Tonight I picked up my camera again, perhaps out of desperation, and somehow turned it on. I did swap the memory card in it, so maybe that was it. I have no idea really. Thanks to everyone for their advice on overcoming my broken camera – I really appreciate it. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be able to take a few photos again.

Today was insanely busy. The Pathfinders had our annual yard sale. We moved a lot of stuff, but sales were a little off this year as compared to previous years. We also swept the parking lot, which is in fact my favorite fundraiser for the club – because it’s work the kids can do vs me and the rest of the staff doing most of it for them. Still, the yard sale and lot sweeping make for an exhausting day.

When we got home, Beth packed so she could spend the night with a friend (one of the Pathfinders). I drove her over and then came home and took a shower. Then I went through my photos from September until now (minus two days) so I could burn the Pathfinder pictures onto a disk and give them to one of the other staff members. She will turn them into a slideshow for our Investiture ceremony next Saturday.

Tomorrow we march in Concord’s Memorial Day parade. After that, I will have to take it easy for a bit.

Today the Pathfinders had an off-season yard sale. We usually have one on the Monday of Memorial Day Weekend, but since we’re trying to raise money for our trip to the Holbrook Indian School, we decided to have an extra one this year.

Va and I did manage to spend some time yesterday in the basement going through our junk – errr… treasure. We rounded up four boxes of goods to donate. We are glad to have that out of the house now.

Other than having the sale on Black Friday, the other thing we did that was different was to use some big YARDSALE signs. We made these on Sunday after our Pathfinder meeting. We had a bolt of white cloth leftover from our last yardsale, and I thought a good use of that would be to make a couple of signs. This was way better than having kids stand out by the road with poster boards. They tend to position the signs such that a person across the street could read it, vs a person driving along the road. By hanging these huge signs on our kitchen shelter, I didn’t have to worry about that. We used fabric paint, but I think latex would have worked well too. I sewed up the ends Wednesday evening and added grommets to the corners yesterday. Unlike the poster board approach, these signs will be reusable.

And we did pretty OK! We didn’t have as much traffic as we usually do, but I attribute that to it being an off-season yard sale event. And even though traffic was not heavy, we had very respectable receipts.

I am not going to push for a yard sale every Black Friday though. It’s nice to have some down-time built into the schedule.

Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos)

Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos)

Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos)
That lily pad looks like a halo.

Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos)
I saw these ducks at Sandogardy Pond today. I heard them before I saw them. They did not seem to have any fear of me (or Penny) whatsoever. Penny had no interest in them either, as she was busy bringing me sticks. While I was insistent in photographing the fowl, she was insistent about me throwing a stick. She barked several times, and the ducks just sat there. I was less than 20 feet away from them. That is nice because my camera doesn’t have a very good zoom on it (too much zoom makes a grainy photo).

I took about 50 shots, and I think these three are the best. Penny and I set out for the house, and when we got there our Thanksgiving feast was nearly ready. And it was good. Penny didn’t get any because turkey makes her unbearably gassy! I gave her some stuffing though, which consoled her a little.

When we finished eating, I ran a load of dishes. Then Va and I went to the basement and started going through some boxes. We threw away a lot of stuff and came up with four boxes full of things for the yard sale. I loaded that into the car and Beth and I drove it to the church. Even though we didn’t have it plowed, the parking lot is clear. We might shovel a little bit of the entry tomorrow when we get there for the yard sale.

All in all, it was a very nice day.

The Pathfinders had our annual yard sale yesterday. This year we decided to split the proceeds 50/50 with the Friendly Kitchen, but I’ve written about that before, so I won’t rehash it again.

Sunday evening I stopped by the church and set up our new kitchen shelter (minus the walls). I wanted some cover to put things under in case it rained, or, barring rain, I wanted some shade. Paul and Barbara (our associate conference PF director) were planning to show up that evening sometime to set the conference shelter up as well, but I wasn’t sure exactly when they would arrive. So I got there on the early side.

I set up our shelter all by myself. After I carried all the parts to the front yard, it took me an hour to get the thing up. By then, Paul and Barb had not shown up yet, but since I was sure they would be there in a few minutes, I decided to go snag a nearby geocache. That took 15 minutes, and when I came back, they had just arrived.

Barb’s brother was there too, and it took the four of us only 30 minutes to get the second shelter up. Then we went home.

