We took Eric, Stone and Dakota to Gettysburg over the weekend.  We left about 1pm on Friday and encountered a lot of rain and heavy traffic delays around Harrisburg.  It took us 7 hours to cover what we thought would be a 5.5 hour drive.   Kathryn booked a hotel with a pool, so that was the 1st item on the list for the kids.

Saturday AM we went to the museum.  We have been to Gettysburg maybe 3 times prior; once on our own, once with Ed and Billie Jo and once taking mom & dad, but we haven’t been there since they re-did the museum.  It was nice.  There was a 20 minute movie, the cycle-o-ram, and the museum.  That took up our morning.  We ate Subway sandwiches on the battlefield and then watched a group of re-enactors load and fire their muskets.  We followed the re-enactors to their campsite where the kids could handle the muskets, gear and ask questions.  We climbed the observation tower, scrambled on the rocks of Devil’s Den and hiked to the top of Little Round Top.  The kids hit the pool for the evening.

Sunday we took a hike along Cemetery Ridge guided by a park ranger.  In the afternoon we played min-golf and then hit the pool.

Gettysburg Collage

Monday we stopped off at Cabelas on our way home.  We encountered no traffic or weather problems on our trip home.  We had a nice vacation.  The kids were good, considering how much history they had to listen to and how long they had to sit in the car.

End of Winter Wrap Up

I have been battling with Sciatica due to two herniated discs on top of a mending hamstring pull.  I started going to Physical Therapy with some positive results.  Kathryn had a brief scare with one eye, but it turned out to be a common “vitreous separation” (age-related).

Eric is well.  Basketball season has ended.  Between Eric playing on two teams and then watching SU games, We were feeling a bit saturated by it all.
Eric managed to get a lot of spring skiing in at Woods Valley.  Woods Valley ski resort is near perfect; it is close (10 minutes) and small (kids know the hills like the back of their hands) and intimate (there is always someone there you know).  The lodge is a great place for these adolescents to socialize.

HP had the “puberty / growing body” talk for the kids that I attended. There was a lot of talk about deodorant and I expressed concern to the principal afterwards as the teacher repeatedly answered kid’s questions about growing up (eg. Will I be bald?  Have hairy arms, etc.)  by saying “It’s genetic, just look at your dad.”  We are aware that we are not the only family in which the kid’s “dad” is not biologically related.

Kathryn squeezed out a few last skis around the Lollipop Loop.  She got quite a bit of skiing in this winter as it really hung on here, more so than “normal”.

We went through most of the 10 cords of firewood we had on store; we had hoped to extend use of our woodstove into May – but mid-April will be the limit unless we get out and start cutting firewood soon.

I started eggplant and tomato seeds for his garden.  I hoed 1/2 of the garden to mix up dirt into the 6 loads of leaf much that I buried last fall.

Kathryn has been called out at least once a month for Red Cross local disaster stuff – almost all house fires.  Usually in the poorer neighborhoods and multiple family dwellings.

Kathryn ran in the Daniel Barden Mud Run on Saturday in chilly weather.

Daniel Barden Collage

She is doing another obstacle thing called the “Tough Turtle”  the day before Easter in Ithaca and will be joined by Billie Jo, Stone, Dakota, Eric and my friend Margaret and her son. In addition to the adult wave there is a “family run” we can all do together.  They are spending the night partying at a hotel with a pool so it will be a really fun weekend.

Kathryn played in the Remsen volleyball tournament on Sunday.  She is trying to put together a women’s team for the Empire State Senior Games in June but it is hard to find ‘senior’ women who still play volleyball.  I gave up on the “over 60” division and am now working on a team for the “over 50 division.”

We are taking Eric, Stone and Dakota to Gettysburg for a long weekend.  We love Gettysburg, for the history and the landscape (I think that part of Pennsylvania is the best kept secret in the country, and have even talked about it as a good place to retire Eric’s class is studying the civil war so he is kind of interested.  It will be Stone’s first time in a hotel and my first time traveling with three kids.

