Sunday, November 30, 2008

Home for the Holidays

The three youngest grandkids getting acquainted--Sophie, Gavin and Regan

Frank and Jared at an Ohio State football game vs Penn State. Very cold but fun.

Well, after several months of being gone more than we were home, it looks like we will get to spend time in Heber for a while. Though it has turned cold and the trees have lost their leaves and the flowers are frozen, yet it feels good to stay warm and cozy by a nice wood stove.

Raking leaves has been an endless job this fall. I realize now that I planted way too many trees over the years and am paying the price. In between trips and this past week Frank and I have raked and bagged 26 large bags of leaves and other debris blown down by the wind. Frank was not looking forward to plowing them into the garden or hauling them off and I was not looking forward to another job--digging canna and dahlia tubers and storing them. Suddenly I had an epiphany--why not put all the bags of leaves on top of the row of flower bulbs to mulch them and let them stay in their underground beds! It would save both of us lots of work. . . . The next morning after lining the bags on top of the plants neatly, I found lots of the bags torn open and leaves scattered everywhere in the garden along with telltale elk tracks and droppings. The elk obviously liked the bags of leaves--thought they were put there especially for them to munch on. Anyway, we rebagged leaves, plowed some under and then added ladders and fencing used for green bean poles, etc. to anchor the bags down and hopefully keep the @#&*^# elk at bay. I know it looks tacky but seems to be working so far. Hopefully the bulbs won't freeze.

We also noticed the water in our fishpond was looking like a well-brewed cup of tea--almost black from leaves blowing in and fouling the water. The little goldfish were coming to the top gasping for fresh air. Even though we had cleaned the pond (a nasty, time-consuming job)a few weeks before, we decided it definitely needed to be cleaned again. We scooped out buckets of the dark water and used a wet-dry vacuum to suction the water out, catching the fish, which were very hard to see in the murky water, with a little net along with leaves and other trash that got scooped up. We put them in a bucket of clean water while we cleaned out the pond. When we got all the water out, I realized that there was one fish missing, a little black one that had not turned gold yet. I had seen it that morning. We had checked carefully as we emptied each bucket or vacuum full of water but had not seen it. We didn't know what had happened to it but a while later after I had started filling the pond with water and put the plants, rocks and fish back in the the pond, I noticed laying on a pile of leaves nearby, the little black fish. It seemed lifeless, but because it was a cold, cloudy day, I put the fish back in the pond and it immediately swam away! It had been out of the water 30 minutes to an hour but amazingly had survived. If that had happened in the summer, the story would have ended much differently.

We've had an enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday with Wendy and Lance and their families but missed Kristal and Kandra and families; neither of then could be here. It was somewhat cold and wet but didn't put a damper on activities. Lance and family helped put wood under our porch to be readily available when needed. We also took a little trip north of the high school to look at ancient petroglyphs on some of the canyon walls. We played dominoes and other games together which was fun. Frank and some of his family, Lance, Carson and Dave and his family, all went to Flagstaff to watch high school state football championship games on Saturday. St. Johns won the 2A title and Blue Ridge (Pinetop-Lakeside), a 3A team, played Payson but lost in the second overtime--a heartbreaking championship loss for them. Our own Mogollon High School won the state 1A title a couple of weeks ago. Hooray for our mountain teams!

Now that we're home its time to get ready for Christmas. I have lots of sewing to do and hopefully can get it done in time to get it mailed all off. . .