Adventures of a Modern Day, Middle-Aged Hero, on the Glory Road(to family security)


Pretty sure there is a lesson here.

Well, I don't even have any vegetables in the ground(containers don't count), and I dealing with my first case of 'aw, shucks'.

Last fall, following several things I read online, I mulched over my raised beds at the end of the season.  Also following what I read on the never wrong internet, I used straw as a mulch.  Now...in an effort to save money, I didn't buy the nice chopped straw/hay that we use in our chicken coop...rather, I bought a few bales of the straw we spread out at hunting camp to control mud/dust between trailers, or that you would use for outdoor fall decorations.

Well...that cheaper bale type straw was not seed free...and it looks like all I did by clearing off the beds and turning them was cause those seeds to sprout.

Now...since I covered up 5.5 beds with black trash bags to bake for a few weeks, I'm hoping that maybe this won't happen as soon as I pull the trash bags and plant.  If it does, then the war is on.  At least in those beds, I'm putting in plants I started inside.  I let these sprouts go so far because the reason I left the bed uncovered was that I planted carrot seeds in it, and when I saw green, I was hoping it was the carrots.

No such luck. 

Nothing much I can do now.  Since the carrots haven't sprouted yet, I will probably turn this bed one more time, and then try to plant something.  Keeping the weeds out is usually a summer long challenge anyways. 

Next fall though, I think I'm going to be a little more careful about the mulch I use. 


Double Dragon

Yesterday, as is right and proper with it being her birthday, my wife decided we should go out for Chinese food.

Now, for my wife, that's a big deal.  She is very selective of where she is willing to go eat Chinese food.  During the 13 years we have been together, there has only been ONE Chinese Buffet place that she has willingly gone to more than once.  More than the quality of the food, I believe it's the quality of hygiene at most buffet places that trips up the nurse in her.

Luckily, at Double Dragon over in Kennewick, it doesn't matter that it's not an all-you-can-eat buffet.  With the way they do 'family style', it might as well be.  We usually order one of the 'family style' combo's for three, and even through there are four of us, we have huge amounts left over.  Yes, it helps that the girls eat like birds...but, still...it's a huge amount of good food.  It's good enough that ever since we had some friends bring us there a few years ago, shortly after we moved to the Tri-Cities, we gladly drive past a dozen places we have never taken a chance on. 

The birthday girl?  She's getting harder to find stuff for, but occasionally, I get lucky.  This time it was a matching cream and sugar bowl in her pattern. 

Technically, it's Gemco, and not pyrex...but the pattern is right.  Like I said, it's getting tougher to find her new things for collections.  I'm pretty sure our house has the largest collection of Crazy Daisy Pyrex, Lard Cans, oil lamps, and turtle pins in the Tri-Cities. 
Not AR-15's though....
Then again, my birthday is just next month...

Fine, Fine Saturday.

I suppose everyone has their ideal of what a Saturday(or any day off) should be.  Some folks actually enjoy working hard, on their stuff.  I'm not a wood working type of guy, or a motor head. I don't mind getting my hands dirty in the garden...but it's not like a zen thing for me...it's almost more of a need to prove something to myself.  Feel free to throw around words like sustainability, or self-sufficiency...I just hate to think that I have ZERO useful real life skills.  If I can go from seeds in a package to tomato and zucchini on the table, I'll feel like I've done something.

Anyway...ideal Saturday...blog train almost jumped the tracks there. 

What I was trying to get at, is I don't mind working on my days off, it's more that I hate getting up Monday and realizing my to-do list is longer than it was on Friday. If I have an excuse to avoid working hard, then I will...as long as I can like productivity is being achieved.

Yesterday, I had those excuses.  First, I had to be out the door by 8:30 to get my daughter to Walla Walla to perform the 'skill based' exercise of her hunters education course.  Things started out a little rough, but got better.  There are two ways to do hunters education in Washington...a 100% classroom way, and a more modern way, where you do reading/videos/quizzes online, then do a monitored 'field exercise'.  The gentleman running the show yesterday was a traditional type guy.  He expressed to me when we first showed up that he felt children my daughters age were ill-served by the online class.  I explained to him that out schedule the last few weeks had been to inconsistent to attend a traditional multiday class, and that as homeschoolers, I didn't just turn her loose on the computer, but rather worked with her to accent the things that I felt were important.

He seemed to accept that answer, and luckily, my daughter did me proud the rest of the day.  Because she was the youngest kid in class, I'm not going to say she was a target...but she was a useful teaching aid.  After a few minutes of nervous getting used to the class format, she did fine, not answering just the questions she was asked, but raising her hands to answer the group questions.  In fact, upon our return from the field work, one of the other dad's told me that the instructor stopped answering questions, because no one other than my daughter would answer them.

