There's no place like home.

There's no place like home.
Home is where my husband and I reside; wherever that may be.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Just another day in paradise

The tenor of my days, of my whole life it seems, is a song written with a healthy spattering of sharps and flats.  The sweet chirping and chatter of little voices is the undertone that carries the song from morning into night.  While the bass accents of husband and son keeps the tune from being too high and airy by adding their rumbles to give the whole song the push that sends it into eternity.
Loads of stone taken from the fields may be heavy and seem a daunting task at first until two little boys are added to the load.  Their voices and enthusiasm seem to make everything possible and the job almost seems to do itself.

Tractors and their rumbles remind us that without a healthy rhythm to carry the day along our lives would seem far too flat.

Punctuate it all with little boys and little girls having a good time.

And grandpa's being silly and giving rides and the tune is well rounded and one that will stick in your head and heart long after the silliness goes to bed.

Of course no song would be complete without a little experimentation and what could be better than some spirited little boy pretend and an awesome weapon.

For nap times and prayer times lets add a walk in the wood complete with birdsong and the sighing of the wind in the trees.

Plant all those things in some fertile soil.

And up will sprout healthy little boys

With lots of energy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Finding healing in growing

One of the most persistent things that I missed while down south was the color green.  By those who don't know it is often assumed that because of the warm weather the south land is automatically green and lush all year long.  This is simply not true.  I discovered that, except in the mountains, where we lived green was prevalent in the spring and fall when the temperatures were more moderate and there was more frequent rainfall.  Otherwise the most prevalent color was brown.  How I longed to be home where, though you pay the price for all this green in sub-zero temperatures, long spring, summers, and autumns are lush and green.

When we got back these are the sights that greeted us. Because Ian had to have a big digger come in and put in a drain away from the house piles of dirt and stone sat by the former gardens and dared anyone who had the energy and imagination to restore that area back to its former beauty.

Enter the woman who is starved for green, hard work, and home!!!!!!

Little by little with lots of help the piles have been smoothed out. The weeds have been banished to the compost bins, and the perennials are being encouraged to flourish.

MK built this wall around the horse radish and tiger lilies and tucked the gladiolus bulbs into the earth to await their time for blooming.

On Mother's Day the fountain got it's annual dose of bubble solution and Layn got his chance to play in the water.  

Already the beds are free of weeds, there are piles of fresh topsoil and horse manure for renewing the earth, and the palates have been readied for the strawberry plants.

The hostas around the deck and the hydrangeas are looking lush and the garden furniture has been invitingly placed so that visitors to the garden can enjoy the view.

Even the early crops of lettuce and spinach in the cold frames have greened up and are inviting passersby to take a taste of the coming warm weather.
Once the ground dries out a little from the latest round of showers it will be time to tuck in seeds, mulch the walk-ways, and pull up a chair to watch things grow.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The more things change

I recently read an article about the lives of mothers who are raising all boys.  The author wrote with a touch of whimsy and a spirit of camaraderie with other women who spent their days in the unique atmosphere that boys create in a home.

As I read my mind went back to my children's growing up years.  Though I don't technically fit into the group, I have one daughter along with five sons, there is so much about raising boys that resonates and can be summed up in a few short phrases.  
Boys and trees. Not their mere presence in life but rather the challenge that they present.  My son, Adam (above), is 29 and he still cannot ignore a good climbing tree.  Never could and probably never will.

Boys and chainsaws.  My husband is running a chainsaw to do some tree trimming here and we had all we could to keep Layn at a safe distance.  Notice that the photographer (me) was at a more than safe distance.  As long as I have known Doug the fact of a chainsaw in his hands has spelled doom for any stray branch, limb, twig, dead tree, whatever he may deem cuttable that enters into his sight. The younger generation is just as susceptible. 

Boys and large equipment!  My husband may be a man, look like a man, act like a man, and speak like a man but put him near a truck, tractor, loader, or any other kind of large equipment and he is all there!  I didn't have to ask him twice or even finish my sentence when I asked him about pushing up a load of horse manure for the garden.  He even graciously left me with the first bucket load full!

Boys and water! 'Nuff said!  All through their growing us years I cannot remember a time that I didn't pack a change of clothes for the whole crew whenever we went anywhere where water figured into the equation.

Boys and old plain old dirt!  I have shoveled it, swept it, scraped it, changed diapers full of it, and rinsed it down countless drains.  The beauty of all these experiences is that I would do it all again in a heartbeat!

Monday, May 18, 2015

C'mon to my house

Since returning to Upstate New York life has been going at breakneck speed and it's just the way I like it. I am a firm believer in having children play a large part in my daily life.  Even now that I am a grandmother I find that being around Layn Christopher on a daily basis helps to keep my mind active and helps me sleep better at night because I am tired from moving and serving my family rather than from being bored and looking for things to do with my time.
Last week I had a whirlwind trip to Tacoma, WA to see my new granddaughter, Evie for the first time and to witness her birth into the Catholic Church.  

I was also able to spend time with Adam and Maryanne and to celebrate the upcoming birth of another Kraeger grandchild.

Ian, as the godfather extraordinaire was also present and what a pleasure to be with my sons as they caught up on all their news.  

Uncle Adam took this opportunity to get in a little future daddy practice with his niece. Miss Evie surely loves to be with her daddy and uncles.

