June 25, 2009

the Virgina Reel & Crickets

This Tuesday, our family and the As headed over to the F's house for a rendezvous style get together in honor of our mutual friend, Mr. S, who was visiting from California.   Mr. S used to live up here, and was the person who got the boys (and girls:) interested in muzzle loaders and rendezvous.  We haven't seen him for about...two years?  Three?  I don't remember, but it's been a while:)

"Hey!  You guys are taller than me!"
Me, Ellen and Kellie

Although we didn't do any shooting, Alex brought a few of his guns to show Mr. S.
Alex, with his appendage, Tilda;)

After an excellent dinner of chicken, biscuits, potato salad, and other really yummy food, we...well, as hard as it may be for you to believe, we danced the Virginia Reel!

And, we got the boys to do it too!=)  A BIG thank you to Alex and Mr. A for helping us to round up the boys who tried to escape;)  You'd have thought we were trying to poison them...

Ahhh, and here's were the crickets come in - Matthew (aka Peppy), didn't want to dance.   Alex made him a deal, "You either eat ten crickets, or you dance".  Faced with a decision like that, Matthew did what most 12-year-old boys would have done - he opted for the crickets.   No, he hasn't eaten them yet, but, according to Alex, "He will":)  I'll keep you posted on that...;)

I have some video clips I'd like to post, but we'll see how that goes...
"Oh, come on Matthew!  We need one more boy!" 

Since Matthew preferred eating crickets to dancing, my Dad graciously consented to dance with Lilly...and proceeded to have a very good time:)  He said that, aside from playing his bass, he enjoyed the dancing the best.  See what you missed, Matthew?!
Alex and Kellie sashay down the line
Christopher and I go under the bridge
Aubrey and Ellen sashay down
Christopher and I "reel the set"
Alex and Kellie go under the bridge
I think all the girls went around smiling for the rest of the night.  And after seeing the splitting grins on all of the boys faces in these pictures, can anyone doubt that they had fun too?:)

It was very fun, and we will definitely do it again sometime!
After dancing, we got out our musical instruments, and played a few songs for Mr. S.
The Modern Mountain Man ;)
Part of our enthusiastic audience

Happy Trails folks!

June 21, 2009

What I found on our camera card...

The guys at the Rockin' B Ranch, on opening night (the same night Dad and I went to the rally)
The boys at the Rockin' B on Rockin' Bluegrass night.  The Hat Band was one of four featured bands.
Ha!  You're not so big now, Alex!;)  Yeah, in my dreams=)
Mitts took shelter in a rather interesting spot during a thunderstorm:)
I love the way the tree tops show up in contrast to the black storm cloud!
Our container garden - potatoes and peas, I believe.
Speaking of gardens...
Now here's a garden!
The Fs have a lovely garden this year, with pretty much every plant imaginable in it.
How many people does it take to plant potatoes?
Well, in this case it took six - one to plant them, and five to watch.  But isn't that how it always is?
I don't know that we did much to help plant the garden, but it was sure nice to see the Fs, and we all had a good time...I think:)  The little girls were very well behaved, but the "big" kids...well, we won't go there;)  Yup, we had fun=)
This is at the sheep farm that Alex is buying six lambs and one ewe from.  The lambs will be butchered this fall, of course, but he'll be keeping the ewe for breeding.
The farmer's lovely Great Pyrenees dog had a litter of puppies - good thing I didn't go with them to the farm.  I would have taken one of those cuties home!:)  Or maybe two...;)
This is the ewe that Alex is buying.   She's 2 years old, and she had her first lamb this year, which is coming with her.  We'll be bringing them to our house around the end of July.
Ahh yes...tar=)
Yes, today I got to paint tar onto the potato cellar we are putting in=) 
Tar is actually quite interesting...and messy.  Note: I put on old clothes for this job, and wore a baseball cap - I sure didn't want any tar in my hair!
Anyone got some feathers?!
It's, it's...nooooo! the TAR MONSTER!   Aggghhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I used about five pairs of vinyl gloves all told - they got messy rather quickly.
Alex - always original...
and funny...

