Sunday, September 30, 2012

Face Painting or Just a Mud Bath?

          Sometimes it is difficult to know whether to be amused or exasperated at the antics of little boys.  This was one of those times.  My wife went outside and found my boys wallowing in the mud.  Needless to say, she was not pleased.  However, after quick consideration, she decided that this was one of those times when Mom needed to just allow them to have their fun and get a well deserved laugh rather than a scolding.  I don't know why, but they both seem to have a real affinity for mud.


     One of our nations most popular and picturesque parks, Yosemite National Park was one of my stops as I camped around the country.  Hiking, climbing and camping in Yosemite is an experience I will never forget.  Arriving late morning, I managed to find an open tent site and set up camp.  Then I climbed Yosemite Falls which can be seen in the first photo.  What an experience that was!  I started off climbing and was making pretty good time when I met two young ladies descending the trail.  They wanted to know where my water was, and when I told them I had none, they immediately pulled out a half full bottle of water and gave it to me.  "You will need this ," they said.  As it turned out, I was never so grateful for a freebie as I was for that bottle of water.  I was a long climb up, and I completed it in about half of the recommended time.  When I arrived at the top, I was both winded and thirsty.  That water was vital.
     The third photo is of Half Dome, which is one of the most frequently climbed of all the peaks around Yosemite; however, it is also a dangerous climb.  While I was there, they had to airlift a couple of climbers out because they fell while climbing Half Dome.  The second photo has one looking out over Yosemite National Park while the fourth photo shows the peaks of the Sierra Nevada range in the distance.  I had a wonderful time at Yosemite, but I wish it could have been longer. For more great scenic photos, visit Scenic Sunday.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Awesome Sky at Redrock

     Western skies seem to stretch on and on forever.  There is a song that has as part of its refrain "O the land of unclouded sky."  Red Rock Arizona brought those words to mind when I visited there.  The view of the sky was fantastic, setting off the gorgeous red rocks there in a scene of unrivaled beauty.  I actually was able to climb all the way to the top of one of these enormous red rock formations, giving me a view that left me breathless.  Passing automobiles, the one or two that passed by, looked like tiny matchbox toys from the top of this formation.  Depending upon the angle of the sun, these rocks took on different colors, sometimes blazing brightly, while at other times turning almost a blood red.  Still other times the rocks just had a reddish brown hue.  I really enjoyed visiting this area in Arizona.  For other great sky photos, visit Skywatch Friday.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Texas: Not Your Typical Beauty

     When camping around the United states some years ago, I took a detour from El Paso in the southern part of Texas north to the Grand Canyon where I saw the more expected awesome grandeur of that huge chasm.  Before heading north north, however, I stopped to visit the Natural Bridge Caverns.  The trip down into the caverns was a welcome relief from the dry desert heat I had been experiencing and the caverns did offer some very interesting formations.  However, the one that really drew my attention was this section aptly named the belly of the whale for it did somewhat resemble how one might imagine the belly of the whale might appear.  Other fascinating formations were a cluster of butterfly-like forms and one named bacon while another was eggs.
     The really interesting part of my time in southwestern Texas was the afternoon I spent at the Hueco Tanks.  I did not get to see some of the more spectacular views, but I did get to enjoy an awesome climb up these boulders.  When I finally made it to the top, I really did need a bit of a breather.  Unfortunately, I was not comfortable spending a great deal of time there as there were some warnings in the area about rattlesnakes.  The view was fantastic from the top and the climb was worth it even if I did lose my wristwatch on the return trip.For other great scenery visit Scenic Sunday.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Evening Sky

     Watching my nephew's son play in a local softball all-star game recently gave a couple of really beautiful views of an evening sky.  This sunset was truly fantastic with a few lowering clouds overhead that promised no rain but added to the beauty of the evening.  It was a lovely evening to spend with family watching a ballgame, just cool enough to be a break in the summer heat but not uncomfortably cool.  With great weather conditions, our evening turned out to be an enjoyable summer outing.  For more lovely sky photos visit Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Worn Out!

          Yes, homeschooling can even be a bit exhausting.  Here our little five year old has run out of gas at the dinner table.  A day of lessons followed by some good exercise outdoors left him all "tuckered out."  He tends to keep going until he just cannot go anymore.  When that time comes, he shuts down.  On this particular evening we simply took him to bed and let him sleep.  He awakened early the next morning bright-eyed and ready for another day.  Most days he is awake and playing very early until it is time for the school day to start.  We have purchased a DS game for him and he loves to play on that until it is time for school to start.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Yard (Junk) Sale, Anyone?

