Welcome to another Family Friday, this time with lots of outdoors. Last weekend was an outdoors kind of weekend, unlike this coming weekend which looks like we plan on getting about an inch of rain. The garden will love it.

We have some very exciting news! Back in February 2019, we got a concord grape root from Deedee and Papa. Kathleen’s grandpa Joe had transplanted it from his dad’s farm about 60 years ago, then Papa transplanted it again some 30 years ago to their house. Two years ago Daddy and Papa dug it out to make room for the new addition he was planning on adding to his shed. We dumped the root ball in a tub of cow manure and covered it with water, and then drove it down to our house. Uncle Adam helped Daddy lug the tub around to the back and put it in the dirt.

The sign of life we found in Spring 2019 proved illusory. By the end of summer 2019, it was still just a dried out old twig. Over the winter, Daddy read several pruning books, and brought a book about grapes (he has yet to do more than skim this one, time being what it is, but having bought it he expects to absorb some knowledge by osmosis). In keeping with their recommendations, he hacked this grapevine back to nothing but a couple of one-inch stubs in March.

It was rather like the parable of the barren fig in Luke 13. After letting it sit and soak up rain and manure and enriching the soil for a year and a half, just last saturday, while weeding the back fence, we found this!

Never give up on a concord grape. In a few short years we will probably be getting fruit off of it. Just in time for us to move to another house.

Evie was also busy in the garden, weeding among the peas.

We’ve been having issues with a pesky rabbit chewing the tendrils off the peas before they can reach the wires, but a few of them got through and reached the wires, and not they are starting to take off.

Mommy and Ellie went shopping, so Daddy and Evie hung out in the garden.

Later in the day we filled the pool, even though it was cloudy and quite chilly. Ellie was so excited to go in it that she got her own bathing suit on all by herself (over her clothes).

She will go in the water no matter what the weather.

Sunday was little gray and rainy, and we are still staying home, but we all dressed up for Mass anyway.

Especially Evie.

“I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.”

We have really been enjoying the liturgical beauty at St. Mary’s in Greenville, SC. It’s a pity we don’t live closer there.

It’s really 8 AM for us.

Then we sat outside for what has become our family tradition of “coffee hour” with tea, hot cocoa and snacks after livestream Mass.

The bow that Daddy made for Ellie last week broke, so Daddy started work on another. After two hours, three broken staves, and a tension headache, he finally got one green stave (cedar, from the tree in our yard) bound to a form in a decurve-recurve configuration.

We’ll take it off the form this weekend, or maybe next week, and finish the tiller and stringing. Right now it is entirely too heavy for Ellie to pull.

And we also crowned Mommy queen.

So that was the weekend, and the week crept by somewhat slowly with work and such.

Ellie has work too!

Mommy had Monday off, but Daddy had to work. So Mommy sent him pictures of the girls “practicing being tough, so we can be an army someday.”

Evie decided this hat was more her style.

And that’s all for this week. Y’all have a good weekend, we’ll see you next time.

God Bless. Pray always, and never lose heart.

We discovered this week at the end of our #RosaryRuck that making people seem like they are close together when they are actually far apart is harder than it seems. Apparently unless you are a skilled photographer, you actually have to work at it.

Look at that Social Distancing!

That was our Saturday Morning #RosaryRuck. We got started a little early, covered a little extra distance, and Ryan sang “Regina Coeli” at the top of his lungs as they hiked through a residential area in Tacoma. Good times were had by all.

After that it was FAmily Breakfast at home. After Breakfast, Daddy tried to find his hat so he could go out and give the back yard its inaugural haircut for the year. It wasn’t in its usual place, which usually means…

One of the girls has it.

I tell you, that clover comes in THICK! We mulched half of it into the grass and still filled six lawnmower backs, which are all now in the composter. Since that shifts the C:N ratio drastically to the right, Mommy brought a whole bunch of old newspaper home from work, and we will try to get that shredded and mixed in this weekend. Since we emptied out the compost this spring, it is very important we start refilling it right away.

