Monday, October 06, 2008

One room school

After getting up and watching the market go down more than 500 points I thought I would write about more fun times.

When I started school I went to a one room school house in Iowa. It seemed like a big place as a five year old kid. But it was about the size of our current living room, kitchen, and family room. It had a enclosed porch, and a coal room in the back to store large black chunks of coal for heating. And two out houses one for girls and one for boys. Complete with the latest Sears catalog for you know what. A swing set with three swings for recces. In the back of the main room was a large round stove for heating. In the front was a raised platform a recitation bench, black broad and the teachers desk. There were several rows of desks starting with small ones on the right when facing the classes to progressively larger ones to the left.

The single picture of me was when I was in first grade I could not find my kindergarten picture. The picture above right was taken outside of the school when I was in second grade. And the one below was when I was in fifth grade. The school was for kids from Kindergarten through 8th grade. We had one teacher for the whole school. She did everything needed, lighting the stove in winter for heat or opening the windows in Spring and Fall for cooling. Cleaning, and of course teaching all the grades. I had the same teacher Mrs A for years k - 4th. We got a new teacher when I was in 5th grade. I think Mrs A retired.

Getting to school was accomplished by walking. It was not too far about 3/4 of a mile. I walked with the neighbor kids from the farm down the road. You carried your lunch in a lunch pail. It could be kind of cold in the winter but my mom always bundled me up very well. As a farm kid one of the things that showed the difference between being a little kid and a big kid in school was your overshoes. As a little kid you wore three buckle black overshoes. And when you got to be a big kid, it meant your dad let you drive the tractor by yourself like around ten and five buckle overshoes. Don't ask why that was such a big deal but I can tell you I was so happy when mom said I could get five buckle overshoes, I had arrived. The other big thing was jeans vs overalls. As you can see in my second grade class I was in overalls. And I hated it. We were the class on our knees in the first row. By fifth I had graduated to jeans with a belt and of course those precious overshoes.

I did not think much about being the largest class in the school until the other day while riding the bike. I was born in 1946 the start of the Baby Boom.

My earliest memory of school was Kindergarten and the little play area in the corner behind our desks. All I remember was it was enclosed with a low wall and had a great toy tractor with a front loader that could you could pick up the shelled field corn and put it in a little toy wagon. The girls had some dolls to play with. Boys did not play with dolls.

The other big memory was learning to read and math. The first book we read from was the Dick and Jane books and I was fairly good. But I still remember setting on the long recitation bench and looking ahead as we went down the line reading our page. And just hoping that Mrs A did not change the order of who she called on. Hated when that happened. The other big thing was doing math on the black board. That one you could not make a good guess of what you would be doing and practice while awaiting your turn. You just had to set there and watch your friends do well or struggle as Mrs A wrote an addition, subtraction, multiplication or fraction problem on the board.
And called some poor kid in your class to come up and solve it. I can still remember going over those multiplication tables in my head 6*6 = 36 etc. How do I carry a number. Do I turn that fraction over to multiply or is that dividing fractions. It was stressful as a kid. But math and reading I did OK. Spelling was another story.

Enough for now. Maybe I should do a Recess blog. Later the bike is calling.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Bike Rides

The picture has nothing to do with riding my bicycle. But on my ride today I was thinking I had not added to my Blog lately. I had said I would update what I did last week. So here goes the last two weeks.
1. Rode the bike a lot like 300 miles.
2. Bought a new computer. No not an I-MAC but a Gateway. Six hundred bucks cheaper and more features. No issues but I did learn some of my old software and my scanner will not work on the latest technology. Vista works great. And I did not have to teach WB anything new.
3. Went to the State Fair with Biscuit.
4. Went to the movies. Traitor fair flick.
5. Watched the Olympics. I don't want to see any more Gymnastics, or Beach Volley Ball.
6. Watched the Democrats convention. Was impressed. Obama has my vote.

When I got my new machine I had to bring in all my photos like 9,000. And somehow I copied two of almost everyone. So after 3 part time days I got all the duplicates removed. But while on my bike ride it got me thinking I should write about things I remember as a kid. I have a few photos of that. So here goes a partial list.
1. Kindergarten.
2. One room school house.
3. Sunday School.
4. Farm chores.
5. Tractor driving.
6. Horses.
And more but that should get me to like 6th grade.

Later. Off to watch the Republicans try to convince me a Gov from Alaska makes a good VP.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What I did on my Summer Vac

I just looked at the last time I actually posted something and realized it was before summer vacation. And it reminded me of when I was a kid and had just gone back to school in the fall and the teacher had us write the essay, what did you do on your summer vacation. Being a kid who lived on a farm it was milked the cows, made hay, cultivated corn, weeded corn, vacation bible school, and swimming lessons.

This summer as you can see started out with another hike up Half Dome in Yosemite. I did it with my old Navy buddy his wife and a close friend of his wife. For me it was the third time I had done the hike so I knew what to prepare for. It was a good hike and we all had fun.

