Ivy’s First Deer

I’ve been completely negligent.

My eldest daughter did something she’s never ever done before and I didn’t even mention it… for weeks.

Ivy shot her first deer! 

My brother Tyler was her mentor and the two of them had a great time together getting ready for the season. Tyler says it’s the most excited he has been for deer hunting in years. And then Ivy shot her first deer, using a crossbow, with her uncle by her side coaching her through it.

It’s a bit of a surreal mothering experience. As much as I’ve been around and about deer hunting and as much as I’ve shot guns and gone bird hunting and butchered deer, I’ve never been an actual deer hunter. But I can tell you it’s a proud moment to watch a kid go off and do something you’ve never done. Especially when they come back full of grins, a cooler of food for the freezer (Thanks again for that Tyler!) and announcing that they want a “real” bow for next year.

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Our Sunny Center

It has always been my opinion that Grandma Elma was the center of our family’s universe, though she would hate it if you pointed that out. She wouldn’t want anyone to make a fuss. Now, I am only one of her 15 grandchildren, not to mention the 15 great-grandchildren, 8 children and all their associated persons, so my views are not the definitive ones.  But I have watched our family swirl around her kitchen and her smiling face for my whole life.

Even past the time when Grandma would produce an endless stream of food for visiting family, the family centered their talks and conversations around her chair.  When Grandma passed last week she, of course, didn’t want a fuss made over her. No funeral, no service, no memorial… but she was our family’s center and so a few of us naughty grandchildren planned a little something anyway.

We filled a kitchen with people.We put knives in the hands of those who were capable of cutting and we put babies in the laps of great-uncles.Some of us started stirring up dough and rolling out pie crusts, while hunters came and went and told stories. I have wondered in the last week how our family will do with it’s sunny center gone, but I watched as we talked and laughed,told stories and cried,waved sticky, floury, messy hands about and demanded help from hunters who thought they were just passing through.

As the family worked together making a foolish amount of pasties and apple pies, I watched us all swirling around one another. And then, as we sent the food off to feed to hungry hunters and more home with families to be eaten later, I had hope that even with the center of our universe gone, she taught us well enough that we will still spin through life together.

Grandma would still probably scold us for making a fuss about her but, I think, if she had been there in that hot kitchen with all her family working together, she would have had a smile on her face while she did it.

Elma Eloranta

1919-2017

 

 

 

All photo credit belongs to my Aunt Helen. 

Rescued!

It was something of a hostage situation.

A thirty year hostage situation.

Sadly for my little hostages I didn’t know they were missing. Please don’t let them know but I might have even forgotten about them until I saw them again today. But now, rescued from my cousin’s treasure chest, my Sea Wees are back in my possession.

My Sea Wee was long ago chewed on by a puppy, and her hair is a ratted mess, and my girls are already fighting over them but they came out of that wooden box with a slew of memories for my cousin and I that made me ridiculously happy to see these two resurface after so long.

Do you have any old toys that spark particularly fond memories? 

Seven Days of Black and White

There is a photo challenge going around, one week of black and white photos. No explanations, no people. I love this challenge, I’ve done it twice now. But this week, this week was a hard week, and I wrote down a bit about each photo as I took them, a snap shot of a diary on a  rough week.

Day 1: A few years ago Grandma picked up this book, A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson, off the bookshelf and noticed that “Verses” was ripped off the front of the book.   Ever practical Grandma stuck a few stickers over the torn part, and knowing that my girls loved books gave it to me to bring home for them. She read this same book to me when I was a kid, and I have read it over and over to my girls. Grandma Elma died this morning, and I’ve read this poem innumerable times since she used to read it to me but this verse I still hear in an echo of her voice every time I see it.

Day 2: I’m sitting on the floor in my grandparents living room (my other grandparents) I can hear hum and gurgle of Grandpa’s oxygen tank and his terrible rasping cough behind me. Granny is watching me play marbles with Clara and Jane and my Mom comes over to laugh at how terrible we are. We take turns visiting with Grandpa when he’s awake as we do our best to make some good memories during hard times.

