Tag Archives: babysitting

Olio – March 27, 2015

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things

For a week and a day now, we have been grandparents and in loco parentis for two of our grandchildren.  During the weekday school hours, only the three  year old is with us. The routine is for me to get up by 6:45 to dress and wake the eight year old for school.  As the kids are currently sharing a bedroom at our house, that means trying to get him up and out of the top bunk without waking the three year old in the bottom bunk.  This is not an easy task, but we have managed most mornings.  Once he is on his school bus, the animal chores have been taken care of, then the three year old has my help getting her clothes out and she dresses while I prepare her breakfast.  She will always announce what she wants, “big yogurt with honey” (plain yogurt from the quart instead of an individual serving that big brother takes to school), “a stand up egg” (a hard boiled egg), or “scrambled eggs with bacon and cheese for my plate.”  This morning, the bacon curled into a smile and I couldn’t resist. . .


So we played with our food a little.

A couple of weeks ago, one of my friends, a fan of my lotion bars from my Etsy shop, found a deal on blocks of Shea butter and sent me a link.  Once I got on the site, I realized that I could get organic Sweet Almond Oil, organic Cocoa Butter, and organic Coconut Oil as well at a very good price.  An order was placed and I was pleased with the quick shipping and the arrival of my goodies a couple of days ago.


Tomorrow, we are off to pick up eldest Grandson for his week of Spring Break.  He will be joining the other two here until next weekend.  We will be leaving the critters and house in the care of our local house sitter and spending one night in Northern Virginia.  This will give eldest Grandson an opportunity to show off Washington DC to his Florida born cousins before we head home.  A driving trip up there always involves a good resupply of food for them and so a cooler of chicken, pork, and frozen Tomatillos will be packed along with jars of salsa and chutney, a box of pumpkins, and a few dozen eggs.  There are still more pumpkins than we will eat and they are beginning to go bad.


There were only two half pints of the XXXX Salsa left on the shelf, but the Tomatillos and Habeneros were in the freezer from when I gave up on canning in the fall, so 3 1/2 pints were made this morning.  They aren’t sealed in the canner, but I’m sure they will be eaten long before they go bad.

Most of the laundry is done and bags getting packed.  This will be a short trip, but it will let the Grands from here see Washington DC for the first time and will give the three cousins some time together, though the 8 year old living here does have school next week until half day on Thursday.  The futon in the rec room is made and the house will be vacuumed to reduce the dog hair once the three year old gets up from her nap.

The Cherry Blossom Yarn that I was spinning was completed and added to my Etsy shop.  It is 121 yards, 4 ounces of Worsted/Aran weight yarn and quite soft.


My current spinning project is the most difficult fiber I have ever tried to spin.  It is a 50/50 blend of Yak and Silk and is so slippery, I find it very troublesome.  It is going to be lovely if my patience holds out and it too will likely find it’s way into my shop.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStill loving life on our mountain farm and we are excited that the spring like week and the recent rain are turning the fields emerald green and we are seeing squirrel ear leaves on some of the trees.

Baking with a Grand

This was another morning where the freezing early temperature was the high. It was foggy with occasional freezing drizzle, not enough to affect the roads or school, but enough to warrant hunkering down in the house for the day. Daughter woke with a bad cold and after taking her son to the bus stop nearly half a mile away, she got in a hot bath then back in bed. Once granddaughter awoke, I decided to entertain her to let her mom sleep.
After we had breakfast and I did chicken chores, we decided to bake crackers together.


She put on her apron, helped measure, pour, mix and cut. After they baked, her job was to put them in the jar.


I think she ate one for every 3 she put away, but it kept her entertained for a while and she made a glorious mess playing in the flour.
This afternoon, we used two very ripe bananas to make a loaf of banana bread and now a pot pie is baking. The warm oven has helped the fire keep the house warm and cozy for sick daughter and the healthier crew that just didn’t want to be outside today. Except for bringing in wood and doing chicken chores, I have stayed inside. If it is going to be cold and damp, I wish it would snow.

Olio – June 27, 2014

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things

The Raspberry jam salvage was a success.  It is spoonable, spreadable, and isn’t so sweet it makes me gag.  A win.  The wild Blackberries are so thick with fruit this year, I have a dilemma.  I don’t need any more jam.  My daughter who LOVES blackberry jam made a pantry full of Strawberry Jam when the berries were ripe in Florida, so she doesn’t need jam either, but I can’t resist foraging for blackberries on the farm.  I can freeze them and use them in smoothies, cakes, and cobblers, but we aren’t dessert eaters unless we have guests and then hubby would rather I make apple, lemon or pumpkin pie rather than cobbler.  What’s a girl to do?

The rain held off long enough for me to get everything that wasn’t hayed, mowed.  Jeff is coming a few times a day and hauling off 9 bales of hay at a time on his lowboy trailer pulled by the behemoth tractor.  There are still 45 bales to go.  The mowing was a priority as I am off to babysit for 5 days then bring RT and L back here with me on July 3.  We will send 8 chickens to freezer camp, hang a gate, watch fireworks, and feast for the two days RT is here, then he will catch a bus back home to be back at work on Monday.  L will stay with us for about 7 weeks of his summer vacation.

The teenager chicks are looking like I may not have to wait until August to get eggs from them.  Many of the girls combs and waddles are growing and turning red.  It won’t be long before I start seeing wind eggs in the coop and then pullet eggs in the nesting boxes as they figure the process out.


They are hiding from the heat, the culls are dustbathing to keep cool.


