Monday, December 23, 2013

Ritter Springs Park

Sunday, I had a few hours to get away and took it to Ritter Springs Park, just north of town off Highway 13. Temps were in the upper 20s and as soon as I got north of Highway 44, things were quite frosted over and lightly dusted with snow.

After the first ten minutes, I stuck primarily along the creek. With recent rain and snow, it was running deep and fast and couldn't easily be gotten across.

From the lake/millpond, I meandered uphill and towards a part of the park I'd not visited before. I ended up on a trail that paralleled a farm plot and adjacent home properties, which bottomed out at a dirt road.

Checking my iPhone for a map, I opted to walk the dirt road back. Thinking it more expedient. But after I made it to some pavement and more houses, it became more apparent I'd goofed in my assertion. Three large dogs came running across their yards at me, an akita, a St. Bernard and maybe a Belgian malinios. After I managed to cautiously ease my way past the angry barking canines that could have actually taken me down, I laughed at my situation and shook my head at the dipsh!ts that just let their dogs run free in the country. There was a small girl in her PJs standing in the glass front door as I passed her home, nearby. Had that been her in the yard, playing, those dogs might have created a funeral or skin grafts and a lawsuit.

On a different note, I did get yelled at by donkeys, which after the dog thing, scared the crap out of me and made me laugh in equal amounts. I was walking past them when they decided to tell the world I was there. Also, the park is thick with bluebirds and cardinals and I may have seen an eagle or very large hawk on the far side of one the fields I was wandering across. Next time I'm out by myself, I'll be going back for that hiking stick I left in the car. Regardless of remembering it five minutes into walking the trail or not.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!!!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Home Coffee Roasting for the Holidays

Been doing a little home coffee roasting for the holidays. Part of my family gift giving this Christmas season. I ordered three pounds of green coffee beans from Sweet Maria's a few weeks ago.

Roasting your own coffee is a cool way to experience and get involved in what goes into making a decent cup of mud. I picked up the hobby a couple of Octobers ago, when I met Howard Rice at the Sail Oklahoma Messabaout. During the course of a few days, he talked extensively about his current project in the waters of Micronesia, his adventures around Cape Horn and the simple pleasure of roasting your own coffee aboard a small sailing vessel.

I think I've got it pretty well down, now. I roast mine cowboy-style, with a high-sided pan over a flame. Usually my camp stove in the garage, but last night I used the gas stove top and opened the windows up. I still set off the smoke detector. Can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Polar Express!

Last night, we took our five-year-old daughter to The Polar Express on the Branson Scenic Railway. She's at that perfect age for the magic of it all and was equally as happy to meet the "King of the North Pole" ghost as she was Santa.

The Polar Express 2013

The Polar Express 2013

The Polar Express 2013

The Polar Express 2013

The Polar Express 2013

The Polar Express 2013

The Polar Express 2013

The Polar Express 2013

The Polar Express 2013

The Polar Express 2013

The Polar Express 2013

The Polar Express 2013

The Polar Express 2013

The Polar Express 2013

The Polar Express 2013

The Polar Express 2013

Sometimes, as a parent, you have those moments when you question whether or not you're doing it right. Last night we hit the ball out of the park, no question. She had so much fun and I can only imagine the conversations she's had about it all morning at school. She was "over the moon" excited.

Friday, December 6, 2013

First Snow

Rabbit tracks in our yard this morning.

snow and rabbit tracks

Maggie, our border collie and beagle mix mutt. She's faster than any dog I've probably ever been around. Runs like a freak'n bullet.

snow and maggie, our boarder collie and beagle mix mutt

Wilson's Creek, behind Rutledge-Wilson Farm, on the way to pick up a coworker this morning.

We got a little snow yesterday and over night.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

piddling: pathetically trivial; trifling.

Until a couple of items and books arrive in the mail, I am somewhat aimless in my hobby free time (which drives me nuts). Last night, without any major obsessive interest to bury my head and hands in, I took to general piddling around the garage. These are what I came up with. Nothing too outstanding, but much better than parking my rear in front of the TV all night.

An iPad tablet stand. Version 2.0 will pass through more like a Viking chair instead of leveraging from the bottom. Google 'em. They're pretty cool.

iPad tablet stand

And a wooden antler sculpture made from the (s)crap wood pile. No detail work, just a mashing together of stuff I nearly stuck in the burn pile.

wooden antlers

My office wall is slowly becoming more interesting.>

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Small Forest Axe Restoration

I've been having a lot of fun bringing old tools back from disrepair, lately. A little over a week ago, when Brian and I were down at his friends' cabin in Cape Fair, we saw a small forest axe laying against the wall. It was a little worn, had no wedge, but had two long drywall screws barely holding the head on. Seeing that I just restored an older Norlund splitting axe a couple of weeks before going down there and I was down there to test out my handiwork, well, we couldn't just leave it like that.

Here's the restoration of the small axe. I made it match my large splitter. An ugly duckling is now a swan and Brian is taking it back down there this evening, to leave it where we found it. It's a small payment for letting us use the property a couple of times a year. They are very nice people.


Axes. Genuine Norlund splitting axe and a smaller generic camp or forest axe. I think that's what you'd call it.

2nd axe sheath is done. Time to put it back where we found it.

Also, I made a few drink coasters from one of the red oak logs we split up. I held back a handful of pieces from the burn pile to use as project materials.

Oak drink coasters. Cut from the tree we split last weekend.