The Stork's Nest

October 2011

Rick's Brick

October 6th, 2011

Four years ago today, our firstborn son, Rick, with killed in a tragic accident.
When we had our sign made, we learned that they also engraved bricks.
Debbie, one of my midwifery friends, had a brick engraved to memorialize Rick.

Stephanie helped me place
the brick by the tree.

We surrounded the brick with
both white and black pebbles.

This was a touching moment. Christopher
probably barely remembers Rick. He was
only 3 when Rick was killed. He sat here
quietly reading the brick. He asked us
about it and then stayed just like this
for a long time...thinking about it or maybe
trying to remember Rick.

We later switched the black and white
pebbles for better contrast.

The brick was placed at the base of this Japanese Maple which was
planted in memory of Rick by my midwifery friends in 2007.

Landscaping Our Sign

October 15th, 2011

Our son, Matthew, helped me do some minor landscaping around our new sign.

First we planted two mums.

Then we leveled the dirt around the sign
and placed a row of white marble stones
along the front of the sign.

Finally we placed three solar flood light in front to illuminate the sign at night.

New Swans

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Ever since our female swan, Gretel, walked away in January 2009, we have been
searching for a new girlfriend for Hansel. Today Fred got a bonded pair (DNA tested
as male and female). They are 9 months old, so, really are still babies. These swans
were hand raised by Dianna, who rescues swans, so they are very tame and people
friendly. We are still considering names for them. Dianna called them Xavier and Lily.

They made the trip from Chillicothe in a dog cage quite well.

When we opened the cage by the edge of the
lake, they walked slowly toward the water.

Hansel was just off shore, curious
about these newcomers.

The new swans explored the entire lake
stopping to eat from the bottom and
flapping their wings in what appeared
to be joy as they circled around.

But we watched them closely because
Hansel was never far behind and was
in an aggressive stance (wings up).

They seemed to be enjoying themselves
but eventually, Hansel chased one of
them out of the water, sitting on top of
him or her. We were not sure if he
was trying to simply establish his
dominance, trying to mate with them
or truly hurt them.

Fred got in the rowboat and tried to keep
Hansel from chasing them.

Eventually, he chased both of them out of
"his lake" and they walked up the path,
into the woods. So we captured Hansel
and put HIM in the dog cage.

We then gently walked with the new swans
from where they had bedded down in the
woods, back to the lake.

Fred spent Friday building a pen for Hansel

...half in and half out of the water.

But the babies kept their distance,
swimming or sleeping on the opposite
side of the lake.

By Saturday, though, they had ventured
over near Hansel's pen, eating and
grooming themselves. Meanwhile, Hansel
was desparately pecking at the fencing,
searching for a way out!

Soon the babies went right up
to the edge of Hansel's pen.

Swans are definitely curious birds!

Then, interestingly, they both began pecking
at the fencing...Hansel to get out...

...and the babies to get in! Neither one
seemed to be pecking at each other.

We will probably keep Hansel in "time out"
until they either sign a peace treaty or
we find a new home for Hansel.

Annual Fall Family Birthdays and Pumpkin Carving

Sunday, October 30th

We had a GREAT weekend! Friday night Nick (14) had a birthday party here with
his friends. It went off without a hitch…everyone survived and had a LOT of fun,
although I only got an hour and a half sleep before leaving for a birth.

Family began to arrive Saturday morning for our annual Fall Family Birthdays
and Pumpkin Carving Gathering, but I still managed to get in a 2-hour nap
when I got home from the birth.

Saturday was spent cooking and baking for Sunday. Stephanie put together an
awesome menu of Halloween themed foods. Everyone contributed and helped
with the preparations (and cleaning up after a houseful of teenagers Friday
night). All family members were here, plus a few extras (girlfriends, etc.)…30 in all!

Sunday we all helped with the final pre-
parations and cooking. Lunch was amazing!

From the grill: spiced hamburgers, red
potatoes grilled with garlic, grilled veggies
(zucchini, summer squash, onions, green
peppers), grilled pineapple that had been
marinated all morning in rum and cinnamon,
and grilled garlic bread.

We had a fresh salad with homemade
croutons cut in Halloween shapes.

We also had raspberry fruit dip with a variety
of cut up fruits: apples, oranges, bananas,
and pineapple served on kabab sticks.

We dipped bat wings in a cheese fondue
using black tortilla chips for the bat wings.

We had homemade fruit punch served
in a witch's cauldron, with raspberry
brain ice cubes floating in it (raspberry
juice frozen into the shape of brains)

Totally stuffed, we took a break from eating and opened birthday presents
for Sande (45), Heather (39), Matthew (37) and Nick (14).

And remembrance of Rick who would have been 48 this year..

Rene's love, Sande (45)

Our daughter, Heather (39)

Stephanie's son, Nick (14)

Our son, Matthew (37)

Then outside to carve pumpkins. It was great fun. The weather cooperated and this year
we also had a variety of gourds that some of the kids used to decorate their pumpkins.

Abby (5) organized a secret contest for the best pumpkin.
Jeremy's pumpkin won! The prize? A leaf.


And somewhere in there, the boys had a bonfire -- I think that was Ray’s idea.
Heather gave 4 haircuts and Matthew fixed several computers.

Then we had birthday cake: homemade spice cake garnished with ghosts
(upside down ice cream cone cups filled with white and chocolate cake and
draped with marshmellow fluff/powdered sugar to look like ghosts with
chocolate chip eyes and mouth)…really cute! …but oh! so sweet!

I was exhausted by the time everyone helped clean up and left around 8 pm
Sunday, but I was sooo happy!




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