A Camping Weekend at Van Meter

Meg was pretty helpful in setting up the tent!

Brooke wanted to get a test run in on the tent and camping gear before we head to the Grand Canyon later this summer.  The logistics of this trip were somewhat…”rushed”…as it was the weekend before Finals and we’d been busy for the weekends running up to it.

Meg and I went before Brooke was off work so we could get the tent set up.  The site itself was very flat (as all the sites at Van Meter are), though we had to move some leaves and sticks around.  It was pretty early in the season still on April 27th, so few people had camped in the area in 2018 before we got there.

Yay, dinner!

The weather was set to be great and it largely was.  It was pretty breezy Friday evening, but we were still able to get the fire going and roast some hot dogs.  We didn’t stay up all that late, as the temperatures were falling and the wind was blowing around the smoke all annoying-like…

…and…breakfast…

The temperatures dropped to ~42 F overnight and, while the kids slept just fine, Brooke and I were not as fortunate.  I was mostly warm, but Brooke got a bit chilly (and she subsequently bought a new sleeping bag for the Grand Canyon…good thing we went on a test run, yes?).

We got up, had some breakfast, and then the kids played for a little while at the playground.  The nice thing about Van Meter is that you can see the playground from the campsite (just about all of the sites, really), so the kids could go back and forth without us having to worry (much) about their safety.  There were many other kids around that weekend, some of which Meg and Calvin recognized, others of which they met for the weekend and ran around with for a time.

Playing in the sand at the playground

We didn’t have extensive plans for Saturday except for a hike around Lake Wooldridge.  We’ve gone down to the lake before, but we’d never hiked around the entire thing because Calvin is the slowest person on the planet.  It’s a 2 mile hike and, this time of year, the vegetation and insects are more limited, making it far more pleasant than usual.

Lake Wooldridge!

Calvin started out alright, but Brooke had to carry him on and off for periods of time.  In all honesty, he did a lot better than usual for this length of a hike, but it still took us well over an hour to go the full two miles.

Going on a hike!

The weather was absolutely gorgeous that day!  The hike killed a solid amount of time that morning, but we still made it back to have lunch and rest for a little bit.  The kids went back over to the playground while I attempted to take a nap (it was a bit loud…and bright…so yeah, didn’t get very far).

Still hiking…

Early that afternoon, we went by Van Meter’s Missouri’s American Indian Cultural Center for a presentation on the Sun conducted by a gentleman from the astronomy club in Columbia.  It was a bit above the kids’ heads, but after the slide show, we went outside to use a few telescopes with filters to look at the Sun.  Again, I’m not completely sure they got much out of it, but I think they thought it was at least something special to do!

Looking at the Sun!

Later that afternoon, we had mostly “downtime” around the campground, again including playground time, as well as a nice open space to go fly kites.  You couldn’t ask for a more perfect afternoon!

“Let’s…go…fly…a kite!”

That night we had “cowboy beans,” which consisted of baked beans, peppers and pork.  The kids weren’t the biggest fans (shocker…), but it was nice and warm.  We stayed up a little bit later that night, but otherwise got to bed as we were nice and tired from a long day.

I’m an idiot.

We slept better that night, though it still got down into the low-40s.  The next morning, we opted to pack up the cars and head out before breakfast, but as I’m a complete idiot, I had been using the Forester to charge my phone because I forgot the appropriate cable to charge it from the battery backup I’d brought along.

So yeah, we spent an extra hour trying to jump the car using the new jumper cables we’d bought for Brooke’s car.  Guess what?  They didn’t work.  So, we dug out my cables from underneath all the camping gear and they worked like a charm.

Lesson learned.

It ended up being a great weekend!  We got a few pointers for our trip to the Grand Canyon and are that much more prepared for the journey ahead.

Progress

Boom.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been thinking of running a Half Marathon this October in Kansas City.  “Early bird” registration is due at the end of May, so I have been pushing it to get as much training in before the kids are out on their summer vacation so I know whether I can even meet my goals of a). running for that far without stopping, and b). doing it in under 2 hours.

Well, I did it.

Honestly, I started out the run this morning a little later than normal, on account of the weather being somewhat mild at 76 F this morning.  I grabbed a few cups of coffee, something I haven’t been doing for the last few runs.  I ran 6.25 mi yesterday and didn’t run at all over the weekend, though I put in four days of 6.2 mi runs and a 20 mi bike ride last week.

