What a glorious summer! We have been spoiled this year with most days in the 70s and low 80s with low dew points. Such a nice break after the last several summers.

Nora, Rosa, and Anna have been enjoying farm life once a week at our friend's farm. They spend the day helping feed the animals and tending to the garden.

Going to pick the girls up one afternoon, I noticed a small kitten on the shoulder of the road. I hoped it would get off the road and didn't think much else of it until the trip home. The poor thing was still wandering along the highway.

So we pulled over, Nora scrambled out, and the kitten practically ran to her. It didn't look so good. It was unbelievably skinny and it had dried blood on it's face. Not that it cared. It snuggled right up to Nora, purring incredibly loud for how tiny it was.

After discussing matters, (like not wanting to expose our own three pet cats to diseases) we returned to the farm and our friend kept him (it's a boy, you know, she proclaimed to us) inside her house. Nora proudly announced his name Feather, because of how lightweight he was and how wispy his fur was.

Our friend warned us the next day that Feather had had a couple of seizures, but we hoped he would pull through the weekend. He did. Soon he was putting on weight and loved the girls' weekly visits.

Tragically, though he had another seizure a couple weeks later, and never regained consciousness. Nora took it rather well, though. "At least he had a full tummy and love before he died." I quite agree.

Here is Feather and Nora the day we found him:

Nora holding Feather

Anna is thrilled "her" bunny, Calico, is growing healthy and strong. Here she is snuggling with her bunny:

Anna with Calico

Back on the home front, our gardens are having a good year. The raspberries were bountiful this year. Ella's favorite thing to do is rush over to our raspberry bush and gouge herself with the sweet fruit.

our raspberry bush

She has been eying our apple tree something fierce, so trying to convince her to leave them on the tree until they turn red has been a challenge!

Ella loves playing around with an I-pod Touch I won a year ago. She loves watching the Caleb and Sophia videos or taking pictures of herself during longer car rides. Some of the photos turn out really well. Her is one of my favorite of her "selfies"


I really enjoy living out in the country. We almost take for granted seeing deer, wild turkeys, pheasants, pelicans, and gorgeous scenery driving around out in service. Sometimes, though, we are still surprised by what we encounter.

a turkey and chickens on a lawn

A favorite place to go when the girls have energy to burn is the local playground. recently we went there to have a picnic and enjoy the day. I brought my I-pod in case I wanted a photo while running around after the girls. It doesn't take the best pictures, (probably because the lens is cracked!) but I'm glad I brought it. Here's Nora in the castle:

Nora in the castle

Corbin came with and brought one of his friends. Here's Corbin and Rosa:

Corbin and Rosa on the swings

Anna is our resident monkey-bar expert.

Anna on the monkey bars

Ella is an, um, active child. She is just a blur of activity when she's awake. Here she is jumping:

Ella jumping

I managed to convince the girls to walk with me to the nearby public gardens. On the way there a loon in the nearby lake kept calling. We stopped to watch it. Just as I asked the girls why they thought it was being so vocal, a huge bald eagle swooped over us and landed in a nearby tree. Oh, maybe that's why?!?

an eagle in the tree

We stood right under the tree and watched the eagle watching us until it had enough and regally took off over the lake, which set off a chorus of loon and duck calls. They evidently really don't appreciate the big guy around.

The gardens were really beautiful. Here's the girls on some rocks:

the girls

There was a rock fountain that intrigued the Anna and Ella. "How does it do that?"

Anna at the fountain rock

Have water, get wet.

Ella at the fountain

On the way back we went to the lake shore to throw in some rocks.

Ella throwing a rock

We reunited with Corbin and friend at the playground and finished off the picnic. Or, rather, the girls gave the rest to the gulls.

the girls feeding the gulls

Soon a gull-tornado briefly took over the area.

lots of gulls

We decided to head for home when a park ranger pulled up nearby. Oops.

Corbin found a cool beetle in our garden at home. We had to look it up. Turns out it's a grape vine beetle.

grape vine beetle

There are a fair number of wineries in the area, so it must have wandered over from one of them.

Our south-facing porch has gotten lots of use this year from our pets. Here's Luigi laying in the sun.


Isn't he a handsome old man?

Luigi up close

Even shy Cookie ventures out.


I thought it was going a little too far, though, when a morning glory vine ventured in.

a vine on my porch

The county fair sneaked up on us so fast this year. We didn't have time to enter any photos or artwork, but we still went. They had a little petting zoo this year. I felt for this poor tortoise who was trying so hard to get under the fence.

a tortoise

Anna hung out with the rabbits, of course.

Anna holding a rabbit

I was amused by this afro chicken:

a chicken

There is even a duck version!

a duck

and a pigeon?!?


Well, okay, his feet are more afro-ed than his head.

The girls really loved the horse barn. Nora and Rosa fell in love with a pony colt. It just enjoyed Nora's shirt.

Rosa and Nora with the pony

The kids did have time to prepare for the Lego competition at the fair. Nora received third place in the crowded 11 to 14 year old division with her pet shelter.

Nora with her build

While Corbin blew the rest away in that group with his Lego amusement park. It had a real working roller coaster and spinning ride, along with a ship ride and a power tower.

Corbin with his build

Here's a picture of the coaster up close:

the roller coaster

Caleb was one of only two entries in the 15 to 18 age group. He made a futuristic drag race.

Caleb with his build

He placed first. Afterward, a judge mentioned to him that he has managed to place first for 4 years in a row now! Here's another angle of Caleb's build.

Caleb's build up close

While Anna and Rosa didn't place in their age group, they still had a blast seeing everyone's builds. Here's Anna with her build: a rabbit. (You saw that one coming, right?!?)

Anna with her build

Rosa made a pool scene.

Rosa with her build

Thus ends my ramblings on this summer so far. One final note: The zucchini harvest has begun! Here is the first batch of zucchini bread of the year.

zucchini bread

(If you want the recipe, click here.)

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