It’s snowing today, and we are expecting about a foot. Since I am stuck in the house, and since Cecilia reminded me of an incident from my past, I thought I would share a story. Of course that story reminds me of another, so I will share it as well.

Syruping pot and container

Syruping pot and container

In my mercifully brief stint as a bachelor, I seemed to have a problem in that I would not remember to eat until I was hungry. Not having a microwave, that meant it would take way longer than my stomach wanted for any food to be ready.

I decided that I could speed things up if I made a big lasagna at the beginning of the week and then eat the leftovers every night after that until it was gone. This would surely solve the problem.

I made the lasagna, ate one serving, covered the pan with foil, and popped it in the fridge. It was delicious.

When I got hungry after work the next day, I popped the lasagna out of the fridge and into the oven. Wait 20 minutes, remove, take one serving, and pop it right back in the fridge. I did this every night for about a week.

At the end of the week, you can probably imagine that the lasagna was baked on the pan pretty solidly. I took one look at that and said to myself, “That’s going to have to soak.” I put the pan in the sink, added some dish soap, and filled it with water.

About a week later when I came to my apartment after work, my keen olfactory sense detected an odor. I followed my nose to the sink where the lasagna pan was still soaking, and did the most sensible thing that came to mind. I changed the water.

Another week passed, and again, the nose tipped me off to a slight problem in the kitchen sink. This time, I broke down and took the even more sensible action of actually washing the pan.

The other “bachelor” experience I had while living there involve my freezer. It was not frost free, and it had managed to build up a pretty thick layer of frost. I knew what to do, but didn’t have the tools I was used to using.

My Dad was an electrician and HVAC repairman, and as a result was also an expert at fixing broken refrigerators. I worked with him for a couple of summers when I was in college (and those were some of my best memories from back then – Dad was great, and was certainly the best boss I have ever had the pleasure of working for). Every now and then we would get a call from someone whose freezer had quit working. When we arrived, we found six inches of frost. Freezers don’t work when they get that way.

Dad didn’t mind defrosting someone’s fridge if they were paying him to do it, and it was often better for them to let him rather than do it the way people often did – by using a butter knife to chip the frost off themselves. The problem with that approach is that the thin aluminum walls of the freezer compartment also served as the outer sheath of the tubing through which the Freon would run. One slip of the knife, and the tube is punctured. The Freon escapes, and without that, neither the fridge nor the freezer are going to work. Aluminum is notoriously difficult – almost impossible – to solder, and replacing the freezer compartment cost almost as much as a new fridge.

It’s not that hard to defrost a fridge without a butter knife, but in spite of that, some people often elected to have him do that for them. He would use a hair dryer to speed the process.

Back to my apartment. I knew better than to use a butter knife, but I didn’t have a hair dryer. The engineer in me said, “Anything with a heating element ought to work” so I turned my thoughts to all of the appliances I had which were equipped with a heating element. Aha! The clothes iron! I was a bit worried that it would be a Bad Idea to put the iron in the fridge and have melted ice dripping all over it, so I placed the iron in a roasting pan, covered it with a lid, and turned it on.

While I was waiting for that to work its magic, I called Va. We were engaged, but lived 750 miles apart. I explained the ingenuity of my plan to defrost the fridge, and she asked me, “Why don’t you just use a pot of boiling water?”

Now why didn’t I think of that!

OK, more on the fishing trip to the Red River Trout Dock. The first time I finished paddling my canoe, I hauled it up on the dock and then dragged it up to the ramp leading to the shore. I was getting ready to carry it back up the hill to my car when the owner of the dock stopped me and suggested I just leave it down at the dock. I was not going to argue! He is a fantastic guy, and I very much appreciated his gesture.

He also stopped me before I went out the first time because I didn’t have a “throwie” cushion in the boat. I did not know this, but Arkansas law requires one of those, even if everyone in the boat is wearing a PFD. He loaned me one while we were there, and that is another reason I think he was a pretty swell fellow.

The order of the rest of the events is still something of a blur to me now. I guess getting up every morning at 5:00am will do that to a person. So I will just put up a few photos and comment on them. We’ll start with some black vultures (Coragyps atratus).

Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)

Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)

These are not exactly easy to see in the photo. These early morning paddling excursions were not the greatest for photography because there was always so much fog. But there are three individuals in this shot. They were feeding on something – maybe fish – but I couldn’t get a good look at that.

