Quotes from Will and Ben

From their blogs:

  • Will: “Last night strange things happened. Water got on the stairs and no one did it. I locked my self in the bathroom and didn’t remember doing it (my dad told me but I don’t believe him)….” (25 March)
  • Ben: “We forgot are dog’s name so we called are dog Thomas Jefferson we have a boat when my dog was on the ramp I pushed him off the ramp and he said I am flying he said then Boom! He hit his head OW! That hurt he Said.” (24 March)
  • Will: “I finished a fort(that is made into….) (….a bush on…)…(…on a hill) and named it Fort de namesha. I so want to relax.” (23 March)
  • Ben: “my brother and i made up a new fort called fort de namesha we have two secret exits and my brother and i made are secret exit that has thorns so if they follow my brother and i  they’ll get stuck because my bother and i are small so my brother and i can slip right past the thorns.” (24 March)

It is pretty funny to go back and read over what they write.

A busy, long weekend

The boys meeting the baby goats (kids) at Beltane Farm

I took Thursday afternoon and Friday off of work. and the weather was beautiful this weekend, so I had a chance to get a lot done.

I was able to complete a lot of house projects this weekend:

  1. I installed the new support post in the workshop.
  2. I installed shelves in the second floor of the workshop.
  3. I cleaned the second floor of the workshop.
  4. I removed shelves on the first floor of the workshop – and cleared out the right side of the shop (where I’m going to add a new set of stairs to the second floor).
  5. I finished a new set of shelves on the first floor of the workshop (they turned out pretty nice – cut from two 2×6 boards, with dadoes for the shelves).  They fit between the window and the dust collector.
  6. I’m sure I did more… but the weekend seems so far in the past… and it is only Monday.

The workshop is making real progress.  I can walk around the center island on both sides, and I have all the major equipment where I think it will wind up.

Saturday was a busy day.  In the morning, the boys and I drove to Beltane Farm in Lebanon CT to get some goat milk and cheese.  I thought we would try something different as I work with Ben on trying to discover foods that don’t bother his allergies (cow and goat milk seems to bother him – but yogurt doesn’t seem to).  If you think gasoline is expensive, you should try goat milk.  The boys were patient while I purchased the milk and cheese, but totally fell in love with the baby goats.  They agreed that they should get a farm when they grow up – and discussed if they were going to get a horse or goat first (I think they agreed they would share a farm, and Will would get the horse first and Ben get a goat first).  I would work for them and do the garden and make the stables for them.  Susanna would work as a preschool teacher.  They figured that having a goat would be easier than planting a garden…

Saturday afternoon the boys went to a birthday party… they spent over 4 hours at the party.  I wound up having the afternoon free to clean out the workshop (which is why I got so much done).

This week I plan on replacing the support post under the workshop that is closest to the road.  After that post is replaced, I will make an attempt to straighten the barn (on side now leans towards the road).  After straightening the barn, the next step is building a new set of stairs to the second floor (with a wall/door so I can more easily heat the barn in the winter).

Sunday night was date night.  Out for Indian food and a movie (“The Hunger Games”).   The movie was good, but I shouldn’t have believed Mark when he told me that the lead actress, Jennifer Lawrence, is the same one that played Susan in the Narnia movies (Anna Popplewell – thanks to IMDb).  Oh well, but not really disappointing at all.

Enjoying the early spring weather

Ben building the hidingspot in the bushes

We have had a couple of very nice days here. The weather has been perfect – even warm enough in the evening to eat dinner on the patio (note to self – pay attention when grilling the veggie burgers – Will doesn’t like his burger blackened – I was hoping to hide it under the cheese – there is no fooling Ben with his non-cheese burger).

Will and Ben spent the good part of the afternoon/evening yesterday building a fort/hiding spot in one of the bushes in the side yard. They started trimming back the bush so they could easily get in. Not quite a professional landscaping crew, but hey… they are free… who cares if the bushes have carved paths underneath them.

They aren’t quite the best hiding places yet. But it should be pretty good once the leaves come in (and the thorn bushes start growing back).

I spent this afternoon building shelves for the workshop. The sides are built – now I need to pick up a couple of pieces of plywood to finish the shelves. Will spent the afternoon taking apart and reassembling a toy tank. According to his blog post, “It had a pain lot of screws….” Speaking of blog posts – both boys are keeping up on their postings – and it is pretty interesting to read about the day from their veiw.

Tomorrow is another day off of work. I have a long list of chores to finish before guests come over for dinner…. hopefully I’ll actually finish some of them.

