That long weekend…

Memorial Day.

Where everyone thinks summer begins. For me it is a quiet day. The last two weeks have been hectic and the rest of this week will be much of the same. Last week saw two retirement parties. Three teachers and one staff member. Oh, and contracts to sign. Lots of contracts. On Wednesday, we have two 8th grade graduations and the last days of school. Then just a modicum of quiet.

On the home front, we made a little progress on the garden. Dan hasn’t been feeling well, so I wasn’t able to accomplish as much as I’d like. Maybe next weekend. We did do some changes in the house though. Dan moved his ‘office’ back into the ‘lab’. He just wasn’t getting enough work done. He was getting distracted and spent more time watching things with Morgan or disturbing Morgan with “Look at this jet engine run!” than he did work. There are days I am so happy that my office is out in the Wendy House. 🙂

I’ve been doing some sewing as well. I’m working through the repair-tailor pile and then it will be on to the Battlemoor clothes! Only three more months! 🙂 I’ll share photos as I get things done.

Oh, and we are cat sitting. My parents are off to Denver for a few days. Zoe is such a sweetie. 🙂

Now back to that quiet…

Graduation 2013

Today was John Mall High School’s graduation. For a small town, it’s a big event. 31 seniors graduated this year. The center of the gym was filled with their families. Aunts, uncles, dads, moms, siblings and children. In the bleachers are all the friends and community members. Up near the stage on one side was the Board of Education and honoured guests. The staff and band sat on the other side. Morgan went with me and was up in the bleachers, watching a ceremony she skipped by going to college at 15.

At 10:30am, the band began to play Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance. Band has only recently returned to the district, and they will get better. I watched people flinch at the wrong notes at the same time they smiled. The seniors filed in and filled the seats on the stage to the sound of hoots, whistles, cheers and clapping.

We listened to speeches. We watched our foreign exchange student receive an honorary diploma. We clapped and cheered as scholarships were handed out for merit, public service, educational excellence and for overcoming obstacles.

We laughed and tried not to cry as the power point program shared pictures of the students as babies and then seniors. We smiled as it shared goofy pictures of school events as well as Prom, Homecoming and everyday classrooms.

Then it was time. As board president, it’s my duty to hand out diplomas to the students and shake their hands. I’m the point of transition from student to graduate. 31 nervous students. 30 hot and sticky or cold and clammy handshakes as I handed them their diplomas and wished them well. One diploma was handed out by a former board member to his niece. He thanked me for letting him honour her, and tried not to cry when he shook her hand and gave her the diploma.

Then it was over and caps flew in the air. They were graduates. All these young people celebrating their achievements  Some so tall when I remember them in diapers. Others so grown up, and poised.  As we moved out of the gym, we shook hands with friends, chatted with people and felt the collective sigh of relief.

And Now…. the heat.

Am I going to complain? NO. We’ve had some lovely rain, and right now it is trying to rain, even though it isn’t hitting the ground. We are working on getting use to Celsius temperature readings, so my atomic clock says that it is now 33C outside. (about 92F) A little warm, but much nicer than -12C. (10F)

On Mother’s Day we did a bunch of gardening. Keep in mind that our yard is Still a construction site. I just get more bits and pieces piling up. On Sunday, we made a tire garden out front on the steps to block access. Before you think I’m crazy, you need to understand that those stairs slant Downhill! They are a danger. So, we are blocking them and adding new steps to the side where everyone walks already. The first two pieces of wood are in place and the steps will be finished in the next week. We plan to add terracing and more herbs out front as well.

In the back, we fixed a piece of fencing with a piece of the old gate. It isn’t a perfect fit, but looks like it has been there a while. We opened up the rest of the gate area which will help the lilac bush.

Then we started building the potting bench. It’s an old cupboard that we’ve attached a door to that will eventually be painted and have a roof. Right now, it works well. On top of that, we repurposed a chunk of old gutter. We’ve attached it to the fence, filled it with dirt and planted lettuce seeds and onion seeds in it.

In the back, where we moved the old tin fence 90 degrees, we have built a raised bed. I added some paving  bricks and will be building a second raised bed to the south of that. Once we got that done, we fell into our chairs and collapsed. It was a great, long busy day.

Here are the pictures… Citronella on the front porch. The bulls head planter, green tire with mint, stairs, raised beds, and potting bench.

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May Blizzards…

Well, nearly. We had snow yesterday and a few flakes today. I know I’ve groused a bit about all the snow, but the weather changes have really caused my parents and Dan pain. The flip flop between the weather cycles plays havoc with their arthritis. Plus, for the first time since we left England nearly 20 years ago, I’ve had pain in my hands. sigh…

The last two days of April were in the 80’s and Dan and I did some major construction work on the back yard. We are getting ready to put a green house in along with a few other bits and pieces. Yes, we are doing more work on the Wendy house. 🙂 I have a ceiling fan to go in for summer breezes and winter heat management. We are going to add a composting toilet to the Wendy house as well.

The weather this year has not been kind to the two houses or the yard either. The winter winds blew down the fence to the point where we had a choice. Trash it or move it. We chose to move it. Now that the stone work is done, it looks like it has always been there. When it warms up, I plan to hit it with some white spray paint and then decorate it. I’m thinking flowers or something sort of art deco. I’m still thinking about it.

As soon as the ground is dry-ish, we will be re-digging the trench and laying water pipes. We are planning to run water for the Wendy house and the green house which will be to the SW of the Wendy house by about ten feet if that. Once the pipes are in place, we will begin to level the ground for the first keyhole garden and green house. We spent half a day playing with various layouts. That of course was after Dan loaded up Visio. 🙂

We have been discussing reusing anything and everything we can in the yard. We have lots of building materials and there is a cabinet that I’m going to turn into a potting bench. It has drawers and shelves. We are going to use one of the old doors for one side, old curtain rods and a shelf for a bench and some corrugated roofing from the shed for a roof. Then I think I am going to apply liberal amounts of paint in loud colours. 🙂

Here are some pictures of how things have changed over the last eight years. Yes, progress has been slow, but the budget has been $0.00. The last pics are of RedTom, our cat and Brandy our dog, irises, etc.