Friday, June 27, 2008

A Bit of Progress

This is how our back yard looked a month ago. There were no leaves, and Z was weed-eating the rough section we are working on.

This is how that area looks now, after I've rototilled it twice. It rained for 2 weeks steady after the first time I tilled the yard. This week it finally dried enough to till the yard a second time. The chunks of sod sprouted more grass, so Z had to weed-eat the area again before I could till it.
This is how us "poor folks" landscape our yards. Each time, after I finish tilling, I shovel dirt from the high areas to the low areas. Then I let the newly turned soil dry out before I till, and shovel, again. Eventually, the whole area will consist of loose, rakeable soil that can be sloped to drain properly. Then we'll be able to seed the area and tamp down the soil. We don't have a lawn roller, so we tamp the newly seeded soil by walking on scraps of plywood.

We've always had kids, dogs, and a variety of wildlife in our yard, so we never use poisons. The only fertilizer we use is compost. We have never watered our lawn, except for newly seeded areas. For these conditions, we choose grass seed that's a mix of perennial ryegrass and clover. Within a couple of years, native grasses usually take over the seeded areas. That's fine with us. We're not "lawn Nazi's", who have to have a pedigreed lawn. If it's green and comes back every summer, we're happy. We just endured a 3 year drought, and our lawn was always green, even though we didn't water it. An added bonus is the bunnies and bees love the clover in our lawn. With bees on the decline, this is a huge plus!

We also never worry about dandelions. Our summers are too short to spend them poisoning or digging up every dandelion that pops up. What I find really amusing is that our lawn has fewer dandelions than the lawns of all the people that are fighting them. Relax, and enjoy the cheery yellow. Besides, with our economy, we all might be eating dandelion green salads, and drinking dandelion wine before long.

I couldn't resist taking a picture of this lovely cartload of compost. What a load of loamy lusciousness!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Bad Blogger!

SME and Doug are safely back home following their wonderful 3-day visit with us. The love, laughs, and hugs we shared will have to hold us until we can all be together again. *sigh*

I had SME and Z, begrudgingly, pose for pictures while they were here. The last picture we have of just the 2 of them was taken when Z was 4. I took a lot of shots, but the picture above is the one we all liked best. We're going to frame an 8x10 of this picture for my Mom's birthday. Now, I just need to get Z to pose for some semi-formal solo shots. The picture of him, that the whole family has framed and carries in their wallets, was taken when Z was in the 6th grade! I definitely think that we'd all appreciate an updated picture to display.

I also tried to get a decent picture of SME and Z with our 3rd "kid", Hairry. Unfortunately, Hairry just wanted to play, and wouldn't hold still for a picture. The above picture is the only shot I got of Hairry holding still. The kids look great, but this is the worst picture I've ever seen of Hairry! SME says that Hairry looks like he's drunk.

I'm hoping that I'll be able to get back into blogging regularly again. The last couple of months, we've been trying to get our household semi-organized again. We've actually been "semi" successful at this endeavor.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

A Joyous Reunion!

Last weekend we interrupted our outdoor chores for a most joyous reunion. Our goddaughter(SB) stopped by for a visit with her 2 1/2 yr old son! My post of 9/15/05 explains the circumstances of Thor's birth. A LOT has happened to SB since the birth of her son.

As I expected, SB called us when Thor was 6-months-old. Thor's first few days on earth were spent wired to machines in the neonatal intensive care unit. SB spent every minute she could beside her newborn, willing him to live. Thor gave SB the focus she needed in her life. From the moment he was born, Thor's life became SB's #1 priority.

Throughout the following 2 yrs, SB would call me every couple of months with news of Thor's progress. During this time, SB sought help for her bipolar disorder, with devastating results. SB is SEVERELY bipolar, with accompanying psychosis. The only meds that worked for her had extreme side affects. The meds she was taking had a chance of destroying her organs. Every 2 weeks, SB had to have a needle biopsy of her liver. The doctors warned SB that she shouldn't get pregnant again, as she would have to quit the meds. Without her meds she would more than likely have to be institutionalized for her own safety.

A couple months later, SB called to say that she had moved 3 hrs away from her BF. BF had told her that she wasn't the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with, but she was welcome to live with him until "someone better comes along". SB said "No thanks!", and moved in with her aunt and uncle in Duluth. Within a month, BF was literally on his knees, begging her to come back to him. Their relationship is still rocky, but BF is a devoted father.

A year ago, SB called with more bad news. Thor's development didn't seem right to her, so she scheduled him for a complete battery of tests. Thor is "marginally" autistic. SB immediately enrolled Thor in a daycare program for autistic children. She and BF have taken all the classes available that help them work with Thor at home. Despite her dyslexia, SB has read everything she can find on autism. We are soooo proud of the way SB is working to give her son the best life he can achieve! Early intervention will make all the difference in this little boy's development!

During one of our chats, I convinced SB to contact her Grandma(my Boss). Boss eventually persuaded SB to re-establish her relationship with her Dad and BF's Mom. Last month Thor's grandparents got to meet him for the first time. This led to SB and Thor making the trip up here with her Dad and BF's Mom. All of us are ecstatic to have the family reunited! BF still refuses to communicate with his Mom, but we're all hoping that he will come around eventually.

I, too, have extensively read up on autism, so I didn't know what to expect from Thor. Imagine my amazement when SB walked in the door, with Thor in her arms, and Thor immediately smiled and reached his arms out to me!! Tears of joy ran down my cheeks as Thor wrapped his little arms around my neck in a hug!

The hug didn't last long as Thor wanted to get down and explore our house. Thor doesn't talk much, but he is addicted to Old McDonald. Eyi-eyi-oooo, is his mantra! Thor is a highly intelligent child that loves to draw and will sit quietly paging through books and magazines. He has autistic "meltdowns", but SB handles this with patient efficiency. We're all sooo proud of the magnificent mother she has become, and the amazing difference she has made in her precious son's life!