Wednesday, August 17, 2016

First Day of School Pictures

She was a bit nervous as she got ready that first morning.

Everyone ready to head out the door...

For the first time ever these three are on the same school schedule.

 Grant is naturally an early riser.  
He joined the party.

Later it was time for Grant to head off to school.  He looked a bit sad and forlorn without his buddy Grace by his side. 

So we added a couple dogs to keep him company and get a real smile on his face.

Being that he's our fourth child and this is the thousandth time I've sent a child off to school, 
I forgot to take my camera when we headed to the bus stop.
No pictures of him getting on the bus.
And yes.  That is dirt on his pants as he headed off to school.

For the record, his shirt was a wrinkled mess too.

Don't judge.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


 That age when even innocent words become inappropriately funny to a boy...

 Dick and Jane is Grant's new favorite reading material.  It has nothing to do with reading levels, plot lines or character development. But you guessed right if you guessed that Dick is his favorite character.  Every time he mentions the name he can't help but laugh.  Yes.  Our nine year old son is now amused by junior high bathroom humor.  Sigh.

Other favorite words that will bring giggles bubbling to the surface of any conversation....

NUTS - Who would think McDonald's could be so funny until you ask a nine year old if he wants nuts on his sundae?!

DUTY - an old favorite joke of his....Why was Vladimir Putin in the bathroom?  It was his DOODY!

BREASTS (as in chicken breasts) - this word usually leads to him laughing hysterically and Grace in an incredibly foul mood for reasons I will not explain here

WEINER (as in weiner roast) - can't have a weiner roast at the farm anymore without discussing the significance of roasting a part of the male anatomy

anything including the word BUT

You get the idea.

Sometimes I have to leave the room so he doesn't see ME laughing too!!  Does that make me a bad parent???

That moment when the word you want escapes you....

Grant: What day did Bella come to life?

Me:  Ummm, do you mean when was Bella born?

I laughed recently at Grant's observations regarding 'the lunch lady' at school.  That's what he calls her.  He doesn't know her real name.  Neither do I.  We just call her the lunch lady.

Sometimes if the lunch lady feels students are too loud, she will make them eat lunch in silence.  I'm not fond of this policy, but hey, she didn't ask for my help making the rules.

Anyway, he was complaining because the lunch lady was grumpy.  I asked him if she was yelling at the kids.  He said, "No.  She wasn't yelling at us.  But she WAS TALKING IN ALL CAPS."  I had to laugh.  When I was nine years old I had no idea what it meant to talk in all caps.  These kids today are so familiar with technology such as email and texting that the comment seemed normal to Grant.  It was simply a way to explain the lunch lady's loud voice.

 Grant is not really loving school this year.  He's not having a bad year.  He's just not very fond of his teacher.  His teacher is great and well respected in the school.  He will definitely learn a lot in her room.  She is very precise and efficient in how she runs her classroom.  But that isn't giving Grant any warm fuzzy feelings toward her. He's a bit more lax in his organizational approach.  I'm guessing she's not feeling warm fuzzies for him either based on what Grant says.  It might be a long year. It's reminiscent of his second grade year.  And he survived that.  He'll survive this too.

Sunday, August 14, 2016


Fishing at the farm

Didn't catch a lot

But we had some fun trying

And just in case you think we've turned in to a normal family doing normal things....

I guess he couldn't find a better hat. 

Saturday, August 13, 2016


 Not sure who took this but I like it.  This is a fence that was near an old barn that used to be on our farm.  The barn is long gone, but you can still see a loading chute near where it stood.

Some things will forever remain a mystery....
like how part of a bicycle brake ended up in the middle of our hay field. 

And even more mysterious is how it managed to impale a tractor tire and end David's mowing for the day when the tire suddenly went flat.

Other deep mysteries include what creative shape this triominos game  made.  
Grant and I saw dinosaurs and birds.  
The other mystery is whose random foot is in the picture!

 Hydrangeas happily growing on the north side of our house in Louisville....

These guys struggled for seven years at the farm where I planted them.  They were never very healthy or happy there.  I brought them home to Louisville and they have thrived and put on quite a show this year.  They obviously love the more shady spot and the irrigation that gives them a steady supply of water.

Emily trying to find something to wear that doesn't drive her father crazy....

 As you can see, the selection process got a bit out of hand.

 We decided her dad would be pleased with nothing less than this fashion statement.
 And no.  She did not leave the house looking like this.

Our neighbor recently lost their dog to old age.
Not long after they brought this bundle of fuzzy cuteness home.
I am so glad they did.
Now I can have all the fun of a small dog without the work of another pet in the house!

Rocky is the definition of adorableness!  
We love pet sitting for our neighbors!!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Honey and Wax

 Here is part of our honey crop from this summer....
We should be able to pull some more later in the fall before we take the honey supers off the hive for winter.

If our new hives survive the winter, we should have about eight times this much honey next year.  I've got three new hives this year that I didn't take anything from.  They needed the summer to build up their frames and their population without the stress of being robbed of their honey.