The river was always so foggy in the morning because the water is always about 46 degrees. The water is fed through the spillway from the bottom of the lake. I don’t remember how deep the intake is, but I seem to think it was 165 feet. Maybe more, or maybe less. I do remember that it was between 100 and 200 feet though.

That is the reason they can even have trout in Arkansas. Trout like cold water, and Arkansas is not reknown for that. But when they built the dam they created a cold water river, and that killed all the native fish. So now they stock it with trout.

The fog wasn’t always horrible for photography though. Here’s a shot I liked because of the fog.

Two fishermen on the Red River

Two fishermen on the Red River

I think these were the first people I saw on the river that morning. I heard them long before I saw them though.

And now I will embarrass myself by posting some eagle pictures. I know these are not all that good, but I can make plenty of excuses for that. First, I am not much of a bird photographer. Second, I was using my brother’s camera (which was unfamiliar to me), since mine won’t turn on any more. Third, there was lots of fog between me and the bird. But I don’t have many eagle photos, so I will post this one anyway.

Juvenile bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Juvenile bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

I think this one is about a year old. At this age, they are even larger than their parents, which is something I learned while I was down there. They don’t get a lot of exercise as their parents feed them, and they eat a lot. Here’s one of the parents.

Adult bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Adult bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Their nest is on an island in the river, and there is a bluff on the other side. When the youngsters were born, people could go to the top of the bluff and look down into the nest. That’s pretty cool. My uncle told me how to find the nest, and I did go out and see it. Talk was that they had another brood in the nest, but I couldn’t tell. But I also didn’t go to the top of the bluff either.

Here’s a shot of the trout dock.

Red River Trout Dock

Red River Trout Dock

I took this one in the afternoon (or late morning, or maybe in the evening). This was after the fog had burned off.

I took this one on Friday morning.

Rachel, Beth, and Dad

Rachel, Beth, and Dad

I was paddling up to their boat when Rachel took the photo of me that I am now using in my banner. Her shot is better than any I took myself during the whole trip.

On Friday afternoon, Beth and I set out for Conway to see Beth’s friend and our former next door neighbor, Haylee. We got to spend four or five hours with her, her siblings, and her mother, and then we drove back to the trout dock.

On Friday evening, I took my memory card out of my brother’s camera and gave it back to him. I was sure glad he loaned it to me. Then on Saturday morning we went down to the dock at the crack of dawn and he helped me get my canoe in the water. Unfortunately, when he did this, he leaned forward and is camera slipped out of his shirt pocket and landed plop in the water. We fished it out with a long-handled fish net, but his camera is now toast. I felt really bad for him, as I kinda know what it’s like to have a broken camera! His might eventually come back, but that seems pretty unlikely to me.

It was on Saturday morning that I saw the most wildlife. I saw the eagles again, as well as two deer, a Canada goose, and a beaver. That was a lot of fun just watching them. I took out around 9:00am and started packing. Jonathan and Beth got back from fishing shortly after that, and we put on our church clothes and found the Heber Springs Adventist Church. It was pretty small! Including the three of us, attendance was 16 that morning. But it was a very nice service, and the people were quite friendly. I was glad we got to spend some time with them.

After the service we changed clothes in their bathroom, and then headed back to Dawson Springs, KY. Beth and I found a geocache in Missouri on the way, which is our first and so far only MO cache. We also collected an Arkansas geocache near the dock on Friday when we drove down to Conway.

The drive back to Dawson was long and uneventful, but I think that’s a good thing in a road trip!

Tonight I ordered a Canon SX150IS. That is pretty similar to my broken and well-used SX110IS, so I think I’ll like it fairly well. I went ahead and had it shipped to my parent’s house, so maybe I’ll get to post some photos again in a couple of days.

This is the first time in a week I’ve had time, energy, and an adequate Internet connection to post. I’m a tad low on the energy, but I’ll do what I can to at least give an initial report.

We’ll start with this photo my niece Rachel Gogel took of me on the Red River at dawn on Friday. I think it was Friday anyhow.

Me on the Red River in Heber Springs, AR

Me on the Red River in Heber Springs, AR

I liked it so much I made it my new header photo, but you have probably already noticed.

Beth, Jonathan, and I arrived in Dawson Springs Tuesday evening. We stayed at my parents house, and got up pretty early Wednesday morning so we could drive to the fishing hole in Heber Springs, AR with my parents, my brother Mike, my niece Rachel and her fiance, and my Dad’s brother Dallas. It was a long drive, but it was also pleasant!