We are having a great mix of rain and sun these days, and the garden is loving it. Although, we can definitely tell that the ollas are working. the plants planted in a ring around them have a head start on everything else planted at the same time.

Mommy is feeling very pregnant these days, and very ready to get Seppi on out of there. She spent Saturday catching up on laundry, which means washing all the gender neutral newborn-through-three-months clothes we have, and hanging them all on the line.

The clothes line catches more sunlight when you place it on a south facing slope and angle it towards the sky. #LaundryScience!

Then, while Daddy finished the last half load, she took a few minutes to cool her feet in the pool. Being 8 months pregnant in 85 degree weather is not fun.

The water was nice and cool on her feet, and Seppi liked it, apparently, because he woke up and started stretching.

The view from Mommy’s eyes.

Daddy busied himself with setting up a tent for the girls to play in, although we did not get around to sleeping in it.

Unfortunately, after six days straight of getting up before 4 AM, Daddy was somewhat fatigued by the time evening rolled around, and did not want to spend the first few precious hours of the one good night of sleep of the whole week, trapped in a tent with two over-excited little girls. He did not trust them to fall asleep on their own in a timely manner, promises to the contrary notwithstanding, and so declined to camp out last weekend. Later on this summer, when we aren’t working so much, maybe.

It was still fun to play in until we took it down on Sunday evening, so it wouldn’t get filled with rain all week.

Meanwhile, we looked over at the pool and saw no Mommy in the pool, so Daddy went inside to check on her. He found her like this.

If she sits up too long, her feet swell. If she lies down, her heartburn flares up. So she improvised this sort of banana variation of right lateral recumbent position. Adapt, improvise, overcome.

Pregnancy is not for wimps.

On Sunday, while watching live stream Mass at St. Mary’s, Greenville, South Carolina, Evie and Ellie complained that we could not go to coffee hour. So after Mass we had our own “coffee hour” on the deck.

We had tea, cocoa, and stroopwaffles. The girls actually didn’t care for the stroopwaffles, which Mommy and Daddy found somewhat strange. How can you not like stroopwaffles, especially if you heat them up by resting them across the top of your tea mug until the caramel turns gooey?

And since it was mother’s day, we gave Mommy her Mother’s day gift.

Cow Pattern Wellingtons! Perfect for picking up what the cows are puttin’ down, if you follow me.

Happy Mother’s Day!

And that’s all for this week. We hope you have a restful weekend. Pray for us, and God Bless!

Happy Spring Time!

Very exciting news here in the Kraeger household this week! After days, and days, and days (seriously, like ten whole days!) of waiting, and watching, and trying not to shake the cage…

Evie and Ellie finally have butterflies!

Thanks primarily to their hard work, patience, diligence and all that, the girls managed to raise all ten of the butterflies from caterpillar on up to butterflies. That is, they did pretty much nothing but (mostly) try not to terrorize the poor things to death. However, these butterflies seem to be a very hardy lot and managed to make it through the ordeal unscathed. On Monday Evie showed them to her classmates on zoom, and then they released them into the wild of the great back yard.

It has been quite a busy week. Daddy is still on National Guard orders, and Mommy is still working full time, while the girls are still locked down. As Washington state moves slowly toward reopening, we are staying put, biding our time, hoping that things don’t get too crazy before Little Boy gets here.

Ellie did get out briefly for a quick run to the hardware store with Daddy. It’s an odd trip, since all the people are in masks and no one wants to get within 12 feet of anyone else, but Ellie enjoyed it a great deal. Buying a hose roller has never been more exciting.

The hose roller wasn’t the only thing we bought, of course, but the thing we most needed they were out of. Apparently someone had come in the day before and completely cleaned them out of cinder blocks, of all things. It’s like some people are determined to have the nicest looking lawn of the century since they are locked at home with nothing else to do.

We are in no danger of having the nicest lawn of the anything this year. We have a list of lawn and garden work a mile long to work on this weekend, but we won’t get to it all before Sunday and that is okay. We will still try to make Sunday a day of rest.

My older brother has a story about not working on his farm on Sunday, even when he was working full time for the town. An old farmer told him, “Ian, you have to work on Sunday. You’ll never get ahead if you don’t.”