 What in tar-nation's goin' on 'round here?!

June 16, 2009

The Jamestown 400: Phase Two and The End

Notice I didn't say on my previous JT400 post that I would post the rest of the story tomorrow.  Never promise that you will finish a post tomorrow.  It just doesn't happen...

"Tomorrow never comes..." - Archibald Forbes, from In Freedom's Cause by G.A. Henty

Ahem.  To continue with our adventures during the Jamestown 400...

It was about here, that I realized that finding map fragments really wasn’t all that bad, at least compared to what we had to solve now!  In P2 we learned about the legend of Braddock’s gold, heard more about Elias Boudinot, and found a letter from Hitler’s secretary!  This treasure hunt was getting really mixed up, with Elias Boudinot, Jack Bradford, Hitler, and more, getting involved!  It was crazy!  I can’t even remember all of the people, historical and fictional, who were involved.  There was Jack, of course, and the Peabody brothers (Eccleston and Dartmouth:), Gretchen March, Martin, and, oh, what was that guy’s name?  I forget what his name was, but he was super scary!=)  I think it was Aaron Burr, but I can’t remember…oh well.   It was sometimes hard to remember that we weren’t really saving the world.  We were just one of many families participating in a really cool treasure hunt:)


We continued to solve increasingly difficult clues in P2, working our way towards Phase Three, the final physical search for the treasure – 400 gold coins!  Nothing from this phase really stands out in my mind except for the last two days of the treasure hunt, everything else was just a blurr…

(I'm going to quote mostly from my journal at this point, since I wrote about our adventures it in-depth.  Naturally, I've fixed the spelling errors...I hope;)

From my journal – May 13th, 2007
“Well, tomorrow until midnight on Tuesday are the last two days of the Jamestown 400: Our National Treasure Hunt.  Tomorrow, Monday, there is supposed to be a barrage of questions.   We are going to the F’s house tomorrow around 8:30 in the morning to work on them together.  That was Aubrey’s idea.  I guess he figures the more brain power we have, the better.  More individual ideas too, I suppose.  It will be fun, but intense.  We’ll have to be ‘on our toes’ as the saying goes...well, I have to get to bed, big day tomorrow!”


May 19th, 2007
“Well, the Jamestown 400, is now over.  Here is the story:

On Monday (the 13th), Alex and I went home with Mrs. F from Azure pick-up (our food co-op).  We then spent the rest of the day locked up in the F’s cook shack working on clues.  The little girls were not allowed in, except for Ellen because she is now a member of the BGC (Big Girls Club).  Lilly took a nap, but Tilda wanted in very badly.  She started talking to us through the drain pipe on the washer.  She told us that we were all very mean and she didn’t like us anymore.  Alex, my brilliant brother, had the idea to pour some water down the drain pipe!  Aubrey thought that was a great idea, so he quickly ran outside and got a bucket of water.  He poured some down the pipe.  We waited for the results, only to hear Tilda say, ‘You missed me!”  Then we heard her run around to the door.  She started banging and yelling.  Now, there’s a window above the door in the cook shack.  We all looked at the window, then at each other, and started laughing!  Aubrey took a bottle of water, climbed up on two buckets we stacked up, unlatched the window, and dumped out the water!  After he dumped it out, we all cracked up, and then heard this, “You missed me!”  Drat!  However, we had a grand time.  We solved two clues before it was time to go home.  It wouldn’t be completely truthful to write this story without telling you about out capture the flag game.  I was guarding the flag, when Aubrey jumped out of the bushes and grabbed the flag.  Naturally, I started chasing him.  I was running as fast as I could, when I got to a rather muddy hill.  I couldn’t slow down, so I tripped and fell.  Can you believe it!  How embarrassing!  So, anyways, we were still working on the third clue when it was time to go home.  After we got home, Aubrey called to say he solved it.  He gave us hints, and we go the answer.  Then we solved two more clues.  My hand is tired, so I’ll tell you the rest tomorrow.”

