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Monday, July 16, 2018

July 1-7, 2018 Agnes Emergency Surgery and Giz & Grampy Arrive

July 1-7, 2018 
Agnes Emergency Surgery and 
Giz & Grampy Arrive for our Summer Visit

Hello Friends!

We tried to tidy up the house, weed the garden, and grocery shop before Giz and Grampy arrived on Tuesday.  

Honeysuckle was excited to see G&G too!!

We really enjoy their visits, all their help fixing our broken things, Giz cooking for us, Giz helping us with learning to sew, and playing UNO, Skip-BO, and Pit as much as we can each night!!!  

BTW, Grampy really schooled us this time at Skip-Bo!

Giz & Grampy:
Giz and Grampy arrived on Tuesday!!!  Yay!  They brought me up a small piece of their Peony plant.  I quickly planted it in my shady (buggy) bed in my garden.  I hope having it in a very shady, wet area will help it to survive.  Generally July and August are horrible times to transplant plants.

Grampy chatted for a few minutes after arriving and then started right in on trying to fix our broken pool.  

Grampy is 83 years old and works so hard to help.

After spending a few hours on it he had a few ideas of what could be wrong with it.  

Bless his heart for genuinely wanting to help us fix our broken pool---got to love him for caring about us.

Eventually, Dh and Dh did fix the pool and the night before they left Dd got in (green water) and swam a little bit.  

By the time G&G left the pool was looking better.

There were at least two different problems with the pool system that meant they had to go out and buy replacement parts and fix it.

This week the butterflies were everywhere and the Tigerlillies were beautiful!  But, boy do we need rain!!!

It was good for me to have the chance to discuss some of the church issue's I've been processing with Giz and Grampy to get their sage advice.  I'm keenly aware of how easy it is to let our beliefs divide us from our Christian brothers, but it is hard for me to sometimes know how to let it go of how human we all are and hold grace dominantly.

The "O RING" from the Backwash was broken and had to be replaced for our pool.  It was leaking a lot of water.

Broken AC:
Well, the last time Giz and Grampy were here our Hot Water Heater broke (in the winter), and this time (in the summer) our AC broke! 

 We'd had problems with the Geo Thermal earlier, but this was different--the actual AC.  

Grampy with the AC part that had to be removed and replaced.

Luckily, Grampy worked as an AC Man for over 50 years so he was quick to diagnose the problem.  

The fella's had to return to the repair shop that they found to buy machine parts for the pool, which happened to be an amazing shop full of parts and motors and they were able to find a replacement part and fix the AC within days of it breaking.  How amazing that Grampy happened to be here the week our AC breaks?!!!  So blessed at the timing.

Giz & Sewing:
Dd had picked out some ridiculously expensive cotton fabric back a few months ago to make a skirt out of when we'd went to buy from the sale section, but she got attached to some fabric that was printed to look like an old Atlas.  I'm still trying to get over the cost of it!  But, at least she was smart enough to wait for Giz to arrive before cutting it.  Giz had given us a new pattern that had eight different skirt options of various 'straight' vs 'flared' and four different length options.  By the second day, the skirt making was in full swing!  Dd made her Atlas skirt and then took out the Star Wars skirt she had made a few months back to re-do it with improvements.  After making two skirts they moved on to altering the dresses and skirts Dd had bought that needed changes.  One dress was about five sizes too big and they worked for hours, over two days, getting it fitted just right.  Dd even turned some of the cut off fabric into a pretty belt for the dress--quite impressive.  They made hair scrunchies on their last day of sewing and made quite a few as the day progressed.

Linen and Sewing Material:
I LOVE linen.  I had found a linen tablecloth at a thrift store for $1.00 and wanted to turn it into a skirt.  Giz took the time to show me a few things, how to lay it out on the fold, and I did make myself the skirt I had wanted!  I was SO tickled!  I've long wanted to make my own skirts but my last home economic's class was thirty years ago!!!!  

Giz had a very domestic 'homemaker' for her mother---canning, cooking, and sewing, but she herself went to college and became a nurse.  

So she isn't as keen to share all the things I'd love to know but as the years have gone by she is slowly helping me with some basic's because Dd is interested too.  

We are coming up on her being my mother-in-law for twenty years now and I'm finally getting her to show me some of these basics!  I'm persistent! 

 I guess part of the delay is that she only had sons and sharing sewing tips wasn't in her mind.  I've appreciated watching her work with and teach Dd as I have learned a lot from being in the vicinity.  Dd has always been very, very interested in music, cooking, and sewing so Giz has had to adapt to her interests as good grandparents do.  I'm keen to keep my eye out for more thrift linen!

New skirt from new material

Close-up of material

Dd had sewn this into a different skirt, she undid it and redid it to make this skirt

Dd made a belt and they altered the dress to fit Dd.

