Friday, March 19, 2010

Government, Pommel Trainer, and Rototiller!


I don't know about you, but I've had to become much more politically active lately. I called about 15 congressmen yesterday, and wrote to the President this morning.

I also received our census form yesterday. See that little mark on the first page? That's all the information the government is legally allowed to ask of me. I gave that to them.

There are two people living at this address that I am confirming by sending the form back.

The rest of this is none of their business. Not this:

Nor this:

And now it's ready for mailing. Very easy.

Very good friends kindly brought over a rototiller for us to borrow for a few weeks. What a tremendous gift!

Here's Gary, showing Michael how to operate it.

And we finished up the pommel trainer yesterday. Here is the uncovered version.

I looked for padding at the fabric store and it was ridiculously expensive. So I bought a twin sized mattress topper instead.

And this fabric. It's not really fabric, is it? What is it, anyway? Is it vinyl? I don't know, but I like how it feels when you pick it up, soft and leather-like. I got a great deal on it, 2/3 off the yardage.

Getting ready to cut the padding.

I only tacked this one on because I was originally planning on adding a second layer over it. But Michael thought that would be too much, so we stayed with this.

And apparently I got so involved in stretching and stapling the upholstery over it that I didn't take any photos of the process. We still need to put a handle on the end for easy carrying.

Ready to practice pommel horse activities!

This one will take some getting used to. Michael has only used mushrooms...


and they are higher than this oblong type that we built. There was a discrepancy between the photos I saw of this lower pommel trainer (see previous post) and the measurements people were passing around on how to make your own. I decided to go with the measurements, hoping that those who had made them had found the best way to duplicate it. However, I wish now that I'd gone with an estimation based on the shape of the model in the photo. This is lower and wider than I was hoping. Regardless, it is fine for practice, and we can make another at a later date if we so choose.

I hope to take this into his Monday class and get some pointers from his coach on using it to the best advantage.

Last night a bunch of us ladies tried our feet at ballet, hip-hop, and swing dancing. If only we could all be on Dancing With the Stars!

Today! Sun! 67 degres! Bliss!



Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Floor Horse or Pommel Trainer


I keep waiting for sunny days and they are so few and far between. This winter has been the cloudiest, coldest one yet in our 11 years here. There is another promise of sunny weather from, but the last promise fizzled out, so we'll have to wait and see.

Someone forgot to turn off the water to the horses...

After bill-paying errands, including property taxes, OUCH!, we headed over my parents' house in town to borrow my dad's jigsaw to finish cutting out the pieces for Michael's pommel trainer.

Oh, before I go on --- I don't know if you might have an interest, but I am currently watching a web cam of the Western Wall in Jerusalem. I often do this, I believe right now you can hear the rioting from the Muslims in the background of the city. There is always something interesting to see or hear there.

Also, a friend, who often helps us with our computer issues and is mentoring Michael in computer education, set us up with an amazing program last year that I recommend to everyone. If you want to have the clearest, most detailed view of what is on your computer, this program will do it. It's very visual and easy to understand. It makes choosing what should stay and what should go on your pc so much easier to figure out, especially if yours is full, like mine. We've been deleting things this morning and still need to move photos off and into a storage device yet again. Anyway, please check out this free program, you'll be so glad you did.

So, back to our project.

This is for Michael's gymnastics training here at home. We've built some practice parallets for him, have purchased rings we need to hang, and now we are building this:

My incredibly detailed plans.

There are better ways to build this, but we are on a tight budget so I planned this for the least expensive way I thought I could build it and still get a few years use out of it.

My dad is a good craftsman and I knew he'd have some good ideas for us. Rather than getting out the jigsaw, he already had his scrollsaw set up for us by the time we arrived. These will be the arched end pieces, cut from a 4 foot 1 x 8.

Michael and I build a lot of things together, and this was a great chance for him to work on a project with his Grandpa, so I used the opportunity to snap photos and visit with my mom. Here they are setting up.

This is like Wilson on Home Improvement.

Michael cutting out the first piece.

He did a great job.

Look! My folks have crocus out!

Trying out an idea that was later discarded.

