Sunday, April 5, 2015

Quality Time with Grand Children and the Demise of Black Jack

   I had a very enjoyable weekend which involved a lot of quality time with three of my wonderful grand children, Britton, Lucy, and John Tunnell.  I had to travel to Ellensburg on Saturday (March 28) to attend a meeting of the WASBA Master Beekeeper Committee.  After the meeting, I stopped by the Tunnells and brought James' and Beth's three oldest children home with me.  We had a fun ride home which included over an hour of silly songs.  Judging from requests for repeats their current favorites seem to be "The Big Black Hat" and "The Ladies of the Harem of the Court of King Caractacus". I looked up the name to make sure I was spelling it correctly. It appears that King Caractacus fought against the Roman invasion of Britain for about ten years before he was finally defeated and taken to Rome as a captive.  

    I had a nice Sunday with the older three bedlamites. I made biscuits for Sunday breakfast. Since I am no longer serving in the Bishopric I got to sit with my grandchildren for the first hour of church. I enjoyed listening to  Britton and Lucy sing the hymns as they are both enthusiastic singers and can read very well.  The girls were very reverent during church. John was considerably less so.  He may not have been very reverent but at least he wasn't noisily irreverent.  I was a little concerned when I had to leave them for a bit while the ward choir performed "I  Know the My Redeemer Lives".  Happily, John was still there when I returned to my seat in the congregation.  After church we prepared "Stone Soup" for supper, Britton's suggestion.  Everyone got to chose two of the ingredients (besides the stones).  It actually turned out pretty well and I was pleasantly surprised at some of the vegetables they chose.

    We were also treated to a visit from my sister Mendy and her daughter, Melissa. They arrived shortly after we got home from church. In honor of my sister's visit I baked sour dough bread on Sunday evening. She had expressed an interest and I wanted to show her how easy it was using my new cookbook, "The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day."  I tried something new and used a covered baking dish Linda had brought home from France some years back.  We baked two loaves for a comparison.  It seemed that the better loaf was the one baked in the covered dish. It seemed to rise better, owing to the steam trapped by the cover.  I removed the cover for the last ten minutes of baking so the crust could brown appropriately.  She took one of the loaves along with some of my sour dough starter when she left to go home on Tuesday morning.

Britton, Lucy, and John help dig Black Jack's grave
    The only fly in the ointment for a wonderful Sabbath day was the discovery of a dead goat when I had fed the animals earlier in the day.  I broke the news to the kids a little carefully since I wasn't sure how well they would handle it. I needn't have worried. Their main reaction was one of relief that it wasn't Buster (the nice goat).  Black Jack was a bit pushy and intimidating to the kids so they were less sorrowful at his passing.

Britton and John shovel dirt back into the grave

Lucy helps fill in the grave

   Since the goat was already dead, it didn't seem like much of an ox in the mire.  I decided to defer Black Jack's burial to Monday morning.  The kids were very enthusiastic about helping me dig his grave. I expected the level of enthusiasm to diminish as the work of digging commenced, but the kids hung in there.  We got down to a depth of about a foot and a half deep when I had to ask them to take a break so I could finish the deeper portion of the hole.  Britton helped me drag  Black Jack from the goat pen to the grave and all of the kids helped me cover him up.  We sang "Bill Grogan's Goat" as a memorial; a very appropriate choice for a goat as mischievous as Black Jack.

   A good portion of Monday was spent working on a patio for our picnic table. The Bedlamites accompanied me to Home Depot to buy the pavers.  They didn't help much with the actual construction, as the individual pavers were a bit heavy for little hands.  They did provide a lot of encouragement and positive feed back.  We ended the day with a hot dog roast in the back yard and family history stories around the camp fire.  I put the kids to bed and then drove down to SeaTac to pick up Linda, who was due to arrive at about 9:30 pm from Maryland.  As it turned out, she arrived a little early, but her luggage did not. As much as the Romeros were sad to have her leave, it was very nice to have her home again.


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