Tuesday, May 31, 2016

No Roots, No Money

Memorial Day weekend has come and gone again.  We're quickly speeding into June and things cannot get done around here fast enough.  Sometimes it seems as if we're running a marathon that never ends.  

The garden has an overabundance of weeds again this year, but there's one weed on this farm that cannot wait which leads me to my next ramble down Memory Lane: Farming Edition.

 Last Thursday afternoon, I was on my way up to Mom's to fetch the 574.  Carl and I had some dreams about fixing up the lane bed and an unruly old gnarly juniper needed to go.  The best way to achieve these dreams of ours is with a tractor and a bunch of chains; that way there's no stumps to deal with.

As I walked down the lane toward Mom's, I noticed yellow flowers growing in the hayfield on our west fence line.  

Yellow Rocket.  My arch enemy.  

If these plants go to seed, in time the entire field will be infested with the weed.  Oh, no, this will never do.

  My father had an obsession with all the weeds on this farm but anything that blossomed yellow was especially hated.  Back in the day we didn't spray our fields for weed control; most weeds were controlled by tilling or in the case of a hayfield you didn't want to drive equipment into, hand-pulling.   

My earliest job on the farm was 'pulling mustard'.  (Mustard will be blooming next, in June.  Yellow Rocket comes first.)  Dad would send me out into the field with a promise and a stern warning, "I'll pay you a penny a plant for every one you bring home BUT they all better have roots on them, don't go out there and just yank the tops off and expect to be paid!  No roots, no money."

I would sally forth out into the alfalfa field and scan the green field for yellow flowers;  going from plant to plant, covering acres of ground in search of my income.   The hay (or oats) could be way over my knees and make walking difficult, sort of like wading in the surf of a bizarre green lake.   

Alfalfa field last fall, how green is my valley?
If we had a bad year (or a good one, depending on whose side you're on) I would barely make a dollar for my troubles and I could carry home the carcasses with ease.  But some years Dad would purchase oats and alfalfa seed that had the weed seeds included, and then I'd have a bumper crop.  I'd have to make heaping piles on the fence line to come back for with my wagon because they were too heavy to haul across fields.  

By the time I got back to the barn, I'd be soaking wet from sweat and the dew still in the tall alfalfa.  My tennis shoes would be making squishy noises as I plodded down the barn alley. I remember solemnly bringing the weeds to Dad for inspection.  I always laid them out in piles of fifty.  

"How many you got there?" he'd gruffly ask.

"I counted 223."

"223, you sure?" He'd squint his eyes and look at the piles, kicking them apart with the toe of his workboots, scanning to make sure I had the roots.

"Well, I suppose you can count that high," he said.  "You got all the roots out?  You didn't just bust them off?"

"No, I got all the roots, you can see them there."

"223, well, that works out to what? $2.23?  At this rate I'll go broke paying you to pull the damn things," he'd say as he gave me two dollars from his wallet and dug for change in his bib overalls.  
"Here's fifty cents, you can keep the change."

"Did you want to count them?" 

"No, I don't want to count them.  I'll take your word for it.  But you better be telling the truth about getting those damn roots."
 Fast forward fifty years, and look who's still pulling the damn weeds.  I couldn't help thinking Dad was watching me as I went wading through the alfalfa field in search of the telltale yellow flowers. 

Luckily, neither Yellow Rocket or mustard have very deep taproots and they do pull fairly easily if the ground is damp.  Usually in late spring, we've had enough rain to make pulling the buggers less of a chore, but up until this weekend, we'd had three weeks of dry weather and the ground was as hard as a rock.  

I was cussing them out as I'd pull and the stem would break off.  "No root, no money," I could hear Dad's voice in my head.  I had my trowel on me and went after the blasted roots with a vengeance.  There, take that, gotcha now.

