June 17th–The 10th year begins.

I swear, I just looked at the phase of the moon hoping for an explanation of the craziness at the FPL today. Dang! That wasn’t it. Let’s just say that the girls, including me, rolled their eyes a lot. Boy-chaos ruled.
 
The high point of our gathering was opening the box you sent, Jennifer Brown DeCuir . The books from this year’s Authors in April were just beautiful! Brianna grabbed and hugged all the animal books. Klark settled in with dinosaurs–briefly.
 
Next week I think we’ll do pole vaulting or maybe sword fighting–something to channel the shout-loud-as-you-can energy constructively.
 
Whew! I have a week to think this over (and order poles and swords).
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Happy 9th Birthday FPL!

Today was the library’s 9th birthday party, and the rain came in in waves much of the day, and we tracked in more dead leaves than we could vacuum up. Miss Jennifer and I hustled around, hoping we could do all the fancy table things Miss J. is so good at. We set the tables up on the lawn and in the driveway. We knocked them down again.

IMG_0635Kelby came over to help a couple of hours early. He gave the sky a good talking too. Then it rained again. We downsized our plans and set things up inside.

Mr. John and Miss Vicky took over the kitchen, the noodle cooking, the garlic bread making.

The twins arrived and followed by Olivia and Klark. They worked on a quick blitz finish of the second alphabet accordion. We were a few letters short, but boy was our first one gorgeous!

Briana pedaled up. Violet, Jasper and Fox finally returned (yeah!). We started serving dinner. Klark and Harper and Danny began with plates filled with garlic bread. An unwise move considering how much other great food we had.

Andrew and Heather walked over, Barbara, Penny, Jen and Tracy, Alex….heck, I forget. The rain stopped and we moved the folding chairs back out, the tables back out…no fancy centerpieces and quite a few mosquitoes, but the sauces were excellent, the pasta hot. The birthday cake had a hard time getting out of the pan (parts of it hung on) but we reglued everything with icing. That is kind of typical….

We finished (except for the cleanup) with the watermelon seed spitting contest in the road. It is getting darned hard to find a melon with seeds, but Ray picked one up at the flea market.

All the kids lined up at the chalk line for the big spit. Violet won with a spit of 17’4″. Go Violet!

Olivia still holds the kid record at 18′ 9.5.”

There was a festival of cleaning-up afterwards. Miss Jennifer said that she’d come back to vacuum up those leaves in the morning. I said…okay. At least I paused before I said it.

Onward to our double-digit birthday!

June 3rd–getting ready for our 9th B’day!

This was the last Sunday before the 9th Front Porch Library birthday–wow, it sure has been a good long run! But we didn’t think much about the historical side of things. We were too busy stirring the sauce, drawing, baking the cookies for our traditional chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches.
 
Our Alphabet accordion still lacks a few letters, but we began assembling it–and it is GORGEOUS!
 
The library house is also hoping to become an official food bank ( I know, houses can’t hope–but this one seems to) and as I worked to clear space out for more refrigeration I found a 1983 Life Magazine which was the 50th anniversary edition so we perused photos of things like families in saddle oxfords, Lucille Ball (who?), the first photo of earth from the moon, Mick Jagger and Tina Turner looking oh so fine, a phone with a cord (whoa!).
 
And I think we are as ready as we should be one week ahead of the big bash. All we need are a few more pesky letters for that alphabet accordion…
 
Another fine afternoon at the FPL.

May 27th More birthday party doings.

Work continued on the big library birthday bash. Who knew the alphabet had so many letters? And to make matters worse we are doing two panels for each letter. We drew giraffes, vases, worlds, mangoes–we are still working on the alphabet acordion–the party is just two Sundays away.
 
Mr. John continued to be the spaghetti sauce master in the kitchen. Today’s food stand delivery included celery and basil. We go with the flow and worry very little about a recipe found in any cookbook. The only thing we require is that it be plentiful and that it not burn. Since Mr. John has taken over from me some years back the sauce has never burned; when I was in charge I was always googling, “How To Get Rid of That Burnt Taste.” (Throw in a raw potato, cook it a while, then discard the potato–it sort of works).
 
Toward the end of the gathering, Klark asked if he could light things on fire in the driveway. It was rainy…I was tired… Mr. John went outside for something. Wnen he came back in he asked, “Did tell Klark he could burn leaves in the driveway?” I admitted that I had. “You weakened!” he said.
 
How could I explain that Klark is basically responsible and I trust him to burn leaves in a responsible manner? My answer? “Yup. I weakened.
 
You will be happy to learn that I was proven right, that Klark can burn damp leaves in the driveway responsibly. Another fine gathering at the Front Porch Library.

May 20, 2018: Alphabet Day!

I’ve been in NJ visiting my grandboys, but Miss Jennifer was queen of the Front Porch Library on Mother’s Day. It sounds as if they had a great time (she did pass the crown back to me).

Zoey

Zoey, proud creator of the letter X.

Today we were in full get-ready-for-the-library’s-9th-birthday-party mode. Mr. John was in the kitchen, cooking up a storm while the rest of us worked on the alphabet accordion. “Just how long is this table going to be?” a volunteer asked. The truth? I hadn’t thought about how long a table would have to be to accommodate an alphabet accordion when each letter’s panel is 11″ wide. I still haven’t. I figure that all things at the library eventually work out.

