Tag Archives: home projects

Books, Dust, and Homecomings

by Kate

The members of my family are some of the most fiercely committed readers I have ever met.

This may be due to the fact that for a long time, my parents raised nine kids with no television in the house. Eventually the basketball players launched a relentless and successful assault based on the importance of watching sports, but for many years the only way to escape from the noise and constant presence of siblings was through the pages of a book. As you can see, this is a very effective escapist tool.

The passion for reading may also have been passed down straight from my father- a man who never attends a sporting event, meeting, concert, or choir practice without a heap of periodicals half a foot high.

As a result, the big white farmhouse at Sweet Ridge Farm is full of books. Books upon shelves….

Books and magazines upon and under tables….

And bookshelves in bedrooms, reflecting the history and tastes of the nine children and various and sundry extra inhabitants who have lived or are still living at home.

If you look closely at this photo from Colleen’s room last summer, you may be able to discern that she is headed off to the Classics loving University of Dallas.

Now, as Colleen mentioned in a recent post, she is headed home for Spring Break this upcoming weekend with a group of fellow University of Dallas students. This news, while welcome, sent my mother searching for spots to stow several college students in our large but fairly full farmhouse. In the process of searching, she noted not only many books, but a fair amount of the dust that seems to accompany heaps of books and also the detritus of several large young men in or slightly beyond their teenage years. Luckily for my mother, my sister Mary recently returned home to the ridge. Mary has an orderly and artistic soul. Her bookshelves (and entire room) are always the neatest in the house by a long shot.

This week, Mary tackled the hall and the Third Floor, which was full of not only bookshelves….

But also teenagers, a broken vacuum cleaner, paint cans, and various other heaps of detritus. In her zeal, she may or may not have clipped various important cords running into the house. I believe there have been some strong protests about her scorched earth style policy, but I’m sure that when the college crew arrives this weekend they will have a clean and harmonious spot to sleep. Also, if they need to borrow any reading materials for a brief mental respite from the chaos, they are totally set.

It’s the Thought that Counts

By: Clare

This summer has been warmer than usual. In these past weeks we’ve been getting pretty consistent 90+ weather, which has been hard for all of us to take. Especially for this guy:

Australian Shepherds have naturally long hair. That’s just the way they are. Once summer came,  our little Aussie started his very own collection of burs, twigs, and who knows what else in his hair, and began shedding clumps of dog hair everywhere. And since no one else was willing to groom him, Mary took on the job with determination. Before I go on, I think Mary would like you all to know that none of her previous home projects have failed. Until now. She started out by cutting off the clumps of hair with mysterious things matted into his hair. That part wasn’t so bad. He looked a little strange, but not too bad. But then she decided that she needed to shave him. I tried to stop her, I really did.

“Mary, Australian Shepherds are supposed to have long hair. That’s just how they were made.”

“But Clare, they always shave dogs for those fancy dog shows. He’s gonna look great!” She says, despite the fact that she’s never watched a dog show in her life.

Fully dedicated, Mary bought a special razor and got to work. She probably shaved off half of his body weight, not to mention his pride. And so, our precious little dog went from this:

(I know, he looks pretty scary here. He is not to be disturbed while eating. )

To a more groomed version which is not documented.

And suddenly-to this:

Needless to say we were a little, uh, surprised by the outcome. And  Mary was…I’ll just say disappointed. I still don’t know how to describe this new version of him. A trimmed rat with an oversized head? It’s not that bad is it? I’ll let you think of your own description. Be as creative as you like.

Well, it’s the thought that counts.