Thursday, September 23, 2010

Yearly Maintenance On The Wind Turbine

Today SED came and did the yearly maintenance on the wind turbine. I am always so amazed at how quickly these guys can clmb up the tower and then hang there for a couple of hours while they adjust everything. Everything tested out OK and it only needed a few minor adjustments and some tightening. The tower was out of kilter a bit so they streightened that by adjusting the guide wires. Now we're set for two years.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Jim's Birthday

Jim 's Birthday was Saturday the 4th of September but we celebrated on Sunday the 5th so the kids could be here. We had a nice dinner and he chose Hoffman hot dogs, salt potatoes, corn on the cob and an angel food cake with chocolate whipped cream for dessert. After the kids left Jim and I went to my sister Mary's house in Watertown as they were having a family picnic and it was my Dad's first outing since going in the nursing home.

Jim's August Visit-Friday Aug. 27th

Today we styed here and had some fun. Jim made a giant sling-shot using one of the trees out back and some strips of truck inner-tube. Later they did some shooting and used some of the exploding targets Jim had gotten for Father's Day. I took Chris over to the local Skateboard Park so he could try that out. Tonight all the kids came for dinner. Tomorrow Jim and the boys have to head back to Ohio and, as usual, the time went by way too fast. What a great summer we have had.

Jim's August Visit-Thursday Aug. 26th-State Fair Opens

Today they all went to the opening day of the New York State Fair. The boys love going to this and Jim tries to get the time off so they can come every year. They got there just as the buildings were opening and stayed until they closed. They had a great time seeing all the exhibts and activities and enjoyed the Trooper shows, seeing the animals, trying out the bungee cords , tasting all the great food and just having a wonderful time.

Jim's August Visit-Wednesday Aug. 25th

Today Jennifer took the boys, Jim and Jim to Thunder Island for the day where they had a great time with all the water rides. They were there all day and had a picinic lunch.What a great way to stay cool on a hot day.

Jim's August Visit-Tuesday the 24th

Jim and the boys came to spend a few days with us and take in the New York State Fair. They arrived on Monday the 23rd and left for home on Saturday the 28th. Today Jim and the boys and Jim and I went to Watertown to see Mom and then give her a ride to the nursing home to see Dad. After visiting we had lunch at KFC and then went to Mary & Ray's to use the pool. Chris got in some sakteboard time while we were there also. It was a nice day

Jack's Birthday

We celebrated Jack's birthday about one month late as we were taking our cross country trip in July . I don't think he minded it being late and we all had a good time. He chose a Coconut Cream Pie as his "cake" for the occasion.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Longaberger Basket Factory

Before Jim and I headed back to Pulaski we took a day and, along with Jim and Cathy and Chris,  went to see the Longaberger Basket Factory in Ohio. We were able to tour the factory and see how the baskets are constructed and had a chance to browse through the factory store where they sell the retired baskets and the "seconds".
  We then went to the "Village" where there are a series of shops set up featuring all the baskets and dinnerware made by Longaberger. They even have a Yankee Candle Shop there and had a candle made exclusively for the Longaberger Basket Fest that is held each year.

Friday Harbor Trip-Day 26

Twenty six days ago we started out on our cross country trip to visit family on the west coast. Yesterday we arrived back home with great memories of all we had seen and all we did along the way.

