Pumpkin Patch Mud Run

Kathryn, Eric and Stone ran in the 5k Pumpkin Patch Mud Run. Notice Stone’s white shorts (not to be white ever again).


On the take off Eric and Stone ran to an early lead up the slight hill.

Take off

While the runners were out on the course Dakota and I hung out and tried to get out of the wind and stay warm.  We checked out the pumpkin dolls, sat in the witch’s mouth, ate cider donuts, looked at the animals, and Dakota tried out the hay bale maze.

Hanging with Dakota

While we were moseying towards the cargo net we saw Eric and Stone approaching.

Cargo net 1

About 10 minutes behind Kathryn approached the cargo net.

Cargo net 2

After the cargo net Kathryn shed her sweatshirt and plunged into the cold water pool at the finish line.

Water Slide

After a 30 minute break, Stone, Eric, Kathryn and Dakota ran the shorter 2K.

Family Run

Everyone was cold and quickly changed into dry clothes.  We went to Jeanne’s for hot soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.




Last September Weekend

We couldn’t have asked for better weather this weekend. Eric’s soccer game Friday was versus Frankfort – a team that they lost to on Monday.  This time they won 2-1 and controlled the game flow.  Afterwards Eric went to the middle school dance while we played pitch with friends Steve/Linda and Bonnie/Cindy. Saturday I completed my defensive driving class.  Every three years for the insurance discount.  But it was a crime to sit inside on such a nice day. Kathryn canned pears and made applesauce for the winter.  We cut another cord of firewood for next year as we opened up our trail in back of Kincaids so that my tractor and brush hog will fit through.  I climbed up on our roof and cleaned our wood stove chimney.  Our chimney was quite clean. Eric has soccer games on Monday and Tuesday.  Kathryn and I watched the full lunar eclipse before crashing for the night.

2015-09-27 Lunar Eclipse

HPMS vs Canastota

In their 2nd game in a row HP Modified Soccer team faced a big (20 player) and experienced Remsen team. Once again playing against a team comprised of 7-9th graders, HPMS was challenged to control the ball.  The team didn’t space as well as their opening game, seemed flat to start and did a lot of kicking versus passing of the ball.  Remsen was not only big, but also as fast as HPMS.  They lost 4-1 but played better the last 10 minutes of the game.

Wednesday night HPMS traveled to Canastota (another 7-9th grade team).  Canastota had 14 players with a couple of good players, but also some holes; they were not able to match HPMS’s speed across all positions.  HPMS won 5-2 with goals by Luke, Eric and Jack;  in all 7 players took shots on goal.  Below HPMS listens to Coach Parson’s prior to the game.


HP Middle School vs Frankfort

HPMS had their 1st soccer game versus Frankfort Schuyler and lost 4-1.  Frankfort doesn’t have a JV team so their modified team had several ninth graders on their team.  Eric played primarily as forward and scored one goal.

2015-09-21 HPMS vs Frankfort

Labor Day Weekend

We cut firewood to complete Angle Trail from the pasture to North Trail. We ended up cutting live trees; most were ash but a few cherry which were all stacked under the shed to dry for next winter.

Saturday we went to see Bill Nye. He was entertaining, if you were a grown up. But since he lectured, the kids were bored to the point of distraction. It was too bad; I think many people expected the Bill Nye the Science Guy from tv. He has a good sense of humor so his lecture was OK. His basic points: global climate change is happening at an alarming rate; we need to do something to lessen human beings’ impact on climate change; space exploration is good. I think he was preaching to the choir, though. Based on the level of applause, I think there were few people there that didn’t already believe those points.

Then we went to Applebee’s for a snack and had just a terrible experience. It took them so long to get our food, we were there 2 hours. They offered us free dessert to make up for it, but by that time we wanted just to get the heck out of there.  Sunday evening we met Helmers at Recovery Sports Bar in Verona, and had a good time.

Kathryn canned 14 jars of  tomatoes.

Labor Day Weekend, 7th Grade, Woodpile and Cider Press

Labor Day weekend. The end of summer. We are having absolutely gorgeous weather, hot (80s), dry and sunny. We didn’t do anything interesting this weekend. Eric went gone off for an overnight at JD’s  house (who has a pool). We have cut firewood around the pasture and one elm tree for Billie Jo & Joel.  It is really dry so I hooked up the brush hog and gave the trails one last mow.  Since Eric was off for an overnight we had a meal that he usually won’t eat; beef stroganoff with mushrooms.

