Saturday, August 30, 2008

Faces of Farm Day 2008

Finally (eindelijk), I have finished up all the Farm Day pictures (400 saved and put into albums)! Don't ever tell me that a Gemini never finishes anything. HA!

Anyway, in one of those in-the-middle-of-the-night flashes, I started seeing all the close-up faces of the chickens and said to myself that that would make a fun post. And a second later, I started seeing in my mind's eye all the close-ups of the kids. HA! Why not make a post juxtapositioning the two!

The following chickens are part of The Farm album ...the artsy pictures I took:

The biggest of the 3 albums is The Tribe album, full of the family, old and young alike. Here are a few faces of the younguns, who always steal my heart. They're all growing up way too fast!

And of course, the favorite of them all, grandson Nicholas (now 8), who can almost do no worng, you know! I've already shown you the Nicholas album. This was his very first Farm Day and will never be forgotten.

So, there you have it. Just some of the faces of Farm Day 2008!


Switching gears! Donica and I flew home from Amsterdam on Wednesday so that Donica could probate her mom's will, finally. Yesterday we met with a realtor and potential buyer for Mom's house south of Atlanta. Our hopes are high and our prayers are fervent that we can get this monkey off our backs. It would be"just like God" if the will was probated and the house contract written and a buyer committed in the space of 2 days! Who ever would believe that in a hundred years! We'd love your prayers for this kind of "miracle."

Donica flies back to Amsterdam this afternoon for a short week, coming back next Thursday. And I will continue weeding the yard!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

This Magic Moment

As I burst into song (with Diana Ross' voice singing in the background--scroll down and click on the arrow next to #12), and while I still work on the myriad photos from Farm Day in Michigan a couple weekends ago, here's a very "magic" interlude for you! (And yes, we're still in Amsterdam!)

It had started to rain just before the tribe (37 of us) gathered around to eat supper. But even before the end of supper, we were able to go back outside. Suddenly, our tummies full, we all saw it. Off in the distance, the double rainbow!

But because that blasted telephone pole was in the way, we with the cameras (nephew Paul, sister Ruth and myself) ran behind the sheds to the open fields to get a better view.

Because I was the slowest of the bunch, I got to capitalize on Paul and Ruth shooting the bow, so to speak!

There was no longer the double arch, but at least there was nothing obstructing the view.

Then it was gone but the magic moment and magic hour lingered. We all just reveled in it. Don't you love how the kids follow suit! They hardly need to be taught what's important. They just watch our excitement.

Once everyone was gone, I lingered some more...and leave you with this self-portrait!

You can't pay for these things. They just happen and you have to make sure your eyes are open!

"Sweeter than wine
Softer than a summer night"

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Nicholas at Farm Day 2008

When have you ever known me to NOT be able to keep up with life at its fast pace! Well, now may be it! Because believe it or not, Donica and I are back in Amsterdam (this time for a month) but are still living in the glow of Farm Day last weekend in Michigan.

This was our 3rd Farm Day in a row at sister Ruth's and Don's farm. Every year it becomes bigger or better or more memorable, as family members gather for one Saturday every August to experience what we've all decided is genetically inside of us: FARM.

This year there were 37 of us (as many as when we're all at the family cottage over July 4th!). And THIS year Donica and I decided to take grandson Nicholas (age 8) with us. We wanted him to experience FARM! So while I work on all the other pictures, here is a post of Farm Day as experienced by Nicholas, covering the span from Thursday evening through Sunday afternoon.

All day Friday was a day of preparation before the rest of the family (read cousins) arrived on Saturday. Nicholas followed Uncle Don everywhere, helping to feed the chickens their grain...

...and the garbage scraps from meal preparation.

And of course, Don and Ruth's son, Peter, was also part of the follow-around mix!

Even Lesley's beau, Brian, got in on the action as Uncle Don instructed Nicholas on how to load and shoot a BB gun, aiming at a quail egg set up in the fire pit. (Don't worry, Amy and Dennis! I watched the entire thing and they were very "cautious" about the whole thing!)

Then all the sports stuff had to be put up, like the Badminton set, with Lesley.

And sand had to be tossed for a nice play-pile for the wee kids...

...and cookies needed to be made (again with Uncle Don) for the entire clan.

In between all the hard work, there was plenty of down time, of course, with games on Uncle Don's computer...

...and even some coloring. You may remember from a couple years ago that Nicholas is an expert colorer. He still loves to do it, as an art form!

Then the tribe arrived, little by little, around noon on Saturday! Aunt Susan had to line up the older kids since she just got a new camera and had to test it out. Nicholas was the oldest, by 2 months!

Then he had to show all the cousins around, since by now everything was old hat for him. The rabbit (which Uncle Don was "babysitting" for one of his students)...

...and the quail! If you asked him what his favorite thing was, I'm sure he'd say "The quail!" At every whip-stitch he wanted to go check on them and see if there were any new eggs hatched (3 or 4 new ones several time a day). He picked them up (the quail) and petted them and even kissed them Good-Night!

There was badminton...

...eating (of course)...

...swimming in the hot tub...

...and playing Nintendo with Eli before the last of the family left for home.

It almost makes me tired to think of everything he did during such a short span of time! He got home to Atlanta Sunday night just in time to go to bed...before school started the next day: THIRD GRADE!

The photo album of just Nichoas at Farm Day will put more flesh on these bones. But these images here give you an idea of why we go each year and why THIS year he went with us.

THANK YOU once again, Ruth and Don. Here's to another fabulous experience of FARM!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


YUP! Donica celebrated her BIG 5-0 last month while we were in Europe. So we waited till this past Saturday, when we were back in Atlanta, to celebrate with her family and my kids.

It was my gift to her and the family to order the whole meal and cake so that no one would have to do anything. And it was wonderful.

The twin nephews came down from Tennessee with the family and helped devour the BBQ from Shane's Rib Shack. You don't get much better BBQ than that: pulled pork and chicken, ribs, corn on the cob, potato salad, slaw and baked beans. Oh yes, and unsweetened tea. Welcome to the South!

Believe it or not, Donica barely got both candles blown out in one breath! Maybe she shouldn't have made such a big wish?

But little Joey confirmed her carrot-cake choice, with cream-cheese frosting, of course. Exactly what a diabetic wants and needs. But who's asking! She can have anything she wants for her BIG 5-0!

It was family time for everyone who could come.

Including my son Mark...

...and daughter Amy, who (along with Dennis still in LA) gave Donica a fabulous pop-art, Andy-Warhol-style photo collage of wedding pics. A keepsake to last forever!

Can you believe that I had the foresight to keep MY BIG 5-0 banner from 13 years ago (before I knew Donica!) and used it for HER birthday. And everybody signed it! I think that's cool! I'm so glad I thought of it! :)

The party started at 2p at cousin Theresa's house on Swan Lake. It's such a great place for reunioning because there's so much to do...besides talking....

...and fishing...let alone eating!

Then Uncle Joe took some of us for a pontoon boat ride around the lake, like he always loves to do, so I got in some photography time, much to my delight.

The geese skipped all over the lake, in celebration...

...and the dragonflies hung on for dear life. Time is just too brief, you know.

It wasn't just another birthday. This one will change her forever because NOW she is a legitimate AARP card-holder! HA! Congratulations, Donica!! Here's the photo album of your day!