Thursday, October 30, 2008

Leaf Importers

Wishes do come true!
Today Tim took the boys to work to scoop up a huge truck load of fallen leaves to bring home to our little front yard. The leaf pile was a dream come true for Joseph and Peter, and they made full use of their pile.

Throwing leaves, diving in leaves, rolling in leaves, hiding in leaves, kicking up leaves, jumping through flying leaves... how many ways to enjoy a leaf pile.

Then it rained. So it was time to jump in the wet leaves, roll in the leaves, run through the leaves...

Now it's time to do laundry!

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Clay creations
The clay mined locally (across the street in the green-belt) is not only great for dam building, but also for sculpting. Peter formed a candle holder shaped like a pumpkin yesterday, and plans to display it on All Hallows' Eve (Halloween). The boys are very hopeful that we can get to a pumpkin patch today so they can carve jack-o-lanterns tonight.

The big event (All Saints' Day) will feature Saint Joseph (Joseph) and Saint George (Peter) at Mass on Saturday morning. The costumes are finally assembled and ready to wear and the excitement is building. The biggest dilemma is whether or not St. Joseph should have hair or not.

For our family, the secular events of Friday night have something to do with amassing candy, but the thrill of the chase is the primary motivation, combined with running through the neighborhood after dark with friends. We "buy back" the candy (save a few special varieties) at a pre-arranged price, and give it away to customers at our shop.

Zachary (14) has mixed feelings about wearing a costume this year... but he has suggested that he be allowed to hide in the yard after dark with a dis-armed chain-saw to scare trick-or-treaters.

This is our first year ever has homeschoolers that we have not participated in "Historical Halloween" with other families. The kids would give first person accounts of their characters to residents in nursing homes. Combining public speaking, community outreach, drama and history, it was a tradition well worth the efforts and struggles.
I miss it just thinking about it. But as with all things, there is a natural ebb and flow. Maybe we can get Historical Halloween up & going for next year. In the meantime, I need to prepare for a truck load of leaves arriving at our house soon.
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fish tales...

Down at the dam yesterday, the boys found a fish in the lower pool. They were able to catch it, and released it into the upper pool atop the dam. (This after a failed attempt to catch it and bring it home to show mom.)

Our question is, of course, whether or not the dam was impeding the fish's progress...

The size of the fish has been debated, best guesses put it between 5 and 8 inches.

The excitement of fish relocation soon gave way to the thrill of dam construction. Joseph and Collin "mined" clay, while Peter acted as general contractor.

Speaking of boys in the wild, did you see the story in the news today about the 13 year old Washington boy who ran away on the eve of his first day of public school (after being homeschooled, and following a divorce and break-up of his family)? He survived in the wilderness for 12 days on a (failed) attempt to reach a "Tracker School" in New Jersey! Now he says public middle school "doesn't have to be a bad thing." Bet middle school will be pretty boring compared to trying to survive in the mountains on his own for 12 days... but probably more comfortable and at least as safe.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Toilet vs. Cell

The toilet won.
Don't try this at home, kids!
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Sunday, October 26, 2008

What can we say?

We really love watching the boys play soccer!
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Friday, October 24, 2008

Leaf Importers

Some people remove fallen leaves from their yard this time of year, but we import them! The boys are so excited to play in a leaf pile that they are making daily treks with buckets, hoods, and other carrying devices to bring home leaves from piles in the neighborhood.

They asked me yesterday if they could place an ad in the paper, "Will pay for your fallen leaves." I said I would think about it. I am still thinking.
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

New Digs

After failed attempts to build on a lot near where our current shop is located (can you say RED TAPE?) we are going with PLAN B... buy a building already to occupy. Or, nearly ready to occupy. The demolition work has begun, with wall removal, carpet removal, window removal, and other various jobs to be done prior to moving our business into the new location.
Yesterday the boys were able to spend a few hours with Tim at the new place, doing various demolition jobs. They were covered with dust, and very pleased with the work they had accomplished in a few hours together.
The site is bigger than our current location, and has a second building which is home to several local businesses (now our tenants). Check out Tim's new key chain!
Tim calls this one the "public restroom" at our new location. There are also 2 "private restrooms."
We'll let you know when our grand re-opening will happen. In the meantime, if you're in the mood to strip floors or help with moving day, do let us know!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Moving Dirt
Today the boys moved 5 yards of topsoil for Grandpa Cliff. Their friends Ezra, Judah, Enoch and Boaz were also on the work crew. It only took them about an hour, and then they were treated to hot cocoa and cookies. After the job was done, they were free to hunt rabbits (the rabbits won) with swords.

