Wander project Oz!

IMGA0151I thought I would pop back to Oz for a moment. I had the opportunity to visit Australia roughly 12 years ago now. It was a glorious two weeks spend in Sydney, Melbourne, and Canberra. During that time I got to take long evening walks in each of the three cities and spent two weekends in Sydney.  I learned a lot about the magnificent country. I found that the music coming from a didgeridoo was amazing.

One of the things I found while I was in Oz, was how kind and considerate the people were. I was out walking on the first day I was there, taking pictures (some of the pictures shared today) and it was raining. I had an umbrella in my bag, but I hadn’t gotten it out yet. A person walked by and offered me his umbrella, I didn’t take, but the kindness touched me. There are parts of the US where not only wouldn’t that happen, but the person walking by might laugh at you getting wet.

IMGA0164I also enjoyed the food. I love Lamb and Oz is the land of Lamb. I enjoyed the many different ways they prepared the meat. My favorite was the open fire restaurant we went to one evening in Melbourne. The food was prepared on an open fire, and it was the most amazing food. I also enjoyed walking along the river in Melbourne as the giant gas (natural gas) fountains spewed flames into the air. You could feel the heat!


Fan of Oz

Wander project what do baby Blue Herons want to snack on?

IMG_2284I mentioned a few times that I wondered how the Geese could stand on the Ice of the pond, day after day. The Heron also walked in the cold water. The pond wasn’t very deep, less than 6 feet at the center. We know it was six feet because one year while we lived there, the police came with Sonar and scanned the pond. They were looking for a missing truck and a woman. She had been missing for 4 or more years, and the police were still searching.

The Heron often perched on our edge of the pond. We owned the area from the stream to roughly 1/3 of the pond. The next two houses finished out most of the lower half of the pond. The rest of the houses in our subdivision backing onto the pond had retaining walls. That meant the Heron was limited in where they could fish. They would often walk along the banks seeking lunch, breakfast or dinner.

IMG_2294Baby Herons often ask “mom what’s for lunch?” the answer is the same answer for breakfast, and dinner, Fish! I will say in the 11 years we lived with the Heron’s and watched, not a single one ever rang the doorbell and asked if they could borrow Malt Vinegar. I guess they weren’t English Blue Herons. Sorry, the smart-aleck in me cannot help with dumb jokes like that. I think it is my parent’s fault or possibly my wife’s fault. I know it isn’t my fault


Smart Aleck Historian

Wander project Greenwood IN, and Geese…

IMG_0691I remember a time long ago and a lesson I learned. I mentioned to my grandfather how beautiful Canadian Geese were, as they landed on Lake Ripley and wandered the shore of my Grandfather’s property. I remarked to him that they were amazing. He handed me a shovel and said, they are messy, and you get to clean up after them. After that, I no longer admired the Canadian Geese. They are messy birds. Well actually I still did, I just noticed them now when they were flying not on the shore making a mess I had to clean up!

During the winter, in Greenwood, we were the southern destinations that the Geese flew towards. A way stop for some flocks, a winter locale for others. They would swim in our retention pond the entire winter. As the ice froze, it left the one section of moving water for the last freeze. The Geese would wander around the ice, staying close to the last official hole in the ice. The last gasp of open water. I wondered about that, didn’t standing on Ice make their feet cold?

IMG_0703Over the years, 11 in fact, I took pictures of the geese. I watched them, shooing them off our pool cover and out of our pool often. I didn’t want to clean up after them in a place my kids would be, and frankly I would have to clean up after them. I watched them and wondered. I still do wonder, although now we don’t live near a retention pond. The nearest open water sits in the recreation park that is 3 miles from our house. We still see Geese from time to time, but they are now, as my dog calls them, Have that’s. Anything that either Dylan or Raven think they should be easting becomes a have that in their world.

At least, I don’t have to clean up after them, anymore!


Goose Agnostic

Wander project Greenwood.

IMG_2045We built two pools for two different houses. The first pool we built was in Cincinnati Ohio behind our house in Mt. Airy. In retrospect, the yard was a little too steep for a pool in that case, but we added retaining walls and built it anyway. The backyard in Mt. Airy was a hill, then a small flat area that backed up to the house. It was the first, and so far the only house my wife and I have ever designed and built.