Will working on the fort (picture by Ben Curtis)


The first ride of the season

Today was the first bike ride into work for the season.  It was a bit chilly this morning – but perfect for the ride home.  It isn’t too bad of a ride, only 8 miles each way.  My goal is to ride in 50 times this year… so 49 left to go.

And finally, Spring (and spring projects)

Okay, I know I have been posting a lot here recently.  The good thing is no one is forced to read it (ok, except Susanna).  And my life isn’t really that exciting (posting three times in one day is a good sign of how unexciting my life is).  In reality, I am am inspired by the booklet I printed from this blog earlier this year.  It is a scrapbook of sorts of what I did for 2011.  And since I don’t have the patience to sit down once a year and make a scrapbook (or the memory to remember everything I did) – I will turn this into my scrapbook.

Will and Ben were reading though the stories I wrote last year – it reinforces my belief that they should write their own blogs – they are fun to reflect on.  I have been encouraging Will and Ben to post once or twice a week.

Hmm.. this really doesn’t have much to do with spring… or spring projects yet.

Workshop step/landing completed

I did complete the two projects I had planned for the day.  I finished the footing this morning, and this afternoon I finished the step/landing in front of the workshop.  It turned out pretty nice, and will hopefully keep shoes from getting muddy when going to the workshop.  I only had to do one extra trip to Home Depot (to get more sand).  The lumber was picked up off Craigslist a couple of weeks ago (with the wood I used for the lumber storage rack), and the pavers were left over from the patio.

As you can see from the first picture, I wasn’t the only busy person today.  Susanna cleaned out the garage (or at least the bay with the kids toys/bikes) and got the patio furniture out and set up.  It was nice to take a break and sit out on the patio for the first time this year.  Now she is filling up the bookshelves I finished this morning…  It’s nice to not store all our books on the floor.

The weather should be nice this week – though still a little cool in the evening to eat dinner on the patio.  I did clean off the bicycle – ready to ride into work tomorrow if it isn’t too cold.

Getting projects done

I like to start projects. The trick is finishing them. It is too easy to buy the supplies and then decide to start a different project. I just have to remember how nice it is to finish projects. Like the book shelves.

I made a trip to Home Depot today. But I only got supplies for the projects I plan on finishing today. Like the footing for the additional post for the workshop.

I was able to dig out and pour the footing before lunch. Now I’m hungry. Time to eat before the afternoon projects.


Will and Ben’s school makes the paper….

Article published Mar 17, 2012
Preston, Mohegans go back in time
By Claire Bessette Day Staff Writer
Officials re-enact signing of deed that created town in 1687
Preston – Mohegan Tribal Chairman Bruce “Two Dogs” Bozsum greeted students at the Preston Veterans Memorial School Friday afternoon wearing a deerskin vest and pants topped off by a beaded and feathered headdress.
About a dozen students quickly abandoned their lunches and surrounded Bozsum as he waved a fan of turkey feathers in their direction.
“Are you a real Indian?” one boy asked.
“Is he a real Indian?” another, who hadn’t heard, asked a schoolmate.
“What are you wearing?”
“Where did you get the feathers?”
The questions came faster than Bozsum could answer: He made the outfit himself, with feathers that he found or that were given to him by friends. Someone else made the soft, deerskin medicine pouch he wore.
“It holds all my medicines,” he said, showing bits of natural items in the pouch.
In addition to being tribal chairman, Bozsum is the Mohegan Tribe’s ceremonial pipe carrier, an important position in the social culture of the tribe.
Bozsum wasn’t the only visitor to the school for the celebration of the town’s 325th anniversary – one day early. Several town officials joined him on stage to re-enact the signing of the deed, when Mohegan Indian Owanaco – son of Uncas – turned over a 5-mile stretch of his land to the settlers who wanted to form the 36th town in the Connecticut Colony.
First Selectman Robert Congdon donned a long, black coat and tall, black Puritan hat to portray town founder Capt. James Fitch.
Selectman Timothy Bowles wore a wool vest with pants tucked into his high socks to play John Stanton.
Veterans Memorial School teacher Dan Rearick – who received the loudest ovation from the partisan crowd – wore a beret cap to represent founder Samuel Mason.
Former First Selectman Parke Spicer was the veteran actor of the bunch. He donned the white wig, spectacles and blue breaches he had worn 25 years ago to portray John Morgan.
“I had a jacket to go with this,” Spicer said. “It fit me 25 years ago, but not today.”
The Rev. David Cannon read a narration describing the founding of the town as the deed-signing participants surrounded a small desk, complete with feather pen and ink set for the signing.
“It was signed with the mark of Owanaco,” Cannon said, “which was the shape of a turkey. That is why the symbol of a turkey is so important to the people of Preston. This deed was signed on March 17, 1687.”
After the brief signing ceremony, Bozsum used the Mohegan language to address the students and the more than a dozen senior citizens who join the students once a month for a shared lunch.
“Greetings. Thank you all for coming today,” he translated. “The Mohegan people are proud to be friends with you. The Creator is good.”
Costumed participants then joined the audience as third-graders formed dance circles in front of the stage to perform the dance “Gathering Peas cods,” which dates back to the early 1600s. Fifth-graders followed with a localized rendition of a North Carolina dance game, “Sally Down the Alley.”
“Here comes Sally down the alley. Here comes Sally down the alley. Here comes Sally down the ally, down to Poqetanuck.”
Students took turns running between lines of classmates singing their names as they came “down the alley.”
Preston is hosting numerous events throughout the spring and summer to celebrate the town’s 325th anniversary. Students also are making town quilts that will be displayed and possibly sold later in the year.
“You’re going to be actually a part of history, as well as watching history,” Principal Kathy Walsh told the students at the start of Friday’s ceremony.