Ian replied, “Well, you’ve been working on Sundays for years. Have you gotten ahead?”

The old farmer shook his head. “Nope.”

So Ian said, “I think I’ll keep my Sundays.”

Besides, the garden has gotten plenty of watering last week, thanks to the girls…

These pictures were taken about a minute before everyone got soaked.

So the garden is growing quite nicely. The ollas are doing a great job keeping the areas around them hydrated, although filling them is slightly time consuming. The automatic gravity feed system starts to sound really nice after a couple of weeks.

Mommy and Seppi found some radishes!

And our accidental radishes have shaped up magnificently, our on-purpose radishes are growing like it’s their job, and our whole line of peas has popped and started to reach for the wires.

Last weekend we went on a short walk between rain showers and Daddy grabbed some sticks form the woods and carved a small longbow for Evie.

Rotten tillering job aside (just look at that hinging in the lower limb) for a completely green, hastily carved stick bow, it worked quite well, and provided about an hour of enjoyment before it broke.

All of this is preparatory to the real bow-making that will commence sometime this fall. In the meantime, Daddy will keep practicing his bowyery so Evie can keep practicing her archery, and by this time next year we should have at least one solid working longbow and some basic understanding of archery, (and hopefully some basic range safety procedures as well).

Last night when Daddy came home from work he found the girls all busy as bees, and Evie was insisting, “Oh Daddy! We are having too much fun!”

What amazing new game had Mommy introduced them to, you ask?

Window washing.

Trust me, there was plenty of smudginess to wash off, and oddly enough it was all at a perfect height for them to scrub. The girls had a blast!

Keep praying for us. It is a tough time for a lot of people, mentally, emotionally, financially, but most of all spiritually. Pray together as a family, every day. Start early. If you haven’t started early, then start now. There’s the old Chinese proverb about orchards: “The best time to plant an apple tree is ten years ago. The second best time is now.”

The same goes for prayer.

(Thanks to Karina Tabone for her beautiful Rosary and St. Michael prayer books.)

God Bless! Keep the faith, stay strong. Pray for us, we will pray for you.

Welcome back to another Family Friday. It has been a week of Daddy not being at work, for the most part, although he still has to go to the jail. The patients there are kind of a captive audience, so someone has to provide them with healthcare.

Since he has had nothing to do but lounge around like a lazy bum, Daddy was planning on writing a blog all about our Easter Friday (a.k.a. Friday of the Octave of Easter, a.k.a. Bacon Friday) breakfast. We see how well that panned out. Too much lounging around, I guess.

So here’s the cliff notes version. Most Fridays of the year Catholics are obligated (or in the U.S. “encouraged”) to abstain from meat as an act of sacrifice, in commemoration of the day that Our Lord offered up His sacred Flesh on the cross. However, since the solemnity of Easter extends across 8 days, from Easter Sunday to Divine Mercy Sunday, every day within that octave is a solemnity, and Catholics are obligated to feast, fest or otherwise rejoice on solemnities (In the Church calendar, when a solemnity and a fast coincide on the same day, the solemnity always trumps the fast).

So, this is the one Friday of the year we are allowed, nay, even encouraged, even obligated, to celebrate rather than fast. This one Friday of all Fridays of the year looks forward to the resurrection, when God will wipe every tear from the eye, and fill every longing of every heart. To symbolize this, we do our best to fulfill our longings for bacon. To that end, I give you…

St. Peter’s Latkas!

You will need:

3-4 slices of bacon, diced.

one half medium onion, minced.

1 cup leftover mashed potatoes.

2 eggs.

A bag of shredded cheese.

A can of bacon grease,

And a WELL seasoned cast-iron griddle.

Heat a cast iron skillet and melt a generous lump of bacon grease. Fry bacon, potatoes and onions together with the eggs, until the whole thing has a sticky, dough consistency.

