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The Girl Scouts Father / Daughter Dance May 16, 2009

Posted by Joe in Scouts.

A couple of months ago, I had the privilege of escorting Rachel to a Girl Scouts Father / Daughter dance. We had a wonderful time.

Here’s a picture from the dance.  I love that girl!



“I just did what anybody would do.” May 6, 2009

Posted by Joe in Family, Scouts.

Last summer, Benjamin and Rachel were invited to a friend’s pool party to celebrate the end of the school year. There were about a dozen fellow homeschoolers there along with a handful of their parents. It was a beautiful day for a pool party and picnic. Everyone was having a good time swimming and playing.

A 3 year old little girl was there, swimming with the aid of her water wings. She eventually grew tired swimming and got out of the pool to play for a little while. She took off her water wings.

Later, when she wanted to get back in the pool, she had forgotten all about her water wings and she jumped into the deep end of the pool. She couldn’t swim. She began to sink.

Benjamin saw this happen and ran to the side of the pool, jumped in, grabbed her, and pulled her to the ladder where her mother was waiting to help pull her out.

Benjamin didn’t mention the incident. We learned of it later from the girl’s mother. I asked Benjamin why he didn’t tell us about it and he just shrugged his shoulders and said “I just did what anybody would do. No big deal.”

Through a passing conversation, the Middle Tennessee Council of the Boy Scouts of America learned of the incident. They asked for more information from the people there. And last month at our Pack meeting, they awarded Benjamin a Certificate of Merit.


And he got his name in the paper.

2009_04_29_11_33_04_2Obviously, we’re proud of him, as much for the character and attitude as for the act itself.

Father/Daughter Girl Scout Luau March 21, 2009

Posted by Laura in Family, Scouts.

I think we’ve neglected to mention that Rachel has been active in Girl Scouts from the moment she was eligible, just like Benjamin was with Cub Scouts.  Last year, she was a Daisy and this year she has moved up to be a Brownie.  Even though she is the only girl in her troop not in the local elementary school, her leader says she fits in beautifully and she has so many friends that you’d never guess they haven’t known each other for years.

Girl Scouts is very different than Cub/Boy Scouts (at least here).  A parent has always been required to participate in all things the boys do, but parents are really discouraged to hang around the girls.  That makes the things the girls work on very hard to photograph.  Tonight though, I had a good opportunity.  It’s the annual Father/Daughter Dance with a Hawaiian theme.  Here is the lovely couple before they left for their date.


You can’t quite see it, but we put a matching pink flower in Rachel’s hair.

The Pleasant View Christmas Parade December 7, 2008

Posted by Joe in Family, Scouts.

Earlier today, Rachel’s Brownie troop marched in the Pleasant View Christmas Parade. Here are some pictures of the event.


Rachel did a great job tossing candy to onlookers.


It was cold, around 32 degrees F. So Timothy was bundled up pretty well. He looked a little like Ralphie’s brother in “A Christmas Story” when he fell down on the way to school and couldn’t get up because his mother had wrapped him in so many clothes.


Of course it wouldn’t really be a parade if the Shriners didn’t ride their little motorcycles around in circles.


And although we live in a small town, we do have a police force. Fortunately, this is not one of the patrol cars.

Incoming! November 14, 2008

Posted by Laura in Family, Scouts.

Benjamin has enjoyed cub scouts since he finished Kindergarten and joined as a Tiger cub.  He is now a Webelo and loves it as much as ever.  At the meeting last night, the boys got to build a catapult to work on an “engineering” badge.


Nearly finished.


Now, let the war begin!  (And Lydia wasn’t left out of this battle.  She ran right through the middle of the combat gathering up ammo- ping pong balls- as fast as she could).


Rachel and Timothy took cover out of harm’s way.


Pretty cool project!

The opening of camping season July 14, 2008

Posted by Joe in Scouts.
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The camping season is upon us! Last week, Benjamin and I, along with 2 other adult leaders and 8 Scouts from Benjamin’s Pack, went to the Boy Scout’s Boxwell Reservation for Webelos resident camp. In all, there were probably 150 Scouts and 100 leaders there with us.

