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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

"Yippee Ti Yi Yay . . . ."

"I'm on my way . . . . back in the saddle again!"

Ahhhh, technology. That said, I know I wouldn't miss what I didn't know about. So, is it better that I KNOW about the technology of the Internet and computers . . . or would I have been better off without it all in the first place? And, that's a dilemma for another day, I guess. Point is, as of 10:45 PM last Thursday night, we're back online!

Now, the first order of business is to welcome the newest little baby to Minnesota via his parents who are home from Uganda (their home-away-from-home) for the birth and the four weeks following! At a healthy 8 lbs. 7 oz., OAB arrived on Saturday, I heard from his proud ex-pat grandpa in England this AM (see, we're so wide-spread now that we DO need that thing called Technology)! We can't wait to meet this little bundle of love!! (This stunning photo was taken by the papa - an incredible photographer.)

Meanwhile, the other bean (the aforementioned bean's cousin!) we're expecting with much anticipation is still in utero, due mid-month. But, both mama and baby (and daddy, let's not forget him!) are completely healthy and ready-to-go, so we are on "Baby Watch"! With their respective parents (brother and sister) having married their respective spouses just 2 weeks apart in our hometown, it will be exciting to see these little ones grow up together! August 2008 - a good baby month! (This photo of the ravishing mommy was taken by this bean's proud papa!)

Baby news aside, onto This Is Our Life!

I am, quite literally, in a state of disbelief that it is August. Now, were it the beginning of June, I could (almost) handle that. On the up side, I am looking forward to the cooler temps that September always brings. And, really, we have not had the hot, hot summer that we had last year, but I can no longer tolerate ANY heat (since my early menopause - sorry for the TMI, fellas).

And, then there are the bugs. Due to the long, wet spring, we have been INundated with nasty little biters this summer. I'd hoped the cool weather precipitating the hatch would keep the mosquito numbers down, but it was an "Alaskan Bug Season" this year. From the beginning of June until the end of July you simply COULD NOT GO OUTSIDE unless you had bathed in 100% DEET bug-dope (sticky, slimy, and smelly . . . not to mention fairly toxic) or covered yourself (in those hot temps) head-to-toe in non-breathable netting. The last two months have just NOT been conducive to enjoying The Great Outdoors. Fortunately, there are 10 months left to each year when outside activity IS possible. It's just a shame that - in the (very) limited growing season - we have to make so many uncomfortable adjustments just to get out in it.

You'll notice a new August picture that I've posted above. No, Maisy hasn't morphed into a much bigger dog: that's Tanner who we were babysitting for 8 days at the end of last month. Although the picture doesn't adequately show it, he's really a small horse and proverbial "bull in the china shop" . . . but, fortunately, also a complete lover. :) And, true to that description, he made the bottom half of the front door's screen his own personal dog door one day when he decided that he wanted to be on the side of it that we were on. On the up side, we and our dogs like / use it so much that, with a few modifications, we're going to make it a permanent addition! So, no harm, no foul!

As I've mentioned before, Tom has been gone SO much now with his new job(s): painting for a friend's very successful LLC and developing Trapper Cabin Handyman Services. The former finds him working 65 miles from home (although he's only 36 miles away today!), and there's no sense in him driving all that way (home again) at night only to turn around in fewer than 12 hours to do it all again. So, we're using our little cabin just outside of town a lot more, and it's nice to have that option. Unfortunately, it would be nice to see my husband once in a while! Although our time was limited due to a run into town for the entire evening Saturday, we did get a few things done this weekend.

That huge spruce tree that we felled back in May has finally become many linear feet of good, solid lumber, thanks to help from my dad and Tom's use (more skilled each time) of our portable sawmill.

I think I mentioned that the crack in the tree was so massive that we thought sure it would be hollow. But, much to our surprise, it was solid as can be. So, rather than become firewood, it has provided some good slabwood (to become snap-cracklin' kindling this winter); some beautiful, wide 1/2" thick panels which will become cabinets in the kitchen; an extra, solid 10' (12'?) 6 x 6; and these two 10" x 10" x 12' lunkers for our front yard gateway.

Tom got them stained (grey) on Saturday, and the upright supports will get stained the same red as the house and garage fascia*. Yesterday, we got them on their supports and perfectly placed. And, yes, they are H-E-A-V-Y!!! Tom came away with a bloody foot (as usual, he was wearing just his Tevas), and I came away with VERY swollen and sore forearms (where the butt ends of the timbers rested as I lifted them for Tom to adjust the supports underneath). * In the first picture, you can see that Tom got the staining done on the garage fascia. The garage, itself, will still be painted a lighter grey to match the house. Maybe NEXT summer?! Yikes.

Another notable aspect of these pictures is our MASSIVELY OVERGROWN yard! It looks like it should belong to an abandoned residence! Good grief! I've used the lawn mower ONCE this summer . . . and only for about 1 hour (that's all the heat and bugs would allow). Now that the bugs are beginning to abate, though, I really hope to get out to make a difference.

A month (or two?!) ago, I spent a good wad of money on many well-researched flower and ground cover seeds for the area between this gateway and the house. Perennials, all of them. We hope to have ground cover in the area closest to the house where the trees / shrubs / evergreens are planted along the two slate walkways. Then, alongside the gravel path (soon to come - the gravel was delivered) that will join the gateway and the slate walkway will be taller wild flowers. I'm trying to figure out how to produce that organized chaos of an English garden without it looking like a care-less mess. Any ideas?

Okay, that's all for now. My hat goes off to those of you who are doing a bang-up job of updating your blogs regularly. I'd love to say our lack of Internet was the only thing that prompted this latest dearth (SUCH a good word, that is!) of posts, but we all know that ain't the truth. ;) I just have to get my MIS under control (Multiple Irons [In The Fire] Syndrome).

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