After forty-five minutes of pulling weeds, I checked my phone for the time and knew Carl should be home from work.  I called and asked him to bring the lawn mower and the trailer so we could load up the weeds to take home for burning.  Carl came up to meet me driving up the creek bottom where the hay is sparse so we didn't trample down any alfalfa.  Once he arrived, we worked for another half hour before we were done and Carl headed home with a heaping trailer full of yellow blooms. 

Carl tossed them on the burning pile for me when we got back home.

"Did you count them?" he asked.  

"No, I didn't."

"Looks like some of these are missing their roots," he said as he inspected the haul. 

"The roots are there," I said, "I dug them out separately."

"Well, don't expect to get paid twice for roots and stems.  That's not how the system works," Carl said.  

 "Yes, I know."  

No roots, no money.


Saturday, May 28, 2016

A Precious Arrival

First comes love.
Then comes marriage.
Then comes a sweet bundle of joy in a baby carriage. 

Carl and I are very happy to announce the arrival of our first grandchild. 


Audrey Helen Vanden Heuvel
Birth Date: 5-27-16
Time: 2:21 PM
Weight: 6 pounds 13 ounces
Length: 19 3/4 inches

Proud Parents:
Joel and Abby Vanden Heuvel

Proud Grandparents:
Brian and LeeAnn Reindl
Carl and Karen Vanden Heuvel

Abby and little Audrey are doing fine, we are all thankful for a safe delivery for them both.    

 She is so sweet, so tiny, so perfect.  And she has the longest eyelashes and beautiful dark hair like her Mommy. 

 Carl and I arrived at the hospital just in time for Audrey's first bath.

 We are blessed.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Abby and Joel's Wedding

This post is long overdue, Carl was using a new camera and didn't realize some settings weren't right so our personal pictures didn't turn out very well.  I opted to wait for the professional photographer who unfortunately took months to return the finished photos. Once I had the pictures, I then dropped the ball because of silliness around here. 

But with no further ado:

June 27, 2015
  Joel and Abby's Wedding 

  Joel Vanden Heuvel asked for Abby Lockwood's hand in marriage.

Abby said Yes. 

Time flew by and suddenly the day we had all worked and planned for had arrived, Saturday, June 27, 2015.  The weather was perfect, not too hot and no rain in sight.  

 Rehearsal was the night before.  We all went through the routine twice and all questions were answered.

Running through the ceremony
Joel and Abby rehearsing the candle lighting
Moms, Grandmothers, Aunts, Uncles, all anxiously waiting.
Our Neighbor Son, Eric and his wife, Vanessa
All done!
 There I am, sitting around like usual.

After a nice rehearsal dinner with the bridal party and parents, we set up the tables at the hall for the wedding supper.  Everything went smoothly and it was time to go home and get ready for the big day.
Everything was a blur of activity the next day; Carl and I were going to set up refreshments for after the ceremony at the garden for the bridal party and guests.  Last minute details were, as usual, keeping us running in circles.  The wedding was at 1PM, so we were in high gear. 

My friends Ann and Sharon had volunteered to come back to our house after the ceremony and set up the food so I wouldn't have to rush home from church.  Still, there was lots to do before the wedding and I was a sweaty mess when Carl told me it was high time to get in the house and get ready to go.  Yikes, it was nearly eleven!  Why didn't anyone tell me before this?  (Ok, Carl did, but I didn't listen; just one more thing and I'll be right there.  My famous last words.)

Abby had kindly asked me if I wanted to go along with her bridal party and her mother to have my hair done.  I probably should have said yes; indeed, I debated it, but I know how I am; I'd never be able to get everything done that needed doing, so I opted out.  My friend Nancy had given me a wonderful haircut and I was hopeful that with a little hair product and a lot of luck, I'd be more or less presentable.  

I jumped in and out of the shower at eleven-fifteen,  grabbed a blow dryer and curling iron, applied what passes for makeup for me (which is pretty dismal) and ta da, 11:45PM, where's the car?  It's time to go to church.

