Tomorrow is the first day of July! I can't imagine that June has gone by already. I always look forward to June. It's a beautiful month, full of blossoms and lush foliage that even the mini-drought couldn't mar here in the Northeast Kingdom.
There is a blemish on the landscape, however. Tent caterpillars have devastated fairly large areas here in the north country. I haven't seen any evidence around Joe's Pond, but it could happen. There are hardwood forests in Hardwick and Craftsbury where trees are bare. These bugs are not the ordinary caterpillars we see occasionally in roadside bushes; they are a separate voracious variety that infests maple orchards and some other broad leaf trees. There are predators that will end the infestation, but it can take three years or so, and in the interim, precious maple trees may be harmed. This sort of plague hasn't happened often in Vermont, possibly because of normal stretches of very cold weather, which perhaps we haven't had recently - at least, not in the spring to kill the larvae. Could be just one more indicator of global warming, I suppose.
We were entertained by our young granddaughter, Tangeni, today. This was our day to grocery shop and recycle, so it was very busy. We had lunch at McDonald's, which she doesn't often get to do. She was delighted to get a Powerpuff Girl Buttercup toy - a fairly ugly cartoon character, but that's what little girls admire these days, I guess. We are totally unaware of all of this, and not understanding the toys come with McDonald's Happy Meals, we had already ordered when Tangeni spotted the display with all the characters. Grandpa immediately asked one of the girls at the counter if we could get one, and she explained they only came with Happy Meals. Tangeni tried to explain to us all the characters and what they do. I was having trouble wrapping my mind around "Powerpuff" and of course said "powderpuff" - much to the dismay of our almost-five-year-old. I explained that next time we'd order a happy meal. Tangeni accepted that, but I saw the disappointment in her face. Apparently the manager had been listening to our conversation and she quickly produced a big-headed green-eyed "Buttercup" toy and gave it to Tangeni. I'm sure for her it wasn't a big deal, but for Tangeni, it just made her day complete. It was a very nice thing for the manager to do. She knows how important these things are to youngsters, for sure.
We always learn something new from Tangeni; and each time we see her, even if it's been only a week or so, we see changes in her. She's growing up way too quickly.
And then there's her older sister, Jo-Ann. She has become a lovely young lady almost overnight. She was at Jay today, doing paperwork before beginning work there at the water park. She works at Whale's Tail park in Wookstock, N.H. something like three days a week and will be at Jay three days - and will work at Jay through the winter on weekends. She will graduate from high school in 2017, and then will go on to college. Seems like it was only yesterday she was struggling to integrate into fourth grade at Waterford school after arriving here from Namibia. Our biggest problem with Jo-Ann is that she is always working or in school so we hardly ever get to see her. I love that she works hard both at school and at her jobs, but I worry that she doesn't get enough rest. Worrying is the role grandparents play, I guess.