American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Working the Edge

Recently I wrote about having some sharpening problems with a knife. Here's another one I'm having some trouble with right now. This is my well-used and well-loved Fallkniven F1 and the part of the edge that gives me fits is marked by the black Sharpie near the edge. The mark went all the way to the edge before I started working backward from the strop to 1000-grit paper to 600-grit paper and back up and I'm still fighting with a wire edge in that spot that just won't give up the ghost.

Of course it's not in a spot that is going to prevent me from using the knife. The tip and most of the edge is razor sharp and continues to hold up well. This 1-inch section of the edge just refuses to get sharp.

Today I plan to work that edge until it either breaks off the wire edge or breaks down. Either way it's going to require some more sharpening.

Once upon a time I felt that I could sharpen anything to a razor's edge and now a knife or two have me scratching my head. I don't deal with frustration especially well so this is just one of those obstacles for me to tackle.

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Conducting Raids into Enemy Territory

Today's been a busy day of strikes deep into enemy territory with, hopefully, heavy casualties on the other side.

I've been trying to eradicate the bees (yellowjackets specifically) and poison ivy from my yard.

I can immediately see the results of the strikes against the bees but the poison ivy takes weeks to see any real results.

The builders removed a section from each of the big vines growing up my trees but that left roots intact and able to send off dozens of shoots this spring. I mistakenly pulled them from the ground thinking that I'd removed the thread when it occurred to me that the big vine/root was what I needed to destroy if I was going to make any headway.

Using a custom Livesay RTAK I cut the tops off the vine stumps and sprayed them so the chemicals would feed deep into the root system. It's a nice warm, sunny day and perfect for this kind of application. In a week I'll do it all again to deliver the death blow (I hope.)

The bees are (um, were) situated right over a door and were harassing people coming into the house and they had to go.

I am declaring this battle an early success. Whether or not I win this war is yet to be seen...

Thanks for reading,


Friday, August 29, 2008

Clever Sharpening System

I was reading Bladeforums yesterday and saw a clever method of carrying a sharpening/edge maintenance system with you that takes up NO extra room and offers the options to both sharpen and polish your edges.

Here is the post.

For those of you who can't read Bladeforums this is the gist:

Take a notepad (you do carry a notepad right?) and glue a piece of 1000 grit wet/dry sandpaper to the inside of one cover and load the inside of the other cover with stropping compound.

Having the abrasives on the inside of the notebook you will keep them clean and keep the rest of your gear from getting scratched by the abrasives.

When you need to polish the edge you simply flip the notepad open to expose the stropping compound and run your knife edge-trailing over it a few times. If you need more you can flip open the other side of the notepad and do the same with the sandpaper.

I have been carrying a piece of leather loaded with compound in my pocket but it requires me to pack it in a plastic bag to keep compound off of my pants and everything in that pocket so this method is worth a look.

I've glued up a notepad just like in the post and I'm going to be giving this system a try to see if it works as well as it seems to me it might.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wilderness Baking

I've got some of the Guyot Designs Squishy Bowls and a billy can so this video really caught my eye and I'm going to give this a try over the weekend.

Adding a little water to the bottom of the billy can should keep the environment inside humid and it should control the temperature at around 212 degrees.

Having some molten-center brownies on the trail sounds like it could lure the kids back out with me. :)

I wonder if this would work for other baked items as well.

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Pocket Knife

I've been trying something for the past several weeks just to mix it up a bit. I've been carrying my modified Fehrman Thru-Hiker in my front pocket.

This knife is thick enough to handle tough tasks and the edge is ground thin enough to be a real cutter and slicer. The 3V is fantastically heat treated and holds an edge darned near forever.

I use the knife just as I would any pocket knife (i.e. opening packages and the mail, slicing food for breakfast/lunch, trimming loose threads and long fingernails, etc.) and it's done a fine job.

It'd probably raise more eyebrows if I pulled it out in public but, suspecting that, I limit the time it spends out of my pocket when I'm in town or at the store.

The kydex sheath from Fehrman is nice and slim and goes easily in and out of the pocket. I could leave the Tek-Lock on it and snap it on my belt just as easily as drop it in my pocket.