We arrived Monday around lunchtime and stayed through Thursday lunch. Despite the frequent rain that fell during our stay, Benjamin had a great time. He earned 4 activity badges while there – the Outdoorsman, Readyman (first aid), Aquanaut (swimming and water safety), and Scientist badges.


Here’s Benjamin practicing CPR on a clearly distressed patient.

Austin, Benjamin, Cameron, and Ethan learned to tie knots, put up tents, and fire safety in the Outdoorsman sessions.


This totem pole marks the entrance to the Indian Village.

Even with all the work that goes into earning the badges, there’s still some time for fun and play.


Benjamin and the others could spend hours defending this castle from evil-doers.

One the hallmarks of the camping trip is the closing night camp fire. It’s full of skits, songs, and laughter. The highlight of it, however, is its grand finale. All of the active duty military, veterans, and retired military are honored for their commitment and service to our great country. A worn and tattered American flag is respectfully retired over the camp fire while taps is bugled by a Boy Scout. No one could leave the ceremony without feeling full of pride for these United States.

When we returned home on Thursday, there was little need of putting our gear away. We had another overnight camping trip scheduled for Saturday.


It may look sunny in this picture, but once again much needed rain found its way to our temporary accommodations. We needed it, too!


Benjamin caught this largemouth bass in the pond.

Whew, that was our 3rd trip in as many weeks! I’m glad to be home, sleeping in my bed for a while! There’s another one coming up in a few weeks; I’m hoping Rachel will join us for that one.

Using Goats the Way God Made Them July 11, 2008

Posted by Laura in Homeschooling, Scouts.
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We’ve had a bit of rain this week, but the deficit is still noticeable. The grass in the refenced pastures is turning brown and has been eaten down very low. It is imperative that the animals get into new paddocks, but we haven’t been able to refence them yet. The spring growth along the old fenceline has made a terrible snarl of brambles, saplings, and honeysuckle vines. In the heat and humidity, clearing that is a truly awful job requiring bushhog, chainsaw, loppers, pick-up truck, etc. We decided to employ the goats instead.

Joe weed-eated and chopped enough away to run temporary electric fence on the first section of it. Then he and the older children sunk the posts. We turned (or in some cases, wrestled) the goats into their new paddock. The goats looked around in awe and elation and then disappeared into the thicket. We’ve scarcely seen anything but back ends sticking out occasionally since.

Benjamin was handy with the post-driver for the T-posts.

After Joe cleared an area to run the wires, Rachel helped him step in the posts. This was the “tame” side of a new enclosure. What’s behind them will be cleared sometime in the future.

Crackle surveys the grass in front of “the jungle.” There was a good 10 feet at least of this tall stuff, then the blackberry brambles, then the honeysuckle-entwined fence when we first turned them in. Within 2 days, all that was left of the tall stuff was a canopy of leaves.

You can’t tell it, but there is a herd of goats back there. When we go outside in the morning, we call our hellos and faceless voices call back from the shadows.

Cub-n-Family campout December 6, 2007

Posted by Joe in Scouts.
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This time of year is so busy with the holidays, year-end projects, and preparing for the winter months, that I’ve gotten a bit behind on the less critical activities, such as blogging. So, I thought I’d attempt to catch up a little bit at least and share some photos from a recent Cub Scout camping trip.

In mid-October, our Cub Scout Pack participated in the Cub-n-Family camp out. Benjamin loves the camping trips we take several times a year. He does a great job helping out around the campsite while still having a lot of fun.

At the Cub-n-Family outing, each family brings their own tent, food, firewood, etc. Nothing, save fun daily activities, are provided for the Scouts. This gives them a chance to help plan and buy meals ahead of time and then prepare it outdoors at the campsite. This is in contrast to the summer camps where meals are provided.