Season the cast-iron griddle for at least six months with a variety of oils, primarily butter and bacon grease. Then heat to medium high and drop 2 – 3 pairs of golf ball sized piles of shredded cheese onto the griddle. Fry until they melt into gooey flat puddles, and start to brown on the bottom. Take some of the fried potato and squish that into a patty about the size of the puddle of fried cheese. Drop this patty on one of the cheese puddles as soon the puddle has started to brown on the bottom, flip a second cheese puddle on top of the potato patty, and then flip the whole thing a couple more times until the cheese has melted into the potato.

I call them St. Peter’s Latkas in reference to the latkes eaten by many Ashkenazi Jews (not too dissimilar from potato pancakes of many different kinds the world over) and the dream of Peter recorded in Acts 10:9-16.

Just as this is a completely non-Kosher dish, (dairy and meat mixed, not to mention the bacon) and therefore “breaks” the Jewish dietary laws, it also contains meat which we eat on a Friday, “breaking” the obligation to abstain from meat on Fridays.

Of course it does not really break any laws. It reminds us that just as the Jewish dietary laws have been fulfilled in the New Covenant and so are no longer binding, someday our fasts and abstinence will be fulfilled in the wedding feast of the Lamb, and so will know longer be binding on us. It will then be our duty and our joy to feast on the goodness of the Lord, and St. Peter’s Latkas are a little reminder of that in the here and now.

But now, enough about that. Let’s get to the real “meat” of the blog.

Last Friday we spent most of the day in the garden, trying to get it to grow some darn veggies. The soil was so impoverished that I ended up making the decision to break the bank. The compost bank, that is.

Of course I had help.

Two wheelbarrows of black gold later, and the garden soil is not quite so dry and dusty.

Everyone was too dirty to come inside for lunch, but Mommy provided us a delicious picnic lunch outside on the picnic table.

Oh yeah, that’s right. Friday was the day we got the pool down and filled it up. Ellie has been waiting for this for ever!

So much so that she couldn’t even wait to put her suit on when the pool was full.

And now it’s 9:00, and we are about to turn into parental pumpkins, so time for the short and sweet version…

And I am literally nodding off as I type this, so good night, sleep tight, and preemptively bite the bed bugs back.

God Bless.

Another two weeks of quarantine down. Last weekend was the Easter Triduum, which is the holiest three days in the Church calendar, which is why we didn’t Family Friday.

We aren’t letting the COVID interfere with our Rosary Rucks. We may not all ruck together, but we still ruck and say all twenty decades of the Rosary. It is needed, now more than ever. Palm Sunday we had bacon, pancakes and cheese.

Daddy improved on this admirable menu, by making a breakfast taco of bacon slices wrapped in a slice of fried cheese.

You’re welcome.

We also watched Palm Sunday Mass at St. Mary’s in Marysville, WA.

Then, of course, there were the Holy Week crafts.

Making handprint bunnies.

Dying Easter eggs.

Lots of time at home means it is time to start the martial arts training.

I think the girls took to it quite naturally.

And we have our little daily round of school and chores to keep us busy. This is a period of growth for us, as people, as families, as a society, and as a Church.

The Triduum was very strange, not being able to go to the church. We did a bit of online church hopping, as it were. We celebrated Holy Thursday at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Verona, NY. Good Friday was at Joint Base Lewis McChord, but we also watched the end of the service at St. Mary’s in Greenville, South Carolina, and listened to Fr. Newman’s inimitable speaking voice, and the masterful St. Mary’s choir singing Allegri’s Miserere Mei Deus. Then Easter Vigil was Father Mike Schmidt in Duluth. He is a very energetic preacher. Kathleen’s comment was “He talks so fast!”

Ryan was right at home. That’s how everyone talks in upstate NY, for some reason.

Easter Sunday was a beautiful day, probably the most gorgeous Easter Sunday I remember seeing in many, many years.

We started Easter presents were not really a thing when Ryan was growing up, but apparently they are in Kathleen’s family. At any rate, the girls made out like tiny pink-and-purple bandits.

The star of the show was the legendary pink tulle dress, (with pink tulle roses).

Ellie, however, had her own wardrobe accessories…

Then we had an Easter Fire!

