Father’s Day

I drove to Peninsula, Ohio to meet Maud-Hart-Lovelace (Betsy-Tacy) discussion group friend of many years, Marlena, at the Winking Lizard Tavern.  Marlena and her son Ben were in this area because Ben is beginning law school at Case Western Reserve University in the fall. Marlena had expressed interest in the National Park and I figured this might be a good place to meet.

FnF Marlena Boggs and I at winking lizard in Peninsula with Ben Sparky

My daughter Alice suggested they might go across the train tracks after lunch and visit Century Cycle with a view to renting bikes and biking down the towpath. They did make it there, but Ben, who had told me that he knew from personal experience that it is possible to forget how to ride a bike, was saved by a sudden downpour.  They visited a ranger station and had what Marlena called a nice “brochure tour” of the park and later found their way to Brandywine Falls.

FnF Marlena Boggs june 2017 at Brandywine Falls

It was delightful to meet Marlena in person after years of only cyberspace meeting, and I hope there will be more times together in the future. It is her theory that we have all learned about how to be a good friend from those Betsy Tacy books.

On my way home I was touched and surprised when I stopped at the little country cemetery where my husband is buried and found most of my kids and grandchildren planting marigolds on Paul’s grave.

Here is a memory of Paul and me from the year we first met. (Aren’t those milk and bacon prices amazing!)

Paul and I courting

Mulberry Pie!

Remember a few posts ago when I mentioned that my daughter Alice and all four grandchildren were over and picked some mulberries? They returned today, and gleefully picked more. Alice did not have as many as she hoped for, and it is tricky picking them around the fallen tree. (The neighbor who is going to cut this up and move it away for me is in bed with a very bad case of sciatica. I do hope he will feel better soon. That’s really painful!)

But there was enough to bake a small pie. Actually, it looks to me like what I call Clafouti – a crust rolled out and the fruit filling placed in the middle and the edges of the crust pulled up to hold it all in….They did enjoy it! And apparently I have a stand of volunteer black raspberries (not blackberries and not bramble berries) which may be ripe in a week or so. Alice is wondering whether she should cover it with a net to keep the birds away.


*Alice says not a clafouti, more like a rustic galette.


Alice june 2017 mulberry Pie 3Alice june 2017 mulberry pie 4

Alice june 2017 mulberry pie 5 clafouti.JPG


Dog Days?

They are here too soon! We’ve been having the sort of weather in the high 80s and low 90s that I associate with August. Officially, it isn’t actually even summer yet! But we will manage! It’s supposed to cool off a bit in a week or so….

weather heat wave june 2017

More news on the wildlife front – For a time, Alice was unhappy with four baby skunks she often saw in her yard…..Then two of them seemed to disappear. This morning she was the dead bodies of the remaining two, killed by some sort of other animal which didn’t eat all of them. A larger owl is about the only creature around these parts who will eat a skunk. So we are not quite sure what happened, but Alice is not sorry they are gone, and now triple bagged by the garbage. They were living under her breezeway! There were skunks there last summer, too, and the “fragrance” was not at all desirable.

Pepper was finally able to have her first haircut! No one will give puppies a grooming until they have had their rabies shots and now she has. I think she is really cute! And she seemed to enjoy the event.


Pepper june 2017 first haircut 1

Pepper June 2017 first haircut 2nd pic

Pepper has one of the friendliest personalities of any dog I’ve met, though all our dogs were pretty friendly.

Perhaps a day in June with grandchildren?

Alice was going to come over this morning with Nathan and Stephen. Knowing this, and that Emily is out of town this week, I invited Sofia and Clara to come over, too.

It was lovely! Alas, Nathan could not come over. He has a serious virus along with his ear infection. His lungs are quite affected and he is on steroids, antibiotics and breathing treatments every four hours. But he’s under a doctor’s care now, and resting well.

Alice and three grandchildren arrived and we had a day which included a bit of wildlife.  When Alice put up the umbrella on the deck table, she discovered a very small frog under it. When Stephen came over to see it, the frog jumped onto his shirt. He was somewhat surprised!

Alice june 2017 Stevie with frog from umbrella

We noticed that the mulberries were ripe on the black mulberry tree and the kids raced over to harvest a sweet snack.

Running around the jungle of my back yard, we discovered the roses which have climbed again into the lower branches of the crab apple tree. I love this, and last year I thought the entire tree had died and the roses, too.

Alice june 2017 roses in crabapple tree

Then inside to watch some of the new Inspector Gadget episodes which they all love, while calming down for lunch on the deck – hot dogs with ketchup, mustard and pickle relish on some very fresh buns.

(There was also a lot of drawing and some origami going on.)

I finally think I have everything planted on the deck. It’s a cottage garden deck with flowers, vegetables and many herbs. The famous four of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme were there. Also, two sorts of lavender and lots of chives…..I need to get that mint from Alice again, our favorite which grows down by the dock at Chautauqua…..I have rue. and Baptisia, two sorts of sage and Salem rosemary, testing its ability to withstand an Ohio winter, curly and Italian parsley, English and French thyme, silver thyme, lemon thyme, and my new favorite – Orange Balsam thyme, from the southern Ohio nursery called Companion Plants.  They have a great selection and I have to restrain myself! I am only gardening on the deck, really. But I do have three tomato and one pepper plant…Perhaps I need more peppers!

