Home is where my Heart is. This has been so since a windy day in October nearly nine years ago.
It's strange to now have a place of board and batten-- a Home within a home. God has given me many unlooked-for material blessings in the last year, but I can say with straight-arrow Knowing that if He took it all away tomorrow, I'd still be overwhelmed by the better good He left behind in the shape of John and the girls.
Thank you, Father, for a home. Thank you yet more for my Home.
We're at the end of a wonderful week with our Owen family in Long Island. John and I went on two (two) dates by ourselves (alone), we all swam in the ocean, and we were spoiled with attention and much too much good food. We will be sad to leave tomorrow but glad to return to the hilltop where swallows dip and swoop, their tail feathers decrescendos and crescendos as they enter and leave the upper coop, where an evening jog takes me to the crest of the hill, and I find myself suspended in the center of a colossal balance, the setting sun a vast orange weighing down the west and the moon a silver plum weighing down the east, and where the chores and tasks and joys of home are waiting.
*Actually, we leave today! I've nearly pulled an all-nighter to post all these snapshots. Now that's dedication... And for Sandra the Delurker, welcome! I love lurkers delurked! I don't have internet connection at home, so John's iPod is no use to me, but I'll strike a deal. If five people de-lurk in the next week or so, I'll hie me to a computer somewhere and put up another post in the next few weeks. (This is akin to Abraham pleading for Sodom and Gomorrah...a long shot.) Otherwise, see you all in December!
** Nine months worth of pictures is an awful lot.
Millie and Annie received six free tickets to a local baseball game as a reward for reading books that they would have read without incentive. (How I love reading incentive programs...) John was going to take some of the men he works for to the ball game, so we got to watch as a family, with a few extra family members...
The home team lost.
We didn't care.
There was a spectacular fireworks show afterward-- the best I've ever seen at close range. I let Susannah take the camera, and we came home with dozens of pictures to delete.
Here's my favorite, saved from deletion for a place of shotsnaps honor.
Half-lab, half-hound. After much searching and several pups that fell through at the last minute, my brother Andy, unaware that we'd been looking for just such a dog, surprised us with a free delivery. God hand-picked him for us, and he's cute enough to make old woman cry.
Meet John Wayne.
Lord willing, you'll see a lot of him on here in the next few years.
I could ramble for miles about this man. I'd tell of his friendship and love, his forgiveness of faults, his mean dish of scalloped potatoes, his storage of socks in odd places, the funny things that make him really grumpy...
I could ramble for miles with this man, and with hope I pray that we have years ahead to do just that. May our children and this new baby grow into adulthood and watch us enjoy each other still, like wine aged with the perfect balance of dry and sweet.
Until all the worlds end.
She was much older than babies usually are when their mothers decide they need washing, but our house was so cold, and I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Do you think the Inuit give their babies baths before winter's over?
(Snapshots taken by Heart.)
Several weeks after I took this picture of Laura sleeping peacefully in Mildred's outdoor house of the day, we found her inside the sprawling forsythia on the lawn. Her already compromised head was sodden with rainfall and dew, blackened by mildew, her body likely in the last stages of rot.
Apparently, Susannah had been trying to steal her, so Millie surreptitiously slipped her into the forsythia for witness protection.
I made the mistake, in the midst of Mildred's woe, to carelessly say that she might be in a state too degenerate to save.
There is no despair like a mother's despair.
And there is no love like a mother's love.
This little mother worked very hard to right her wrong.
Here's the happy ending.
Ah, yes. Just as good as new...
These are nothing special, but I love how the fairy godmother suffers from indecisiveness just as I do.
"SHOULD I comfort her with a magical wand shower?"
"Should I NOT comfort her with a magical wand shower?"
Eh. Those fairy godmothers are always too sweet for their own good.
Local Folkals: The Free Water Park Is Fun
And even if you're at first nervous...
We did. (Except for Piper, who was naughty and so had to stay in the van and Luci, who was asleep and babylike, besides, and John, who watched over the two...)
The cherry tree in the backyard is nearly dead but nevertheless put her whole soul into cherry-making this year.
We reap the rewards of another's work, and, Lord willing, we, too, will plant trees in which someone will delight, even if we're too old to remember the planting of them.
Over the course of the spring and summer, we've had 1 human baby, 1 puppy, 15 kittens, and 20 baby chickens.
That's four litters of kittens, folks-- three litters to the two outdoor cats (one of whom is still half-feral), and one to our lovely Smoky Grace, who hung out with the fast crowd on some moonlit night and found herself alone with a rascal of a tom.
Smoky had her babies in our upstairs closet, and we still have one to give away. (Yes, you'd like one?)
Fruity had her first litter in the nesting boxes and her second in the smaller coop. (We still have all four of her magnificent second litter to give away! Yes! YOU!)
Gracie Mae had hers outside, and they ruined the back flower beds and hid in the car's engine block (one of them even took a ten-mile ride to the gas station before John discovered her quivering on top of the engine).
One of Gracie's litter became known as Gray Kit, and he weaseled his way into our hearts during his three-month stay.
It was a mostly beautiful relationship, but he was the sort of sweet and cuddly cat (read: also useless in the "fending for yourself" department) that deserved to be spoiled indoors rather than losing eight of his nine lives wintering outdoors.
At John's work picnic, his boss advertised "Fabulous Games with Fabulous Prizes!" Guess what the fabulous prizes were.
Yup, some of our kittens.
I gave them all baths before we took them to the picnic in hopes of a higher adoption rate, and every time I see this picture, I am cowed by Gray Kit's reproachful eyes. We loved you! We did!
Best of wishes in your new home in Tennessee.
Much true and eternal love from
Your Guilty Owen Family