We had a good group of kids, all illustrating letters. Brianna and her cousin worked furiously–Brianna always does animals. If you have a letter she has an animal to go with it. F is for Fox.

Zoey, there for the first time, was hesitant when she walked through the door, but she got right into the alphabet thing. (Thanks for the great C and X panels, Zoey.

Olivia’s F was a thing of beauty. The letter F was dappled with fish. Klark’s pineapple P was good too. Kelby was not moved to do any art, but he read aloud to the group from our book of the day, “The Kid Who Ran For President” by Dan Gutman.

Our neighbor Michelle, brought in a crew of volunteers so we were, not only drawing, but sorting some of the many piles of books, toys, building materials that have stacked up…everywhere.

It was rainy during library, so everything took place in two small rooms. A chummy, good day at the library.

April 29, 2018

Once again the Front Porch Library was quiet. Just me, Olivia and Klark. We need to walk the neighborhood and leaflet, and we will (as soon as that lazy librarian Adrian gets some leaflets printed).

The read-aloud was about the sun setting around the globe so we got down the globe and followed the track of the sun, finding each of the places listed.

We continued working on this year’s library birthday party’s major decoration, the alphabet accordion that will run down the center of the main table. Olivia did a wonderful B panel. It featured BFFs. Klark took A and drew some lovely arachnids.

We made a tentative decision that this year’s library birthday party and neighborhood pot luck will be on June 3rd.

Olivia decorated the chocolate cake with M&Ms. It was a day and night cake. One side done in yellows and oranges, the other in blues and violets. We made a modest dent in the cake and then distributed the rest. With all the food distribution that goes on out of the library house we have no problem knocking on doors and saying, “And how about a little chocolate cake? Your chunk comes from the daylight side of the cake.”

It was a restful and artistic day at the Front Porch Library.

April 29th at the library.

Once again the Front Porch Library was quiet. Just me, Olivia and Klark. We need to walk the neighborhood and leaflet, and we will (as soon as that lazy librarian Adrian gets some leaflets printed).

The read-aloud was about the sun setting around the globe so we got down the globe and followed the track of the sun, finding each of the places listed.

We continued working on this year’s library birthday party’s major decoration, the alphabet accordion that will run down the center of the main table. Olivia did a wonderful B panel. It featured BFFs. Klark took A and drew some lovely arachnids.

We made a tentative decision that this year’s library birthday party and neighborhood pot luck will be on June 3rd.

Olivia decorated the chocolate cake with M&Ms. It was a day and night cake. One side done in yellows and oranges, the other in blues and violets. We made a modest dent in the cake and then distributed the rest. With all the food distribution that goes on out of the library house we have no problem knocking on doors and saying, “And how about a little chocolate cake? Your chunk comes from the daylight side of the cake.”

It was a restful and artistic day at the Front Porch Library.

Earth Day 2018

It was a very small library gathering on this Earth Day. Just me, Olivia, Klark and Mr. John. We soldiered on.
 
I prepared a program about four people who have had an effect on protecting the earth. One was a Florida guy (literally), Guy Bradley. It is interesting that he was a guide for plume hunters as a teen and then died as a game warden protecting the rookeries which resulted in laws that protected the birds–then feathers on hats went out of style.
 
I featured two women, Jane Goodall (who the kids knew) and Rachel Carson, who they didn’t. I brought a print out of a contemporaneous newspaper showing how the pesticide industry slandering Carson. We talked about the difficulty of defending the earth and the importance of science when it comes to knowing what has to be defended.
 
Teddy Roosevelt was the last. We read a short biography and looked at the vast number of parks he created. We also became acquainted with his use of the word “bully.”
 
We then went back to work on the alphabet illustrations for our grand table decoration for our ninth FPL birthday dinner. Next comes the cooking of the traditional spaghetti sauce, the baking of the giant chocolate chip cookies that will be made into ice cream sandwiches. The process will take several weeks, but we put on a pretty good spread.
 
A quiet but good day at the library.

April 9, 2018 Botany Day!

Late breaking report from the Front Porch Library. We had a big crowd for Botany day (the local plants were trembling as they contemplated the onslaught).
 
We began with a rush for the ligustrum hedge where botany was not top of the list, climbing was. Everyone took their melted cheese thingies into the upper branches and ate among the leaves.
 
Then we went inside for a read-around. The Twister spinner chose Violet and Brianna. Each read a book to the group. Both are good at reading upside down (a cherished read-aloud skill for anyone reading a picture book to a group).
 
Our neighbor, Karen, brings me the kid page from the New York Times. This time the center page was a collection of dumb jokes. We took turns tossing a small shell at the page than reading whatever joke it hit. We groaned a lot.
 
And then, botany! I showed off diagrams of flower anatomy.
 
Ray lent me his giant magnifier so we could look at the diagrammed parts of all flowers–let me just say that things like anthers and sepals are not always dead obvious, nowhere near as easy to see as in the diagrams.
 
We then went on a scavenger hunt for flowers–and found 29 species.
 
I had hoped to have the kids dissect and diagram their own flowers but the group was large and exuberant. Hoops were shot, bikes raced.
 
The Earlys, a big family that used to live in the neighborhood came back and Linda Guy and her husband (Linda’s book club is a patron of our library) came by and helped us out with the cheerful chaos.
 
Last but not least, chocolate cake, hoop shooting in the street, bike and scooter races, and the crowd dispersed into the dusk–and plants within a several block radius breathed a sigh of relief.