Our family was unable to have Easter dinner together, due to their other family obligations, so we set Sunday as our unofficial Easter dinner. Granddaughter, Ava’s pony, Whinny, and our burro, Crystal, also badly needed their feet trimmed so we decided to make it a workday, as well. David had arrived on Friday evening, planning also to work on his cabin and Bill and family arrived around 11:30. It had been raining and was still kind of drizzling, but the guys set right about going down to the goat pasture, where Whinny had been wintering. Unfortunately, the goat cottage is too small to safely contain three men and a big pony, so they worked outside. It was a bit of a challenge, but they finally got her feet trimmed. And when they let her go, she set off trotting, then running around, happily trying out her “new” feet! The guys took a short break then went down to tackle the burro, Crystal. She has hereditary bad feet, she inherited from her mother, so she needs frequent clipping or they curl upward. After an hour, she, also, was sporting “new” feet and the guys could come back up, get out of their wet clothes, and enjoy dinner.

I’d baked a big ham (planning on canning up the leftovers), made garlic mashed potatoes and added some home canned sweet corn to the menu. Mom always used to bake a lamb cake and I finally bought a two-piece lamb cake mold so I could give it a try. I was a little nervous, but it turned out well, except for the head tried to break away and one ear fell off when I released the cake from the mold. But icing fixed all that. I set the lamb on a flat, iced cake, then added some fancy candy Easter eggs and some little bunny-shaped mini cakes I had also baked, using a cute mold I bought at King Arthur Flour Company. All turned out well and we enjoyed sitting to the table all together.

Bill’s wife, Kelly Jo, Ava and Delilah having fun while waiting for the guys to come in from trimming equine feet.

We had such a good time, watching granddaughter, Delilah, who now not only walks, but runs, play with a ball, with Ava and the Spaulding’s dog, Buddy. Delilah has a dog at home, but he’s a lot smaller than Buddy so she was thrilled that he was so big! We had to laugh when Ava played “I’m going to get you!” with Delilah, watching Delilah running to the couch which was her “safe” spot.

Mason and Ava supervising Delilah, who is having a cookie for dessert.

Ava presented us with a beautiful drawing she’d made of Spencer, complete with angel wings and a halo. So very sweet! I’m going to frame it and hang it where we can all see it.

Isn’t Ava’s drawing lovely? We were really impressed!

— Jackie


  1. What a tressure the piccture of the dog is. I truly understand your loss, and it appears that the children also. Take care. Bette

  2. What a wonderful gathering. Family is the greatest. The picture of Spencer was very talented. It also brought tears to my eyes. We have lost two yellow labs over the last 25 years and they are never forgotten. They were such smart and special dogs as I know Spencer was. You will always cherish that drawing. Very thoughtful of Ava.

  3. What a special day. It’s so nice when family gets together. Ava’s picture is just beautiful. Thank you for sharing

  4. I’m impressed with her drawing! That girl has talent. Somebody please guide her to the ways in which she can use it the rest of her life. We don’t want her to not use it, and lose it!

    • I know I, for one, will sure be happy to help her develop that wonderful talent.

  5. That is a very fine drawing! So glad you all had a wonderful family get together. You get extra points for daring the lamb cake. Way to go Grandma Jackie!

    • It was so much fun to try to re-create Mom’s lamb cake! I know I’ll do it every Easter in the future.

  6. What a wonderful Granddaughter to draw a very nice picture of Spencer. She is a good artist!!

    You are so blessed to have a such a great gathering of family! We lost my dad suddenly 2 1/2 months ago and a year exactly after my mom. So we are adjusting to the new normal.

    I have hurt my back and leg a while back. It is SLOWLY getting better but slow. How does one garden when this happens? I still use a walker.

    • I understand adjusting. I miss Mom and Dad every day, yet. And it makes me appreciate family even more as time is fleeting.
      Gardening with pain can be difficult. Do what you can and don’t worry that it isn’t more. When I was gong through cancer surgery/chemo/radiation, my garden was very small but I did enjoy it. Small beds or containers are a big help. The main thing is to not do too much and become depressed or in more pain, retarding healing. Get well!!

