Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Eagle Scout Court of Honor

Since there's no fingerprint news, no basement news, and very little roofing news, here's the fun news!

FTD's Court of Honor was nice. This troop usually just does really simple ceremonies, so this turned out to be a huge deal. I couldn't believe how many of our friends turned out. The best surprise was that my very bestest friend Ginny, her husband Bob, and Eagle Scout son Ryan came down from Midland Mich. So excellent to have them there! Once when we were visiting up there, Tommy announced that he was going to be an Eagle like Ryan. Cool.

We weren't able to get any photos ourselves, so I'm hoping folks will send me the pics they took. I heard lots of "shutter clap" and saw lots of flashes, but haven't seen any pictures yet!!

FTD's troop is going to attend the District Camporee this weekend, but it will be the first one he misses! DD's train club is setting up all day tomorrow for National Train Day on Saturday, so that shoots all of DH's Dad time. And I'll be packing, so I can't go with the troop.

My Son, Eagle Scout!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Basement Man Cave

How could I forget the Man Cave??!! Actually it will be the Dad cave as he's made it clear that my younger men are to keep out. Fine with me.

Currently the storage area for foam


Since the house is'V'shaped, the living room upstairs and now the Man Cave downstairs are 5 sided. Once Tom gets all his junk out of the living room and moved down, I might go so far as to post some pics of the LR. Then we'll play compare and contrast with our LR in the Wyoming apt. In an interesting twist, our apt. building is 'V'shaped also, and only about 1/3 bigger than our home.

More than one person has asked us what the hell's wrong with us to move from a big beautiful home to a teeny tiny apartment. That's easy for me. Bison in the front yard. Gotta love it.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Global Youth Service Day, Jr. Ranger Day

Wow. Two posts in one day.
DD and I spent the morning with a really fun family from South Toledo picking up trash on the Fallen Timbers Battlefield as part of Global Youth Service Day. NW Ohio did a nice job of engaging kids in the program. Metroparks had lots of kids out. The good news is that there wasn't a horrible amount of trash to be picked up.
Getting Ready

Big Brother

Little Sister

Fearless Leaders, Janet, Trina, Randy

Little Miss
Hardest working young lady and my honorary grand-daughter, Little Miss Avery

The biggest thing we found, which I kept, was about 3/4 of the original FT Project house sign, complete with an arrowhead icon and the Mparks oak tree icon. Sheesh.

Hopefully, the days of finding this type--or any type of trash--in the Mparks is over. With new leadership, we sincerely hope that the District will return to its roots and not spend any time trying to earn awards that no one gives a hoot about--like the Baldridge award. Before the last regime took over, Mparks earned tons of awards just doing what they are supposed to do. The amount of time, effort, and capital spent in the past 8 years on idiotic stuff like this was totally unacceptable.

Now that Mparks is facing a financial hernia in the next few years, let's hope the new administration puts the parks first. They need to treat the staff with dignity and respect, something that hasn't happened for 8 years. Were the parks perfect prior to the last administration? No. But were they in horrible shape, both physically, morally, and even spiritually? Again, no.

It's time to get back to doing what we do best.

New Roof, Days 2 & 3

After two warm, dare I say hot, days, the front section of the roof is coming along nicely. On Day 1, they got most of the front torn off, a much faster process than putting the new roof on. The new panels are about 4x2 feet each. They are all crimped to all other adjacent panels. It's sloow going. Since the front has gables, valleys, breaks, and a chimney, there's a lot o' cuttin' and pastin'.
Here's the progress so far:

End of day 3 roof
End of Day 2

End of Day 3

End of day 1 roof
And the ever growing pile o' scrap metal. 6 months ago it might have been worth something. . .

Speaking of things with no worth, here's DH's pet project. Eventually, this is supposed to be re-created as a dock at the lake. Too bad the pontoons have holes in them. . . .
Yooper yacht club
And it looks so loverly sitting in the front yard. Really gives the neighborhood some class, ya know?

Tomorrow is the Eagle Scout Ceremony, and the next day is packing day #1. Yahoo!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

New Roof, Day 1

The roofers started today. They got the galvanized roof off almost all of the front. The Insulspan panels are a very different color from the stick built sections of the roof. I called the company and they'll send someone down tomorrow to be sure the integrity of the panels is okay. roof before
Beautiful, yet not 100 year old roof--it rusted from the inside out!

ABC siding

ABC siding
ABC Siding and Roofing move into the front yard.

roof first
First section of sheet metal comes off.

roof first

panel damage?

panel damage?

The darker sections are the stress-skin or structural insulated panels (SIP). In the roof we have 8 inch panels, the walls are 6 inch panels. One of these days I'll post the old pics of the construction process.

