We had a wonderful Labor Day. We didn't get half way through our To Do list but we got a ton done! 22 quarts of green beans picked, snapped and processed! YAY! The lawn is mowed, the laundry is done, the garage got some attention (but not near enough), the storage room was never even approached. LABOR Day. BUT! The kids got lots of time and we had fun while working together. Doug laughed at the girls and I singing "Devoted to You" while prepping the greenbeans. I realized that my "babe" girls have done much much more canning than my "big" girls... and they actually enjoy canning. I told them yesterday that it's becoming a lost art and not everyone does it. They couldn't believe that not all moms can a lot of their own food. Then they teased about how sad that people have to actually eat "those peas in cans that Nana buys" instead of the ones in the freezer. Too funny. Doug and Quayd got the lawn cared for and the garden got some attention. In the afternoon, Quayd had to go to work, which is sad on a holiday, but we're all learning about growing up... responsibility, which is a good thing.
After Quayd went to work, Doug loaded up the canoe and we took a lovely drive across the valley. Our valley is about 50 miles long and it's only about 15 miles wide (my guess) and most everything is on the east five miles. The center and west side of the valley is marshy and farmlands, so it's rare that we ever drive to the that other side of the valley. It was in the later afternoon, about 5ish, so the sun was just right and it was beautiful! We ended up at the Cutler Reservoir, which we've never really taken time to enjoy. It was lovely! Check out that barn! That farmer has to have some serious personality! I LOVE IT!
Doug and the girls took the canoe out onto the water and disappeared. I'd set my book down to grab my camera and left it at home, so I enjoyed the view, taking some pix and was joined by four high school farm kids who were quite entertaining for about 20 minutes. It was nice to hear their good, clean language and to watch the fun that they were having. There were three girls and a boy, 1 Senior and three Juniors. They knew Quayd. "Oh, yeh! I know Quayd! He always holds the doors open for everyone."
ZJ loved learning how to row. Now, she and Doug think we need to buy a couple of new kayaks! Actually, it would be a great gift for Doug because he would put it to use! Speaking of putting to use, that was one of the comments Doug made afterward... "There! We used one of our toys! We need to do that more often, don't we!" Hey, we actually used the tent trailer this summer at the ranch once. I still get teased about the fact that we let the kids use it off and on during the summer, parked right next to the house, where there is internet, bathrooms and all the amenities of home because we are home!
There's a closer shot of that barn. Isn't that fun!
Doug took the girls out so that he could teach Zeej to paddle and she was just loving it! She was so excited. Grace rode on a cushion in the middle of the boat, like the princess. Imagine that!
They had a blast! Every now and then, they'd come back in my direction and I'd zoom in for a photo of them. It was just an excellent afternoon. Doug really was most excited about this. Just before Doug lost his dad in a car accident, his dad, Dale, had helped all of the boys in their ward, who wanted to, build kayaks. Doug always talks about that experience with great pride. It's always interesting to me how certain things bring back memories and joy. I think that anytime Doug gets in a canoe or kayak, he revisits that memory and closeness to his father. A gift, indeed! When we got home, he left the canoe on his van so that he can give Quayd a turn tonight. I love this man! I love that he is such a great dad!
Following the canoing, we headed home, changed vehicles and went straight to town. We were going to drop by and check on when Quayd got off. He still had two hours so we thought we would take the girls in and get them a Sonic drink. By the time we got to Sonic, we decided to go to Black Pearl for a "Last Supper" and enjoyed a nice quiet dinner together. We talked about the summer, the highlights and fun we'd had. Of course, the highlight of the summer was so much time spent at the ranch. The girls both commented on how much fun! The flood was "a good thing" because it gave us extra time with Uncle Alan and Aunt Jill! (They went up almost every time with us.) It is, indeed, a blessing in our life to have a place of such beauty and peace to escape to and to have awesome Uncle Alan and Aunt Jill! (By the way, we did bring home some Take-Out for Quayd so that he didn't miss out on all of the fun!)
And so. Our summer comes to an end. There's so much to be done in the fall. It's my favorite time of year. I've got salsa and chow-chow to make and lots of canning to still be done. There's the fall dejunking that needs to be done before the holiday decorating. There's the holidays to prepare for. The Christmas countdown now begins... 113 days! It's my favorite time of the year, this next four months! AND. There's my birthday trip to NYC!!
While sitting at the dock, I was thinking about all the goodness in our life. Like everyone else, we have our challenges. We live on a meager budget that sometimes is challenging. We have two older children that we wish we could have closer relationships with. We worry about Zaylee. (Who by the way, since I've had several questions recently, is doing well. Kelly has full custody. Their divorce is in the works. Zaylee started Kindergarten. Kelly and her have a nice little home that they are living in alone. Kelly doesn't come around or call much unless she needs us, so we don't get to see Zaylee often. It's been two months, sadly. But, they are well.) I digress. We do have our challenges like everyone else. BUT. The blessings far far far outweigh the challenges. Besides that, it's much more fun to focus on the good than be drug down by the other. Right?!
As Doug and the girls were pulling the canoe out of the water, where the only sounds we'd hear in two hours were nature, Doug and the girls laughing and talking, a nice sporty boat with a very loud sound system came from nowhere. Grace said, "Whoa. That's a nice boat!" It was and it was filled with a family full of cute kids having a great time. I was happy for them. Different strokes for different folks. Life is good. Whatever your life... LIVE HAPPY!
A negative mind will never give you a positive life.