Category Archives: trees

Railroad ties. Add sand, kids will come!

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Apparently, we now live in a beach house.  Not really, but apparently sand boxes can create a very realistic simulation.

(Apparently, my kids have been using that word too much.  Mom’s started copying.)

I’ve always wanted a sand box for the kids.  Whenever we visit somebody that has a sandbox, Megan especially will sit for hours and just dig in the sand.

Derek finally agreed to build one!  And when he builds something, he BUILDS something.  If you get my drift.  But here — pictures are worth a thousand words:

First, he made a box from a bundle of railroad ties.

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Next he added 4 tons of sands:

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He finished it by tractor light, and Mercy was the first child to set foot in the sand.  She promptly scooped up and ate fistfuls of sand.  I’m not exactly sure what deficiency that suggests.

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(Yes, I realize there is a tree buried in sand in this picture.  My husband boxed it in, after his mom told him it wouldn’t hurt the tree.  Somebody else told us that the tree would die because the roots couldn’t get oxygen.  An actual tree expert told us that the problem would be rot around the trunk that the sand would create.  Rot would bring bugs, and bugs would kill the tree.

So.  Derek cut out the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket and put it around the tree.  Sand not-so-mysteriously keeps finding its way to the bottom of the bucket, so we’ll have to keep scooping it out, but maybe the tree will survive.  If not, it was a filler tree anyway!  I have a Sugar Maple growing 5 feet away from it, and the Redbud is getting very close to interference.)

The kids LOVE the sandbox!  The morning after it was finished, Cameron was up and outside before I was even awake, and had dug all the way to the bottom of the sandbox.  I love that all 6 of my kids can sit and play together!  We’ve even had cousins in there too.  The kids have played in the sandbox every day since Daddy built it.  Tons of fun.  Quite literally. =)

Yes, I do have the kids rinse off and brush down before they come inside my house, but you’ve been to the beach, right?  Sand wins.  Every time.

So I’ll just keep sweeping sand into piles and wishing I had some saltwater and dolphins to go with it!

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I love muscles, and the boys that go with them

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It seems that I’ve passed on my obsession with trees to my firstborn son.  He couldn’t stand the thought of burning our Christmas tree, so he claimed it for a backyard treasure.  Then, he went to the neighbors trash heap and rescued their Christmas tree too!  He dragged that tree across the neighbor’s field, across the corn field, across Grammy and Pappy’s yard, and right home to our front door.

I was so proud of him!  No, not for stealing a dead tree, for his sheer strength and determination.  Six-foot evergreens are heavy, and he dragged that thing far!  So I let him keep it.  After he went back and asked permission of the neighbors.

(Good thing we’re good buddies with these neighbors.)

I love that I can manipulate my boys by bragging on their muscles.  I don’t know if that’s a bad thing, exactly…  (I hope their wives one day are smart enough to do a little ego stroking…)  I just know that if I say,”Wow, Cory, I can’t believe you just carried that huge log!  Check out those muscles!” then before I know it my woodpile is stacked, the fire is burning bright, all dead branches and bags of trash are carted off to the burn pile, baby bouncy seats are carried upstairs, and any other job requiring muscle is DONE.

We filled our  wood pits up today, and both Cory and Cameron stuck with us until the job was done.  Plus, they were begging and fighting each other for logs to carry!  That’s another thing about boys — all that testosterone that creates competitions.   Sometimes it works to your advantage, and sometimes it drives you crazy!

Then there are the boy toys.

Cameron fell in love with a backhoe last week.  His pappy is buying a new tractor for the “farm,” so Dee and his dad took the boys along tractor shopping.  Both Cory and Cameron got to choose a piece of heavy equipment to sit on, and Dee even started it up for them.  (What was he thinking?!)  So now, Cameron considers this backhoe to be HIS.  He told me today, “When I get big enough to drive my backhoe home, I can use it to do wood.”  My Cameron has a low, drawly voice, and it’s just adorable.  (Of course, I don’t say “adorable” to his face, since he’s a boy, but he is stinkin’ ADORABLE when he speaks!)

In just a few years, I’m sure, we’ll have all the dirt bikes and four-wheelers my boys dream of.  Maybe even the monster trucks and sports cars too, if they find a good job and start working hard.  Like, now.

It’s not all muscle though.  Just the other day, I was asking Cory about the monster truck he wants to buy, and he said, “Maybe I won’t buy a monster truck after all, since they cost so much money.”

My boys, they’ve got the muscles and the brains!  And heaps of hugs for their mother.  What’s not to be proud of?

My continuing obsession with trees

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We still have snow on the ground!  It’s melting fast though, and will probably be gone by tonight.  I hope it comes back soon.