The lighter and brand spanking new looking sections are the stick built add-ons. They show no wear or tear at all. We're hoping the discoloration on the SIPs is from maybe the tar paper baking to the panels or something. But the guy from Insulspan has to check before any more of the roofing ice guard and tyvek go on.

We'll see what the morrow brings.

On an Earth Day note, the boys and I joined a few members of the HS Environmental Awareness Club to help pick up trash on the school's floodplain trail. There was a surprisingly small amount of stuff. I also dropped off out-grown clothes for the textiles recycling drive contest. The load I dropped off should put FTD's Junior class ahead.

FTD also took in the newspaper articles with Uncle George's pictures the day they first sprayed that miracle chemical ddt. Long post on that some other day. I'll try to scan part of the article.

Been a long day!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day re-incarnated

On the first Earth Day, we skipped school and went to the University of Toledo, where students buried an internal combustion engine. I walked or rode my bike when ever I could, turned lights off, and with the kids at school, started the first environmental awareness club of Perrysburg High School. We named the club:

Clean and

And the acronym is. . . . yep, CRAP.

The truly amazing part of this story is that the school administration let us. There's even a picture of us with our monogrammed trash can in the yearbook. Ah, 1970--the wild days.

Going greener is a bit tricky for us--we're way greener than soooo many people, including sadly many close friends. We recycle the tiniest bits of paper, metal, glass, and plastic, we're replacing light bulbs as they burn out, we're trying to work on 'vampire' appliances, I only use the electric dryer for about 1/3 of the laundry (less than that out west), we have a geothermal heat pump, R-50 or so in the walls and ceiling panels, our water comes in one side of the house and out the other so we're really careful about what goes in the drain and how much we use, we buy a huge portion of our clothes at the Goodwill, we have cloth bags for Christmas and birthday presents, so that leaves pretty much one more area to work on: We need a new car. Dang.

Our Ford E150 van got better mileage than our Chevy Trailblazer. And of course, Ford doesn't make this type any more. We've been trying to find a newer van. Since we pack up and move twice a year, we need space in our vehicles--since we didn't buy my trailer last year. Living 4 miles from the grocery store makes walking to the store tricky, but we make an effort to combine trips. The big waste of gas for us is taking DD into town to watch trains.

We've been working on being green for over 30 years, and we've got a long ways to go. And if you've got a Ford E150 for sale, let me know!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Makin' a List

It's sort of like an obsession with me--making lists. I always start any list the same way:

1. Make List.

When I have the list done, I can at least cross one thing off my list. Yea, I know--flimsy! And of course, I couldn't stop at just one list--there's a list of what goes in my car and what goes in DH's, what each person gets to stash clothes and or toys in, what "furniture" we'll take, and on and on. This year I'm going to purchase some stuff out there to round out my traveling kitchen. Makes leaving Ohio and arriving in Ohio easier at least. The leaving YNP part is the trickiest. We have to plan meals that don't require any cooking or utensils, etc.. And since the nearest restaurant is 14 miles away, that isn't an option. Since we know where and what our kitchen is and looks like, the arriving there part is much easier. I'm trying to get a little bit of food together now, but it's not crucial. We'll have our first couple of meals in West since we'll still be in "traveling" mode. We really, really don't have any space to take food, and we also won't have any room to pick stuff up on the way. Our first few items will have to be purchased in West, which has a nice, but sort of expensive selection. My first lieu days will involve a trip to Bozeman to stock the 'fridge and cupboards. It's only 90 miles one way to Bozeman, so it's not too bad. Unless it's snowing or raining or there's construction or . . . . Arg.

This is the stage of the game when I'm wishing I'd have bought my trailer last summer. Or I'd even be pretty happy with van like the one we just sold, but 12 years newer. Anybody got a Ford Chateau conversion van with fewer than 50,000 miles on it for sale? Ours got better mileage than the Trailblazer I'm driving now. And waaaaaaaay more storage space. Ah well.

On another note, the Mountain Bluebird seems to have flown the coop. There have been no sighting for a day and a half. By sheer dumb luck, I'm apparently the last person to have seen him. I hope to see him again soon--in his natural habitat!

DD and I will leave for YNP 3 weeks from today, but who's counting?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mt. Bluebird News, still

After 2 days with no views of the wayward Mountain Bluebird in our park, it re-appeared in it's lovely blue glory today. On my way over to the site, I decided I'd write an article for the TNA (Toledo Naturalist Association) yearbook. I have to see when the new edition will come out. It's usually a mystery as to when, which makes it fun to receive.

The lady who first had the chutzpa to post it was there today. Nice, fun folks. She works at UT and the college PR folks are doing a story, too. I heard the AP article was in USAToday also. If someone sees a paper copy of that, I'd love to have it. Yesterday I found it in 15 different places. Nice how DH was "promoted" to retired park director.

