Annabel and Theresa ~~ What's Happening in Our Lives

View from the Front Porch
View from the Front Porch | Source

A Joint Effort Hub About Our Summer

This hub is the result of two people collaborating -- me and my grand-daughter Annabel, who is nine years old, going on ten. Annabel is an only child, the daughter of the youngest of my three sons. She is spending three days with me this week and in her sections of the hub she will explain why she is staying with me for three days instead of one, which is what we usually do.

Now, for my part of the hub. This is my week off between Summer teaching and Fall Semester teaching (which starts in August, which is decidedly NOT fallish). I have had an unusually busy summer, for several reasons. I have been teaching two days a week at the university, which I do every summer. And for part of the summer I have been teaching a class at the local senior citizens club one day a week.

Never had a garden in my life, but I am growing container tomatoes and bell peppers -- the plants look terrible, scraggly and crooked (I didn't stake/cage them properly) but the tomatoes are quite wonderful, so much better than what we get in the supermarket. But the place where my time has really been invested this summer is the Men's Hunting Lodge / Ladies Lake House!

Another Front Porch View
Another Front Porch View | Source

Camping, My Brother, Looking for Land

I am the oldest of four children and my father took us camping ....a lot! Back and forth across the United States, all over Europe, in the backyard...we loved it. My brother Greg loves camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, and roughing it in general. My three sons like camping, but my oldest son and my brother are joined at the hip. Frequently my youngest son and occasionally my middle son would tag along on one of their camping/fishing trips.

Well five years ago, the three wives put their collective feet down, refusing to be left at home with all the children six to eight times a year while the men went off alone, had adventures, got all dirty and scratched up and came back laughing. A power struggle ensued, but the provisions for a reasonable treaty were worked out for the Ast / Clay clans. The men could go off 2-4 times a year alone and do whatever it is that men do.

However, twice a year, once in the Fall and once in the Spring there would be a "family" camping trip at a state forest/park. Boating and fishing on the lake, a huge fire ring for campfires under starry night skies, a pavilion with lots of tables and chairs, two huge grills, electricity and running water, a playground and a sandy beach within five minutes. I think the treaty also had a provision about the women getting manicures and pedicures each time the men were gone. :) So this has been our "family way" for five years.

But my brother Greg wanted more, something permanent, something that could be worked on over time and improved. Something to leave for the children and grandchildren and.... For five years he has been looking for 2-3 acres (on a fireman's salary); twice he bid on a repossessed property, but someone else's bid got there first.

Two Acres of Forest
Two Acres of Forest | Source

God, the Recession, Timing is Everything

First of June my brother calls me ... to discuss buying a specific piece of land. I was amazed. I did not know that for years he had been reading the papers looking for an affordable repossession. He wanted the land for fishing and hunting, but he also was thinking about our biannual family camping trips. What did I think? Was it too far away (two hours drive time)? Would everyone want to come? I reassured him, it was not too far away and everyone would love to come.

We ran the numbers, several times, in fact. What we would save, what the property would cost, how flexible our budgets were. Thanks to the recession (I do grieve for all the people who have suffered as a result of this wretched economy) he and my son could afford the mortgage, taxes and insurance, and I came up with the earnest money and down payment. It was definitely financially doable.

The more he talked the better it sounded. There was an old, beat up, but sound house on the property! It was in the middle of a bird sanctuary. It had 150 feet of river front with a small dock and boat slip. It was one acre pasture and two acres dense woods. It had a well. It was nestled next to, and I do mean next to, a huge national forest and wildlife preserve. But only fifteen minutes away were the benefits of civilization, groceries, gas, hospital.

After two hours he picked up the phone and made an offer. His was the first offer this time. Three weeks later it was ours. Our extended families now have a Men's Hunting Lodge / Ladies Lake House. It needs an enormous amount of work, but it is fine just the way it is. It won't be completely finished for 5-6 years, but we are spending weekends up there right now. There is no stove or refrigerator (what are grills and coolers for), but there is hot water, air conditioning, and two!! working bathrooms. We are working hard on the house and the property, we are enjoying nature and each other, we are blessed. God is good. God is very good.


Now Annabel will tell you about her summer.....

Annabel and her Mother
Annabel and her Mother | Source

Helping My Mother ~~ Part 1

My mom and me. Helping my mom is a lot of work, because a few days ago my mother went outside, fell down and broke her ankle and tore the ligaments in her left foot and sprained her right ankle. While she is waiting to have surgery, my mom is in a wheelchair and she can't move as much as she used to. She can do things by herself sometimes, like go to the kitchen to get a snack or two.