That was such a fun day!:)  I think the extra brain power was helpful, and it was much more fun to work on it with friends, of course:)  And that hill was very muddy, if I remember correctly...I fell headlong, so I got quite a bit of mud on my clothes.  Plus, I found just about the only rock on that hill, which of course I landed on.  Ouch, that hurt.  Good times, good times=)  And why we didn't just tell Mrs. F that Tilda was being a pain, I have no idea...

~ A posed shot of us in the F's "cook shack".  We look sooo professional with our code books and computers;) ~

May 20th, 2007
“To continue my story:

The next day, Tuesday, was the last day of Phase Two.  We made arrangements for Aubrey, Lilly and Tilda to come to our house.  Kellie had piano lessons and couldn’t stay.  We got right to work.  Aubrey had solved another clue the night before, and gave us a hint.  We got that answer, then Aubrey solved another one that he had been working on.  We then worked on several more and solved two.  Then there were no more clues for a while.  Alex, Aubrey and I went for a hike.  When we got back, there was another clue, which we solved, and then they had to leave.  Mom and I had Special Olympics, but Alex stayed home to work on the JT400.  He and Aubrey and dad figured out some more clues over the phone.  I’ll tell you the rest tomorrow, because I don’t want to skimp the details.”
~Team JT400 historians Natasha and Kellie~

May 23rd, 2007
“To finish my Jamestown 400 experience:

So, mom and I are at Marian’s, and Alex is home alone working on a clue.  He was trying to figure out a secret password on the U of N website (University of Roanoke – it doesn’t really exhist).  All he had to go on was this clue, “Think Moby Dick”.  That’s all.  Of course, the first thing thatcame to mind was the first line in the book, “Call me Ishmael”.  He tried it with and without spaces (between the words).  No luck.  Finally, Aubrey called and said, “Take out all the spaces”, which included the I.D. name, ‘I.M. Truman”.  Bingo!  We already had tried the correct password, ‘CMI” (call me ish, etc.).  Mom and I got home, and Dad and Alex were onto the next clue.  It was the motto of the ‘Sanger Initiative’ (another fake organization, I believe).  Aubrey got that one really quickly because he had figured out a seemingly unimportant message several weeks earlier.  Many people got stuck on that one.  Aubrey gave us an extra clue for that one.  The next question we wasted a lot of time on, because the agency wouldn’t accept anything but the absolutely flawless answer.  The next question I knew right off (I believe it had to do with the legend of Braddock’s gold, which I had researched thoroughly earlier).  Then, the last question.  With only about 15 min. until midnight, which is when the JT400 was officially over, we tried to find the answer to the last clue.  We had to find a quote from someone Elias Boudinot greatly admired.  Who was it?  George Washington?  Alexander Hamilton?  Richard Halkuyt?  Who?  Ahh!  Only three minutes to midnight!  Panic.  The phone rings.  It’s Aubrey with the answer!  Alex is too excited to speak straight, he hands the phone to mom.  Mom can’t understand Aubrey’s technical talk, so she hadn’s the phone to Dad.  When we finally got the answer in, it was already a minute after midnight.  We didn’t make it to Phase Three, but we had fun and sure learned a lot of history!  However, the Fs did make it to Phase Three, and they will be going to Jamestown for the treasure hunt.  Hurrah!  I hope they find the treasure!”

I could never hope to convey  the stress of those last 15 minutes.  Wow.  I hope I never have to do that again!  The enormous amount of stress, and then the wave of relief that swept over us when we realized we were done!  We had persevered and finished!  I'm sure I cried at that point...and laughed with relief:)

May 24th, 2007

“The Fs got a new e-mail today about the JT400.  It said that in Phase Three, no one is allowed to use their computers or internet.  Instead, they will receive text messages from Jack Bradford on their cell phones.  Can you believe it!  No computers!  Aubrey is having a fit!  They’ll probably be using compasses and maps and stuff.  This is right up Alex’s alley.  He’s really sad that we didn’t make it to Phase Three.  He loves these types of things!  Oh well, God knows what’s best, even if we don’t think so.”

