Greetings!  Summer is in full swing and we have been keeping busy.  I can't believe it is July already and we are only a week away from our vacation.  Can it be six months have passed since we started planning it?
       We've been enjoying some beautiful weather this week.  After a little over a week of cooler temperatures and plenty of rain,  the warm up is most welcome and other than Monday's all-day rain it's been sunny.  I've been taking advantage of the lack of rain to get some jobs done around the place.  Here's what we've been up to.

June 26
       Cool and sunny today.  A good day for garage sales...and that's just what the kids and I did.  Tim had to work as the deadline for finishing his project is fast approaching (July 5) and he needs to be there constantly to keep the subcontractors working to pace.  He didn't get home until close to 9:00.
       Matt, Megan and I had great success at the garage sales and we discovered that Matt has a real talent for bargaining.  He convinced a man to sell him a nearly new set of golf clubs with a nice bag for $40.....much less than what he was asking.  He also picked up several Stephen King books for 25 cents each.  One garage sale we stopped at had rack after rack of clothes Megan's size.  All of it was the brands she finds desirable and "cool" and a lot of the stuff still had the store tags on it.  She and I looked through it for about half an hour and walked away with a large bag of new and gently used clothes for school for only $15!  We had a late lunch at Valley Dairy.
       Matt worked his second night at Jioio's Restaurant.  They hired him as a busboy.  He gets paid cash and all the pizza he can eat.  He loves that.  Jioio's makes the best pizza, though I have to admit it's unusual with a thin, sweet, slightly flaky crust (sort of like a pastry crust, but not quite).  People seem to either love it or hate it.

June 27
       We didn't go to church today so Tim could help friends of ours with the garage they are building.  We all went along and spent the day on their small farm.  The menfolk worked on the garage and in the afternoon loaded two cows to be sent for butchering.  We are buying a side of beef from them, but ours will be ready in September.   We are going to have to get busy about finding a big freezer.  Our two along with our friend's daughter had a grand time catching frogs and tadpoles in the pond, hiking through the woods and riding the quad.  We women prepared the meal, kept the men supplied with cold drinks and talked flowers.  My friend has flowerbeds all over the property.  Each one has a theme and many things to look at.  Some have sitting areas to stop and enjoy the view.  I get ideas from her and we trade bulbs, seeds and cuttings back and forth.  It was a wonderful day and Megan decided to stay over.
       On the drive over Tim took all the back roads.  Along one of them we happened upon a pile of stuff sitting at the end of a driveway with a big "FREE" sign on it.  Closer inspection revealed a row of 5 nesting boxes!  It was very sturdily constructed of wood and clean so into the back of the truck it went.

June 28
       Cooler today with rain off and on (more on).  It was really dark and gloomy.  I didn't mind as I didn't feel like doing much today.  I am a bit tired and a lot sun burned.  I had to go to the bank and ended up doing a little shopping for our vacation.  I needed a new swimsuit.  What an ordeal!  You women know what I'm talking about.  We are not all made like Cindy Crawford and why is it that modest and attractive don't seem to appear in the same suit?  I did finally find one I'm pleased with and even Megan, who tells it like it is, said she liked it. 
       Matthew and his friend, also Matthew, put together an arched trellis with a gate I had ordered from the Lakeside Collection catalog.  It's very nice looking, but when we put it over the front walk where I need it to support the fast and furiously growing wisteria, we found that the ground anchors pushed the bottom so far out from the sidewalk that the gate hangs at a very odd angle.  I will have to get Tim to drill new holes so I can turn those pieces out away from the walk.
       Drove up to get Megan in the evening.  She was having a great time and didn't want to come home.  She really drug it out.....catching one last frog, showing me how she could drive the quad herself, etc.  She was very calm and subdued about it, though.  I am wondering if the new ADHD med she started on last Thursday is finally taking effect because she was like this yesterday, too.  When I told her no about something she actually said "ok" and walked away.  That NEVER happens.  She always fights me on everything big or small.  What a blessing it would be if this is the medication that finally helps her.
       Tim did not get home until 10:30 tonight.

June 29
       It was really cool this morning, in the mid 50's according to the thermometer outside the kitchen window, but it warmed up quickly enough and was sunny with a nice breeze.
       I spent the morning on the computer, at the library and at the local newspaper office trying to find out for Tim how many days it had rained between March 15 and today.  He needed to know for work.  The weather has cost a lot of delays and with the deadline closing in on him I think he wanted some proof.  I didn't have much success.  All of the online sources I could find only posted records for a month.  The library didn't have this year's papers on film yet and the newspaper office only keeps two months worth of papers lying around.  When I finished with that, I came home and picked up Matt and three of his friends and dropped them off at a public golf course.
       While the boys were golfing, I cleaned out the chicken coop.  Gave it a good hosing and scrubbing....much to the dismay of several spiders and one little black mouse that scared me half to death when he streaked over my foot to avoid drowning when his hole flooded.  I scrubbed up the nesting boxes we picked up Sunday and put them in the coop and since they provide some roosting space, I moved the old roost out into the run area.  While the weather is nice my chooks prefer to sleep outside anyway.  I spread the manure on the garden (or what was the garden) and weeded the strawberries.
       Megan's soccer league had its pizza party tonight and gave out the kids' trophies.  It wasn't a very big deal but she was so excited she spent two hours "getting beautiful" to eat pizza at the soccer field.
       Tim got home a little earlier tonight, but went right to sleep.

