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Robotics

The Goblin Child joined the robotics group this fall. The little kids one that is. I volunteered to help because I like the idea behind it and want to encourage both children to do this.

The kids, some of them, worked really hard and came up with some good ideas. In The Goblin Child’s group there were a couple of great older kids and they came up with an idea that was great. The theme was building a base on the moon. They had lots of Legos and a motor to motorize one of them. They had to build a moon base with ways to provide water, power, and food. Lots of other stuff too.

Their idea started with a simple fish tank. hen they added filling it with grey water that turned a generator as it flowed into the tank. In the tank were fish of course, but also water plants grown to eat and produce oxygen, gravel to help filter the water and capture all waste for future use as fertilizer. Then out of the tank through another filter and back into the water supply.

The oldest boy in the group designed and built a crane that turned around powered by the motor they had to work with. the whole thing was wonderful and well done.

Today was the competition. Everyone got up early to get their kids clear down to Sydney in time. All the work and effort of the last few months and now was the time to show it off. I was more than a little grouchy when there were no microphones, nobody could hear or see a thing of what was going on. The they took a break to decide on the winner. They came back to hand out awards to….

Everyone!!

Yay. They all got participation awards. The ones who did nothing got exactly the same as the ones who worked hard at it. There was no point to any of it. Sure the kids got to spend their evenings working hard on a project. I suppose they should appreciate the experience? But why bother? If the competition is so completely meaningless why not just get together and build with Legos? We could skip the long drive. We could skip the expensive products from Lego and use regular blocks. We could skip the team shirts. We could let the kids build what ever they want and not be forced into the yearly theme. It might be more fun for them.

But anyway.

 

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Old Fashioned Games

When The Goblin Child invented a game this fall she was so proud of herself. Mostly it showed that there is nothing new under the sun. I told her that her great grandpa used to play that game when he was a little boy. That when I was little he had taken me out in their backyard with a metal hoop off a wagon wheel and a stick. We had spent hours rolling it down the hill.

It didn’t bother her that she hadn’t found a new game. Instead she was even more excited that she was playing the game her grandpa played. They spent the warm weather rolling the hoop all around the yard.

Quite A Cluster

Some cows got out this afternoon. Not a big deal but  the father in law stopped to ask if I would help chase them in. Of course I would. As I hopped on the 4wheeler with him I absentmindedly called Daisy to come help. She didn’t come I worried a little then forgot about her amidst the whole cow chasing thing.

8 and I went to pick The Goblin Child up from the bus. Daisy is usually bouncing around wanting to come with. She wasn’t there. Again I remembered that she hadn’t come earlier either. Now I was worried. I tried to remember when I had seen her last. She had come with to feed in the morning.  I couldn’t think of a time I had seen her since then. She couldn’t have not gotten out of the feed truck. Could she?

We had a very little time before the bus would be there, we could make it to check for sure. Barely.

Sure enough. I opened the door and out leapt Daisy. When we get out she will just sit there. She has to be told to come out with us and apparently I didn’t do so. It was dark in the quanset and I was rushing to make it to the bus. I haven’t seen if she did anything to the inside of the feed truck yet. She’s a good dog. I didn’t smell anything. Keeping my fingers crossed that she didn’t hurt anything.

Out at the neighbors driveway that is our compromise meeting place, the bus driver complained about driving clear to our mailbox, I refused to have The Goblin Child unloaded on the highway, we pulled to the side of the road and waited. At the highway two vehicles sat. A car and a pickup. Their people sat on bumpers in between hanging out, talking. The bus managed to squeeze around them and made it up the hill slick with snow and ice.

After unloading the bus went back down the icy hill and waited for room to pull out. The two vehicles still sat, unperturbed by the traffic they were impeding. While loading children I watched a FedEx van pull out from across the street and head down the hill towards the bus. I waited and watched to see if he would slide right into it. He didn’t.

Pulling into our neighbors drive we turned around as usual. Backing out into the road. I put the car in drive, and we went backwards. As usual when things don’t go anywhere near as expected, it took a moment to think it through. I put it back in park and we stopped moving. Back in drive and we slid backwards again. Well, that didn’t work. This time I tried reverse, we were getting quite sideways in the road, maybe I could straighten it out and find some traction further down the hill.

The car straightened. There was no more traction though. A couple more tries and it became apparent that the only way we were going was down the hill. Down to where those two… very nice people still sat. Apparently unaware of the traffic swirling around them, They weren’t bothered at all by blocking half of the road. Easing the car as slow as I could down the slick road I aimed for the sliver highway I could see that was unobstructed. If we could just get to some clear ground and make a run at it we could make the hill.

Of course this whole time the children are sitting, standing, kneeling, spinning circles, and talking loudly in the seat next to me. Of course they weren’t buckled in for the one mile of county road home. Not distracting or impeding my view at all.

I managed not to hit either of the vehicles. The… very nice people sat, still unbothered by how incredibly annoying they were and stared at us as we backed past them. On the cleared pavement of the highway we were able to get started and made it up the hill with no more difficulties. Then finally home. To Daisy.

Giving Thanks, And Christmas Decorations!

