes “tea”…
…and pictures of her feet.
Hard to believe it, but school is going to start up again soon. I mailed off the enrollment forms for the next school year. Publix already has school supplies in the front kiosk (I am already stocking up on glue). The Land’s End backpack catalog arrived, which is kind of amusing since we don’t really use backpacks, but the kids picked out their favorites anyway (no, I didn’t buy them. I don’t unless we need luggage). ThredUp is having a pretty neat back-to-school “rewards” program (and you’ll get $$ off your purchase with that link). The weather even cooled off enough this morning to give the illusion of Fall, and enable us to turn off the a/c. However, it’s still summer, and the hottest month in the region is 17 days away or so.
And our intrepid swimmers participate in the final meet of the Fun League tonight!