Like in the song “America the Beautiful” we saw the spacious skies of Montana and Wyoming where the land is flat and there is hardly a tree or hill between the fields and the sky. Now we know why this is called “Big Sky Country”. We saw the amber waves of grain as we drove through the plains states and the purple mountains majesty as we traveled up the 11,000 foot elevation to see the Medicine Wheel located in the Big Horn National Forest and wondered if our brakes would hold out as we traveled down the other side. We saw the fruited plains as we drove through Washington where there are endless apple trees and grape vines.
We spent three days in the fantastic Yellowstone National Park where Mother Nature can be seen at her best. What must the early settlers have thought when they came upon this land with its geysers, hot springs, mud volcanoes, and more? Thank you Teddy Roosevelt for having the foresight to declare this land as a National Park so many years ago so we can all enjoys its majesty today. What a thrill it was to see the magnificent Buffalo, one close enough to reach out and touch, although we chose not to. We did say good morning to him and he actually replied in his own way. We missed seeing the elusive bear but enjoyed the antics of the Prairie Dogs and saw a coyote and a number of Bald Eagles.
We were able to spend time in South Dakota where the boys had a taste of the old west as they rode horses at the circle B Ranch and we saw the fantastic Mount Rushmore and were able to be there for the evening light show which was fantastic. We went to see the Crazy Horse Monument that has been in the works for 50 years and isn’t expected to be finished for another 130 years, if ever.
We spent two weeks visiting family on San Juan Island in the small town called Friday Harbor. We were able to experience the quieter lifestyle there and find out what it is like to plan any off island excursions around the ferry schedule. I would imagine the islanders are all avid readers as they spend their time waiting in the ferry line, sometimes to find they are not going to fit on this ferry and will have to wait another 2 ½ hours for the next one. We were treated to the awesome display put on by the Orca Whales as they were feeding and the playful nature of the Sea Otters as they vied for our attention. We spent a day on Orcas Island and drove to the top of Mt. Constitution for a fantastic view of the surrounding area and the other islands.
As we headed back home we were able to stop and see “Devil’s Tower” which we learned was named by mistake when an interpreter mistook the Indian name “God’s Tower” as “Bad God’s Tower” and thus called it “Devil’s Tower”.
We also had some unexpected stops when we came across the Historical Rangers Station in the LoLo National Forest and the Smoke Jumpers School in, Missoula, Montana. And, we had stops at unique places like the “Corn Palace” in Mitchell, South Dakota and of course the “Spam” Museum in Austin Minnesota.
We learned some things as we traveled across the country too. We learned that there are great places for picnic lunches and almost all of them come with a squirrel or a chipmunk for entertainment, we learned that the rumor about mother and daughter-in-laws isn’t true ( in our case anyway), and we learned that young boys don’t care too much for long days in the car but after awhile the “Oh God-how much longer” laments cease as they realize it doesn’t make the time go by any faster.
Jim and I want to thank Jim and Cathy for including us on this fantastic voyage across our great country. We saw so many wonderful and awesome things and there are so many more we hope to see in our lifetime. It was so much fun to see the boy’s reactions to some of the new things that they were seeing and as Jim said so many times during the trip “it doesn’t get any better than this”.

Friday Harbor Trip-Day 25

Very warm and humid today. It was in the 80’s at 8am. We had breakfast at the hotel and headed out to Mitchell, South Dakota and our first stop of the day-“The Corn Palace”. We arrived shortly after 10am and started our visit with a 15 minute video on the history of the Corn Palace. All the murals on the outside of the building are changed every year while the ones inside never change but the corn is replaced every 10-12 years as the colors fade. They use about 12 varieties of colored corn for the murals and the cobs are sawed in half and nailed to the boards that the murals are on. After visiting the gift shop we headed out to our next stop of the day-Austin, Minnesota where we will visit the “Spam” Museum.

We got to the Spam Museum around 3:30 and it was just as much fun as Jim and I remembered. The boys enjoyed seeing the video and then using all the hands on things throughout the Museum. After checking out the gift shop we set out on the last leg of today’s travels and after a total of 500 miles we arrived in Onalaska about 6:30 pm and Jim treated us to dinner at Applebee’s before we checked into the hotel. Now Papa and the boys are at the pool.

Friday Harbor Trip-Day 24

It’s going to be another great day. The sky is blue and it’s going to get quite warm by this afternoon. We were up and out of the hotel at 8am and our first stop was breakfast at McDonalds after which we picked up some subs at Subway to take in the cooler for lunch.

