My mom called me yesterday morning to tell me that Grandpa had passed away.  It wasn’t entirely a surprise, as he has been suffering from Alzheimer’s for years and had recently begun declining.  However, we come from a close-knit family, and he was a huge part of my childhood.  With all my siblings and cousins, I grew up next door to my grandparent’s dairy farm with the sounds of the tractor and the cows.  My aunts and uncles and cousins were always around.  In fact, on our quiet dirt road lived only us family. 

For the past two days, my mind has been dwelling a lot, on childhood memories. 

The taste of family recipes and Hershey’s kisses.  Swimming in our big pond in those orange life-jackets and the outhouse nearby.  Barbecue chicken on a cinder block grill out in the yard.  Hammocks.  Chopping wood.  The milking parlor.  Exploring the woods.  The sandbox made with one of his huge tractor tires.  Riding my bike.  Helping to milk cows.  Country music radio. Riding in the back of his pick up truck.  Walking the gardens with grandma, mom, and the aunts.  Yellow violets.  Singing.  Holidays at Grandma and Grandpa’s with a full house.  My 10th birthday.  Hay fields, corn fields.  Video games (Mario and tetris).  Kittens and calves. Seeing Grandpa hold our babies, his great grandchildren.  Walking sticks picked up in the woods.  Trillium’s.  Spending the nights with my aunt.  Nestle quick in my farm-fresh milk.  Baking. 

Lots of good memories, we have.  The funeral is on Saturday and I am looking forward to seeing everyone again.



Yesterday was the first day of spring and with Grandpa and family always close in my thoughts, the children and I had a big day of celebrating the new season.  As soon as I could get out of the house, I took Seth and Sarah out to the Post office (mailed out something for my mom and Kara), then to Agway (for flowers, seeds, and chicken supplies), and Kloter Farms (for spring decorations).



My mom and aunts also all like pansies and I brought home two flats of them, the kind with small faces. 


S P R I N G   T I M E :: time to get dirty




This next picture is disgusting, but I am adding it just in case you have a little boy nearby who would want to admire Davy’s special mud mixture that he made all by himself.





Caleb’s (my gifted reader::did I tell you that he was just put in the gifted reader group at school=I’m so thrilled, I taught him to read!) marshmallow peep!


Our pond reminds me of Grandpa’s pond.  Rich’s grandfather also had a pond, which is why we both really wanted to have one (or, two) at our place.






In the afternoon, I asked the boys to clean out the chicken coop. When they were done, I took the children all out for McDonald’s Shamrock shakes.  I made a big deal out of it, making it sound like a huge “First Day of Spring” treat…..and (can you believe it?) the local McDonald’s had an out-of-order shake machine!!!!  We had to go back and drive to another town!  Thankfully, as we drove the extra distance, we were all happy (everyone was barefoot except Jake and me, footloose and fancy free) and we had music blaring and lots of talking.  We were TOGETHER and it was FUN and look how happy Jacob is to finally have those yummy (way too sugary, I’ll never drink another one!) GREEN SHAKES.  Even Seth and Sarah both had one.  In fact, I accidentally ordered one too many (it can get confusing) and Rich got to have it when he got home, too. (I saved it in the fridge for him.)



This is a picture of part of my pretty flower garden with little daffies, a “HOPE” garden sign from Kathy, and newly planted pansies.  Yes, I planted all two flats yesterday in the sunshine.  Sethie and I got a bucket of water from the pond and he watered everything with a little cup.  “They all need a drink”, we said.



Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune
without the words and never stops… at all.  ~Emily Dickinson


I came across these two toy tractors as I worked and they reminded me of grandpa.  He cut the stone they’re sitting on, too, from big rocks on the farm property.  I’m so grateful to have some of his New York stones here at my Connecticut home.

We made a small patio step (a few years ago) out of some of his stone (they lay flat)….and this plant was given to me today by my friend Kathy.  She said to plant it in memory of Grandpa and it will come up every year.  I was touched.

One more thing.  My grandpa gave me my cat Spot six years ago and we still have him.  I love this cat.  He definitely has that outdoor farm personality, he rarely comes in the house and is a fantastic hunter!



0 thoughts on “grandpa

  1. Oh Shanda! I’m so sorry to hear about your grandfather. It’s always so hard to say goodbye to someone (and a season) in your life that meant so much. Bless you and I will be praying for your family. Getting a glimpse into your childhood is a real treat! You must be sure to tell your children lots of stories about their grandpa so the will carry him with them throughout their lives.Love all the fresh spring pictures (especially the one of you and Sarah in the garden). And way to go Caleb!! It’s no surprise he’s a gifted reader considering his momma’s love of books 🙂 Much Love my friend!PS. your header is gorgeous!

  2. I’m a tad teary eyed here…you do that to me sometimes, and now it’s because you’re Grandfather is gone, but, of course, never forgotten. I love that you had a great childhood filled with time spent with him! I wish I’d had that with mine, and I wish my kids had that with theirs. Life gets so icky and complicated. You are a blessing! I need to read whatever you post! I love the kids’ piggies all lined up; beautiful, cute shot! I hope the flowers from Kathy do exactly what she said they’d do! I hope things go well on Saturday.

  3. Love to you my friend. I too get all teary eyed, and am asking the Lord to comfort you and your family. So blessed to share in your childhood memories and hear all those happy memories. Thankful you get to share some of those wonderful happenings, like ponds, with your children. Caleb certainly is a gifted reader, how delightful. Springtime weather and flowers, such a treat!

  4. Oh Shanda, many hugs and prayers to you. I am so glad that you have all those wonderful memories and I know you will share them with your children so that they live on. I’ll be thinking of you this weekend and hope that despite the reason, you have a good family time. I love the new header!

  5. Dear Shanda-girl. What an incredible blessing– to have a grandpa that loved you, that made a difference in the world and that you can remember with such tender memories. Oh, Shanda-girl, my heart is with you in these days. If your Grandpa could say anything to of his family today from that side of eternity it would be “Make sure of Heaven!” In a family as large as yours, there are people who need that message. May God’s comfort wrap you all up, surround you with peace, and give you hope in these days. I surely do love you, Brave Lady. Such a hopeful post on a day when your thoughts are most surely in another place. The Hope of Spring for me always equates the hope of the Resurrection, and your pictures remind me of God’s eternal promises to us. May God bless and keep you and yours.

  6. Sorry to hear about your grandfather. It was nice that you were so close to him. I’ve only recently had the opportunity to get to know my grandfather. Family is such a wonderful thing. You and yours are so close, which can be a rarity in today’s world. Enjoy it as I know you do!I love your property… with so much space for the kids to grow and explore and the water and “wilderness” I just love it!

  7. so sorry about your grandpa. It’s awesome that you were so close to Him and got to grow up doing all that fun stuff!It’s kinda interesting you plant pansy’s for spring where as we plant them for winter 🙂

  8. So, so sorry for your family’s loss. Alzheimer’s is so hard – in some ways there is joy when the sufferer is gone, knowing he or she is finally free and whole, but it doesn’t really take away the sting and sorrow of that person being gone. So nice that you have so many happy memories of your grandfather tucked away throughout your life, and that you are planting and creating more. Prayers to you and your family this weekend.

  9. Love this springy (is that a word?) post. Praying that God will surround your family with strength and peace during this time of remembering the life of your grandpa.

  10. Shanda I am so, so sorry to hear about your Grandfather.My Grandpa died of the same thing a couple of years ago…it’s sad and it’s hard. =(I will be praying for you and your family these next few days.

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