Saturday, November 7, 2009

Halloween Time

Since we moved to the country 5 years ago, our kids have really missed being in town at Halloween and dressing up and handing out candy. They used to dress up scary and stand in the yard and pretend to be statues and scare the big kids as they came up to the door. Sometimes they would stand very still and as kids go by they would try to figure out if our kids were real or fake. This year we went to a friends house near our old neighborhood and our kids got to dress up and have some fun. Molly was a rock star.
Jeff was Indiana Jones. Karla was Strawberry Shortcake.Lana made a monster cake for Jeffy to take to his school party. It is actually a bunch of cupcakes put together and then she frosted them to look like the green monster and all the kids loved it.

Here we have Strawberry Shortcake and Ace Frehley, what a combination!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Memory Lane

Was just looking through some pictures of our horses and happened upon a few I took this summer. I'm a little sad to see these pics because we needed the money and had to sell two of our most valuable horses. One was our Norwegian Fjord Elisie and the other was our paint mare Lacey. We sold them for good money since they were very valuable but I wish we still had them. Here are some of my favorite photos of these two wonderful horses.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Big Rig

This week at my work, we finished up an unusual job for Slayden construction, a business we do work for. We are a fabrication/machine shop but our customer asked us to help with fixing and painting their log unloader they bought for a new job. They are building a fish bypass tunnel at a dam and will be using this big loader rig to move and handle large pipes that are 9 ft in diameter and 60 ft long. We finished up and shipped it out on two trucks.

When our customer is finished with work on the job the pipe tunnel will be two miles long so they will be moving a lot of these large pipes. Each pipe will have to be shipped to the job site one piece at a time.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Interesting Point to Ponder

Perception ..something to think about...

Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.
4 minutes later:
the violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk..
6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.
10 minutes:
A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.
45 minutes:
The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.
1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities. The questions raised: in a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made.... How many other things are we missing

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Soap Box Derby

This weekend was the local fair in our town. Our son Jeff wanted to race a soap box derby car last year but we didn't know about the event until after it was too late to make a car . This year he was excited to build a car and join in the fun of racing. The kids are guided through a process of choosing a style and a paint job and the men that run the soap box derby do all the cutting and painting for the young kids. After their car is built then they get to register and choose a number and then the car is weighed in and the next day all the kids come back for the big race event.
We had never watched a derby before and it was fun to see all kids get excited and have fun with their derby race cars. There were a total of about 90 cars entered in the race and Jeffy was #86. Jeff was also excited to be a part of the action and when he finally got to do his first race he was all smiles. His race car was FAST! After the first heat of racing Jeff was in second place!
All the cars got to race four times and then at the end they took each cars average and then the fastest four cars were the winners. Jeff was second place in the first, second and third heat but had a slower final race and still managed to hold on to fourth place overall. Way to go Jeff!
After they were finished, the top four kids each received a trophy and had their pictures taken.

(Wouldn't be surprised if I look in on him tonight and find him sleeping with his trophy)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Night Ranger Concert

My daughter Molly who just graduated from high school has been hoping to see the 80's band Night Ranger this summer when they played in Albany,OR. We decided not to disappoint her and go see them. It was a great day and it was a small crowd of a few hundred people and we really enjoyed the concert. I was a big 80's rock fan before I learned to like country, so I was looking forward to hearing them also. Molly has started listening to a lot of 70's and 80's music and the Albany fair concert cost only admission to the fair of $7 each and the concert was free, so we didn't have to pay a fortune to hear a quality rock band. This was Molly's first music concert and Night Ranger was a fantastic group to hear live for her experience. They can still "Rock in a America"!
The other cool thing about Night Ranger is the drummer is a local boy from the Eugene area so his family were able to be their to hear them.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Our Beautiful Fjord Elisie

Last weekend our daughter Karla threw a halter and lead rope for reigns on Elisie and rode around the house and yard. Elisie is such a wonderful Fjord horse and I had to take lots of pictures to show her off. Unfortunately we are having a hard time with paying the bills and so we have her up for sale. I hate to sell her, but she is worth a lot of money and we have no choice but to try and let some horses go to get through tough times. Secretly I hope nobody buys her but if it happens it will be a good thing too. We still have our two young Fjords that in time will be good for riding, but Elisie is one of a kind and I will miss her. Its not many horses that you can let your kid ride with just a halter and lead rope and bareback.

