Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tender foot or tenderfoot?

Noah and Lukas attended their first meeting with their new troop on Monday. Noah came home overjoyed as he has now advanced to the rank of Tenderfoot. Being Noah, he had to show off his new tender foot :-)
The patch on his shirt will change after the next Court of Honor.

A Walk in the Park

After church on Sunday, some newspaper reading time and watching the end of a good movie, it was time to get our bodies moving. Despite the gloomy weather we set out for a local park with a nice trail in the woods. The rain was drizzling, but under the canopy of trees we remained relatively dry, unless one would step in a big puddle either by mistake or on purpose. It was good to be outside, getting some fresh air, and watching the fall leaves turn color - a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.


The boys had extra incentive to finish their school work quickly on Wednesday. It was a beautiful fall day, clear blue sky, cool temperature, and best of all it was perfectly calm, which meant perfect flying weather. In addition, our newly acquired fleet of vehicles were beckoning to the boys.
Lukas and Noah loaded up the flying machines and we were off to the nearby park. Since it was only mid afternoon, we had the park to ourselves and the boys set up the command post.
They had neglected to mention that they had not yet attended the mandatory safety briefing, which would have prevented the minor mishap resulting in the boys scaling a tree. Fortunately, their team work and ingenuity solved the situation without any lasting damage but to their pilot egos.
It was a fun way to spend an afternoon, watching the boys hunched over the computer trouble shooting, observing the little plane glide through the air with the clear blue sky as a back drop and hearing their joyous laughter and bantering as they navigated the friendly skies over Sterling Heights.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Art work in progress

Noah is continuing his work on the large scale piece he is creating for our living room. On Sunday, Bob and he spent some time talking about paint colors, mixing, shading and effects, Noah did not appreciate the camera capturing a partially completed painting, 'wait until it is done, Mamma!"

Garden goodbye

Fall is in the air, the temperature is plummeting at night and the air is crisp and cool when we wake up. The cooler temperatures means the end to our little garden. We did not know what to expect and were pleasantly surprised at the bounty the little patched offered us. Noah picked the last of the beans, we are leaving the peppers out a few more days and the herbs will need to fend for themselves now that the rabbit fence is gone.

First flight!

Bob and Lukas have put together a quad copter and it was finally time for its first flight. There had been a few previous attempts, teaching lessons in patience and gaining appreciation for the complexity involved. At the very last minute, something would not work well and it was back to the drawing board. Lukas has had ample practice in trouble shooting, careful and methodical checking and re-checking, and posting on message boards. Every evening, he has new and exciting news for Bob, and being ever so hopeful that this most recent fix would be the one that was needed to get it flying. So it was with trepidation that we all gathered in the basement, to see if the motors would engage and the copter lift. And it was at least a partial success, all motors engaged, and the copter was airborne for a short period time. Back to the drawing board and more trouble shooting. This is character building for our impatient young engineer in the making.

Re-purposing and creating

Noah and Bob noticed that Lukas was lacking proper lighting for his school desk in his bedroom. Not being deterred by the late hour and the pjs which ruled out heading to the store, Bob and Noah retreated to the garage for some brainstorming. It did not take long before the two creative minds had fashioned a unique, and practical light for Lukas made from what was already in the garage. I guess, I should not

argue for throwing things out any longer, it will soon be re-purposed into something new and useful....

Just an ordinary school day

This is what school looks like at the Sill Academy

Bike ride

The gorgeous fall weather was the perfect excuse for a fun bike ride on Belle Isle. This little island in the middle of Detroit River is half way between the US and Canada. Bob and the boys strapped four bikes to our rack and we headed down town. Part of the island was closed off for autonomous vehicle demonstrations so we stood mesmerized while a compact car pull into a parking spot, backed out, drove around and then parallel parked again. Unfortunately the information in the paper was misleading and there was no public access,  so that was the extent of our view of the demos but it certainly was impressive.
We headed out on our bikes to explore the island. It did not take long, the island is only a few miles long and scarcely a mile wide. At one end is small nature zoo, and since the price of admission was right - free - it was a natural rest stop, before heading back to the car.
It was fun to see Detroit from a different perspective, and we could not help but laugh at the lavish bird houses outside the nature zoo.

The boys had a bit of an audience as they strapped the bikes back on, and we were all happy to leave. The ice cream truck had played "It's a small world" continuously and by the time the bikes were all secure we were done with the tune.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Circuit board

When a projects require a specific circuit board and such cannot be obtained easily, what is one to do? Well, one solution would be to manufacture it oneself. Lukas and Bob did just that one evening this week. Bent over tiny pieces of metal, dipping and dabbing into bowls of liquids, gloved hands painting daintily with q-tips, drilling, measuring they finally completed the work. Bob tried it the next day with great result. Maybe there is a new business opportunity here?

Artist in residence

Our large expanse above the fire place is finally getting some attention. Bob kindly rigged up the four canvases, set up a temporary art studio complete with drop cloth and directed lighting and Noah began his work. It is work in progress as he paints as he is lead. We are eagerly looking forward to the final product and enjoy watching Noah in action.