June 30
       Sunny and warmer still.  The temperature reached 80 degrees this afternoon.  I was busy in the yard for most of the day.  Pulled more weeds, trimmed the yard while Matt mowed.  We moved one of the rabbit hutches to a new spot in the yard and turned it away from the sun.  I still tacked up some shade cloth on the one side anyway.  I also tacked up shade cloth (landscape cloth) on one side and the end of the chicken run.  I followed Kim's advice and got the loose weave cloth so air can still circulate.  Matt helped me tack the higher spots.  It doesn't look as nice as if Tim had done it, but at least it's done and the chooks have some shade.  Our plastic adirondak chairs were looking pretty stained and ugly but were still sturdy so I decided to try out the new spray paint made for plastic that I'd learned about on Trading Spaces.  First of all, "classic burgundy" isn't.  It's more of a fushia.  That's okay with me, but not be for everyone.  Second, while the paint did cover the chairs and seems to be sticking with the plastic, it sure didn't go on evenly.  The chairs look fine from a distance (or as Tim said, from work) but they're pretty blotchy up close.  It's a good thing I just have them out under a tree in the shade rather than on the deck.  Also, I'm wondering if the paint will last when they are cleaned.  Stocked up on chicken and rabbit feed.
       Supper was grilled porkchops (cooked by Matt!), wild rice, corn on the cob and salad.  Megan left afterward to spend the night at a friend's house so I took Matt out driving.  He treated me to ice cream at Dairy Queen!
       Poor Tim got home late again (9:30), but this time it was because he stopped on the way and had new tires put on his truck.

July 1
       Sunny and hot today with a high temperature around 85 degrees.  At least it wasn't humid.
       My mom woke me up at 6:30 this morning wanting to borrow the car to get to work.  Her jeep wouldn't start.  John worked on it and gotted it started and we took it to her and brought the car home.  She was glad she wouldn't have to deliver the mail in the car (her jeep is a right-hand drive she bought just for delivering mail).
       Matt mowed Mom's grass and did a good job.  She commented on it, too, so will probably give him a few dollars when she sees him.  He worked tonight until a little after 11:00.
       Megan is having a great time at her friend's and the mom called and asked if she could stay another night.  I said yes so won't see her until tomorrow afternoon.
       Tim came home a little earlier tonight and had enough daylight left to fix my trellis.  The gate still doesn't meet enough to latch, but at least it's level and I started putting the wisteria runners up it.  We lit the torches to try and keep the bugs away and sat out on the swing for a while.  We had a week's worth of talking to catch up on!  It was nice and funny to watch "Mr. Cat-hater" play with the white kitten and then deny it.

July 2
       Looked out the kitchen window this morning and saw the doors on the rabbit hutch were hanging open so I slipped on my shoes and ran out.  No Oreo.  I don't know if he was able to open the doors himself and hop out, if someone left the doors unlatched or if someone came along and took him.  I walked around but saw no sign of him.  I hope he will turn up but he's never been very tame no matter how much we played with him.  I guess I'll know he's alive and well if I start seeing wild bunnies that look like they've been crossed with a black and white Dutch.
       Matt and I are heading out soon for haircuts and maybe some lunch at Taco Bell.  We have to be back by 2:00.  Megan is coming home then and her friend is coming to spend the night here because her parents are going out.
       Tim will most likely work late again and Matt has to work late because of the holiday weekend so it will be just me and the girls.  I think I will start baking my desserts for Sunday.....lots and lots of both chocolate and peanut butter brownies.  The peanut butter brownies are so good and a favorite of everyone that tries them.  Here's the recipe:


6 eggs
3 c. white sugar
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. shortening
1 tbsp. vanilla
4 c. unsifted flour
1 1/2 tbsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. chopped peanuts (optional)

Combine eggs, sugar, peanut butter, shortening and vanilla.  Thoroughly blend.  Add dry ingredients and mix only until mixture is smooth.  Stir in peanuts.  Spread dough into two lightly greased 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 1-inch pans or three 13 x 9 x 2-inch pans.  Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Enjoy! and may you and your families have a safe and wonderful Fourth!

Carpe diem!