In Indiana, we added the pool to the much larger backyard. Amazing what moving from a crowded, and larger city to a suburb of a smaller city will do for you. The funny thing is, in Indiana, we had to add retaining walls for the pool as well. In Ohio, it was to create a flat space for the pool (who knew pools couldn’t be built on the slant of a hill. Seems strange to me ). In Indiana it was to have the same flat platform for the pool.

IMG_2053Our Indiana backyard was an undulating set of hills. The retaining wall almost gave us an infinity pool look and feel, except that the wall rose just above pool level. The second retaining wall allowed us to have a nice patio area for the pool. We nearly added a staging area/screened in porch under the deck by the back door of the house, but decided against doing that twice. The first time we decided to wait and the second time we decided we didn’t need it!


former pool owner

Wander project Greenwood, my office and baseball

IMG_4827Interesting Hodge-podge collection in the folder called Boy’s Baseball. I need to go through many of these folders. The first few pictures are of my office in Greenwood Indiana. Over the years, I have had three home offices, and part of the basement in two other houses. I have, by the way, never had a window in my home office. I hope someday to get promoted at home to where I get an office with a window.

The initial pictures to share today are of baseball practice. Practice and games were pretty similar. Both were fun to watch, and I enjoyed getting to relax outdoors and take video and pictures of the kids. The YMCA of Greenwood Indiana has massive outdoor and indoor sports facilities. Parking was always the issue. I suspect given the number of parents and the divorce rate in the US there were many more cars arriving at the games than there would have been in the past.

IMG_4830They also had a snack area, so every game the kids would get a parent provided snack and of course, also have to go to the concession stand to get a second treat. I am sure that worked out somehow but I am not sure it was ever in my favor. We took our lawn/outdoor chairs with us and relaxed with waters and watching. I can remember thinking some times that a beer and a hotdog would have made the experience perfect, but neither of those was options!

Author’s Note: I still have the snowman in my office (made by my daughter) and I still have big mouth Billy Bass although his batteries are currently dead.


family Historian

Wander project Annapolis

20171022_161331805_iOSThe last weekend with the boat on the water. We had to move from one slip to the other and wanted to see how the dry version of our teak cleaning turned out. We’ve, my wife and I, come to enjoy the time we spend just wandering the bay on the boat. Funny how things change over time and you develop new ideas about what is important. I suspect years ago, when the kids were little, we didn’t enjoy boating the same way.

In fact, I know we didn’t, back then it was a family thing. We fished, sunbathed and towed kids on the tubes behind the boat. It was both recreation and escape. Now it is more escape. For a time leaving behind all the things that are on land and heading away from shore for a time. I guess like anything you have to consider what it is you need versus what it is you want. Sometimes finding the harmony within is a greater need than simply quelling the sound the sound of the world around you.

20171022_154527963_iOSWe moved the boat from one side of the dock to another. The dock was being repaired, and the fueling station on the fuel dock was being replaced. Our slip sits right next to the fuel dock, so we had to move the boat. You don’t want heavy machines lifting and dropping things around your boat; it is just one slip until something destroys the canvas of your boat! So we moved from one side to the other side at the request of the marina. Seemed like a fair request to me!


Family Historian

Wander project, Greenwood and rock climbing (again)!

DSC00086More pictures of the kid’s rock climbing again. Over the years I took a lot of pictures of them as they all love to climb rocks. Funny overall because they are very different people. My daughter is outgoing and often is the loudest of the three. The older of the two twins is, the more social of the twins but less social than their sister. The youngest of the twins is the least social and yet, at home the most likely to talk your ear off.

Funny how that works. This is them gearing up to climb the Rock Wall at what was then Galleons’ sporting goods in Greenwood Indiana. Galleons’ was sold to Dick’s Sporting Goods and Dicks kept the rock wall for a time. They then moved to the Mall and the Rock wall was no more. We would drive by the old sporting goods store (the old one was near the mall but not directly connected to the mall) and the twins would say “curse you Dicks’” while shaking their fists.

DSC00094I’ve shared rock walls we found in Maryland as well. There are a number of them near the Great Falls of Maryland and Virginia state parks, but those are natural actual rock walls. The kids like to climb the indoor walls. Funny how that works out! Over the years we went to the rock wall many times. It isn’t the easiest sport. The kids were all exhausted by the time they were done. It is incredible to watch them, as well as all the other climbers. I never had the urge to climb the wall personally, however!


family historian