After returning from Yosemite it was get ready for our first real road trip since I retired. WB was done for the summer so we loaded the Camry up with all our stuff and headed out. The main goal of the trip was Banff National Park in Canada. We started the trip by going to Glacier National Park in the US. A must see place if you have not been there. There was still lots of snow so we could not take the going to the Sun highway across the park. But the waterfalls, wildlife were out in full force. After three days of camping it was off to Canada and the town of Banff. The Canadian Rockies again are a must see. We stayed in Canada for seven days and did all of the tourist stuff. Took the Ice field tour on the big bus that drive on the Glacier. Drove the full length of the Ice fields parkway like three times. Stayed in Jasper at the North end of the Park. Lots and lots of stuff to see. In total we took almost 700 pictures. Much more than I could ever upload.
There was lots of animals to see, Elk, black Bears, Grizzly bears, Big Horn Sheep, Mountain Goats, Moose, and even a Wolverine. A very rare event. The guy standing next to us told us after seeing it he had lived and worked in the woods in the Canadian Rockies for 20 years and had only seen one other Wolverine. But the photo that best describes what happens when someone sees and animal along the drive is the one of of the folks taking photos. Almost more entertaining than the animal itself. I don't think in the 1800's people would have taken the same approach to see a bear, elk, etc.

With so many pictures, it is now time for a new computer. Stay tuned for what I get. I think I will try to post once a week with a review of the previous week of what a retired guy does.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

23.3 OZ

After much thinking and help from Mrs H. on seam selection my new backpacking tent is done. Well almost I still have one small piece of netting to put in by the door. And it is a tent with no floor so I have to find a small piece of Tyvek house wrap. I found the drawings on line and made the pattern out of newspaper. The material came from Seattle Fabrics the only place I could find the material I wanted. I did not pick the lightest nylon called for since my cheap side kicked in and could not cough up the extra $5.oo per yard to save 0.7 ounces. It turned out a little longer than I like. The person who designed it made it long so you would have some shelter to eat inside and not get in the way of your sleeping area. It takes six stakes and uses my hiking poles for poles. I might make a couple of additions like a sewn in floor and maybe a couple of side pull outs. If I made it over I would make it two feet shorter.

Next step try it out. And keep the total weight with floor and stakes under 32 ounces. A savings of almost two pounds from the tent I used before.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


I wanted to post a picture taken with my new camera. But the files are bigger than this site allows. So hence the photo of my latest idea. A clothes line for drying clothes. WB got the line for $.50 at garage sale so I thought I would try it out. In Southern Ca we always used a clothes line.

Last week WB and I went to Yosemite for four days of camping. While we were there I decided to take a few pictures using the RAW file format with my new camera. I took about 10 using the RAW format and about 80 using the JPEG format. Using the RAW format you get every pixel just like when using film nothing is deleted when the file is saved. When I got home and was done downloading into Photoshop I could not find the RAW files. I had thought Photoshop would convert them. I checked the camera and they were still there. So I loaded the software that came with the camera which can download and open the files. After about 30 minutes of downloading, registering, and rebooting the computer I hooked up the camera and started. I had 10 pictures using the RAW format. The 80 JPEG files downloaded like in 2 minutes or less. After 5 Min's of work I finally had 10 RAW photos downloaded. And my hard drive space was noticeably smaller. But everything is there. The other thing I learned was that I cannot run any other program while it is converting the files. I usually stay on-line and maybe had a Spreadsheet or two open. But when working with those files I found if I am running anything else just go away and have a cup of coffee while the computer grinds away computing all those little pixel changes you just made. So now I just run the one program and it works OK. Still I have only gotten one file to Photoshop. I guess today I go into help section and see what I am doing wrong. Last thing 80 more RAW files and my hard drive is full. Next stop a new machine with 500 G of hard drive vs 40 and a faster engine.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

After much thinking...

After much thinking like more than a year I finally bought a DSLR. I read all the reviews for the Sony Alpha 100 which did quite well but had a few short comings. I waited for Sony to release there Pro model the 700 which also came with a Pro price. I watched as they came out with live view for their next generation DSLR's. But in the end the 200 seemed to fit my needs. I saved enough money by not buying the 700 to buy a nice lens soon. Digital Camera Review just completed a review of the kit lenses which comes with my purchase which said good lens to learn with, than upgrade. Something I plan on doing. So off to open the box to make sure there really is a camera in their. Later....

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Spring is coming

Spring is here which means the REI dividend check arrived in the mail last week. With the great 20% off coupon and my dividend it only cost $14.00 to get the new day pack I have had my eye on for at least six months. The weather is also been getting warmer lately meaning no more winter bike riding gear. And the trees in the neighborhood are starting to bloom. Still working on that new DSLR. I thought Best Buy had a great price on the one I have been thinking about but turned out it was no better than the price at I think now I will wait until the Sony Alpha 300 with live view is available and than buy.

Off for a bike ride:)