Aug 20

Every once in a while I notice something amazing out the window.  After I moved to the side of the window without a screen the picture came out pretty nice.  This was on July 24th.

Sunset Out The Bedroom Window

A beautiful sunset out the bedroom window looking northwest

Tagged with:
Aug 04

We’ve had an ice cream maker for quite a while.  It’s pretty easy to use.  You keep the cold portion of it in the freezer until you’re ready to use it.  Then you mix up the ingredients, pour them into the machine, and turn it on.  It churns the mix into a sort of soft serve consistency.  Then you put it into the freezer to set for a couple hours before eating.

That cold part has sat unused in our freezer for quite a long time.  Recently it finally came out.  Declan and Owen were excited to help make the ice cream!  Linda helped them mix up a vanilla ice cream base.  Then while it was churning, they both got to add a little packet of mini M&Ms to it.  It was pretty yummy.

Owen Making Ice Cream

Owen adds his M&Ms to the mix

Declan Making Ice Cream

Declan adds his M&Ms to the mix

Tagged with:
Jul 21

Just a couple of quick pictures.  I took the camera outside to get a picture of the current state of the garden.  As I went out I spotted the rose plant near the front door.  So I thought I’d try to take one of those “closeup” pictures.  I’m not sure the focus is right.

Rose

My first attempt at a flower closeup

After a couple of tries in the front I went around back to get the garden.  I even got the gardener as a bonus!

Gardener and Her Garden

Linda tends her garden

Since this picture was taken, the cages have gone around the tomato plants to keep them from falling over.  It’s looking pretty good!

Tagged with:
Jun 24

Last Saturday, the day before Father’s Day, Linda worked all day.  So the boys and I went into Dexter to visit her in the late afternoon.  We finally got a chance to visit Warrior Creek Park which is right behind the Dexter District Library.  After that we went to the Dexter Pub for a Father’s Day dinner, just a little early.  A nice day in a nice place with the family!

Declan Sticking it to the Creek

Declan spent most of his time in the park trying to throw sticks into Mill Creek

Kieran & Owen on the Playground

Kieran and Owen preferred to play on the playground equipment

Declan's Feather

Declan was excited to find a feather

Dexter District Library From the Park

This is the Dexter District Library from the park

Mill Creek Winding Through Dexter

Mill Creek winds through the park behind the Dexter library

Owen's Puppet Show

Owen put on a brief puppet show for Declan and I at the library

Twin Trouble

Owen and Declan hamming it up in the park

Ground Hog

Linda spotted this little critter walking along the woods in the park. I think it's a ground hog.

Kieran Airborn

Kieran jumping off the swing - caught in midair

Jun 19

After a few months of getting ready, the new scouts in Troop 240 went out for their first weekend campout June 4-6. Kane wasn’t able to make it, but Kieran, Zack, and Matthew did.  They were joined by Cody and Colin who have been in the Troop longer, but still wanted to camp.  Casey and Christian were the senior scouts and served as our Senior Patrol Leader and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader.  Our adult leadership consisted of Brian Coleman, the Scoutmaster, and Gregg Blossom and I, Assistant Scoutmasters.

We met at St. John’s at 5:30 Friday and loaded everything up.  Then we headed out to Camp Munhacke.

These new scouts hadn’t done much tent setup before so it took a while to get them up properly.  However, everything did get setup before there was any rain.  After things were setup we needed to focus on dinner.  We made spaghetti.  We had propane stoves on the picnic table under the easy-up canopy.  It came out quite good with plenty for everyone.  There was even some for the raccoon that fished it out of the trash while we were cleaning up.

Kieran, Zack, and Matthew were in a tent together.  They were probably the last ones to fall asleep.  At least they were the last voices I heard before I fell asleep.

Saturday morning dawned bright and early.  We were up at 7am.  Pancakes and sausage were cooked up for breakfast.  Everybody helped and it didn’t go too bad.

