Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A New Bike Rider

 Desert Girl recently showed that she could pedal her bike. I had adjusted the training wheels so that she could spin freely, and once that was easy, I lowered them. We decided it was time to head to the post office, which has a paved parking lot on a slight downhill, making it an excellent training venue. Unfortunately, within two minutes, she turned her handlebars too sharply and crashed. This wasn't what she had bargained for. But Desert Girl is tough, and after I promised her a bandaid, she got back on her bike and was ready for more.

 She has a determined gleam in her eye.

 She can pedal two or three times and then she forgets to keep pedaling.

 Fortunately the twine on the front of the bike makes it easy to give her a little tug and help her get started again.

 She's good for about ten minutes of bike riding and then that's enough. But she asks us every day if she can do more bike riding. I think she will be building up her biking muscles soon.

Britton was ready to help her immediately when we she rode the other night. She loves her bug helmet. I think the only other thing we need to add is a little horn--she pretends she's honking it and makes her own noise!

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Fun Fiesta

 A couple weeks ago we went to a birthday party for one of Desert Girl's friends. They strung up a Minnie Mouse pinata. It was slightly disturbing seeing Minnie Mouse hanging there.

 I love this photo of Desert Girl. She's holding a stick.
 Sandra and Julieth, the birthday girl. She loved prancing about in her 'princess' dress and butterfly wings.

 All the kids are growing up so fast!

It cracked me up how most of the guys sat on 4-wheelers or leaned against vehicles.

 It was a good party with lots of smiles!

 A family photo.

 After some delicious food, it was time for what all the kids were waiting for: pinata time!

 First, a photo where everyone looks different directions.

 Desert Girl was making some faces. The light was getting dim, but I couldn't resist taking a few more photos.

 Carmela loves to get Desert Girl to pose like this.

 We thought it was going to rain, but the clouds went around us, providing a beautiful sunset. We danced to the music and stayed till it got dark.

Happy Birthday, Julieth!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Bountiful Baskets

When I realized last Monday that we were going to run out of milk and fresh fruits and veggies by the end of the week, I decided to give Bountiful Baskets a try. I had just learned about it a couple weeks ago and was intrigued by the concept. It's a co-op, mostly based in the western U.S. (although it's also operating in Iowa, South Carolina, and Georgia and willing to expand). You pay $15 via Internet for the normal basket by Tuesday at midnight (or until they're all taken) and pick it up Saturday. My big choice was where to pick it up. We have to travel over an hour to get to any grocery store. I decided to give Milford, Utah a try, as I wanted to do some sightseeing around there and I knew the kids would love the Minersville swimming pool. It took some searching to find the pickup spot, as I went to the one on the website and it had a sign saying pickup was down an alley at a different address. Addresses in Milford are a little strange, with the 200s on one side of the street and the 300s on the other side. Nevertheless, after asking some women carrying a basket of fruits and veggies where the pickup was, I eventually found the alley. When I got out of the van to walk into the garage, they knew who I was, as I was the only one left with a basket. There's only a 20-minute pickup window, and I was 15 minutes into it. Everyone else had come and left!

Anyway, you can see above what we got (minus three plums we ate right away). I'm very happy with the quality of it. If anyone else local wants to take turns picking it up (they deliver to Ely every other week, and Delta and Milford every week), let me know and maybe we can work something out so we can get great produce and not have to drive too much. I'm hoping this will help us eat healthier. And it's kind of fun getting a surprise basket of goodness!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lund's Pioneer Day Festival

Today is an official holiday. At least it is for the state of Utah. State government offices are closed, as are many businesses. When I came to the Great Basin, I had never heard of July 24th as a holiday, but it turns out it generates a lot of road traffic in Utah, second only to Fourth of July.

What is this holiday?

It's Pioneer Day.

Pioneer Day commemorates when Brigham Young and his followers reached the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. According to Wikipedia, Pioneer Day celebrates all pioneers, defined as those who arrived before the transcontinental railroad chugged into the area in 1869.

We didn't camp overnight on the streets of Salt Lake City to hold our spot for a parade, but we decided we did want to see a parade, so we headed to Lund, Nevada (they had their celebration over the weekend). The town was settled by Mormons, and they celebrate their heritage with a two-night rodeo, dance, parade, barbeque, fireworks, and more.

While we waited for the parade, Desert Boy got a lesson in roping. He's decided he's going to be a great roper. We'll have to get him a rope first and see if he's willing to give up finding new pets and spend time twirling his rope.

The parade started quietly, with beautiful horses and riders leading the way.

The Grand Marshal for the parade was a true pioneer, 107 years old. Wow!

At the other end of the spectrum were some of the youngest riders I've ever seen. Apparently the twins each weighed over seven pounds at birth. Those are going to be some tough youngsters!
For locals, you might recognize the parents--they lived recently in the next valley over.

With it being an election year, a few politicians came and tried to garner extra votes.

This guy on the unicycle made me tired just watching him! It takes so much balance--plus each pedal stroke only gets you about three inches down the road!

It was a long parade, with a lot of great entries. When they reached the end of the parade route, they simply turned around and came back on the other side of the road, so we got to see everything twice.

The family floats were really creative.

After the parade was a program with fun acts. These ladies got the crowd laughing.

The quartet did an amazing job.

We really enjoyed the barbeque lunch. I also ran in the 5K and got my best time this year. We saw just a tiny bit of the rodeo, and the kids had fun playing some games. It was a fun event, and a good excuse to get away for part of the weekend!