April Fools Day

Previous years I have taped newspaper over Eric’s bedroom door as an April Fools Day Trick.   Last night I took one of our Corelle cereal bowls, filled it 2/3 with milk and put it in the freezer overnight to freeze.  This morning I separated the frozen, bowl shaped, milk cube, put it into a neutral temperature bowl, covered it with Frosted Flakes and a little milk and served it to Eric for breakfast.  He suspected nothing…. A couple of stabs with his spoon yielded a “SERIOUSLY, Dad?!?”.


MVCC 3v3 Tournament

Eric, Luke and Micheal played in a 3v3 Tournament at MVCC today. Games were 1st to 5 points or high score after 10 minutes.  They won the 1st game 5-1 with Eric making two jump shots.

The 2nd game they were trailing 3-1 and came back to tie at 4-4 and lost in a sudden death overtime.

The third game they lost 4-3 vs the Juggler’s team with a really tall post player.




Eric’s Youth Basketball

Eric Playing Basketball

CNY JBL travel league standings (we were 1st in our group (ACC conf) within the Boys A division!) and finished in 6th place in the 10 team league.  We played in a 6th grade division (B is the 5th grade div), most teams were purely 6th graders – so being as competitive as we were is pretty impressive.

Eric had his last travel team game last night vs VVS. All the older (6th grade) kids went to a middle school dance leaving their 6th ranked team depleted. Six 5th graders vs a very good VVS team that was way bigger. But they played well, losing 43-26. I was really proud of them. Eric had 6 points and played well. The boys improved as a team and as individual players.

Sat AM is Round 3 of the HP League playoffs vs Camden who dominated our 2nd string.  The boys went into the last quarter down by 21 points.  The boys mounted a tremendous rally- holding Camden to ZERO points and scoring 11 points off the press (only allowed the last two minutes of the game).  Everyone felt they had tried their hardest at the end.

HP3 5th-6th Grade House Team

Matt & I coached two basketball teams: a CNY Travel Team and a Holland Patent House Team.  There were three HP teams; if a kid wanted to play we found a team for them.

Standing: Sawyer, Deegan, Nolan, Brandon, Eric, Michael.  Kneeling: Jim, Hunter, Luke, Coe, Matt.  Missing: DeVante

photo 1

The HP3 Team got certificate and a couple of words said about each player.

GENERAL COMMENTS:  We have been together since the end of October.  Five months of working together as a team.  Every player has worked equally hard to get in condition and learn new skills regardless of grade level, age, size or basketball experience. Everyone had to endure a lot of learning skills, learning plays, ‘coaching’, instruction, yelling, when they would rather be scrimmaging, shooting or skiing. As coaches we enjoy seeing the progress you have all made – not only this season – but for some of you we have seen you get better over the years and that is very rewarding.

  • BENEDETTO, MICHAEL: In the beginning Michael was going to be a part time player (50%).  He expanded his scoring range hitting a couple of nice outside jump shots; leading rebounder on the team and very reliable from the foul line.
  • BOLEN, COLE: From not playing basketball we plunged Cole into all the responsibilities of being our point guard (Luke, Eric and Deegan will concur).  Cole kept at great attitude in the face of frustrating situations.  He demonstrated outstanding quickness and commitment to defense.  He was willing to play wing position
    Very good at setting ball screens
  • BOLEN, HUNTER: When Hunter set his mind to playing defense we were a much better team; Expressed great joy when he scored. Hunter may have the highest shooting percentage on the entire team.
    •    Gave us some memorable quotes: Push through it and Get our head out of our butts. (Not sure where he heard those.)
  • JONES, BRANDON: Brandon came to our team not having played basketball before and has made great progress this year.  He competes hard and I don’t think I heard Brandon complain once this year.
    •    Brandon was very coachable and would try to do what the coaches asked of him.
  • KOCHAN, LUKE: It is not easy being the coach’s son, as I am sure Eric will agree, and it isn’t easy playing point guard. Luke plays with a special competitiveness and passion. Luke wants to be a post player and you better beat him to the foul lane, because he wants to take that inside rebounding position.
  • LUDWIN, SAWYER: A year ago when we were playing in the Rome League Sawyer became a rebounding monster in the playoffs and we won the league playoffs.  Sawyer waited most of the season, but once again in the playoffs Sawyer began to get serious about rebounding and when he does good things happen for our team.  This season Sawyer was one of our most reliable players for setting picks – especially ball screens for the point guard.
  • MARSH, NOLAN: Nolan improved tremendously this season to the point that he played significant minutes with the 1st group. Nolan went from not shooting EVER to scoring off of rebounds and put backs.  Nolan could be counted on to be in the right position on defense and when running our offensive plays
  • MULLER, ERIC: I will say this again; it isn’t easy being a coach’s son.  Not only do you have to listen to the coach during practice and games, but they are usually talking about what you should do during the car ride to/from games and practices. Eric started the season off with a bang making 4 of 4 jump shots. He improved his movement on offense, his willingness to rebound and his shooting range.  Eric even played a little point guard for the team, although he didn’t want to.
  • REHM, DEVANTE: On the TV show, SurvivorMan, the one item he always wanted to have with him was a multi-tool.  Devante was our multi-tool player.  We played Devante as a point guard, wing player and post player – both offensively and defensively. When we pressed Devante was like a free safety on a football team incepting the opposition’s passes and taking them the other way. On his break away layups few players could catch Devante and if he could gather himself for a jump stop, it was usually a sure thing.
  • THRASHER, DEEGAN: Some things only come around once in a while.  Like the locust plague comes every 17 years.  Well we only see Deegan on our basketball team every other year, but unlike the plague of locusts, it is always a pleasurable experience. Deegan used to get frustrated and lose his focus during games and we are happy to see Deegan’s leadership for the team. Deegan played wing and point for us very effectively. Deegan is smart enough that we could make in game adjustments.