I know they would have probably rather been rolling in the dirt, jumping in the dirt, or sliding on the dirt, but they really worked hard to get it spread around the garden for Grandpa.

The afternoon's activities included a picnic lunch on the driveway, and some bike riding and basketball.

Teamwork came into play when the garage door needed to be re-secured to the chain after the release cord had been "accidentally" pulled. They worked together until it was attached and the automatic opener would function again. Good news.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Peter's a Bear!

Peter completed 12 chapters in his Bear handbook and has been awarded his Bear badge of rank! He is very excited, not only to have earned his rank, but to have been first in his den. (I don't think anyone else knew it was a race!)

He asked Grandma Billie and Grandpa Cliff (the locals) to join the fun at the pack meeting tonight.
Grandpa Cliff even earned a very prestigious award tonight... the neon yellow leader cape, which has been passed from leader to leader for the past 7 or so years. He's being thanked for welcoming the Webelos den to his shop to work on their Craftsman woodworking requirements.

Pack meetings wear me out! But it's a wonderful family event, with so much energy & excitement. I think perhaps earplugs would help...
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Saturday, October 18, 2008

One of Peter's favorite passtimes when the weather gets cooler is hanging out on a blanket in front of the fireplace.
Peter awaits with great excitement the days when the yard is frosted over in the morning, and the days when the weather forecast shows the possibility of snow. He might vote to skip right past fall in head directly into winter!

It's been wonderful to see his love of reading blossom, despite being a reluctant (lazy?) reader for some time. He's proud to have completed this 170 page book in 4 days. But who's counting?

Now we're heading out to another soccer game, with a bowl full of oranges since we're the snack providers today.
Meanwhile, Tim and Zachary are hiking with the troop and a few special Webelos guests.
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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Supper time on the farm...

Ok, it's not a farm, but it's a haven for hungry boys (and one man). Such a joy to share a meal with our friends before heading off to Webelos tonight.
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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Muscles Everywhere!

Who can resist the temptation to FLEX when mom's about to take your photo?

We're going to PUMP you UP!

A funny side note about the new hair cuts on Joseph and Peter: One of their friend's moms has recently made the decision to cut his hair at home to save money. Their friend told his mom that he was OK with having his hair cut at home... as long as she would agree not to cut it as short as Peter and Joseph's hair!

For the record, Joseph and Peter were adamant that I use the shortest attachment on our buzzer when I gave them their haircuts (at their urging.... begging!). I suggested that they let it stay a bit longer in these colder month, but they would not relent. What could I do? It's their hair!

Not too many days after the hair cuts, Joseph admitted that next time he's not going to ask for the shortest attachment... that he thought having a bit more hair this time of year would be a good idea! (He noticed the temperature difference! And he took some teasing from his long-haired soccer teammates...)

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Cone head!

Charlie is on the mend, confined to his kennel for the 2 week recovery. We put the kennel in the "office" where Joseph does his school work, so when Joseph is in the room, Charlie can be out of the kennel. Otherwise, it's sedation & rest for the cob inhaler.
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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Dog update:
Charlie did have a blockage, and Uncle Craig was able to remove it surgically.

There was a pretty big piece of cob in his stomach, which was not going to make its way out on its own.

Tim is on his way home now, and Charlie w/ be down & out for 2 weeks.

Craig suggested having him wear the collar backwards, which will still prevent tampering w/ the wound, but won't be such a danger to all of us. We're going to give it a try!

Thanks for you concern, and most of all, for your prayers.