Honey is probably the easiest thing we have tried to sell.  I never have enough supply to meet demand.  If I had twenty hives, I could sell all of the honey.  I just don't have time to deal with that volume of work when it comes to the bees.

Since I only had ten frames of honey that I was working with, I kept the honey as well as the wax comb.

Here is what it looked like as I melted the wax one evening...
I placed the wax comb in a double boiler and added water directly in with the wax.
not very pretty at this point. 

Here is some of the dirt and propolis that I skimmed from the pot while the wax melted.
Ick!  Right?!

Once all the wax was melted, I strained it through a fine mesh strainer.
This is what I was left with...

 In a very short time the wax had cooled and separated from the water.
Here you can see the two layers beginning to form....
the cooling wax on top and the dirty water below...

Within thirty minutes it transformed into this....

 At this point, it was easy to pick up the block of wax and remove it from the dish.
Here's the water that was left.

 And the bottom of the wax still showing some dirt.  I scraped the block down until I was left with only clean wax.  Later I remelted the dirty scrapings with my next batch of wax comb.  You can do that as many times as needed to get the wax perfectly clean.  I'm only using the wax in my own hives so I don't care about getting it perfectly clean.  I would only do that much work if I was planning to sell the wax.

And...ketchup cooking on the stove....twelve pints of ketchup so far.
I didn't have time to chop tomatoes for spaghetti sauce or anything else so I turned it all into ketchup.
Still have green tomatoes in the garden...just have to see if I get time to make anything else.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Summer Fun While We Can

 Summer is now officially over.  Sob.  (not really)

Everyone is off to a good start at school.  Wednesday was the first day for all four kids.  John and Emily are now officially seniors.  Grace started middle school and is loving sixth grade.  Grant is now the only Shupe left in the elementary school.  He's fourth grade this year.  Maybe I'll get some pictures posted of their first day soon.

For now you can see how we have spent the past few days....

Grant made a trip to Cincinnati with two buddies from school.  They spent a day riding coasters at Kings Island.  He LOVED it.  Now he wants season passes for that park next year.  Probably not gonna happen, buddy.  Sorry!

 I gave Grant some spending money for his trip to Cincinnati.  He didn't spend it on a souvenir.  He bought mint chocolate fudge with his money.

And just to be sure no one found his hidden treasure and eat it without permission....
he punched a hole in the container and put his padlock on the fudge.  That's some serious love for fudge.

We finally made it to a minor league ballgame this summer.  Not only did we make it to one game, but we made it to four games!  Some combination of family members and friends were at the ballpark four nights in a row. The usher wasn't quite sure what to think about our sudden stretch of perfect attendance!

The Friday night fireworks after the game are a favorite treat for Grace and Grant.
On Thursday last week I took Grace and Grant to Cincinnati again to the Newport Aquarium.
It was a fun day for all of us.  Sadly John and Emily were busy and unable to go with us.  Emily had to work at Arby's and John worked at the high school on ROTC things that day.

By this point in the day they were done reading things for educational purposes.  They were looking for ways to have a little fun.

Grace was hamming it up for the camera like it was her job.

Petting the sharks.....

More tomorrow!  I'm off to bed tonight.
Five thirty comes early in the morning.

Only NINE MORE YEARS of getting kids on the bus at the ungodly hour of 6:20.

Friday, August 5, 2016

End of Summer - End of the Road

We are counting down the days to the beginning of the new school year.  
Everyone starts back to school on August 10.

We spent a day enjoying the rides at Kentucky Kingdom.

There are still a few blackberries to pick, but most of the garden is done.
I've put three gallons in the freezer this year.  
That's a pretty good year!
Especially when I have kids that have probably eaten another gallon picked straight from the orchard.

Some of the most recent crop...

     Back to school shopping is now done.  It has become a family tradition to start our shopping trip with a visit to the local muffin shop for breakfast.

We have our supplies bought and are excitedly waiting for school to start.

Well, I'm excitedly waiting.
I don't know if they are or not.

Grace and I had a girls' night out while Grant was at camp a few weeks ago.
We enjoyed dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory and shopping for new clothes.

Then we spent an evening swimming and watching television in a hotel
 before heading home the next day.
It was time together that we both enjoyed.  
We don't get one on one time very often with any of the kids.

There is a very old, very stately neighborhood near our home.
They're pretty special folk there.

They get their own fire station, their own school district and their own police, own government building and own library even though they are surrounded on all sides by Louisville.

They aren't very appreciative of us lowly Louisville people driving through their neighborhood.
You know.  We bring down their property values.

I thought they were pretty off the mark when they had to tell people to 
at the main five way intersection in town.

But recently they've taken it to a whole new level with this sign...
I'm sensing a bit of anger there.  You think?

And just for the record...
I drive through their neighborhood every chance I get.

I'm sure they appreciate my presence.