Boy Scouts and other Scout leaders are there to provide activities for us. In the picture below, Benjamin is turning twine into a woven rope.

Here’s the finished product and a Scout proud of his accomplishment.

There were also bottle rockets, but not in the traditional sense. These bottle rockets were kid powered. They took 16 oz bottles partially filled with water and fitted them onto a piece of PVC. A bicycle pump was connected to the other end of the PVC pipe. The boys pumped air into the bottle until the pressure was so great that it overcame the friction keeping it attached to the PCV pipe. And away it shot into the air. Accomplished Scouts could send them over 100 feet skyward.

What kid doesn’t like to pillow fight?

Benjamin talked with a man in Chicago on a ham radio.

One of Benjamin’s favorite activities was petting a real wolf.

All in all a fun time. We’re looking forward to our next camping trip. I think Rachel is going to join us on that trip.

3, 2, 1 Lift-off! October 31, 2007

Posted by Joe in Scouts.
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One of the most exciting of our Cub Scout Pack’s building projects is the Miniature Rockets. These light-weight rockets, created from kits, are constructed of balsa wood, plastic, and cardboard. Each rocket has a place for a small but power engine to be inserted into its body.

The scouts carefully assemble and paint the miniature projectiles. Great care is taken to align the rockets fins. Misaligned fins can cause the rocket to spiral out of control and cartwheel across the ground. That’s more excitement than we want.

On launch day, the Pack gathers together to send their creations skyward. In turn, each scout places his creation on the launch pad, connects the electrical launch controls to the engine, and starts the count down.

3, 2, 1, LIFT-OFF!!! The rocket races upward, toward the sky. Depending on the size and weight of the rocket and the size of the engine strapped inside the rocket can reach an altitude of 1,500 feet or more.

When all of the fuel has been expended, a small explosion forces the parachute to deploy. The rocket gracefully returns to earth while the scouts race to catch the rocket.

It’s a lot of fun watching the scouts run this way, then that way, then back this way again, as the wind subtly shifts direction while the rocket is on its way down.


Benjamin’s rocket never quite made it to the ground after its first launch. A tree intercepted it. Oh well…..we had fun.

We have a bear! June 2, 2007

Posted by Joe in Family, Scouts.
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We have a bear…scout, that is. A few weeks ago, our Cub Scout pack held its cross-over ceremony. For those unfamiliar with Scouting, a first grader enters as a Tiger Scout; in the second grade he becomes and Wolf Scout, and as a third grader he is promoted to the level of Bear Scout.

You may recall from last year’s crossover, that during the crossover ceremony the patch is pinned on up side down and must remain that way until the boy performs a good deed as defined by his mother. Then she will turn the patch right side up and sew it on his uniform.

Although Benjamin entered at the conclusion of his Kindergarten year, a boy may join the Cub Scouts at the appropriate level without having to start as a Tiger. This is still a point of confusion to Benjamin. He sometimes wonders if I would re-join as a Webelo since that’s the level at which I drifted away from Scouting in my youth.

There is considerable overlap in the curriculum for Tigers, Wolves, and Bears to accommodate the boys who may join while in second or third grades. However, each level adds a bit of age-appropriate activities and responsibilities to keep it fresh.

For example, once a Bear Scout has completed a safety course in handling a knife, he earns his Whittling Chip card granting him the privilege of carrying a pocket knife at official Scout functions.

Benjamin also received a trophy for having the best looking pine wood derby racer.

Benjamin’s cross-over to Bear Scout happened around the same time as his Birthday. Laura and I talked it over and decided that he is mature enough and responsible enough to own his own BB Gun. So that’s what he received for his eighth birthday – his very own Red Rider BB Gun. (I know, I know “you’ll shoot your eye out”).

Until this point, he’s been practicing with the Red Rider that Paw-Paw owned as a boy. For a gun that’s over 50 years old, it’s still in amazing shape and still propels BB’s a good 20 to 30 feet. Now, Benjamin can shoot his own BB Gun.