From the time I was a kid, I always loved this simple method of storing itty-bitties (ehem... small parts) in used jars.

The only drawback to having my dad work on these projects with Michael is that I don't get to do a step by step tutorial for you. But there are other chances for those.

Using the drill press.

Using the power saw.

Screwing the 2 x 4s onto one end piece.

And here is where we had to call it quits. Michael had his gymnastics class to attend. We'll try to get over there and finish the basic construction today.

I've got to go do my Constitution class homework now, with Michael. We are doing week 9 of 12 tonight. We are enjoying it so much!

Hoping there is sunshine on your face today!



Monday, March 15, 2010

Hunter Safety Class


The only hunting I've ever done was as a child, when my dad made me go out and shoot ground squirrels that were digging up the land, or blackbirds that he has never liked. I hated it. Well, let me clarify - I loved every part of if up do the actual point of bullet entry into the animal, and it's subsequent injury or death, depending on my accuracy.

I love meat. I'm no hypocrite. I have no problem with hunters - those who do their best to avoid animals suffering and who are considerate of others. I have participated in the butchering of animals myself.

The only thing different about me is that I do not consider it a sport. I consider it a necessary evil that, if necessary, I will do to feed my child. I get no pleasure from the death of anything and, I don't consider it sporting to cause death. Hunting is a beautiful drive and day at the grocery store meat department where I save money by doing the kill and butchering myself.

Many wonderful people disagree with me and that's OK. Hunting is perfectly acceptable to God and it's legal. I just don't like to do it myself. I'd be like the Indians - going up to the creature and apologizing and thanking it, probably with tears in my eyes.

All that being said, if my son desires to do so, he has my full support. And I myself aim to be able to defend myself when necessary, as Michael needs to be.

I grew up with guns in the house and using guns on our farm or ranch. I want Michael to be familiar and comfortable with them as well. He needs to have those skills, and he does, from target shooting. But I wanted him to have a gun safety class.

And that's now we accidentally ended up at a Hunter Safety class. I thought we were being offered a gun safety course when I signed up. :oP

But it was fun, interesting, and we learned a lot.

We were able to cover a week's course in two days and over half the class were of the female persuasion. Most of us knew one another and many of us were home schoolers. One family is vegetarian.

We did 11 hours of classroom instruction, with a short bathroom break each hour.

Much fun -

Don't forget the knitting for down time. That's right next to Leah's Beretta. I brought mine, but left it in the car when I realized how much studying was involved. Not a lot of down time.

Michael, asking the instructor if he could go on a hunt.

Some of the younger crowd getting hands on instruction of differing guns and identification of gun parts.

This was a 'cute' little rifle.

Much snacking occurred, as we did not have lunch or dinner breaks.

A set of young ladies coming up for their turn.

I don't think Angie had ever touched a gun before. She did great!

Kasie hadn't either.

Good friends.

A gift for the instructor, his choice of turkey callers.

We headed out to put in the required shooting for completing the course. The farm of one of the participants.

Shooting skeet. Michael had done this before and done well, but it was really nice to get additional instruction and try out several different guns.

Look at that smile. That's from a vegetarian who has never shot a gun before. He is thoroughly ready for a hunt. I asked, "What will you do with the meat?" Answer... "Give it to you!"


Look at Donna's shell casing fly!

The peanut gallery. Or, our wonderful hosts.

Go Nate!

My friend, Barb. Bad girls of the Bible poster girl? LOL

Leah, firing off her Beretta for the first time.

Michael, firing off a .357 Magnum for the first time.

Everyone in the class passed the test, requiring 75% score. The instructor said if he could get this many girls signed up for class every time, he'd have no trouble getting young men into hunting.

It was fun, but exhausting, two fulls days. We didn't get a lot of rest or work done otherwise. Michael is likely going to go on his first turkey shoot in a couple of weeks. I am hoping for venison soon! Grass fed, and only the charge for cut and wrap.

Coming from a place with much less foraging for deer, I was shocked to hear of the limit for deer here. 3 does and 1 buck a day! In Ca. does were off limits, except for a 2 week period once a year, and the limit was one, I believe. As for bucks, I believe it was 3 a year total.

Any hunters out there?