Monday, February 27, 2017

The HAM Radio Operator

Last fall, Pierce got hooked on Morse code.  He'd memorized it and was going around 'speaking' in Morse code.  I mentioned (casually - I had no idea where this was going to lead at the time) that HAM radio operators used Morse code sometimes.  Next thing I knew I was having to tell Pierce every bit my (very limited) knowledge of HAM radio. 

Pierce started studying for his license exam (issued by the FCC) in December.  He used a computer program that the local amateur radio club put on my laptop for him.  For Christmas, he got a small, handheld portable HAM radio.  He was able to listen in but wouldn't be able to talk on it until he passed his exam.

In January he sat for the test, which was offered at the Red Cross in Roanoke.  He was so excited when he passed at the technician level.  He is hoping to take the general level test at some point in the future.  But for now, he can finally talk on his radio.  He went to a local field day in January, where he got to try to make contact with people all over the nation.  He talked to people in places like Kansas and Tennessee.

It's kind of funny to look over and see your kid (who still likes to wear footie pjs) reading magazines on HAM radio for fun.  I think it's the sort of hobby that he'll be able to enjoy for many years to come. 

Monday, February 20, 2017


My parents got me a fermenting kit for Christmas.  It had been on my wish list for a very long time.  I have some old crocks that were my great grandmother's, but they have dangers of lead paint, so they no longer recommend these for fermenting.  This method is safer, plus it prevents mold from becoming an issue.  I took this picture right after I filled it up:
My first attempt was sauerkraut.  Sauerkraut is excellent for digestion, and is loaded with good bacteria for the gut.  I took at least a week for it to get the flavor I wanted.  Once it did, I capped off the top and moved it to the fridge. 

The boys love this.  Who would've thought?  Readers, do you have any good fermentation recipes for me?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Around the Garden

I've been trying to prep the garden some during the milder days.  I layered some sand in the area I plan to plant carrots this year (very excited - I ordered some purple ones).  I have been putting down hay and mulch, and hope to bring down some manure from the rabbits as well as my compost ball. 

I couldn't find any gardening gloves one day when I was pulling the last of the fall weeds, so I borrowed some from the boys. 

I installed a bean tree for my beans to grow up (last year's bean climbing devices left a lot to be desired.  And I ordered this year's fruit trees.  I think our self-pollinating pear from last year didn't make it, so that is being replaced for free.  In addition, I ordered another peach, two plum, and a cherry. 

Readers, have you started thinking about garden plans yet?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Strange Guitar Happenings

I was sitting on the couch reading a book. 

It was quiet.

The boys were at school. 

It was a milder day than usual, so even the cats were outside. 

I'd done my chores for the morning and was deep in a novel when the guitar on the wall across from me plucked two notes. 

Two notes.

One right after the other.

I looked at it. 

No one was around.

No cats.

No boys.

No stinkbugs.

No earthquakes.

No explanations at all.

I googled for scientific explanations.  Was it the atmosphere?  We'd had a lot of rain.  I didn't find any logical answers.

I remembered my maternal grandfather always used to tell a story of attending the funeral of Uncle Bill and hearing a banjo play 2-3 notes at the wake.  I asked my mom if this was one of his tall tales.  She said no, that she was there too when that happened.

So I actually have a genetic heritage of hearing guitars play notes on their own.  It's in my genes.

How's that for scientific explanations?

Readers, you got any similar strange happenings to tell me?