They took the sleeves and collar off this shirt and made it into this cover.


I planted Green Bean seeds in the new middle bed to extend our green bean times.  Outside the gated garden, in the newest raised beds we put together last month, I planted Zucchini, Cucumber and Squash Seeds.  I hope there will be enough time for them to grow and produce before we run out of warm days.  It is hard to believe it is JULY already.  October has been a very snowy month here in Michigan, so I hope things grow fast as we ran out of time in last year's garden.  As we are only on our fourth summer year, and still building raised beds to garden in, we get a late start on some of the beds.

I'm planning on hopefully NOT having to build any more raised beds next year, but just focusing on getting our seedlings started early with hoop houses again next spring, actually even earlier than we did this year.  I'd love it if we could start to focus on the inside of our house next year as we have really only been focused on outside things these past summers (raised beds, chicken coops, clotheslines, fences.....)

Preserving: Blanching Greens
While Dd was getting 1:1 time with Giz I decided to start preserving my greens from my garden.  Giz taught Dd how to make skirts with a new pattern and they spent days at the dining table sewing.  I'm growing a lot of kale, chard, and spinach this year to freeze for use this winter.  Last year I didn't start preserving my greens (blanch and freeze) until much later but I had wished I had started earlier, so this year I am determined to do better.  I also know now that the bugs seem to do more damage the fuller the plants.  By stripping down each plant and keeping them streamlined I am hoping the bugs won't have too many places to hide and multiply.

To my amazement, it takes around six hours to get one tray of blanched greens into the freezer.  I've found cutting out the greens in the morning works best, the leaves get droopy as the day progresses and they are most hydrated in the morning, especially after I've watered.  I harvest, wash, cut off green from stalks,

The chickens love the stalks!

 chop stalks for chickens and put to the side, boil the greens for 3 minutes, drain, put hot greens into a big bowl of ice and water until cold, 

squeeze out water and roll into log, 

cut into cubes and place on cookie sheet, fill the tray and put the tray in the freezer to freeze, put frozen chunks into a Ziplock bag, label and put out in deep freezer...done.

Still carrying Zeus up and down so he won't have to try to walk up and down the ramp.  

One night after I brought him down into the coop he wanted to go back up and outside and got up halfway up the ramp and then a seizure hit and he fell backward and hit his head. 

 I have been carrying him up and down so he wouldn't do that!!!  

Ms. Lemon

It is hard, he is still a stubborn rooster so he is difficult to wrangle.  All the rest of the chickens are doing good.  Sharona is still being broody but seems okay.  I'm still having lots of greens to give them each day.

It has been super hot, so I have four waterers for the chickens to have lots of access to water.  They also have the ceiling fan going fast inside the coop at night to help them stay as cool as possible.  I'm so glad we have the big umbrella and plastic wall to give them lots of shady places to stay during the day.

Agnes: Dd's Cat
It is with regret that I look back on the first few days of this week because Agnes was meowing and acting strange and I couldn't figure it out.  Little did I know she had decided to try to eat as much brown sewing thread as she could.  We finally realized she was seriously sick on July 4th, when the vet was closed.  She had been throwing up and not eating so we started syringing water to her every few hours and called early on July 5th for an appt.  The vet fit us into their very tight and full schedule, bless them for that!

The IV in her paw somehow made her paw swell up huge, it did go down eventually.

  The first thing the vet did was look under Agnes's tongue, where she saw the thread!  We never even thought to look there.  She informed us that Agnes would die if she didn't get immediate surgery.  Long story short---we left Agnes there with them for the emergency surgery happening a few hours later.  It was a tough, tough day.  Poor Dd had such a scare.  

We walked out of the appointment and just cried in the van.  We weren't even sure the surgery would be successful as the thread could have already ripped through her intestines; we just didn't know what they would find once they opened her up.  Her surgery took 2 1/2 hours and they had to go in five different spots to cut the thread, but it went well and the thread hadn't cut her yet.  The vet seemed very positive about her after the surgery was completed. Once we got her home I stayed beside her for most of the first two days; even sleeping at the door of the large dog crate she is staying in for now.  She is getting the best care we can provide.

Two bonfire dinners this week!

Dd using her umbrella to roast some hot dogs for those of us in the shade!


Church and Sunday School
Bible Study: Entrusted by Beth Moore

Family: This week we all watched Andy Stanley's: Guardrails, Session two.  It was really good!

Fun Reading:
The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee: Completed
Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls: Completed

Home Economics Week!!!

Sewing and Cooking for hours each day.  

They made one skirt from new material and undid her last skirt, removed all the stitches, and made it into a new skirt.  They altered two thrift store dresses to fit Dd and she made a belt to go with one of them.