SUMMARY: Improve as individuals and improve as a team. Team for now; friends forever.  What do you owe your coaches?  Expect to be greeted and tell us how you are doing.

South Lewis Volleyball Tournament

2014 South Lewis Central Volleyball Tournament Rec Div Champions


Back Row: Dave Coe, Kathryn Muller, Chris Poore.  Front Row: Josh Beardsley, Liz Shields, Justin Zacek.

2014 South Lewis Central Volleyball Tournament Rec Div Champions


Snow Party

We had nice weather for the day of our snow party.  Eric had two basketball games in the morning and got a nice shiner from setting a pick and having the kid’s head smack him in the check bone.


Kathryn watched Eric’s early game and then went to watch Dakota’s basketball game in Dolgeville.  She brought Dakota back for the party and an overnight.

We had 30 people – 11 kids; who went sledding, ice skating and sledding again after dark.  Adults were split evenly among snowshoers, trekkers, and Lollipop Loopers.   Six skiers went out after dinner for a moonlit ski and came back ‘one with nature’.   Skip capped off the night with a short fireworks program.


Lollipop Loop , about 2.8 miles of XC skiing.

Lollipop Loop

Snow Party Collage

Everyone went home by 10pm and I got 8 hours of sleep – it couldn’t have worked out better.  ;-)

Snow Party Planning

We are planning on having a snow party next weekend  – 15 Feb – to include sledding, XC, and snowshoeing with in-door games after a pot luck dinner.  We have snow shoed three separate routes through the woods across the road:

  • A short 30 minute loop through our woods  starting at the gate, across Ridge Trail to the apple trees, over to the spring and up to North trail exiting into the meadow to return home
  • The lollipop loop, a 60-90 minute trip through our meadows, up Kirkland’s hill, looping through the woods and returning back down Kirkland’s hill and our meadows.
  • A 2.5- 3 hour trip which encompasses the Lollipop Loop, but adds a ski through past appliance alley through the woods to stream side trail, up through the woods to the old foundations, across the logging road and back to the Lollipop Loop.

We have snowshoed over these trail several times and done basic trail maintenance to remove down limbs and trees.


This afternoon we did an exploratory shoveling the snow off our pond to check on the ice and continued shoveling for about 90 minutes.  We cleared a 15 x 30 rink and a short loop.  The pond ice had a lot of water on it and we are hopeful it will all freeze smooth tonight. Maybe we can add ice skating to our snow party activities.

Nathan’s Coyote and Ermine

My nephew’s son, Nathan, is an active pre-teen hunter and trapper.  For about a year he has had a mount of a coyote and ermine that he trapped.  He finally sent me a picture of the mount, which is on a shelf over his bed.

Nathan's Coyote