     With these two little guys running around plotting their next little adventure, life is never dull.  Whether it is climbing the impossible, digging holes where holes were not meant to be dug, or just digging up junk and trying to solicit sales, Matthew and Everett are always in the thick of trouble.  Just when things seem to be the calmest, the tempest hits.
     This last week one day things had gotten almost impossibly quiet, so I went to investigate.  I immediately noticed that they had lined up three card tables in our back yard and were starting to place items on them.  Never dreaming that they would go beyond setting up their own imaginary yard sale, I went back inside to continue on some work.  A while later I heard their voices quite clearly out front where they did not belong, so I went to investigate.  Sure enough, there sat my eldest son holding a paper plate on which he had very carefully printed YARD SALE.  To make matters worse, He and my younger son are singing out in their loudest voice possible, "Yard sale, Yard sale!"  After chasing them out back, I had to inspect their wares.  Hearing the term "junk" at a yard sale cannot even begin to describe the items they had littering their tables.  A rusted ax with a broken handle, a pickaxe with no handle, an old rubber shoe with no toes left, and a myriad of other junky items had found their way on their three tables.  When  I scolded them, my younger son looked up at me with the most innocent look imaginable and said, "But Daddy, we just wanted to help you make some money."

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Asking God for a Whole Football Team and...

     My eldest son Matthew loves sports.  He plays soccer in the spring and would like to play baseball too.  This evening we were all sitting at the dinner table when my wife looked over at me and said that she still needed to tithe from her last paycheck.  Matthew immediately looked up and chimed in with a suggestion.  "Yes, Mommy, you can give your money to God and then ask him for six more baby boys.  Then we could have a football team.  We could get all the equipment like pads and helmets and play football.  Oh! and maybe you could ask God for six baby girls so we could have cheerleaders too.  That would be really neat!"  His eyes sparkled and his voice rose with emotion.  Tess and I had a good laugh, but Matthew was, at least in part, serious.  He has mentioned on more than one occasion that he would like a little brother.  Our stock answer, and the truth, is that we are too old to have any more children.  We both are quite happy with what we have!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Unspoiled Beauty

     Mackinac Island is truly a place of unspoiled beauty.  Despite a great tourist trade, Mackinac Island has been untouched by automobiles and is a scenic place with great charm.  Modes of transportation on the island are horse-drawn carriages and bicycles.  This was a great to bike, so I rented a bicycle and got a cart to draw along behind.  It was a great ride, but these little guys wore out before we made it back to our point of origin.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

As the Sun Sets...

     Reflecting on the beauty of a recent sunset, I could not help but draw the analogy to life.  As the sun sets, I always marvel at the brilliant hues seen pasted across the sky.  In much the same way that these vivid colors brighten a darkening sky, I would hope my life would brighten someone's life with rays of hope.  I have always loved a sunset, and now in my waning years, the sunset means more to me than ever.   I am not being morbid, just practical.  I know I am past my prime, just as the setting sun has only a short time left that day, yet, if anything, that seems to make the sunset even more glorious.  I never cease to marvel over the beauty of the setting sun.  For more sky photos, visit Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First Week of School

     Approaching the first week of school with some apprehension, I was pleasantly surprised by how smoothly everything went.  My biggest fear, worrying that I would find it too difficult to bring the material down to the level of my boys since I had never taught lower than the fifth grade with the majority of my years spent in grades seven through twelve.  However, we had a really great week.  Near the end of the second day, my eldest son put his arms around my neck and thanked me for thinking of homeschooling.  While missing his friends from last year, he is clearly enjoying and benefiting from the one on one attention.  My youngest is also enjoying his time there.  Not infrequently, he has been able to answer questions in both our history and science classes.  He is working hard right now on his handwriting.
      On Friday we had to work late in the afternoon on our science because I had to break up our day to pick my wife up at her college.  That did not matter to our boys;  They were really involved with our experiments with magnets.  Above they can be seen doing calisthenics in the classroom to help work on coordination and to break up their studies.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Yellow at the Market


      Visiting rural Indiana is an anticipated event at our house.  Country cooking and hospitality is great, and life on the farm intrigues the boys.  A side benefit is the little country market that is loaded with fruits,flowers and vegetables about a mile from where we stay.  I never tire of visiting this market and occasionally bidding on the food on auction there.  Here one can see some of the yellow vegetables and flowers that were there.  For more interesting yellow photos, visit Mellow Yellow Monday.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Beautiful Virginia Countryside

     Great scenery and a lordly eight point buck highlighted our visit to Massanuten Resort near Charlotte, Virginia.  We had a wonderful time there and just got a lot of rest and relaxation. See more beautiful scenery at Scenic Sunday.
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