Cooking Breakfast

Pancakes and sausage for breakfast Saturday morning

After filling up on breakfast and cleaning up it was time for our five mile hike on the Bill Baker Trail.  There is some history to this particular hike.  When last year’s new scouts went out on this hike it became known as the “Death March” because the trail was washed out at one point.  That led to a huge detour through the wilderness and everybody was completely exhausted by the time they got back to camp.  This year the hike went quite well for most of the way.  Then we hit the same place that it was washed out last year, and it was washed out again.  Oh dear.  Casey remembered that it was the exact same place that they encountered trouble last year.  Mr. Blossom and I thought about the situation briefly and decided that our best course of action would be to double back to the road that we crossed most recently and take it back to camp.  It wasn’t quite as adventurous as last year, but given our circumstances it seemed like the best thing to do.

Almost Done Hiking

All the hiking scouts as we approach the end of our trek

Once we made it back to camp it was time for lunch.  We fixed Hobo meals on the camp fire.  Hamburger, diced vegetables, butter, and seasonings wrapped in foil and cooked on the grates over the camp fire.  They were easy and delicious!

Matthew Prepares the Grates

Matthew used aluminum foil to clean the grates before they went on the fire

Preparing Hobo Meals

The scouts are working on the hobo meal ingredients

Hobo Meals Are Cooking

Colin, Kieran, and Matthew keep an eye on the hobo meals

Casey and Christian spent some time after lunch working through T-2-1 requirements with the guys.  They made some good progress.  In fact, everybody should be ready to earn Tenderfoot rank very soon.

Kieran and Mr. Coleman Review His Book

Mr. Coleman is reviewing Kieran's achievements with him

Manchester Troop 426 stopped over to invite us over for skits and songs in the evening.  So all the guys got together and decided what skits and songs to perform.  Then they practiced them.

Practicing Bubblegum Song

Casey taught everyone the bubble gum song for skit time

Christian brought some helicopter-launched-with-rubber-band contraptions that quickly became a hit with all the scouts.  In between other things they would shoot them way up into the air and as they helicoptered back down they’d battle for position to be the one who caught it.

Everyone's Favorite Toy

Christian brought these helicopter sort of toys that were a hit with everyone

Working on Lashings

Casey and Christian showing the new scouts how to do lashings

Dinner was corned beef and vegetables.  It was all boiled on the stoves.  It turned out great and was a pretty easy camp meal.

Sitting Around the Campfire

The boys and leaders taking a break around the campfire while dinner cooks

It started to rain during dinner and continued to rain throughout the evening.  That made dinner cleanup a little more challenging than usual and it took a long time.  Finally it was done and everybody headed over the Troop 426’s campsite to join them for skits and songs.  It was a lot of fun.  They had a pavilion in their campsite so we were able to stay dry during the show even though the rain was pretty heavy.

After the show we headed back to our camp and retired to our tents because the rain prevented much of anything else.  Everybody managed to stay dry throughout the night.  The scouts didn’t know it but we had some pretty severe weather passing over us.  There were tornado warnings issued for some parts of the county, but not where we were.  Dundee was hit by a major tornado during the storm, but that’s quite a bit south of where we were.  Having our tents setup in the tree line as we did provided us with some shelter from the worst of the weather.  The moms and dads back at home were having a worse time worrying about us than we were having being out in the weather.  Mr. Coleman was keeping track of the weather via NOAA weather radio as were the folks in the camp office.  So we knew what was happening.

Sunday morning we woke up to much better weather.  It’s always nice to be able to pack up in dry conditions.  Of course the tents were wet, but the sun was out so we pulled them out into the center of the campsite to dry off for a little while before packing them up.  Breakfast was cereal because we needed to be heading back to the church early.  We weren’t quite as early as we planned, but we were hitting the road for home around 12:15.

This was a great camping experience for the new guys.  Casey and Christian did a great job showing them how its done as well as helping them get a large number of T-2-1 requirements signed off.  They’re well on their way to their next Court of Honor!