I think I may have Dan and Spen work something up for a front pocket sheath to carry this.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Calling All Knot Tiers

I've been working on tying a barrel sling knot for the past two days with limited success and could use a few pointers.

This seems to be a neat way to hang a water bottle upright from a ridgeline. It would also be a supply of cordage in a pinch.

I have had so much difficulty tying this knot that I've resorted to tying a paracord mesh bag for my water bottle instead.

So, who has tied the barrel sling, or similar, knot with some sort of success? I need your tips.

Speaking of knot tying, check this video from Bushcraft Northwest:

The way he ties the cinch knot at about 1:12 is very clever and I've tried it and it's incredibly easy to tie and works great.

The more you cross the lines the stronger the cinch knot will be but I've found three crosses to be enough to keep the tarp nice and taut on the ridgeline in normal weather. If foul weather were blowing in I suspect an extra cross or two would be in order.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, August 25, 2008


The quiet around here this morning is stunning.

The kids just climbed on the bus for their first day of school.

Both are going full-day this year so I've got hours and hours to fill/kill Monday through Friday.

Of course I've managed to fill a big chunk of it already with lots of volunteering.

Summer's over...for the kids anyway. :)

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, August 24, 2008


You're in the woods and, in a moment of thoughtlessness, you eat something you haven't positively identified. It could be a mushroom, a berry, or a seed pod.

You have three options if getting to a doctor immediately isn't possible.

Drink as much water as you can drink to dilute the toxins and to flush them out of your body. Filtered and purified water is clearly ideal but if it's not available you can drink unfiltered water. Dealing with giardia or crypto a week after you return is far better than trying to deal with being dead.
Inducing vomiting
Within an hour of ingestion you should be able to stimulate the gag reflex to remove a large portion of the suspect material. Stick out your tongue, lean forward, and reach into your mouth and tickle the back of your throat.
Binding with charcoal
Including some activated charcoal in your first aid kit is not a bad idea (especially if you eat wild plants) as a precaution. If activated charcoal isn't available you can use white ash and water as a substitute. It may induce vomiting and isn't as effective as activated charcoal but it may still save your life.

If, after all of this, you still get sick you should seek medical attention as quickly as possible.

Clearly it is preferable to positively identify wild edibles before ingesting them but accidents can, and do, happen.

Be prepared.

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Take some of the most experienced writers, photographers, and reviewers and add at least one wild man with a video camera and you're sure to have a successful venture. There's a new place on the Internet for you to check out.

The folks at are up and running full speed ahead with news, reviews, articles, and videos.

It looks like they're still looking for content contributors too if you're interested in getting published on the web. I'm working up an article or two for them right now.

I'll be adding them to my links section momentarily so you'll be able to find them easily from here.

Give them a look.



Friday, August 22, 2008

The Army Trangia Stove

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the Swedish Army Trangia Stove, in either iteration (stainless or aluminum,) is a truly fantastic bit of kit.

I've used my setup in locations too varied to mention and it has always impressed with its ruggedness, design, and simplicity.

I have thousands of dollars worth of Titanium, Aluminum, and stainless mess kits and cooksets and I find myself always tossing the Trangia into the pack before I leave. It's the one that's been the dirtiest and has seen the most use and now has the most character.

My Zebra 12cm Billy Can is in a close second place but it doesn't have the flexibility the Trangia does. I can use it over a burner, open fire, or coals but it requires some work first. The Trangia is ready for any heat source as quickly as you can set it up.

There's just something about that rough green paint and the clank of the bail that lets me know I'm headed for the woods.

I like this setup so much that I built emergency car kits out of them for friends and family last winter. You can store additional survival gear in your stove and, when paired with a knife, could find yourself well-prepared for a quick overnight.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Poison Ivy

Looks like my immunity to poison ivy is gone.

I don't have a bad case of it (I was out pulling the massive hairy vines off the trees a week ago) but I've got little spots in tender locations like the back of my knees that are just driving me crazy.

I find that Vitamin B1 helps me a little with the itching (whether or not that's a placebo effect is unknown to me) and I have Benedryl if it gets really bad.

