Aviation Exploring

Anna has been after me about getting back in a plane and continuing her lessons.  She has been asking all kinds of questions about Flying, Work in the Aviation, and etc.  I found a website (http://www.aviationexploring.org/) that seems to answer a lot of those questions.  There seems to be a fair amount of information and it’s tied to the Scouting Program so I feel that I can trust the information there.


Klondike Derby – 2007

This past weekend was our District Klondike Derby at Ski Roundtop.  We had a really cold and windy start to the weekend Friday night.  We had six kids from the Crew that went up with me and about another 40 from the Troop.  We were the largest contingent there (but then we were hosting the event).   We left the scout house about an hour after the Troop did due to my late work schedule last week.  About half way there, we got a call that the Troop forgot to pack the tent pegs for the large tents.  We turned around and picked them up and brought them back to camp (on the condition, that the troop set up three tents for us while we were on the road).  When we finally got into camp around 10 PM, we found the Troop huddled around a large camp fire…. our tents were not set up, but they did have a nice chunk of ice picked out for us!

There was about 6" of ice (well it was snow that got rained on…. now white ice) all over the campground.  The troop had two rows of tents set up parallel to each other.  We set ours up on the end of the troop tent row.  Our tents were set up on a bail of hay (spread out of course) and then a tarp on that, then our tent on that.  After we got our sleeping tent setup and gear stowed, we set up a cook tent behind our sleeping tents.

Our cook tents are canvas tents with flaps on either end and now floor…. they are the coolest things ever for winter camping.  After you fire up the lantern and get the propane stove going for dinner… the tent fills with a fog from the cold snow/ice mix on the ground.  You could not see the other side of six foot tent.  We had all seven of is in that tent for the rest of the evening… brats and sour kraut were the order of business that night.  And for the rest of the night (and into the early morning) the sounds of "Oh God!  don’t do that again" could be heard throughout the camp (Sour Kraut side effect) :). 

The wind howled all night long and the temps plunged as a cold front moved through he area on Friday night.  I must note that Friday Night was the coldest I’ve ever been camping.  On Saturday morning we found out one of the reasons for our chill…. one of the boot flaps (small door on the front of the tent for muddy boots) was open letting the wind enter our tent.  Saturday night was much better :).  Saturday was an early day, we got up at 6 AM and started to get ready to man our stations.  The Crew all worked stations at the event so they were all doing the teaching and scoring and etc.  Austin and I went in and found a fallen tree and sawed it in two 7′ lengths and carried them the 200 yards to our station.  The other crew members assembled the tripods that the logs would sit on for the two man saws.  We then worked on creating two locations for the fire pits.  The goal or are station was to have the scouts build a fire and burn through a string that was a foot off the ground.  At the same time, another group of their patrol members were using the two person saw the cut a 1" chip off the end of the tree… and bring it back to the fire before it burned through the string.  It seemed like the most difficult part of the event was getting the fire to burn through the string.

Late Saturday afternoon, I left the station to go start dinner…. Turkey Dinner that is.  We built a winter turkey oven (see picture) and cooked two birds to perfection.  Mash potatoes, green beans, stuffing, and dinner rolls complete the meal.  It was a late dinner, but it was good.  Sunday we broke camp and cleaned up…. we got home around noon and I can say I was really beat.  It was a very busy weekend. 


Death is never expected

I’m not sure that you ever expect the death of a family member…. My Grandmother passed yesterday at 5:15 ET.   She was fine up until last week when she had a sudden on set of phnemonia… not good for someone who has emphysema, continues to smoke and is in their 90’s.   But she was her own person and lived her life the way she saw fit. 

My parents were down to visit her two weeks ago and had spoken to her on the 14th and she was doing fine.  We got notified on that following Friday that she had been taken to the hospital with difficulty breathing.  Apparently, there was a care giver that had stopped by the hose who had phnemonia during the week of the 12th and was only there for one day.  While the prognosis was not seller, there was always an expectation that she would pull out and continue on because that’s just the kind of person that she was.  I got the call last night from my dad and he said that because of the emphysema and the phnemonia she just could not get enough oxygen into her lungs to sustain her life and that she passed quietly.

I emotionally hurt, but for some reason I can’t really show it outwardly.  It’s that quite pain that one bears alone and doesn’t really talk about.  My parents were headed down to Florida today to be with family and help take care of arrangements.  I spent the evening last night listening to some somber music and combing back through my thoughts of her.

