Monday, October 30, 2006

Field Trip - National Weather Service

We visited the Spokane office of the National Weather Service with some other families from our homeschool co-op on Friday. We learned a lot about weather and what is involved in forecasting weather. The meteorologist who was our tour guide was very friendly and enthusiastic. He showed us a bunch of different satellite images and dramatic photographs. And then we found out that many of them are available on the NWS website! My kids want me to "put that website on their computer"! (We have the internet blocked on their computer, except for websites that their dad or I approve.) I think that's great! They can learn a lot by exploring the site, and then keep us up-to-date on the weather forecasts. Oh... and by the way, it's weather.gov, not weather.com. The .com site is the Weather Channel, which is fine, but it does have ads. The .gov site is the NWS and you don't have to worry about ads.

We also discovered that the NWS is who broadcasts the weather radio station that the kids discovered on one of the channels of their walkie-talkies.

The highlight of the field trip was at 4:00 p.m. when we got to watch them release a weather balloon. I have seen weather balloons occasionally, but I never knew they were released twice a day, every day, all over the world at the same time! (I think the guy said 1,100.) There is a small styrofoam box, about the size of a shoebox, tied to the bottom of the balloon with instruments to gauge things like temperature, wind, and moisture. The balloon is bigger than I thought it would be. Maybe the size of a bean-bag chair, if a bean-bag chair was inflated? They track the balloon for an hour-and-a-half. They said it usually travels 150 miles or so before it "pops". The box has a label on it so if anyone finds it, they will know to return it to the NWS. Our guide said that about 15% are returned. He estimated that it costs about $300 for each balloon that is released!

Speaking of weather, we had our first snow of the year last night and it's still on the ground this morning! Maybe a half inch or so. The kids are excited. I dread driving in it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Tragedy in our youth group

A 14-year-old boy in our church was killed on October 13th. The newspaper tells more about it. Our whole church is stunned and grieving. Please pray for the family of this young man, particularly his mother who was also in the accident and was critically injured.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Hunting update!

What a week we've had! We aren't used to this much "testosterone" in our house, so it's been a riot!

Last night the hunters came in without a kill, but with great pictures, video footage, and stories. That's as good as a kill, in my book. They saw several moose and got pictures. (They don't have moose tags, so couldn't shoot them.) What's amazing is that we have lived here for over 8 years and in that length of time have only seen 2 moose on 2 separate occasions. Yesterday they saw a cow and her calf, and a bull moose, and some others. They saw a grouse strutting its feathers like a peacock or a turkey. They also saw several deer, and I'm not sure what else. They just have a great time! (No bears, though.)

I'm not sure what time they left this morning, but they were long gone when DH got up at 6:30 to go to work. About 11:00 I got a call from them. How would we like grilled venison tenderloin for supper? One of them got a deer, and they would butcher it themselves! The others were still hunting, so they may come home with more than one.

Monday, October 9, 2006

Bear hunting!

My uncle and cousin and 2 of their friends are here this week from Missouri to go hunting. The season opens tomorrow. Their tags are good for a deer, a bear, or a mountain lion! They are all hoping for a bear! They are just sure they saw one up on the mountain above our house. There was a black spot there yesterday morning... and later it was gone... so it must've been a bear! At breakfast this morning they asked each other, "Wasn't it about this time yesterday that we saw that black spot?" Yeah, they agreed it was. So they went out with their binoculars to see if they could spot it again. (We've lived in the area for over 8 years and have never seen a bear, so the chances of them actually getting one are very slim, IMO, but maybe I'll be surprised! Wouldn't that be a hoot?)

DH took them on a scouting expedition today. He's not a hunter himself, but he took the day off to show them around since they can't shoot anything today anyway. They seem to be having a good time.