Family time and another poltergeist

This week my oldest brother and sister-in-law are in town unexpectedly. They decided some time ago to move here from Berkeley, and lately they have been looking at houses online. The original plan was to wait until later this spring and come here for a visit to look, but they saw one online that they really like, and it’s going to go fast, so they made an appointment to view it yesterday. I missed my opportunity to see it when my niece and her husband went over. Since he is an appraiser, they asked him to check it over first before they made an offer on it. However, they did that on Saturday when I was at Luke’s class.

They have been living on a cabin cruiser for years, actually a smallish yacht, and optimally, they wanted to sell that and their sailing boat before buying a house, but I think they decided to go ahead and buy, as it could take a year to sell the boats. My brother said he is sick of maintaining the boats, although earlier this spring he seemed ambiguous about moving away.

Tuesday night, my job was to make a fruit salad and show up at my niece’s for dinner. That was the only time that the whole family could get together, because my sister was working the next two nights, and they are leaving Thursday. Wayne and I hope to see them again for dinner tonight unless they are too tired.

Anyway, I found out when I saw them last night for dinner that their offer was accepted. Now they have to arrange financing and meet an inspector this afternoon. As long as nothing goes wrong, they will be living three miles away. My brother was really excited. He said he never thought he’d live in a house he liked so much. It is a log cabin that is spring-fed instead of having a well.

They are the only part of my family that I haven’t seen since I moved up here. The last time I saw them was five years ago, so it has been nice to see them.

Since my brother is never without his Brittany spaniel, Freckles, we brought Luke to dinner. This is something we usually wouldn’t do, because Katrina is allergic to animals, but we knew we’d be eating outside and Freckles would be there. Freckles wasn’t feeling friendly, because he’s an old dog, but Eddie came over from next door, so Luke spent a lot of time running around in circles. Unfortunately, Eddie seemed determined to make Freckles play, so he kept getting growled at. Luke only needed one growl to make him stay away from Freckles.

Last Wednesday, Maja was determined to go on our hike, but we decided to hike at Lewisville Park, since it is the most accessible in case something happened, and we decided to make it more of a walk than a hike. In fact, we both picked up drinks before we went there, and instead of taking our sticks, we just carried our coffee and tea. Lewisville can offer a nice hike, because it has some hills, but we kept to the flat part.

It is finally becoming reliably nice out. We’ve only had  a dash of rain this week and have taken to eating on our deck if it isn’t too cool. Last week, we had a day in the 70’s, and I broke out my short-sleeved t-shirt for the first time. But the very next day, I had to put my two long-sleeved shirts back on. We have been doing some outside work. Wayne has almost finished putting the gates back on the wolf pen, and I did some weed whacking and planted my veggie starts in my garden. Monday, I took the self-propelled mower down to the orchard and started mowing it, but my sister came by on her way to work and offered to stop by with her riding mower and do it. When I came home from water aerobics on Tuesday morning, it was done. It’s ridiculous that we have a riding mower that my husband is afraid to mow the orchard with because of the slope. I would try learning how to work it, but I can barely haul myself onto it. Maybe it will be easier to do that this year, because I am a bit less heavy and in much better shape. I might go over to my sister and have her teach me. The only thing he does with it is drive it into the wolf pen, which is small enough to be mown with the self-propelled mower, but is the only flat lawn we have except for the very small front lawn.

Here are our orchard trees in bloom. The right two are cherry and the left two are apple. Their blossoms are just starting to come out. I took this before the orchard was mowed, so you can see we have lots of dandelions. Gosh, they don’t look yellow in this picture. Just beyond the orchard to the left, you might catch a glimpse of the pond.

Speaking of which, this week I did take a picture of the orchard. The two cherry trees are in bloom and the apple tree blossoms have started coming out. Unfortunately, the little plum tree that I planted last year has died.

I was just saying that we hadn’t seen any deer on our property in a couple of years. However, the other evening, I looked out the window to see if I could see some ducks in the pond. I was looking past the wolf pen, so my first impression was of a large brown thing, and I thought the neighbor’s dog was down there. It was a deer, however, running from our orchard into the wooded area behind the wolf pen. Usually we see them in at least pairs, but maybe I missed one or more other deer. I watched for a minute, but I didn’t see any others. On the other hand, we’ve seen rabbits in our yard regularly, which gives Luke lots of barking practice. Not that he needs encouragement. Ever since Rosie first appeared in the slope above our yard, he has kept a sharp eye on the woods and barks if a bush even moves.

And speaking of him, Monday night we worked on heeling without a leash. I didn’t think Luke would do it, because he gets so carried away smelling the astroturf at the dog place, which has been peed on by many dogs, that he has a hard time paying attention. However, he did. Some of us were heeling around in a circle while others in the middle were putting dogs down and calling them. The instructor first told me to let him heel at the end of the leash, and that worked just fine, to my surprise, because he doesn’t like to heel. Then after a while, she told me to at least try letting him off the leash, so I did. He heeled successfully for a while, but every time we passed a wading pool, he walked off and got into it. I think he did this because the instructor put treats in one to try to teach a timid, small dog to go into the pool, and after Luke saw this, he naturally assumed that all the pools had treats in them. In any case, I was pleasantly surprised by how well he did on his first try of heeling without a leash. Then we tried walking downs. He’s not so good at this because it takes him some time to go down, so I can’t exactly keep walking while he does it. Then, it took him a bit to realize I was calling him back to heel from a distance almost immediately after he went down. But he got it eventually. Some of the time, he was smelling too hard to notice me calling him, but other times, he did well.

Last night, we had an eerie thing happen. I can’t help but think it is connected to my husband’s having rung the doorbell yesterday afternoon. It is an obnoxious doorbell, because someone saw fit to install one that plays corny tunes, different ones each time you press the button, ones like “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” and “She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain.” Yesterday, after the mail deliverer left a package on the doorstep, Wayne, who was working outside, rang the doorbell to let me know it was there. It is hardly ever rung and works inconsistently, so that just now when I tried it, I couldn’t make it ring.

At about 1 AM, the doorbell started ringing, and it kept playing tune after tune. When I went out to look at it, the button was jammed down, so that it took a few pushes to get it to pop back out and stop ringing. My husband is convinced that someone rang our doorbell, but I have a hard time believing it was my knocking gremlins. They were only about ten years old and always came on a Friday night around 8 PM. Around here, no ten-year-old is going to be running around outside at 1 AM. I can’t imagine what set it off, but I think something must have happened when Wayne rang the doorbell that made it stick, perhaps.

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