On the home front, the boys are sharing my cold. Actually, DD had it first and I got it from him. Then I gave it to FTD. I thought he'd stay home today, but he dragged himself out of bed. Then when the bus arrived early (and trust me, 6:40 am is early and still way dark here in the big woods) and DD went hauling out the door yelling for FTD and slipped on the frost and went flying. He was bawling and he never cries. FTD got on the bus and DD came in and fell right back to sleep. He was so konked out that I thought maybe he hit his head, not just his arm, which is what he was crying about. So half an hour or so later, I get a call from FTD who says he's sick and can he come home. I took DD back and swapped him out for FTD. Never fails. The school secretaries got a real kick out of this. Yeah, hilarious. Sheesh.

And what excitement, I got the washer fixed today. And I found out that there are filters in the agitator colunm that should be cleaned occassionally. OMG. Totally completely gross. And I'm not easily grossed out, being here in Testorone hell. Now I know. I don't think I'll wait another 15 years to clean it out. . . . .

On the up side, I made a banner for DD's Train Club. DD has O gauge stuff and his "division" has a nice cloth banner. The HO division borrowed it and added their H, which looked ok. So I made the HO division their own banner today. Turned out waaaaay better than I thought it would. Dang easy, too. Now I have to get back to my regularly scheduled UFO list.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Slow News Day, Round 2

Under my Mama Duv persona on, I've received 2 notes from friends who actually read newspapers and e-versions of such. The AP picked up the story, as I told the Blade reporter it would, and so far we've heard from Stark County Ohio and the Chicago Tribune (did ya pick up on the irony there?). Since I'm on that one-woman-campaign to get the Whitehouse Ohio Chamber of Commerce to realize they are sitting in the cat-bird's seat (get it. . . bird. . .), any and all notes from around the country and around the world who hear about our little Mt. Bluebird will be appreciated. I send the info on to the Village powers-that-be.

I haven't been over there since Sunday--had a 24 hour bug that affected every muscle and joint in my aged body, and spent yesterday catching up on the stuff I should have done Monday. The weather totally bites again this morning--weather people are using the wind chill numbers again. I'll go over and check in a few minutes.

In other birding news, I've lost my second pair of specs on birding trips in just the last 4 months. After wonderful lasik surgery 8 years ago, and cataract surgery 2 years ago, I'm back to wearing glasses to drive, watch the toob, and spot birds. Unfortunately, I can't wear my specs and use the bins or the spotting scope at the same time, so I take my specs off and put them on my head or hang them from my shirt collar. Or not apparently. So this is gunna cost me several hundred more dollars because A) the insurance isn't helping at all any more, and B) I went ahead and bit the bullet and picked out specs with bifocals so I won't be inclined to take them off to read, and also picked out a pair of prescription shades so I can at least see the bison and wolfies and bears oh my with out having to dig around looking for the right pair of glasses. By the by, I hate hate hate that I'm wearing glasses again. My nephew optometrist says my eyes are healthy for such an old lady and that this regression just shows I'm just young at heart, er eyes. Thanks, David, but I want perfect vision again!!!!

DD is counting the days till we leave. He figures we don't have to count the weekends. Say what?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Slow News Day?

Yeah, it's a slow news day when the paper devotes columns and inches of space to birders. Our little misguided Mountain Bluebird is still here, and still way lost. DH, DD, and I happened to be over there yesterday when the Blade photographer and reporter showed up. It'd be nice if they'd get the facts straight, even though the gist of the article was on track. But better to have birders than murderers on the front page, right?

We yakked at the reporter at length (ad nauseum) about the impact of birders on a local economy. While it ain't a General Motors sized investment (oh, wait a minute. . . .), it's still better than a poke in the eye. Our little village, Whitehouse, is looking to "brand" itself and I keep saying, "Hey, look you knuckleheads, you're dab smack in the middle of the Oak Openings Region! Marketing! Marketing! Marketing!" But nooo, they still want to go with a one day festival called the Cherry Fest. That's all fine and good, but A) there are very, very few cherry trees in town, and B) they keep changing the date of the event and by then the trees are way past blooming. Sheesh.

I always thought we should print up a bunch of full-color, glossy brochures and declare ourselves the "Christmas Tree Capital of Ohio." That's how these things get started. But noooo, I can't get anybody to go for that either. When I'm Queen of the World, I'll fix this kind of stuff.

Anywho, the weather is changing today, so it will be interesting to see if our little blue visitor makes it.

29 days till take off! Better get to work on the UFOs!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

This Just In: Mt. Bluebird in Ohio!

Wow! A Mountain Bluebird has graced us with his presence! Right here in Oak Openings! This is only the second recorded visit of this pretty bird to Ohio.

