Sarah’s Graduation

Ted and I, Lydia, Serena, and Emily (Nana) traveled to Chattanooga on Thursday, May 3 to spend some time with Sarah and attend her graduation from Covenant College. The trip down was overcast and drizzly, but the weather cleared some- what by the time we got there. Sarah had choral rehearsals in the afternoon and evening, so the rest of us went to the Tennessee Aquarium. There was definitely more than we could see in 2 hours (2 buildings worth), but we skimmed through it all. Our favorites were the seahorses, the snowy egret that posed for a picture 3 feet away, the butterfly garden, the octopus, and the tank of penguins. Here’s the egret.

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Sarah met us for supper between rehearsals. We went to Food Works, which was a very nice restaurant with somewhat unusual selections. We also saw Sarah later Thursday night, when she came by our cottage with her boyfriend, Dani.

Friday, after breakfasting at Sarah’s apartment while trying not to wake up her sleeping roommates, we drove half-way down Lookout Mountain to a park trail that leads to a waterfall. The girls had been there before, and wanted us all to see it. Sarah said the trail was only 1/4 mile long. We were concerned about whether or not Emily would be able to make it. As it turned out, it was more like 1/2 mile, or felt like it, with lots of rocks to negotiate near the falls. Emily did manage to make it with several rests, and lots of assistance over the rough parts. To complicate matters, she was recovering from cataract surgery in one eye. Check out her cool shades in one of the following pictures.

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Above: Serena is wading in the pool the waterfall falls into.

After lunch back at Sarah’s apartment, we left Continue reading “Sarah’s Graduation”

Fantasy Characters Invade Chenoweth Farm

Relax y’all. It was just Lydia and Serena’s joint costume birthday party. All the kids had great fun planning and preparing their costumes, if my 2 girls are any indication of the rest. Most arrived in a carpool from church about 5:30 on Friday. After much recording of everybody’s character and name, and picture taking, there was folk dancing, and other games, a yummy dinner (courtesy of me), costume prizes, present opening, cake (of course), and a game of sardines in the darkness of selected rooms in the house. Then more games that I didn’t observe, before the guys left at midnight. Most of the girls stayed the night. You know how these things work: watch several videos, eat popcorn, and finally go to sleep at 4 or 5 in the morning. Ted and I went to bed after the guys left! I also slept late, since I knew the girls would. By the time folks were up and had their pancake breakfast, it was almost time for parents to be picking them up. A good time was had by all. And in spite of the appearance of some of the participants in costume, their behavior was impeccable, and activities wholesome.

After studying the following pictures, I have concluded that we had quite a collection of weapons and other interesting accessories at our party. I counted 3 pairs of elf ears, 2 bow and arrow sets, 6 swords, 5 knives, 3 pistols, 1 horn, 1 shield, and 2 eye patches. Here are the participants and the winners of the costume contest. (Sorry Ronny, you got here too late and missed the pictures). Who would you vote for?

Susan Pevensie / Heidi Vander Zouwen

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Star Trek Cye / Stephanie Vander Zouwen

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Pirate Anna Maria / Julia Harris

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Continue reading “Fantasy Characters Invade Chenoweth Farm”

Copper Cometh

On Thursday evening, April 5th, Sarah arrived from Covenant…at church…in the middle of our Maundy Thursday meal and service…with a puppy…who immediately became the center of attention for the few moments before Sarah took him outside to find a place to tie him up. Said puppy was Serena’s birthday present. Serena took one look at him and named him Copper.

We’ve been used to Ginny’s Border Collie/Australian Shepherd, high-energy behavior. Copper is her perfect foil — loafy, floppy, and loving to just sit on your lap. Ginny rarely barks; Copper does. (I think there is definitely some hound in him, to judge from his bark). Ginny jumps up on you in her enthusiasm; Copper gets in front of your legs to make you stop and pet him, and almost trips you! Sarah says he is a lab mix. I say he is hound mixed with St. Bernard. Look at those paws! He’s going to be ENORMOUS!

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In spite of his size, though, Copper is a big marshmallow — so soft and floppy and huggable!

The first night, he growled at Ginny, so Serena let him spend the night in the back vestibule to recuperate from his stressful day of travel and new surroundings. At 6 the next morn, we were awakened by mournful barks and yowls (the hound-dog type). So, he spent the first day or 2 inside the dog pen, getting acquainted with Ginny through the fence. They were fine playing together through the fence, or when Copper had his back to something. When out in the yard, however, Ginny would race around with excitement, and come back to bowl Copper over like Hobbes does to Calvin in the comic strip. Pretty soon, Copper began to hold his own, though. At the end of a week, Ginny is calmer, and they play together quite well. My yard is starting to suffer from Copper’s digging, and he is quite interested in the chickens and the peacocks. Lots of training is in order! Here’s a photo of Copper and Ginny getting acquainted.

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Pet Passages

Most pets, since their life-span is much smaller than ours, are beings that pass through our lives. They come, they stay and enrich our lives for awhile, then they go — die, sold, given away, etc. We have had 2 such passages in the last few weeks.

