Oh my goodness! What a surprise!
It was our two grandchildren Chelsea and Clayton, along with a playmate Maddi, and their teacher from the Oconto Non-Profit Child Care Center.
I was so choked up, even as I am typing this now, I am crying!
The kids were missing us, and they had decided to surprise us and put together a creative and thoughtful task to do at our house. (the daycare center director who knows us, had called ahead to our daughter to make sure this was okay to surprise us)
They stood back six feet from the door and set down a paper bag and set down the instructions on the walkway. Then they told us to go back in the house and not look out the windows???
It was a
"Social Distancing Scavenger Hunt"!!!
Here is a close up of their list:
They came here to hide things in our backyard! Then they left another sheet instructing us that we have to take a picture of each thing we find.
We obliged and hid our eyes and didn't look out the windows. Once they were done doing their little activity in our backyard, they came back onto the walkway by the pergola.
We opened the door to talk with them, at a distance while we stood in the open doorway. I had just finished sewing three new masks with cute little woodland creatures that I gave to each of them to keep. Nolan helped tie them onto each kid.
They were so excited to have
masks of their own
to wear back to the daycare.
I also left a little bag on the walkway, at a safe distance, with some granola bars and chewing gum snacks.
We chatted for a little while, but my arms ached so badly because I just wanted to hug them. I mean I could feel a physical ache in my arms as well as in my heart. We had to be happy with what we could get, even if it wasn't actual touching and hugging. We were so blessed to even be thought of and missed.
Sadly, the kids got back in the vehicle with their teacher and headed back to the daycare.
Steve and I gathered up our little bag, and put on our gloves and read the list of items to look for in our backyard.
It was a lot of fun! Some things they put out in pretty obvious places, and other things were hidden really well. It took us a while. They are good at this.
I just knew it was Clayton who had put this plastic cup out in the fence surrounding the apple tree. The tree is a special one that they gave us as a housewarming present last year. I just knew it had to be him, he would be the only one that would walk through the squishy ground to get way out there and stick the cup in the fence!
Bit by bit we found all the items except for the "2 pine cones". We looked high and low all over for any type of unusual pine cones. We finally gave up and just collected four little ones from our own trees and said good enough. That was the last item on the list.
Then we took pictures of everything and contacted the daycare to send the pics and show the kids that we did it. Chelsea then confessed that there were NEVER any pinecones! She said that they couldn't find any to take along and she forgot to cross it off the list before they attached the list to the bag!!
So the joke was on them,
because we actually
did find some pine cones!!
Thank you Oconto Area Non-profit Child Care Center!!!
You have no idea how this warmed up this lonely grandmother's and grandfather's hearts!!
Speaking of mushy ground, here is how our backyard looked about a week ago.
We had a lot of water from runoff from snow melting, as well as quite a few rainy days. We have a very high water table the last few years around the Great Lakes, and we are located close to the bay waters of the Green Bay one mile away.
The water in our yard is so deep we actually have ducks and geese swimming around in the water. I kid you not!
Well, my last blog I mentioned how Steve was carefully working his way back and forth along our fence line to unclog some drainage piping that was buried there. Our neighbor said it used to drain our yard into the curb via a small outlet, but it hasn't been working now for a few years and must be plugged up.
Steve got the line free of mud by shoving a sturdy rubber hose with the water blasting at full force. A couple feet at a time, and he would let it drain back out. He was finally able to run water completely through it all the way out to the curb. From there it runs down the street and off into the marsh. It does not go into the city storm sewer.
Now that he got the interior of the pipe freed up of mud, he was able to start draining some of the standing water in our yard. He had an extra old sump pump and a lot of hose. He was able to set the pump out in the middle of the deepest puddle and drape the cord up high along the fence line back to the grounded GFCI outlet in the garage.
He located the hose over to the drainage line where there is a sunken 5 gallon bucket as a chamber where he could set a pump into it if he needed to.
From there it drains out another hundred feet
underground and the pours out at the curb.
At first it was a lot of sand, mud, and silt that came out of that opening. Now it's finally clear water being pumped through from the pond and out to the curb.
Just look at this happy little boy, in his rubber boots, sloshing up and down in the gutter. He was like a happy kid who was playing with toy boats or sticks in a little stream of water, making it go.
After two days of his creative pumping... moving the hose from here and there, he was able to drain our yard down to this!
Let us hope we have a normal spring and summer this year and have a regular yard without the backed up water ponds that we had last year for most of the summer. This will help with the mosquito population and let us have a nice lawn without getting our lawnmower stuck (again).
This was all deep water
across to the greener grass
the day before~
All of our neighbors around us said last summer was the worst in a very long time for standing water in the yards. It's not normally like that in our neighborhood. Maybe this is a start to a good thing?
Steve was busy with another project in the back yard this week. He had been cutting down some dead trees and odds and ends throughout our woods. He made quite a nice little pile of firewood. Our neighbor will take that because he uses it to heat his house. We might keep some for campfires.
Steve took all the brush and branches and hooked them with a tow strap to the back of the Tracker. He dragged them across the back part of our yard out to the edge of the gravel road that borders the backside of our property.
Even though it is gravel, it is still a city street, and the city does come down it with the tree chipper. They will take care of the branches for us. That is a free service to City residents, courtesy of our property taxes.
It sure beats having to drag the branches all of the way out to the front yard, at the other end of the property, by the street in front of the house. This is at the back end of the Big Backyard. The dogs sure like ramming around and playing back here.
I got out my paintbrush today and spruced up some more parts on the pergola. Now the columns have a second coat of paint and the two back boards are now red. These are for the red lattice to attach on to.
Steve and I cut two panels of treated wood lattice that was left over from a garden structure we took down when we bought the house last year.
These two pieces go on the left and right of the back side that faces the backyard. Will make a nice backdrop for the white grids that are on the front sides. I started painting up the first piece, and I will work on it a little bit each day. It seems like I get a sore "tennis elbow" if I do too much painting in one day.
I already painted this cute white little plant stand that is going to go on the front porch, as well as this red base from a bird bath that Steve found in the woods. I'm going to set a pretty flower pot on top of it in our flower garden..
It's been a long day, and we got quite a few little projects done. Besides a bunch of flowerbed cleanup, I sewed up 10 assorted face masks for the neighbors. Then I made a creative supper of beef stew from leftover pot roast from yesterday.
I think now it's time to play a couple hands of cribbage with my hubby before I hop in the tub and relax these aching bones from all of my gardening and painting today.