Sunday, September 13, 2015

Grandparents Day

Helping get rocks
Day 17 (9/13/2015)

I hate to use the word fall or autumn yet so let’s just say, “It was a beautiful late summer day”. I would call it a perfect day, seventy degrees with slightly clouded skies and a light breeze. Our son and daughter-in-law had texted about going out on the bike trail and we were ready. We had gone out for quick ride on Thursday night so we knew everything was down on this end of the trail. Once school starts it is hard to find the time to keep everything standing. I suspect there had been forces involved that weren’t just natural. When everything in a specific area is completely annihilated there is a pretty good chance that somebody just decided that they needed to be unbuilt. As soon as we got to the “sculpture garden” area we started building. As I have said before, if nothing else is standing I like to make sure that “Tripod” is. I started rebuilding it while our son Nate started building one of his own. Eileen and Wade and our daughter-in-law Rita started making chalk drawings and photographing the proceedings. At first we were having trouble getting things to stay standing and both Nate and my first attempts ended up back on the ground. Persistence paid off and eventually we had a couple up and finished. In all we set up four of the original six sculptures in the area. We didn’t have a lot of time though so we had to get back on the trail. We then rode to the Prairie area where, although in need of repair, the sculptures were still standing. When we got there however the railroad was cutting brush with a large shredder mounted on a crane that rode the tracks. Wade enjoyed watching it but we didn’t get a chance to do any more building and soon it was time for Wades nap so we headed back home.
Getting Started

Making Drawerings


Love this picture 

Royal Enfield

Now we are finished

Cutting Brush

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Fischer Creek Stackers

Waves crashing over Cairns
Day 16 (8/30/2015)

Eileen was starting to run low on rocks to drill. It’s not that she doesn’t have rocks; it is just that she lacked the kind of rocks that have that special zing. We decided to set off for one of our favorite picking and stacking beaches, Fischer Creek. We had an “Art Closing” up in the area anyway so after enjoying the company of some artist friends for a couple of hours we headed for the beach. It was perfect day. There was a bit of fog hanging over the lake which only added to the ethereal quality. We worked our way down the beach picking and stacking as we went. We pretty much had the beach to ourselves. The parking lot was full so I am not sure where all the people were but they weren’t on our stretch of beach. At first we were trying to build to close to the water and as soon as we would get a nice one standing a wave would come along and knock it over. Eventually we were able to get the right combination of close to the water for good photographing and far enough from the waves for safe stacking. After a couple of hours we called it quits and headed for home excited about what the coming autumn beach combing would bring.
Path to the Beach


A couple of Eileen's

Another Eileen

Even More Eileen

And Another

One of mine

Another one of mine

Looking up the beach

My last one

The fruits of our labor after Eileen is done

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Raccoons, Trains and Donuts

Chugga chugga
Day 16 (8/5/2015)
I ended yesterday’s blog with the promise of donuts today. It was Eileen’s day off but she had to go in sometime to work on a new computer system they are starting. We decided to get out early so she could come along. At 7:43 we got a text that Wade was up, had eaten and was ready to go on a donut run. We didn’t waste any time and except for a quick stop to watch some cranes we biked directly to the bakery. Unfortunately everywhere we have ever lived has had great bakeries and although it is four miles away in Oostburg this is no exception. We used to have a bakery right in town and that was very dangerous. I love donuts. Oostburg bakery has a nice selection of fares and with the exception of not having serviettes (for my Canadian Friends) it is a great place to get a fix. Across the street is a cute little park which was apparently the gift of the brother of an equally cute little old lady who told Wade and I all about it. So far it was turning out to be one of those special days that pop up once in a while. After eating or donuts, I had a pistachio muffin; we got back on the trail to head for the Prairie area to do some building. We started by doctoring our builds from yesterday but were soon involved in some new projects. At some point I saw lights at a distance down the track. At first I was surprised because we rarely see trains during the day and even more rarely coming from the south. Soon I heard a horn however and knew that Wade was going to be so excited. He loves trains. It was a very long train and Wade watched as mesmerized. After the train we got back on the trail and headed for the Garden. On the way we had stopped to talk to some past students of mine when I started noticing a raccoon following us. He seemed to have no fear of humans and we decided to get Wade as far away from him as possible. I went back to get some pictures but kept my distance as well. The rest had gone on to the Sculpture Garden where Nate worked on repairing his build from yesterday. Soon we saw the raccoon was still coming down the trail so we got on our bikes and rode for home.
Getting Started