Sometimes I help her go to the bathroom, the bedroom. and the laundry room. I help my mom by pushing the wheelchair. Well it's not a real wheelchair it's a travel chair, some people call it a transport chair. It's a small lightweight push chair. I also feed and water our dog Haplo who is a black Labrador Retriever mix. Of course, I help her by getting her some food at meal times, but that is another whole story ... our refrigerator is packed full of food.....

Annabel and her Momma
Annabel and her Momma | Source

Helping My Mother ~~ Part 2

Our refrigerator is packed full of food, because some of our friends from church have been bringing food over to help my mother while her foot is hurt. Friends brought us meat loaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, some wonderful beef stew, taco soup with tortilla chips / sour cream /cheese, a vegan chocolate cake, a box full of assorted muffins -- streusel / blueberry / bran muffins with raisins, spaghetti and meat balls, a big green salad, fried chicken, poodle cupcakes, dinner roll. Our church family really loves each other and helps each other.

I, Annabel, spent some time with Miss Mary, and Miss Heather picked me up a few hours after the accident and let me stay at her house until the next day. I also spent the night at my grandparents (my mother's parents) house, and Miss Becky, who lives in our neighborhood took care of me for a few hours before Miss Heather came. And Miss Mary picked my mother up and took her to get her hair washed at Miss Krystal's hair salon.

The happy ending to this story is that my mother had surgery today, August 7, 2013, and everything was perfectly fine. My mother is at home resting. While she is resting I am at my Shesha's house (she is my other grandmother, but you probably know her as Theresa). Today we went swimming together at the Mountain View Aquatic Center and tomorrow I will go with Shesha to a class she is teaching to Senior Citizens. Then we will go out to lunch together and then she is taking me home to be with my mother and father.

Annabel's Parents ~~ Christopher and Michelle
Annabel's Parents ~~ Christopher and Michelle | Source
Annabel and Cousin Joshua
Annabel and Cousin Joshua | Source
Uncle Marek (my brother) and Annabel
Uncle Marek (my brother) and Annabel | Source
Nine Years Ago ~~  Annabel and Shesha
Nine Years Ago ~~ Annabel and Shesha | Source

© 2013 Theresa Ast

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We Appreciate and Welcome Your Comments 47 comments

Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 3 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

I love this hub! It reminds me of my childhood. We used to go camping every summer. Two parents and four children. They put up with a lot, but I will never forget those camping trips. We have taking our daughter camping. One time it rained so hard our tent flooded. My husband tried to get water out of the tent. I told him that was fine, but my daughter and I were going to one of the cabins that night. It didn't take much for him to come with us:)

That was the only bad thing that ever happened when we went camping, but now it is a funny thing. Isn't it interesting how something like that turned into something funny?

Anyway, your grand-daughters part of this hub is very good. Please tell her how much I liked it, your daughter raised a very good child.

And I hope your daughter gets better very soon.

By the way, voted up. ( and I am going to shut up now:)

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

This hub was a joy to read. It sounds like you had a very busy summer but one that was quite bountiful in more ways than one. Thank you for sharing this treasure with us.

blessings always


JeremyC 3 years ago

Very good article. Annabelle, I am glad that your mom is doing better. Can't wait for you and your family to visit the Lake house!!! Hugs and kisses.

molometer 3 years ago

What a wonderful hub and what a pleasure to read. Looks like you had a hectic summer already and so good that you found such a lovely place.

Annabel you are a chip off the old block (not so old Theresa) but you know what I mean. You come from a very talented family.



phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you, thank you "everyone" for your comments. Annabel will be so thrilled to see comments on "our hub" when she wakes up in the morning. We posted it and then she went straight to bed.

I will of course respond to you individually as soon as I can. You are all such good people. Blessings! Theresa

travmaj profile image

travmaj 3 years ago from australia

What a pair you are - such an informative and descriptive hub. Theresa, how exciting to begin an adventure with family members on your own property. Annabelle, you write so well. I do hope your mother continues to improve and is soon 'back on her feet.' Meanwhile have fun with your Shesha - it will be a special time for you both to remember. (I always loved my grandaughter coming to stay - she's all grown up now) Best wishes to you both, enjoyed your story.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Bill. It was a pleasure to write - she was very excited to become an "author." Don't know why I didn't think of it sooner. Our aspirations started off small -- 500 words -- 250 for her and 250 for me. She just about had a seizure because she would never, ever be able to write 250 words! But once I got her started she out-wrote all of our expectations, not at one sitting though. As the word count mounted, her eyes grew wider and wider. There really is nothing quite like a child's amazement and wonder. :) Thank you for you words which are always more than kind and encouraging. I hope your week is going well. Blessings. Theresa