Buddies for life

Joseph and his black lab, Charlie, are the best of friends. We rescued Charlie about a year ago from a family that could not keep him. From the beginning, he's been Joseph's dog, and they have a very special bond.
Yesterday Charlie was a bad dog and ate out of Grandpa Cliff's compost pile~ one of the worst possible things a dog can ingest... corn on the cob. Uncle Craig and Aunt Bethany (both veterinarians) suggested emergency surgery to remove the cobs, which cannot digest and which can cause terrible problems.

Today Tim will be driving Charlie to Uncle Craig's clinic (about 3 hrs. away) to have the emergency surgery. Following surgery Charlie will once again be wearing "the cone" to keep the stitches clean and in tact. Some of you might have vague memories of the trauma Charlie suffered in his cone-wearing days following his neutering last year... or was it we who suffered?

At any rate, please pray for Joseph, and for the hands of our surgeon, Uncle Craig.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ready to burn... the leather, that is!

Joseph pre-heats his numeral 3 for his brand at his Webelos meeting last night.
The branding project was a big hit (go figure!). We were surprised that the neckerchief leather working craft took so much longer than last week's pocketknife assembly project. Who knew?

Zachary in his role as den chief, cues his friend Ezra in calling the flag commands at the closing of the meeting.

What a joy to hear Ezra speaking the commands and standing in the front with such confidence.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

burn, don't punch!
Making holes in leather pieces for a Webelos "Craftsman" project can be more work than fun... or more fun than work!

I borrowed a hole driving tool from a local cobbler this morning. So excited to prepare the leather pieces for tonight's meeting I began right away to punch the holes.
Little did I know it would require such great effort with the hammer (and such noise!) to penetrate the leather with the punch. After punching the first 6 holes (of 120 total holes needed) I enlisted the help of our Webelos Den Chief, Zac.

Zac was only able to punch 1.5 holes (one an a half holes) before it was time to leave for Mass. I could only explain the discrepancy in the total number of holes punched to our different levels of desire to have the holes punched!

Zac was inspired, however, to take a different and much easier approach to putting holes in the leather pieces.... burn them! Yes, I gave him permission, and Yes, it was MUCH easier and more efficient.

For a brief instant we considered allowing the Webelos to burn their own holes... but the thought of 20 nine and ten year old boys gathered around the blowtorch with red-hot sharp metal pokers brought us to our senses!

The only downside to this method is the lingering stench of burning cow (according to the fire master himself!).
Go Den Chief!
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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008

smash & dash

That's our shop, that's a big hole in the roof/ceiling... and a big smash job on our jewelry case and gun case (made w/ the butt of the airgun seen on the floor next to the scooter). That's the damage done by a criminal who did not take home any of our stuff, thanks to a very loud alarm system, that is motion activated.

If you look closely you will see the rope w/ knots tied, which was used to lower the crook into our shop. The hole in the roof is about 2'x2' Because all valuables go into the safe at night, there was nothing of value in the display cases.
The police were there at 3:20AM, took our statements at 10, and fingerprints & evidence gathering from 2-4PM. There are a few leads, including a license plate from a suspicious vehicle reported behind the building at the time of the alarm/break-in.

One disturbing piece of evidence was uncovered when we reviewed the surveillance video... One of our employees arrived for work, walked right past the crime scene (disaster zone) and did not notice anything out of place.... HMMM???
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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Like father, like son...

Back when Tim was in Webelos, his dad led his den in a knife building project.
Tim still has that knife, though it would not be legal in Scouts nowadays.

Now it's Tim's turn to do the leading, and Joseph's turn to do the building.

All 17 boys in Joseph's den assembled their own pocket knife at tonight's meeting. Quite a few of the dads, and a few moms offered support and encouragement during the project.

Other than a few small details, the knife building project was a big success, with some very happy campers taking home their new tools.

Some traditions are worth the extra effort to carry on.
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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Building Together

The month-long construction project at Scouts this month has Tim and Zac working together with the troop to build a bouldering wall.
Here they are preparing to mount the hand (or foot?) hold onto the wall.
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