Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Beginning of classes (duplicate post)

Well, just like that the Delaware County Fair is in the books again. We'll have the carcass show tonight for the few animals which were purchased and slaughtered and that will be the official end for one more year. There's a lot of pictures from the fair showing up on the website, so check them out. Not only are there great photographers entering in the show (including my wife, who won 3rd place!), but it seems there were a lot of good pictures shot by fairgoers and submitted to the site throughout the week.

As we sort through all of Amanda's pictures, mine have been posted to the Picasa album. Suprisingly, Picasa has not been cooperating well with her Google-brother Blogger, so I'll include the link to the album so you can go there straightaway. In the end, only 25 pictures made my cut onto the site, but as I fill up that site I'm trying to weed out some of my less good shots, including a cut yesterday on some pictures which lacked clarity or subject focus and were just on there for sentimental reasons.

I also began a new photo website which I like less, but they tricked me into joining with a contest for the best geocached photos. I'm a sucker for contests like this so hopefully I'll win something, and if not I've at least put in a little ad online for the Delaware County Fair. Yahoo's Flickr is just a little bit too glitchy and gimmicky for me to use it much yet.

Class is started here on campus and so now i have to adjust to a new schedule once again. I have yet to remember that I TA a class in the morning, so luckily it's for my forgiving mother-in-law because I haven't showed up to it on time yet. Coffee gets me through the long days of adjustment and by November my pigs should start coming off trial. Looking through the fog of chaos to the future of lab work and predictable schedules. Well, here's to hoping anyways...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pictures! (duplicate post)

Brace yourself, it's high volume picture season. This summer I've added about 8 GB of pics to my computer, but during this week alone, another 8-10 GB are added to my computer for the Delaware County Fair. With the addition of Amanda on the photography staff at the county fair, I'm thinking it's about time she got a Picasa album of her own to showcase her good shots. She has some really good pictures, especially from the sheep show last night and we both also have winnings this year again in the open photography show!

I'm toying around with some watermark ideas as well. Some pictures are getting put this year on the county fair website, so I don't want something obnoxious, but I do want something which draws more people to my Picasa album and hopefully eventually some photography gigs someday. I'm still in the growing stages and so looking for practice rather than contracts with expectations - this freelancing for Del. Co. Fair has been perfect. I'd appreciate commentary on two things: 1) watermark locations - I don't want to be obnoxious, 2) keeping the ScotchPine Photos name is a go?

Speaking of pictures, I'll share the MSU photos through this link for the jazzy uniforms to be used in the Michigan game this year (which we'll be at!). There's a lot of debate going on about the MSU uniforms and I agree with most people's intelligent commentary. I realize the traditions of school colors, and also the history lesson in the bronze inclusion - but to paraphrase a LinkedIn comment, "Why bronze, isn't that third?".

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fall again (duplicate post)

Well, it's definitely beginning to look a lot like fall again. The summer plants are dying out and the leaves are becoming more brittle. Tomorrow's high is once again predicted to be down in the low 60s and I love this stuff! I love the cool breeze in the morning, and I love being able to throw on some long sleeves and just wear them all day long without worrying about spiked heats. Fall colors are on the way and that means we needed to clear out our garden to make room for some mums.

I've included a picture today of the pumpkin plant we started at the beginning of the year. It's a perfect example of the shortage of bees and other pollinators, because this plant flowered all summer and went without any fruit. Not because it was sterile, but because I literally never saw anything crawl or fly by until it was already into late August. Luckily, our plants out at the parental unit were more successful. Jacob had a vastly successful planting of sweet corn after the first set was flooded out and our pumpkins are turning a good, solid Halloween orange.

County fair is coming up this coming weekend and I can't wait. Lambs and steers look good and it's a great time to have a fair. Look for me as press staff once again, pit passes and inside track for the horse races!!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pelotonia Recap (duplicate post)

It's been a few weeks now since the Pelotonia and life still hasn't slowed down enough for me to take a break and recap this great ride, so I'm stealing a few minutes at work. It is fresh in my mind because I just wrote the thank you letter we will be sending to our donors and I want to blog just a bit while it's in my head.

The ride was much more fun for me than last year. I know where I'm going now and had trained more properly for the long ride. Hills weren't something I trained for, but at least I'd racked up a few 50 mile rides prior to the big day. Knowing where you're going is not overrated in the slightest. I knew every big hill, dangerous intersection and even when to save water between fill-ups. I guess that's what you'd call a veteran, and at 2 out of the 3 years the ride has existed, I did feel a bit like a pro at it.

Amanda and I were separated the day of the ride. Luckily, she and Mom could ride together, but the 43 milers were released in a different time than the 102 and we couldn't afford to wait the extra hour to go. The early morning hours are so critical when you're riding as far as we were. By the time we got into mile 70, the heat was terrible and an air quality alert was out. If weren't out of the hills by then, the girl riding with us might not have made it. She was already strapped for lung and energy capacity as it was.

I think this year's ride had a lot more gravity to it than last year. Becky, a family friend of Amanda's, died the week of the Pelotonia despite the best treatment available and heartfelt prayers for a miracle until the very end. She left behind a young husband and younger children, one of which is too young to even ever have a memory of her mother. It is for the future of people like this that we rode and I know Becky weighed heavily on both Amanda's and my minds as we rode towards the finish line, only to leave from there to a wake.

The people on this day are so amazing. I know I said this last year too, but as you ride through towns, up hills, past farms, and even at the random hilltop stop in the Hocking Hills, there were people out ringing cowbells, cheering, honking and waving at us. They were so supportive of our efforts and I felt very appreciated. For those of you who supported us during the ride or before it in some way or another, I just want to pass along these peoples' appreciation to you. To quote the great Red Green, "Remember, we're all in this together, and I'm pulling for you."

Pelotonia has already raised $9.5 million and it's still about 40 days from the fundraising ending. We're sending out thank yous now, and in about 2 months this all starts again. It feels like this Pelotonia adventure never ends, especially now that Amanda and I are captaining a group which is ever-expanding (hopefully 10+ riders in 2012). With such a large group, we're going to need bigger corporate sponsors (Thanks this year to Champion Feed & Pet Supply, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and Amanda Hills Spring Water) totaling close to $10,000. If you know of anyone or want to join our cause, keep an eye out for a link to a Facebook group for 2012. It's the next step after our thank yous.

Our day ended with a country concert by a group called Bomshel. I was pretty content to just sit there and eat big, drink a beer and listen to them. But even though the day was over, our work is far from done. Patients still need treatments, children need to know about preventions, and families need hope for a cure.