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good Morning Jeremy. Thank you for visiting Annabel's first foray into hubdom. She is very much looking forward to visiting "The Land" (which is how she says it.) Yesterday I used the word "pasture" and she was so excited. You mean like grass where we can run around and chase each other?? I told her it was a big open area and you and the boys had played ball. Apparently, she was envisioning it as dense forest with a house somewhere in the middle. :)

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

Family working together, grandchildren to love and "do" with, a loving church family, the chance to grow things outdoors, luxury camping in The South :) -- you have much, much, much to be thankful for! Enjoyed this window into life's stuff and such. Beautiful grandchildren (as if you didn't already know). :) Good for you, Shesha, for getting Annabel involved in writing at an early age!

Kathryn Stratford profile image

Kathryn Stratford 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

I love collaborations! This is a beautiful story! It must be amazing for your family to own property that everyone can go to on weekends, or during longer vacations. For those who like to do things many times a year, that is idea.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful story with us, and for involving Annabel in this. She did a great job with her part! (Also enjoyed the photos. Such a sweet addition)

Have a wonderful remainder of the Summer, and a great day.

~ Kathryn

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

What a wonderful, beautiful story, "Shesha" and Annabelle! The campground with house (and TWO bathrooms--perfect!) will be enjoyed by your extended family for generations. Spending time there together as a family is a grand tradition that will be the basis of priceless memories for Annabelle and her cousins, as well as those who come after...

Thanks so much for sharing this with me. It made me feel really good.

I also think Annabelle has a future as a "Hubber."

Voted Up, Awesome, Beautiful and Interesting. Shared so others can enjoy this collaboration.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 3 years ago from California

Thank you so much for sharing this part of your lives with us Theresa and Annabelle! There is a huge part of me that craves the amount and quality of land I see in your pictures Theresa--so I hope you appreciate your home---Blessings to you and enjoy the remainder of time you have before you begin teaching again!

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

What an adorable idea. I'm impressed the Asts have another writer in the family. What a gene pool! I hope Annabel enjoy reading the comments she has generated and the three days don't go by too quickly. Sharing and UP

Nonni (Annabel's other grandmother) 3 years ago

Annabel, I am so proud of you. I have always known how articulate you are, but to see it in print is wonderful. Thank you, Theresa, for bringing this experience to her.

TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

TIMETRAVELER2 3 years ago

What a lovely idea...and what a beautiful family you have...and am I ever jealous of your property...that's the RVer in me speaking! I am so happy that life is going so well for you. Kudos to both you and Annabelle for writing such a beautiful and interesting article.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Oh, Michelle - We had similar childhoods full of wonderful camping trips. Sadly, my husband wasn't interested in roughing it and decided to leave the family behind to pursue fame and fortune as a writer in New York. So in their late teens, my three sons connected with their uncle who loved the outdoors. It took awhile but eventually we became a camping, fishing, sitting by the campfire extended family. Being able to share this small piece of property is like icing on the cake. :) I will definitely tell Annabel, show her actually, what you so kindly wrote. She will be thrilled. And for heavens sake you don't ever have to shut up. :) Theresa

aethelthryth profile image

aethelthryth 3 years ago from American Southwest

My son has been wanting to write a HubPage and I have wondered if there was a way I could let him practice writing things that are interesting to the general public, while protecting him from the Internet. This seems like a great way to do things, and I will have to see what Hubs I can collaborate on with my son as soon as I get back to having time to write!

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Michael - I know this was a repeat of a lot of what I wrote earlier, but it hadn't occurred to me to write an expanded version with Annabel. We are so fortunate to have found a lovely place that contains both wild and tame areas for all the members of the family. Thank you for your kind words. Annabel was so tickled when she saw them this morning. Blessings. Hello to Linda. Theresa

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello travmaj - It is indeed exciting on so many levels. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement to Annabel. We are so pleased you enjoyed our story. I hope everything is well with you. :) Theresa

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good Evening, oops, Morning RT - We do have so much to be thankful for. So glad you enjoyed the view through our window (your comments are especially poetic today). They are lovely grandchildren, but it is always nice to hear it, anyway. I am hoping the writing bug will bite Miss Annabel. I hope you have a great weekend. Theresa