I was back at 8:00am with four kids in tow. Beth always likes to come to our yard sale, so there’s no leaving her behind for those. David, being in Pathfinders was obligated! I also picked up two other kids and gave them a ride in.

The first order of business was to haul a dozen tables out to the shelters. With those set up, we started bringing our donated goods out. Early birds showed up, but I don’t think a one of them bought anything!

We also set up our life-sized model camel and attached a couple of “YARD SALE” posters to it, one on each side. I figured that would draw some attention, and it did.

Since our club has converted over to three-man tents, I thought it would be a good idea to try to sell our old 8-man tents. We had two same-model Coleman’s, and an old Eddie Bauer. I figured we’d keep the better of the two Coleman’s back in case we ever needed it. I had some of the kids pitch them, and it wasn’t long before someone asked about the Coleman.

This tent was in pretty fair shape. It had always been stored dry, so there was no mold whatsoever. It did have a cracked pole (which I had successfully addressed with duct tape), and a few rips in the pole sleeves. But it was still water-tight, so it was really a decent tent. I explained why we were getting rid of it, and asked they guy (whose name was Dave) for $20. As you will soon see, that was demonstrably too low a price.

Dave (correctly) thought that $20 was a pretty good deal, so he jumped on it. I had the kids strike the tent. As they were doing that, another guy came up and asked about it. One of the kids told him it had already been sold, so he asked who bought it. Dave was identified, so the other guy approached him and asked how much he had paid. Dave answered him “Twenty dollars.” and the guy countered, “I’ll give you $40.” Dave told him, “I won’t take $40, but you can give them $40 and I’ll let you have it.” What a guy!

Dave then took a look at our other tent. I offered it to him for ten, since it was about half the tent (quality-wise) as the Coleman. That tent had not been put away dry one time, and the mustiness was pretty evident to me. Also, the elastic inside the poles was a bit worn out, and there were a few duct tape patches in the fly. Dave agreed to buy it for ten, and told me to just leave it up. He said he’d come back at the end of the day to pick it up, but if anyone offered more, I was to accept that offer. He paid us the ten bucks before he left.

Well, somebody did offer more. Twenty-five bucks! So I reluctantly gave it to him. As the kids were striking the tent, I came to the decision that we really did not need that second Coleman that I was saving back. Kindness like Dave’s simply has to be rewarded! I asked one of the teens to go get it out of the trailer, and when Dave showed up, I gave it to him. He insisted on paying me ten more.
I accepted, since that’s what he was originally going to pay for the other Coleman, and this one didn’t have a busted (but duct taped) pole, and its canvas bag featured a functional zipper to boot.

I really like Dave.

He told me that he has a 16 year-old son, and he was looking for something like Pathfinders for him to be involved in. I told him that we would start up again in August, and that his son was more than welcome to join. Then he jokingly offered to give us his son. I told him I’d take him for eight nights a year, and explained that we have four two-night camping trips. I think he liked that idea. I think I’ll see him in August, if not before then.

The other notable thing that happened during the yard sale came when someone asked if our camel was for sale. Melissa (one of our staff) said “No, it wasn’t,” but she was mistaken! I had asked the guy who built it back in February if we could sell it, and he gave us his blessing. There are not a lot of places to store a 7-foot tall camel in our church. Anyhow, the lady who was asking was thrilled. She took a photo (why didn’t I think to do that?) and sent it to her husband with a text message him asking him what he thought. So I’m thinking, “Uh oh, no sale.” But he didn’t answer the text. So she paid for it and told us her husband would be by later to pick it up.

He showed up about an hour later, and said, “I think my wife bought your camel?” He didn’t look too thrilled. I went over to the camel and showed him how to remove the head (it detached from the body for easier transport). Then we loaded it onto his truck. Just as he was getting in, he told me, “they’ve name him Josh if you want to know.” I sure felt sorry for that guy.

At the end of the day, the guy from Chichester showed up to take our remants. He was collecting yard sale leftovers for another yard sale to benefit the Chichester Old Home Day. I was sooooo happy he was there, because disposing of remnants has been the Achilles heel of this fund raiser. Goodwill never wants more than 10% of what we have left, and the Salvation Army and the dump are both always closed on Memorial Day. So this guy was sent from heaven, in my opinion.

