To the Moon and Back

Sometimes it’s 225,622 miles. Sometimes it’s 252,088 miles. But when you zoom in it’s only a few inches.

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A little closer…

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Keep going…

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That’s better!

This is not an image you can see simply by looking up at the moon with your naked eye. Binoculars help. You’re wife’s camera with a 1200mm zoom lens is ideal. You can see the maria (mar-ee-uh) – Latin for “seas”. They are volcanic plains made up of rock similar to rocks found in Hawaii. So if you’re on a tight budget or don’t have time for astronaut training but still want moon-like rocks just go to Hawaii.

You can clearly see the lunar terminator, as well. It’s the line between night and day. Since this moon is waxing it’s being lit from the right (from our perspective). This creates shadows on the inside right of craters and outside left of mountains.

We are are night sky watchers. The moon is easiest thing to watch. The ISS (International Space Station) is also fun to catch. You can look up observation times for your area here. It flies by every 90 minutes but since it doesn’t make its own light you have to catch it right after sunset or right before sunrise when sunlight reflects off of it. But since it’s visible here at 4:30 in the morning, I won’t be seeing it until they start coming by in the evening.

And to think this is the exact same moon every one every where on Earth sees.

Ahh… A cool spring evening with a light breeze chiming the dragonfly wind chimes.

We Hit the Trails

This morning started when Crash and his friend, who was here for a sleepover, woke up at 5:30 am. Ugh. They didn’t go to sleep until sometime between 10:30 and 11 the night before! Oh well. I seriously can’t wait until Crash decides that sleep is actually a good thing. But that’s for another post.

Anyway, by 7:30, Bang was also up and all three hooligans were fed and were looking to go outside. But the sun wasn’t even up, yet! And it was only 7 degrees! (they were in shorts and t-shirts) So I got them dressed properly and I took them to watch it come up. They were bored at first. Then the first glimpse of the sun came peeking through and they thought it was pretty neat.

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Later that afternoon, after Crash’s friend had gone home (which was a bit sad because he’s moving away next Monday night) Crash and Bang were bored and the only thing they could find to do was pick fights with each other. Instead of strangling both of them, I took them for a hike for an hour and half. Immediately upon entering the woods the bickering and fighting and screaming and stomping stopped. I know this was a pleasant relief for DW whom we left at home to relax.

There were bridges to be crossed (no Trolls were hiding under any of them). There were trees to see (none of which resembled Treebeard). There were streams to throw rocks in and stairs to climb and benches for sitting on. There were sticks to be carried (to fend off the dragons) and leaves to be collected and mud to stomp through (shoes need to be washed now. You told me so, DW!) There were squirrels to hear and watch. There was a dog and it’s owner to stop and chat with. There were pictures to be taken…

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It felt good to be out on the trails. The air was cool and quiet. No one was on anyone else’s last nerve. While there aren’t as many deciduous trees as I’d like, not as much vibrant fall color with all the loblolly pines, it was still colorful, bright, and full of October.

Traveling (Days 7,8, and 9)

Monday, July

Monday morning we were up and at ’em. The morning had been planned for myself, my dad and my brother. We were going to “Go Ape“. It’s a zip line and obstacle course in Lums Pond State Park in Delaware. My dad and brother had gone last summer, but I was new to this. I couldn’t wait to get there. Once Crash found out where I was going and that he couldn’t he was quite disappointed. But a) you had to be at least 10 years old and b) I don’t think he would have done well with the heights.

I don’t have any pictures. I left my phone, my glasses and my hat at home. My brother brought along his Go Pro so he has some good footage. I’ve got to get that from him. I’d love to share my dad’s not so graceful landing. He had us laughing! It was A LOT of fun. There were 5 zip lines (the longest 2 being close to 700 feet long) and 42 obstacles (rope ladders, various tricky bridges, Tarzan swings, cargo nets, etc..). We were always tethered, so there was no risk of falling. Considering the two injuries we already had, this was a good thing. We had a great time and made it though fairly quickly. The staff offered to let us do part of again and we were all over that. Except we would have been behind a family of four and we would have been greatly delayed. So we headed for home, picking up white icing and lunch on the way.

Afterwards, DW and I took Crash and Bang to a farm. It was the farm another of my best friends lived on growing up. We would be seeing him later in this trip. Anyway, Crash and Bang loved the tractors and boom sprayer.

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IMG_2445 IMG_2443 That boom sprayer could have driven over our RAV4 without touching it (it’s that tall so it can drive over corn without damaging it while spraying insecticide/herbicides). Its booms unfold to reach 60 feet in either direction. IMG_2460

We got to meet Elmer, a baby cow. He must of loved the texture of Bang’s shirt and shorts because he kept trying to chew on them! Of course, Bang thought it was the funnies thing ever to have a cow eat his shorts.