Alice june 2017 deck 2

Alice june 2017 my deck 1

This is a favorite corner with the apple tree behind. But we need to prune back the branches even more….They are making a sort of bridge to the deck which we think the ground hogs are using. One morning that geranium by St. Francis was knocked over with a pot of soil which spilled all over!

While we were eating I noticed the baby fawn in the yard, looking as if it also wanted to see what Inspector Gadget was up to.

Alice june 2017 deer in my yard when kids came for lunch

In other news, Alice was able to buy a second hand Cricut machine from someone in the Revere mother’s group. I’d never heard of this, but apparently it can be used to make stickers from vinyl and you can get many fonts to use with it….She worked on a sign for Fern Lodge, something we’ve been talking about for years.

Alice june 2017 fern lodge sign

Alice cut out the wood for the sign and painted the background and the ferns but used the Cricut for the letters. I really love it!


Serendipity……..My blog is more of a little diary of what’s happening in my family than an expression of deeper thoughts.

Yesterday, dd Emily flew off to Nebraska to be trained in the use of an expensive piece of equipment her lab acquired for her research. She had to take the rather heavy bit of equipment with her, and the training will last a week. But she was surprised when it turned out her cousin “little Susie” was on the first leg of the flight with her. While her husband and oldest son, who just finished first grade, were on a father son cub scout camp out, little Susie and youngest son Will had come to our neck of the woods to visit her parents and her brother Tom and his family. A lovely way for Emily to begin her week.

Alice and her family had a wonderful mountain bike hike yesterday in the new Akron Metroparks Hampton Hills trail

Stephen June 2017 hampton hills signStephen June 2017 mountain bike trail Hampton Hills..........

It was only about a year ago that Stephen learned to ride his bike without training wheels.

In the evening they were going to have a fire around their fire pit, but it was too wet with the overnight rain. So they improvised and enjoyed their S’mores party on the deck.

Stephen june 2017 smores party on the deck



Today is the first day of summer vacation for my grandchildren….Of course, it becomes a busier time for parents. But a joyful one, I think.

Nathan and Stephen and their dear Mother, dd Alice, were here this morning. Stephen who has just finished kindergarten used the loppers on some small trees and picked up garbage from the driveway. (The steam launch and its building seem to generate an astonishing lot of this.)Nathan used leaf blower and broom to clear off my deck, and helped me bag up pots that will not be used. Andy carried out the umbrella for the table.

Usually there are field days at the end of the year, and Stephen had a wonderful time at his, but Nathan was disappointed. The sixth grade field day was rained out, rescheduled, and rained out again. And then the year was over. Alice enjoyed helping at Stephen’s Field Day.  He’d been telling me about it for a few weeks ahead of time and I’m really glad it was all so much fun for him.

Stephen may 2017 field day photo 1

Stephen may 2017 field day photo 2

Stephen may 2017 field day photo 3

The sack race and jump rope events are probably familiar to everyone, but the middle picture may be less so. Each team has a big sponge. The bucket at the beginning has water in it. The runner fills his sponge with water, runs to the second bucket, empties the sponge out, and runs back to pass it to the next team mate.

I’m not there. Andy was not able to go, though he was there last weekend helping put in the dock….Emily and her family were here and there was a market at Howe Meadow where Ingmar sold his wonderful baked goods…

But Alice and her family were at our favorite lake, at our own Fern Lodge. I think they are coming home tomorrow because of the  poor weather reports, but today seemed to be perfect from what she told me and the photos she shared.

Alice calls the Point Chautauqua “my happy place”. Well, she is not the only one who feels that way.  It is a magical part of our lives.

Alice May 2017 memorial day weekend at the Point

Here are two brothers and a little white dog on their way to do some fishing….

All of us owe the joys of this place to my late husband who had the vision to believe it could happen, and put in the years of very hard labor restoring this 1879 cottage, (with wonderful help from family members, especially some super nephews). And his extra consulting work paid for the materials. Plus, our timing was good. We bought this cottage before the next upsurge in popularity of the Chautauqua Institute across the lake brought the prices up again. It was and is an amazing blessing since we were able to live here three months a year. Paul used to say, “Make no small plans”.

Paul loved to kayak and this has been passed on in the family. Alice is delighted that Stephen especially loves this water sport.

Stephen may 2017 kayaking near the dock

Stephen may 2017 kayaking a bit more out

And they managed to have a meal at one of their favorite Bemus Point restaurants, The Casino – where there is no gambling, but it is possible to dock at the restaurant and eat outside. This is a great photo of Nathan and Mike. I can feel the happiness.

Nathan may 2017 Bemus Point Italian Fisherman I think

It is hard to believe summer is here already. Of course, officially it isn’t, but Memorial Day Weekend feels like the beginning to me. Now is we could just have a bit warmer weather, without plunging into too hot right away.