The rest of the day was mostly just us relaxing and spending time as a family.

Monday was a bit of a surprise, because Daddy got a call at work telling him he is being laid off for the next two weeks, due to low patient volume at the clinic. Everyone is staying home, so no one is getting sick, and no one wants to come in and risk getting sick. So that was a surprise, but oh well. That’s life. We lasted longer than a lot of folks, and we need it less than a lot of folks.

And it’s time to catch up in the garden.

Our straw bale garden has been a complete disappointment. The radishes and some of the peas sprouted, and then they all dried out and withered. Then the frost we had twice this week about did them in, but I think they were pretty much done for before that.

So, then, what else has been going on? Well, Daddy worked at the jail on Thursday (someone is still getting sick!) although even that is getting slow. Then he spent the rest of the day (and a whole butt load of money) between Costco and McClendon’s. This weekend will be a day to do projects in the garden and the yard.

Some miscellaneous shenanigans:

And that’s all for this week. Finally got a Family Friday done on time! (Although it’s a double because we missed last week, so it probably doesn’t count).

Keep us in your prayers. God Bless!

Friday was a very strange day. It was like a twilight zone episode.

Of course it was Friday the 13th, if you keep track of that sort of thing (or you happen to be a Templar). It was also the beginning of some of the more drastic “social distancing” measures, as well as the day we began testing patients for COVID-19 at work, and also…

It snowed.

Oh well, you don’t get extra points for eerie feelings. The world didn’t end and the next morning, Little Sis got up from her bed while Daddy was still showering from his #RosaryRuck (Mommy and Big Sis were still asleep) and being hungry, decided to fix herself breakfast.

Naturally she chose yogurt covered raisins.

Evie has been practicing her reading. Most recently she has been mastering her list of sight words.

She reads just like Daddy did at 5. She memorizes whole chunks of books and recites them, and when she gets to a word she doesn’t recognize, or doesn’t remember, she makes an educated guess based on the first letter, and rattles on as if she were absolutely certain she got it right.

Which, of course, she is. She is nothing if not confident.

Saturday was yet another chilly day, but not so cold that we couldn’t get out and do some work. We got a box of comfrey roots in the mail and we planted them all.

We dug the holes quite deep and wide, and then refilled them with a clay/compost mix, and buried a comfrey root section in the top inch of each. Then we covered the fresh earth with some straw to keep it from freezing, since the temps were supposed to drop below freezing.

We even got around to completing the straw bale garden set up, and cleaning some of the mulch out of the garden. I dug the soil up in the center of the strawbales, down to a depth of about 8 inches, and then replaced it with layered dirt and rotted straw about 18 inches deep.

The girls did not mind at all, even though it started snowing in the middle of it.

Mommy had her baby shower (I think it is called a “sprinkle” because this is not the first baby). Either way, she and the ladies from work got together to celebrate two of them being pregnant at once.

So after Daddy and the girls finished their outside work, they came in and played a game of Qwerkle.

She hasn’t figured out how to make high scoring, multi-tile plays, yet. But she has figured out how to make sets “un-Qwerkle-able,” so now she does that on purpose. She spends the whole game blocking Qwerkles.

And thanks be to God, Father Paul held confessions at our parish so we went to that.

On Sunday we were not able to go to Mass, since all public Masses are cancelled in the Archdiocese of Seattle until further notice. Instead, we watched Archbishop Ettiene say Mass in his chapel on Facebook.

Then we had a quiet lunch of crackers, cheese, and cold cuts.

Ellie made her own sandwich.

Except for Evie, who wanted leftover Mac-Cheese instead.

Mommy was very tired, too. So tired that even Veggietales couldn’t keep her awake.

And now it is after 9:00 PM, and I have an early and probably long day tomorrow. Every clinic day has been long this week. So we’re going to breeze through the rest of this.

And that’s all for this week, folks. As we head into strange times, never forget the power of prayer.

Spring is here. Plant some trees, even if you may never see them reach their full majesty. It’s not about you anyway.

God Bless!

Welcome back to another episode of “Family Friday” in which we try our hand at musical theater.