We celebrated Thanksgiving by hanging the outdoor Christmas lights. We also planted the garlic in the greenhouse, finally. Then the usual run of family stuff.

Now it is snowing and seems like the perfect time to be decorating for Christmas. We were only supposed to get an inch or two but it’s been snowing all day and doesn’t show signs of quitting. Tonight the wind is supposed to blow. Almost blizzard conditions. Yuk.

Thankfully we are warm inside. The new, fake, tree is up and the children got it decorated. Well, one of them did. The other quickly grew tired of it and went to play on her computer. We are in the process of making the first batch of Christmas cookies, but one of them quickly grew tired. Not of making cookies. Just tired, and had to lay down for a nap. When he wakes up we will roll them out and cut them out.

Child Proof

The Goblin Child is entirely too smart for her own good. Too smart for our own good. We always know it. She constantly proves it.

We were sitting at the table finishing breakfast. She decided to get herself one of her yummy vitamin C pills. She was pushing down hard on the bottle making lots of work of unscrewing it. Her father asked why she didn’t just turn the lid?

She looked at him in that disdainful manner only done better by Coyote and teenagers. Because, she said, it says push down and turn!

Of course it did! We looked at the bottle and realized she was reading the instructions for opening the child proof lid. Reading and executing them beautifully.

 

 

 

The Pledge

The Goblin Child is finally getting old enough for her class to start participating in school programs. 8 is in school now so I got to go see my first school program since the children were born. It was fun, a well planed program, a bit of a tear jerker now and then.  It was fun to watch the kids though and even got some video.

Still More Halloween

The actual day of Halloween.

More Halloween

Both children’s classes went trick or treating at the nursing home. The Goblin Child’s class also sang a song though. I couldn’t hear it but I did get it on video!

 

Happy Halloween!

This year 8 is a tractor knight and T.G.C. is a princess knight.

8’s coat of arms is a combine and a tractor divided by some sort of line that is supposed to represent the earth. The black and green represent loyalty and sometimes sorrow. It seemed fitting. A seed corn cap for his helmet. Well it also seemed fitting. What is a tractor knight if not a farmer. What is a tractor knight at all? We don’t know but it was what he wanted on his shield so we went with it, all out.

T.G.C. wanted to wear her cape again from last year after seeing a picture of herself in it. I wanted to make armor and get so sick of princess stuff. Fortunately I remembered Nella, the princess knight. She was happy to go with it. The purple is for royalty, fitting since she is the queen of the world. She requested a Pegasus unicorn for her shield. It was a fun theme to go with. A little more mundane than a tractor but that’s all right.

I really meant to get some pictures of 8 on Coyote wearing the dragon mask. Unfortunately I sold my dragon mask and haven’t gotten another one made. I still mean to get pictures of him on Coyote. Eventually.

Halloween this year is coinciding with corn harvest. Very good atmosphere with the corn husks whirling in the wind and light of combines off in distant fields.

Tonight we trick or treat in town. After the school finishes all their parties of course. Happy Halloween!

 

Harvest Moon Festival

We drove to Hemingford on a crisp clear morning, with a forecast of freezing rain and snow for the afternoon. We met friends down there so the children could frolic together. There was a train giving rides. Pumpkins to admire, I found a couple of types I don’t have yet! There was a haunted hay maze. After sending the kids in by themselves we waited outside for them to come out. Soon enough they did. Back out the entrance. Heather and I went back in with them while my very patient husband waited outside with the stroller and smallest child. Each child had a glow stick. Inside it was pitch black with only the glowing spots of light that circled around us clinging, to our hands, exclaiming their fear loudly, over and over. In the darkness we searched hands outstretched feeling of the prickly straw bales trying to find the rout. We bounced off dead ends, felt the creepy clinging strands of cobwebs, and were confronted by shrieking ghouls. It was wonderful. We found our way out with no children pushed quite to the point of tears and, some of us, wanted to turn around and go again!

We restrained ourselves and went off to look at other things. We spent too much money at the craft fair. Ate good fair food. The children found many things to play on, a corn pit, bouncy balls, stick horses, and a petting zoo. They got to watch a helicoptor land then sit in it! There was a big beautiful team of horses giving wagon rides. Big and black, Percheron? Shire?  The wagon was gorgeous and immaculate. The horses wonderfully behaved. It made me really want to get going on Harvey and see if he really does drive.

We went back to the hay maze again. Before giving it one more go the kids wanted try archery. The Goblin Child says the shooting was her favorite part. Two guys were very patiently showing an endless line of children how to hold and shoot a bow. They both got a chance. They didn’t hit the target but their arrows made it to the other side! Then it was maze time. It was so much fun I didn’t want my poor husband to miss out on the fun. We were going to leave the children to watch their friends shoot the bows while we went alone. Almost like a date. We said our good byes and 8n wanted to come too. There was no shaking him off. So much for a date.

It was ok though. The darkness was gone, replaced by a murky twilight. The ghouls had gone on break. My overly wise husband calmly and quickly lead the way through the twists and turns. The magic was gone. It was a fitting end to the day. We drove home into skies rapidly growing dark and the snow began shortly after we got home.