Monday, May 31, 2010

Moore Cove Celebrity

There were a lot of festivals we could have gone to for the Memorial weekend.  Then we started thinking about these festivals and realized that a lot of them cost money.  Some up front, and some in their carnival shenanigans.  We also realized that we don't have any money so we decided to do a family hike and picnic.  I spent an evening researching a hike that would be good for the kids and decided on Moore Cove Falls in North Carolina.

The hike is easy and only about one and a half miles round trip.  We have been once before, but that was three years ago.  This time we took a two year old and a puppy.

The hiking was great.  The weather was great.  Our picnic at the falls. . . great.

There were a lot of people coming and going on the trail but it didn't feel crowded.  On our way out, two guys passed us on their way to the falls.  One of them had a long tripod slung over his shoulder with a nice DSLR camera mounted at the end.   I notice cameras a lot.  He made it a few steps away before he turned around and said to me, "I know you."

I looked up at him and had no clue how he knew me.  I couldn't remember having ever seen this person.  Then he asked, "Duck Hunter.  Right?"

I was still puzzled, but amused.  This is amazing.  I confirmed that he was right and he introduced himself.  He knows me from my photos on Flickr.  We stopped and talked for a few minutes.  He told me that he initially recognized Cari from some photos I had posted.  We had never met in person before.  He was roughly two hours from home and we were nearly an hour from home the other direction.  Yet somehow we both ended up on the same trail at the same moment, and he recognized us.

This is a guy that takes some amazing photographs and he has helped me at times with my own photography. Meeting Shawn made a great trip better.  I felt like I had just met a celebrity.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Yesterday morning I was getting ready to leave for work and I went about my routine of saying goodbye to anybody else in the house.  This time, only Cari and Brenna remained at home.

"Brenna, come give daddy a hug.  I'm going to work."

Brenna came running over to me and I had my arms outstretched for a hug.  She stopped just short of my reach and said something I didn't understand.

"What?", I asked.

She said it again and put her hand out to me.  Just one.   She was saying the word, "hand".   I put my hand out and she shook hands with me.

Seriously!!!  The two year old felt the best goodbye to daddy would be a hand shake.  I'm not even sure where she learned it, but she certainly knew what she wanted.  After I shook hands goodbye with her she beamed with pride and ran to her mom screaming, "hand!"

Cari came into the room to see me off.  Instead of the hug and kiss I had planned to give her, I put my hand out. I'll let you guess how that worked out for me.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Since the camera started getting used again, I asked Cari to be my model for fifteen minutes before the sun went down.  She complied and we got some great shots of her.  Good thing I have such a beautiful model to help my photos look so good!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Friendship Bread

Yes, this bag of rotting stuff on the counter will one day turn into something to ingest.   Some people call it friendship bread.

I'm not sure if I want my friends giving me a bag of sour milk.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Battle of Cowpens

January 17, 1781.  That's the morning that the British soldiers marched into the area known as Cowpens.   I'm not going to re-enact the battle for you here.  There are other places on the internets for that.  I just want to take a few minutes and tell you about my visit to this Revolutionary War battlefield.

Oh, and Farm Girl was right on guessing with Cowpens!

Walking around the battlefield doesn't have to be any different than walking through any other pasture if that's all you want it to be.
But for me, I was impressed.  This grassy field and dirt road that I was walking on was the same grassy field and dirt road that the US soldiers and militia stood on.   Signs stood in the locations where the men lined up to fire at the British army standing only one hundred yards away.  "This is a place of important history", I thought, as I imagined the troops lined in the fields.
During the battle there was an error by the US troops.  As one group was told to turn and face right, the entire army thought the command was for them and turned away from the enemy.  There was more than one thousand troops on each side.  I imagined the chaos of that day.  Small cannons were exploding and pouring smoke into the air.  Muskets being fired in both directions were loud.  The shouts of the soldiers as they moved forward.  Commanders for both sides tried to shout orders above the fear and chaos in front of them.  It would be so EASY for troops to not understand the direction.

It's one of the things I really like about visiting historical sights.  Trying to imagine what it was like for the people who lived during that time and during that event.  I'll stop and read the signs posted along the trail trying to understand even more.  I'm thankful that Cari is like me in this respect.  She'll stop and read the signs with me.

The kids though. . . they had seen enough of the field and it was time to keep walking.  When we got to this sign, we were told, "There's nothing to read here.  Keep on walking."
Cowpens battlefield was a great visit.  The visitor center had a great video explaining the battle and a small museum with military items from the time.  Although Cari and I walked a bit too slow, the kids said they also enjoyed our trip.  It worked out great that they have both learned about the battle, and the Revolutionary war in school.  I believe that helped them appreciate it more.  It was more than just taking a walk through a grassy field. 

Friday, May 21, 2010


Taking a field trip this weekend.   The kids got a few hints through the week.

