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Penalty Kicks With A Hat

We gave Eric a $5 reward for completing his swim lessons and told him he could spend it on anything he wanted.  He bought a hat.  After dinner he challenged me to a penalty kick shoot out.  One of us plays goalie and the other takes a penalty kick.

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Eric Passed His Swim Test

Eric passed his swim test; graduating from Level 4 to Level 5.  The kids did a lot of work learning new strokes such as butterfly, side stroke and breast stroke.  There may have been one other kid in the class that graduated.

Next summer – Level 5 !

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Lacrosse vs Rome

Eric closed out his summer lacrosse season this week.  The team was short-handed with no subs and played a Rome team with 17 players and 4 coaches; losing 16-1.  He played every position during the game, even doing a few face-offs (which were frequent due to the scoring). Eric managed one good shot on goal that was blocked by the goalie. Trevor had the only successful goal.  Overall HP didn’t manage to take very many shots.  The kids showed improvement through the season.  There were 5 boys that never played before and several 5th graders, so there was lots of room for improvement.

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Eric looking a  little despondent after the game.

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Swim Lessons

Eric is again taking two weeks of swim lessons at MVCC this summer.  We told him he was taking swim lessons until he became a life guard so he would have that option as a summer job when he got older.  He hasn’t been ecstatic about doing the lessons, but last summer he managed to be one of the kids graduating to level 4.  He is learning new strokes (butterfly and breast stroke so far) and doing well.

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4th of July Weekend

We had a rainy Friday and the local fireworks were postponed until Sunday night.  Friday I worked on diagnosing our failed internet.  The thunderstorms we had during the week knocked out a router and modem.  I managed to get replacement parts swapped in time to keep my Internet addicted wife from suffering a breakdown.  She said she needs internet access to get to recipes – otherwise we are regulated to hot dogs and Mac & Cheese.

Saturday and Sunday were gorgeous days.  Eric went to a buddy’s house to play on Saturday while Kathryn and I did a lot of yard and home projects.  Saturday I finished mowing our pasture.  Saturday night we had an old friend, Rich Roman, over for dinner and played pitch.  Saturday night our neighbor’s cows escaped their pasture and several of them visited our yard.  The dogs went nuts about 11pm and we assumed a raccoon or something similar.  I turned on all our floodlights, but never saw a cow.  Sunday AM we found that the cows had punched up the lawn pretty good along our fence line.  They ate several branches off a plum and pear tree.  Fortunately they found their way out of the yard during the night and they were returned to their own pasture in the morning.

Sunday Kathyrn/Eric/I took turns mowing our lawn.  I repaired the broken cable on our garage door.  I weeded in the garden.  We have lettuce, spinach, lots of green tomatoes and nothing to eat yet.  Sunday night we hosted Fusco’s for dinner and then went to watch the Boonville fireworks.

5th Grade Moving Up Ceremony

Friday afternoon HPE held their Moving Up ceremony for the 5th graders leaving HP Elementary and graduating to the 6th grade / Middle School.

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Eric received recognition for achieving the President’s Physical Fitness award.

President's Fitness Award

Eric had a singing part in “I am a small part of the world.”  Starting with 6 singers, then 12, then the entire 5th grade.

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Kathryn, Eric and Jen.

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Good job.  We are all proud of Eric’s performance K-5.  We gave Eric a Rubik’s cube and a trampoline as graduation presents.  We got it mostly assembled on Friday evening.  We still have to stitch the bottom of the safety netting to trampoline, but it was secure enough for some test jumping.

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Utica Select 7 AYSO Tournament

Earlier this week I was contacted by the AYSO coach from Mohawk whom we faced in the Frankfort tournament two weeks ago. They had a partial team for the competitive Utica Select 7 tournament and asked if we had any players from our HP team that might be willing and capable of playing in the Select 7 tournament on Saturday morning. I mentioned a few players as options and Mohawk picked up three of the HP U12 AYSO boys to play in the Utica Select & tournament. Carter, Eric and Sawyer played well and the team ended up capturing 2nd place in the six team tournament.

Below the team introduces themselves and tries to remember names (Carter #13, Sawyer #9, Eric #17).

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There were two girls on the team; Emma from Dolgeville was an outstanding goalie.  Boys included Derrick, Geo, and Joshua. The team played four games winning big over Camden, getting beat 3-1 by Utica (who won the tournament), playing the Rome team to a 0-0 tie and winning big over Canastota.  The team ended up with a 2-1-1 recording; the same as Rome.  Since both teams tied in head to head competition the tie breaker went to goals scored which was won by Mohawk; earning them 2nd place in the tournament.  Carter had several steals.  Sawyer scored a goal and had a couple of assists.  Eric had three assists and played his best game vs Canastota as he got more confident and assertive.  Each of the boys had shots on goal opportunities.  This was a good opportunity for the boys to play in a competitive tournament with highly skilled team mates.