I get to see Mt. Bluebirds at work at YNP in spring and fall. They go higher up in elevation during the summer, but flit all over in May and September.

I do a Junior Ranger program I call "B3--Be a Better Birder." I picked a dozen birds to profile and let the kids show the pictures, guess its name, guess its wingspan (with rope samples from which to chose), figure out if it's a carnivore, herbivore, or omnivore, etc.. I start with big, easy to see birds--eagle, pelicans, for example--then move to lesser known birds--Clark's Nutcracker, i.e.--then for the grand finale I go with the Mt. Bluebird, followed by the front-facing-fish carrying fish hawk. By the time I get to the MOBL, I've referenced Big Hungry Carnivores several times. That brings me to our dainty little MOBL. I have a piece of balsa wood that weighs an ounce to pass around to get the feel of the weight of a MOBL and a little short piece of rope for its wingspan. Then I finally get to the "What do you think it eats?" question--is it an omnivore, carnivore, or herbivore? Kids almost almost always go with herbivore. The first kid who says that is rewarded with my surprised look, followed by my NO IT'S A BIG MEAN MEAT EATIN' CARNIVORE! schtick. (Picture me with my claws and fangs at this point.) Great roll of laughter followed by "Well, what kind of meat does it eat? MOSQUITO'S! " Followed by a round of applause for the Mighty Mountain Bluebird.

And just think, there's one here practically in my back yard! Life is sweet.

Check out for directions, parking hints, and crazy birder Sherrie's 11 second video. Awesome dudes and dudettes. There's also a Golden-crowned sparrow about 40 miles south of here, but the land owners didn't want the location to be revealed. As soon as it appears "on the other side of the road" word will leak out.

The bluebird is a "chaser" bird, so tomorrow, er this, morning I'm going back over and sell coffee and donuts to the unsuspecting crowd! Bonus points for the person who drives the farthest for a little glimpse of blue!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Only Difference between YNP & OOMP

OOMP--that would be Oak Openings Preserve Metropark, our home park in NW Ohio. I went for a walk today and decided there's really only one BIG difference between the Oaks and Yellowstone:
I can't get lost in OOMP any more. Rats.

Okay, there might be a few other differences like well, super heated water shooting out of the ground, super volcanoes, earthquake faults, bison, wolves, mountains, other stuff like that in YNP and vast mixed mesophytic forests, vernal ponds, and oak savannahs and sand dunes in OOMP. But ultimately for me, the big diff is that I know the Oaks now. I remember the day Tom realized he couldn't get lost any more. He had been the Manager here for 7 years or so. He was getting one of those 7 year "itches." So he changed his lifestyle completely and married me! Then 7 years later we got the boys, then 7 years later we were up to our eyeballs in IEPs and MFEs and other school paperwork, then 7-ish years later, he retired. Nice to have a plan I guess.

But I had a pleasant walk today. Needed to clear the gray matter--there's a Boy Scout thing brewing--so I headed to my quiet place.

The Oaks has a 17 mile "scout" trail meandering through the 4000 acres. We can see hikers on it across the street from our house. Surprising how few of them look over and notice our house--and it's hard to miss! But today I just walked down the road and picked up the trail at the corner. It leads directly to the highest point in Lucas County, Ohio. So for you county peak baggers, here's one for you.

Yep, there it is--reaching towards the heavens from about 750 feet above sea level. Wowza.

Not much of a strain to get there. Well, no strain at all, just a nice walk through the woods.

It's raining now--a nice soaking spring rain, though a bit chilly. Snow is predicted for tomorrow--the kids are off from school, I'm pretty much caught up on projects. I think it'll be a lazy, lay around the house in the jammies kind of day tomorrow. Will someone come over and bake us some cookies?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Randon Thoughts

I'm so proud--I finally have enough grocery bags to get all my stuff without having to bring home any crinkly, annoying plastic bags. Yea! Just in case you're wondering--I can now get $140 worth of groceries without extra bags. Sheesh.

I know why only 2% of boys in Scouts make Eagle Rank. Bureaucracy and paperwork. Again--sheesh.

Why do Special Ed administrators all think they know what's best for kids, and insist on telling parents that our kids would do better if it weren't for us mollie-coddling them? Gets old after hearing it for 12 years. Really old. Also hurts to hear other parents say the same thing. Parents do know best!

It's hard to remember your kids' birthdates when you weren't there for the original date.

I'm looking to hire someone to do grunt work in our back woods. Alllllll that brush from the trees has to go to the back of the property somewhere. I'm totally whipped after 2 hours of lugging brush. Apply within.

Speaking of jobs, First Presbyterian of Maumee is looking for a new Senior Pastor. Pays good.

My new steel toed boots only rub one of my toe-sies. Must remember to put gellin' pads in.

I wonder what's up with my fingerprints?

Calgon take me away!