Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fire and rain


The last weekend in April is reserved for the annual H family bonfire. Let's start with a little history: The English term bonfire is attested from the 15th century, as banefire "bone-fire", originally of fires in which the bones of slaughtered animals were burned, allegedly a Gaelic tradition of the slaughter season in autumn.
Nowadays, we merely warm our bones by the fire, but we burned two days in the process. Please join me as we look at some highlights from this double day extravaganza.

Greetings, y'all! Families started arriving by midday Friday. Parking spots were claimed and tents were pitched.

It didn't take long for the fun and games to begin. The big fire isn't lit until dusk and there is plenty to do before then.

Foosball tournaments went on and on and on.

Bubbles were a new addition to the event. Thanks Casey!

Josh retreats, not wanting to undo Casey's work.

Mr. R is pretty passionate about food; his emotions come pouring out at a time like this.

This is not the bonfire. This is one of the two campfires we light for the purpose of cooking hot dogs. S'mores will come later.

Hot dogs and warm knuckles, throw in a little smoke inhalation and you have the makings of a great day!

Hey Ben, what are you thinking about? He didn't use the welding helmet this year, he's mellowing with age.

Every family brought a side dish. Nobody went hungry.

Mrs. H's pink bottle. It goes everywhere with her.

POP QUIZ: Mrs. H and Ben are talking about:
A) How to achieve world peace.
B) How great the bonfire is going to be.
C) May 15, 2010

Let me explain the curious title of this post. On all the previous bonfires the concern has been that conditions would be too dry to light the fire out of the fear that we might burn down the rest of the county. This has been a very wet spring and it rained Thursday. This year we were concerned that the pile would be too wet to light!

The fire started out slowly, we worried that it was going to sputter out, but Neighbor Bob has a few tricks up his sleeve. It eventually got going.

Whoosh! A year's worth of prunings, four stumps and two whole pine trees went up in flames.
By next morning the once mighty pile was small enough to serve as a foot stool. People stayed up very late the night before so the cool morning got off to a slow start. That gray and black shape on the right is the once mighty stump of the magnificent oak that graced our front yard. It did not burn much at all and will be the cornerstone of next year's bonfire.

Lots of rain guarantees that there will be plenty of muddy wet shoes.

Breakfast was served inside, as is the tradition.

The black powder gang took advantage of the shooting range. Mountains are pretty to look at, they stop bullets too.

Ben in motion increases the risk of bloodshed. These wounds were incurred on the hike.

Mr. O demonstrated his occupational skills by roping a Cow-asaki. Git along little doggy.

Friends held friends.

Friends held friends.

Friends held friends.

Some friends didn't want to be held.

This spring has been cool as well as wet. Not many people took advantage of the pool and nobody stayed in for very long.

Families wandered home as the day progressed. Mrs. H hugged everybody as they left.

No two bonfires have ever been the same, and this one was no different. The crowd was a little smaller than last year and we had to pull cars out of the mud, but everyone had a great time. We hope to see you at the next one, so mark your calendar.

NEXT STOP: Illinois!!!!!!!!!!!!! Stay tuned, there will be numerous posts in the next three weeks.

be safe,
Hec @ 19

Thursday, April 8, 2010

No news is no news


Once again, life is full of non-surprises, just day to day living. The only punctuation to the monotony would be Easter, arguably the most important event of the year. Thomas and I continue to keep our phones handy. The cameras built into them have changed the way we capture the little events that come our way. I will caption everything because Thomas is not here. He might, in fact, be using his camera at this very moment!

Easter eggs!! While not the focal point of Easter, it is still a fun family tradition. Three 18 packs!

Anthony is becoming quite the chef. He has the potential to make a name for himself in the culinary arts, not professionally mind you. He aspires to something else in a career.

Guac, guac, guac! We can eat a TON of this stuff! It tastes better than it sounds.

I wasn't there when Thomas took this shot. I not sure where they are. I think it's the Time Tunnel cafeteria.

Eggs taste better if you can see them clearly.

This thing is on TIGHT!

Anthony loosened it for me, but using a rag and making contorted faces always helps a tight lid come off.

Matthew: Taste tester.

This was taken in the Men's room at church. Every Sunday this step stool is placed in front of the sink. It must be there for a reason, so I use it without question.

What could these fine young men be waiting for?

Jessica's tacos, of course! Jessica is #1.

Hombres in Thomas' truck; let's roll!
Self portrait, taken on the bike trail.

Make sure your bike has access to plenty of cool clean water to prevent dehydration.

Nic feels that it is his patriotic duty to defend state's rights. I don't have the heart to tell him that he's fighting a losing battle, and besides, the stakes are rather low. Everybody goes home after even the fiercest battle.

War would be a lot safer if both sides used yellow caution tape.


3.14159265 x 4 +2= love

She may imply that she's kidding, but she's not kidding. The trouble is, others are watching.

Nic can take a simple project and find a way to twist it into something strangely complex and creative. **sniff**, I'm so proud!!

Red and brown, and I ain't talkin' about the eggs.

I suspect that these young men are up to no good. You can see it in their faces.

Incidentally, these photos are in no particular order. Let's segue to the city of Oakland. Here we see my toes at approximately 100 feet above terra firma. If you look closely, you will notice that four other people are in this image. The large gray rectangle with the small white rectangle is the back end of the ladder truck upon which I am perched. Yes, I have both hands on the camera and no hands on the ladder. That's because dropping the camera would make me extremely unpopular with the people down below. Fear not, I am wearing a ladder belt which is securely attached to the top rung. If I fall, it will be a short trip. My car is on the right side, second from the top. There are two small dogs in the white van.

Jason is the truck driver today. Here we see the same ladder that I was on, but at a very flat angle. This ladder is strong enough to stretch out parallel to the ground, even when extended all the way out. That's the equivalent of a seven story building lying on its side. Jason is checking the various components that make up the ladder, especially the ones that effect our safety. Take your time Jason. These monster rigs require two drivers and have two steering wheels, one at each end. Sticker price is over $700,000. There are seven of them in the city of Oakland.

Here comes Jason; his inspection is complete, the ladder is sound. Let's get back to the house.

This is good news.

Put a tiny dot of food coloring on the egg and blow with all your might. Let it dry and repeat the process with a different color. Stop when you get light headed.

I'm going to let Ben explain this one...'s worse than you think.

Fruit salad!! If the world's menu had to be stripped down to just one choice, I hope it would be this.

Thomas made biscuits, or beekees, as they are known in JB's world.

Forget that canned stuff.

Paaaat it!

And roooolll it!

And mark it with a "B"!

The ukulele's broken string was replaced by this fine fellow from Best Music Co. of Oakland, CA. After the repair he tuned the instrument and laid down a quick Hawaiian riff. That and a complete second set of strings cost a mere $10.

Why would anyone flock to something with a name like that? Laura won handily. I promise that Becky will get more coverage in the next blog post; this is only her second appearance in this one.

This was taken early in the morning. It doesn't usually do this in April.

Things were better by the afternoon.

The phone cameras have been a lot of fun. Thomas and I have no intention of setting them aside. We will probably get another one once Matthew, Nic and Anthony start driving. That's just around the corner. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!!

be safe,
Hec @ 19