Today we had our Investiture service for the Pathfinders.

in·ves·ti·ture/inˈvestiCHər/Noun

  1. The action of formally investing a person with honors or rank.
  2. A ceremony at which honors or rank are formally conferred on a particular person.

It pretty much marks the end of the year for us, as during the Investiture service, we award insignia to those who have earned it. Putting the service together is hard work, and that’s with a small club like ours. I had to figure out what everyone had earned – honors, AY ranks, decide who merited Good Conduct Awards, how long each staff member has been serving in Pathfinders (for their service pins). I forgot to get TLT pins for the two teens who served as TLT’s this year. Oops. Then I have to figure out how many of each patch/pin to order. It has to be ordered a week ahead of time (and that’s pushing it) or I’d have to pay out the nose to get it here in time.

While we were waiting for that to come in, Va made up award cards for me. That has a graphic for each patch, ribbon, and pin. When the insignia comes in, I staple it over the graphic. These cards serve as a reminder to the kids (and staff) what each patch actually is – it’s kind of hard to figure some of them out.

My favorite part of the service is always the slide show. I guess it went for 10 minutes this year, showing about 300 photos of the stuff we did through the year. My mouth was sore from the constant smiling by the end.

The staff selected the Pathfinder of the Year, and we usually buy a satin Pathfinder jacket to recognize that. This year several of the kids suggested that “If I get Pathfinder of the Year, I’d rather have the hoodie.” Mind you, the satin jacket costs $120 or so, while the hoodie is about $100 less. So we made the change, but I added a trophy too. It was still cheaper, so I guess everyone wins.

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Today was our Investiture service for the Adventurers and Pathfinders. It went pretty well! David was named the Pathfinder of the Year, and he seemed surprised by that. I thought it was well merited though (which is why I choose him for that). I still need to order some insignia that was either out of stock, unavailable, or that I had forgotten, but I can do that sometime next week. The rush is off.

When we got home I took a nap. Va woke me up around 6:00pm because she had made a homemade pizza. She makes the best crust I have ever eaten. Normally, supper has to struggle to get me to end a nap, but not this time.

After dinner I went for a walk about the yard. I found some spittle on a blade of grass:

Spittle

Spittle


This spittle is made by spittlebug nymphs. They exude these bubbles to hide themselves from predators. It doesn’t work against amateur naturalists such as myself. I dove in and felt around for the spittlebug, but didn’t find one here. I moved on and found a tiny little spider on a milkweed leaf nearby:
Spider on Milkweed

Spider on Milkweed


I don’t know what kind of spider she is yet, but I haven’t tried to figure it out yet either. She had several eggs on the leaf with her, and in fact, that was the first thing I had noticed. When I looked closer, I found her too.

I moved on to the front of the property, and by then Beth had joined me. We walked along the road by the ditch, and I saw more spittle. Again, I jammed my finger in looking for a spittlebug. This time I hit pay-spit:

Spittlebug Nymph

Spittlebug Nymph


Again, I don’t know the exact species. But I thought the photo came out pretty OK! My Audubon Field Guide to Insects and Spiders only shows one species of spittlebug, so I’m going to have to look elsewhere. Spittlebugs are spread across five families (which is the level above genus in the taxonomic hierarchy). Kaufman’s (and Eaton’s!) Field Guide to Insects of North America shows three species, and says there are 54 in the US and Canada. I wouldn’t want to guess this one’s identity based on only three to compare against. This might be a job for Bugguide.

Whorled Loosestrife (Lysimachia quadrifolia)

Whorled Loosestrife (Lysimachia quadrifolia)


I was wandering around the yard today and saw this Whorled Loosestrife (Lysimachia quadrifolia). I assume that the quadrifolia part of its binomial name comes from the fact that each tier consists of a whorl of four leaves.

I also went through my woods looking for some dwarf ginseng. I had read that it has some highly edible tubers, and I wanted to try them. Unfortunately, most of them have disappeared by now. I did find four specimens, but found no tubers. I’ll try again next spring I guess.

Our catchment pond is water-free again. I saw a bullfrog in it a couple of days ago, but there was no sign of him today. Luckily, the forecast is for rain all weekend.

I had been planning to take the Pathfinders to York Beach in Maine on Sunday, but with a forecast like that, I figured it was better to put them off a week,

Tomorrow is Investiture for both Pathfinders and Adventurers. That’s pretty much a graduation ceremony/end of year program. We will hand out insignia and awards. Luckily, that’s an indoor thing, so I can still be happy about the rain.

We had our Investiture service yesterday, and it went pretty well. We were both up late on Friday evening getting things ready for it, but for the most part, we aced that. I did have a few kids not finish their work, so I had to remove some insignia from their cards. That’s not too hard to do though. When they do finish their work, they’ll get their patches.