The first, a sad passage, was our website-famous, dog-chasing cat, Murgatroyd, who so recently delighted our reader’s in Ted’s hilarious rendition of him chasing Ginny. Murgatroyd is often waiting on the drive (near a door) when someone comes home, in hopes of slipping in for another few bites of food, or just schmoozing around in the kitchen, usually in the rag barrel. He was always quick to hop out of the way of any vehicle, and go to wait by the door. This night, however, as Ted came back late from his parents’ house, for some reason, Murgle failed to move. Ted paused in his jeep, then proceeded to park, assuming Murgatroyd had gotten out of the way. He hadn’t. The small bump that Ted felt was him running over Murgatroyd and crushing him. Needless to say, Ted felt crushed, himself. I haven’t seen him that upset in awhile. Death produces stronger reactions in all of us now, I think, because we’ve experienced Andrew’s tragic death. It just resonates in a deeper way. Anyway, if I can figure out what setting to change so my pictures aren’t tiny, I’ll put in my favorite picture of Murgatroyd.Mergle

The second passage was actually a very positive one. Lydia decided she needed to sell her horse, Nino (That’s actually spelled n-i-enye-o, a spanish spelling pronounced neenyo), since she was leaving in June for SPEAC school and then college. The couple who bought him already have at least one Paso Fino horse. They are really horse people — I mean, the lady’s horse lies down and puts its head in her lap if she sits down to read outside! Nino had to pass the “kiss test” (submitting to having his head held and being kissed on the nose), and the “stand still test” (not walking off when she laid down and lounged around on top of his back). He will receive some much-needed training, get lots of attention, and best of all from his perspective, I think, have some horse buddies to stay with. (Nino ran around and whinnied plaintively for several days after Starbuck died.) Lydia spent a little time grooming Nino and having me take pictures of them before the new owners came to pick him up. They anticipated having a problem getting him to go into a horse trailer, so they brought another horse to help him feel comfortable. When he was led up to the trailer, he took one look and said to himself, “Horse? Food? All right!” Zoom, he went into the trailer!

O.K., down 2 pets, but stay tuned for another addition. On Thursday, Sarah is bringing a mixed lab puppy to Serena to be a companion for Ginny. We’ll have a report on that in an upcoming post.

Spring has sprung!

Spring has finally arrived here on Chenoweth Farm (even though it’s supposed to get down below freezing again toward the end of the week). Ted’s grandmother’s daffodils are putting on their annual show, and already getting into the late season blooms. The all-yellow, traditional daffodils are early in the season. As the daffodil season progresses, the white ones begin to bloom, along with those with white petals and contrasting color perianths — orange, salmon, and pink. Our very latest, which haven’t bloomed yet, are tiny white ones, with 3 – 4 blooms coming off each stem, and a fragrance that will almost knock your socks off! I have been told that Bommy had 250 varieties of daffodils in her garden in its heyday, all labeled! It was opened to the local garden clubs, and folks would come out and place orders for their favorites. Bommy did field trials for one, or some of the Dutch bulb growers, to record the performance of their varieties in this location. When we moved here in 1988, you could still see the ones planted in rows that she was testing, as well as her bulb shed where she dried bulbs at the end of the year. The shed has since fallen down, but the flowers still bloom in their rows. Those from her garden have naturalized. On a good year, there are thousands of blooms around the property! I will miss the show when we move to our own house. I suppose I could dig a selection to take with me, but it will be so much easier to order a naturalizing variety from a catalog and plant the bulbs. I’ll probably only pick a few varieties from here that are my favorite.

Another earmark of spring around here is our lawn, carpeted with spring beauties and violets. To a city dweller, I’m sure it must look wild and unkempt, but I am always loath to have the lawn mowed for the first time. The “white” lawn is such a great foil for the many redbud trees in prime bud around our yard. I’m attaching some pictures.

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Unusual perks of homeschooling in an historic house

Here’s something that didn’t make it into the newsletter, but should have. Last fall, for her history unit study, Serena studied ancient Greece. Being someone partial to cooking, she chose as her end-of-unit project a Greek feast, along with a written report on food and feasting in Ancient Greece. The food was very interesting: Pork cooked with celery, in egg and lemon sauce; fish with feta cheese, summer salad, baked apples and leeks, farmer’s bread, and baklava made from an ancient recipe that included a sweetener made from grape syrup and wood ashes!

But we haven’t yet gotten to the subject line of this post (look at it again). I have always seemed to be able to find, whatever subject we were studying, something lying around in this “museum” to enhance our study, act as a prop, or decorate for a dramatization. When we studied birds, it was Bommy’s copy of an Audubon book of color plates. For the Medieval feast, it was an awesome set of brass candelabras for our table. When we studied the times of Mohammed and the Muslim conquest, there was an English translation of Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat, which we were to read selections from to illustrate Arabic poetry. For early American history, we found arrowheads, Indian stone implements, and a musket. This list could go on and on! However, I was speaking about a certain Greek feast. Where else could you find ionic columns on the front porch, Grecian-style bronzes in the attic to decorate your table, and small ceramic bowls shaped like the Greek krater that we used for drinking bowls?

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Starbuck’s Passing

Yesterday a long-time occupant of Chenoweth Farm passed away. Several of us noticed that Starbuck seemed agitated that morning… by mid-afternoon, he had laid down and died. According to Mike Roberts, a long-time employee and partner, he had first been used to herd cattle here in the early 70’s, and was 36 years old when he died.

Starbuck is gone

May he rest in peace…

The Swiss invade Liechtenstein

No– seriously! Questions:

  1. Is this about one cheese attacking another?
  2. I know where Switzerland is (somewhere in Europe- the Alps have something to do with it), but Liechtenstein is- a beer? a disease? a punk band from Texas??
  3. What happened next?

The best part about this story is that everybody in Liechtenstein didn’t even know they had been invaded!  In today’s news landscape, with all the bickering over wars we all have an opinion on, this one has a refreshing “whatever” twist to it.

Blogging from Chenoweth Farm

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