When we got there, I went to the store with Dad to buy some groceries. The generators were running at the dam, so the river was up. Dad doesn’t like to fish when the river is up (it’s a lot harder to catch fish then), so he opted to not go out the first evening. Beth was disappointed, because she was going to go out with him. I unloaded the canoe and carried it down to the dock, and the two of us went out.

Everyone seemed alarmed about me going out on the river with it up like it was, but it was pretty trivial compared to the rivers I have run in the past. It really didn’t present much of a challenge at all, actually, and I was able to paddle upstream without too much effort. It was a nice paddle, and we came in before it got dark and had some supper.

In the morning we got up at 5:00am and had a quick breakfast. Then everyone was on the water by 5:30. Here’s Beth and Jonathan with Dad getting ready to go out.

Jonathan, Beth, and Dad

Jonathan, Beth, and Dad

This was Beth’s first fishing trip. Everyone was pretty well convinced that she would be bored with it pretty quickly – if not in ten minutes, then certainly within an hour. But that did not happen. She went out and started catching fish – and she was hooked.

I do not like to fish, so I got in my canoe and had a nice paddle. I went almost all the way up to the dam (which was about three miles). I turned around when I ran into a bunch of fishermen at a little riffle. I could have attained the riffle, but then there were several guys with lines cast across the river, and I didn’t want to cross them (the lines, or the fishermen). Also, I don’t like to have an audience when I attempt to attain a riffle.

Fishermen below the dam

Fishermen below the dam

I turned around and headed back downstream. It was a magnificent paddle! Over the course of the stay there, I saw a pair of otters (a first for me), a muskrat, two deer, a pair of bald eagles and their two chicks (which were larger than the parents), a couple of hawks, several great blue herons, countless swallows (exact species unknown), and trout.

Unfortunately, my camera has finally given up the ghost. It will no longer turn on. My brother very generously offered me the use of his though, and I gladly accepted. So I will be sharing some photos as the week progresses.

But right now, I should probably get to bed!

Today was our last day visiting in Kentucky. In the morning we will hit the road and begin the long journey home again. Here are a few shots I’ve taken over these past few days:

Unknown milkweed

Unknown milkweed

This is some sort of milkweed, but I don’t know the precise species. It could be swamp milkweed, but I’m not sure enough to make the call. I found it at the edge of a ditch near the hotel.

Another unknown

Another unknown

There was lots of this near the hotel too, and I have no idea what it might be. At first I thought it might be some sort of a mint, but the leaves were most definitely not minty smelling. I plucked one and held it against the sky to better capture its general form:

If anyone out there on the interwebs knows what it is, I’d love to hear it.

We spent our last evening at my parent’s house. Dad has a hummingbird feeder set up there, and he has reported that the hummingbirds have at times landed on him while he was refilling their feeder. I figured that if they were that unafraid of humans, I might as well try to take advantage of that.

I stood by the feeder for several minutes while these tiny little mosquitoes tried to carry me away. Seems the females were more brave than the males, as several of them buzzed me.

Female ruby-throated hummingbird

Female ruby-throated hummingbird

I eventually backed away a bit and used my camera’s crappy zoom. It did better than usual:

Miss Ruby

Miss Ruby

I usually reduce the size of the images I post here so I don’t have to wait five minutes for the photo to upload, and chew up all the bandwidth in the house. This one is not reduced at all though – just cropped. Same effect on the bandwidth though.

I really enjoyed spending time with Mom and Dad, so it’s kind of sad to be heading out in the morning. However, the temperature at my house is 59 degrees right now, and I am looking forward to that again.

My Mom and Dad drove me and Beth to my uncle’s house today so he could help me fix my sewing machine. He is a mechanical genius, and I firmly believe that if anything can be fixed, he can fix it.

We got through the part of the repair that had stopped me when I tried it on my own six months ago. Now all I need to do is retime it, but I’ve done that before.

After that hard part was done, we all went out to eat at the Golden Corral, which I very much enjoyed, and I believe my parents, aunt, and uncle enjoyed as well. We went back to his place and buttoned the sewing machine back together, and then headed back towards Dawson Springs.

My brother Mike and his daughter Sarah came out to the hotel for a visit, and we swam in the pool for a couple hours. Sarah is 12 (I think), and she and Beth exchange a lot of email. Beth adores her.

