Suburban Homesteading in Southwestern PA

By Stacy Artis

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August 24
    The church youth group camped out in our yard Friday night.  Rain had threatened all day, but held off and we had a beautiful night for swimming, flashlight tag and the like.  Tim built a temporary fire pit that we enjoyed so much, we've decided we're going to build a more permanent one.  I had stocked up on camp-type snacks and the teens gorged themselves on marshmallows, s'mores and mountain pies.  Yummy!  I admit I may have had a mountain pie or two, myself.  It was 3:30 before I heard the last of the conversation and was able to drift off.....until some of the boys were back up at 6:00!!  I hope my neighbors weren't too bothered by them.
    After all the teens went home on Saturday, we ran some errands then rested until suppertime, when we went to the county fair.  The kids headed for the midway and rides, while Tim and I headed for the exhibits planning to meeting them later for a bite to eat.  It seems like the midway is getting bigger each year and the exhibit area is getting smaller so it didn't take us as long as we'd allowed to look.  It was such a beautiful night we found a spot and sat enjoying a platefull of freshly fried chippers and watched the people come and go.
    Today we went to church and Tim and Matt went to the high school stadium for a bit.  Tim climbs the light poles and replaces the bulbs and does any electrical work that needs done on them.  Other than that, we've mostly been enjoying some needed down time.

August 28
    I've almost made it through the week.  Yea!  School started Monday, so that means I'm back to work driving a bus.  No major problems to report, just the usual beginning of the year confusion and running late.  By this time next week everything should be running smoothly.  It's been miserably hot this week as well.  A temperature of 85 means about 100 on the bus even with windows and roof vents open, but most of the time I haven't been able to open anything because we've been having very severe storms....gets dark as night, jagged lightening, thunder that shakes the house, wind, hail, very heavy rain, flooding and the next county over had a tornado.
    Matthew and Megan go to school at the same time this year so I have been waking them up before I leave and uttering prayers that they will get up and get done what they need to and get to the bus stop on time.  So far, so good.  Megan has even stayed by herself for the first time when Matthew had to work.  No problem there, either.  What a relief!  Whether she is home alone or with Matt, she collapses into a deep sleep when she first gets home.  The poor kid is exhausted, but at least school is going well for her.  We started her on the new ADHD drug, Strattera, before school started and it is working beautifully.  She is much calmer, less emotional and seems much more able to focus.  She is actually liking school!!
    Tim got the information on the medical insurance his company has.  They pay for him, but not for me and the kids.  It is available, but will cost us $230/month.  Ouch.  We will have to do it, though, as our income has made me and the kids ineligible for the state's free/reduced cost coverage and I have been putting off having some medical issues taken care of as it is.
    Tomatoes are starting to ripen in bunches now so will most likely be starting to can those this weekend.  I'm not sure what I want to do with them yet.
    Well, it's back to work for the afternoon runs for me.  Enjoy the last of the summer and...

Carpe diem!