We loaded his truck – twice, and we took down the canopies. Barbara came by and we loaded the conference shelter into her van (thanking her as profusely as I could).

Then we counted the money. I don’t remember the exact figure, but it was something like $670. That’s not bad considering that during a “good” year, we usually make about $500. Of course half of this is going to The Friendly Kitchen, so our take is down a little bit, but it’s certainly not out of line as compared to a typical year.

We will get a check to Friendly Kitchen ASAP!

We got up early today so I could go and run the annual Pathfinder Yard Sale. We do this on Memorial Day because we have been renting our church facility to a church that meets on Sunday (though they are disbanding next month). So we need a weekday morning when everyone will be pretty much available. That means a Monday holiday.

We arrived just before 8:00 and dragged the tables from the basement to the yard. Then Ken showed up (right around 8:00) and we started shuttling stuff from the canopy garage to the front yard using his truck.

We had a pretty good crowd and lots of “goods”. I am always horrible at this, because it generally falls to me to dispose of the remnants. So I always lowball the price. I really don’t want to have to get rid of these “treasures” at the end of the day, so I am willing to let things go for way less than they are worth. Oh well. We get pretty good crowds, the goods are all donated, and the profit margin is 100%. We cleared over $500 today, so I call that a success.

Goodwill was willing to take our leftover clothing, but nothing else. Their warehouse was packed stem to stern with all manner of things just like we were trying to give them. Junk just doesn’t sell.

The Salvation Army was closed for the holiday, so we had to haul all the stuff back to the church and load it back into the canopy. I will go through it again in the next couple of days to see if there’s anything worth trying to sell on Craigslist. Otherwise, we will be making a dump run.

After it was over, Melissa (one of the Pathfinder staff members) treated David, Beth, and me to ice cream. This was a “thank you” for the work I’ve done with the Pathfinders. It was completely unnecessary, but also very much appreciated. We got home around 5:00pm.

Then Va and I decided it was time to have our anniversary dinner (a couple of weeks late). So we went out and left the kids at home. It was a nice meal, and the company was first class.

Next year we will have been married for 25 years. If we can swing it, I’d like to take her to Scotland (she has always wanted to go there). But we’ll have to see.

Today was the Pathfinder Club’s annual yard sale. I got up early (for me), and got the kids up too. We ate some breakfast, picked up Joy (she’s a Pathfinder who lives near us), and then set out for the church. First order of business was to move several tables up to the yard. Then fill them with the items that had been donated to us.

While we were doing this, some kids excitedly told me that there was a ferret outside where we normally park our equipment trailer. Cool. I dropped whatever I was doing it and hot-footed it over there. It was somewhat cornered, as the little alcove where we park the trailer is brick on three sides. The fourth side was blanketed with kids. I grabbed my camera. I think it was an American mink (Neovison vison) a stoat (Mustela erminea), known as an ermine when it wears a white coat. Only one shot came out OK-ish:

Stoat (Mustela erminea)

Stoat (Mustela erminea)

As soon as I got the picture, I directed the kids to step back and let it escape. Which it did. Eventually finding its way into the sanctuary! For all I know, it’s still in the church building somewhere, but maybe that’s not terrible. We do have a few mice it could help us out with.

Once the yard sale was in full swing, the kids kept coming up to me and asking “how much for this?” They were asking because they wanted to buy it. I’m sure the Pathfinder parents really appreciated me selling their kids even more toys, but… such is life. Usually, I would answer “ten cents” and the kids would hand me a dime and stash the toy away somewhere.

Then one of the kids came up to me and asked, “Do you think this is real?” He was holding a small blue egg (made me think of a robin’s egg). I took it from him and said, “I don’t know”. I squeezed it lightly, thinking it might be a wooden egg he had found on one of the tables. That’s when the egg exploded, sending white and yolk all over the two of us. He took it right in the face. I took it all over my hands and shirt. I guess it was real! Maybe even a robin’s egg!

We cut the sale off at 1:00pm, and then started packing up the leftovers for Goodwill. They wouldn’t take most of it, but I was glad they took some of it. Joyce took the rest home and Ken unloaded it somewhere at their place. We are camping on their farm next weekend, so we’ll reload it Sunday and then haul it to the dump afterwards.