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi timetraveler2 - Now you know why I have been so scarce on HP. Focusing so much time and effort on the Lake House. I used to envy people who had mountain or lake homes, never dreaming it was even a remote possibility for me. I certainly can understand the RVer in you responding. :) It was fun writing with Annabel and I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner. :) I trust yuo are still doing well on the long road to a full recovery. I certainly hope so. Blessings! Theresa

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Sheryl - Annabel will be so pleased that you commented on her hub. Don't know why I didn't think of this sooner - guess I knew we would have more time together than usual. I am glad we did it and hope to do it again some time. She is so verbally expressive, it just seemed so perfect for her. Thanks for commenting. :) Blessings. Theresa

pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 years ago from sunny Florida

Annabel, you have shared so nicely your adventures this summer. It sounds like you have kept busy. And how nice it is that friends have brought food to help you all get through this rough patch and that they have helped out by sharing time with you. I am so glad to hear your Momma is on the mend.

You and your grandma have given us a window into your lives. And I thank you for that. Angels are on the way to each of you and especially to your Momma as she continues to recover.

Congrats on the tomatoes....the plants don't have to be gorgeous to have lovely fruit as you have discovered. ps :) Shared

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good Morning Kathryn - It is an amazing development and one we never dreamed would happen. But between my brother's determination and the recession, here we are at the beginning of a long family journey. :) Thanks for reading and commenting and I know Annabel will be pleased that you mentioned her writing. Enjoy the rest of your summer as well. Blessings. Theresa

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Jaye - So good to hear from you...I have been feeling a bit guilty because I haven't had much time for HP what with all the house cleanup and repairs. And that makes two of us, because I feel so good about what has developed and the hard work involved ins't really hard at all because it is so worth it for all the reasons you mentioned. :) I think you may be right, I may have a future little Hubber on my hands. :) Thankk you so much for commenting and all the votes and sharing. I hope your summer has gone well, although I imagine like me you are yearning for the first cool breezes of fall. Theresa

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

I love the way you wrote about your camping experience and then about Anabel. This was a nice way to write about your summer and let her write about hers. It was fun to read and I must admit I'd like to know more about your "camp" and how things are going.

You are certainly training Anabel in the ways of hubville ;)

Voted up, beautiful, and interesting.

aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

Theresa, I like hearing about your life and your family. Annabel--YOU keep on writing if you enjoy it. I do believe that you have a penchant for story telling(just like me). I want to see more from you.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good Morning Audrey. Seems like many of us have this deep craving for land, even if we aren't aware of it all the time. It is an amazing blessing. I spent the past two days at the lake house with my bother and one of my sons. We painted, rearranged, straightened....and had a lot of down time, fishing, sitting around talking. :) I hope you are having a great week. Blessings. Theresa

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Kathleen - Don't know why I didn't think of it sooner. We may just have another writer after all. :)

Its been years but Chris used to write a little poetry and some short stories. And in the last ten years he written the music for about twenty songs and written lyrics for about 1/3 of them. She is really enjoying the comments. Thanks for voting and sharing, Blessings. Theresa

MrsBrownsParlour profile image

MrsBrownsParlour 3 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

Lovely and enjoyable, thank you for sharing! There is nothing better than real-life experiences. Wishing Annabel's mother a full recovery soon!! ~Lurana

suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 3 years ago from Taos, NM

Theresa aka Shesha: I adore this hub! Your granddaughter is precious and how cute of you to have her weigh in on her week. Glad to hear you girls put the proverbial foot down and got the lake house. It sounds wonderful and the photos are beautiful. Enjoy, Enjoy, Enjoy! Hope Annabel's mother is recovering nicely. Enjoy what time you have left of your 'vacation'. LOL Have a great school year!

Writer Fox profile image

Writer Fox 3 years ago from the wadi near the little river

What a cute idea to teach your granddaughter how to write an article for the Internet. I think she did a splendid job and I love your new vacation home!

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

aethelthryth - Absolutely. Its a great approach. I still don't know why I had never done it before. I guess I knew she was worried about her mother and I had been telling her about the Lake House...and suddenly it made perfect sense for us to do a hub together. I can't wait to see you and your son's collaboration, :) Blessings! Theresa

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

pstraubie - Thank you for your kind and encouraging words for Annabel and me. We appreciate them.... and the angels as well. :) Its good looks don't matter and the tomatoes do taste wonderful. :) This is an experiment I will definitely repeat. Blessings! Theresa

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Mary. It was a great experience for both of us and I hope it will build her confidence and kindle in her an even greater love for writing. Thank you for your generous comments and votes. I trust all things are well with you a and yours. Take care. Theresa

Hollis96052 profile image

Hollis96052 3 years ago

It is always a joy to read your Hubs. It is a whole other side of the tough-as-nails history professor that intimidated me into talking in class freshman year (thanks!).