Or, at least, Big Sissie does. She did really well at her school concert. She knew all the words to every song, and we could clearly hear her voice over the whole crowd. She has never had a problem making herself heard.

That was Friday night, a late night for the little folks, and for Mommy and Daddy too. Daddy almost didn’t make it because patients kept getting pneumonia and such, but he got there just on time. Then Big Sissie was so excited and then so tearful afterwards.

Just so much feels!

Then on Saturday we had the Big Sis Birthday Party, Take Two. That is, the friend birthday party. The other one was the family birthday party. Uncle Adam and Co got to go to both parties because Edmund and Annarose fall into both categories.

For the friend birthday party we went to our favorite pottery painting studio and rented their downstairs room, with some pizza and cupcakes, and everyone got to paint some pottery.

It was a great time, and the kids all enjoyed it. Well worth the price. And then we all got to sing “Happy Birthday” and Big Sis blew out the candle on the cupcake.

They are both growing up fast, learning to take responsibility and contribute to the upkeep of the family.

Scraping their plates after lunch.

Sunday was a quiet, stay at home kind of day. Mommy went on a quick Walmart run after Mass and picked up some thread, and a few other things. With this pregnancy, for some reason, she has started nesting early, and the unfinished projects in her sewing bag have been burning a hole in her imagination for weeks. One, in particular, was a green sweater with big, tacky, multicolored, spherical buttons. Mommy wanted to take those buttons off and replace them with some gray-green buttons her Grandma bought on clearance for $0.11 back in 1970-something, and then never used.

She was so pleased with herself for matching the color exactly from memory.

Daddy and Ellie made bread, but Daddy got impatient and did not wait for it to rise all the way the second time before putting it in the oven. This was the result:

As soon as they warmed up in the oven the crust baked hard, and then the yeast inside continued to expand and cracked the crust. Part of the problem was we had all the doors and windows open to air the viruses out of the house and replace them with new, exotic ones from the neighborhood. So the yeast did not rise very quickly. I think next time I should try the warm oven trick. Bread is a lot harder than pizza.

This birthday present from Uncle Ian and Auntie Melissa was a hit.

Any good place to read is always appreciated. However, the best place is still Mommy’s or Daddy’s laps.

We read a lot of books at our house. We have since before the children were born, and we believe it is a good part of the reason why they both have super advanced language skills for their ages. Plus it is fun, and provides a great alternative to screen time. Best of all, it gives Mommy and Daddy an excuse to re-enjoy our favorite classic children’s books.

Our new raised bed is put in, and filled. Underneath the dirt is about a bale worth of partially decomposed straw that we used to winter-proof the dahlia roots.

We’ll be sorry we moved that when the temperature drops below freezing again, but they haven’t sprouted yet, so they should be fine for just an overnight frost.

Our straw bale garden!

The straw bale garden is set up, and now we just have to finish treating it. We are going the organic route, which means the nitrogen rich fertilizer is not quite as nitrogen rich as an artificial fertilizer, and is much smellier. But it is all an experiment, and Little Sis loves helping spray the bales with the hose.

The apple trees are another experiment.

Daddy bought and read a bunch of books about apples in particular, and orcharding in general over the winter. Turns out we did just about everything wrong with our two little apple trees. So this Daddy got out and pruned them, and now he is training some of the branches that sagged from the weight of their fruit last year. We will probably thin the crop this year, and definitely summer prune the tips of the leaders to keep these things from getting any taller. All in all, however, they haven’t done too badly, for as many things as we did wrong.

And a row of crocuses that Mommy planted two years ago decided that this is the spring they should put in their appearance. The girls love them, and Little Sis keeps us well supplied with crocus blossoms in the house.

So there you have it. Dress for the weather you want, not the weather you have. Be like a crocus.

That’s all for this week. Have a great weekend, and pray for us. Keep our special intentions in your prayers, please.

God Bless!