 I had bought my dress back in March which was early for me.  For once I didn't want to be frazzled looking for a gown at the last minute.  Carl and I had gone all the way to Algoma on the recommendation of a friend who had a good experience with the proprietor.  I'd never seen so many dresses in one place and found what I needed in under an hour.  Carl had a new suit and shoes for the wedding too, and we cleaned up fairly well.

We picked up Mom and arrived at church right on time.  

The first vision of loveliness I saw was the bride, beautiful Abby. 
Abby and I hugging, with Mom and Gina looking on.

 Abby was radiant, I'd been privileged to be invited when she selected her wedding gown, and it was perfection.

          Abby's Mom and stepfather, LeeAnn and Brian

Abby's Grandmother, LeeAnn, her sister, Maid of Honor, Kate, and Kate's daughter, Greta. 

  While the bridesmaids helped Abby get ready, Mom and I wandered upstairs to see what was going on with the menfolk.
L-R: Eric, Joel, David, Cody
Ah, yes, the usual goofiness. 

When The Boss (Carl)  showed up, they behaved themselves.  There, that's better.

We had our family pictures taken:

 Our sons, David, the Best Man and the Groom, Joel

How do you tie a tie again?

Me, messing around with Joel's flowers. 


Say cheese. 

 Last minute jitters.

David, looking calm and collected.

Our family
Soon it was time for Carl and I to head upstairs to greet the guests as they came into church.

I'd left Mom with Ann who was taking some wonderful candid shots.

Mom being ushered to her seat.

                     Carl and I making our entrance.
                         And:  The bride, Abby, with Brian.

I didn't cry.  (Much.)  Ok, a little.  I think Carl did, too.  
You may kiss the bride.
LeeAnn and I light the mother's candles.
Abby and Joel light their marriage candle.
"For the first time ever, Mr. and Mrs. Joel Vanden Heuvel!"
Kate and David
Brian and LeeAnn

 Carl's parents, Don and Rosemary

The receiving line
Part of the receiving line, it was long!

Joel hugging Grandma Lucille

Signing the marriage certificate

More family photos:
Abby's dear Granny
Joel's paternal grandparents, Rosemary and Don
Joel and Dave

Joel and Carl
Joel and Mom

                       A whole bunch of Vanden Heuvel's

Next, it was time to head to the garden for a few hours.

What a beautiful bride!
Abby's family
Some of Joel's family
Grandma Lucille (Mom was 95)

What?  Is someone photobombing us?

While the professional photographer was taking photos, Carl was taking a bunch of his own. 
David and our friend, Briana

Curtis and Lisa

Pretty bridesmaids taking a break in the shade

 Dave and some ball balancing


 Dave and Eric
Me, wandering around in circles like usual, this time in heels.



 L to R: Vanessa, Grandma and Granny
 Jill (Joel's other Mom) and Mary Miller, our good friends.
David and Kate

 Pretty in Pink, Clara
 Handsome Jack, Abby's nephew
 Cody and Grace, trying not to fall in the pond.
 Emily and Richard
 Cody, Briana, Clara and Grace
 Emily and Richard, Jill and Jake

 Alright, almost 5PM, time to leave for the hall.


Mom painted and decorated the little church card box, it took her months, but she loved every minute of it.

Brian led us in prayer and contemplation
 Joel and Abby made the bouquets and decorations for their wedding.

 And the Lego Wedding Cake.  (They both love Legos.)

Let's eat!

But first, the happy couple must kiss.

Their first dance together as husband and wife.

Abby and Brian and the Father and Daughter dance.

 Joel and I and the mother/son dance.  When did he get so tall?

Time to Party!

Carl, visiting with our friends Patti and Mary.

 Carl and I took a few turns on the floor, too.

The Old Mr. and Mrs. Vanden Heuvel have been replaced by the new 2015 models.

Time for the Grand March, and a little garter shenanigans.

All too soon, the day was over. 

We didn't lose a son, we gained a beautiful new daughter!


Our hopes and prayers for Joel and Abby are never-ending.  

We love them dearly.  

                          And they lived happily ever after.