Ah well, there are ways to regain my immunity and I'm going to be looking into those now. For example, I know that Marty Simon of The Wilderness Learning Center (WLC) has suggested that ingesting the leaves can help one build an immunity. Now that does not mean that you should go out and eat a poison ivy salad. There's a strict discipline he follows and claims he hasn't had a problem with poison ivy in 20+ years and I'm inclined to believe him.

There's an awful lot written out there by folks who have found "the cure" for poison ivy ranging from wiping down exposed areas with diesel fuel to showering in icy cold water with laundry detergent. There's also stories about how the rash is contagious. I believe the rash spreads from the initial point of contact (hands and fingers usually) immediately after initial contact as a person, unaware that they've got urushiol (the oil that causes the rash) on their hands continues to touch their gear and themselves.

I have some motivation now to get this figured out...tiny, itchy, red spots of motivation on the back of my right knee and three nice straight lines up the outside of my left leg.

Thanks for reading,


Back To School

Today Jake and I get to take his bus to school for a practice run.

We'll meet his teachers, the school administrators, and the nurse.

He and Laura both go back for real on Monday morning.

Thus ends their summer of relaxation and play time.

And the next adventure begins...

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Off Topic: The Olympics

I've been watching an awful lot of the Olympic coverage on NBC here for the past several days and find it still quite exciting to see someone perform better than expected when they competed above their level.

There have been some amazing moments including Jamaican Usain Bolt's 100m World Record on the track when he didn't even run at top speed for the whole 100m. That's one fast guy.

These are all reminders that we can do so much more than we at first think possible if we put our minds, hearts, and souls into something.

That focus and determination is what you'll need when faced with a survival situation to affect a positive outcome. Sometimes you get lucky and sometimes luck gets you but going in to a situation with commitment and determination to succeed goes a very, very long way.

At least that's what I have gotten out of it. :)

Thanks for reading,


Monday, August 18, 2008

Gear Sale Link

I haven't posted a link to the big gear sale in a few days.


There's still plenty of stuff to be posted so keep checking in.

Thanks to everybody who has already taken stuff off of my hands. :)

Thanks for reading,


Looking for a Kuksa

I want a Kuksa, the traditional wooden Sami drinking cup.

HERE is an example of a few kuksas.

These cups are carved from birch burl most often and have one or two finger holes.

I would really like to carve my own but birch is about as common around here as gold, diamonds, or oil. It just doesn't grow here naturally and the landscaping trees are much too small to provide me with a piece of wood large enough to carve a kuksa.

The kuksa is naturally insulative because it's wood so hot liquids stay hot and sub-zero temperatures won't cause the kuksa to freeze to your lips.

Properly carved and maintained, the kuksa should last a lifetime of use.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Survival Matters

I just watched this video about a new series starring Jonathan Simons coming to television called Survival Matters:

More information is available on the Survival Matters Website.

If you want to read more about Jon you can check out his blog.

Congratulations Jon and good luck with this endeavor.

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, August 16, 2008

How to Get Kids in the Woods

I got Jake out into the woods with me yesterday for a hike. How'd I get him there? Bribery!

Laura was going to go but changed her mind when I told her we wouldn't ride our bikes over.

I had a pocket full of gummy worms and Laffy Taffy to keep Jake "motivated" to move when, where, and how I wanted to move.

I even managed to convince him to pose for me from time to time.

Here he is eating the fruits of his labor before packing up and moving on again.

I hope to get back out with the kids today. It's a PERFECT day to get out for a hike with temperatures in the mid-80s and a slight breeze that should keep the mosquitoes from bugging us too much.

Thanks for reading,


Friday, August 15, 2008

Carving Feather Sticks

I found an excellent thread on Outdoors Magazine on carving feather sticks.

Pay special attention to Jimbo's posts. The guy flat-out knows what he writes.