~Team JT400 computer expert Aubrey, with code master Alex~

Alex was terribly disappointed, as was I.  It would have been a lot of fun.  But, like I said then, it wasn’t meant to be.

June 5th, 2007

“The Fs leave for the east coast on Thursday.  Kellie will be gone for two weeks!  How will I stand it?”

Kellie, I can tell you truly that those were some of the most miserable weeks of my life!  I mean, I got to go to the Mounted Shooting clinic, and see the Lipizzaners perform in Spokane, and we had a skunk in garage (wait...was that a highlight?) but it was still miserable.

June 11th,2007

“Today I got to talk to Kellie on the phone!  It was so good to hear her voice.  Tomorrow, at 5 in the morning, they should be getting a text message from Jack.  They have to figure out the clue and reach the destination indicated by 7 o’clock.  If they don’t make it there by 7, they will be eliminated from the JT400.  Give then clear thinking and wisdom Lord.  I hope they don’t get lost in those unfamiliar streets.  (aww, aren’t I considerate?:)”

~ This is on Jamestown Island in front of a statue of Captian John Smith ~

June 13th, 2007

“I talked to Kellie again today!   This time, I was able to talk with her for longer, so I got the whole scoop on the Jamestown 400.  Here is their story:

On Monday, Vision Forum called together all of the contestants to tell them about this last phase of the treasure hunt.  They got to meet a lot of the people from the internet forum, so that was really neat.  They went to another meeting Tuesday morning.  A man, the moderator came up on the stage and announced, ‘Jack is your friend, but I am not’.  Wow!  Then they got their first clue.  It was encoded.  They deciphered it.  It proved to be five riddles.  Five of them!  How horrible.  So they went to a library or something to try and find the answer.   While they were there, they got a text message from Jack.  He told them that Peabody (one of the main fictional characters – he was supposedly knocked off) is still alive, and he’s waiting for them outside.  Another text, you will know you have the right man if he knows what you’re talking about when you say the Sanger Initiative motto.   So then they had to walk around Williamsburg (Duke of Gloucester St.) asking every man they saw the question, “New history for a better tomorrow?”  They didn’t find Peabody, and they didn’t figure out the riddles, so they were eliminated.  Very disappointing!  Sort of a relief to, they were pretty wiped out.  They did a good job and persevered.  Now they can enjoy the rest of their trip.”


I only wish I could have been there to see all of the contestants walking up and down DOG street!  After asking the question for a while, the Fs made a sign with the motto/question on it, and pinned it to Aubrey’s shirt so they wouldn’t have to keep asking it:) 

June 28th, 2007

“Yesterday we found out who won the JT400!  It is a 19-year-old girl named Melanie Thomas.  In the same article on ‘Doug’s Blog’ (Doug Phillips, president of Vision Forum), was a picture of the JT400 sign in table.  Just for fun, I looked to see if I could see the Fs in the picture.  Lo and behold, they were there, right in the front!”

~ They're right in the middle of this picture - Kellie is wearing a white shirt (actually, it has purple stripes and flowers, but you can't really tell, so...) with a green skirt, Clara has a pink skirt on with a white shirt, Mrs. F has a denim shirt on, and Aubrey is wearing a black shirt and a baseball cap.  They're there, really, they are...;)  And so are some other people I "know", but you don't, so why did I even mention that?~

And that folks, is a complete and detailed history of our Jamestown 400 adventure.  I hope you enjoyed reading about it as much as I enjoyed reliving the memories.



Know Boudinot?
Captian John Smith

My cousins, Mom, Dad, Alex, and  I in front of the Captian John Smith statue on Jamestown Island, in October 2008.
DOG Street:)  No, I didn't have a sign that said "New history for a better tomorrow", but I did walk up and down it several times:)

Under the Magna Charta tree (and remember, it's pronounced car-ta, not char-ta...;)