And… the bookshelf is done (how I love my Earlex spray station)

The finished bookshelves in the study

I finished the final two shelves for the bookcase last night.  I love the spray finish and spray system.  A step that would have taken nearly a week with an oil-based finish can be finished in a couple of hours.  When I used a wiping varnish, I had to let the project dry overnight between coats.  With the spray finish it takes 15-30 minutes to dry between coats.  That means more coats in a single night, and fewer dust particles on the project.  The water-based finish also leaves much less of a smell in the house (and no smell on the project after it dries to the touch in 30 minutes).

It will be a nice addition to have book storage in the study.  I’m okay with how the bookcase turned out.  I can see some of the mistakes I made – I probably should fit the shelves after the carcase is constructed and need a proper shelf-hole jig.  But overall it feels pretty sturdy and looks not too bad.  Last night I bet Will a quarter he couldn’t find two mistakes in 5 minutes on the project.  Of course the first mistake he found was one that I hadn’t noticed before – it is good to find another honest critic in the house.  No sense in building projects for the house if I don’t try to make myself a better woodworker from each project.

I also have been making some progress on rearranging the workshop.  My first attempt to reorganize failed (having the planer between the jointer and table saw made for a much too long walk around the jointer to feed wood into the planer).

Today we are planning a chore day.  I will get some concrete to pour a footing for an additional support post for the workshop, and then work on making a small patio/step in front of the door to the workshop – I have been using the workshop enough that all the grass is dead – it is now a mud pit.  I am using some lumber I have left over and the remaining concrete blocks from the patio.  So it is a double bonus.  I use up some materials I have sitting around and get a new entrance step to the workshop.

Of course I am expecting to get all these projects done and still have time to hand out, maybe paint the new door to the workshop, maybe work on shelves for the workshop.  However, I am learning (yes, it does take a long time to learn) and am only planning the two outside projects for today.  Anything else will be a bonus.

Workshop wall after reorganizing. I removed a workbench that was only used to store junk - now to build proper storage for that junk)

A pretty good Saturday

After a rough start to the weekend (the boys were tire yesterday after school), we had a really nice Saturday.  The morning started with a trip to a farm (see the previous post) for the boys and me, while Susanna stayed home and worked on homework.

Taking a break from our bike ride

After the farm, Ben wen to his piano lesson while I took Will shopping for a birthday present for the party he is going to tomorrow.

We all met at home for lunch.  After lunch, I took the boys on a bike ride on the trails behind the house.  It was quite a ride – we wound up coming out on Middle Road and riding down the hill to our street.  We spend over an hour out on the trail – of course we had to walk bikes up a lot of the hills.  We had to cross a stream, navigate lots of rocks and downed trees.

After the bike ride, the boy next door, Justin, came over to spend the afternoon playing.   Three boys playing, and no fights – that is always a good day.  They even got me to play “ambush” for a while – I have to remember to pay attention – Justin was able to ambush me because I was just daydreaming watching the dogs playing in the yard in front of me.

Will putting his shoes on after walking his bike across the freezing cold stream.

A visit to the Sawyer Family Farm

This morning, the boys and I made a visit to the Sawyer Family Farm. I was given a great tour of the farm by Rob and Anna. It is quite impressive the changes they have made over the past year or so.

There the boys got to see the baby rabbits and chickens (and Will picked up both). After a full tour of the farm, Anna took the boys riding on one of the ponies. Will is interested in taking riding lessons – maybe we will put him in lessons a couple of times a month once they start offering them.

Will riding the pony by himself
Ben riding the pony by himself
Ben hanging out with Vicki at the farm