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Archive for May, 2014

May 25 2014

Abby’s Speech

Posted by Dale @ 10:19 pm in Family,school

May 16 2014

All Hail the Commonwealth

Posted by Mugs @ 11:31 am in Family,school,Sightseeing

Zeke’s fourth grade field trip was a tour of the Virginia capitol and governor’s residence in Richmond. We went on a beautiful day and had a wonderful time.

Statues of all famous Virginians – there are many – were everywhere. My favorite statue was of Robert E. Lee appearing in the old hall to accept his commission as general of the armies of Virginia. This quote from Lee appears below the statue:

“Profoundly impressed with the solemnity of the occasion, for which I must say I was not prepared, I accept the position assigned me by your partiality. I would have much preferred had your choice fallen on an abler man. Trusting in Almighty God, an approving conscience, and the aid of my fellow citizens, I devote myself to the service of my native state, in whose behalf alone will I ever again draw my sword.”

The capitol building was designed by Thomas Jefferson. The Virginia seal “sic temper tyrannis” is displayed throughout. Zeke asked me what it meant. I told him, “It looks like ‘we step on people.'” Realizing I needed to brush up on my Commonwealth knowledge, I looked it up. It really means “thus always to tyrants.”

The governor’s mansion was filled with unique historic items including paintings of Pocahontas and a table belonging to Patrick Henry. As with all my tours of historic Virginia homes, I was more impressed with the gardens than the house.

The best part of the tour happened in the house of delegates. The sergeant at arms conducted a vote on a proposed bill. Zeke’s friend, Emma acted as the Speaker and the class sat as delegates. One student had to propose a bill, the other students debated it, and then they voted. The bill was a proposal to conduct school on Saturdays. When the debate opened, Zeke’s hand shot up. He stood and presented his argument that if the students had to go to school on Saturdays than they should be allowed to have longer Christmas, Easter, and summer breaks to make up for the increased school hours.

The sergeant at arms looked at him in shock and said, “I think we have a future member of the house of delegates. That was really good.”

When the kids voted, Zeke chose to invoke rule 69 “no member who has an immediate and personal interest in the result of the question shall either vote or be counted upon it.” He abstained, but the other kids voted it down.

The sergeant at arms then told the kids about the house of delegates page program where 14 year old boys and girls from Virginia work as pages during the Jan – Feb session.

Emma and Zeke can’t wait to turn 14.

May 15 2014

Attack of the Inch Worms

Posted by Mugs @ 10:53 am in Family,Nature

Inch worms are descending in mass from all the trees around my yard. They attach themselves to my van, my plants, and my shirt. Every time I come inside, my children will point out an inch worm crawling on me.

Initially, I smiled at the amusing bright green critters squinching along to get where they were going. Then they arrived where they were going – the buds on my roses. Next, they stopped to have a tasty snack.

Thus began the great inch worm war of 2014.

For the last three days, I have been cutting off the buds they have snacked upon and disposing of any inch worm I can find. Their certain demise must come without warning, for when they detect me moving the leaves, they descend in a hurry on their silken threads and hide.

Because the Don Juan climbing rose has really fat buds, they enjoyed many a meal on him. With only a few buds remaining, I am now on Don Juan watch.

The inch worms also had a feast on the New Dawn climbing rose. The rose is near the trees from which the worms descended. Because the rose is too tall for me to reach, I have allowed them a battle victory on New Dawn. I have considered climbing a ladder and hanging precariously over a very thorny rose to chase inch long worms, but so far my common sense has overruled my battle frenzy.

All my roses are set to bloom within the next two weeks. Inch worms gorge for a month before forming a pupa and becoming a moth.

I’m not certain how long my common sense will prevail.

Dale would tell you it fled long ago.


May 13 2014

Garden Thug

Posted by Mugs @ 10:23 am in Family,Nature

The wisteria has been blooming for two weeks now in all it ephemeral beauty which enraptures those who are not in a constant battle with its thugish nature. Every day while driving to pick up Zeke from school, I look with amazement at an abandoned house strangled by wisteria vines. Its lovely purple blooms trailing down the rickety fence and rotten wood.

“That’s what you’ll do to my house and garden, if I don’t beat you back,” I tell it while I’m hacking away.

The wisteria just chuckles and bides its time. It knows it will outlive me and the house. Some day, there will be no one to stop it. It will unite with the trumpet vine which was completely removed two years ago. (The trumpet vine refuses to acknowledge its removal from my garden and pops up here, there and in the bed of despair.)

I thought I had the wisteria in check this year, and then I saw it blooming on a shrub in my neighbor’s yard. It had sent a vine under the ground, under the fence and up my neighbors shrub twenty feet away. It thinks it can escape me on the other side of the fence, but it should know better.

May 09 2014

I’ll Grow Where I Want

Posted by Mugs @ 1:03 pm in Nature

Long before my arrival in our garden, Mr Shaw spent 30 years planting trees, shrubs, flowers, and vines throughout the yard. Some plants have gotten moved. (I rearrange plants like my friends rearrange furniture.) Other plants have stayed in their assigned spots.

Some plants, like columbine, grow where they want. Mr Shaw planted columbine, and each year it changes color and location. The only thing I know to expect is that it will be in the front corner bed growing in and amongst the sedum and the lilies.

I always leave the baby plants alone in the spring, and let the mother plants go to seed. Each spring, I look forward to my columbine treasure hunt.