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Sawyer, Carter, Alex, Geo, Derrick, Emma, Jazz, Jacob and Eric.

Empire State Senior Games

Kathryn organized a women’s volleyball team to compete in the Empire Senior Games held June 7 in SUNY Cortland Field House.  She was unable to find enough players to compete in the 60-65 age group ( 2 teams entered) or even the 55-60 age group (also two entries), so their team entered in the 50-55 age group along with 12 other teams.  Their 13 team bracket was split into 3 pools of 4, 4, and 5 team.  Eight teams made it into the playoffs and unfortunately the Wildlings weren’t one of the teams.

Most of the team journeyed to Cortland the night before as their 1st game was at 8:30am.  After the games they soaked in the pool, went out to eat and drink and enjoy the experience.

Front row: Kathryn, Margaret, Bonnie.  Back Row: Jeannine, Lauri, Natalie and Louise

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Walk Around Our Yard

While the coffee was brewing this morning I took the dogs and a camera for a walk around the yard.  We will start off on the north side of the house which faces the road.  In the background is the portion of the yard fenced off as the dog yard.  The landscaping is doing fine and beginning to fill in.  Eric’s bedroom still has a fan in the window from the hot overnight.  The hummingbird feeder has been getting a lot of traffic.  We can sit on the porch as the hummingbirds arrive only a few yards from us.

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On the other side of the porch you can see more landscaping and the sidewalk that Kathryn and I built using the concrete staves from the old silo that the Amish took down last summer.  The landscaping here seems a little slower to spread out.  Of course it was buried under a huge snow pile this winter as we shoveled snow from the sidewalk into that space.  And there is the ‘dog factor’.

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The dogs are convinced that something is going on underneath this plant.  They repeatedly have tried to dig it up.

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On the porch itself we have three rocking chairs.  Two of them were ones that we bought for my parents many years ago.  The 3rd was the rocker we bought when Eric was a baby.  Kathryn has hanging flower baskets here and elsewhere around the yard.  We don’t sit on the porch much, but it is a nice to be able to sit outside and stay dry if it is raining.  We get a fair amount of Amish buggy traffic to wave at when we do hang out on the porch.

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We had planned for the sidewalk and porch to be the primary entrance for visitors, but it hasn’t worked out that way.  Most of our friends and regular visitors come through the garage and navigate through the mud room into the house – an entrance that we had intended for dirty boots and wet dogs.  We have contemplated putting up a “Service Entrance’ sign  ;-)

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On the east side of the garage Kathryn planted green and green/white Hosta.  The green Hosta is overtaking the green/white.  There are plans for an adjustment, but I don’t know when that will happen yet.

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Looking east along our road you can see the assorted ash and maple trees that we have planted as replacements for the huge maple trees that were taken down when the county resurfaced the road many years ago.  The fence was installed when Eric was a baby but it has proven to be an effective barrier keeping the dogs within our yard and keeping deer and other wildlife out (mostly).  There are two egresses: the driveway and a 10′ metal gate to the pasture.  When we are outside and/or working in the yard we feel pretty comfortable letting the dogs roam the entire 2 acres of our fenced yard.  In the foreground the peonies are just starting to bloom.  In the far corner is a large Forsythia bush that was planted from one of the last plants my Mom gave to me.  Let’s move on.

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We have a substantial amount of lawn to mow.  Normally it takes about 2 hours with our riding mower, depending on how much trimming we decide to do.  Shortly before Memorial Day our mower went into the shop for repair so we have been mowing using our 22′ walk behind mower.  We mow a section at a time and below is the section Eric mowed on Saturday afternoon.  The large tree in the foreground is a Honey Locust tree.  It has a very open, airy canopy that makes for a great shade tree.  The leaves are small.  They come out late, are the last to drop and really don’t require raking.  In the left side background you can see my former run-in shed that was a shelter for our horses.  Now it is used to house my tractor equipment; brush hog, plows, wood chipper, etc.

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Not easily seen are the scatter clumps of dog hair resulting from Kathryn brushing the dogs.  Both Scout and Cullen are blowing out their coats and the lawn has scattered piles of dog hair here and there.

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The lean-to on the south side of the barn shelters our pop-up camper.  It is nice to be able to open up the camper windows and air it out without concern of rain.  This is especially crucial since the camper smells like moth balls after being stored closed all winter.  The lean-to is also a nice place to pile our firewood.  We kept our woodstove going nearly full time this past winter and burned nearly 10 face cord of wood. There are about 4 face cord of dried wood piled against the barn and a similar amount stacked between the pillars.  The wood stacked between the pillars is primarily ash that was cut green this spring and split.  The lean-to makes a nice place to split wood, it is open and breezy if it is hot outside or if the weather is misty I can still split wood.  I try to stick to easily split ash – especially since we have a predominance of ash trees in our woods.