A little help from your friends

Here comes Chugga


Love this Picture

Nate's new sculptures first test

A couple rebuilds

Action Shot

Nate's Rebuild

Coming or going?

Being chased by a Raccoon

Said Raccoon

Another of Nate's rebuilds

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A family Affair

Cranes in the Distance
Day 15 (8/4/15)

It has been awhile since we have made it out on the bike trail. Last week was the first week after “Grandpa Daycare” and I had to get a few projects done around home. My son and his wife decided to join me and Wade for this trip. They have gone along before but rarely have we done any building. Lately my son has been doings some building on his own however. We had a nasty storm on Sunday night with pretty high winds and an inch of rain so I was expecting everything to be lying flat. I was pleasantly surprised when we got to the Sculpture Garden to find both Tripod and another build untouched. A third one had sustained some damage but was still erect. As soon as we arrived at the site we noticed a couple of cranes out in the field just behind the sculptures so I had to take some pictures. We had stopped down the road just before getting to the garden to watch a couple of other cranes. I think one of those was an immature from this spring. I never tire of watching them strut around the fields. Soon though it was down to business and my son Nate started a build using the ceramic pipe parts left over from an earlier build by our friend Chris. I took the opportunity to rebuild a cairn that I had built a while ago. I also did some work on the build that had been damaged by the wind. I find it hard to ever replace one of my favorites. They just never seem to have the same pizzazz. This was no exception. It was ok and it was standing but not something that I would call a favorite. We then rode on to where Nate had built a sculpture in my absence last week. It was still standing and so was the one that I had built at the same location. After finding things standing in the Garden and the next site I was anxious to get to the Prairie. Unfortunately they had not fared as well and although they were still partially standing both would need substantial work. I started rebuilding another one of my favorites while Nate decided to seek out his own materials and start from scratch. Again I wasn’t happy with my rebuild but I can always come back. By now Wade was starting to get a little impatient. He and his mom Rita had been doing drawings and he was ready to get back on the road. We rode on to the Oostburg turnaround, vowing that tomorrow we would bring money for donuts. After that we headed home. 
Adult and Baby

New Cairn

Nate working on his first build

Two more Cranes

Nates finished Build

Oostburg Turnaround

Nate's second build

My second rebuild


One last Crane

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Planes, Cranes and Frogs

Wade flying the Vectron
Day 14 (7/23/15)
All things come to an end and so it is with “Grandpa Daycare”, at least for the time being. The nice thing about living 300 yards away from our son and his wife is that almost every day brings an excuse to see Wade. It was one heck of a summer and even in five short weeks Wade has changed so much. More and more he has gone from being an observer to being an actual participant. This week he made two solo builds of his own not to mention numerous colorings. He has started becoming more aware of his surroundings and it was he who first saw the cranes on Tuesday. Grandma and I have tried to squeeze as much in as possible these last couple of days. We too feel the end of summer vacation coming to an end and want to get as much done as possible. Fortunately the weather has been great for outdoor activities and if we haven’t been on the trail we have been exploring the backyard and all its mysteries or even aviation. 
New Build

A Start

More planes

A Ribbit

Ribbit's new Pad

More building

And more

One more look at the Woodcock


Making Ants

Men at Work

Wade's second Solo

Here Papa

Walking the rails

Did I mention Cranes?

Thanks again to Eileen for the Photography and colorings

Looking back on another great summer