Not too bad…

I hit 8 mi and still felt pretty good, so I decided to keep on going.  Another change from last time (when I only got 10.5 mi in) was that I took along some “hydration mix” for the run rather than just water.  Did that really make much of a difference?  I dunno.  But Brooke picked up a few packs in her last Sierra Trading Post order so I could check it out and it seemed to do alright.  I’ll probably order more of it, or something similar, for the rest of the summer.

I’m nothing if not consistent…

I’ll be signing up for the Half Marathon soon enough, as I’ve proven to myself I can do it.  I’ll likely keep doing between 6 and 10 miles on runs for the rest of the summer, and hit up 13 mile runs when I get a chance (e.g. when Meg and Calvin are elsewhere).

Oh yeah, and I needed a nap this afternoon.  I had 20,000 steps after I was finished running.  :-/

State Park #4: Van Meter State Park

This post is part of an ongoing series summarizing each State Park in Missouri that our family has attended. We hope to visit each of 54 State Parks before the kids graduate from high school.

Hey, remember when I said I was going to make blog posts about all the State Parks we’ve visited??  Yeah, back in 2016?  I suppose I should get back to that.

Incidentally, we went camping at Van Meter last weekend, but I’ll put that in a separate post.  Before I do that, perhaps I should share some of our “greatest hits” from previous years.

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Remember this kid??

Van Meter State Park is the closest state park to Marshall, so it’s the one we’ve visited the most since we moved here in 2014.  There’s a small playground and a campground (that we only recently camped at!), and a few relatively light hiking trails that hit various parts of the park.

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Hiking has gotten…faster…over the years…

A few of the trails head down into wetland areas, and for short legs, they’re pretty easy to handle.  We’ve probably visited those most often, as we could put Calvin down and let him roam mostly freely (albeit slowly).  The other trail we’ve visited with relative frequency is the Lakeview Trail that (spoiler alert) goes around Lake Wooldridge.

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The Lake is one of the best parts of Van Meter!

The lake is especially nice because you can get close to it, but you don’t have to.  The kids get some interesting scenery to check out, and we get a halfway decent hike.  That trail gets “spider webby” as the Summer goes on, so it’s definitely better in the late Spring/early Summer months.

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Picnicking on our very first visit.

The other interesting note about Van Meter is that a series of Native American mound structures are present on the site.  The Missouri American Indian Cultural Center is on the park grounds and has a few displays to explain this history to visitors.  The mounds found at Van Meter aren’t as large as those found in Cahokia, but have similar features.

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One of our multiple New Years’ hikes!

One tradition we’ve tried starting for New Year’s Day is to go hiking.  This year proved a tad chilly for that (high of 11 F, low of -8 F), so we put off our hike a few days (but still went!). Typically, we’re the only visitors at that time (because duh…), so it’s nice being out in the new year with a fresh, nature-esque perspective.

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Again, I can’t emphasize how slow Calvin is.  Seriously.  He’s the slowest hiker ever.

Anyway, Van Meter is a fun park to visit.  I’m not sure it’s a “destination state park,” but the camping experience was near perfect and the hiking is relatively simple for kids and adults, alike.

A Brief St. Louis Excursion

Blues vs Canucks. #stlwins

So, last year I joined the Human Anatomy & Physiology Society, mostly as a means of professional development, but also for some networking opportunities.  I didn’t do much with them last year, but this May’s annual meeting was to be in Columbus, OH on Memorial Day weekend.  The cost was going to be substantial, though Missouri Valley was going to cover most of it.

Anyway, a little over a month ago, HAPS sent out a note that a regional meeting was going to be held in St. Louis on March 24th for far less than the full-size meeting in May.  This weekend was also the start of Meg’s Spring Break, so it presented a unique opportunity to spend relatively little and get a weekend in St. Louis for Brooke and I.  Win-win all around.

After dropping the kids off in Columbia (thanks Mom and Dad!), we continued on to St. Louis.  Brooke’s parents were kind enough to share their season tickets to the Blues game Friday night, so we rushed in through good old fashioned St. Louis traffic (and rain…which exacerbated said traffic…) and made it just after the game started.  It turned out well for the “boys in blue,” as they ended up winning 4-1.  We had a good time!

