Thursday, January 30, 2014

CCS Runs into a Buzzsaw

Thursday evening CCS had a game down in Amish country. They played a large Christian school.  They were a very good team of all 8th graders (About 18 kids on the team) against our little team (12 players including a couple of fifth graders) of 5th-8th graders.


The game started out pretty well and we kept pace through the first quarter.  This was a tournament game and the team was hopeful.  If they won they would go on to a game on the weekend in Toledo.

CCS was leading at the end of the first quarter.  It didn't last long....

The opponents team was really tall.  T-Bob would not have been  one of the taller players on their team.  The other team was able to rotate their players in and out to keep them fresh.  They wore us down pretty quick.  Player #32 was about 6' and weighed around 180#/  He was a big guy!

At halftime we were down 16-9.

We really struggled both offensively and defensively.  We didn't get into foul trouble.  We just weren't able to get good shots off.  They played tight defense and were able to rebound well with their height.

At the end of the third quarter their lead had grown to 8.

The coach gave the guys a talking to, encouraging them to persevere.

Alas, Trevor, our best player, got his head kneed and he had a terrible headache afterward.  It really took the steam out of our team.  We also had an issue with the officials at one point.  Our player was fouled while shooting, they gave us the free throws, but they didn't give us credit for the basket.  They said they didn't see it go in the hoop.  How can TWO officials miss that?!!!  We need to get some younger referees in our league!

The team played their hearts out, but it was too little.  They were worn down and didn't have the size to compete with this team.

They lost by 16 points.  They made a respectable showing, they showed a Warrior's fighting spirit, but they weren't able to overcome.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snow Rollers- A Unique Weather Phenomenon

The weather this week has been fascinating and very changeable.  There have been  rapid changes in temperatures and lots of snow.  But the most interesting thing that I saw was the very rare phenomenon called 'snow rollers'.

Field covered with snow rollers

I had never seen or heard of a snow roller before they appeared here on the farm yesterday.  Normally our fields are smooth or gently drifted.  But this is what we saw yesterday.  Snow rollers form when you have wet packing snow followed by high winds that pick up the snow and roll it along the ground, kind of like you make a snowball for a snowman.  The wind has to be 30-40 mph.  Any harder,  and it just blows the snow around, any lighter and it can't lift the wet snow.  We had an unusual temperature rise during the night to 39 degrees F (3.9 C) which made the snow very wet.  There was then a sudden drop in temperature to about 16 F (-8.9C) and high winds.  That is what formed the 'Snow Rollers'.

If the Snow Roller was formed to face across the wind, then the center would be blown out and it would look like a donut or an eyeball.  That was pretty strange.  There was a number of these.

Paul went out and brought one of the larger snow rollers for us to look at.  You can see the layers of snow that were rolled up.  This roller was about 18" in diameter and was quite heavy.  The outside of it was icy and hard.

Professor Tony Vega has taught earth science at Clarion College for twenty years, but it’s the first time he’s ever seen snow rollers. He says conditions have to be just right for this phenomenon to appear.
“When the snow is perfectly wet, but not so wet to be heavy, the wind will pick it up and roll it,” he says. “And then it literally will snowball as it rolls across the surface.”

Here is a picture of the same snow roller from a different angle.  You can see where the wind was working on hollowing it out.

The sight across our fields was just strange.  Almost like a moonscape or a place where giants had a snowball fight.

Snow rollers, something it is unlikely that I will ever see again in my lifetime!  I am glad that I got to experience them at least once though.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Thomas Rolls to the Finals

Speech and Debate is a major activity for our family.  All the children still in school participate.  Speech is for the younger ones and debate is for the high schoolers.  This year that means Thomas.  He loves debate!!!

This year Thomas is back with the same partner as last year.  They work well together.  They spend long hours producing their affirmative case and finding evidence to use when they are negative.
This year the resolutions is that "The US federal government should reform its counterterrorism policy(ies) for the domestic surveillance if US citizens".  This topic is definitely on the front burner of the news and is constantly changing as new evidence comes out.

Thomas and his partner are now advanced debaters and have learned a lot through the last couple years.  They were undefeated going into the finals.

Rounds Start with prayer between the teams.
They faced a tough team of advanced debaters.  It was very ironic as both teams have  similar cases.
The negative team had a lot of arguments and evidence against them.  They had discussed and worked together on their cases on tuesday night at the club meeting.

Cross examination... Go Mikayla!

It was a very closely contested debate.  Their was a panel of five judges for the final round.  Normally, there is just one judge per round.

Abbie chilling 
The final round is done before the whole club.  After a day of debating a lot of people are tired and wanting to relax.  This day had been more stressful than usual even.  After the first round of debate, (There are five.), the electricity went out.  Most of the rounds were moved to rooms with windows to utilize natural light.  The round I was judging was put into a dark hallway.  The emergency lights were on but they faded to nothing after an hour.  Fortunately, I had a flashlight and headlamp with me.  I keep them around as I use them to go check outside on the critters at night and it is DARK in the country.  I gave the speakers the flashlights so they could read their notes and I used the headlamp so that I could take notes.  The lunch/break room was pitch black except for the cell phones and a few little flashlights.  The coach went out and got some battery charged lanterns so we could see to eat lunch.  The electric was out for over four hours!  Finally, the utility truck came out and switched the breaker on the pole back on.  I think it was the single digit temps that stressed it.

