The Fourth

My sister’s birthday is June 30, so this year we combined that celebration with our Forth of July celebration.

I spent all yesterday making her birthday cake.

We had 9 or 10 people over, and everyone pitched in. Mom and Sage shucked the corn for corn-on-the-cob, my brother grilled the bratwurst (my sister’s favorite). He also made an oreo dessert (she loves oreo cookies), and my mother made pie crusts for me (I had made the apple pie innards previously). We had potato salad, baked beans, and potato chips.

After we ate, we played the Wii for a while and then did the birthday stuff, sang and blew out candles, and then the boys went back to the Wii while Sage played with her stuffed animals and some people took naps. At dusk, we all sat on the patio and watched fireworks, we had a perfect view of them. We had lots of folding chairs set in a semi circle, and all my flowers are starting to bloom, so it looked really pretty.

It was a very nice night, but I’m completely wiped, had to get up early to take Sage to swimming this morning. Art class is this afternoon, and it’s held nearby the memorial garden we helped plant with girl scouts.

And then this evening, we are going to Mr. Alice’s brother’s house to hang with that side of the family. And all I want is a nap!

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7 Responses to “The Fourth”

  1. Sounds busy, but fun though! I fell into a ditch I was clearing yesterday, and spent 4 hours working soaking wet. If a chuckle at my expense helps you through your day, I offer it freely…

  2. I have so many questions about this story. Why were you clearing the ditch? How did you fall in? Why didn’t you change to dry clothes? Was it too cold for the sun to dry you? What could take 4 hours to clear? Were there any neat flowers or critters? Enquiring minds want to know!

  3. Oh blimey. We were clearing about 200 yards of drainage ditch on a farm, that was in a place that a tractor couldn’t get to with a mechanical shovel. It runs for a way between two parallel hedges that look like they’ve been there since forever. Huge gert things, more like biological castle-walls than hedges. Actually, the farmer reckons that one of ’em is historical. He says he’s seen mention of a skirmish after the Monmouth rebellion (1685) that seems to have taken place by it. I’m not so sure, as I was under the impression that most of that happened further east, toward Bath and Bristol. He says he’ll try to find me the book he found it mentioned in.

    As for how I fell in, I was in a pair of waders, shovelling muck up onto the bank, and tripped over a root or summat. Big splash—Daz emerges like the creature from the black lagoon. They keep some really ‘orrible stinking mud at the bottom of those ditches, ya know…

    I was at work, so didn’t have access to fresh clothes, but yes, the sun did dry my top half to merely damp by the end of the job, (and I gave up on the waders, being soaked anyway) and it was warm enough that I wasn’t particularly uncomfortable. It did give the lad I was working with a good laugh, though. :-)

    My knowledge of flora, without access to a book or an internet, is something like ‘oooh that’s pretty’. Mostly what you see on jobs like that though is brambles and water-weeds. As for critters, we were making way too much noise for any of them to stick around long enough to be seen. Saw several den-entrances of various sizes though, and the farmer did say he gets otter along the bank of the stream the ditch empties into.

  4. TIL “blimey” is Brit. short slang for “God blind me!” (somehow pronounced as gorblimey) an expression of surprise or alarm.

    Every time I see the word hedge, the lines from Zeppelin come to mind… “If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow…”

    I knew there was a good story in there! Ancient hedges, possibly ones involved in a battle is pretty neat. I love really old growing things. I hear tell that hedges there are not the same as what we think of them here. I would have had a lot of fun playing around those as a kid.

    Eh, playing in mud is fun! And good for your skin. ;)

    oooh that’s pretty

    Yeah, that’s pretty much me too, but just seeing one smiling flower, or an unusual bird nearby can make my whole day.

    Ooh, otter, no way! They used to be really common around here until they were hunted down and with the factories, polluted out of their homes. Gorgeous creatures.

  5. ‘Blimey.” Yep. Or, as in this case “Oh blimey, that’s a lot of questions.” I should also mention that ‘gert’ is west-country (of England) slang for ‘big’. Confusingly, it’s usually combined with another synonym for the same, as in “Huge gert things,” above.

    Yeah, hedges can be pretty massive things in some parts of England. Also Normandy—if you’ve ever watched a documentary about the 1944 allied offensive there, they often talk about the problems caused by them for both tanks and infantry.

    What you generally get is a ditch to one side, a mound of earth and roots anything from 2 foot to 5 foot high and, on top of that, what can only be described as a tightly interwoven jungle of various small trees and large shrubs, brambles, etc, growing anything up to 15 or 20 foot high. They can be as much as 6 foot thick, though 2-4 is more the norm. (North Devon, in particular, is noted for country lanes that seem to be more like narrow canyons between living cliffs. I tried to find a pic online, but can’t see anything that really gives the idea.) They were really formidable barriers, in the days of horse-cavalry and such; which is why they’d be mentioned in a book about battles.

    Really frustrated now. I’ve read books that mention them, and seen documentaries, but I can’t find anything online that says much about historic hedges. There are some, though, that are hundreds of years old, and I think a very few are alleged to date from Norman times.

    And yes, we loved playing around them as kids. I remember one in particular, where a tree had fallen over in a storm and left a hollow in the middle of a hedge, where it widened into a small coppice, that could be reached by a rope we dangled from another tree. Heaven!

  6. wow great!!!!

  7. Those sound incredible, Daz. Let me know if you find a reference, I’m fascinated with this idea.

    Thanks, vvvv

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