We went to McGurk’s for dinner afterward (I was quite hungry…), as it was a few blocks up from the Airbnb we rented in Soulard, our old stomping grounds.  There were tons of folks there for some live music, but it was one of the few places we figured would still be serving food after 9:30 pm in the neighborhood.  Mmmmmm, tasty…

Human Anatomy & Physiology Society Central Regional Meeting

The next day, Brooke dropped me off at my conference while she went and ran some shopping errands and got some reading done at the apartment.  She had a rainy, albeit relaxing, day. 🙂

For my part, I really enjoyed the conference.  There were less than 50 people there, but the sessions were good at focusing on information retention and other teaching-related subjects, stuff that I can use some ideas on, as they’re what I’ve been thinking about quite a bit this semester.  I saw a few SLU grads from my tenure there, too, so it was a good opportunity to catch up and follow through with that “networking” I mentioned earlier.  Regardless, I came away excited about some new things I can try in the classroom.

Earthbound Brewing

The meeting was over around 4:00 pm, so we headed back to the apartment so I could change out of my “conference clothes,” allowing us to head out and see some of the microbreweries that have popped up since we moved in 2014.  First up, Earthbound Beer off of Cherokee Street.  The beers there looked interesting (and all of the sampler set we had were impressive!) and they also had some food (grabbed some BBQ nacho concoction…mmmm…) to tide us over until dinnertime.

Second, we went by Side Project Brewing in Maplewood.  The Maplewood Coffee Crawl was going on that day, so they had some extra “coffee beers” available, though they were barrel-aged and pretty “high octane.”  They were good, but not exactly what we were in the mood for when we knew we had to drive back to Soulard.  We also tried a saison and a farmhouse ale, both of which I enjoyed, but Brooke wasn’t as big a fan.  They were close to closing, so we weren’t there for all that long.  They seemed solid, but of the three we visited, it wasn’t our favorite.

Third, we hit up The U.R.B., Urban Chestnut’s Research Brewery.  I’d been to their bierhall across the street a few times, but a buddy from college recommended trying the research brewery, as they had pretty decent pizza, as well.  The concept is that Urban Chestnut tests three difference recipes and sells you three tasters for $1 (total) from which you are asked to answer some questions via digital survey on your phone.  This is all to help them get some feedback on their wares so they know what to scale up into a full release.

The option for Saturday were Radlers, which aren’t exactly our favorite.  One was more lemon, the other more grapefruit, and the third…I dunno…  The grapefruit one was the best, in our opinion, but all three were “drinkable.”

After we had those, we grabbed a pizza that was pretty solid.  It wasn’t Joanie’s or anything, but it was good.

Hammerstone’s

The next morning, we hit up Hammerstone’s for breakfast before heading out (yum…).  Moseying around Soulard was pretty great and we hope we can get back there again soon.  The Airbnb we stayed in was really, really good, and was probably in the perfect place for us, so it was nice to re-live some of our favorite times, even if for only a few nights.

The drive home was uneventful, aside from stopping off at a few more shopping locations.  We had a great time!  Let’s hope we can do it again sometime!

“And I ran…I ran so far awaaaayy…”

#supercatspeed

I’ve beefed up my jogging a bit in the past few weeks. Over the Winter, I was able to get in some frequent jogs despite the chilly weather.  Around that time, I started investigating the possibility of trying for a Half Marathon sometime this year.  Based on how long I’ve got available over the Summer, and distance to travel, I decided the Kansas City Half Marathon in October seems like an appropriate option.  As such, I upped my nearly daily jogging time from 20 minutes daily-ish to 25 minutes whenever I could get around to it.  In the last few weeks, I’ve consistently fit in 3.5 mi runs on a semi-regular basis.

Over Spring Break, the weather wasn’t particularly pleasant so I had to go jogging at the Malcolm Center on campus to get some treadmill time in.  Meg was in school, so I had plenty of time available to push it a bit further, hitting 8 miles on one occasion (in ~75 min) and the next day, another 7 miles (in ~60 min).

That second run (literally the day after I ran for the longest I’ve ever run…) got a bit painful, so I’ve tried taking it a little easier since.

Consistency!

This week, put in a few more 60 min runs, hitting 7.21 mi the first time (Sunday) and 7.44 mi today.  The extra rest between days helped my feet (though I threw in a short-ish run yesterday), but I also picked up some new shoes late last week.  I broke them in yesterday, though I wore them around the house this weekend to flex them a bit.

As I alluded to, today’s run went significantly better than Sunday’s did, despite the temperature being a little colder.  The new shoes are certainly “bouncier” than my old pair, though I’m sure I’ve put enough miles into the old ones that they’re past their prime.  This is my third pair of Asics and they’ve been serving me well enough.

New kicks.