I dragged the chicken tractor to a new spot to give the culls something fresh for their last week.  Jim will be in charge while I’m gone.

The last of the spoiled bale of hay needs to be moved over to the garden and some areas remulched.  We had a chicken escape and they got in the vegetable garden and the new flower bed and made quite a mess.  Between that, some thin areas that are starting to show weeds, tomatoes and peppers tall enough to mulch around, I need to get that task done before I leave also.  I might actually welcome a rain shower while that is being done to cool things off a bit.  The garden is thriving, the kale is winning.


The sink is full, the chickens got at least this much and there is plenty to take to Northern Virginia for them when I go up.


First Tomatillo.  Can’t wait for a crop of them.


The peas are almost done.  If I cool off enough from working out there, I will pick a meal’s worth for tonight.


It amazing me how quickly the raspberries ripen.  I picked the bushes clean yesterday and treated myself to a hand full while I was weeding.  I save a hand full to have with my yogurt tomorrow.

Lovin’ life on our mountain farm.


Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

Home at last.  I love my visits to babysit the eldest grandson.  I truly appreciate that they trust me with him so completely and that they appreciate my helping out.  I am glad to be home though.  After almost 8 years of living here in the mountains, the city makes me restless.  At night here, we have total darkness, billions of stars and quiet, only night animal sounds.  Their apartment complex has bright flood lights on the end of each building shining on the parking lots, Sodium Vapor lights in the courts, lighting the walkways and the apartment is never totally dark.  They live near the street end of the complex with one row of buildings between them and a busy Northern Virginia road, so there are automobile, truck and emergency vehicle noises all day and night.  After a few days up there, the city lights and noises don’t bother me as much as when I first arrive, but I am glad to be back in the rural mountain quiet.

It was spring break and the District of Columbia attracts tourists, so grandson’s and my visits to the museums and the zoo were frought with thousands of people.  For the first time in the 3 years they have been there, the volume of people was so high that we had to wait in a block long line to get in the Natural History Museum.  We had hoped to get a glimpse of the just delivered T Rex bones in the fossil lab, but they weren’t visible anywhere that we were allowed and there were so many other folks there because that display is about to be closed for a 5 year renovation, that we couldn’t even see the displays.  Grandson wanted to go to the SPARKS lab in the American History Museum and it is closed until next year for renovations.  There is a lot of renovation going on at the Smithsonian.


This was the crowd waiting to get in when we left at 2:45 p.m. on Friday.

We stayed so busy that I never even opened my spinning wheel, knitted, or took my carders out of my suitcase.  I did read a book and a half though.

My journey home was uneventful, fortunately.  The weather was good, the traffic tolerable.  My first task after greeting hubby and the pups, and unpacking and checking on the chickens, was to put fresh clean sheets on the bed.  It will be a delight to sleep in my own bed tonight and have crisp clean sheets too, they needed changing when I left.



Air and Space

Today dawned just as rainy as predicted and the day high temperature occurred just after daybreak and has been dipping to a freeze tonight as the day wears on.

I try not to depend on my car too much when here as I really don’t like Northern Virginia traffic, but I’m not a glutton for punishment either nor did I want to walk the Mall in Washington in the rain. Grand and I elected to drive out to the Udvar-Hazy Center and look at all of the planes, satellites, space vehicles and aeronautic history paraphernalia.


Grand in front of the Stealth bomber.


The Space Shuttle Discovery from the skyway.


The amazing structure with tons of aircraft suspended from the ceiling.

If you have never visited this center, it is certainly worth the time. Admission is free, though there is a $15 per car parking fee if you don’t take public transport out.

We thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon, except my grouchy old lady mode kicked in when a young mom with 2 young boys stopped to watch a 6 minute video on Discover’s last launch and stood behind me talking loudly on her cell phone about a real estate transaction with everyone around her glaring until I finally tapped her on the shoulder and gave the hang it up signal. She collected her boys and left.

A Zoo Day

Yesterday was spent in part driving for my week of babysitting the eldest grand. They like us have had a week of beautiful weather and it is delightful to have the windows open day and night. Tomorrow that is going to change with 100% chance of rain followed by a drop in temperatures to a spring freeze, then cooler more seasonable day time weather. Grand and I took advantage and bus, then Metro rode to The National Zoo.

The baby Panda cooperated and was hanging out in a tree in plain sight, one of the adults was in the yard as well. An elephant cooperated and let us get a photo.


The Otters, seals, sea lions and wolves were out and visiting, as were thousands of other visitors also on spring break.

Any indoor exhibit was so crowded you couldn’t even see the displays. We saw what we could, walked the length and one side and called it quits. After crowd fighting, we stopped for refreshment and rejuvenation.


He was done! But not to be so, we walked several blocks downhill back toward the Metro and I realized I had dropped one of the Metro farecards with more than $30 on it. This caused me a bit of panic and a jog back uphill to see if I had dropped it out of my pocket and fortunately it was right under the chair I had used. Back downhill to the train to discover they were having issues and we had to wait quite a while as the crowd grew and finally were packed like sardines, standing on the train. Before we got to our connector point there were so many bodies on the subway that you couldn’t move and could hardly breathe. When we got back to the station a mile from home, we had 30 minutes to wait before the afternoon commuter buses started, too tired to walk home, we waited.

Portuguese white bean soup is on the stove and I’m hungry and tired.

Tomorrow is rainy so we will take the car to the Udvar Hazey Space Center and maybe a bookstore.  Later in the week we will venture back to the District to the Smithsonian American History Museum.