Last Friday, when Mommy got home from work, the girls were insistent that they needed to make supper. So Mommy let them, while she went and put her feet up with a good book and a nice glass of Martinelli’s sparkling white…


Right! Because those two can totally be trusted in the kitchen, cooking, by themselves. Nothing could possibly go wrong with that plan. As always, when kids decide to help it’s actually more work for the grown-up involved.

I suppose it’s rather the same when we decide to “help” God. He shakes His head and thinks, “more work for me,” but He never discourages us from trying.

It was an outdoors kind of weekend, last weekend. The weather was nice long enough for Mommy and Daddy to get our taxes done (I know, boring grown-up stuff, right?) and then get home and get some things done outside.

It was a Saturday, of course, so that means all hands on deck.

Moving straw bales for our straw bale garden.

It’s never too early to begin building muscles. Big Sissie hauled the straw bales across the rough lawn in her little read wagon all by herself! Not bad for a scrawny little five year old!

Big Sis’s other job was picking up the residue of the green manure after Daddy mowed it down.

(Don’t worry, it’s not actually manure. Green manure is the term for a cover crop that is grown only to be chopped down and composted or mulched in place. This did not make her like the job any better.

Little Sis is only minimal help in the pushing department, as of yet. She is much better at picking up twigs.

In fact, she spent almost an hour trotting back and forth with little fistfuls of twigs until she had cleaned almost all the sticks up off the lawn and built a pile in the fire pit.

Big Sissy helped, but she only likes moving the big sticks. She gets distracted with the little ones and leaves them scattered all over the yard.

See Daddy?! I’m using my muscles!

Mommy also got in on the outside working action, insisting upon climbing up and taking the covers off the rain gutters, since, now that we have the patio cover, the rain that rushes down over the gutter cover is a bit of a nuisance.

Yes, I did let my pregnant wife get up on a ladder. Get over it. She’s pregnant, not an invalid.

Afterwards she went in and made some delicious breads. While Daddy and Uncle Adam got to work on the two main projects of the afternoon. One was building a planting box around one of the pillars of the patio cover.

Edmund is a budding young “soil relocation engineer.”

They got the footer dug out quite nicely, while Daddy worked on cutting the boards.

Borrowed the guide-clamp and the saw table from Papa, who has all the best tools. They worked great, except we still couldn’t manage to cut the corner posts to precise 45 degree angles with just the clamps and a skil saw.

The other project of the day was the straw bale garden. Daddy already had the bales out and in position, and the posts driven. Then Uncle Adam put up the trellis.

This is an experiment for us, this year, as we have never done a straw bale garden before, so we are not sure how it will go. Stay tuned. Don’t bale on us now. We’ll keep you…


The other exciting happening was the discovery that the neighbors across the back fence bought a pair of goats to mow their back yard for them. When Ellie first caught sight of them she came running across the lawn:
Ellie: Daddy! Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!
Me: What is it, Ellie?
Ellie: I so scared of that! (pointing at the goat on the other side of the fence.)
Me: Ellie, do you know what that is?
Ellie, fearfully: No I don’t.
Me: Those are goats.
Ellie: Oh! I hate goats!
Me: No, you can’t hate goats. They’re delicious!
Ellie, cheerfully: Oh! I love goats!

I guess it’s true, we fear what we do not understand. An hour later all four of the cousins were ripping up our brand new tiger lily shoots and trying to feed them to the goats through the fence.

Sunday was a very quiet, stay-at-home kind of day. So quiet, in fact, that we even watched “The Quiet Man” (our favorite RomCom, as the kids call them these days).

Daddy also fried up a mess of butter-beets… and ate them all. Turned out Mommy wanted some too, but was busy playing Pretty Pretty Princess with the two exceptionally good looking Royal Girl-Children.

When Daddy makes a snack he doesn’t…

beet around the bush! 😀

Then we had more beets for supper, along with chicken, beans and bacon (not to be confused with bacon-n-beans), and risotto.

It wasn’t until Wednesday that Daddy and Little Sis were able to get up to Deedee and Papa’s house again to cut the corner pieces for the planting box. What Daddy and Uncle Adam couldn’t accomplish with hours of puttering with skil saw and a clamp, Papa was able to show Daddy how to do in twenty minutes on his table saw.