I’ve got a few months to keep pushing, and once school’s out in early May, I should have plenty of time available.  I’m hoping to try running for 13 miles sometime next week when the kids are out of town for their Spring Break, just to see how far I can get.  If I can actually maintain my pace, I should be able to do 13 miles in under 2 hours (a valiant goal!)…but as I’ve never actually run for that long, who knows what my legs will feel like when I’m done (my guess: probably bad).

Still, I want to give it a try when I have fewer responsibilities to take care of during that 2 hour period of time.  If I can do 13 miles in a semi-reasonable amount of time next week, a half marathon in October should be a piece of cake!

Or I’ll wreck my legs and quit running for awhile.  Whichever comes first.

Edith Ann Linsenbardt: ca. 2000 – 2017

We got Edie in early February, 2007 from the Humane Society in St. Louis.  We got Sam, our cat, about a year and a half before that and had a good experience with him, but being a cat, he didn’t really go outside much. We had just moved to a neighborhood in St. Louis called Soulard – a place with more sidewalks and yards available than we had in our apartment complex in Affton.

Brooke and I weren’t sure what exactly we were looking for in a dog (though if you want to read my thoughts on the subject on the day we got her, there’s a post for you…).  The dog we found was a small beagle, housed in the “puppy” room of the Humane Society, so they tried to charge us extra for a “puppy” they claimed was 5 years old.  With all the grey in her coat, I placed her at least a year older than that, but what do I know…

Back in 2013

Edie has been a good dog.  We went on lots of walks in Soulard, where she found more than a few turkey legs on the ground to carry around after Mardi Gras.  She’d carry home rawhide bones from Pets in the City, as passers by would smile at the 13″ beagle carrying a bone far too large for her. She didn’t like many other dogs and would get anxious around them.  She did pretty well with dogs bigger than her, but for dogs smaller, she’d try to exert her dominance and fight with them a bit more.

Iowa, 2010

In Soulard, Edie had to be on a leash, though in those early days, she also had a pretty strong case of separation anxiety.  There were a few occasions where she tore down screen doors in Hannibal and Columbia trying to get to us.  Another time, she tore through a metal dog kennel that used to hold my family’s cocker spaniel, Pepper.

By the time we moved to Iowa in 2010, however, we were in a more rural area where we could leave Edie loose more of the time.  Every once and awhile, we wouldn’t be able to find her for an hour or so, but she’d ultimately find her way home.  She also enjoyed walking among the chickens, while they mostly ignored her.

Marshall, 2014

Edie was never really “the kids'” dog, as we had her before Meg was born in 2010, but she’s always been gentle to young hands.  Even in her old age, Meg and Calvin’s cousin, Rowan, can sit next to her and tug on her ear slightly, barely eliciting a response.  Meg and Calvin have loved Edie, too, helping to give her water when she needed it, and eventually would take her outside on a leash (once they were tall enough and strong enough to do it).

In 2011

Recent years have been less kind to this aging pup.  For most of this year, she hasn’t had much control over her urination, causing me to get up once a night just to take her out, let alone me.  It’s gotten bad enough now that she doesn’t know where she is in the house, so she just goes wherever she wants to.  She’s been blind and deaf for at least a year now, though the problem has gotten progressively worse, as she now walks directly into walls regularly, not just after she wakes up and is still a bit groggy. She still eats and drinks water, but there are many occasions where it’s difficult to get her to stand up, let alone walk outside, causing me to carry her out.  She can go up a step or two, but stairs have been a problem for years.  I can’t remember the last time she was up on the couch, so jumping remains difficult for her.

We’re sad to see her go, but we gave her as good a life as we could and we hope she’s enjoyed her time with us, in her own way.  She was never a particularly “active” dog, but she was always sweet and happy to have a pat on the head.

Rest well, Edie.  We love you and will miss you terribly.

A Visit to the Kansas City Zoo

We went to the zoo!

A few weekends ago, we finally got to go to the Kansas City Zoo after living in Marshall for over 3 years.  We bought some passes as part of a church auction last Fall and had to use them by the end of 2017.  As most of the year had gotten away from us, we finally got around to going at the beginning of November!

Ironically, it ended up being a great time to go, as many of the animals were out-and-about, giving us a pretty solid view of a tiger, chimpanzees, a polar bear, and many others.

Nana went, too!

Overall, I was pretty impressed with what I saw.  It’s been since the mid-1990s since I’ve been there, and Brooke had never been there, so our only frame of reference was the (free) St. Louis Zoo at Forest Park.  In many ways, the setting was similar to the St. Louis version, but this one would cost us at least $50 for a family of four, plus expensive concessions if we wanted to get any.  On the other hand, while the St. Louis Zoo has some specific attractions that cost extra to enter (e.g. the insect house), there are more attractions included in the price of admission at the Kansas City Zoo (with the exception of things like the train and merry-go-round).