The first day hints:

It's mostly outdoors.
It will require a bit of hiking.
It's a part of South Carolina History.
It's toward Spartanburg (from our house).

The second day hints:

These hints were given as the kids asked a few questions.   I agreed to answer two.  They were on the right track.

It is a historic battlefield.
It is from the Revolutionary War.

Meredith got the answer right first.   I'll blog about it on Sunday.

Do you know where we are going?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hike: the video

Whew.  I rushed the end of my editing process a bit, but at least it's done.  I had roughly eighteen minutes of video from the backpacking trip on the Foothills trail last month.  I got it down to this eight minute video of our trip.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Look at ME!

It has been a while since I've gotten the camera out and done some shooting so Cari and I decided to take a drive into Greenville last week and get some photos of the baby.

Initially we planned on going to the zoo for these photos.  As we pulled into the parking lot we knew this was a mistake.  The line to get into the zoo was all the way into the parking lot and there were half a dozen buses parked on the side.  Without stopping to talk about it, I turned around and headed for Falls park.

The hardest part of taking photos of a two year old is getting her to look at the camera.  We can usually coax her into making a cute expression or smiling a big smile.  Looking at the camera is a much bigger challenge.

By the end of our short trip at the park we ended up with some great shots.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Thoughtless Email

Every sixty to ninety days, the exact number of days is a secret, I am forced to change one of my fifteen passwords used at work.  Changing my password wouldn't have to be that big of a deal, but it's the rules about creating passwords that give me a headache.  You will always know when someone has gotten the "Your password has expired" message at work because tears well up in their eyes and they let out an annoyed groan.

Your password must not be one of your previous five passwords.   Your password must contain numbers and letters.  Your password must be a minimum of seven characters.   The list goes on.

Yesterday, I received the dreaded message and I had to stop what I was doing to think of a new password.
Shortly after changing my password I logged in to check my email and I had a new message telling me that my password had been changed.  Keep in mind that by the time I created a new password, logged into my email, and read this message, I had forgotten what work related task I was at the computer for to begin with.

This email didn't tell me what the new password was, only that my password had been changed.  I wondered if they sent that in case I wasn't the one who changed the password.  That way I would know someone was messing with my account.

But then I thought about it.   If someone had been messing with my account password, then I wouldn't have been able to log in and see the email.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


It's SPRING time and it's good to get back outside every chance I get.  After a long break, I started picking up some more caches lately.

I made this short video the other day as we picked one up.  I was happy with their creative hiding spot and wanted to show you how I look for a cache.  I may make a better video on Geocaching in the future, but for now, I'll show you this quickly produced video.

Remember, your GPS will get you near the location and then it is up to you to hunt through the obvious hiding spots.  When I first started Geocaching I thought the GPS would walk me straight to the cannister and I'd be done.  Not so in most cases.

Now that more smart phones have GPS built in and more people are moving to smart phones, you hardly will need a handheld GPS to try Geocaching while in town.  If you haven't tried Geocaching before, get out and give it a try.  You'll be amazed how many things are hidden around town.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Breakfast in Bed

Saturday night at dinner the kids asked Cari what she wanted for her Mother's Day breakfast.  She answered, "cereal."

Randy started giggling and said they were going to give her breakfast in bed for Mother's Day.  Cari became suspicious of his giggling and said she'd just prefer to eat at the table.

After a bit of whispering between the kids, the details of breakfast in bed started coming out.

Meredith said she was going to take the box of cereal and dump some on Cari while she was sleeping. -- You see where this is going, right?

Randy said that he was going to take a large glass of milk and add it to the cereal by pouring it on his mom in the bed.

Literally, breakfast in bed!

After hearing the plan, Cari was SO happy that she requested her breakfast at the table.  Then I pointed out that what should make her happy was that she didn't request sausage and eggs with hot coffee in bed.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Camp Food

This video was taken the first night of camping while on the Foothills Trail in April.  Before I left I made a video about making some Moose Goo and I was picking on the fact that Aaron likes to spend his evening cooking and cleaning.  This video is pretty much a follow up to that.

Prior to making this video I made a tuna sandwich that was very tasty.  Chip also had a tuna based meal, and Jeremy made a hot meal on a small camp stove.  All of us had eaten and cleaned up when Aaron decided it was time to make his dinner.

I didn't film him eating his dinner, but he said it was good.  It turns out that cooking on the trail is a preference.  We both lived through the weekend on the food we carried.  I just prefer not to mess with cooking and cleaning more than I have to.

Friday, May 07, 2010


On Monday the baby was sick.  Throwing up, laying on the couch, frequent naps, sick.  By Tuesday afternoon she seemed much better and back to herself.