Beth had some major breakthroughs in the swimming department this week too. I finally got her to swim about six feet, and she also mustered up the courage to jump into the pool from the side. She loved that!

When everyone was sufficiently wrinkly from the pool, we went into the room and visited there for a while. It was a nice visit and I enjoyed it very much.

Today I found myself incredibly hungry at only 10:30 am. I was able to hold off until 11:40, and that’s when I grabbed the half-sub I had left in the fridge yesterday. I wolfed it down and I was still hungry. Then I started thinking about the black raspberry ice cream I had a Friendly’s on Sunday. There’s a Friendly’s about three quarters of a mile from my office, and it was a beautiful day, so maybe you can guess what happened.

I grabbed my camera and hat, and off I went. Along the way, I saw some sandspurry (Spergularia spp). I stopped and took several shots, but this is the only one I kept:

Sandspurry (Spergularia spp)

Sandspurry (Spergularia spp)

These flowers were maybe 3/16 of an inch across, so they’re not exactly big. They are also very easy to not see unless you’re looking for them (and I was). If you look closely, you can see some pollen on the right-most petal. Cool. I might upload this shot to the Commons later, but only if I don’t think they don’t have one that is better.

I secured my ice cream and headed back to the office.

On the way home I noticed that the King Devil (Hieracium pratense) and Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) were both in bloom. I was stopped at a light in Concord, so I whipped out the camera to take a photo (just to remind myself to log them), but as I did, the light turned green. I took the picture anyhow as I pulled away. Couldn’t see anything but a blurry bank of grass, but I knew that meant King Devil and Red Clover, so it did serve its purpose. I logged them a short while ago.

We were expecting a house guest tonight, so there was a bit of house cleaning involved. For the record, I don’t clean the house for the guests, I clean the house for Va. The guests don’t care if the house is messy. Va does though.

Our guest is a guy who used to be in our Pathfinder Club. He wanted to be able to make it to church tomorrow, but his parents would not be able to get him there for some reason or another. I don’t recall the details. He asked if he could spend the night with us, and we enthusiastically agreed. His mom will pick him up after church tomorrow.

I was expecting him to show up at around 6:00pm, but instead he (and his mom) were here at 4:45. I got home at 4:30, and immediately began some furious house cleaning. In 15 minutes, Penny started barking her head off as if someone had pulled into the driveway. As usual, she was right. Adam had arrived.

That was a mixed blessing. The good part was that it put a premature end to the cleaning frenzy. The bad part is that the house was not as clean as Va wanted it. Oh well.

Jonathan and I went to Tilton and got some pizza and a new pair of headphone for his trip. We ate the pizza for supper. He packed the headphones.

Then I went into the woods and took more flower pictures. I finally got a few of the gaywings that I really like (I gave them three stars out of five):

Gaywings (Polygala paucifolia)

Gaywings (Polygala paucifolia)

Again, I may upload to the Commons. The wind was finally calm enough today and the sky was just about perfect for diffused-but-not-too-dim light. Finally, I can zoom in on the propeller structure and see some decent detail. Yessss.

Beth stayed home from school today. Actually, she came home early yesterday. Va took her temp then and it was 103. Ibuprofin brought it back down, and she seems to feel a lot better. Hopefully she’ll feel good enogh to go to church in the morning.

Mom’s still in the hospital, and they plan to keep her there over the weekend to continue the antibiotics. They want to knock down the pneumonia before sending her home. This will be at least the second Mother’s Day in the hospital for her (the first was when my oldest sister was born). Other than the pneumonia thing, she seems to be feeling pretty good, and will be glad to get home where she can get some rest.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom.

Several species of flowers made their first blooms of the year here today. I noticed five between my office and Sal’s (a pizza place) during lunch (that was about a two-minute walk through mostly paved areas). I was with people from work though, so I couldn’t just stop and take pictures. I made a couple of quick snapshots on the way back, but nothing spectacular. Here’s a list of what was blooming though:

  • Western Salsify (Tragopogon dubius)
  • Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana)
  • Celandine (Chelidonium majus)
  • Curly Dock (Rumex crispus)
  • Sandspurry (Spergularia)

Celandine (Chelidonium majus)

Celandine (Chelidonium majus)

Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana)

Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana)

Those were the city flowers. When I got home, there were several country flowers waiting for me. The first was some Columbine:
Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

I harvested some seed from one of these last fall and sent it to my uncle, but it never came up for him. This was growing by the frog pond pretty close to the same place as last year, but not quite (it is an annual, so it depends on where the seeds land).