Around 12:30pm we reached “Devils Tower” in Wyoming. They have a really nice picnic area there so we stopped there first and had our lunch. After eating we drove up to the tower and checked out the visitor’s center. Next we took the 1 ½ mile walk around the base of the tower. Today there were a few people climbing up the base of the tower but no one was climbing the sheer face. You have to have a permit and be an experienced climber to go above the base. While here we saw a ton of motorcycles. The town of Sturgis has a rally every year and the 2010 one is coming up this week I believe.
After leaving Devil’s Tower we drove to Wall Drugs in Wall, South Dakota. We arrived around 6pm and looked around and did some shopping and had dinner. This is an interesting place with lots for the kids to do. They have an arcade where the boys did some shooting and played some video games. This started as a small drug store and grew over the years to cover about half the downtown section of Wall and has become a major tourist attraction.
We left Wall about 8pm and drove to Murdo and arrived at the hotel about 10:30pm ( we crossed into Central Time as we drove here). The pool was open until 11pm so the boys went for a quick swim with Papa while Jim unloaded the van.

Friday Harbor Trip-Day 23

We left Spokane, Washington about 8;15 am headed to Billings, Montana some 550 miles away. The day was sunny and, although cool in the morning it warmed up nicely during the day.

We stopped for gas in Kellogg, Idaho and right next to the gas station there were some art sculptures made out of metal so we took a picture of a few of them-a cowboy on a horse and a Fokker Tri-plane.
We continued on our way and soon we were in Montana. As we were driving along getting close to Missoula, Montana we saw a sign for a Historical Ranger Station in the Lolo National Forest so we decided to check it out since it was only 4 miles off the highway and the kids needed a break from riding. While there we got a picture of the boys with a wooden mule named “Splinter” that represents the mules that are still used today to get supplies to the firefighters during a forest fire. They also had a forest service fire truck there that they are currently using.
While at the ranger station we saw an ad for the Montana Smoke Jumpers Museum that was 20 miles up the highway. The boys really wanted to stop and see this and, since it was on our way anyway, and, they agreed not to complain because we would be getting to the hotel late, we stopped. We took the 2pm tour and it lasted about an hour. We saw the “ready room” where the firefighters store their gear so it’s ready at a moments notice. We also saw where they hang the parachutes after a jump to be inspected and repaired if necessary and also the room where they repack the parachutes after use. Outside we saw the plane they use for dropping water and fire retardants on the forest fires and the plane they use to fly the firefighters and their equipment to the site of the fire. All the backpacks and gear made from fabric other than the parachutes are made by the firefighters during their shifts when they aren’t fighting a fire so they all have to learn to sew. There is a room full of sewing machines and fabric for this.
After seeing the Museum we got back on the road and decided to just have some snacks as we drove instead of stopping to eat so we’d get to the hotel sooner. We’ll have dinner once we get there.
We arrived at Billings around 7:30pm and Papa took the boys to the pool. We have a two room suite tonight so we are all staying together. We had supper in our room since we had already bought food for lunch and then didn’t use it today.

Friday Harbor Trip-Day 22

We were at the boat dock in time for the 10:55 am ferry but it came in late and we didn’t leave until 11:30am.We were sent on our way by all the Coles who came to the dock with us to say good-by. We had a wonderful 2 weeks with them and want to thank them for opening up their home to us and for all the great meals and fun activities. After docking at Antecortes we drove about a half hour to a town ( I can’t remember the name) and got gas and then some groceries at WalMart.

Once these errands were done we got on Route 90 and drove as far as Ellensburg (about 200 miles) where we stopped for supper at KFC. Along the way we passed a huge wind turbine farm that looked like it was just being built since none of the turbines were operational yet.We got back on the highway and reached Spokane about 8pm. After unloading the car the boys jumped in the pool for awhile. It seems good to be off the road.

Friday Harbor Trip-Day 21

Today was spent cleaning out the van and going to the car wash. This afternoon we did the packing and loaded everything we could into the van. I think we are ready to head home.

Tonight we all went downtown to the “Rumor Mill” for dinner. Cathy C’s parents were able to join us and we had a nice good-by dinner together.
After we got home Jim took some family pictures of the Cole family and also some of the cousins together.