The kids went sledding after church yesterday.  Kids everywhere were sledding!  We drove a bunch of back roads home from church, and in every town I saw sled tracks down huge hills and kids pulling sleds through the snow.  Such a novel thing, this October snow!  Maybe by January the kids will be bored by snow.  Maybe.  I don’t remember ever being tired of snow when I was a kid!  Me and my brother Steve, we built a lot of snow forts back in the day.

The trees around here were damaged by the snow.  A lot of trees!  It was a wet, heavy snow, and the trees haven’t lost all their leaves yet.  Driving around yesterday, I was sad seeing all the broken branches!  I would have cried if I wasn’t afraid of appearing looney.  Oh, and then last night we watched “Captain America.”  There’s a scene towards the end where soldiers are running through the forest.  There’s gunfire and explosions, and I think I saw a maple tree get blown up.  Then I was sad again!  No people actually died in the making of the movie, and if a movie shows animal trauma the movie-makers are quick to assure us that no animals were harmed during the filming… but what about the trees?!  Poor trees.

I didn’t plant any more trees this year.  I showed self-control, even though I was sorely tempted every time I drove by a tree nursery or saw a baby tree planted in someone else’s yard!  I’m afraid I struggle with covetousness.

My trees are doing well, by the way.  My sugar maples were absolutely gorgeous this fall!  Do you know what I thought yesterday, as we were driving around and I was noticing trees?  I thought how my trees will stay and grow old with me, even after all the kids have moved out.  Do you know anyone as tree-obsessed as I am?  I thought not.

Where I pretty much complain about thrush. And drugs.

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I couldn’t do it.  I filled Zach’s prescription, spent $20 for the stuff, but then I couldn’t give it to him!  His pediatrician prescribed Nystatin?  I’ve never heard of it before.  I gave Zach one dose, on the inside of his cheek, and then I was reading all the possible side effects of the drug.  Mouth irritation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or stomach upset… fast heartbeat, wheezing, muscle pain… rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.  And then, “This is not a complete list of possible side effects.”  Um, I don’t think so!  Not my two-week-old baby boy.

So it sits on the counter.

And I’m back to gritting my teeth every time Zach nurses.  Which, remember, is quite often.

And I’ll need to stick to my diet of plain oatmeal for breakfast, coffee with no sugar (I do cheat on a liiittttle bit of cream!), raw almonds for snack, yogurt, rice cakes and (all-natural, fresh-ground) peanut butter for lunch, all the veggies I want, rice and beans, and anything else I can think of that has no sugar, dairy, wheat, or yeast in it.

Dee wanted pizza from Tony’s for supper.  I said that was fine, I just wouldn’t be able to eat it!  Dairy, wheat, and yeast.  Sugar too, although not tons.  So then he wasn’t going to order pizza, but I pointed out that pretty much everything he and the kids would want to eat, I wouldn’t be able to eat.  He didn’t want to join me for rice cakes and peanut butter.  I told him to just throw a pizza party without me.  (That sounded sarcastic.  I didn’t mean it to!  I really hope my family can still enjoy yummy food in spite of my diet restrictions!)

I bought a baby probiotic powder that goes on Zach’s tongue and cheeks, and I’m still taking tons of probiotics.  Plus garlic out the wazoo (good thing it’s odorless), and lots of vitamin C and other anti-fungal stuff.  I’m slathering an anti-fungal/anti-bacterial cream on my boobs, and also a water/vinegar mixture before and after nursing.  Yogurt too, applied topically, is supposedly a miracle product.

We’re going to beat this thrush!  In the meantime, don’t try to talk to me while I’m nursing.  Or touch me.  Dee tries to kiss Zach’s head, and even that makes me extremely irritable.  Poor guy.  My big guy, not the little one.  Zach doesn’t seem to mind the thrush at all!  All the info I’ve read said that an infected baby might cry or fuss while nursing, since the thrush might be painful.  Nope!  He just chomps down and goes to town.

So.  That was a lot of girl talk.  Maybe too much info for my male readers?  But this is my blog for future memories.  ‘Cause yeah, I’m resigned to the fact that I’m going to forget almost everything!  I refused to believe it for many years, but I already can’t remember when Kirstyn and Cory were babies.  I can’t even remember how many times I’ve zapped my coffee in the microwave today.  Four, I think?

Oh!  I can eat popcorn!  Without butter, of course, but that’s what I’ll munch on during our movie tonight.

Also totally random:  My maple trees are turning red and gold!  This makes me all warm and happy inside!!!

A rare case of Monday blues

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Monday was a little sad today.  My family drove back home to Massachusetts, leaving my house fairly quiet, except for Moosies asking, “Is Anna coming back?  Can I see Auntie Anna?  I want to see her, okay?”  And Cboy kept saying, “I miss Lizzy” at random times all day.