Tagged with:
Jun 15

Kieran has graduated from 5th Grade. How can he possibly be going to middle school next year? Time goes so fast!

They do a nice little graduation ceremony at Childs Elementary. The Principal Mr. Petzak spoke to the graduates about what it will be like and what they need to do to succeed next year. Jeremy Keeney, a 2006 graduate of Lincoln High School who is currently the Vice-President of the Lincoln Board of Education spoke next. His talk was appropriate for the audience. It was short, but full of inspiration. Then it was time for Mrs. Hill and Mr. Hotchkiss to call up the graduates one at a time to receive their certificates and a slew of handshakes and hugs from those on stage. Finally there was a great slide show of pictures from the school year.

It was a very nice ceremony. I still cannot believe he’s out of elementary school. He’s done so well that Linda and I are very proud of him.

Hey Kieran! Turn Around!

Kieran sitting in the seats with his classmates

Kieran & Mrs. Hill

Kieran and his 5th Grade Teacher Mrs. Hill

Kieran the Graduate and Family

Kieran struck a pose with the family

Tagged with:
Jun 12

Declan and Owen are getting into riding bikes.  They’re using training wheels, but they’re really getting around.  They can even use the brakes before they go into the street at the bottom of our driveway hill.

Declan On His Bike

Declan is on Kieran's old bike

Owen On His Bike

Owen is on the new bike we got this year

Both Boys Riding Away

Declan and Owen are leaving the photographer in the dust

Tagged with:
Jun 12

Last weekend while Kieran and I were camping with the Boy Scouts (more on that later), Linda finished getting the garden beds loaded with dirt and planted.  Things are slowly starting to take root.  I’m not certain that all of the plants are going to survive the transplanting.  I think some of them may have gotten too big in the house.  We’ll have to wait and see.

Over the last week we’ve experimented with how to layout the soaker hose for maximum water coverage.  I’m still not sure we have it right, but we keep working on it.

You know what the best part of the garden is?  Hearing Linda squee when she sees a new plant emerging from the dirt or a blossom appearing.  That makes the whole project worth it.

Both Beds Done - Getting Watered

The plants and seeds are in and the soaker hose is working

Rectangular Bed Done

Squash, Cucumber, Carrots, Tomatos are taking root in this bed

Deck Bed Done

Raspberries, eggplant, squash, basil, and sunflowers are growing here

Tagged with:
Jun 01

The Memorial Day weekend was full of work on the gardens.  We did take Sunday off for a welcome visit with some family that we haven’t seen in a long time.

Saturday while Linda spent eight hours working at the library, I spent about three or four with my hands covered in mud sealing up the gaps beneath the garden beds.  That’s mostly done.  I had to quit when one of my nails tore rather badly.  I guess they were getting soft after being wet for so long.

Monday was a day full of dirt.  Specifically new dirt.  Kieran and I headed off to Lowes and loaded up a cart with 25 bags of top soil.  That was only part of what we needed, but I didn’t think the cart would hold any more.  When we got it to the van I decided I should probably check the vehicle’s maximum hauling capacity.  Turns out it’s 1200 pounds.  So with 1000 pounds of top soil plus the two of us we were there.  In the end it took five trip to Lowes to get everthing.  Kieran and I moved just over two tons of material back to our place.  We had quite a thunderstorm during the second trip so that delayed us for a while.

While Kieran and I were hauling material home, Linda was putting some of it into the first garden bed.  Unfortunately, it started to rain again in the evening so the bed wasn’t completed.

That first bed was finally completed today.  Linda even transplanted most of what she wanted in that bed into it.  It’s not quite all there yet, but at least there are plants in the garden!

Building Garden Beds - First Plants

Sorry the picture is dark, but I was losing daylight fast.

Tagged with:
May 29

Linda wanted to get a picture of the two kinds of flowers that are blooming out front.  She captured a little more than that.  Hmmmm…

Front Flowers

Two kinds of flowers and two boys

Tagged with:
preload preload preload