Here's an excerpt of one of his posts:

I'd got some knives in the mail which I'd won on ebay. Despite getting super deals, these were really expensive knives for a $10 Mora person like me. One was a very heavy duty survival knife and the other a folder - and of course both sliced paper perfectly right from the box! Life's worst nightmares always start with some good stuff, and then a person is on the slippery slope! The weather had been terrible for some time, but off I went into the bush to be impressed with what these knives would do...
I was about to learn a lot about knives in a very short time! I was also about to learn a lot about pride going before a fall, because you don't walk far into the bush to test stuff for the first time. You only walk far into the bush with stuff that's been tested thoroughly!
The slope got more slippery and steep because I didn't take a hatchet. Nope - I was going to use the heavy duty knife...
After a nice long walk I decided to build a fire and dry off. That's when I first realized that knives with steep bevels don't chop well. It's not the manufacturer's fault that people expect knives to be tough and maltreat them to make sure that they are. The manufacturers just put on steep bevels to protect themselves. In the end, I got enough wood hacked up to make a fire. The trouble was that due to long term rain no small stuff was dry enough to use to get everything started. That's when I learned that steep bevelled knives don't whittle fuzzies from poor wood. Neither the survival knife or the folder would work. They could slice paper because they were sharp and because paper is thin. No way would they whittle fine fuzzies though. I tried and tried until I remembered that I must have a Mora tucked away somewhere in my pack. I did, and I soon had fine fuzzies and a fire. Maybe that could be considered some sort of success, but whenever a person relies on luck rather than good management in the bush, bad things happen...
I tried on lots of occasions to get fires started with those knives. I'd grind on them and try things out again. Eventually I was very happy with the knives and was getting fires lit with them. Naturally I then took them out in terrible conditions - and failed again. This time in front of a lot of people - and I didn't have a Mora around..... Being humiliated in front of people is maybe not the best feeling - but it beats being alone and dead in the bush! I did lots more grinding after that...

I've always enjoyed my conversations with Jimbo and he's always provided some insight to whatever is the topic at hand.

If you're interested in reading more of his thoughts on axes, knives, sharpening, and survival in the Great North check out his website here.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Pablo's Edged Tool Safety Video

Pablo has a new video on YouTube about edged tool safety--a valuable topic that doesn't get as much coverage as it probably should.

Well done Pablo.

Give it a look.

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Custom Fallknivens at JRE

I was just doing a quick Google search for "custom Fallkniven" to see who out there is doing custom-handled blade blanks and found the JRE Fallkniven Page.

Now I knew they were doing custom Fallkniven knives with a couple of makers and that their prices were the best I'd seen but I did not see this before:


If I understand this correctly that means that you buy the knife and then you choose the kind, color, and hand of sheath you want.

That's a $40-$60 option isn't it? (Edit:I see there's a $30 up-charge for the custom sheath option. That's still a pretty good deal if you ask me.)

I need to look into this a bit more. I keep thinking that I've got all my Fallkniven needs met and have actually sold off some of my Fallkniven Customs and productions already.

I still don't have a WM1 and seeing one in curly or masur birch with a handle-up neck sheath would be the bees knees.

Thanks for reading,


Sandal Feet

I've worn shoes exactly three times this summer and I noticed yesterday that my feet have changed physically.

My big toe has gotten wider. My feet look wider. There's the crazy Teva tan-lines because I've worn just one pair of sandals all summer (when I wasn't going barefoot.)

If you've ever watched a show about aboriginal people you may notice that their feet are flatter and more squat than those of people who wear shoes all the time. That's now more what mine look like.

Being a hard-core boot wearer I noticed a lack of ankle strength and support early this summer and now I feel like my ankles have gotten stronger. I no longer have the grinding feeling or the crunching sound coming from my ankles when I make a lateral movement. (Yeah, sneaking in the woods could be fairly tough with noisy ankles.) :)

While my feet and ankles may be physically tougher I must admit they're probably not as good looking as they once were. I don't have any "before" pictures as I never would have considered this a possibility and, therefore, an "after" picture wouldn't mean much.

I seem to stand, walk, and run differently now than I did at the beginning of the summer and feel that my feet and ankles are stronger than they were before.

Strange? Perhaps. Am I just imagining the "improvement"? Maybe.

Keeping the stronger ankles and feet is going to be a challenge once the weather turns but, for now, I'm going to just go with it. :)

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Nick Allen Camp Knife

Remember this post?

Well Nick has done it again and I received my Nick Allen Camp Knife yesterday afternoon. This is way more than just a blown-up version of the Bladeforums Knife. It looks like it'll chop with authority, has an edge fine enough for slicing and carving, and came crazy sharp.