Day 3: I’ve only been home for four full days in the last two weeks and when I walked back in the house tonight I find a friend has been at work and I can do nothing but stand in my clean kitchen, look at the meals in my refrigerator and sob with gratitude.

Day 4: John helped me carve out time to go to capoeira. I love my fellow capoeirstas and you can’t worry about anything other than what you are doing when the kicks start flying. It was a much needed break this week.

Day 5: I’m ready to drive back home from spending another day with my grandparents and parents. Driving alone makes me cry. The days are long and hard but worth the tears and the miles.

Day 6: Spinning in circles with a rare night at home. I think I forgot how to be at home, and then I found the fire and figured it out again.

Day 7: Back with my family. Grandpa is failing quickly and everyone, even the puppies, are exhausted.

 

Jessie’s Tip of the Day: Raccoon Baiting

Jessie’s Tip Of The Day

If you want to catch raccoons in a live trap use marshmallows.  Marshmallows are non-messy, non-stinky, and any extra can be eaten on your way back from the live trap and few animals other than raccoons are willing to crawl into a scary cage for a little, white, sugary pillow.

Because…if your daughter ate all the marshmallows and you end up using canned dog food, even though you know it’s a terrible idea, then you’ll probably catch a possum early in the night. After evicting the possum with it’s weird clingy toes from the trap your mother will “helpfully” run off with the flashlight to scare it away. Instead she may accidentally chase, it at twelve times the speed a possum normally travels, three quarters of the way around the house back toward the trap you are resetting for the marauding raccoon. Making the chances of your raccoon trap being successful much lower.

In conclusion, hide your marshmallows from the kids and never let your mother hold your flashlight.

P.S. My mom would like you to know she had to edit this for me.

P.P.S. She’s a much better editor than flashlight holder.

 

O Lawnmower How I Hate Thee…

O lawnmower, how I hate thee. Let me count the ways…

  1. You are noisy, so noisy hearing protection is required. Sometimes the earmuffs that I leave over the steering wheel attract earwigs. I have so far always found them before putting them on my head. So far…
  2. You bounce and you vibrate the whole time I drive you. This makes me jiggle in unpleasant ways and reminds me that I have more jiggly parts than I’d like. Ride you long enough and even my non-jiggly bits start turning to jello and I slide off feeling like I’ve been living on a couch, eating potato chips my entire life.
  3. You cut crooked. I’ve tried to correct it, but you insist on cutting one side higher than the other. As a result even a freshly mowed area looks like a bad haircut.
  4. You run out of gas at the worst times. Is it because I run you at highest possible speeds at all times? Or because I never check before we set out? Whatever it is you’ve never run out of gas near the garage or a gas tank, nooooo always at the far end of the orchard. Always with the job almost done. You have terrible timing lawnmower. Terrible timing.
  5. You break. Your belts break and your doo-hickys fall off and the thing-gummy gets clogged and even when I fix them for you, a job I detest, they just go ahead and break again. Are you trying to tell me that zipties are not the fix for everything? How rude lawnmower, how rude.
  6. The important parts of you never break. You are the lawnmower that will not die. Do you even know how old you are? I have run you over sticks and stumps and small brush piles. Got you stuck on rocks and ditches but will you quit on a hot day and give me a break. Oh no, you will not!
  7. Your tire leaks. Slooowwwllly. So slowly as to not be worth patching. So quickly that it needs to be aired up almost every time you are used. No one likes a square tire lawnmower. No one.
  8. You don’t cut in reverse. You claim it’s for my safety. I say that’s total BS, you are just lazy. If you cut in reverse we’d be done so much faster.
  9. You don’t corner for beans. You are a lawnmower not a flatbed truck. Why do you have the turning radius of a school bus?
  10. But the thing I will never forgive you for is that because of you, I mow the lawn.

In related news my lawnmower dislikes being left outside in November with no gas and is now waaay out in the orchard with a dead battery and a flat tire. And though I removed the mouse nest and gave it some fuel, it still refuses to run properly. Ungrateful beast, it better shape up before the snow flies! 

 (Yes I know, most of these things are my fault. Yes, I know I shouldn’t have left the lawn mower outside. Yes, I still hate it anyway.)