No screaming goats, sadly…

Overall, the selection of animals was solid, though I get the sense that the St. Louis Zoo just has more available to see.  The snake house is bigger, the monkey house is bigger, the bird enclosure is larger…all of these are simply because the 1904 World’s Fair was held in St. Louis and those structures are still there, used as part of the zoo.  I feel like the Australia exhibit in Kansas City is larger than in St. Louis, so there are definitely some animals that KC has that St. L doesn’t have, but they’re kinda the exception to the rule.

Jellyfish! No peanut butter, sadly…

Also, the Kansas City Zoo is really spread apart, so you have to take a shuttle to get to half of the animals.  The elephants, giraffes, gorillas, and other large animals were in a connected area of the zoo, but far flung from the parking lots and the entry point.  After spending our time there, we were tired enough (and rather chilly…), so we didn’t feel the need to trek out that far.  I feel like the St. Louis Zoo is a bit more compact, so you can actually see quite a bit in a shorter amount of time.

Overall, we definitely had a good time and are glad we went!  It took us 1.5 hours to get there, so it’s a shorter trip for us, but at the same time, we could spend the extra hour and go to St. Louis and spend less than $50 for the visit, using that money instead to visit Joanie’s Pizza or something.

We did hit up Trader Joe’s as we left KC though, so that made the trip extra worth it.  Got some Dark Chocolate Stars before the Christmas rush hit!  Mmmmmm…

We Bought A Boat!

Let’s be honest: we only bought it to make the Subaru look cooler…

Brooke doesn’t get to exercise all that often.  It isn’t for lack of trying: she just doesn’t usually have the time to devote to it.  She’s taken her bike down to Sedalia multiple times and she goes hiking at Bothwell with some frequency, but neither of these activities really “speaks” to her.  And she totally doesn’t like jogging.

However, she’s been interested in getting into kayaking for the last few years.  We see folks with boats on their trucks and we know people like going fishing at various places around here.  That, and we know that there are some creeks and lakes within driving distance.  And, we have a few Subarus, so they really have to have a kayak on top of one, right?

Really though, for some reason, Brooke’s always enjoyed rowing as an exercise.  This goes back to the rec center at Truman State, where she’d use the rowing machine more than anything else.  You’d have to ask her why, exactly, that is the one exercise she seems to prefer…maybe it goes back to her days on the Mississippi River or something…

Anyway, I checked out Craigslist and found a decent deal on a single-person, sit-in kayak that came with a cartop mount.  It wasn’t the type of mount we wanted, but at least we could get it home.  We went to Columbia and met up with the young woman who was selling it (didn’t have room for it, didn’t use it enough, yadda, yadda, yadda) and picked it up for less than she was asking for.

We got it home safe and sound, but with that type of roof mount, it was a hassle to get it up on the top of the car.  It took two people, plus it was far easier to get the straps hooked up when you had someone else to toss them to.  Thus, if it really takes two people to get on the car, Brooke would never use it.

The rooftop carrier we’ll actually use…

Therefore, we’re going to try the “J hook”-style mount.  We picked them up at Amazon for less than $20 and hopefully they work as advertised.  They seem pretty sturdy (though I had to Dremel out the plastic holes to make the screws fit properly), and in theory, the hooks allow ratchet straps to simply cross from the top down to the bottom without requiring one to tie the kayak to the hood or trunk of the vehicle.

Of course, the high this week is barely crossing the 50 F mark, so Brooke probably isn’t actually going to get to test this thing out for a few weeks months.  I need to find a way to mount it in our garage, too, as sitting on the garage floor isn’t exactly ideal.

Hopefully it works out!  We figure that resale on a kayak is probably high enough that we won’t lose much money on it, if any.  Brooke can lift it down off the car, but she’ll probably want to get a little more practice lifting it up above her head.  The J-hook mount should make this easy, as she just needs to get underneath it and “roll” it over onto the roof of the car.  Practice will speed up that process, I’m sure.

After she actually tries this thing out (March?  April?), I’ll have to post a few more pictures. She’s excited!  I’m just happy to have my second roof bike mount back…

Garden Update: Mid-September

Beans!

The garden is certainly on the decline, but we’re still picking a substantial amount of stuff.  When all was said and done, we ended up with over 20 pints of green beans canned this year, along with all the rest of them we ate fresh.  There are still some beans on the plants, but most of the pods are empty, so we’ve largely given up on them.

