Monthly Archives: June 2012

~ Rebar and Rakers ~

Both Varmint and Critter were allowed to invite a friend to the beach this summer.  Varmint and her friend, Megan, both tweenie-boppers, have begun the girly-girl thing.  They play sweetly on the beach, in their room in Pop-pop’s Beach Cottage, or walk to town together to buy important items like sunglasses or flip-flops.

Critter and his friend, Richard, however, are much more productive with their time.  These are boys on the verge of man-hood, folks.  They can’t afford to sit idly with unpurposeful play.  Like the Spartans who trained for war from infancy, these boys are training for life.  When playing on the beach, they build protective bulkheads out of sand.  When in town, they are in reconnaissance mode, searching for the perfect frozen custard (It’s Kohr Brothers, in case you’re wondering.) And when in their room at Pop-pop’s cottage, they engineer.

There are bunk beds in that room.  Every boy’s dream for the foundation of a fort.

The seeds of structural engineering, the infancy of architecture, all begin here, friends.  Do not doubt it.

And they are professionals.  They don’t mess with an amature’s shores, struts, or braces. They don’t need rakers, cables, or rebar.  They thumb their noses at post-tensioned tendons.

No Sirree.  They don’t need those things at all.


They have masking tape from the kitchen drawer.

An entire roll that has to be at least 20 years old.

But it works.  It works well.  Especially when you use all of it.

I promise you they built a masterpiece.  Complete with roof.  Composed primarily of fleece blankets, cowboy sheets, an empty TV box and bunk bed frames.

impenetrable for the most part; they take no chances.  You never know when the teenie-bopper girls might want to crash in.

So they take the proper precautions.

Painstakingly printed and spelled correctly.

But just in case that doesn’t stop the girls, they have other fail safes.

I won’t expose their booby traps, but I will tell you that the girls would do well to mind their own beeswax.

Besides, I wasn’t allowed to take any further pictures.

I don’t have the proper clearance, apparently.

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~ Attack of the Killer Yew ~

When spending a week at PopPop’s house at the beach, we were attacked by not one, but two killer Yews.  We had no choice but to subdue them in order to save ourselves, and any other hapless passers-by.

This required the help of all hands on deck.

I submit to you, Item 1:

The Kingpin Yew.  The scourge of the yard.  Other aliases: “Knee Scraper,” “Bunny House,”  “That Damned Bush.”

Item 2:

Jr. Kingpin Yew.  Other aliases: “Bug Haven,” “View Blocker,” and “Privacy Screen from Hell.”

The first assault came from My Captain, armed with nothing but my wimpy electric girly-girl hedge trimmer, SPF 50 sunblock, and his natural good looks.

It wasn’t long before reinforcements were called in.  Critter charged the flank with an antique metal rake, usually used to move gravel, with reports that the rake itself weighed more than he did.

It became apparent to Critter in very little time that he had chosen the wrong weapon.

Meanwhile, My Captain had moved forward, charging the Kingpin, itself.  He braved sustained oncoming traffic with an average speed of 10 mph, and a sunburn, as the battle raged.

Soon casualties began, with Critter sustaining Yew Shrapnel injuries through his crocs.  Varmint was called in as medic and also as the Auxilliary Containment Sargeant At Arms.

It’s a serious job, but one to which she was honor-bound.  She was not about to miss her opportunity to make the anals of history in the unprecedented Shrub Clash 2012.

The battle consumed all available troops.  Everyone fought with honor.

“Really, Mom? All you are going to do is take pictures?”

“Son, throughout history the press has been an important venue for the public at large to learn the importance of our military.  This is no different.”

“So, Yes, then?  That is all you are going to do?”

“Yes, now get back to work, Private.”

And ultimate Victory was sweet indeed.

Until next year, you evergreen scourges.

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~ The Little Mouse At 2am ~

Goggy made goulash for dinner last night.  You know, Goulash?  It’s that great American staple of noodles, beef, and tomato sauce.  She adds corn as her own little twist on it.  It’s fun because we can all play ‘First Corn’ afterwards.  Never played ‘First Corn?’   Check out this post to learn how!  ~ First Corn ~

Everyone ate their fill of that goulash, which she had lovingly served alongside her famous Frog’s Eye Salad.  Fear not!  No frogs were blinded in the making of it!  It’s a kind of tapioca and marshmallow and mandarin orange recipe from the ’70’s.  The kind of recipe that makes you crave watching The Price Is Right, and Bonanza.

And she also served fresh peach salad.  THAT was the bomb, I promise you!

As we were clearing the table, Papa said he thought the leftovers would make a good meal tomorrow.  I quipped that it depended on whether or not a little mouse visited the leftovers at 2am this morning!  Everyone laughed.

But darn if I didn’t wake up at 2am precisely, and darn if I didn’t go straight to the leftover goulash.

Now I am sporting a rather uncomfortable bellyache, I can’t sleep, and it’s 4am.

And I’m feeling a little bit guilty.

And bloated.

But at least I’ve got First Corn to look forward to.

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~ Not My First Rodeo ~

It was a rainy morning at the beach, and I had two children, two grandparents, and My Captain stuck in the house.  There was no question of “fend for yourselves” in this particular case, unless I wanted to deal with a cacophony of whining.  I also knew, from experience, that any suggestion I made would be met with, “I don’t Waaaannnnnnnaa!”

So I got smart and simply pulled out a puzzle, knowing full well that if I started it, they would all come.

This is what it looked like an hour later:

and this:

and this:

I would draw a couple of things to your attention:

1) The women were not in this picture because they had found other things to amuse themselves with.

2) It is no longer raining outside, but the men have not noticed this.

3) The manly men are working on a 500 piece puzzle picture of sugary gumdrops and candyland.

4) The manly men are working on a taffy striped tablecloth.

5) No one is whining.

6) No one looks up when they hear a picture being taken.  Why?  Because this puzzle is THAT important!

Some challenges are too good to pass up, especially for manly men. I knew damn well what I was doing when I opened up that puzzle box.

Hey, this ain’t my first rodeo.

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~ The Unholy War ~

We live in the midst of an unHoly war.

And my garden is the innocent collateral damage.

We have aphids.

And since I don’t like to spray poison on the land that lays atop our well; and since I don’t want to threaten the sweet little critters like chipmunks and birds that count on me to keep their habitat clean; and since I don’t have a left-sided, mathematical brain capable of figuring out how many parts per tablespoon of beneficial horticultural oil I would have to spray to rid my yard of aphids,

we have employed those combat-ready but still loveable-enough-to-grace-a-nursery-room-wall, often male, dispite their names….


We bought and deployed several hundred of them, actually.

And as we sat out on the deck tonight, eating our whole wheat pasta and peppers, mushrooms, and onions sautéed in Burgundy wine, we realized we were in a war zone.

We could almost hear the crash of wings, the gnashing of teeth, the crunching of jaws.

And we shuddered.

Then we went on to finish our meal with a fresh fruit salad, which included raspberries from Grandma Jane’s orchard.

We’ve adjusted to the violence, apparently.

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