Annabel and Theresa ~~ What's Happening in Our Lives
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!
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.
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.....
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.....
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.
- What the Heart Really Needs: A Family Poem
Family gatherings contribute to the fabric of our lives; they strengthen our families, provide us with a sense of security and belonging, and create lovely and strong memories that will last forever.
- A Garden in Poland ~~ A Prose Poem
Family generations make connections and create bonds in many different ways. However, almost every way will involve special memories and sometimes gardens, as well.
- Words and Flowers ~~ for Etymologists and Gardener...
Some of us find words useful at work and in our conversations with family and friends. But some know the joy, the pleasure, of discovering a new word, then exploring its history and derivation.
- Cinnamon Apple Butter ~~ Quick, Easy, Delicious
Old fashioned Apple Butter is a real treat, but there is a quick and easy way to produce great-tasting apple butter without the usual hours of peeling and hours of cooking. Make a small batch for your family; make a large batch to give as gifts.
© 2013 Theresa Ast
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