Tomatoes and soup beans

The tomatoes and the soup beans, on the other hand, are ridiculous.  The tomatoes have certainly slowed, but Brooke has been keeping up with canning sauce, freezing batches until enough are ready.  Brooke has canned 32 pints of tomato sauce so far.  This time, she hasn’t canned any whole tomatoes like she’s done before.

Bounty!

We also have 5 quarts of soup beans.  As in, a full ice cream bucket full of them.  And there are plenty more on the vine.  This may be our largest haul of those beans yet!

We’ve had some banana peppers here and there.  Our pepper haul this year was lower than before, mostly because the volunteer tomatoes encroached and limited their growth.  We haven’t eaten many of them yet, but Brooke’s frozen slices of them for later use.

Pumpkin…sadly, not gonna make it…

Here’s that really good pumpkin, completely with a grasshopper to add some scale to the picture.  We were hopeful this one would make it, but some bugs drilled a hole in the side.  It isn’t rotten yet, but we can’t say we’ve got much hope for its survival.  There are a few other little baby pumpkins growing that are still yellow, but they surely won’t make it.

We think this is a watermelon…it kinda looks like it…

We actually had more luck with watermelons this year.  This is the biggest one, yet it’s strangely misshapen.  There’s another, rounder one, but this late in the season, we aren’t hopeful much will come of them.  Still, it’s the most success we’ve had with watermelons!  They just took a lot longer to get moving than we expected.

Popcorn!

The popcorn also took awhile to get going.  There are fewer stalks this year, but what we’ve gotten so far is promising.  Obviously, the weeds are taking over…

A closer look…

The corn ears are pretty skinny still, but I seem to remember them looking like that last year.  We aren’t expecting to get a lot of popcorn, but last year’s crop worked out better than we expected, so perhaps we’ll be surprised again!

Raspberries, blackberries and future sweet potatoes.

The raspberries came back with a vengeance!  I figured they were done a long time ago, but the last two weeks, we’ve been getting handfuls of them.  We haven’t really done anything particularly interesting with them, but Meg and Calvin each had 10-15 last Saturday afternoon while they were playing outside and, frankly, that’s a good enough reason to grow them.

The sweet potatoes are still growing and we haven’t done anything with them yet.  We assume there are potatoes down there.  I guess we’ll find out eventually, when we get around to digging them up!

That peach tree is still growing great! The rest…well…

The fruit trees are still there, with the peach tree leading the growth chart.  The rest of the trees got hit hard by Japanese Beetles and, while they’re still growing alright, they’ve got a long road to full recovery.  Their trunks have fattened up substantially, so I hope the root system has followed suit, even though the leaves haven’t.  We’ll add some fertilizer and mulch to them in the next few weeks and hope that helps them out over the winter months.

That’s about it!  Probably the last post on this for the year, but who knows…maybe those tomatoes will keep going through November…

New Friends for the Kids

Meg did a lot of research…

A few months ago, Meg asked to get some fish again.  We had some back in St. Louis and moved them here, though at the time, Calvin couldn’t open doors and we could keep Sam away from the fish bowl.  This time, however, Calvin’s older and isn’t know for following directions, so if we were going to get a fish tank again, we’d have to be a bit more careful about where it goes and whether it had a lid or not.

Brooke found a starter kit here in town that came with a 10 gallon tank, some peripheral fakery for the inside of the tank, and a nice lid that should keep small paws and hands out of the tank.  However, we had to get the fish from Sedalia, as our options were non-existent here in town.  Meg decided she wanted to go with tropical fish, which meant we needed to get a small heater for the tank.  We also got a filter system, but it didn’t actually come with tubing, so that had to come from Sedalia, too.

Calvin likes his new friends!

Anyway, we ended up with over 10 small fish of varying types and 2 snails for the tank.  So far, the fish have survived, and the kids feed them twice a day.  We’re hopeful that the filter system and snails will limit the amount of cleaning we need to do, as this system is quite a bit more sophisticated than the small bowl we had for years awhile back.  The filters can be picked up here in town and are supposed to be switched out around once a month, and the water should be exchanged at about 1/3 volume at the same time as the filter (or so we read).  The tank is in the kid’s bedroom, which is close to a bathroom but not really close to the kitchen at all, so if it really is just a water exchange every once and awhile, along with the filter, we should probably be alright.

The kids seem enamored with it so far!  All the fish have names, of course.  🙂