Right tool for the right job.

And then Wednesday night Daddy and Mommy got it put together after work, just in time to rush out to Ash Wednesday Mass.

And that’s all for this week, folks. Have a great weekend. Keep us in your prayers. Have a wonderful lent. God Bless!

Another busy week done. It seems like every week is like that, completely absorbed in getting through the day with enough left in the tank to read some books, say some prayers, and put the girls to bed. Then pack the next day’s clothes, breakfast, and lunch, go to bed, and get ready to do it all over again. It reminds me of the story of the old hermit who had to walk two miles to draw water every day.

On Saturday we said “Happy Birthday” to Annarose!

She is two years old! Time for a parade!

On Sunday we went to the Northwest Trek wildlife park with some friends form church.

Flowers continue to bloom here. They seem to think it is spring, or something.

The anemone is especially pretty. However, I promise you it is not particularly warm out there. It is also very rainy. So Rainy, in fact, that we finally bit the bullet and bought a rain/sun shelter for the back deck.

Which they installed in, you guessed it, the rain.

But it will be nice this summer after New Baby is born. Mommy will have a shady place to sit and feed the baby while the girls run around in the yard.

It was time for Big Sis to make her St. Valentine’s Day cards for her classmates. Little Sis wanted to do school too.

Air soup. Very low carb.

Sorry, I am just not making profound sentences in my head right now. Probably because I am falling asleep. So y’all have a good night.

God Bless!

There was a certain old man dwelling in the desert whose cell was above two miles distant from any water. Often when he went to draw water, and the sun shone hot on him, he grew weary. Once, as he went, he said to himself, ‘There is no need for me to endure all this labour. I shall go and dwell nearer to the water.’ As he so spake he turned and saw one following him who seemed to mark his footsteps. The old man asked him, ‘Who are you?’ The stranger answered, ‘I am an angel, and the Lord sent me to count your footsteps and give you your reward.’ When the old man heard this he remembered that he had not come out into the desert for the sake of ease, but to travel on the narrow way that leadeth unto life. Then he became yet bolder in heart and more violent, and set his cell even further from the water.


Saturday was not a family day. Daddy had to work the walk-in clinic on Saturday, so Mommy and the girls had the morning to themselves. It was a twirly kind of morning.

Fortunately, Grandma Ann makes the best twirling dresses ever!

Big Sissy has been after Mommy to teach her how to sew, but we are reluctant to provide her with a small, sharp needle yet. So Mommy found her a nice sewing project to practice on while Little Sis was napping.

But in the afternoon, things slowed down at the walk-in clinic (everyone came in at once first thing in the morning, presumably to beat the rush) So the girls were able to come and visit while Daddy finished up the last half hour.

Then it was off to Winco for a week’s worth of shopping.

Sunday was much quieter. After Mass we came home to some relatively sunny weather and decided to air out the house. You know, recirculate all the viruses into the outside air, and let in some fresh outside air to replace them. Meanwhile, we spent a couple hours outside before the rain came back.

Little Sis is a much steadier, quieter soul than her big sister.

“Here some butt medicine for her ouchie butt!”

Wednesday is Daddy’s day off, so after we dropped Big Sis off at school, we went grocery shopping, and used part of the Starbucks gift cards that people keep giving us for Christmas (only way I’ll drink Starbucks is if I happen to be near one, and it’s free. Mostly I’m DEL all the way).

Mommy took some pictures of sites at work.

Of course a picture can never do it justice.
And this is for sale at an estate sale this weekend.

It has been a week of colds. We have been trading off the coughs and runny noses and sore throats for a few weeks. Tonight it was Little Sissy’s turn. She had an ouchie ear, so Daddy looked in it and saw it was infected, so it was off to urgent care for us.

But not until the girls had practiced looking in Daddy’s and Mommy’s ears.

Daddy doesn’t let little girls drive the otoscope.

And then we lounged around and watched Veggie Tales until bedtime.

Which it now is.

Good night, Y’all! Feel better in the morning. Or next week. Or at least sometime this Spring.