    • Slowly sweetie. I face the same challenge. This year I have had to garden in containers, much easier to reach to weed, etc. than the middle of a raised bed. Also I live in Florida where our natural ‘soil’ is half sand. I also rent, so my garden can go with me when I have to move, prayers to God, that I don’t have to do that again, I’m too old and rents today have outpriced my social security budget. God bless you and enjoy your gardening, just don’t expect you will get things done as quickly as you used to.

  7. Wonderful to see Spencer smiling in heaven! What talent! How blessed you all are to have each other…a true celebration happens every time family can gather.

    • That is so very true. The great thing is on Sunday, Mother’s Day, we’re getting together again for the annual Byrn’s Greenhouse trip to buy flowers!! That’s always so much fun. (Maybe not so much for the guys….. But they’re so brave!)

  8. At times I think *not* having the celebration on the holiday proper makes it less stressful.

    A very good picture, I’m particularly impressed by her skill in his eyes. Delilah reminds me of my oldest – build, enjoyed eating, and sociable.

    Now that you mention it, I think Mom has a lamb cake mold.

    • I love Ava’s picture, especially Spencer’s smile, wings and halo. Check out that lamb cake mold. That’s such a fun cake to decorate and serve.

  9. What a beautiful Time as a family, and a beautiful drawing for Spencer. I’m sure that did your heart some good to be together and watch the kids play. I know I need that when a holiday or birthday comes around.

    Today, I began the fun process of cleaning up the garden. My cows got in the end of the season last year and scattered everything everywhere, so while I cleaned and organized, the kids played in the beds and water that’s everywhere. We even got to find some slugs, Rollie pollie bugs( pill bugs), and worms. Both the kids loved the worms, and carried them back and forth for a while. My youngest, who is 1 1/2, cut his in half and was very worked up that I couldn’t put it back together. My daughter, who just turned 3, loved her little worm and told me “mom it needs to be cozy. Let’s bring it inside so it can be super cozy”. I had to explain of course they live in the dirt, and that we had to bury it in the raised bed so it would be safe. Afterwards, she kept hunting for more worms to find. I found a big fat earth worm and she was so excited, and we “planted” it straight away in the raised bed. It was a beautiful time outside, and did me good to try and organize.

    My raised beds, or the four that are on wheels, are all thawed and the dirt is very workable. I am almost tempted to plant the little onion slips I got a few weeks ago in them. I have a “greenhouse” sheet cover that came with them, as they are these ‘VegTrugs’. Do you think it’s too soon, even if I cover them with the greenhouse top? I was just amazed at how warm the dirt was today, even after the foul weather over the last week.

    And the steer hide goes on. I asked for advice with some other women on a group on Facebook, and I was told to try a wire brush on a drill or grinder to flesh the hide. And I’ll tell you, it is the absolute slickest thing ever but worms so efficient, besides my drill battery dying out after about 45 minutes. I am so excited. I’m hoping to try and make a blanket from the hide. The steer was a white highlander, and I think it would just be the most beautiful thing. Now sure how to go about any of that stuff, but I’m gonna do my darnedest to make it happen!

    I’m working on setting seeds for the brassicas this week, and reseeding my peppers. The seed flat got knocked down and I lost all but two plants. But I figured better late than never!

    I hope you have a wonderful week Jackie!

    • Melissa, it is so good to hear from a young family in this column, plus Jackie’s, of course. Made me feel good to hear about your young children and the worms.

    • I loved to hear about your garden day with the kids. Be thankful your youngest didn’t EAT the worm as my oldest did when he was toddling. (Oh boy, I hope he doesn’t read this blog!!!) I’ve always especially loved being with family in the garden, getting it ready to plant. I really think it’s too early for the onion plants, even though it’s warmer now. There’s probably some cold weather lurking around the corner that might damage even onions.
      That’s a neat tip about fleshing a hide! I’m always up for easier ways to do a job. I’ll have to try that in the future!

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