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They also had some pigs. While rather smelly, there are kinda cute, if I do say so myself.

Then there is the obligatory handstand in front of the corn field. My friend who grew up on this farm enjoys getting others to take photos of him doing a handstand in front of famous monuments. So I did a handstand in front of his parents corn. Not exactly a “famous monument”, but still…. 
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Then Crash discovered the 3 day old kittens. Someone had secretly dropped off their unwanted pregnant cat on the farm. Of course, Crash wanted one. Sorry buddy, but we’re not taking an animal your mom is allergic to on a 20 hour car ride back Canada.

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While Crash and Bang were swooning over the kittens who hadn’t even opened their eyes yet, DW was swooning over the bird houses and butterfly garden.

Shortly after we returned from the farm and got showered and cleaned up, my aunt (mom’s sister) and uncle arrived from Florida. I had seen them when I had come home for my grandmother’s funeral service back in May, but this was the first time they had met Crash and Bang and it had been a long time since they had seen DW. That night was crab cakes and corn on the cob for supper. Mmmm. Delicious.

Tuesday, July 28th

Right after breakfast DW, Crash, Bang, myself and my dad went to visit my aunt in the hospital. She was still in pain but had found out that there were no floating bone fragments so surgery wouldn’t be needed. All they had to do was get the pain under control and she could be up and moving again. It was good to see her again before we left to continue our travels.

From there we headed back to my parents where the kids played in the sprinkler which progressed to a water balloon fight. Not much else happened that day other than hanging out and getting caught up on the times with family.

Wednesday, July 29th

This would be our last full day in Maryland. I had washed all our clothes yesterday so today’s task would be to gather the clothes we’d need for the remainder of the trip and pack them into one suitcase while the rest of the clothes went into the other two. This way would only need to haul in one suitcase to the hotels we’d be staying in. Smart DW 🙂

Crash Bowling

Crash

Bang Bowling

and Bang

Anyway, after breakfast we headed to the bowling alley. Crash and Bang had been bowling in Canada with small balls the size of a softball and tall skinny pins (candlepin bowling) but this would prove to be a new experience. Big balls and tall fat pins and two rolls instead of three. Naturally, one of them (or perhaps both) rolled the ball without realizing the pin sweeper would be coming down and the ball bumped into the pin blocker. After the first game Bang go bored with it so he played with his Gator 4×4 toy while the rest of us bowled. It was fun, though I could have scored much higher had I been allowed to use the bumper lanes with the kids.

Once bowling was finished we hit up The Green Turtle for lunch. All 12 of us. There, my aunt bought Crash and Bang each a Green Turtle t-shirt. They’ll be the only kids in school with one of those!

Find out tomorrow what happens when our trip continues to Virginia. Hint: Lego store, Crash’s first BFF, and a bit of rain.

For the Birds

This is my 200th post! 200! I was going to do a big celebratory post, but I forgot. So maybe on Monday we can celebrate. Everyone is welcome to the party!

Anyway, on with today’s post…

We enjoy birds. Most birds, anyway. The pigeons and seagulls can piss off. We have several feeders set up around our house. We have bell feeders out front. The birds love to peck the seeds and nuts off them. We have a feeder in the backyard to attract the ugly, greedy pigeons away from the feeders close to the house. We have four feeders near our kitchen window – two of them are for finches, one is for hummingbirds and one is for shelled peanuts to feed some of them bigger birds that aren’t pigeons. Grackles, bluejays (but not the Toronto kind), and crows.

Yes, we like crows. They’re smart. They’re not greedy. Selfish maybe, but not greedy. And if you’re lucky they bring you shiny gifts. We haven’t been lucky yet. DW loves to capture shots of the birds that visit our house for a meal or two or hundred. I thought I would share some of her photos with you.

A crow holding a peanut under his foot to crack open the shell

A crow holding a peanut under his foot to crack open the shell (taken back in April)

blue jay

Bluejay taking a peanut

cedar waxwing

Cedar Waxwing having rest

Grackle

Grackle waiting his turn for a peanut

hummingbird

Hummingbird waiting his turn

Junco

Junco looking for dropped seeds

purple finch

Purple finch (though they look red to us) at the bell feeder

red wing blackbird

Red wing blackbird at the homemade feeder (which was replaced by the bell feeder)

Woodpecker

Red Headed Woodpecker. Though, technically this one was not at our house, they do come by.

yellow finches

Hot spot for yellow finches

Quaker Parrot

This pretty birdy lives inside. Piper is Quaker Parrot.

Happy 200th post and don’t forget to come celebrate right here on my blog on Monday!