Eric was ready for 1st day of school and waiting for the bus equipped with head phones, soccer gear (for practice after school) and school supplies.  Cullen and Kathryn waited with him (as did our trash and recyclables for ‘trash day’).  Also shown is Kathryn’s cider press (a loaner) and a picture of our shed with wood piles, camper and truck.

2015-09-08 1st Day of 7th Grade1

Rock Lake Fishing Derby

We planned an overnight canoe camping trip for 4; with Eric inviting his buddy Trevor.  The last minute Trevor bailed on the trip, so we unloaded one of the canoes, cut down on our food and decided to continue. The weather was perfect.

Kathryn and Eric had a two day fishing contest while we were canoe camping. Eric won Day 1 by virtue of the shear number of Sunfish he caught. Kathryn clearly won Day 2 by catching 3 bass; a nice small mouth bass and two large mouth bass; one of which was a hefty 18″. Kathryn mistook it for being caught in the weeds at first.

We fished at night with a bright half moon, beaver swimming and splashing around us.  Eric had a strike on the lure he found at one of the campsites, but wasn’t able to catch anything.

2015-08-22 Rock Lake

Volley Llamas Season Wrap Up

I didn’t play much as a Volley Llamas this summer; ~3 nights and not at all as a Sand Flea.  However, two of those nights Eric played on our team and did well.  He was on our roster and by virtue of those games he was ‘qualified’ to play in the playoffs.  We had lots of substitutes help out during the summer and everyone contributed during the season.  This was a fun group of people to play with and I appreciated everyone’s positive attitude and support of one another.  I know for me, it was fun being able to play games not only with Kathryn, but with  BillieJo and Eric.  I anticipate Rich / Jason and Ron / Andy had similar appreciation of their experience.

We entered the playoffs as the 2nd seeded team about 6 games behind Dig Pink and 8 games ahead of The Scrappers (Jack, John, Andy, Jess, Billy and Cathy).  Volley Llamas took two quick games from The Minions – the 7th ranked team who won their opening round game vs. 10th ranked Balls Deep.  Our 2nd match was versus 3rd ranked The Scrappers who vanquished 5th ranked Finndale Farms in their earlier playoff match.  Game 1 we jumped out to an over powering lead and coasted to a win.  Game 2 was close through the mid-teens before gaining our 2nd win. In the championship game we faced Dig Pink losing a close game 1 and not close game 2.

I anticipate changes for next season as regulars Rich indicated he would like to be a sub and Jason likely moving to the Syracuse area.  So we will be looking for full time replacements, as well as, individuals willing to help as subs.  I am proud of our accomplishment as a team and very thankful to have had the opportunity for a fun season of volleyball.

A Visit From The Sisters

Jeanne and Barbara came to visit for a weekend.  Kathryn picked them up and returned them. We had some nice meals and visits.


Spanish River

2015-07-31 Spanish River

During our 5 day trip down the Spanish River Skip had several ‘songs’ composed in his honor.  It gave Jim something to do while paddling and proved mildly entertaining to the rest of the group.  There were variations of Canoeing in the Rain, and 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall (became 30km to Paddle Today) and this summary of the trip.

Spanish River 2015 (with apologies to New Riders “Henry”)

Every year about this time we plan a canoeing trip,
bringing all our canoeing buddies the group is led by Skip.
Heading north to Spanish River, there are sights to see,
paddling down those Spanish rapids, classes II and III.

The Spanish landscape is beautiful and a wondrous sight,
we saw ducks, ospreys, moose and the full moon at night.
But the lure of the river was running down those waves,
we ran all the rapids except those named as graves.

Now we’re paddling the Spanish River going fast splash, splash;
if we dump at this one it will be our last.
Paddling Spanish rapids, classes II and III;
help me keep this canoe straight through these rapids if you please.

Paddling down Spanish River for all of five days
Skip consulted all the maps we thought he knew the way.
Lakes and swifts and rapids, the water ran downstream
We paddled 30 kilometers every day ‘cause Skip was mean.

Bouncing off the rocks and boulders paddle Steve and Ski,
Following right behind them paddle Tim and me.
Jack is ruddering, Skip is prying, trying to keep them straight.
At the bottom of the rapids we will quietly wait.

Now we’re paddling the Spanish River going fast splash, splash;
if we dump at this one it will be our last.
Paddling Spanish rapids, classes II and III;
help me keep this canoe straight through these rapids if you please.

