Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Springton Manor Farm


Our field trip to Springton Manor Farm was a great success. Because it's close without any entrance fee, there wasn't the pressure to try do everything at once in order to "get our money's worth." This time the goal was to check out the Great Barn and find a spot to have a picnic. We met our goal and had a great time. Some day hopefully we can go back to show Daddy and Momma the animals, and maybe check out the Manor House. Then we can go back another day (or two or three) to hike the various trails with Grandpa!

Here's the trail map so I don't have to find it again: Map of Springton Manor Farm
The first order of business was to double-check that we were on the right path to get to the Great Barn.
We were!
It is a great, big barn, and has been around for a long, long time.
Inside there were pigs, bunnies, horses and a goat.
There were also a series of "stamps stations" so the kids could mark off the squares on their "passport" paper.
Outside there were more goats and sheep.
We also walked around some of the other farm buildings. This one was called the corn crib, so I was a bit surprised to find garlic drying inside and not corn. I guess it's not quite corn season yet.
The boys thought this front porch would make a great picnic spot, but I convinced them it was still a bit too early to eat, and we continued on our way.
We checked out the vegetable garden and the chicken shed.
And then looked for the trail to the pond. The Penn Oak Trail looked promising.
We reached our destination, and of course had to find some rocks to throw into the water.
Time for lunch!
Here's one of the giant oak trees for which the trail was named. Magnificent!
These boys are pretty magnificent themselves.

Just before getting back in the car we had to stop for another round of "king of the mountain" and I'm sure that will be a favorite activity on a return trip. There are definitely plenty of rocks around to climb. I'm glad that I'm not the farmer having to work around them.



Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Screeching Garbage Disposal

It doesn't happen often, so when it does, I have to research the whole process all over again. Yesterday the garbage disposal started screeching. I immediately turned it off to see what the problem was, but couldn't see anything. When I turned it on again, it just hummed. Several years ago this happened and we called a plumber, who promptly turned a knob, dislodged a bunch of carrot peels, and got it working again. Before researching new garbage disposals, I figured I should research where that magical knob was located.

Note: If the unit is plugged in and you hear no sound at all, push the reset button.

It's at the bottom of the unit, in the center. Find a 1/4" allen wrench and wiggle it around. That didn't work at first, but since the YouTube video (found here) said if you hear a hum it's probably just jammed and not broken, I decided to investigate further. There was a piece of metal that didn't look like it belonged - originally I thought it was part of the disposal, but it didn't match the pictures I saw - so I tried harder to dislodge it. Success! Now our disposal is working again.

And now I need to buy a new 1/8" frosting tip!! That should be quite a bit less expensive than a new disposal.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Road Trip 2016 - Kansas and Colorado

Thursday was a long day of driving - 911 miles and 14 1/2 hours - so we didn't really stop to play tourist anywhere. We did find a real A&W Restaurant at lunchtime and I was able to re-live my childhood road trips by enjoying an old-fashioned hamburger and a root beer float.

I'm sure I've driven I-70 before, but maybe not in June, or maybe I was just asleep, but this time Kansas seemed quite beautiful, with more rolling hills than I remembered, and Glenwood Canyon in Colorado was absolutely breath-taking. Since I was driving then, I didn't take any pictures, but I found a couple on the internet so you can see for yourself.



Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Road Trip 2016 - Missouri


Documenting our trip with a selfie at a rest area in Illinois, just before the Missouri border
Rather than driving straight across the country, only stopping for food and gas, we thought we should take the opportunity to actually visit some places in this great land of ours. And since we weren't traveling with the men in our family who prefer to go, go, go, we did just that. Michelle researched possibilities and decided that Forest Park in St. Louis would be a great place to visit. It was.
We had narrowed down the list of what to see to two attractions - the zoo and the art museum, and since we had visited the art museum in Atlanta, we decided to start with the zoo. Once inside we realized that it was extremely crowded and we started second-guessing our decision. However, we were there, so we decided to take a quick trip starting with the River's Edge section.
We did find some animals.
Photographing the hippopatamuses
It was a warm day, but there was plenty of shade, and while it would be a great place to visit with children, we decided that we didn't need to spend our limited time exploring everything the zoo had to offer.
So, we said good-bye to the animals and hurried over to the art museum (which was just a block or so away).
The front, the back, and the new wing (housing modern art)
We arrived at the museum 15 minutes before it closed and learned that you can actually see quite a bit of art in 10 minutes! And even take a couple of pictures.
I took this one in honor of our visit to the original water lily paintings in Paris earlier this year.
Outside there were a few statues to look at as well, and as we walked back to the parking lot, I found two more reminders of Paris or, more correctly, Versailles.
One was a statue of St. Louis (the city St. Louis was named after Louis IX, king of France; Louis XIII started building Versailles) and the other was the view of the beautiful expanse of lawn ending in a fountain. You don't need to travel to Europe to find beauty.
We enjoyed our two-hour layover in St. Louis and I learned that maybe I can get over my anxiety for driving in that city (the freeway system has been greatly improved since our first trip across the country many, many years ago where I missed a left-hand exit and we got lost on the one-way streets down town) and go back for a longer visit some day.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Road Trip 2016 - High Museum of Art in Atlanta

Buttons are fascinating, no matter your age!
Knowing that we'd have a few hours to explore in Atlanta, Michelle decided the High Museum of Art would be a great choice, particularly since it looked like there would be an exhibit or two that might interest the little girls. So, off we went!


Brooke would have loved to spend more time exploring the Tiovivo sculptures; unfortunately, there were hot to the touch. They're on display through Thanksgiving, and are outside the ticket booth, so maybe she can visit them another time.

The Eric Carle exhibit was inside the nicely air-conditioned building. It was actually quite fascinated to read about how he created his books. I was surprised at the number of titles I didn't recognize, and it was nice that they had copies of the books available to read. I love the bright colors and the collages are amazing. 
That was only one exhibit, though. This museum had a lot of different ones. I also loved how the building fit so well with the different collections.
When I think of art, I normally think of paintings. I was reminded that art comes in many different forms. Brooke liked this one which was just a series of mirrors stacked in a certain way.
One of the other  "temporary" exhibits showed the art of Vik Muniz. This was absolutely fascinating. He takes different objects, I guess they could be called mosaics, forms them into whatever he wants to portray, and then photographs them. He had some made using sugar, others with diamonds, and a whole series using old family pictures.
This set of three "paintings" was made out of toy army men.
This one was made out of a variety of objects. I picked the blue wastebasket to do the close-up of because it was the most obvious from a distance. Can you spot it on his shoulder?
He re-created the Mona Lisa using peanut butter and strawberry jam. Amazing!
Another thing he did was to collaborate with someone and carve pictures of castles on individual grains of sand - his version of a sandcastle. 
 In honor of their recent return from France, we took a picture in front of the Paris scene.
This looked like it was created out of a bunch of different post cards or something.
Zooming in on the detail of the bridge.
While their mom and dad studied another piece of art, we tried getting a picture of Brooke and Robyn. If our goal was to get them to stand still and look at the camera, we didn't succeed. They were more interested in climbing on the bench and each other.
It's easier to sit still when someone's reading a story to you, but that doesn't make taking a picture any easier.
Visiting the art museum was a great idea, Michelle. Thanks for a wonderful excursion!

Road Trip 2016 - Georgia

We made it to the Georgia rest area.
And then took a 30-minute, unplanned, detour to get a milkshake at the Chick-Fil-A Dwarf House. It was worth it.
Brad's apartment building on the Georgia Tech campus
After lunch we visited the High Museum of Art in downtown Atlanta, but it deserves its own post. Then it was off to the park. Originally we were going to head to the playground, but rush hour traffic made us change our minds and head to the opposite end of Piedmont Park. Brooke was quite happy to have a chance to play in the splash pad instead of on the slides. Robyn preferred to keep her distance from the water, but was still a happy little girl.
Michelle wanted barbecue for dinner, so we obliged her with take-out from the best barbecue place in Atlanta - Fat Matt's Rib Shack. Delicious!

After helping hang the cuckoo clock from Germany and tasting the French-inspired strawberry macarons, it was time for family scriptures, hymn and prayer. Brooke very enthusiastically taught us some hand motions for "Praise to the Man" and then thanked Heavenly Father that Grandma's broken finger was all better. What a terrific ending for a lovely day.