The slide show had a couple of hiccups. Dunno why, but it DID use PowerPoint and Windows. It’s probably not legitimate to blame that, but I will anyhow.

I managed to sleep until almost 9:00 this morning. That felt pretty good. I didn’t have anything planned at all today. It was raining in the morning, but not hard. Beth and I took Penny for a walk down to Sandogardy. I saw a patch of pink lady’s slippers still in bloom – ten strong. All the ones at my place are finished, and have been for about a week. I also saw a lone false lily-of-the-valley still in bloom. Plus my first whorled loosestrife (Lysimachia quadrifolia) in bloom. I found the kernel of a bullhead lily that had washed up on the beach and gave that to Beth. She wanted to plant it, but I explained that it wouldn’t grow. It hadn’t made it far enough along to turn into a seed yet. She was, however, inspired to ask me to help her plant some seeds in flower pots so she could sell the plants.

We’re going to give that a try, I guess. I bought her seven packs of seeds, seven clay pots, and one bag of potting soil. She planted them, and we used the label maker to label each pot. She planted two pots of cosmos though, because the other packet she had selected was sunflower. Don’t think they will grow in a four inch pot. We’ll find some other place to plant those.

I’d like to get some daylilies and some irises growing along the driveway. I’ve been offered some free irises – all I need to do is go dig them up. Sometime.

Tonight is crunch night for Pathfinders and Adventurers directors (i.e., me and Va). Tomorrow is Investiture, so tonight we’re putting together all the insignia, certificates, awards, etc. We do this by printing out actual size pictures of the insignia on cardstock, and then staple the patches to that. Pins also get attached. It’s a lot of work, and we have small clubs. I don’t know how large clubs manage it.

I was short a few items too. I dunno what happened to all the swimming patches I had intended to order. Maybe the fell off my shopping cart when I was placing the order online. There are a few other items I forgot to order too, so I need to start a short list.

I took off work early today so I could help clean the house. One of the teen Pathfinders wanted to stay here overnight. His parents won’t be able to attend the Investiture service tomorrow, but he wanted to go to it. This was prolly the best way to do that. Even if it meant a frenzied house cleaning gala.

Plus the daughter of some of our friends got married today. I could have worked right up until the wedding was about to start and then ducked out for that, but that would have meant wearing wedding appropriate attire to work. If I had done that, it would have made everyone think I had a job interview. I guess. So I went home after lunch.

The wedding was nice. They really did a great job decorating the church. I’d describe it, but I’ve already sufficiently compromised my manliness by claiming the Dressmaking honor in Pathfinders. (Last winter I made half a dozen two-piece costumes for Camp-In, and that met all the reqs for the honor.)

I slipped out right after the wedding to pick up the Pathfinder of the Year jacket, which arrive in yesterday’s mail, and which I dropped off to be embroidered this morning. Here’s a shout out to Shirtmasters – they did a great job and turned that jacket around in under a day. (They do the silkscreening for our field uniforms too).

After the wedding, we went to Taco Bell and then I took the kids home (including our guest). Va went to buy some groceries. When I got home I took my usual trip around the property to log blooms. I took plenty of pictures, but I have not yet logged them. Maybe I’ll do that tomorrow.

Now I need to spend some time getting ready to teach Sabbath School in the morning and prepare something to say as the devotional thought for the Investiture Service. And I’m pretty tired already…

I’ve spent a good deal of my time tonight working on my new book, Summer Flowers of Northern New England. I’m a little more than halfway done with the white flowers. Then I have the yellow/orange, red/pink, blue/purple, and green/brown to deal with. There are more white ones than anything else though, so I think it’s fair to say I’m making pretty decent progress. Once it’s finished, I’ll need to convert it to PDF and print it, but that is proving to be an elusive goal. The PDF generator does not have a way for me to force page breaks, and I would really like for each plant to live on its own page. I’ll have to futz around to make that happen.

What I SHOULD be doing is making up a list of all the honors, etc that each Pathfinder will receive this coming Sabbath at Investiture. Then I could email it out to all the staff and have them vet it for me. THEN we can start making up the insignia cards (cardstock with the patches stapled on) and not have to face that mammoth task at the last minute.

Hmmm… maybe I should get busy with that.

I’ve spent most of the evening ordering supplies for the Pathfinder Investiture coming up. That’s a year-end ceremony where we award all the patches and pins people have earned over the past 10 months or so, so pulling all that info together is a big job. I’m pretty sure I didn’t get it right either. If I thought someone might have earned an honor, I ordered the patch. I’ll meet with the counsellors this week to go over everything, and then we’ll make sure. If we don’t think a kid earned the patch, we do not award it. To do otherwise cheapens the awards for everyone else.

I went for a walk today at lunch and saw several newly blossomed plants, including false indigo, nightshade, and some toadflax. There were also a couple I didn’t know, but I have not had a chance to try to id them yet. Maybe tomorrow.