How did you spend Pioneer Day?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Kennecott Utah Copper's Bingham Canyon Mine

Back in May (yep, I'm just a wee bit behind on posting some photos!), we took a trip to the Kennecott Utah Copper's Bingham Canyon Mine. We had seen it advertised on a flyer at the hotel, and it looked like something a little different to do. So we loaded up in the van and headed a bit south of Salt Lake City. After paying our $5 vehicle entrance fee, we proceeded up a windy road marked with numerous signs warning us to stay on the road.

We followed the signs for the visitor center, and upon arriving, found this amazing sight in front of us.

This copper mine has produced more copper than any other mine in history--more than 18.1 million tons. It's about 2 3/4 miles across at the top and 3/4 of a mile deep. Mining started in Bingham Canyon in 1863, with engineers soon after recommending a revolutionary way of mining the ore, using a process called open-pit mining and then refining the ore on an industrial scale.

The large scale processing proved necessary because this low-grade ore only contains 10.6 pounds of copper per ton of ore! About 200 holes, each 55-feet deep, are drilled each day and packed with 1,200 pounds of special blasting agents. Every day about 150,000 tons of ore and 330,000 tons of overburden are mined.

To move all this ore and overburden, the mine has 70 giant haulage trucks. You can see the size of them above compared to the crew-cab pickup that is also traveling on the road. Each haulage truck carries 255 to 320 tons of material in each trip at an average speed of 13 mph.

The visitor center had a nice movie and well-thought-out displays. The kids especially liked the models of the mining equipment. I really liked looking at the historic photos and how much things have changed. We also learned about different uses for copper, such as in plumbing, computers, and telephones. It turns out that each person in the U.S. uses about 30 pounds of copper a year. It was a thought-provoking trip, and I'm really glad we went and took a look.

Later, I got to see the mine from the Oquirrh Overlook, which you can take a peek at in this blog post.

To learn more about the mine and get directions for visiting, check out their website.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Scenes from the Ranch

 I saw this strangely-colored tree as I was coming out of my driveway. It took me a minute to remember that the weed guy was spraying Russian olives today. Russian olives are a nasty invader that can turn a meadow into a thorn forest in just a few years. They grow really fast and are aggressive. This one isn't more than two or three years old, but it's already fairly tall.

 Normally the leaves are olive green in color. The bluish hue make them seem like fantasyland.

Down the road I noticed big birds out in the meadow. I zoomed in to find the group of sandhill cranes that likes to summer at the ranch. During the spring and fall we see a lot more as they head north and then return on their migration, but a few have decided that this little part of the Great Basin is just right for their summer vacation.

One was really intent on grooming itself.

Meet Desert Boy's newest pet: a roly poly. He was so excited about finding it under some rocks. He collected it and some dirt and gravel and wanted to take it home. I didn't exactly agree, but found it in the van. I said it wasn't going in the house, but he could keep it in his tree house. Desert Boy wanted to know when he could move into his tree house. What would you have answered?

Before I knew it, Desert Boy had taken a bottle out of recycling and had decided that would be the new home for his roly poly.

(If you're wondering what I answered about the tree house living, I told him he could live there when he turned 18. That's the same answer I gave him when he asked about skydiving.)
The roly poly's name is Dirt. By the way, the name for his slightly deformed crawdad (probably due to too many catch-and-releases) was Snapper. It's probably good I record all these, because when he tells me later that I should let him have another pet, I can show him the list of all his pets.

I'm wondering how long Dirt will live in his new bottle in the tree house. Any guesses?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Catching Crawdads

 I forgot to mention in my past post that one of the highlights of the swimming was catching crawdads. With the extremely low water levels, plenty of mud was exposed, along with holes that the crawdads like to hide in. The kids quickly found their favorite spots and started catching them.

Desert Boy wasn't so sure about actually picking up one of the crawdads with his bare hands. He tried using the shovel method, but didn't have much success. The convince-a-cousin-to-pick-it-up method worked for awhile, but eventually he was on his own, and had to give it a try.

He doesn't look too sure of himself, does he? Probably for good reason. I don't consider crawdads to be particularly appetizing creatures--by any definition!

Nevertheless, he did it. He was really proud of himself.

He loaded it into a bucket and during a weak moment, I let him convince me to bring it home. Yep, we had a pet crawdad. Fortunately I get to use the word "had." Past tense. Our new pet survived a few hours. We didn't hold a burial for it. In fact, I'm not sure where it went. Maybe I don't want to know. I'm just thinking that one pet crawdad for the summer has met our quota of extraneous pets, and now we can go back to enjoying life with our awesome dog, Henry. He's a wee bit more appealing than the crawdad.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Fun with the Cousins

 The California cousins came to visit, and we went for a picnic lunch with them. While we were there, this swallowtail landed on Ruby, and she gave it to Desert Girl.

 Desert Girl was enthralled. I don't know if she had ever held a butterfly before.

 She can't stop smiling.

 Now the butterfly is getting really close, and she's not so sure anymore.

 Maybe it's better if butterflies stay at arm's length!

 Beautiful Ruby!

 The swallowtail left Desert Girl, but it stuck around.

 Desert Boy took a look at it, but he was much more interested in...

 ...bones! He found a wonderful big bone and was so delighted when I told him he could bring it home. It's in our sandbox now.

 Next we went swimming, and the girls headed out into the warm water.

 Desert Girl loved swimming with her Grandma.

 Desert Girl was learning how to hang out from her older cousins!

We had a fun afternoon.

So much fun that we came back and swam the next day. You can never swim too much in a hot summer!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

blogger templates