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"We have nothing to offer each other, except a haven." — K. Nafziger

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Summer

Summer draws to a close

This week it has become clear: summer is quietly leaving the Laurel Highlands. I’m not sure how it made it this far unnoticed, but there it is – more browns, more yellows, less greens. Ordinary Spouse has noticed that the birds aren’t singing like they did two months ago.

The camp isn’t quite as busy as it was in July. More relaxed. More free time. The Laurelville staff made it to a Pittsburgh Pirates game about two weeks ago…

Our chariot awaits!
Our chariot awaits!

Staff, friends and families piled into the bus and off we went. I took Oldest and Middle Daughters. Youngest Daughter would have liked to have gone… for about the first five minutes of the game. Instead, she and Ordinary Spouse hung out at Mammoth Park for the evening.

This was the first time that I’d been to PNC Park. It’s beautiful…

PNC Park panorama
PNC Park panorama (Warning: huge picture!)
Pittsburgh at night
Pittsburgh at night

Here we are at the game…

Middle and Oldest Daughters
Middle and Oldest Daughters
The three of us
The three of us (Thanks to Brian for this picture.)

And here’s the Pirate Parrot…

The Pirate Parrot
The Pirate Parrot

Alas – the Pirates didn’t do so well, a fact underscored frequently by the world’s greatest player-manager who happened to be sitting right behind us. After the sixth inning, with the Pirates trailing the Dodgers 2 to 5, we went out for some souvenirs. While we were out, the Dodgers scored another four runs. On the positive side, we didn’t hear much from Mr. Player-Manager after that.

The final tally was Pittsburgh: 3, Los Angeles: 9, and sleepy girls awake way past their bedtime: 2.

The final score: 3-9
The final score: 3-9

Last week, the Westmoreland County Fair was our destination on one of my days off. I love local color! We spent a good chunk of time checking out the animals…

RabbitsI have to say I was a bit disturbed by the trophies showing a cooking flame behind the animal…

Grilled chicken?
Grilled chicken?

In addition to the animal judging, there were competitions in fruit, vegetables, toys, photographs and paintings, baked goods, sewing… on and on. I’m already thinking that I need to work on some marmalade for next year.

The rides were popular with the girls. I was glad that we could pay one price for all of them, instead of paying per ride.

I just watched (in my cool Roberto Clemente jersey from the Pirates game)…

Me at the fair
Do I look like I could be from Western PA?

And I include this picture of a painting on the merry-go-round, because I know that Ordinary Spouse loves it:

Merry-go-round painting - Yikes!
Merry-go-round painting – Yikes!

I was fascinated by all the fried food:

  • Oreos
  • Cheesecake
  • Pickles
  • ¼ lb Bologna (I can hardly stand the thought of that one)

Honorable  mention goes to the chocolate covered bacon. I’m not sure whether that qualifies as fried or not.

In the end, I tried the fried Oreos…

The verdict? I could handle eating one every year or so.

And finally, a view of the Westmoreland County countryside, just ’cause I think it’s pretty.

The Westmoreland County countryside
The Westmoreland County countryside

Celebrating the beginning of summer!

Summer is here! It started on Tuesday at 12:16 pm, Chicago time, for those of you keeping track of such things. Me? I am apparently one of those who “keeps track of such things”.

And of course, summertime means that school is out! But Ordinary Mommy is tricky! She disguises school as a celebration of summer and a scavenger hunt to the park.

Here is what Middle Daughter saw in our backyard:

And here is Oldest Daughter’s completed scavenger hunt page:

The funny thing is that Oldest Daughter didn’t really want to go for a walk. But once she started finding things on the scavenger hunt page, everything changed.

Youngest Daughter didn’t want to fill out the sheets, so she wrote a poem:

She stopped writing before she had recorded the entire verse. In its entirety, it goes like this:

How do you know I love daffodils?
I just love, love, love the daffodils!
How do I know I love daffodils?
I just love, love, love the daffodils!

(According to Ordinary Spouse, they were actually day lilies. But that’s ok.)

A seasonal poll

It’s been a while since the last poll, so it’s time for a new one. This one is easy, but if the answers don’t apply to your current locale, feel free to add your own.

P.S. If you’re so inclined, leave some comments explaining your choice!

Good-bye to summer, part 2

One week ago, my family released our last butterfly of summer. Last year we only had one or two, but this year we probably had about fifteen grow to maturity in our house.

Here are two more fun pictures as we continue the process of bidding farewell to summer…

Last day of spring: first day of Summer…

Summer (our monarch caterpillar) emerged from her chrysalis this morning. Oldest Daughter checked on her condition early in the morning while Summer was still inside. Sometime in the next hour, Summer made her first grand appearance as an adult. Here she is after Ordinary Spouse took her outside to warm up in the sun.

Waiting for Summer

Last year in August, I shared about our pet monarch caterpillar, Stripe-ilicious. This year, Stripe-ilicious’ great-granddaughter came to our house, and we adopted her. Her name is Summer.

This is Summer when she was a baby:

Then, at the end of last week, Summer changed into a chrysalis. Ordinary Spouse captured this cool video:

(Maybe my recently retired Ordinary Biologist Father could view the video and then answer the pressing question: “What happens to their eyes?”)

Anyway, Summer is now “hanging out” in the kitchen. If she follows Stripe-ilicious schedule, we may see her emerge at the end of this week.

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