Not that they couldn't....I think part of this is tied to the fact that since we DO homeschool, my daughter has never been exposed to the 'only the geeks and suck-ups raise their hands in class to answer questions' attitude.  If she knows the answers, she's going to let you know that she knows the answer.

She, of course,  passed with flying colors...the color orange to be exact(and the vest was a free gift!)

The only thing she really did wrong all day, was on the walkthrough, she didn't know the difference between the male/female turkeys.  I guess that was one of those things non-turkey hunting dad didn't think was important.

After class it, was back home(a trip to Walla Walla with no wine tasting?  It was tough...but I had a birthday dinner to get home to.(teaser!)


My day is spoken for.

No relaxing Saturday here...I'm heading out the door in a minute to run to Walla Walla so my daughter can do the field exercise portion of her hunters safety course(she got a 92 on her written test), which is a better score than I would have gotten based on the practice test I helped her through.

It is also my wife's birthday today...and since I am running away to Walla Walla, she is having to abandon her plans to spend the day in bed with a cuppa and the kindle watching 'House' to bring my younger daughter to soccer practice.

I will try to make that up to her later, when we all go out to dinner.  Right now she is leaning towards Chinese food.

I made this collage up last month for our anniversary, but since I didn't share it here back then, it's still applicable(and it won't make me late for hunters education.)


Two for Two

Sorry things have been slow this week.  Earlier in the week, both myself and my daughter went in and auditioned for parts in the Mid-Columbia Musical Theatre's summer production of The Sound of Music(her idea, not mine).  Last night was then a long night, with both of us getting to go in for Call Backs. 

Today we found out that we both landed rolls in the show...nothing big...ensemble rolls for each of. 

It's about what I expected for myself...The Sound of Music does not have the scale of Les Miserable...in fact, there are only two adult male rolls that have singing, and neither of them are written for a 'modern' tenor part. 

As for my daughter...she is very excited to have gotten a chance to be on stage. I am beyond proud of her for the way she conducted herself during the audition process.  I know she gave it her best.

I ain't gonna lie to you...the 'yelling from the sideline soccer dad' in me felt she was the perfect Gretl(youngest of the children, if you aren't a Sound of Music fan).  She was the smallest of the children who made the call-backs, and the one who could most easily have passed for 5 years old.

But...(and this might be daddy rationalization)...that could have been her down fall.  The directors made no bones of the fact that the kids had to work as a 'family'.  They wanted a nice 'stair step' look to the kids...and my daughter is a good two inches shorter than any of the others.  Even I can concede that she threw off a nice the nice even stair-step, no matter what other combination of kids they tried her with. 

Still...it's a first for her.  As near as I could tell, she didn't suffer from any nervousness in the process.  Plus, like my wise wife said, with her starting out with a small part for her first stage experience, it let's her see how everything works,

There is always next time(which I am sure there is going to be plenty of). 


Someone is in trouble.

This evening, my wife told me she had a confession to make.  Earlier in the day, our younger cat had followed her into the bathroom, and to keep her distracted, she turned the faucet on a slow trickle to see what the cat would do.  Well, after playing for a bit, the cat seemed to enjoy drinking from the running water.

Ha, ha, ha. 

I proceeded to lecture my wife for a minute or two about teaching the cat bad habits, and then let her stew for a few minutes before showing her this video I filmed this morning.

Yeah...I think we need to nip this in the bud now, before it goes to far.  One of my friends told me she had a cat who got used to drinking in this manner, and just about allowed herself to die of dehydration before she 'lowered' herself to drinking from a bowl again.


Spring is Sprung.

Yesterday was a fairly beautiful day.  Right around 75-degrees, sunny, with just a slight breeze.  I came home to find one of the two plum trees in our backyard in full blooming glory.

And as a hopeful good sign, the bees had found it, and it was the center of attention in my yard.

The second plum tree in our yard is about two days behind this one.  It has popped a bloom or two, but it's not at 100% yet. 
This does mean I need to keep an eye on the weather though.  While today is supposed to be 78ish, and we were 48 overnight last night, if a front dives down from Canada, we still could see a freeze.  Last year we had a hard frost right around April 20th...and I got nothing from my trees...not that I expected much since I just put them in...but the blooms were pretty. This year I have decided that if I need to spend some more money for fans, or blankets, or net's....I will. 
But it's starting to feel like that won't be required.