Hooray for help

Hooray for help! My sister is coming over tomorrow to help me disassemble more of the wood frames and get the boards loaded in the dumpster, and will be back Saturday for more. This weekend, my brother will also be up, to help with getting up the crap we gathered from when we put up the first run of a fence up between us and Redneck Neighbor, including digging out some mystery equipment that’s half buried back there – it looks like a piece of an engine, to be honest, but really, since people used the back of the property as a general dump, it could be anything. It’s like a treasure hunt, except it’s all crap and not worth anything. When my other brother was here a few years ago, he and I filled two dumpsters with junk we collected from the back end of the property. You name it, it was there: car doors, bikes, used baby diapers, broken dishes. We found the bottom spring frame for a bed back there, but it was buried so deeply, and in such an odd location, that we weren’t able to get it out. Looking at what I’ve done by myself thus far, we may need the dumpster folks to haul this one off and drop another for us: you never really realize just how much space you’ve devoted to gardening in raised frames ad how much original material there is until you start tearing them down to rebuild them with better material.

Once all the wood frames are removed – and I have to say that I’m looking forward to the first instance of a Florida wood roach crawling out as we’re pulling frames and hearing my sister scream like a girl – the metal frames will go up in their place. Then: time to top them all off with a mixture of topsoil and cow shit from the two mountains that we had dumped by the rear garden. Alas, I think we probably won’t reach the start of that point by the end of the weekend, given everything else, but I have two months before the season really starts here, and I, with or without help, should be able to top everything and get my irrigation lines relaid before it’s time to transplant.

Moving right along

We’ve been motoring along here.

The chickens, at just over three weeks, continued in their baby dinosaur phase.

Baby chickens

Mostly, like any babies, they ate, slept, pooped, and required frequent changes of their dirties.

A new puppy, just in time for my sister’s 29th birthday, and my 40th.

Einstein sleeping

He – Einstein – sleeps quite a bit, too. But only after he’s been running around like he’s on puppy uppers, playing as only puppies can.

We were also awaiting the arrival of yet another baby, who would continue that time-honored tradition of eatings, sleeping, and pooping.


Fortunately, she held off on making the birthday party really lively.

My sister and I had been letting our hair grow out so we could then have it cut off and donated to Locks of Love. We had decided that would be a fine birthday present for both of us.


That turned out well.

Aubs after a trim

Although for some reason – and we didn’t realize this until well into the evening during the party when my sister pointed it out – mom and I were wearing the same color. Must be that whole spring thing.

Birthday 2008


I don’t believe I have ever attended a baby shower. This occurred to me while I was editing the pictures from the festivities. I know I have never cooked for one, although this is not something tremendously different than, say, cooking for thanksgiving or memorial day or any other holiday. A bunch of people, with varied tastes (some don’t eat pork, there are a few vegetarians, and so on), all gathered around to enjoy one another’s company.

There are times when people think I’m exaggerating the size of the family. Thanks to my sister’s impending newborn arrival, almost the entire family was gathered together. This is rare, as everyone has their own set of obligations elsewhere, and it’s difficult for us all to get together in one place. But since everyone adores Gabrielle, they came. This is the immediate family, their significant others, and their kids. Three generations worth of people.

The fam

By my count, there are 31 bodies there. Add in the other, non-fam people who showed up for the party, and you have 50 people in the house.

That’s a lot of people.

The massive amounts of food will be in another, separate post.

Cleaning house

Or at least some files. Being able to take a bazillion shots with a digital camera means there are a bazillion images to sort through “later”. And by “later”, I mean “at some point, probably, when you’re bored out of your mind, taking a break from answering tickets and doing server/network maintenance, and have turned off the tv and disabled the news crawl on the computer screen because it’s all about Heath Ledger dying”. That kind of later.

Awhile back, I had posted a picture of our spidery neighbor, who hung around the front of the place all season. That spider put up a couple of egg sacs and then promptly did what spiders do a few days later. Died.

Dead spider

The eggs are still up there for now, although we’re probably going to have to get rid of them.

Newton likes the organic veggie juice that, coincidentally, my mom also likes.

Newton likes the juice

I’ll add that while I will eat after the dogs when they have had something off my fork, mom refused to drink after Newton. Sissy.

Funny face

And finally, say hello to my nephew, due in a couple of months. Yours truly will be cooking for the gaggle of girls appearing on the doorstep here for the baby shower.

Baby boy