Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dear Kids,
      Nora and Vanessa are both having boys! And both of their due dates have been moved up a week. Meanwhile, Donna is hoping they don’t move up her due date. She’s due the day after the BYU-Utah game, and she wants to have football completely over with when the baby comes. This should be interesting!
      Vanessa and Trent have moved into the new house, but as of Sunday night, they still hadn’t closed on it. Vanessa said, “We’re squatters.” I’m sure it will all work out all right. They’re glad to have a big flat yard where the kids can run around without falling off the cliff, and a level street where they can ride their bikes. Vanessa still doesn’t know when Sterling’s baptism will be. I’m sure they’ll let us all know in plenty of time.
      Oreo is still seeing his magpie, but when he notices me watching, he walks back to the house with lots of dignity. The magpie has no dignity at all, and screeches at him all the time. After all, what’s a mate for?
      The McGettigans advertised the ducks on KSL.com and gave them away that same night, to a woman who said she had a farm. Who would believe it? I thought it was strange when Seth’s dad sold his herd of cows online.
      Life is busy, and I love you all! Mom

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Dear Kids,
      It seems like I’ve been obsessed with birds lately: baby ducks along the river, sandhill cranes, Reggie (cry, cry), magpies . . . my life is filled with birds. And so it continues. Monday night we were escorting the McGettigans home from a bike ride (they don’t have lights on their bikes, and it had gotten dark) and a lady walked by us with a box full of little brown baby ducks. I thought they were hers, and she was gathering them up, but it turns out she was dumping them! A wild duck had hatched them, and then abandoned her brood. The lady dumped them in Halling’s yard (Jennifer Longhurst and Micah) and she said the neighborhood cats would take care of them. The ducklings started to scatter over the neighborhood, so Kara and Sam and I gathered them up. (One had already been mutilated by a cat, awful sight!) Glen McGettigan, who seems to hate all animals, said they definitely weren’t going to stay at his house, but Jana was all sympathy and found them a box. I suggested that when they got a little bigger we could take them to the Jordan River and let them go. I don’t know if they’re river ducks or not, but who could abandon them to the wicked neighborhood cats? (who were scowling at Dad and me as we rode away on our bikes.)
      I called Vanessa and left her a message because we want to know: (1) Is she having a boy or a girl? (2) Are they living in a house or a motel now? and (3) When is Sterling being baptized? So far, I haven’t heard anything. Vanessa, are you out there? Please communicate with us! We want to know!
      Fathers Day is this coming Sunday, and if you don’t have a present for Dad, and you want to go in on something, I’m collecting money for an air compressor and nail gun to give him. Sure, we already have both of the above at the cabin, but they’re never here at our house when we need them. I know it’s not a very exciting present (unless you’ve discovered how exciting and fun a nail gun can be) but if you want to go in on it, let me know, and I’ll put your name on the card.
      Sunday dinner was a blast. Thanks to all of you who came! The food turned out exactly right (meaning there was enough for everybody, but hardly a crumb left over) and there was no stopping the fun.
      I love you all! Mom

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dear Kids,
      I knew there would be another chapter to the story of Oreo and the magpie, but I didn’t know it would be so strange. The widowed magpie has selected Oreo as his new mate (because he’s black and white, of course), and as the British would say, they’re “walking out together.” Sometimes Oreo walks ahead, with the magpie following, screeching, and sometimes Oreo follows the magpie, who is always still screeching. Sometimes Oreo stops to roll in the dirt, and the magpie watches him, screeching, of course. It’s a very noisy business. Dad has offered to “take care of” the magpie, but what would Oreo do for fun? What would I do for entertainment? I’m completely fascinated, watching this odd pair.
      At the cabin, however, nobody has any sympathy for the magpies. Bevan has already collected two bounty payments. (It’s still $5.00 per bird, if you can show me the carcass.)
      More excitement at the cabin: the spring flooding has threatened the bridge, and the whole area by the gate is under water. Donna has some great pictures on her blog. Two years ago, when the water was high, there were news trucks from a couple of the television stations there. Now the danger is much worse, but the news people are down in Sandy and Murray, taking pictures of Little Cottonwood Creek. There have been some wild thunderstorms that have added to the water flow, but luckily it was a little cooler yesterday, and the snowmelt has slowed down. I wish I were at the cabin, so I could have the fun of watching the river. But then, of course, I wouldn’t be watching Oreo and the magpie.
      I’ll be cooking Sunday Dinner this coming Sunday, the 13th. We’ll be eating at 5:00 pm. Let me know if you’re going to be there!
      Lots of love, Mom

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Dear Kids,
      38 years ago today, Dad and I were married in the Provo temple. For our anniversary, we’re going to climb Ensign Peak tonight, when I finish teaching my piano lessons. With Dad’s birthday, our anniversary, and Fathers Day all within three weeks of each other, we have lots of celebrating to do.
      Dad’s birthday present, which I mentioned in my last letter, was a great success. The two magpies were getting bolder and bolder, and Oreo was looking more and more ragged. Saturday night, he was running along the top of the fence, with the magpies chasing him and pecking his tail. He hopped down and gazed at us, saying “Can’t you do something?” We did. Sunday morning I put out the cat food and left the patio door wide open. Dad crouched down by the refrigerator with his new birthday present. Those bold magpies hopped down to eat the cat food, turning their big bellies broadside to Dad’s sights. He plugged one of them, and it fell over dead. He tried to get the other one, but he couldn’t reload fast enough. All this time, Oreo was hiding in the basement. But when the gunfire was over, he strode out proud as he could be. I carried the magpie carcass out beyond the tower, with Oreo following me, his ears up and his tail up. We threw it in the dirt, as a warning to other magpies. End of story? Not quite. Later I heard more squawking, and I saw Oreo out in the dirt, tossing around the carcass, batting it with his paws, and rolling in the dirt, while the mate screeched at him from the top of the fence. Now other magpies have come around, and Oreo openly taunts them while they squawk at him. I’m sure there will be another chapter to this story.
      We had a great Memorial Day weekend. When Dad and I got to the cabin Sunday night, every bed was taken, so we had an opportunity to sleep in the agricultural shed. The “shelves” were very comfortable. The next day we had a great barbecue. Thanks to everyone who planned it!
      I’ll be cooking Sunday dinner again on June 13th, and we’ll eat at 5:00 pm. Let me know if you’re coming.
      Lots of Love, Mom