Saturday, September 15, 2018

Adventures with the Quadcopter

Sean has been interested in building a quadcopter for years. A quadcopter is just a fancy name for a drone with four propellers. He's been acquiring parts and slowly building the structure on his 3D printer. He'll be really interested and work hard on it for a couple of weeks, then lose interest and put it away for six months. This is been going on for about two years. He finally pulled out all of the parts and motors and put it all together and finished it this summer.

He took the kids outside with him for the maiden voyage (I was gone at the time). It flew around and they all had a great time with it. Then when I got home he took me outside to show it to me. It flew well for a few minutes before he lost it behind a tree. He tried to fly it safely away from the tree but failed and stuffed right into a huge oak tree by the house. He hadn't installed the beeper yet that tells you where it is so we had no idea where in the tree it was.

It did have four little lights on each prop but it wasn't near dark and we weren't sure the batteries would hold up until it got dark enough to see them. Luckily they held out and we found it way up high in the tree.


Sean tried throwing a football at it to dislodge it with no luck. He then tried a bow and arrow with a string tied on in hopes of catching the limb and shaking it. Still no luck. The last resort was to climb the tree and try shaking the limb. Didn't work. We had a storm moving in and had to work fast to save it before the rain destroyed the electronics. He ended up taking a saw up there, locating the branch it was on and sawing off the branch. That worked to dislodge it. I stood under it and tried to catch it but failed and it hit the ground hard breaking off a couple of propellers.


He printed off more arms and replaced the broken propellers and got it back in the air......just in time to slam it into the fence sheering off several vital parts. Poor little quadcopter.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

First Day!

Man, this was a long summer. We did a lot, saw a lot and am now happy to say the kids are back in school. Today I dropped my oldest off at middle school. He was nervous, I was nervous for him. I'm happy he's got his buddy Alex there with him so they can both be confused together.



Greta is in 3rd grade although she looked old enough to go into middle school with her brother. She keeps growing like a weed and I suspect will be taller than her brother any day now.





Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Tag

I signed the kids up for 4H this May. I knew it was late in the season to sign them up and that we probably wouldn't be showing anything in the county fair due to a pretty busy summer already planned. But it didn't stop us from going to the fair and checking out all of the entries and animals. While walking down the goat isle we ran across this sweet little baby black Nubian boy in a pen all by himself. Technically he was in the meat goat isle and I couldn't figure out why a sweet dairy goat was in the sea of white Boer meat goats. I might just add in here how much I adore the Nubian breed of goat. I used to go to the fair yearly as a kid and pine over the pens of dairy goats. So you understand why there was a nagging feeling that the sweet little baby Nubian was actually being marketed as a meat goat.


All of the kids loved on him and petted him and then we went on our way to look at the cows and pigs. The whole time that little guy was in my head so eventually we made our way back to his pen and I started inquiring around as to where I might find his owner. A boy walking by pointed the owner out, a teenage girl nearby. I asked her about the little black goat and she told me that the fair started a new meat goat category for male offspring of dairy goats. A way for the kids to make money, since there is no money in dairy goats at the fair (money is made by selling your market animal for meat). The little black goat's name was Tag and she said he was a bottle baby which made him sweet as can be. She was sad that he was a market goat. I told her he was way too sweet to be meat and that I really wanted to buy him if possible. She jumped at that idea and gave me a heck of a deal on him (her mom said $30, I gave them $50). So on clean up day I returned and Tag came home in the back of my SUV.



He's been home for a little over a week now and he's just the sweetest, happiest little goat you'll ever meet. He's happiest when following me or the kids around the back yard and yells out quite loudly when forced to stay in with the other goats. The goats don't care for him much and show him just how low on the totem pole he really is. He's only three months old and 48 pounds so he doesn't have much weight to throw around compared to Heston the 300 pound behemoth goat.

 



One of Tags favorite places is the flat bed trailer in the back yard. He's still young and likes to jump and climb on everything so we've learned to all sit on the trailer and he'll come up and sniff us all over and jump around. Then when he's had enough he'll lie down right next to you and take a nap. I don't think he knows he's not a dog.




I've been keeping in touch with Liz, the 4Her who sold us Tag. I share pictures with her and she's very happy that he didn't make it on that meat truck with the rest of the goats. I'm glad we could save one.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Breakthrough

We've had the kids in swimming lessons every summer since Wesley was in kindergarten. I was under the impression that you take your kids to a pool and they learn to swim in a summer. Nope. That is not how it has worked for our family. It's been a huge source of nerves and anxiety for both kids. They are like scared little puppy dogs when it comes to structured learning at the pool. When we go to the pool to just relax and play they have a ball, no problems at all. We've tried the YMCA for several years now and one year at the local city pool.

This year was the second time at the city pool and by golly I think they might have turned a corner. Perhaps they are older and ready or maybe the lifeguards were different but Wesley is now swimming in the deep end and jumping off of the diving board (both things he's never felt confident enough to try before). Greta is actually participating with the class instead of sitting on the edge and not engaging (which is what she normally does). It helped to have Aunt Jessica there offering her rewards for doing what the instructors asked. She got to go make slime over at their house as a reward. Hey, whatever works! It was a good summer and I look forward to more improvement next year. Super proud of these kids.





Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Hay Day

Another haying season has come and gone. For the past 12 years we've reliably gotten our hay from my friend Jessica's aunt. Started out as small square bales and a few years ago we made the jump to large round bales. Then early this year she sold off her land so we knew we'd be searching for a new hay farmer. It didn't help that this seasons hay was scarce with the drought conditions in early spring. I resorted to craigslist after calling everyone on my hay contacts. We found a guy selling giant 1100 pound bales for $75 a bale. We've been buying 800 pound bales in the past years for $25 each so sticker shock was high this year. But the farmer loaded for us so we didn't have to haul out our skid steer into the field like years past which was nice. We only had four trips to the field and it was a nice cool day instead of the normal 105 degrees (and Sean got the air conditioner fixed in the truck! Yay!).


The dump trailer was awesome and we just rolled them off.



The hay is always a hit with the kids. :)


Saturday, July 21, 2018

Birthday Boy

Wesley's actual birthday was celebrated on the beach but we promised him a party with his friends when we returned. He got to invite several boys before school was over and all of them showed up which made for a wild time. At times it sounded like a herd of elephants running down the stairs. I've watched these boys grow up over the years and it was fun seeing them together. They had several Nerf wars and a quick but fun silly string explosion in the front yard.


He loves the Razor skates Granny Randi. :)






Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Oregon Coast part 2

For the remainder of the trip we walked around town and shopped at the quaint little shops and pigged out at the restaurants and ice cream shop (the kids really enjoyed ice cream cones on the beach). The resort was situated south of town and required a good 15 minute walk to get home. Our feet were all pretty sore by the time we dragged our tired rear ends home each night.


The third evening I wanted to try and get some sunset pictures and it turns out pretty much everyone else thought the same idea. It's quite something with the sunset colors and mist around the rocks. We did manage to get a good family picture thanks to Wesley's tripod.





The last full day we were there in Cannon Beach we decided to visit Ecola State Park which is a whopping 2 miles north of town. It was a Saturday and we were a little worried about lines so we got going fairly early (for us) and were at the park before 10. There were two main parking areas with two very different hiking options. The first parking area takes you to Indian Beach with an 8 mile hike and the second parking area takes you to Crescent Beach with a mile and a half hike. Indian Beach lot was full so we opted for Crescent Beach. It's not like we were going to hike 8 miles anyways (at least not with kids). Turned out the mile and a half hike was perfect. It took an hour and wasn't too difficult (there were a few areas that were steep). It opened up into the most beautiful secluded beach that was nearly empty. It was a wonderful day.







We brought a lunch and had a picnic at the top of the trail head that had the most beautiful post card like scenery. It really was something else to see.




It was lovely trip, I highly recommend seeing the Oregon coast.



Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Oregon Coast part 1

We just returned from a great trip to Oregon. Last year we flew into Seattle and drove down the coast on the 101. We meandered down the coast stopping at little towns along the way and one of the towns that we really loved was Cannon Beach, Oregon. We only stayed a few hours but it was the highlight of the trip last year.

Sean happened to win a sweepstakes at work for some money towards a trip of his choice and it didn't take very long to decide to go back to Cannon Beach. This time for several days. We flew into Portland this time and drove the hour and a half West to the coast.We wanted this trip to be relaxing with very little driving. So we did just that!

Day one was traveling and day two was driving to the beach to celebrate Wesley's birthday. We kidded how much fun it would be to eat cake by the ocean so while we were in Portland we went to a Whole Foods and got a big cake and hauled it out to the beach with us. It was a memorable eleventh birthday for the kid.





The thing about Oregon's beaches is that while it's a beautiful 70 degree day the ocean is freezing. Like if you stand in it up to your ankles you won't be able to feel your feet for several minutes. It's so cold. You'll notice we are all wearing hoodies and jackets which is unheard of at home (since it's 98 degrees) but in Oregon is normal. Such wonderful weather.....as long as swimming in the ocean isn't in your plans (it certainly isn't in my plans).




There was a lot of beach sitting happening that first day at Cannon Beach. We waited until the tide was low and went exploring around Haystack Rock (the beach is famous for it, it's the beach in the film Goonies). Haystack Rock is a protected area and nobody is allowed to climb on or near it but with low tide it formed some beautiful tide pools that had some cool sea life in them. And it made for some beautiful pictures.




We decided to stay in the Hallmark Resort which is directly on the beach right in front of Haystack Rock. It was a beautiful place and I highly recommend it. It was quite something to wake up and see the ocean.

Just celebrated our 17 year anniversary.
The hiking around there is just gorgeous!  We pulled off of the highway on a big shoulder and found a hiking trail that was pretty much like walking into a rain forest. It was a nice way to kill and hour while the hotel was getting our room ready.




The hydrangeas in town were so pretty and in every color imaginable.

I have one more post about this vacation that I will post tomorrow.