Simon started Cub Scouts, he's pretty excited to wear a uniform. He wears it to school on days he has den meetings, and the other day he wore it and I had to wear my uniform because the Regional Forester was here and when I got home from work he was so happy that we were both wearing uniforms. The Regional Forester is the head of the Forest Service for region 6, which is Oregon and Washington. She came up with her executive staff to visit the forest, and they all split up and went to different districts, and the Regional Forester came to Republic. Her name is Mary, and she's actually a pretty cool lady. She was supposed to take pictures to show at a talk the next day, and she dropped her camera within 2 minutes of getting out of the car at her first stop. I met her at the first stop with our district silviculturist to talk about our upcoming project, then I met her again later in the afternoon to look at the big fire we had this summer, then we went up to the project that is getting work done on it right now to show her some of the stuff we are doing. The next day the whole district had to Colville for a meeting. When I got to Colville I was talking to my friend Shane at the back of the room and I set my coffee cup down on a table. Some lady walked up, grabbed my coffee cup and took off with it, saying "We're moving up front now." I said "Excuse me?" rather loud, at which point Shane turned around and walked quickly in another direction. He told me later he could tell that I was irritated with the lady and didn't want to be around while I bit her head off. Turned out he made the right decision. The lady turned around and I said "Do you think I could have my coffee cup back?" and she kind of held out half way and smirked at me, so I reached forward, ripped my coffee cup out of her hand, gave the dirtiest look I could muster, and slammed my coffee cup down on the table where it was before she picked it up. She turned around and walked away. Then the meeting started and she was introduced as the Deputy Regional Forester. Crap. She still shouldn't touch things that don't belong to her.
This is a huge larch tree at a botanical garden the boys and I went for a walk in a couple of weeks ago.
The Curtis and Ballaris kids at the entrance to the corn maze. My friend Mark came to visit last weekend. We had a bunch of fun.
Simon and Dylan inside the corn maze. I'd never been to a corn maze before, and let me tell you something: They're freaking awesome! It was so much fun. Well, it was fun once we separated the kids into 3 different groups, Faith took Dylan and Weatherly, I took Simon, and Mark took William. William and Weatherly are Mark's kids. Simon and William wouldn't quit fighting about who was going to be the leader, so I held Simon back and we waited for everyone to get ahead of us a bit, then did the maze on our own. It took us about 30 minutes to do the whole thing. It took Faith 45 minutes, even though she was in front of Simon and me. Simon and I were able to find the same place 6 or 7 times in a row, he tried to tell me we were lost, and I tried to convince I just really liked that spot and wanted to see it again.
Oona with the ducks I got on opening day of duck season. She did pretty darn good. I got them both when they came into my decoys, and one ended up right next to shore so I grabbed that one and sent her out after the one that was further out. She tried to retrieve one of the decoys a couple times, but I got her out past the decoys and lined up on the duck and she swam right out, grabbed it with no hesitation, and brought it right back. It was awesome, I was super excited. I've seen puppies that won't grab a duck the first time, the feathers and the smell confuse them I guess. She'd never had feathers in her mouth, but I've been putting duck scent on everything she retrieves since she came home, so I guess that must of worked. Those were the only ducks we got that day. You can only shoot two hen mallards a day, that's what those are, and I'm a lot better at identifying ducks after I've shot them then I am doing it when they're flying past me or into the decoys at a high rate of speed, so rather than shoot anything I wasn't supposed to I decided to end it on a positive note and call it a day. I went again the next day, but some kids in a boat came to the other side of the lake from me and were doing something that apparently required them to bang on metal objects and shout loudly. I didn't know how long they would be there, and no ducks were even looking at my decoys or responding to calling, so I picked everything up and headed home. That's about all that's been going on, I leave next Sunday for a conference in Spokane, then the day after that gets over I'm heading to Oregon for duck hunting with some of my friends from Bend, then up to Newport, WA for 3 more days of hunting. Hope everybody's doing well. See ya.