Last year, I battled our wascally wabbit to keep him out of our garden. I figured that this little guy had plenty of grass and little shrubby bits on our acreage without decimating our food crops, small though they may be.
In very early Spring, the family made a sweaty day of shoveling old manure and hay into Grandpa’s truck and hauling it home and mounding it on the garden beds, around our lilac and blueberry bushes. Since we weren’t entirely sure how “hot” the nitrogen levels were, we opted to not start seedlings this year and purchase some plants after the manure had time to sit a while.
Today, younger son and I went to our local WalMart (no, I am not thrilled with Wally World, but it is kind of unavoidable around our area and it really was much cheaper per plant this time) to get bedding plants. We were able to find 8 strong tomato plants that were all heirloom varieties that we had wanted to try and two hybrid jalapenos (no heirlooms available). We will augment these with others each payday until our planting beds are full.
Upon returning, I carried an armload of plants out to the garden and heard the sounds of a bunny bounding through the underbrush on the edge of the clearing.
As is my custom, I talked to him and looked around until I spotted him, haughty and sitting upright on the edge of our path into the woods. This has proven to be one seriously bold bunny. He carefully watched me putting plants out into their places to be planted shortly. He cautiously crept closer.
When younger son followed me down with the rest of the plants, I reminded him that we would have to be diligent about making sure that our pallet gate (rigged to the max) was closed tightly and not just propped in place to keep bunny out. He laughed and thought I was being a bit paranoid about the bunny battles that were sure to ensue over the summer.
At just that moment, I smiled and quietly asked him to look over toward our path and, as he turned, our bunny friend (possibly frenemy) startled, jumped, and quickly turned to run, his cotton tail bouncing off into the brush.
He was watching our every move. Wascally Wabbit, indeed!
We made it down to the campground at Jekyll Island, Georgia around 9 pm and set up camp in the dark (which is kind of normal for us). The dress was unveiled for the beach wedding that we were invited to attend on Driftwood Beach. The theme was Middle Ages/Renaissance and my youngest son and hubby were in costume for this event and looking rather regal, I might add. Elder son decided that it would be more fun to stay home and take care of his dog who had recently had surgery. Crowds and fuss and costumes aren’t always his thing.
And then there was the issue of having to share a tent with his brother…. That just wasn’t going to happen.
So, after hanging the dress in the car on the way down and being really concerned that it would wrinkle (we don’t carry and ironing board and iron camping), the dress was unveiled just a bit after the sputtering rain had stopped, leaving only blue skies and fluffy clouds for the bride and groom.
The event was really fun and about half of the guests were in costume, along with the families and wedding party. I am happy with my dress and I will be able to wear it to many other functions, but I must say that the costumes were lovely and that the full, long skirts were darn flattering on everyone. This was one of the few events that I have seen that was designed around people having fun as opposed to only encompassing traditions. There were plenty of activities for young and old alike to enjoy.
Although we arrived late Friday and left before noon on Sunday, this was a great trip with some family time, a nice talk with a friend around the campfire and a whole lot of fun memories! I call it a success, dress and all.
It’s a lot like cheating, because, well…I AM seriously cheating! After battling the viral crud for a week and a half, running like crazy to get kids to appointments and lessons, my Mom felt seriously sorry for me and my looming deadline and decided that she would make the dress for me.
Whew! That leaves a whole lot less margin of error than with this beginner tackling it. However, after this one, I will be the one sewing this pattern, so I am not off the hook. Besides, Mom can handle it. She made my wedding dress and all of my bridal party dresses, too!
To the best of my knowledge, Mom adjusted the length by an inch or so (I am SO short-waisted) in the middle of the pattern and blended from my shoulder size out to my waist size. This pattern is so simply shaped that not much else was needed. [Correction, after much consideration, Mom added two darts to the lower back for shaping]
So, this pattern is ready to sew when I get back and get ready. I saw some multi-colored polka dots at Hobby Lobby the other day that are seriously calling my name, too! Plus, I found another 3 yards of a floral that someone gave us in some free quilting fabric. I already have some knit that I can use. Oh, choices, choices! Plus, who can resist multi-colored polka dots???
The muslin (vintage sheet, of course) will turn in to a lovely, soft summer nightgown, complete with little yellow flowers. It’s a little too sheer for day wear, but perfect for a hot, summer night.
So, here she is! The final dress. Mom is an absolute doll (always has been) and let me look good even if I do admit to cheating a lot with this one.
With any luck, I will be able to post some photos of me wearing this baby at the wedding.
Georgia has a competition each year for kiddos from 5 to 18 that encourages them to get out into nature and learn about birds. That competition is the annual Youth Birding Competition where kids from all over Georgia will race to find the most unique species of birds within Georgia state lines in a 24 hour period of time.
From what I understand, this is the first state-wide competition of its kind. The original concept premiered in Cape May, NJ as a spin off to go alongside an adult competition. A biologist with Georgia DNR in the Non-game Division, named Tim Keyes, brought this concept to a larger scale in Georgia.
My son, Ethan, with Eddie as his team mentor, has participated since he was in Elementary school. Every year, his birding identification skills have increased, as have his awareness of the ecosystems that the birds live in. He has traveled to Maine to study Puffins with the National Audubon Society. He answers questions for many local people who have seen birds and want to know what kind of bird they saw. He even volunteers as “Chippy” the Chipping Sparrow who answers identification questions online for Atlanta Audubon Society. He assists local biologist, Charlie Muise with bird banding as schedules permit and he travels to Jekyll Island, Georgia in October to assist with the migratory birding station there.
Much of this interest has been fostered by the people he has met and the experiences that he has had during these competitions. Ethan always liked birds and tried to name them. Eddie realized that this could be a fun way for Ethan (and himself) to learn more and meet more like minded people. And they truly have succeeded on both counts!
Team members have changed over the years, but the Chaotic Kestrels birding team has solidified around some really interesting and talented teenagers. Outside of birding, they play sports, make videos, shoot rifles competitively, sing rap music in a Scottish brogue, ride horses, and just are plain ol’ good kids. There is not a single one of these kids that you wouldn’t enjoy spending time with. They are personable, intelligent, and funny. They make up a great team!
These kids worked together to plan a route, identify birds, and record them accurately during a single 24 hour period of time during migration. They identified 156 unique species, including one rare dove and broke the previous YBC Georgia All-Time Record! They came in 2nd place overall in the State of Georgia and I couldn’t be more proud of them!
Next year will be the final year for this incarnation of the Kestrels team as two members will graduate and be ineligible for the program after the 2015 season. One of them has already begun mentoring another young group of Elementary School birders who competed for the first time this year. Did I mention that these are some awesome kids?
This program is also free for participants. Many wonderful sponsors (Atlanta Audubon, Albany Audubon, Georgia Ornithological Society, T.E.R.N. just to name a few) donate time, funds, and prizes for the kids. But, the payoff for this program is far more than just a free t-shirt and prizes! These kids are spending time with a mentor and/or a parent, out of doors and enjoying nature. They are developing observational skills and coming up with questions about things they want to know more about. They are learning research skills to answer those questions and seeing the information with an eye toward application of that knowledge. No classroom experience can compare with the skills and experiences that happen with hands on learning. Many of these kids will go on to support Conservation efforts, become Biologists and other scientists and teach others to love the world that is around them.
That ain’t gonna happen tethered to a video game, folks! In life, you’ve gotta get dirty to get the payoff. These kids are the payoff for the next generation and, with luck, generations to come.