Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snowfall

We were unable to avoid the winter wrath that hit southern Minnesota and central Wisconsin this weekend, receiving a pile of snow on Saturday and equal sized drifts on Sunday. Today the neighbor girls came over and played with Michaela and Danielle for almost eight hours, with no nap in that time. They had a great time and even helped shovel the driveway. In the late afternoon all the girls went outside to play and enjoy the snow piles. I hope everyone has stayed warm with the winter weather.



Saturday, October 30, 2010

North Dakota Hunting Part 2

After a wonderful hunting trip with Gary, Chandler, Steven, Matt, and Dad two weekends ago I returned to the same location with Matt and Dad for more duck hunting last weekend. Luckily I was able to ride with Matt from the Cities to Fargo, where we crashed for the night. Dad joined us there and we left early Saturday to ensure an early morning hunt on the water.

In the years we've been going to this ND location we have never seen as many other hunters....which happened to coincide with far fewer ducks. We still had enough ducks to go around and neared our limit, even though it required more time and effort than the weekend before. Once again we shot, and more often than not the birds kept flying. Overall it was wonderful weather, with heavy fog the second day, and a wonderful time together.

On a personal note, during the trips it was the first time seeing and identifying Gray Partridge in the field. The 300th bird on my list

Monday, October 18, 2010

North Dakota Hunting

We had wonderful weather in North Dakota for duck hunting this past weekend. Warm weather, wind, and a few birds on almost every pond made for great comfortable hunting. Everyone shot some ducks but shot at many more. This was the first year that Steven joined us for the family get together and I hope that it is the first of many.



I learned of and was reminded of a few things on this trip.
  1. Chandler is a pretty good shot.
  2. Men in Binford ND must be really tall, that or the plumber had trouble with the installation in the bar.
  3. Steven's hunting day is Saturday, but on Sunday he gives the ducks a break.
  4. I can give my dad a piggyback ride.
  5. The water is still cold when it goes over the boots and waders.
  6. Dad is still an awesome shot.
  7. Spending a day hunting with family is wonderful.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Golfing, Biking, Family & Camping = SUMMER

All right everyone, take a deep breath and get ready for 'Catch up on the Gold's happenings' It has been forever since my last post, so here you get all in one blog...yeah for you!


A couple weeks back we took the girls golfing for the first time. The local golf course has a family night and allows us to take the girls out on the course on a golf cart. Needless to say the girls had fun though they were tired and had a few extra mosquito bites by the end. Since then we also took them golfing when Matt, Diane and Austin came to visit friends and we got to take the girls' golfing with them. This time, I think the novelty wore off and there were a few more screeches and "mine, mine"s but it was nice they could be with us.





We also splurged this last month and bought new 'used' bikes, they are more of a road bike style...we love them, and have been out numerous times already. Michaela also got a new bike with training wheels, she is afraid to have the wheels wobbly so she still has it like a trike, but she was very proud of her 'big girl' bike.



We went home to visit and go golfing with family, which was great as Gramma watched the girls so we could be out late, golfing and having fun! Thanks Gramma! When we were home we had a birthday get-together for Danielle and had DQ Icecream cake...my favorite! courtesy of Grandma Betty.




Here are a few pics of the time spent with my family and some pics of Katelyn and Josiah for all of you who haven't seen them in awhile.





Danielle turned 2 on the 22nd this month and we got to celebrate with Chris and Chandler when they visited us. Strawberry Cake...mmmm! We also had a party in honor of Danielle with co-workers and friends from town where we rented a inflateable for the girls to play in. They absolutely LOVED it as well as their 'friends'.




Here are a few pics from the Steven's Point mega park we went to when Chris and Chan visited the campus:



Two weekends ago we took out the pop-up camper and went camping for the first time. We went to Dexter Campground just 20 minutes south of Marshfield and Michaela struggled with going to sleep. She wanted to go home and said she could only go to sleep in her bed. After 1 1/2 hours of trying to go to sleep, she finally did and now wants to go camping again! Go figure :)

I also had to add this picture too. I never have my camera when the girls hug and I happen to have it with me this time, but in my rush to take the picture it didn't focus and just like that the hug was done...no time for a second shot. But here is the evidence, the girls to like eachother sometimes!




Lastly, just a couple pictures of our girls being...well, girls!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Two weeks back in Marshfield

After the long vacation driving to the west coast we have been back in Marshfield for a couple of weeks. Upon our return I have taken it easy at work partially by choice and also as a result of my work computer being on the fritz and a light headcold and earache. I can now say that I have a different computer updated with Windows 7 at school and that my earache is gone. Looking back though I think I just wanted an excuse to sleep in every other day.

Christine and I have enjoyed being back with Michaela and Danielle, they have been great snuggle buddies and lots of fun since returning. One of the first things to do upon our return was feed the ducks in the lovely weather on the weekend. Both girls love feeding the ducks and geese at Wildwood Park, but neither is patient enough to let them eat out of their hands.