OAL: 13"
Handle: 5.75"
Blade: 7.25"
1/4" thick
15.25 oz.
Natural Canvas Micarta handle scales

Nick tried a dangler-style sheath on this one and it's treated with his beeswax dip which makes the sheath hard like wood and gives a nice *click* as the knife goes in and out of the sheath.

I'm going to have to find some field time this weekend to get out and get this knife dirty and to break it in.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, August 11, 2008

Claytor Jungle Hammock

I've been airing out my Claytor Jungle Hammock and tarp in the side yard and the kids have been spending quite a bit of time playing in and around it.

Normally I run the tarp with a ridgeline underneath but decided this time to pitch it with shorter ropes at either end attached to the trees. This uses less cordage, weighs marginally less, and for less knot tying and (possibly) a faster pitch. What the missing ridgeline does for me is to give a nice clean line on the peak of the tarp. Without it the tarp takes on an arc with a lower center which is pulled lower by the tie-outs.

It was supposed to be a clear night and, as I'd already swept off, hosed off, and dried out the tarp, I decided to pull it, fold it, and put it away while leaving the hammock up.

The bug netting needs a ridgeline (or something anyway) to tie to if you want to sleep with the netting off your face. I put up a quick paracord ridgeline and attached the netting.

Then it occurred to me that a lesson could be had for the kids who were insistent upon playing with the hammock.

We climbed inside to relax and, as dusk was coming quickly, we started to discuss how bug netting worked, how the double layer of material plus the foam pad would prevent mosquito bites, and how exhaled CO2 would bring the little biters. We started counting as the first mosquitoes landed on the bug netting and, within about 20 minutes, they were thick on the netting and flying near the hammock. Three breathing bodies in a confined space would do that I suppose.

After a short while Jake decided that he'd had enough and wanted to go into the house. Laura and I shook the netting to disperse the mosquitoes, Jake unzipped the netting, and jumped out to make a run for the house as I zipped the hammock back shut.

Laura and I stayed for a while longer before she, too, was bored and wanted to go in. Again we shook the netting and made a run for it. I decided to put a different stick in the foot end netting to hold it open and in the 10 seconds it took me to get it "installed" I had a mosquito on my shoulder, one on my face, another on the side of my neck, one on my right leg, and one on my left foot.

I managed to do a decidedly uncool maneuver to disperse them while only sustaining one bite and then I ran for the house.

I really, really dislike mosquitoes--more-so now that I seem to have developed a sensitivity to repellents. The good news, I suppose, is that they're on their downward run now. Soon they'll all be gone for the season and I'll still be out there.

Thanks for reading,


Friday, August 08, 2008

New JRE SwissTool Sheath

One of the benefits of running down to JRE Industries so often to drop off gear for the big sale is the ability to see new products as they're coming out of the shop. This is one of those projects that really struck me as I carry a SwissTool every day and the nylon sheath on mine was really looking pretty ragged.

I lost a Leatherman Wave a few years back because the factory sheath fell apart and I wish I'd had a rig like this. The silver lining to that accident was the discovery of the SwissTool--a far superior multi-tool in my opinion.

One of the great features on this sheath is the double belt clip/loop which allows carry with or without a belt. I like to wear my belt through the loop and don't find the clip to be a problem at all and, on the rare occasion when I'm without my belt, I can still clip the sheath to my shorts and have my SwissTool handy.

The sheath is made of nice heavy leather and should wear well to develop plenty of character after a few trips into the woods. The stitching, as always, is nice and even and they've finished all of the edges including the one at the mouth of the sheath. The snap is nice and tight and I have no concerns about it coming loose like my Leatherman snap did. And, even if it did, I am pretty sure the boys at JRE Industries carry the SwissTool at a pretty competitive price.

I don't know what these are going to run as I snagged Spen's right off his belt. I'm sure if you dropped them an email I'm sure they could quote you a price and delivery time.

The only suggestion I'd make would be to offer these with a firesteel loop option. I think with a SwissTool and firesteel on your belt you'd be equipped for an unplanned night in the woods.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, August 07, 2008

First Posted Image from new Canon XTi

This is a cicada I shot outside my parents' lake house.

It was just clinging on and I managed to get right down on it to shoot the picture.