I went into the woods and found some False Lily-of-the-valley finally opened up:

False Lily-of-the-valley (Maianthemum canadense)

False Lily-of-the-valley (Maianthemum canadense)

I had to shade this one with my hat. The sun was blowing out the white spray of flowers, and I took several unshaded photos like that. But by the time I set the exposure quick enough for the petals to not saturate, everything else looked like the middle of the night. So I shaded the bloom and tried again with a longer exposure. It came out much better.

Again I tried taking photos of the Pink Lady’s Slipper, Starflower, and Gaywings, and even though some of them came out OK, I’m still not satisfied. They were shaking ever-so-lightly, but the afternoon in my woods are pretty shady, so that motion translated into blur. Maybe I’ll try it in the morning, I dunno.

Jonathan took his last final this morning, so his semester is finished. He’s gearing up for Brussels now, and leaves Saturday evening.

Beth came in from playing early tonight, laid down on the couch, and went to sleep. My first thought was that she must be sick, and that thought was correct. She was running a fever. I didn’t take her temperature, but I’d guess it was around 102 or so. I went to the store and bought some Ibuprofin for her.

So with Beth sick and Jonathan done with school, I’m going to have a hard time getting myself out of bed in the morning, since I’ll be commuting alone.

Mom’s still in the hospital. Dunno when she’s coming home. I do know that at least three nurses tried to insert an IV into her today, and failed three times. That must notta been too much fun for anyone involved.

Va’s Dad and his family are staying in a hotel now courtesy of the Red Cross. Their house caught on fire yesterday and it is currently uninhabitable. They get three nights, so I hope they can find new quarters soon. The house was rented, and they think it was the A/C that caught on fire. It had not been working well, and had been making unsettling noises. They called the landlord, but nothing was done. So the A/C took matters into its own hands. Or so the theory goes.

Yesterday I was tramping around our woods with Beth. She asked about the gaywings and I told her their name. Then I described the starflower to her and asked her if she could find one (I had seen several already). I told her it is a white flower with seven or eight pointed petals, about the size of a dime.

Starflower (Trientalis borealis)

Starflower (Trientalis borealis)

Armed with that description, she went off looking for one.

In short order she called out “I think I found one, but it only has three petals!” I went to investigate, and this is what she had found:

Painted Trillium (Trillium undulatum)

Painted Trillium (Trillium undulatum)

This is the first of these I have seen this year. We also found this:

Pink Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium acaule)

Pink Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium acaule)

A lot of people think this flower is endangered and they earnestly enjoin others (especially kids) to not pick them. Well, they aren’t endangered at all. They are confusing the Pink Lady’s Slipper (C. acaule) with the Showy Lady’s-slipper (C. reginae) which is endangered. That said, it’s still a bad idea to dig up C. acaule because it’s nearly impossible to transplant them.

I went back out tonight to see if I could get some better pictures of all these new flowers, but between the rain and the wind, I was defeated. The rain made the sky overcast and the woods were dark. The wind prevented the flowers from posing motionless for me. Between those two, I didn’t get any spectacular shots. I’ll keep trying though, and eventually I will have proper conditions.

Mom’s still in the hospital. They gave her some cough medicine with codeine, so she was finally able to get some sleep. She had a diagnosis now, and it doesn’t look too good. Neither Mom nor Dad could recall the name of the condition, but it has to do with the autonomic system failing to constrict her blood vessels when she stands up. Then her BP drops through the floor and she has a TIA. Not good. Worse, they don’t know how to treat it. I am not encouraged by news like that, and can only turn it over to the Lord.

When it rains it pours though. Va saw something on Facebook about her Dad and his wife (and her grandbaby) being rushed to the hospital. She called her Dad and he answered – in the ambulance. Their house had caught fire. They all got out, but he went back in for some things. I cannot recommend doing that, but I also know that when stuff like this happens, reason is the first thing to go. There but for the grace of God go I. Suffice it to say that he was OK enough to take a call in the ambulance. I don’t know more than that.

Spring Camporee was pretty OK. We arrived at the campground around 5:00pm and had the campsite set up in short order. We did not bring a canopy for the kitchen, but opted to use a tarp instead. The first iteration of hanging the tarp was pretty awful. I took it down and made another stab that came out much more betterer.

