Thursday, August 4, 2011

Gardner Gathering

I am thankful for family and the strength it gives me to know they will love me regardless of my shortcomings. My siblings know me in a way others do not; and they at least for now, put up with my insanity.

As my parents age (Dad will be 89 in December and Mom recently turned 86) and my siblings mostly live in distant places, opportunities to get together as a group are hard to come by. So I set a date and tried to gather some family. Everyone has a life and finite resources so the group was small, but it was really nice to visit with everyone that came to Gridley on July 16th to help with the work and have a little fun!

We all arrived on Thursday. Sharon and Lin, Meredith and Chris with James and baby Emma, and Jeanne came in one car from Utah; Katie and I came in another from Washington and the fun began!

Great grandma holding great grandchild number 31 or is it 32? Emma Jex, Meredith's second child. Friday was spent getting the house in order. Somehow I pulled bathroom duty...not one, but both of them. Dad had located a really great product that removed the lime scale from the showers (yeah!) and there was a new toilet in the pink bathroom! I ran out of steam in the yellow bathroom, but it got pretty clean. Jeanne did the kitchen, Sharon tackled a bunch of projects, including the laundry. Katie dusted and did floors. Mere and Chris (wasn't feeling well) mostly entertained the old folks and James "planted his garden" by the back door.

We went grocery shopping in the afternoon so there would be food to eat!

Saturday morning started out cool (oh thank you!). The temperature all day stayed in the 80's so work wasn't the death defying act it could have been with triple digits!

Mom and Dad use a burn barrel out back. It was pretty full with plastics blowing in the wind. So we made an even bigger mess and sorted out the recycle stuff and bagged it up, making room for what ever else was going to get added before the burn ban was lifted.

Fun shot of Jean, Katie, Sharon with Dad in the wheel barrel.
Next job...the ever present wood pile!

Dad and Mom had this pile all ready for us to stack.

As you can see he is quite proud of what fun he was able to provide for us...

So we set to work. During our task we invented the farm girl workout, complete with rap and jingle which none of us can remember the words too... You can see here the bicep work out...

This move is for the gluts and those flappy relief society know the part of your arm that keeps waving after you have stopped...

Sharon is happy about something, maybe the endorphins from the work out had kicked in...

Peggy taking a water break under the ivy pavilion, and discovering some yummy black berries right next to the faucet! While I was there, I watered the flower patch in preparation to do some weeding. By the time we had finished the wood, Grandma had the weeds all whacked away. All I had to do was lay a nice thick layer of mulch down; looked good-- Hopefully the mulch will keep the weeds from returning too quickly! Perhaps, one less place that will need the weeds hoed?

Just when we got phase one of the wood pile done, Dad informed us that there were still logs to split. He fired up his handy dandy log splitter and we braced our selves for round two! Lin handled the controls, Dad moved logs into place and we were off. It was getting warm, and thankfully Grandpa only had about 45 minutes of work in him so it didn't last too long. The pile however, needed sorting and hauling and stacking...

Chris and Jeanne loading up the wheel barrel to stack it in the wood shed...Katie and Jean perfected the peck push while sorting logs for splitting. Nice work out there for everyone...

Katie made the work so fun that Meredith and Emma were itching to help. I had hurt myself the night before so I was grateful to watch the kids for a while and let Meredith have a turn with the farm girl work out...

Many hands make light work and goofy conversations!

Lin said his hands got a fine workout at the controls...

Chris and Jean stacking what they have the end we stacked and/or split about 4 and a half cords of wood for the winter fire.

Lunch break time. You can see that Emma is about the size of a roll of paper toweling...

As the day got hotter, the work slowed, but Sharon and Jean kept at the yardwork.

Glamour pose with the heafty weed wacker

Katie's best friend James. He stayed busy planting his garden and sweeping up the side walks after great aunt Jean edged the lawns. Finally it was time to stop and we changed clothes, gathered the picnic food and headed over to Brad's.

Dad even enjoyed a dip in the pool! Doesn't her look great!

Mom sat in the shade and visited with people.

Lin also did not get in the pool, but enjoyed the shade

Dad, per his usual, could not be out done, so he was diving off the board and going down the water slide.

This is Helen Ryan; Penny's mom. She was so kind to let us invade her pool. She also cranked us some yummy ice cream!

Jean's exit from the slide. We also ran some water olympics in the pool and we talked some smack; you know, the usual.

Brad and Penny taking a picture of me taking a picture of them...

James was really brave and tried out the water slide too. Meredith is helping him go and Chris is standing by to catch him. Jessica's Shelby played with us too, but somehow I didn't get a picture of her with my camera. Sorry Shelby!

Brad and Dad (I like this photo)

Baby Peyton and her mommy Jessica at our picnic under the trees. Brad fired up the grill and cooked us all burgers, Jessica made chocolate covered strawberries (yum), Helen and Sharon brought salads and we ate food and visited!

Jessica and her husband Matt. It was so pleasant there in the shade after swimming and cooling off. Brad and Penny did a great job of making us feel welcome. No new visitors on Saturday so it was the same group of people all weekend.

After hurting my foot, I was very preoccupied and I didn't think to get a group shot of all of us together on Saturday. So many photo ops that I missed; perhaps one of you have them to share...Thankfully, on Sunday after church and dinner, Meredith made the suggestion of a group photo, so those that were still at the house gathered together:

James, Katie, Lin, Sharon, Meredith, Chris, (front) Jeanne, Peggy, Mom holding Emma, Dad

Katie is very fortunate to be able to know her grandparents so well. Dad gave everyone a copy of the book that Heather and I worked on together. He signed each and every copy.

We are missing Brad, but here is the rest of the Vere Gardner Family!

Sharon, Jean, Mom, Dad and the baby, Peggy

I love the synergy that comes when a group of people work together for a common cause. Perhaps it is a zion feeling that I get, but I love the power of the good that can be realized when folks work together. Thank you all for your sacrifices made to come and help out and have some family time together! I know it was difficult and Jean, I hope Laurel and Sean's wedding will go smoothly tomorrow! Best wishes for a happy eternity together you too!


  1. Nice post mom! But you forgot to tell everyone how you hurt yourself in the pool... jumping into the shallow end... haha! Such a fun trip.

  2. loved catching up and seeing all that hard work you guys rock.;0) hope your foot is feeling better.;)