Now it’s looking dire for our boys and their sideways canoe,
They are floating towards the rocks and we don’t know what they’ll do.
Watching beers and chocolates floating down the waves.
Leaving Jack and Skip alone, it’s snacks and beers we’ll save.

Friday before departure Eric and I assembled the Yakima racks for my truck; a vex some process, but it enabled us to carry most of the gear, two canoes (Wenonah Cascade & Old Town Camper) and three passengers.  Tim drove his Jeep with his gear, Steve’s Mad River canoe and three passengers.


We met at my house at 7am and were on the road by 7:30am – headed to Buffalo, Toronto and NW to Agnew Lake Lodge.  Toronto was hosting the Pan American games and traffic was unbelievable.  We lost 1 hour in heavy stop and go traffic and almost got rear ended.  We stopped in Perry Sound (home of Bobby Hull) due to a traffic accident that killed 2 and left 4 others injured.  We call Agnew Lake Lodge and informed them we would arrive the next morning instead.  We rented a campsite and turned in at 9pm.  We arose Sunday at 5:30am, packed up and drove to Agnew Lake Lodge.

Google Directions to Lake Agnew

At Agnew Lake Lodge we got our shuttle drivers, fishing licenses, camping and parking permits and headed to Duke Lake – a three hour drive.  We were on the water at 1:30pm and headed out looking for an early campsite.

2015-07-31 Spanish River

We camped on a sandy point after paddling on 9th Lake for a little over 2 hours.  We were hopeful the exposure on the sand spit would provide a breeze and keep the bugs away.  It did, occasionally.  We had some mosquitoes, but mainly biting flies – stable flies / ankle biters.  We all took a quick swim to clean up but didn’t stay in long due to the leeches.  We agreed that each of us would be responsible for our own breakfast and lunch but we took turns making dinner.  For the 1st night Steve made turkey meat burritos for dinner.

I slept OK – not great.  I overfilled my NEOS air mattress and it was hard,  my pillow was off, we had mosquitoes in the tent and I had to get up to pee.  We got up at 6pm.  Skip made coffee and eggs.  We packed up our tents, damp with condensation and were paddling by 8am.

2015-07-31 Spanish River1

Our routine was to paddle for 60-90 minutes and then stop for a drink and snack.  Skip’s plan was to get us to the head of Agnew Lake on Thursday night so the paddle across the lake could be done early Friday morning while the lake was calm.  To achieve this he set paddling goals of 10km on Sunday and 30km every day thereafter.  We paddled from 8am – 3pm – all lake paddling with a couple of little swifts in between. Leaving 1st Lake we followed a series of swifts and easy rapids.  Time and I put our canoe cover on as we left our lunch site anticipating rapids.  Tim and I went 1st through the first rapids we encountered.  Skip and Jack went next; followed by Steve and Ski.  There was a large rock towards the bottom of the rapids.  Skip and Jack tried to cross to the right side of the stream and broadsided the rock and dumped.  They used the home made bailer I issued to each canoe to empty the water from their boat – it would be used again.  Tim and I saved the beer and chocolate which escaped their canoe.  We took pictures at one of our break points that coincided with a campsite that Skip, Steve, Bob and I had used as our day 1 campsite on our trip 12 years prior.  It was more overgrown by bushes.   We fell just short of Skip’s goal for the day when we decided to stay on a point in Expansia Lake.  Skip and Jack made dinner: steaks, potatoes and fried squash.

2015-07-31 Spanish River2

Our water filter got clogged despite our pre-filtering of the lake water.  We back flushed multiple times and got minimal improvement.  Tim declared out Expansia Lake campsite to be ‘Squatchy” and claimed to hear several Sasquatch noises.

Our 3rd day was a marathon day of paddling from 8:30am – 6:30 pm with a one hour break to portage around Upper Albion Rapids.  We ran the Lower Albion Rapids, Railroad Rapids, Bridge Rapids and Cliff Rapids.  We were going to stay at Cliff Rapids but the 1st site was too muddy and dark.  We ran the rapids (past the nude sunbather) and found the lower two sites were taken.  About 3pm we stopped at an old campsite and Jack, Tim and I went for a swim to cool off.  I felt like I was overheating and needed to cool down.  About 4km below Cliff Rapids we found an island campsite where we stayed for the night. It was buggy, but home for the night. Tim and I made carrot sticks and celery sticks stuffed with peanut butter or cheese spread as our snack and cooked hot dogs and beans for our dinner.  Jack & I took a swim off a nearby sand bar after dinner but the hordes of large horse flies were a menace and kept us from being out long.