Last year I planted more pole beans than we could eat or can.  This year I tried planting pole beans alongside the split wood pile.  My thinking is that the pole beans could climb the wood pile.  We will see.

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Let’s check out the ‘orchard’ – which consists of pear, cherry and plum trees (left and background); a small grape arbor (to the right)  and some blueberry bushes (row extending from the foreground).  We got a bumper crop of pears last fall, which Kathryn canned.  Our grape harvest was modest, but enough for some grape jelly.

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A casualty of the winter are two small pear trees that got girdled by rabbits.  I am hopeful the trees will recover; each has a small growth of leaves near their base.

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The grape arbor is doing OK. The grapes had been located closer to the large pine trees in the background and were getting shaded, so they needed to be out in the full sunlight.  The telephone posts make good anchors and each houses a bird house that my Dad made for me years ago.

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One of bird houses has some mature chicks.

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On the north side of the grape arbor is the row of blueberry bushes; about 20 in all.  Since blueberries like acidic soil I mulch them with pine needles shed from our white pine trees nearby.  On the south side of the grape arbor is our ‘squash box’.  I got tired of having pumpkins overtake the garden so the squash box is an attempt to grow them in a section of the lawn where they can roam free.

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Just south of the orchard is my neighbor’s pond.  It is a pretty little pond with occasional ducks and geese landing on it but not staying permanently.  What is permanent are raucous red-wing blackbirds and, this spring, a muskrat family attracted by cat tails.

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For purposes of orientation the orchard is in the background left and the pond is in the background center/right as we look at the garden.  Recently hoed, weeded and mulched it looks probably about as good as it will all summer.  This year’s garden is a little different.  First, in the fall I imported 6 loads of mulched leaves from my neighbor and dug them down into the ground, by hand, unfortunately.  I also imported the fine sand from Eric’s old sand box.  These two items have made a much looser, easier to work, soil.

In the foreground (running east -west) is the asparagus bed followed by a small clump of rhubarb.  When we first moved to this property there were 13 rhubarb plants – an inhuman amount of rhubarb to consume.  Over the years we have given away most of the rhubarb so that only three plants remain.

All the other rows run perpendicular starting with tomatoes.  I have been using hog wire to tie up or weave the tomato plants once they start to get large  At the end of the 1st two rows of tomatoes are small rows of lettuce ans spinach.  The 3rd row of tomatoes has 1/2 row of peas.  I used to plant lots of peas, but they are a lot of work to freeze and last year I planted peas on the 1st row and Cullen ate them all.

The far rows have brussel sprouts, broccoli, yellow wax beans (the most visible), cabbage cucumbers, eggplant and finally a full row of potatoes (a few volunteers are visible at the far end of the garden).  Yesterday I weeded, hoed, moved a few volunteer tomatoes and mulched between the rows with more leaf mulch.

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At this point the garden is planted although I still have four more egg plants to plant somewhere.  This year when I started seeds I started some in left-over 16 ounce Styrofoam coffee cups with a small drainage hole punched in the bottom.  This was a tip from my sister Jeanne who got it from one of her in-laws.  The Styrofoam cups hold moisture better than the peat pots, they are durable and re-usable.  The plants that I started in the cups grew faster and larger than the ones I started in the starter kit and then had to transfer to larger pots.

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The south side of our house has a large deck that provides access to the dog yard (far left), the hot tub, and a small umbrella table.  Planted in front of the hot tub is Bee Balm that I got from my Mom, some from my Aunt Marie, some that Kathryn purchased from the Garden Factory when she visited her Dad in Rochester.  It grows well, thickens and the bees and hummingbirds love it.

 

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On our south lawn are two Catalpa trees that Kathryn transplanted from her parent’s yard years ago.  They have huge leaves which come out late.  They have white blossoms and, unfortunately, they  are susceptible to winter kill.  Both trees have winter kill damage.  I think we are too cold for them, but for now they are holding on.  I have planted back-up maple trees (to the right), just in case.

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Finally, we will walk back to the house, have our morning coffee and post these pictures.  Upon our return we pass by the south side of our garage.  Last year I planted our excess tomato plants here.  This year I don’t have any ideas.  Do you?  Thanks for joining me on this walk.  It was a gorgeous morning.

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Thunderstorm

As 9pm approached we had a small, intense, fast moving thunderstorm move by us.  Eric and I tried to get pictures of the lightning with little success.

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