Go Fightin Phils!

The last time we went to a baseball game was back in 2010, right after we moved to Great Falls. We had gone to watch the Voyagers play, but the kids got bored, so we left early. We enjoyed the atmosphere, though, and thought there were more games in our future. But, as usually happens, time marched on and we never managed to make it to another game. So when Rob was given tickets to watch the Reading Fightin Phils, we were excited to go. Their mascot is an ostrich, and we were surprised to see two of them out in front of the ball park.

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The visiting team was the New Britain Rock Cats from Connecticut. It was a beautiful evening for a game with both the temperature and humidity very comfortable, especially compared to what they had been.

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There was constant entertainment during the game. At one point, they were launching stuffed baseballs into the crowd. Nathan had mentioned that he would like one and was wondering why they didn’t shoot any towards us. No sooner had I explained that there were many people in the crowd who would like one and not nearly enough balls for everyone, when one flew directly at us. One minute it was flying through the air, and the next it was in my hands. How on earth did that happen?!

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The kids were all excited about the ball and took turns playing with it throughout the game.

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The game was a little slow until about the eighth inning when the boys had to go to the bathroom. Up until this point, the score had been 1-0, Rock Cats. As soon as the boys left, the Fightin Phils scored two runs! They scored another run after the boys came back so at least they were there for some of the excitement.

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The final score of the night was 3-1, Fightin Phils. Everyone enjoyed the game and it made for a nice evening out. At the end of the game they put on a spectacular fireworks display. We were expecting a small show, but they went all out. I think it was one of the nicest shows we had ever seen! Needless to say, it was a great way to end a wonderful night.

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Flowers for Hopewell

After we left the casting demonstration last weekend, Rob took us to the Administration Office so the kids and I could sign up to be volunteers. Our first project was to plant some flowers around the sign on the road. Armed with yard tools, a bucket of water and a couple flats of orange marigolds, we set off to work.

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It was tough work digging up all of the grass under the sign. There were some spring bulbs already planted so we were trying to be gentle with them. Mostly it was digging, digging, digging.

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While the kid and I finished digging out all of the grass, Rob went for a tractor load of nice, rich mulch. By the time we were finished, he had returned and we were able to mound a nice area for the flowers. The area looked pretty nice once all the flowers were planted. It will look even better as they grow and fill out. We visit them every other day with buckets of water.

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The entire project took us almost three hours from start to finish. There is another small area that they would like some flowers planted in so I think that will be our next project.

As we were leaving, the kids spotted a frog on the fence. They had actually found it earlier in the flower bed, but they had let him go. He was just hanging out, almost invisible to those not looking, me included. After visiting with him for a few minutes, we headed off toward home, where Otter Pops were waiting for us in the freezer…

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A Sad Farewell

A couple of weeks ago, William’s skink stopped eating. Then she began basking more than usual. Eventually, she was basking almost all day. She stopped hiding when someone would get close to her, which she had always done in the past. Nothing had changed in her environment. Her food was the same as it had always been, so we weren’t sure what to think. Until about two days ago. She began to pale. The bright blueness of her tail began to fade, and while we tried tempting her with new bugs, nothing worked.

A youthful Slithers

A youthful Slithers

While I was trying to think if there was anything we could do for her, I was reminded of a time in the old house when the kids had let her out of her cage. We searched frantically for her, but she was not to be found. Remington was so excited that we began to think perhaps the cat had eaten the skink. Luckily, that was not the case. We found Slithers hanging out under the couch as though nothing had happened. Thankfully, they never “lost” her again.

We kept a watchful eye on Slithers, and while she became more lethargic, she was still breathing, so we did our best to make her happy. And then she was gone. William dug her a little grave under a tree beside the house. He covered her with all of her bark and topped it with her basing rock. We don’t know how old she was when William brought her home from his Auntie’s house, but we enjoyed her for a little over two years. Rest in Peace, dear Slithers, we truly enjoyed having you as a part of our family.

Rest in Peace, dear Slithers

Rest in Peace, dear Slithers



An Afternoon at Hopewell

Last weekend, Hopewell Furnace National Historical Site held a casting demonstration. When Rob was done working, we ventured over to see how they used to make parts for the cook stoves. It is quite the process. I am not entirely sure I understand how it all works, but I will do my best.

They started with a template, a wooden frame, and several scoops of sand. They then pounded sand over the template to create a mold for a new door and the audience was invited to go up and pound for a minute.

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After they pounded one side, they put two frames together, added more sand and pounded the other side, until their template was sandwiched between the two.

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After all the pounding was complete, they separated the frames, removed the template and there was the pattern, perfectly shaped in the sand. After they removed the template, the put the frames back together.

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It was then time to pour the hot metal into the mold. If I recall correctly, they used to use steel to make the stove parts, but for the demonstration they were using aluminum. It only took about five minutes for the metal to cool enough to separate the frames and see the new stove panel.

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There was a blow-hole in the little door, so they were a little disappointed about that, but I thought they did a wonderful job. I thought I heard one of them say the fire had been off too long, so perhaps the aluminum was not quite hot enough. Back in the day this would have lost the worker money, but these days they can just toss the metal back into the fire and reuse it.

It was pretty neat to see how it worked, and this is only part of the process! Men used to feed the fire every 30 minutes with three types of rock. There were others out gathering and stacking. They went through an acre of charcoal every day! There is so much to learn and we have just scratched the surface.