Monday, June 25, 2007

Scotty's big weekend

Two weeks ago Scotty attended his first model engine show--as an exhibitor! For a few years now he has been building model steam and gas engines out of his favorite building toy, K'NEX. While visiting the Western Museum of Mining and Industry, a favorite museum, on our last trip to Denver, we learned that they host an annual model engine exhibition. We contacted them and asked if Scotty could be an exhibitor and they thought it was a great idea. So the kids, my mom, and I made the drive up to Colorado Springs for the big event. We had an absolutely incredible time. We all had so much fun together and there was lots of laughter. There was great swimming in the hotel pool and a crazy time on the first night as Mom and I stayed up late to get the exhibit ready. There was some delicious food and some awful food. At the end it was a very memorable weekend and a much needed break from the farm for all of us.

It was really Scotty's moment to shine. He was so proud to be one of the exhibitors and was by far the youngest exhibitor there. There were no other child exhibitors, in fact most of them were ten times Scotty's age.

As an exhibitor he was given VIP status and wore a special button.

The weather was beautiful over the whole weekend and the museum enjoyed a good crowd both days.

Here is a view of the main exhibit hall with the big Corliss engine and some of the model engines.

Here is the exhibit on the first day. Mom and Eliza helped to make a great support team for Scotty. Mom's help was invaluable and it was a lot of fun to have her with us. Eliza was Scotty's publicist. She invited everyone she met to come see the exhibit. Scotty was pretty reluctant at first to talk to the visitors, as I expected he would be, so we had a big display that explained everything.

The kids really loved his exhibit. It was one of the few that they could touch.

The adults liked it too. Many were very impressed and happy to see such a young person interested in steam engines.

We had the exhibit set up so that it didn't have to be manned, fully expecting that Scotty wouldn't want to sit there all day. So we reveled in being there for two whole days as opposed to the hour or two at a time that we usually do on trips to Denver, and we really enjoyed all the activities and exhibits.

This fellow had several engines on a table running on compressed air. Scotty's first instinct was to try to see underneath the table to figure out how it was set up. Recognizing this, the man invited him back behind the table to check it out.

By far, Scotty's favorite exhibit was of the working Lego models. These really ran on compressed air. Scotty befriended the guy who made these, which was really neat because this fellow has 4 kids of his own but none of them are really interested in engineering. He was very impressed with Scotty's engines and he gave Scotty the plans for one of his Lego engines.

They had some big tractors and farm machinery outside.

Some larger model engines were in an annex building.

Scotty fell in love with this little tractor.

Riding the barrel train.

Exploring the larger engines in the building with the big stamp mill.

Eli hitching another ride on the barrel train. See the little thumb sticking out?

Here we are on the hayride. I had to laugh at this--it was basically a tractor pulling a trailer loaded with several bales of hay, which is something we do here at the farm fairly often just as part of our farm work. It also made me really appreciate our good fortune to be able to live the way we do.

Riding up to the head frames.

Eliza found her own thrills at the museum. Rock climbing (and jumping) was a big hit.

On the second day some of the exhibitors in the main hall had left so we moved in there. Scotty's was the first exhibit that people saw when they came through the door!

He really seemed to get into the groove more on the second day and started to feel much more comfortable talking about his engines with the museum visitors. It was such a thrill to watch him shine.

Watching the air trammer run.

They did their annual demonstration of the stamp mill while we were there! We have been to this museum many times but never got to see it run. It was pretty impressive, even though they ran it with an electric motor.

Monday, June 18, 2007

What's wrong with this picture?

Not only is this the most ridiculous looking contraption I've ever seen, it's a sad sad statement about our society. I was about to write "our society's views on children" but then I realized that it's really a metaphor for how we treat each other at all ages. There is such a premium placed on individuality and detachment. Success is measured in one's ability to independently acquire as much material wealth as possible. The primary goal of parents is to raise their children with as little interruption of the pursuit of "success" as possible. Being needy, even as an infant, is considered a sign of weakness. Seeing all that plastic and nylon between the bodies of the mother and baby in this photo is heart wrenching. It looks like something out of some science fiction movie, where corporations and technology have inserted themselves into the most important of all human relationships.

In contrast, look at this photo of a mother and baby breastfeeding in a sling. Their bodies are pressed against each other in warmth and comfort. The carrier is soft fabric that embraces them both. It's peaceful and timeless. A fabric sling can easily be made at home for just a few dollars. The food and comfort that nursing provides are invaluable. Oh, and that doesn't cost anything either. No wonder we are encouraged by the corporations to abandon this image for the previous one. They don't make any money off of healthy relationships.

This is why our family has made the choice to live an alternative lifestyle. This is why! Thanks to Crystal for bringing this image to my attention. I needed a reminder.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Hello Yarrow!

I just got your comment about looking for property nearby but I didn't publish it because it has details about our location. But I'd love to talk with you over email! You can contact me at salten at directly. Thanks!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I'm OK!

The news is good about my kidney--thanks Schuyler for asking! While they didn't find the exact cause of my problems, they also didn't see anything life threatening and the dilatation of the kidney is gone. I am feeling much better and I'm looking forward to getting back to dance class next month. This past weekend we took Scotty to his first ever engine show where he was the youngest exhibitor, showing his K'NEX engines. I'll get those photos up soon.

Goodbye long hair

Last week Scotty decided that he'd had enough of the long hair. He really likes how cool his new buzz feels. I like it too because he looks younger and reminds me of my five year old boy.

Chickenly love and some of the recent harvest

New Bike!

When Scotty was a baby, Chris picked up two bikes for $5 at a yard sale. Now that Scotty has learned how to ride without training wheels, he is ready for a larger bike. Turns out that one of the bikes Chris bought is the perfect bike for him! It's a very nice bike, probably worth a couple hundred new. Uncle Mark came by to get the bike in working order as a birthday present for Scotty. Thanks Mark!

Daddy's got the magic

Eliza's been quite happy to fall asleep with Daddy lately. I just had to get a photo of this the other night.

Scotty's birthday party

Finally, here are some photos of Scotty's Mythbusters birthday party. They aren't nearly as good as Sylvia's blog photos or Kevin's video which can be found HERE (scroll down) but it's all I've got. The party was a big hit with all the guests and the birthday boy and we all had lots of fun. One of the things that the Mythbusters love is explosions and they have built several rockets and cannons on the show. To this end, Papa built Scotty a really cool potato cannon for the celebration.

Chris took all the kids next door on the trailer to get the cannon. Here they are arriving with it.

Beth made sure that I got a shot of her with "her cannon."

Everyone came out to watch the first shot.

The potatoes went several hundred feet down the field.

Shot directly into a piece of particle board they went right through!

In addition to the cannon, we also had homemade ballistics gel, Mentos and soda, attempts to break a wine glass with amplified voice, and a huge tub of corn starch and water. Unfortunately I don't have any photos of any of these because Eliza made off with my camera early in the day. Here are some of the shots that she got while hiding out with the camera with Emma and Clare.

The next day I found the camera and was able to snap Scotty playing with his gifts. He really enjoyed all the used machines and electronics that folks brought for him to take apart. He also really liked the microscope set. At the party, he and Dan spent quite a bit of time using the lab tools that came with the set to dye and cut apart bits of ballistics gel.

Chris also had a birthday the same day as Scotty. On the actual day of the birthday, I spent a good part of it at the doctor's office because of my kidney. I didn't really get to tell the guys just how happy I am that they were both born on May 23, exactly 30 years apart. Happy Birthday to my favorite boys!