Thursday, October 22, 2009

Trenton's First Walkabout

Trenton came over for a few hours yesterday after work while his mom got some things done. Heh. Always happy to take him out of her hair.

Vicki was pooped -- they're running her ragged at work, so I came home to be the primary attention-giver for while (and you know how much I just hate that!). It was a warm, cloudy evening. Figured he'd want to go to the park just down the block from us. Of course as soon as he saw where we were going. He loves climbing the steps and then going down the slide. It's a dual slide and I sit next to him on the way down and sort of hold him ... to keep him from falling ... while we go down.

A college kid came by walking his almost-grown Siberian Husky, and Trenton immediately bolted to pet it. After which he wanted to walk on the little woodside trail.

The undergrowth in the woods was mostly bright yellow, contrasting with the darker greens and browns of the larger trees along the edges, and after we played at woods' edge for a while I noted that most of the underbrush plants had lost their leaves and you could see a deer trail leading down the steep hill to a flatter area in the middle of the yellow trees.

I decided it was time to take Trenton for a walk in the open woods to explore new things.

He's only 18 months old and not really steady on his feet on rough terrain or steep hills, so I carried him. I had put him down to stand for a second while I took a picture.... he took a step and sort of fell in slow motion... but I caught him and helped him back up and we continued downhill on the deer trail.

We sat on a fallen tree for a bit while he inspected the wood fungus, and he walked on the flater area in what turned out to be an even prettier fall scene than I'd expected ... I'd never actually ventured down here. And I noticed a mostly dry creek bed that of course we had to go explore, so I carried him down to it.

Some of my best childhood memories involve dry creek beds and just sitting in them and soaking up the scenery or exploring them.

We found some clear puddles that he splashed his hands in ... it was all I could do to keep him from walking into them but I didn't want him to get that wet.

We felt moss on rocks, and rough tree bark, and moss on tree bark. Pulled berries off of some weeds and dropped them on the ground, and climbed on rocks... but they were mossy and slippery so he had to hold on to my hands. Eventually, before he got too dirty or too wet, I hiked him out up the gully wall.

It was harder than I expected, carrying him in one arm while I navigated the steep, soft hill -- choosing my footing carefully so as not to fall with him. Falling by myself would be one thing, it was absolutely imperative that I did not fall with him.

I was huffing and puffing and sweating profusely by the time we reached the top. He didn't want to leave. He wanted to go back down. So we sat on a log for a bit at the edge of the woods, and then walked through some brush, and back up to the slides where we went down one more time. And he was ready to go. Made a bee line for the sidewalk, and after walking about 20 feet toward the house he decided he'd rather ride in my arm.

Short, 30 minute, mini-walkabout. No fire or hotdogs. That'll come later..

I think he will enjoy the outdoors.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Rest of the Story

Went back yesterday to finish splitting the wood. Dropped by Orschelns to pick up a fiberglass maul handle, only to discover that you have to glue these on with an epoxy that takes 24 hours to cure. And I needed to finish splitting it yesterday.

So I bought a hickory handle and drove 15 miles up to Sam's place and started splitting. Two or three logs later... the hickory handle broke.

So I drove it back to Orschelns, and turned it in against a whole new maul, pre-glued maul with a fiberglass handle, and went back and split the rest of it.

Man, am I sore today.

I will go pick it up Friday.

Monday, October 05, 2009

September Flew By Like a Hummingbird

... chasing another hummingbird.

The hummingbirds are about gone. Fall is here, and the leaves are about ready to turn. In about a week, I expect spectacular showiness. Need to get the camera dusted off. Ok, who am I kidding? With Trenton around, it never needs dusting off.

Back in early September Trenton found the swiming pool hanging in the garage and wanted it out. It was just barely warm enough, so Vicki filled it with bathtub-warm water and he played one last time in it for the summer.

I've been going to his swim classes to help Kristin out (yeah, that's why... that's the only reason. ;-) ). They're "Mommy and Me" classes, but right now there are no actual mommies save Kristin, who is the instructor. Daddies can substitute for mommies, and apparently so can grandpas and nannies. It's a lot of fun playing with him in the water, trying to get him to learn to kick and paddle (which he's not doing so well at, yet, but he'll get there) ... and jumping in, and splashing.

He loves the little park near our house, and practically squeals as soon as he can see the colorful slide complex if we're out for a walk in our neighborhood. There's a dual slide, and we can go down the slide on one while he goes down on the one next to one of us ... and he's easy to hold onto while you do it.


We went for a little "nature" walk around the edge of the park where he got to see a box turtle open his shell and wallk away. He likes the outdoors, for sure.

A couple of weeks ago college friend Jeff Eissmann and his family and lots of friends invited us to their tailgate party before the Furman game. The Carleton Clan, including Kristin, Brian, and Trenton were out of town and needed to get rid of tickets, so Kevin, Marken, Vicki and I bought 4 of them and also went to the game. Mizzou won big (52-12), and we had a dandy time on a beautiful September afternoon.

Last weekend was the 3rd annual Roots & Blues & BBQ festival here in town. Wasn't as much of the varied festival atmosphere this time ... mostly music and beer & bbq. We went down Friday evening to see the Bel-Airs, a regionally popular boogie-musice dance band. Bought a couple of their CDs. Then we came back Saturday with Kristin just to get a feel for the festival, went home during a rain shower, and came back in the evening to see Booker T and then the Blind Boys from Alabama.

Been doing several things around the house I've been meaning to get done. Little things. Replace the 400 watt high pressure sodium grow-lights with 80 watts of flourescent ... just keeping outdoor deck plants alive through the winter doesn't require the mega-power. That should save about $10 a month on electricity. Got a couple of deck protectors... one to keep the grease off the deck, underneath the grill. The other, a concrete-impregnated fabric one to go under the chimnea. Got rid of the toxic waste stuff (batteries, paint cans, etc) at the toxic waste facility. Seems like there were a few other things as well -- little things that needed fixing).

Yesterday I went out to Sam's place to cut wood -- a big oak that died and fell right next to his pond a couple of years ago. He and Deb had started cutting on it a while back. I cut the big trunk up and started splitting, but the handle on my maul broke. I'll replace that and take it out this afternoon and finish splitting, then hopefully borrow Brian's truck to haul it all back home.

Vicki cooked beef and noodles for dinner last night and we had Brian, Kristin, and Trenton over for dinner -- always a good meal after a day of wood cutting.

The Buffalo Bill Pumpkin Ale is out. I bought my normal 2 cases to last through Thanksgiving. Awesome stuff.