Here is Karla down at our driveway entrance under the Arch. (My favorite picture of our Ranch)
Karla riding into the front yard of our house.
Another close up of Elisie with young Fjord Tallak in the background.
Finally a shot of our son Jeff posing with our little pooch Emily.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Band at Saginaw Vineyard

July 3rd was our band's big show at the Saginaw Vineyard. We started playing at 6:00pm and kept it going till 9:00pm. We had a great time and everything went quite well for us. The Saginaw Vineyard is a great place to sit and relax and every friday this summer they will be having live music for free for the public to enjoy. Our band is Annie Rhodes Band and we are looking forward to going back to the vineyard on August 21st and play again. Somewhere between work at the machine shop and working at home taking care of the horses, I have been staying busy performing with the band. It is great fun and its funny that my kids think I'm a famous rock star in our small little town here in Oregon. It least I can say I'm known round the world since I have a blog to post on.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Father's Day Weekend

Father's Day weekend was a busy and fun weekend for me. Saturday started off normal and then I heard a honk from a small truck in our driveway and when I went to see who it was, it was an old friend from high school. We have been re-connected through Facebook and he lives in Alaska. Eddie and his family own a cabin and 5 acres here in Oregon close to me and they had a family reunion there, so before going back to Alaska he made a surprise stop to say hello. We had a fantastic visit and realized that it had been 28 years since the last time we had seen each other. It was such a great surprise to have a dear old friend stop in like that and hope to see him again before another long time goes by.

Next came Sunday and the band I perform with played for nearly 3 hours at a Father's day brunch at a local business, and even though we had a little rain, everyone had a good time. Our band leader Annie has wrote some songs and recorded two that are playing in her home town area of North Carolina. We actually found out that a couple from North Carolina were here in Oregon visiting and were excited to see us perform live because they have heard Annie's songs back in N.C. Very Cool!
To see more of our band visit us at

The last thing I did on father's day was to take my son out to play paintball. He has caught the bug for paintball so he has a lot of fun going and I help out and be a referee. It is a great father and son activity and we have a great time doing this now.
So that was my father's day weekend and was one of the best every.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Western Style Decor

Western home decor has become extremely popular in recent years. Horse and ranch owners are not the only people noticing the country home appeal of western style furnishings and accessories. America's fascination with the old west, and a time of great adventure, has made western furnishings a popular style in home decor. Every homeowner should have a "Happy Place" that brings them warmth and a down home country feel.You do not need to live in the western part of North America to decorate your home with western style decor. Whether you have a few items here and there, or decorate the entire house in a western theme, you’ll be adding a feeling of adventure and old west charm to your home. Western style furnishings are unique, with a casual charm and feel all their own.
At our family friendly website is the perfect place to browse and find ideas for your ranch home.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

High School Graduation Day

Saturday was graduation day for our second daughter Molly. We had a celebration party at our place afterwords and had a great time. Luckily the weather was beautiful and no thunderstorms blew threw as did the previous 3 days. The day before, there was a major storm that had 60 mph winds, and rained so hard that 4 inches of water blew up against the doors of the school and started running in through the doors and flooding inside.
We are very proud of Molly as she graduated with over 3.5 grade point average and even received a small scholarship to help with college. After the ceremony a proud Grandma(my Mom) was there to have her picture taken with Molly and our oldest daughter Karla.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Feed the Fjords!

Today we let our horse herd go down to an area that is over grown with grass and blackberry bushes. They were in hog heaven. Had to take lots of pictures and show off some of the best ones.

Lana and her friend Amy took two fjords and went for a ride some place an hour north and as they were going up the freeway, Amy saw another Fjord owner/breeder going by and it was Catherine from Amy called her on the cell phone so they stopped and visited and found out that Catherine was on her way to Portland to take some puppies to a dog evaluation.

It was quite a surprise for them to just happen to be on the freeway at the same time and see each other like that. Small world!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Wedding Cake Decorating

My wife Lana is a cake decorator, and this weekend she was busy with a wedding cake. I have to show off her work because she is very good. Lana was a decorator at the local grocery store but with the slow business they had to close the store and now she is not working. So now she is doing cakes from home and lots of people have been calling for cakes. Wedding season is just around the corner so she is getting quite a few orders, along with birthday cakes too.

Lana has a new website
Lana's maiden name was Pitcher, so everyone that knows her in town, knows her family name.

Here is a picture of Lana in action.

And here is the finished cake set-up a the reception;

Here is another cake Lana made a couple years ago;

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Anniversary Arch

A few years ago when we bought our small ranch, my wife Lana said that she always wanted a driveway arch. So evenings and weekends at my work, I secretly started building one. I work at a steel fabrication shop, so I gathered all my parts from scrap left over from projects that were headed for the scrap bin. Every piece for my arch was recycled. The best part of the plan was to use existing posts that were already in the ground on each side of our driveway entrance. This made my job much easier because it gave me a base to start building the arch. The other best part of my project was that we would be celebrating our 20 yr. wedding anniversary that summer and I wanted to make it for Lana as a surprise present for her. Of course in time it was hard to keep making excuses for why I was at work more than normal so I had to give in and tell her what I was up to.

I took many measurements and drew up a sketch and then started putting together parts on the floor to come up with a design, and found everything I needed to make the arch. Then I had to build it in pieces small enough to lift and handle because I did not have a crane to lift the parts. It ended up being 3 separate parts that I brought home and with my pick-up truck, a ladder, my brother, and my two daughters , we put it together and no one got hurt in the process.(warning don't try this at home)LOL.
We finished putting up the arch on a day when Lana was at work, so I was able to wait and see her come home and for the first time drive through her new Arch. She loved it and it was the best anniversary present I could have gave her. That summer we had a big family party to celebrate our anniversary and everyone loved the new addition to our ranch home.