Our first real snow fall

It’s been a really busy week this past week…. we had our first real snow fall of the season on Tuesday.   It was about six inches of real snow, and then it turned over to rain / freezing rain.  As the temperatures dropped, we had / have a six in layer of white ice.  It’s so hard you can walk across it and not break through the top.  I really like the nights when you can stand out side and hear the dead silence following a snow fall… unfortunately, this was not one of those events.  Yesterday and part of today finally go above freezing (but not by much)…. I still can’t get some of the ice off the top of our Suburban.  it’s frozen to the roof rack and I can’t seem to get it out.

 Today, I had to go help with the Blue & Gold Banquet for our Cub Scout Pack.  It’s a nice event and the Troop cooks 15 roasts, "Smashed Potatoes",  Corn, Rolls, and a Brownie and Ice Cream desert.  It’s a nice deal and it gives the Troop a chance to be seen during a Pack event.  It’s a long day, but it is nice to see how much everyone enjoys it.

Father Daughter Time…

Well there is noting better than a little Father & Daughter Time around the house.  With Bethany in Oklahoma, Anna and I had some time to just hang out.  Thursday night after we dropped B. off, we hit the mall in Towson.  Anna looked at some dresses and then had dinner at the Rain Forest Cafe.  After looking at the menu, she was concerned that she would not be able to order something that she liked… but we were able to "custom order" her something from picking a couple things from the menu.  She got an Alfredo pasta with chicken.

Friday, she hung out at the house and had a friend over late in the day.  They cooked dinner (pancakes and scrambled eggs and some rather interesting coffee) and afterwards, I took her and her friend out to the York Galleria to try on more dresses… they dragged along another fiend (a guy).  I’m still trying to figure out how he got roped into that trip.  I went over to Borders and spend a couple of hours looking a books and some music.  I was able to get some new Celtic music for the car…. I love that stuff.

On Saturday, we got up and ran over to the York Airport and had breakfast at Orvilles’s which is an on-field restaurant… so you can watch the planes come and go.  We stopped by and saw Anna’s instructor and got to visit with him for 30 min or so just shooting the breeze.  The weather was kind of windy so there was not much flying (at least not for new students).  We did some more dress shopping (or more exactly looking) over in Lancaster…. to make the day interesting, se shot over to West Chester and went to the American Helicopter Museum and Anna got some helicopter simulator time… that was fun.  It was like a mini-lesson in a helicopter.  The guy that ran the simulator walked you though the first couple of times and then turned you loose on it.  Unless he had someone waiting, he was happy to keep you flying.


After our visit, we went over to Casey’s in Newtown Square and had lunch.  Then made the ride home.  All in all it was a fun day just Dad and Daughter, but I think she’s kind of pooped out now…. She came home, ate dinner and headed off to bed.  I’m guessing too much shopping.

Food & Friends

Tonight we went to a super bowl party with some of our scout friends.  We had a good time enjoying each others company and having good food and watching the game… at least until half-time.  That’s when the cable went out.   That was very frustrating…  we listened to part of the second half on the radio hoping the TV would come back on…. but it’s just not quite the same.  Overall, it was and enjoyable evening.

I had to come home and work on a production release tonight for one of our customers…. we kind of got a late start on it and I’m waiting on the DBA to finish up so I can do some testing. 

 I need to make our plane reservations for Philmont this week.  Anna still needs to find out from the band director if she can miss band camp.  She wants to fly out with the rest of the group on Wednesday (the first week of band camp).  I can’t blame her, but I think it will adversely affect here part next year.  I had worked out missing the second week, but if we leave in the middle of the first week she will have very little time practicing.  I can’t imagine that the director will be happy about this…. but I give her the job of checking with him about changing our plans.  Either way, I’m feeling the need to make the reservations this week.  They’ve gone up about $50 in the last two weeks or so.

Clam Choweder & Bingo

I got to spend some time in the kitchen today… cooked up some home made clam chowder.  I spent some time preping for tomorrow nights production release and then went to the store.  Picked up some Clams, Shrip, Cream and Bacon… oh yea, this is not going to be healthey.   I came home and steamed the clams and made some broth.  Made some thickener (Butter and Flour) and a little seasoning.  Then sauteed some onions, butter, garlic (while crisping some bacon in the microwave).

I started cuutting up some potatoes and putting them in my broth… then put in my thickener and onions and let that start to cook.  Then I cut up the steamed clams and shrip and got them ready for drop in the soup…. but not before adding some seasoning and to pints of heavy whipping cream.

It was pretty good… but I’d a little more seasoning.  Next time!

Tonight is the basket bingo over a thte New Freedom Comunity Center for the band.  While I don’t have a direct role to play, I’ve been doing runs for different things for the tonight.