On the home front my heart is full of the little things that make up our day to day life. Such as Layn's stone skipping lessons courtesy of his grandpa.  

Layn's imagination grows by leaps and bounds. Sunday afternoon he spent a large part of his time with a corn stalk "sword" patrolling and protecting his family from such dangers as dragons and shotguns.

Watching the neighbor disc and plant his corn is always an important aspect of a farm boy's life.  I'm not sure that this job can be properly done without a little boy spending some time watching.
Uncle Ian keeping Evie happy before the start of her special ceremony.

Ryan and Kathleen renewing their own baptismal vows.

Uncle Ian and Auntie Danica vowing to renounce Satan on behalf of little Evelyn Therese.

Probably my favorite picture from the whole trip. The feelings of pride that I experience when I see my grandchildren brought to the altar of God is something that cannot be expressed in words. May the Lord bless and keep Miss Evie. May He make His face to shine upon her and give her peace.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I should be working but...

Each day I rise and, with little exception, the fabric of my life is woven with the same activities.  Greeting the grandkids, husband, and daughters.  A cup of coffee and morning prayers outline the mundane bed making and room cleaning chores that anchor my world.  Of course there are those things that are particular to each day that help remind me that Monday is the day with the morning hour of adoration, Tuesday is brightened by and dotted with pictures of Savannah and Kaycie at gymnastics, and so on.
This morning was no different though it included the plan to hang bedding on the line, take a walk in the AM and then get to work on the 6 little girl dresses I cut out yesterday.  That was before National Grid took control of my day and adjusted my plans.  No electricity means no sewing, internet, ironing, second cup of coffee, or any other activity that requires that which we take so for granted.  My long walk, however doesn't take electricity so off I went to visit old friends.

The Veronica is up and beginning to bloom on the verge of the road along with the Dog Toothed Violets.  I am always amazed that the yearly application of salt and sand seems not to inhibit their growth at all.

The Vinca, in spite of the snow last week, prospers and is beginning to show it little violet flowers as well. I also discovered this single bunch of Daffodils tucked under a scrubby apple tree along the road.

Mr. and Mrs. Goose were enjoying the bounty of the soybean field across the road and did not hesitate to let me know that I was not welcome to their feast.

Though we have acres of woods and beautiful paths to walk the neighbor down the road has given me permission to walk his trails as well.  These tangles of wild grape vines are the fascination that draw me to his stretch of woods.

Their persistence in growing and thriving speaks to my soul and the constant effort that life exacts to prepare it for a heavenly reward.

This morning I came across this brave tree that lives and stands sentinel to its strength regardless of the barbed wire that has girded its middle.

Closer to home the Forsythia is trying its best to bloom though chill winds continue to blow.  That bush was planted 32 years ago by my husband and I and it lives today.

The hops are up and taunting me that now their growth will far exceed my ability to get their arbor built  to contain them.

And the asparagus are beginning to poke their heads up through the soil.  In a very short time we will be enjoying fresh from the garden goodness.

Oh look what sprang up from the field! Sadly Jason will be back today from spending the weekend with his family and will have to leave to go back on the road. How I miss all my chicks when they are away.

The Blessed Mother stands her sentry still and provides all who wish it a quiet place for reflection.  The trumpeter vine and the climbing rose behind her will green up soon enough to shade and bloom and let all know that God is sovereign and makes all things new.

This ash tree is coming down for good this year.  This ancient giant has provided a place for imagination and fun for both my husband and children for many a year.  Ian and Doug have thought and considered about how to bring it down properly without sacrificing a chain saw to its load of nails, bits of chain, wire, and fence parts.  They have decided to use the backhoe and hopefully it will be pushed over the hill behind it and come up by the roots.  Fare thee well old friend.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

I exceeded my carbs today and I don't care

Since we moved back here I have been following a ketogenic diet with success too I might add.  To date I have dropped 21 of the 45 pounds that I intend to rid myself of.   This plan is teaching me a lot about myself, the way that my body works, and, most of all, the effect that many of the foods that I eat and used to eat have on my health.  More than all of that, though, my attitude about eating and food is changing.

As I daily remind myself about what is truly important in life, the people I love, those that I encounter on a daily basis, and the influences that we have on each other, I am learning the true place that food should have in my life.

Food is a pleasure that I certainly have spent too much time indulging in over the years.  Though I still feel compelled to search out the first asparagus spears of the spring I can honestly say that an anticipation of enjoying a meal of their tender goodness didn't fill my mind so much as the wonder of their sprouting through the icy coldness of a New York Spring.

Being healthy and active to participate in the imaginings of this little boy is far more palatable than any feast than I can imagine.

Yet when the morning light reveals a visit from this son of mine I realize other lessons that I have learned as well.  That I can eat in celebration without over indulgence or false guilt.

After all food is one of the ways that this family comes together and expresses itself and why not? I have learned that just because I am happy that my son is here for a visit is not an excuse to be self-abusive or over indulgent.  Sure I exceeded the number of carbs that I am allowed a day.  But I am pleased to say that my excess was all in allowed foods.  My final lesson is that in the aftermath of this indulgence I realize that I am no failure, the choice to eat was mine to make.  Tomorrow is a new day to continue on with my new way of eating and there is no guilt in what I have done.