Tag Archives: June

June Needs Slowing Down—I’m Having Too Much Fun


Two English granddaughters in the pool today.

Two English granddaughters in the pool today.

June is flying by way too quickly, which means I must be having a good time.

What has been occupying my time? All sorts of things:

  • Making plans for the World War I series at Mount Mercy. Scheduling is a real pain.
  • Taking piano lessons and practicing the piano. Honestly, at least a little.
  • Laying plans for next school year.
  • Hosting visitors from across the pond.

That final point is the reason I most wish I could slow June down. My daughter, son-in-law and their two daughters are visiting us right now. They live in Norwich, England, where he is a plant scientist and she is an artist and the collaborator on the “Princess Ninja” stories.

And, of course, they have two little ninja princesses of their own.

They are both charming little girls, and both are firecrackers wrapped in dynamite. They are in young childhood, a time of life full of energy and big mood swings. Mostly, they’ve been happy, and I’m very happy they’ve been around.

Miss Lizzie eats a cupcake during an unbirthday party with her sister and cousins.

Miss Lizzie eats a cupcake during an unbirthday party with her sister and cousins.

Miss Lizzie greets me almost every morning with a hug. She speaks in a polite, soft English-American accent that sounds very refined. She wears an almost perpetual grin, but also has a wild light in her eyes that you do have to watch out for.

Lizzie is going to turn 5 this fall.

Juliet, the junior partner, is a bit more reserved than her sister. But for her age, she is also bigger and louder. Lizzie has been in the British school system, and sounds almost refined. Juliet still lives mostly at home, and her accent is broader and slightly more Americanized.

If the two were cast in a Hollywood movie, Elizabeth would be the princess and Juliet would be her amusing, wisecracking, cockney-accented sidekick.

Juliet is a star, darling.

Juliet is a star, darling.

Juliet will be 3 this fall.

They leave tomorrow. Luckily, this time they won’t go far—only to Ames and they are coming back. But, too soon, they will fly back to England.

I’ll be sad to see them go. The house will be quite a bit quieter; our weekly output of garbage and recycling will be lower. I may be able to do more bicycle riding to train for RAGBRAI and more prep work for school next year.

But I’m sure I will miss June. I’ll miss the pool play, the un-birthday party, the extra use of the sandbox and swing set in our backyard, the short lives of the feeder fish, the reading, the horse rides, even the hunts for the elusive sweeties. Mostly, I will miss Juliet and Lizzie and Amanda and Matt.

And, by the way, Amanda, I’m one up in the awesome trip blogging contest!

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A Bird Mystery in my Yard is Solved


Cardinal babies

When I first saw this bird a few days ago, it looked half or less this size and very nondescript, like a ugly little vulture. Look at it now. Still a baby, but big and definitely a cardinal.

For weeks, the cardinals have been unhappy with me and my grandchildren, hectoring us from the oak trees whenever we go out there into the back yard.

Cardinals can get a bit aggressive, but luckily have not gone so far as to dive at any of us. I figured they had a nest somewhere back there, but we have a lot of bushy cover, so there are lots of places they could be.

Earlier this week, when I finally saw the cardinal’s nest, I wasn’t sure what I was seeing. The birds were tiny and could be anything—most baby birds don’t look cute to humans, they look like scrawny little vultures. When I spied the nest, the parents were not around, but a small brown bird has a habit of yelling at me from the fence, so I assume it was his home.

Then, as I was leaving, I spied papa cardinal. He landed in the arbor and then hopped to the nest. I was worried that he was there to attack or even eat the brown bird’s babies—but no. He left and came back again. He was feeding the little vultures.

So today, I photographed and made a little YouTube video of the babies in back. I hope you enjoy. June is starting lush and green after some much needed rain, and it’s a nice garden month. Here are some June 1 flowers images on a Facebook gallery.

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