Thanks for looking,


And We're Back (Again)

After a long three days we're back home again.

Traffic on the way was horrendous and the trip took twice as long (literally) as it should have. The kids watched an entire movie before we even got to the city.

Once there we quickly shifted into relax mode and spent our days lounging around the house, playing in the lake, reading, taking pictures, and lounging some more.

Monday night we got pounded by a big storm that knocked down branches but the light show was long and impressive. The winds howled and I suspect some rain fell but it was the lightning that stole the show.

Tuesday was cooler but the humidity was brutal. My mom tried to build a fire in the firepit to burn off some scrub (downed branches, leaves, etc.) but things were too wet. After getting things dried out a bit we managed to get things going nice and hot to dry out the ground and the wet wood and leaves.

After being roasted next to the fire I peeled off my wallet and cell phone and headed straight for the lake and, like the Pied Piper, somehow got all of the kids to follow me--still fully dressed. As I was doing the laundry anyway I didn't worry much but my nieces are not yet solid swimmers and required a bit more attention once we were in the water.

Wednesday we went to Potato Creek State Park where we all swam in the lake (yes, the kids got to swim in two different lakes in three days) and then had a picnic before heading for the Nature Center to talk with the Naturalist and put on a puppet show. For me, this is the highlight of the trip as it is when Laura shows off all that she has learned about the outdoors. All that time going over plant, tree, and animal identification has been worthwhile as she's been listening.

I took hundreds of pictures with the new camera and hope to get one or two of them up here today.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, August 04, 2008

Gone Campin'

Okay folks,

I'm out the door for the next three days. I hope to get in some camping but don't know what the current situation is down at the State Park.

We will, at least, get some hikes and some swimming in. The kids will be taking some classes while we're out and I hope they learn some interesting things about nature.

Make sure to check the sale while I'm gone. Dan and Spen have been doing a fine job of adding new items every day.

See you late Wednesday night,


Sunday, August 03, 2008


We've got snakes here.

Loads and loads of snakes.

That may explain the lack of mice.

I was out pulling weeds yesterday and today and have noticed dozens of holes in the ground where our reptilian hunters reside.

Today I actually found a shed skin from a good sized garter snake and, not ten minutes later, saw the former owner of that skin as he/she slithered past my foot to escape the cold spray of the garden hose.

This is a big deal for us as we had one snake in eight or nine years at the other house and now I see them daily.

The only venomous snake we have in Lake County is the Eastern Massasauga and I'm afraid I'd have a hard time identifying one at a glance still. We've got to study a bit harder now that I know how many snakes we have around the house.

We sit on the outside edge of a wetland unlike any other in the state and I suspect the snakes are out to feed on the numerous frogs which are feeding on the heavy insect population (all right in my back yard.)

I hope to snap some pictures in the next couple of days as we're headed for even more snake-friendly weather (hot and sunny with slightly cooler evenings.) We see them warming themselves on the sidewalk as the sun goes down because it's nice and warm from a full day of sun and heat.

Thanks for reading,


Saturday, August 02, 2008

Opening Up the Sale Page

I've asked Dan and Spen to open up the American Bushman Sale Page to everybody so more folks can benefit from the knives and gear listed.

As always, if there's something you're looking for, don't hesitate to drop me a note.

Chances are very good that it's already there to be listed or it will be there in the near future. :)

In the meantime, I'm going to be shooting some pictures with my new Canon D400 XTi and reviewing a couple of knives that I've gotten in the past month.

Thanks for reading,


Friday, August 01, 2008

On to the Next Thing

The party's over. The guests have gone. The presents have been opened.

We had thunderstorms roll through about an hour before the party and it only kept a half-dozen kids from the pool. I fielded several calls about a rain date as the party was at the pool but I assured everyone that it was still going forward.

The rain did two things in our favor. First, it drove off everybody that was at the pool making it a private party. Second, it dropped the temperature about 10 degrees. This ended up being the perfect combination of events to make a very fun party with lots and lots of happy kids.

Now I've got about a thousand Thank You notes to write and I've still got to get prepared for the trip on Monday.

Hopefully my new camera will arrive today and I'll be able to get it up and running before the Monday trip as well.

Thanks for reading,