It seems that you've had a fulfilling summer and I am very glad to hear it!

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Avian. I appreciate your warm and thoughtful comments, and especially your encouragement to Annabel. She has been thrilled by the responses to our hub. :) You both have a penchant for storytelling. :) Blessings! Theresa

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Lurana. Real life experience is the best. Michelle is recovering and hopefully before too long, Annabel and her parents will come spend some time at the Lake House. I hope you week is going well. Blessings! Theresa

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you kindly Suzette! The ladies did put their feet down -- I didn't even have to. It was a pleasure writing a hub with Miss Annabel. Maybe we will do more in the future. I certainly hope so. Michelle is recovering, thank you. I am enjoying the last teensy bit of my vacation before the crush begins. But a few weeks into that and I will definitely need a weekend away. Blessings! Theresa

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Writer Fox - We are thrilled and so grateful for this family vacation home an plan to use it year round for long weekends. Annabel id do a great job and I hope it sparks a real interest in her. She already loves reading, hopefully she will also love writing. Thanks for commenting. Have a great day. Theresa

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Dallas - I am glad they are a joy and what a kind and generous ting for you to say. Tough as nails? Really? I thought I was pretty easy going. lol I am very glad you started talking too, it was and is a good thing. :) It has been a great summer. Thank you. Just a couple more days and it all begins again for both of us. See you soon. :)

Hollis96052 profile image

Hollis96052 3 years ago

Perhaps tough as nails wasn't the simile I was looking for--my excuse is that it has been a terribly long week. You are, in fact, a very laid back professor and one of my favorites, but you also don't hesitate to tell us how stupid you think people (or their decisions) are. Maybe that is why we like you so much. And at times you just seem incredibly intrepid--this is more what I meant when I characterized you as tough.

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Dallas, I was just teasing you. :) I will take "tough as nails" as quite an interesting compliment. I am pretty quick to call stupid things stupid, aren't I? But I have to tell you, and thank you..."incredibly intrepid" is one of the finest compliments I have ever received. That phrase certainly described my father whom I admired and have tried to emulate. You couldn't have found a more meaningful phrase to use. Thank you.

Hollis96052 profile image

Hollis96052 3 years ago

You really are. I always tell people I can't wait for the day that I can say what I think without having to apologize--so basically I can't wait to be a grandmother. ;)

I understand your pride of being similar to your father. The greatest compliment to me is when someone tells me I am just like my dad, even if they intended it to be an insult (my mom is bad about that.)

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Dallas. Getting older does help, but you don't have to wait until you are a grandmother. My personality and character were pretty well set by my thirties....I did become more outspoken on campus after I got tenure ten years ago, but I was always outspoken everywhere else. :)

That is so funny. My ex-husband used to insult me by saying, well you learned to be this way or that way from your father! And I would say, Thank you! or Yes! I did! and walk away. He never seemed to understand that I was never going to consider that an insult. Oh well, he left after 21 years of marriage and is busy in New York, NOT becoming the next great American author.

To be honest, he is a "good" writer, but he lacks discipline and perseverance; he wants the rewards of life handed to him on a silver platter and that doesn't happen for most of us. Hope your classes are going well. I miss having you in class. :)

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Sueswan 3 years ago

Hi Theresa,

I have never been camping. I miss the days of going to my grandparents camp (cottage) at Loon Lake which I wrote a poem about awhile back.

Hi Annabel,

I am happy to hear that your mother is getting better. It is very kind and thoughtful of you to help your mom .

I enjoyed reading about your summer. You are a very good writer and I look forward to reading more from you and your Shesha :)

Voted up , beautiful and awesome

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Dear Sue - You have never been camping? Well I suppose a lot of people haven'. I forget not everyone grew up with my father who believed in going camping in a tent at every available opportunity (my mother was not so thrilled). And your version of camping would have been the cottage at Loon Lake. Thank you for writing to Annabel. Her mother is getting better and the school year is in full swing for Annabel.

Hopefully we will find time to wrote together again soon. Thank you for the wonderful votes and I hope you have a lovely time this weekend. Blessings. Theresa

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