2015-07-31 Spanish River3

We were on the water at 7:30am and paddled Zig Zag and Little Graveyard rapids.  We emptied the boats and carried around Graveyard Rapids.  At Agnes Rapids, Skip & Jack carried, Tim & I lined and Steve and Ski ran.  We played leap frog with a family group who stopped to swim at the Elbow.  One of the swimmers lost their Croc while swimming.  Tim and I managed to retrieve it from the fast moving water and toss it up on shore for them to retrieve.  We saw two moose swimming across the river and they stood on the shore and watched us approach for a long time.  We stopped to camp for the night on top of a very large rock with an outstanding view although it was a pain to haul our gear from the canoes up the slope.

Our water filter has failed.  It has gradually slowed down to the past few days we have had to back flush every 16-32 oz.  We finally got enough water by letting it drip all night long into the big collapsible water bucket and by using the water from the 1/2 gallon ice blocks which melted.  I also had 2 dromedary bags filled with water from melted ice.  It was nice drinking clean water that we didn’t have to add Crystal Light flavoring.

Wednesday night I made Spanish rice  using Kathryn’s recipe and preparations.  It came out great and everyone had 2nds and 3rds.

2015-07-31 Spanish River4

Thursday morning we were on the water at 8:15am, ran a couple of swifts and then ran the Cascade Rapids.  Cascade Rapids were a series of ‘cascades’ with the last of the rapids being large standing waves.  Tim got a chestful of water, but little made it’s way into the canoe.  The canoe cover worked well.  It was easy to access the snaps stayed on and it shaded our lower legs and feet.  It saved us on at least two occasions from getting serious water in the canoe. We paddled until 2pm and camped at the head of Agnew Lake.  There was a lot of wind and white caps as we set up camp.  We staked our tents down securely and enjoyed some camp time.  Skip and Jack made dinner from freeze dried vegetables and rice.  Bored by 6pm we turned in early at night. We were once again blessed with a full moon at night.  We got up early, had coffee and granola bars and packed up for our paddle across Agnew Lake.  The lake was dead calm to start, but we ended up paddling into waves on our return.

Spanish River Last Day Collage

On our return ride home (13 hours !!) we had plenty of time for trip assessment discussions.

  • The Spanish River was a good choice for our skill levels.  The Class II & III rapids were challenging but not threatening.  Both Tim and Jack, as well as the rest of the group, gained more confidence in running rapids and maneuvering the canoes around obstacles as the trip progressed.
  • Traveling with 6 people / 3 canoes was ideal.  The group fit the available campsites and we all traveled at a similar pace.
  • The truck and Jeep were ideal for transporting 3 canoes, gear for six people and six passengers.
  • The Mad River and Wenonah Cascade canoes were well suited for the trip.  The canoe cover was a nice feature.  The 16′ Old Town Camper canoe lacked a little freeboard in the middle and that’s where Skip & Jack shipped most of their water.  Bailers for each canoe were useful.
  • Despite planning a 6 day trip the group decided to try and return on Saturday.  We spent 1/2 day on the water Sunday; Monday-Thursday as full days on the water and 1/2 day out on Friday.  While a little more “down time” would have been appreciated on a couple of the long days paddling when given the extra time on the last day we got bored.
  • Despite planning to fish the group didn’t invest as much time in fishing as perhaps planned.  Even with a license and bringing fishing equipment Jim never fished at all.  Steve and Ski did the most fishing, but much of that was trolling while paddling.
  • The next trip should have a ‘transportation officer’ responsible for road maps and alternative routing to/from our destination.  We relied too heavily on our GPS which routed us through Toronto and heavy traffic.    The drive to/from Agnew Lake Lodge was excessive.
  • Our water filter issues were troublesome.  We had another Basecamp filter and a small emergency Sawyer water filter if needed.  We did multi-layered pre-filtering of our water, but probably should have let our water settle in the camp bucket for 10-15 minutes before pre-filtering.
  • Our meals worked out great and we had an abundance of food and snacks. The two burner propane stove worked out well.  We agreed next time that the cooks shouldn’t also be responsible for washing dishes.  We should have squeezed our food supplies to reduce  from 4 to just 3 coolers.

Plans for a summer 2016 trip are being considered.