Me, I miss them too.

I crashed on the couch for a nap while the kids watched cartoons.  But last night’s wee hours of cards and YouTube were definitely worth the sleepy eyes!

CJ had too many walks with Bompa and the dogs, I’m thinking.  He came inside this afternoon, missing his shorts and undies, and announced: “I went poop.”  Outside.  In the mulch.  “Bompa can just scoop it up with one of those little bags,” he said.  Sure enough, CJ had left a little pile of poop out in the tree line!  Well, Bompa was gone, and I didn’t have any of Bompa’s little plastic newspaper bags, so I made do with (doubled) Wal-mart bags.

I pulled a tick out of CJ’s ear at the supper table.  Maybe that will scare him out of pooping in the trees again?

I can’t write much tonight.  I want to go curl up on the couch and read a book and forget that my family lives so far away.  But first, my list of favorites from last week.  (For me, just because I know I’ll forget it all if I don’t.)

Gibbles field trip, where everyone got FOUR BAGS of potato chips!  Going to the park to eat all our chips and puffies.  Driving to City Park too, just because it was one of the few sunny days in weeks!  Ducklings, monster fish… and adorable kids lying on their bellies, swishing sticks and hands in the pond.  My peas popped up in the garden!  Creeks and rivers completely flooded, from all the rain.  CJ learned to pump (thanks Andrew)!  Easter dinner on Good Friday, with EVERYONE around the table.  Feeling my baby kick, and hoping Shelly’s new baby boy comes soon!  Seeing tiny buds on my maple trees.  Dee cut grass for the first time!  Spring cleaning with Anna.  Kbug singing in the choir on Easter morning.  My two-year-old baby girl in shorts.  Bunnies on our lap for school and movies.  Donuts at Krumpe’s, in the rain, one night before bed.  Bog boots from my siblings.  Coffee in the mornings, and at Starbucks too!  My home filled with noise and chatter and love.

You knew I was obsessed with trees, right?

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You might be a tree-lover if…

You can’t keep your eyes on the road, because you’re looking at all the trees you pass.

EVERY SINGLE ONE.

And you study them, trying to determine if they’ve been pruned or not.

Once you decide whether or not they’ve been pruned, you try to figure out if you like the shape or not.

If you do, or don’t, you then try to figure out if that’s what your own trees will look like in ten or twenty or thirty years.

All while you’re driving.

(I’ve never seen “tree watching” on a list of stuff not to do while driving, but it probably should be added.  It’s right up there with texting, applying make-up, and feeding your kids breakfast.)

If you are a tree-lover,

DON’T drive by Lowe’s or Home Depot or anywhere else trees are sold.  It will give you a strong urge to walk in and buy all the little saplings that need good, loving homes.

Even if you have to buy all the property on your street so you have room to plant your new babies.

Just a little weekend pruning.

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My bunny is back in his cage.  He’s been running wild for a few months, fending for himself around the farm.  Doing quite well, too!  He ate the bottom branches off of a bunch of bushes and cypress trees, polished off the grass and weeds he could find in between snowstorms, hung out with the chickens to eat our food garbage, and ate a good-sized portion of Grammy’s blueberry bushes.

Yeah.

That was bad.

He was going to be rabbit stew if he wasn’t caught, so we borrowed some have-a-heart traps and finally caught him.  We’d tried the chasing thing many times!  Rabbits are fast, just so you know.

He looks so sad cooped up in a tiny cage, but I guess it’s better than getting shot.

I also pruned my trees this weekend.  Not all 36 of them!  My crabapples all got pruned, but the redbuds have to wait until after their flowering is done, in June.  I tackled most of my maples too, but realized I’d missed the “late winter” time of pruning.  The sugar sap was just gushing out with ever cut I made.  Kbug and I had fun licking trees!  I should probably wait until June to finish pruning. 

Maybe I’ll grab a ladder and at least finish the tops of the maples I started.  When I told Dee I pruned the maple trees as high as I could reach, he said, “Oh, so you mean you didn’t prune very much?”  Whatever, funny guy!  Mama’s have a long reach, especially with pruning shears.

I realized again how much I LOVE trees!  I liked trees when I was little, too.  I studied the leaves and barks of trees, looked trees up in tree books, and memorized different kinds of trees.

Trees were my favorite place to hang out!  I remember climbing trees with a book tucked in my pocket, so I could read up in my own leafy castle.  Growing up didn’t stop me either!  I climbed trees at night when I lived at an orphanage in Indianapolis.  I was 20.  Nobody knew about that until now.

Ahem.

So, it looks like June will be a busy month for me!  Bummer that it will be sweltering hot and I’ll be 7 months pregnant.  I predict a lot of swimming in my near future!