Thomas, looking sneaky during cross examination
 This was a great debate round.  Both teams were educated and there was a lot of 'clash'.  That is a good thing.  It means that the negative team understood the case and was able to argue the issues. This is a lot of fun for debaters. That doesn't always happen.  It is kind of like boxers.  They would rather fight someone who will fight toe-to-toe than one who dances around the ring and won't engage.  Both teams left smiling.

My DH came for the final round and brought us Chipotle for dinner.  He is a big debate fan as well.  It appeals to his intellect.

The final round participants
How did it go?  Perfectly!  In our club there is a 'jinx' associated with winning the club's Round Robin Tournament.  The winner of the Tournament doesn't usually win a tournament during the season.  This has been true for years!  Nobody knows why.  Thomas was happy that they lost 3-2.  It was super close enough to not be an embarrassing lost, but a loss none the less to avoid the stigma.  LOL.  One of the judges was someone that Thomas highly respects and considers a mentor.  This fella is a highly successful debater on the high school and college levels and is now in law school at OSU.  Anyway, on his ballot, he gave Thomas and his partner the win, so all was well in Thomas's world.

 This is the third place team Nick and Rebecca did a great job also.  If you think of it, pray for Rebecca's family.  Their house was severely damaged by fire a couple weeks ago.  It is hard on the family to lose so many family treasures.  All the boy's Legos were melted as well as their clothes burned.  They are rebuilding.  They are currently living in a motel until they can arrange more permanent temporary housing.  They are doing well, but it is still a stressful time. Their homeschool books were stored in plastic totes downstairs, so they survived just fine.

Our first 'real' tournament will be in two weeks.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Amish Ingenuity- Filling the Ice House the Easy Way!

This is an Old Order Amish Farm that I have spent a lot of time at over the last 12 years or so.  They are a great family with eight children.  The oldest two boys are now adults and so there are less hands to help out on the farm.  One characteristic of most Amish is they get a job done as efficiently as possible, within the limitations of their religion.

The 'Pond' where they cut the ice from.  This is after they took the ice out.
This particular farmer is a dairy farmer.  He also makes cheese and is government certified to make organic raw cheese.  This requires him to have a refrigerated area in the cheese house.  He is not allowed to have an electric refrigeration unit and there aren't any natural gas ones of this size (which they are allowed to use) and so he has an old fashioned ice house that is built into an old refrigerated truck.  This provides an insulated area and he built this into the building with a drain out the back.  This set up requires a lot of ice.  He used to go out with his team of horses to the pond in the back and cut the ice.  This was a huge job and somewhat dangerous as all the children were needed to help.  About 5 years ago Arlie came up with this plan.  He puts in a huge (50' x250'x2.5' deep) box up the hill and lines it with heavy gauge plastic.  The autumn rains fill it with water and then they wait until it freezes.  Once it freezes, they enjoy it as a skating rink for awhile.  (Old Order are allowed to go skating, Swartzentrubers are not).  When they have a free day they take a saw up and cut the ice up in the box and send it down the slide.
The slide down to the ice house
 They have built their  aluminum slide down the hill, right to the ice house door.  Here you see it with the last section removed  that went across the gravel driveway.  They then only have to carry it into the ice house and pack sawdust around it.  This is so much easier than taking a wagon out to a distant pond and cutting it and dragging it back.  A block of ice weighs about 100#.  This is a big labor saver.

They make sure to leave about 4" of water in the frame so that they can continue skating the rest of the winter.  They will take up the wood frame and fold the plastic, in the spring  and put it into storage until next fall.

Amish Ingenuity at its finest.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

CCS Defeats the Undefeated!

This past Tuesday CCS played First Baptist.  First Baptist was an undefeated team and the guys were anxious to change that!

The game went back and forth and there was a lot of lead changes. Three of the starters (including T-Bob) played the entire game.  It was a hard fought battle.

At the end of the first quarter First Baptist was up by 4 points.  CCS is a team that seems to start slow and take awhile to get going.

T-Bob played hard and hustled.  He scored 5 points in the game.  His shooting is starting to come around.  His form is improving.  He is good at listening to the coach and applying what he says.

The guys fought it out and by the start of the 4th quarter...

They were up by 6 points.  The other team had to start fouling in order to get the ball back.  There was definitely a home court advantage.  The timekeeper was VERY slow in starting the clock after a foul shot.  Sometimes five or six seconds would elapse before he started the clock.  But CCS didn't let this frustrate them.  They hung on and played through it!

