July 31, 2009

Nebraska 2

Family reunion day started with the Gilg softball game. In traditional style there were several injuries and the game lasted till someone said "oh, I have to go now" and everyone agreed there were better things to be doing. In this case that was about 5 innings.

After the ball game Ilana and Alden joined us an went swimming. Alden was having a great time in the big pool till two waves (in a row) knocked him over, after that he was done with it.
We coaxed him into the kiddie pool and I was eventually able to drag him around the pool by his arms backwards, which was fun and entertaining. Note Alden's sporty headband to keep the water out of his ears.
After swimming I took Alden to the playground equipment merry-go-round, slides, and swings.
I didn't get any photos of the reunion meal, but here is this years family picture, minus a few people who were not available at the time.
At the end of the evening we took Alden back to the B+B for a bath. Here he is scratching his butt.

July 30, 2009


Ilana, Alden and I took a trip to Nebraska for a Gilg family reunion. We were gone from July 23 to the 29, which is the longest Alden has ever been away from home. It was also Alden's first airline travel, which did not go very well. We got stuck in Newark for 11 (eleven!) hours. We should have gotten into Omaha at 3pm, instead we arrived at 2am. The entire travel experience was trying for everyone. Below is a picture of Alden whacking Ilana as we try to get him to go to sleep at the airport.

We spent the night at a hotel near the airport and drove to Atkinson the next day with Joseph, Sandy and Geoff. On the way, we stopped for groceries. Alden really enjoyed the cart-car experience (despite being very tired) .
We arrived in Atkinson in mid afternoon and stopped off at the recreation center where the reunion would be held. Part of the fund raising for the reunion involved a silent auction. Alden and Ilana really liked the auction item below, similar to the marble game I made for Alden a while back, but more colorful and with cars instead of balls.
After we checked-in for the reunion we went to Mary Ellen's for the evening party. It was a grand shin-dig. During the party the outlaws (those married to Gilgs) sang a song. I took a snap-shot but was judging the salsa contest at the time so I can't say too much about it. Salsa for the contest was broken into four categories mild-medium-hot and nontraditional. Ilana's entry came in second in the medium category. Joseph took first in the hot category.After the party we went up to Stewart (about 10 miles away) to a B&B called the Sisters House. We were the only folks staying there and had the run of the place. Alden was very happy to have a place to relax.

July 21, 2009

Garden Lessons

Our garden is producing like mad and our berry patch has more berries then we (and our friends) can deal with. The orchard trees are loving the sun-rain mix, and only one apple and one cherry have been grazed by the deer. There was a pretty intense infestation of aphids in early summer, and the Japanese beetles are starting to come out and devour leaves, but so far that is not too bad. The rains have produced a bumper crop of slugs and snails, but our garden is growing fast enough to keep one step ahead.

Things we did this season that seem to be paying off include:

- Sending a soil sample off to a lab to be tested, and then following the recommendations to
make the pH and nutrients right (pelletized limestone mostly).
- Rebuilding the fence and burying it 6-8 inches in the ground. So far it has kept out most of the
critters adequately.
- Cutting down the big white pine which gives the garden an hour or two more sun.
- Doing companion planting, putting things that help each other grow next to each other (tomato and basil, peas and potatoes) .
- Using black mesh stuff and lawn trimmings to keep weeds down. (Using straw proved to be
stupid, as there are still seeds in it...)
Some things to remember for next year include:

- Only prune the trees in early spring (not in the late fall like some books say)
- Prune raspberry plants to shoulder height in early spring for a good yield.
- Use apple as groundhog bait.
- Liquid Fence (that stinky stuff you can spray on trees) works pretty well at deterring deer.
- Peach trees take the longest to accept spring and don't start leafing out till late June
- Squash don't start growing till mid-July if transplanted
- Chicken wire is better than string for climbing pea vines
- If fruit trees (pears in this case) start turning black at the end of the branches, prune that off. It
will keep the tree healthy and encourage better growth.

Groundhog #6, captured on July 20 outside the berry patch - transported to Peacock Beach with the rest of 'em.

July 10, 2009

Groundhog Number Five

We heard a scuttling noise under our living room window the other day and peeked out to see a young groundhog setting up shop under our steps. Damn, these rodents are invasive. Kerstin baited the trap this time with slices of apples and we caught the little guy within 12 hours. He too was relocated to Peacock Beach State Park with his siblings, about five miles down the road across a river and an interstate highway. We still need to capture the mother, currently nestled in our raspberries, but she seems much more weary of the trap and/or a crazy guy with a trash pail than her offspring. Smoke bombs have been purchased and are at the ready. Stay tuned....

July 6, 2009

Beach Day

On Sunday, the sun came out after a 4 week absence. The weather has been uncharacteristically bleak and dreary for this time of year and it's made Mainers cranky. We're not used to monotonous weather. We like our air masses fast-moving and our summer storms like a vaccination - dramatic and scary, but over quickly. Instead, we've had nothing but rain for what seems like years. Our garden has suffered as well. Any vegetables not completely submerged in the deluge were chewed into lacy doilies by slugs and snails, who have never been happier. There are dire predictions on the radio of late blight settling in over the potato crops in the County, owing to the wet conditions and tainted vegetable seedlings from Walmart and Home Depot. Fourth of July fireworks were canceled up and down the state. Weekend festivals that would normally host tens of thousands of people are drawing only handfuls of visitors. It's been downright depressing.Yesterday the skies cleared and Kerstin and I took Alden on a jog through our neighborhood. We watched everyone come out of their houses in the early morning, squinting and rubbing their eyes, but finally smiling at each other. After the run, Karen came over, brought a picnic lunch, and suggested we take Alden to the beach. Alden often takes walks with his daycare down to the harbor to feed the gulls, but this would be his first beach experience. We drove about an hour to Pemaquid beach, along with half the whole State. It was pretty crowded, but we managed to stake out a patch of sand for ourselves. Alden was very interested in the water and wanted to investigate. Unfortunately, Alden thinks about as much of sand as he does grass. This was his response to getting some on his toes:After carrying our wussy baby back to the blanket, we enjoyed a lovely picnic in the sun. Alden was careful not to stray too closely to the edges of the blanket, and was unusually easy to keep tabs on. He preferred to actually lay, sit or stand on someone rather than on the blanket. My theory is that he was disquieted by the sensation of sand moving under the blanket and wanted to put even more distance between him and the dreaded stuff. It was both funny and annoying. But we still managed to have a nice picnic and some folks even managed a little siesta.Afterward, Karen and I thought we'd try this beach introduction thing again, only this time with shoes. This went over much better. Alden LOVED the water, even though it was really cold. He went in up to his waist and I think he would have gone in much deeper if we'd let him. He managed to get about 4 pounds of sand in his shoes and bathing suit, but oddly didn't seem phased in the least. We even took off his shoes after a while, and he was still happy to jump about in the waves barefooted. As we headed back, we watched him closely to see how he'd fare. At first he had a great time and really enjoyed watching the big kids run up and down the beach. We made it halfway to our blanket before he realized his predicament, lifting up his feet as if from hot coals, and picking at the sand in between his toes while chastising it with a stern "No no!" Such a strange kid. Anyway, it was a successful introduction to the beach and a great day. Assuming we get some more sunny days this summer, we'll definitely be back.

Driving Violations

Alden's behavior behind the wheel has really deteriorated. We caught him drinking and driving (above) and driving while texting (below). He also occasionally drives backwards.... I'm not sure what the Maine laws are relating the this. He's going to get his license revoked if he doesn't watch himself, but I guess that would mean we'd have to give him a license first.