Tag: california

July Fly-by

We started the month celebrating a somber 4th of July. Why did it feel more like a funeral than Independence Day? Could it be that here in California we’re all basically under house arrest? Except for our convicted criminals. They’re being let out of jail by the thousands. Anyway, I thought Titus’s rendition of the Star Spangled Banner fit the mood. Here’s the link.

Joel and Nathan got to take a road trip with their Opa up to Idaho to visit cousins. Besides an amazing show of hospitality by Tom’s middle brother and his family, Joel finally got some good catfish-ing under his now 15-year-old belt.

My IG Birthday greeting to this remarkable boy read like this:

“Happy Birthday to my fish catching, game hunting, piano playing, fly tying, snowcave sleeping, omelette flipping, anything high climbing, board shredding, highest peak in the lower 48 summiting, Gospel sharing, bike jumping, poker winning, truth loving, schoolwork dodging, gun toting, arrow sending, Bible thumping, trouble making, thrill seeking, wilderness surviving, double daring, son Joel. And that just describes the first 2 years of your teens. I can’t imagine what God has in store for you in the years to come. He obviously custom made you for adventure.”

Unfortunately, he and Titus have been unemployed since March. Tom, thankfully still has a job, but the camp being shut down for 5 months has obviously been a hardship. Keeping a houseful of 3 teenage boys, and 2 that might as well be, busy and in order with no work, no school, no camps, and limited interaction with friends has been a challenge to say the least. Mainly they’ve just been running wild in the woods all spring and summer. But honing those wilderness survival skills isn’t such a bad idea given our current political climate.

I was able to reign them in briefly to do some night-sky gazing recently. Jupiter and Saturn have been stunning this month. Our telescope was able to give us the first clear view of Saturn’s rings we’ve ever had. And of course, there was the Neowise comet. I think there might be one or two nights left to catch a glimpse of this 3-mile wide space rock orbiting our sun. You can find it right below the Big Dipper. I’m reposting some illustrations the boys did back in 2019 of the various kinds of space rocks and a poem to help you remember each kind.

“Dirty snowball out in space

with smudgy tail making chase

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Ice melts off and leaves behind

Dirt and rocks that sometimes find

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Their way through Earth’s thick atmosphere

But burn all up before getting here

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Except for sometimes they crash on through

And hopefully don’t land on you!”

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The End.

Titus wasn’t interested in our childish bit of poetic nonsense so here are some more accurate definitions from him.img_3536

Anyway, hope your July has been star-spangled and that August will still find us all fighting for the land of the free and the home of the brave.

 

Well, There Went That Semester

You people clearly need a break from all these stodgy old book reviews.  Believe it or not I’m not always reading.  Sometimes I homeschool my kids, too.  This past year, we decided to end the semester with a bunch of field trips and call it a family vacation.  Here are the highlights.

We left our cabin in the woods under a blanket of  snow on Thanksgiving and made our way down the unplowed mountain road to Opa’s house where Titus and Joel served up a Thanksgiving feast of all the quail they had harvested that season, complete with Joel’s famous sweet potatoes and Ty’s scratch biscuits with homemade jam from hand foraged wild mountain berries, which he also turned into some amazing pies.  Opa loved feasting on the fruits of their labors and Oma would have been awfully proud of her grandsons’ culinary skills.

 

Early Saturday morning we continued south down the coast to the San Diego area where we met up with some friends for an overnight camp out and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.  This is an experience of a lifetime and I would recommend this splurge over something like Disneyland any day.  Not only does the zoo feed you and house you in canvas tents overlooking the range of roaming animals, they give you a behind the scenes night tour and morning tour as well.

 

We went to sleep with the rhinos right below our tent, listened to the lions roaring all night and then woke up to a herd of giraffes that had moved in.  The new tiger exhibit and the duck-billed platypus were highlights of the morning tour but the best part was spending time with Tom’s old room mate Dan, his sweet wife Angela and their 3 kids.

 

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The next day Tom took the four older boys and the other Sam out deep sea fishing on the boat another friend of ours works on.  Josh Merrill’s tips proved trusty and the boys brought in about 100 fish of various sizes, shapes and scents.

 

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Next up was Sea World, which is the closest our family will ever get to a theme park.  If you have to get free tickets to an amusement park, get them to a Sea World.  The one in San Diego was exceptionally clean, patriotic, focused on nature, not just rides, and seemed to be frequented by normal, upstanding citizens such as we aspire to be.

 

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And of course we had to squeeze in a little time just hanging out on the beach.

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We took a detour on the way home to visit some friends that we had made through Hartland’s Homeschool Family Camp.  The DeCoste family is as hospitable as they come (homemade tamales? are you kidding me?) and our boys were in heaven riding horses and golf carts all around their little plot of high desert paradise.

 

Our final stop was the dinner show, Medieval Times.  That was just a riotous good time.  Can’t go wrong taking a bunch of boys to a place where they can eat “baby dragon” with their hands while yelling for blood at the jousters.

 

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And yes, I just realized I wasn’t in any of those pictures since I’m always behind the camera so here’s one of me and my “sweets” at Portos Cuban Bakery which was across the street.  We picked up a cake for Titus’s 16th birthday while we were there and brought it home to share with the other Opa.  Grandpas are definitely the best way to begin and end a trip.