 The difference in the fourth quarter was that Josh W. started making three pointers.  He made a couple in a row and that sealed the game.  CCS scored 15 points in the fourth quarter.

Trevor made his free throws when the game counted after missing some earlier.  

The  final score was 37-29 for the good guys!

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Wonderful Day!

Yesterday was a fun day.  SO much variety and different activities to keep this mama busy.  I had the heartwarming experience of bringing four little boys to the hospital to meet their new baby brother.  They were so excited!  Everyone took turns holding him!

They studied him and wanted to check and make sure he had all his pieces and parts.  They compared his hand to theirs and were surprised at how tiny they were.  They wanted to check out his feet and the umbilical stump.  They wanted to know exactly how that had worked and what was going to happen with it.  So curious!

Grandma and Grandpa got their turn to hold little Liam after the boys had.  The boys were ready to move on after about an hour.  They were looking forward to coming back to the farm to play outside.

The air temp was almost 32 F so the chickens were out and about.

The boys helped us clear the ice so they could go skating or sliding.  They had a blast playing on the ice.  They ran and slid and bellyflopped.  So much fun!

Does it look like he enjoyed it?

The boys helped gather eggs and played with the chickens.  They were fascinated by the way the chickens came over and pecked at their boots to get the snow off.  Our hens are doing amazing laying eggs.  We have 24 hens that are about 2 years old and we are getting 18 eggs or more every day.  I am still planning on getting pullets soon so that when the old biddies get tired there will be some youngsters to take their place.  We just can't do without our eggs!

There was a beautiful sunset as we drove to church for AWANA.

It was inside out upside down and backwards night!  JoAn had her bun in the front and all her clothes inside out and backwards.

So did Ian.  He even had his socks on his hands!  It did make it difficult to throw the ball in game time!  He didn't care.  He is a trooper.

Michelle is working as a Mother's helper for our friend who just had the baby.  She is looking after the four boys.  It is a big job but she really enjoys it!

 She is enjoying holding the new bundle of joy when she gets the chance.  A baby is such a blessing! I got a chance to visit with my sister from the Philippines in the evening and chatted with my niece on facebook.  What a wonderful day!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Winter Day on the Farm

 I open my eyes in the morning and there is a window at the head of our bed at pillow height.  I look and the sun is gloriously making it's way above the horizon.  I don't even have to get out of bed to see it.  I watch as the colors fade and the day becomes light.

I get out of bed and have green eggs and ham.  Our Ameraucana hen has started laying again.  Who can resist this breakfast.  Our hens have really picked up in their laying and we are getting 18 eggs from our 24 hens most days!  Little Sissy our hen we brooded ourself laid her first egg today.  A tiny pullet egg but it had a beautiful orange yolk.  Elizabeth couldn't resist cracking it open right away to see.

The neighbor three doors down free ranges his 5 geese, much to the consternation of all his neighbors.  They don't ever stay home.  They wander the neighborhood leaving piles everywhere they go.  He has been requested to restrain them, but he resists.  If only they didn't leave their piles on people's driveways.  These geese have a foraging range of almost a mile!  The next door neighbor requested that we let our dog have a go at them to see if we can 'accidentally' reduce their population.  LOL

The pond has frozen over, but it was recently snow covered.  Michelle went out with the snow blower and tried to clear it all off.  They were wishing we had a zamboni.  If only they were as excited to clear off the driveway....


I love seeing the kids outside enjoying the farm.  I also really like to see the dog running free.  He just gallops and runs all over.  Everyone has a good time.

Dee and Elizabeth

It is so nice to be able to invite friends over to share the fun!

Michelle and JoAn

Even JoAn makes it a point to get outside when she is home.  So much fun to slide on the ice!

I look back at the snow covered fields and start dreaming of what will be.  I have been spending lots of time poring over seed catalogs online as well as poultry websites.  I can't wait to get the garden going!  I want to raise some fryers for meat and maybe increase our egg business.  Still pondering whether we will be up to raising steers this summer.  How many projects should we start?

Elizabeth and Dee climbing a tree
Should we limit ourselves to just a couple and put all our efforts there or go for it and try and get a lot done at once.  I think we will probably try the middle ground but without much experience, who knows where that is?  It is all so fascinating!

JoAn can walk on water also
 So much is happening and we are needing to buckle down and get caught up on our homeschooling.  We missed a lot of time this fall with the move.  T-Bob is working hard.  Thomas never slowed down as he loves to do it and works at it ALL the time.  Michelle is finishing up and so she only has math and Science to finish up along with a couple books to read.

Elizabeth, Dee, and Devin zip along on the toboggan behind the ATV

That is life on the farm this January.  We are spending our time planning and schooling.  My DH and son are spending the time this weekend at the old house working on getting the kitchen going.  God has been so good to us.  Today is very quiet here as Thomas is off for the weekend with friends.  My ears are getting a rest!  Love that boy!  You never have to wonder what he's thinking!  Enjoying the fireplace and hot drinks.  You gotta love Ohio in the winter!