Camp Kitchen

Camp Kitchen

This photo came out pretty bad, which is good, because none of the kids can be identified in it. I don’t post pictures of other people’s kids here as a general rule, but this one is just so bad. Looking at the meta-data for the photo, I noticed it has a half second aperture, and an ISO of 100. I know better than to try to take a picture of moving kids (or even a still scene without a tripod) with that kind of aperture, and I never select an ISO of 100 (preferring 80, but in a dark situation, I’ll try 200 or 400 – but 100? never!) From this I can conclude that I must have had the camera set on AUTO. Oh well.

Saturday morning was a bit of a disaster. My mistake was in making up the breakfast, lunch, and dinner crews. I put all girls on lunch, and all boys on breakfast. It took them 90 minutes to cook breakfast, and they were late for flag raising. There was no time for them to straighten their tents. Inspection came pretty much right after flag raising, and we didn’t do as well as I would have liked. I will not likely repeat that mistake, and will take my Great Uncle Elbert’s observation to heart:

“A boy’s a boy, two boys is half a boy, and three boys is no boy at all.”

I had four boys on breakfast. I got them up 15 minutes earlier on Sunday, and they did much better.

On Sunday they competed in the events. The first was the “Tea Boil.” This is the one for which I baked the log. The judges were admiring our log selection. Other clubs brought 10 inch logs (which kids had to split with a hatchet? I don’t think so!) Ours was four inches in diameter, knot free, and bone dry (I guess the baking helped).

Our kids split it in under five minutes and had kindling-size pieces in short order. Then they made a nice pile of shavings and set them on fire. And watched it burn out as I prompted them repeatedly to add wood. “Add wood! Add wood! Add wood! It’s going to go out! Add wood!” Not knowing what I meant by “Add wood!” they looked around, selected a single stick of wood, and laid it next to the fire. By then, the shavings had burnt themselves out. They repeated this many times over the next 40 minutes, never achieving a flame large enough to boil the water. I guess we should have practiced a little more.

The second event went much better. They actually managed to light a fire with a spindle, fire board, and rope. Woot!

Fire from Friction

Fire from Friction

That was pretty cool.

The competitions ran a little on the long side (only one group managed to boil their water as far as I know), so we were a little late getting out of there. But we did break camp pretty quickly. Melissa treated us to ice cream at Friendly’s (I had some black Raspberry which was to die for).

So! That’s the camporee.

In other news, my Mom went back in the hospital this morning with more TIA’s. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about her. She also had a nasty cough when I spoke to her on the phone this morning. I learned since that she has a touch of pneumonia (which doesn’t make me feel any less worried). She is getting gunk out of her lungs though, and I’m glad to hear that. If you pray, please add her to your list.

Today I got a call from Jonathan around 11:00. He had registered for a class for the summer semester and needed someone to come and pay for it. So I drove over there and bought him some more education.

Then we headed back, and I stopped at a boat launch on campus and grabbed a geocache. Yay. Then we went to a Chinese restaurant for lunch and went back to the office. I was just getting settled in when I got a call from one of the church members.

The garage canopy had been picked up and hurled into the trees by the wind. And I can say that it was gusting pretty hard too. We had staked it down with tent stakes, but that was obviously insufficient. I was worried that it might be. I should have listened to the doubts.

Jonathan and I immediately went to Home Depot and bought $15 worth of steel stakes. Then we went over to the church to assess the damage.

Three of the joining members were bent badly – two doubled over completely. I did have an extra set of hardware that had been through a similar bit of stress, but I had made it known that I wanted it gone. And it is gone. If I can track it down, I’ll try to salvage some spare parts from it.

We disconnected the (now torn) canopy and rolled it over. I removed the two badly bent joints and shortened the structure by six feet. Then we staked it down, but I decided to put off reattaching the canopy. We dragged that into the building out of the wind and folded it up.

That was heartbreaking.

Before we finished with that, Va showed up to collect Beth from school. Jonathan went home with her, and I went back to the office. I had to work late because I missed such a huge chunk of my day.

Then I went shopping for food for the camporee this weekend. I got most of what we need, but I’m holding off on a few items.

My Mom came home from the hospital. They figured out that the TIA’s were being caused by a sudden drop in her blood pressure when she stood up. Her doctor is adjusting her meds, and she should be right as rain again.

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