When I got home from work on Tuesday I was sick.  Throwing up, laying on the couch, frequent naps, sick.   I was determined not to miss work on Wednesday.  I was aching Wednesday morning as I tried to move to the shower and then get dressed.  I even made it down to my car, keys in hand.  I almost didn't make it that far.  Standing at my car door I called in sick and spent the rest of the day sleeping.

Wednesday afternoon Randy came home from school and threw up.  He was sick.  Throwing up, laying on the couch, frequent naps, sick.  He slept the rest of the evening of Wednesday, through the night, and got up Thursday morning.  We kept him from school on Thursday.

Thursday morning I woke up feeling pretty well normal again and by Thursday afternoon Randy was feeling better as well.

But on Thursday Cari got the sickness.  She was throwing up, laying on the couch, frequent naps, sick.  She even took a nap Thursday afternoon.  This was shortly after she declared naps were only for the weak and the old.

Thursday afternoon, Meredith came home from school and said she felt pretty healthy as she danced around the house.  Smiling, cheerfully, jumping on the couch, dancing.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Run Away!

Found on the side of a box. . .
Initially, the box didn't seem too scary.  It was just a cardboard box.  After analyzing the diagram for a few minutes, I was scared.

Monday, May 03, 2010

and the WINNER is. . .

The race that I announced more than a month ago was Sunday.  You remember the race, don't you?  You know it's the one that you left a comment cheering for Cari trying to beat me down.

Since that day, Cari and I have worked out for the most part together.  There were times that I was unable to participate because I was at work.  But several times a week we made a point to walk or exercise together.  During this time I secretly monitored how she was progressing compared to me.

Physical well being was a secondary goal.  My purpose was to train enough to win the race.

On RACE DAY we laced up and went to the end of the driveway.  At the start I rushed for the first hill and rounded the corner.  I had a lead on the first downhill section and slowed down to catch my breath.

Cari caught me on the downhill and as we reached the flat section we were mostly tied.  I started jogging as we approached the second uphill section and Cari kept with me.  Then she took the lead as we reached the midpoint of the hill.

As we rounded the corner for the stretch back to the driveway, we were tied.

A sprint to the finish.

Who would win?

Saturday, May 01, 2010


I recently mentioned surviving my second backpacking adventure.   Since then, I haven't had much time to sit down and write about it.  I have a lot of video that I want to edit as well, and I hope to get that done over the next two weeks.

This was my second backpacking adventure and also the longest hike I have taken.  Both times out on the trail I have learned a lot about backpacking.

This year it rained on us for about sixteen hours.  We hiked the last five miles of the day in the rain and it reminded me of an important lesson.  Don't wear jeans backpacking.  Spend a little money and get proper hiking pants.  Last year I wore jeans, and although it didn't rain, I learned jeans are too heavy and uncomfortable for such a long hike.  If I had worn jeans this year I would have had to take them off when it started raining.

Obviously, when you are backpacking, food is a major consideration.  When you get several miles, or fifteen miles from civilization on foot you start getting hungry.  I was very satisfied with the meals I prepared this year and I learned that I was still carrying too much food.  Next time I will portion out my food ahead of time and only take those portions.

The other key survival ingredient is water.  Last year I carried around five liters of water for a one night trip.  It was by far the heaviest item in my bag putting strain on my body.  This year, for a trip twice as long, I carried only three liters and a filter.  As long as you are near water sources throughout your trip, filtering water is the best way to go.  The three liters was perfect for drinking throughout the day, and was easy to fill back up during a break with a simple filter.  No need to add more weight to your pack than necessary.  And with a filter you won't resort to drinking your own pee (unless you are named Bear Grylls).

Getting lost on a long hike isn't much fun.  Especially so if you left any extra food at home because you portioned it out ahead of time.  Always carry a map.  Last year I folded up a map and put it in my jeans pocket.  Then I clipped a GPS to my belt and hit the trail.  The map got wet and ragged by lunch on the first day and was unreadable.  The GPS told me where I was but not where I should be or where I needed to go. Lesson learned:  put your map in a plastic sleeve.  This year, I started to use the GPS, realized it was useless compared to the map, then put the GPS back in my pack.  There's a very good chance the GPS won't make it on the next trip at all.  We referred to our maps constantly this year and they help even on well marked trails.

At the end of the day you will smell.  Taking a quick bath in the water source that you camp near will be a refreshing treat for your body and your fellow backpackers.  Bring a small towel.  I forgot this on my first trip and I needed it so many times it was still on my mind while I packed for this trip.

I was nervous as I packed for such a long trip.  Once you get out there, if you forgot something then you will be living without it until you get back.  What I have done is after each trip I sit and write down the things that I took that didn't get used and also the things I wished I had.

This list will be a key reference as I pack for my next adventure and I'm sure I'll be more prepared than ever before.  Already noted on the list are bring plastic grocery bags and choose a new hat.