>

We returned to Wildwood Zoo on Wednesday for a program on 'Nocturnal Animals' put on by the Minnesota Zoo. The girls were interested and Michaela raised her hand to be a volunteer when the time came. As a result both of us were up front touching African millipedes.

Danielle showed off her ingenuity and lack of patience one afternoon, using her fingers to eat chocolate pudding rather than using a spoon. Simple moments like this remind me that we should keep a close watch on them...less something worse happen.

After unsuccessfully trying to fix my work computer myself, I caved in last Friday and asked the computer staff to reformat it. The two main student workers are great and I had both in at least one of my classes last year. As a result I had a short day at school on Friday. We had great weather and I thought it was time to finally tackle the broken hatchback on my Jeep. After half an hour I found out a molded plastic piece had slid sideways, prohibiting the latch or lock from working. Sliding it back to one side and the problem I avoided for three years was fixed. If you look carefully in the picture below, you can see that avoiding a problem for three years does have consequences.

This past weekend we rode the five mile bike route at McMillian Marsh on Saturday and planned on doing the seven mile route at Mead Wildlife Area on Sunday. Alas the weather did not cooperate and we still have not rode the Mead bike trail. We are very strongly considering upgrading our bikes, as we both enjoy bike rides with the girls in the backseats. Hopefully we'll get out more often.

We were back at the zoo this week on Wednesday for 'Raptors of the Region'. The presenter was full of knowledge, but showing off only a Red-tailed Hawk and Great Horned Owl prolonged the hour for the kids. The weather has been fairly nice since our return, as we've avoided most of the passing storms until today...which gives me time to catch up on a blog post!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Trip Bird Report: Day 11 through 19

After fast paced life birds first ten days of the trip, birding slowed down a bit after returning to Oregon City. I had a wonderful time at my economics conference, meeting new people, reconnecting with old friends, and presenting a paper....even though there was limited birding.

During the week I had evening walks around the golf course. Band-tailed Pigeons* visited Steven & Aubrey's yard, but unfortunately were not tame enough to give a good photo opportunity. Christine and I visited Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach one afternoon, spotting Tufted Puffins* and Brown Pelicans* in constant rain before heading back to Oregon City.

Time flew by quickly in Oregon City, which culminated with a hike at Salmon Creek in Mt Hood National Forest on July 4th and catching "shaker" sturgeons on the Willamette the next day before heading off on our drive back east toward Minnesota.

After a bit of deliberation we ended up birding Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge on the drive back east in addition to birding it our first day on the drive west. The weather was much kinder this time around, offering us opportunities to take pictures of Western Grebes, Purple Martins (1st & 2nd picture in addition to below), Upland Sandpipers, and Swainson's Hawks. We did not find any new life birds on the drive back, but I guess that would have been asking too much. Attempting to take pictures of flying purple martins was hilarious, but then again maybe it was sleep deprivation.

What a trip. I absolutely loved all the new birds, knowing that I likely missed as many as I observed in each location. Below are bird and scenic pictures from the trip.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Olympic Peninsula

PORT ANGELES, WA: Ediz Hook




As Malcolm posted earlier, we traveled to Northwestern Washington over the last (extended) weekend. We stayed in a house in Port Angeles and had an excellent time exploring and hiking the beautiful landscape. For a couple of nights after Abi went to sleep, Malcolm and I went down to the pier and Ediz Hook to enjoy the sunset and for Malcolm to get some extra birding in. Here are some views from those outings:

CAPE FLATTERY, Neah Bay, WA:



The first day we went to Cape Flattery, which included a nice hike down to the waterfront. Cape Flattery, Neah Bay, WA is the Northwesternest most point in the continental US. Pretty cool! Here are some pics of the rocky shore and seastacks:



HURRICANE RIDGE: Olympic National Park




The second day we went to Hurricane Ridge just north of Port Angeles in Olympic National Park. I have to say I was less then enthused to start the trail to the top of Hurricane Ridge...it was uphill for over a mile. Hmmm, didn't sound like fun to me :) But we went and it was wonderful and we were treated to a mountain goat at the very top and end of the trail.





HOH RAINFOREST, Olympic National Park, WA:




On Sunday, we went to Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park, which included a drive through Forks, for all you Twilight fans. (Tonight is Eclipse movie night, yeah!) The trees were so amazing there and it was just awesome walking through all the moss covered trees. I think I could have spent the day there with my camera and taken a zillion pictures. Instead, we enjoyed a nice hike, which included seeing the winter wrens that Malcolm posted about, up close and personal.




PORT ANGELES, WA, Ediz Hook:

See the ship in the background horizon? I really enjoyed all the ships going through the strait, I find it absolutely amazing that man can build these HUGE ships that travel the ocean.





COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE: North of Portland, OR





Yesterday, Malcolm unexpectedly had the afternoon free as the boys' fishing trip got cancelled when the starter on the boat went out, so Malcolm and I ran up to the Columbia River Gorge for a peaceful drive and went to the waterfalls.