There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

Definition of Walkabout :

a short period of wandering as an occasional interruption of regular work
Showing posts with label Florence T. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Florence T. Show all posts

23 May 2016

Fielding Garr Ranch

"I guarantee that we will see some buffalo if we go."

"Yes! Antelope Island!"

It was as easy as that. Within minutes we are driving on the causeway out to Antelope Island. The oldest child has a headache and takes a nap, but the other two are keeping their eyes peeled for buffalo.
The paved road ends, turning into a bumpy and dusty dirt road. We adventure on, and at the end of the trail, way up on the island's hillside, we see the herd.

Turning back from whence we came, I ask if they would like to stop at the Fielding Garr Ranch. The girls want to rest in the car, but Cbug is up for it. The ranch has a rich Mormon history, being a stronghold for managing the church's tithing funds. It was also a sheep and cattle ranching homestead until those became unprofitable.

Ranching operations ceased though when the Island became a State park in 1981. We listen to these stories from an 82 year old cowboy that has spent most of his life at Fielding Garr. He tells us that there is a book full of pictures and we can take one if we'd like.

We enter the barns and stables and fall back into Utah's cowboy history.
There is an open area set up for kids to try their hand at a lasso. CBug grabs a rope and shows me what he's got as the lasso is swung around over his head.
We walk into a small ranch hand room made for sleeping, an old and musty cellar, a kitchen from the early 20th century.
A trail into the woods behind the Ranch begs us to explore it. We find an old tree that has fallen. CBug climbs it and I flashback to when I was his age, doing the same thing.
Today was one of the good days.

19 May 2016

It's Science!

It has literally been over 20 years since I stepped inside the Hansen Planetarium in Salt Lake City. So long in fact, that they moved locations and changed their name to the Clark Planetarium.

But what hasn't changed is my love for science, space, and our planet Earth. I decided to take my nieces and nephew along to share in that love.

We started by watching the 3-D movie, "The Last Reef", that was showing on an enormous 5 story high movie screen.
It was Flooey's first time seeing something in 3-D. As we learned about the fragile ocean reef ecosystem, I laughed as she tried to reach out and touch the jellyfish as they floated by.

After the show, we all committed to become better at recycling and caring for our oceans. We then moved on down to the science exhibits, where we learned about the moon's orbit, how tornadoes are formed, planetary alignment, and the power of electricity.
"It's not Science fiction, it's Science! and it's awesome."

17 May 2016

Adventures at the Utah State Capital

Toting around three kids on an overcast and cool day in May, looking for a way to kill some time. I thought "should I try the Utah State Capital?"
I didn't want to become "that" Uncle. You know the one that drags you to boring places that kids have no interest in whatsoever.
Luckily, that didn't happen. The State capital is a beautiful building, inside and out. It feels like a museum, full of fascinating history about the State, and the building of the Capital itself, which was completed in 1912.

The kids found their local Representative offices, a statue of Philo T. Farnsworth, the founder of Television and coincidentally a relative of theirs, and learned all kinds of interesting facts about Utah.

"Is this where Trump will live?"

I smiled and shook my head no, and thought...

at least they are interested in learning about how our country works in regards to laws and policies.

Which in itself made the trip 100% worthwhile.

25 December 2015

this Christmas...

The last Christmas before the big move away.

I hold her just a little tighter than normal, listening to her form words, blow me kisses, wave bye bye.
Always making me laugh, full of curiosity and a scientific mind. He delights his weird uncle with a magic show.
So full of sassy goodness, her personality bursting, I will miss seeing her imagination grow.
Crazylegs....From the moment I held you at the hospital when you were born, we have been connected. You have my sister in you, making your own awesome self so much more.

I learn from you, am amazed by you, and it pains me to leave you, especially now when I think you may need me most.

You are at the age of not wanting your picture taken, you want independence, and life for a few years may not make sense. Know I will always listen, I'm here if you need me.
Yes we are.

12 December 2015

Old Timey Christmas

It's that Christmas time of year, and a somewhat traditional day of building a Holiday gingerbread house.
The kids decide to follow their own unique styles, creating a sugary spectacle of the highest order.
We use every last piece of candy available, squeeze out the last drop of frosting, piling everything up until I'm sure something will give way....

Gingerbread chimney down!
Instead of making repairs, we decide to devour our newly built tastiness, and why not? 

It's our old timey Christmas.

14 August 2015

slow down & take the time to swing....

Syd's smile always make one appreciate the simple pleasures of life.

Whipped around in a whirlwind frenzy, Cbug laughs so hard he may have peed himself.

I spin like a top, uncontrollably, and let my body feel like it is ten years old, flubber flapping in the wind.

Darin lets the stresses of everyday life vanish, focusing only on not falling whilst laughing.

Sweet little girl Flooey, hair flying in the breeze, pure joy on her face as she giggles with delight.

What does this all equate to?

One simple word, full of joy and quite possibly the key to happiness.


12 August 2015

Family time

It seems that the days of taking a week off to be together as a family have gone by the wayside. Children grow, responsibilities creep upon us, and life in general seems to choke out the time we all once used to have available.

So we settle for a weekend away up at the Fruitland cabin.

I'll take what I can get, which included teaching my nephew how to gut his own fish,

my niece going fishing for the first time,

Family target practice assaulting a whole slew of soda cans,

with games of horse shoes, card games, and a clinic on making the best smores in the land.

Yes, I'll take what time I can get.

21 June 2015

The Natural History Museum of Utah

In the foothills overlooking the Salt Lake Valley is a copper tinted building that blends perfectly into the natural environment.

 The Rio Tinto Natural History Museum was my destination for a Saturday afternoon with my niece, and I'm not sure who was more excited.
"The Eyes of the Future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time."
-Terry Tempest Williams

A child's curiosity and unspoiled wonder makes everything better in a place like this. We start by gazing at the world's largest known land mammal, a massive beast that frightens her for a moment, then she laughs. We explore the tiniest of creatures under a microscope, to being in awe at the size of the horned dinosaurs.
We re-create the Bonneville lake that covered the whole Salt Lake Valley under water millions of years ago, to learning about the Native American Indians that called this place home.
"I've read that a naked eye can see six thousand stars in the hundred billion galaxies, but I couldn't believe it, what with the white sky and starlight. I saw one million stars with one eye and two million with both."
-William Least Heat Moon

The origins of man confuse her in the most delightful way...."are neanderthals Jesus's ancestors?"

I smile and let her know that they came way before him, and this seems to satisfy.
We avoid the snakes and spiders where we can, and play instead with cell mitochondria and science labs, drawing horses and learning about different landscapes.
The Natural History Museum is a great place to escape the summer heat for a few hours for kids of all ages.

05 May 2015

Finding Neverland

My niece has been hard at work over the last several months as part of a local ballet production of Peter Pan.

As I walked into my old high school and took a seat, I reflected on how a small community really, truly comes together to put on a production such as this.

The stage work, the countless hours volunteered, the time and devotion of the the teachers, students, parents....

It brought a new appreciation of my hometown to mind. As the show went on, many of the songs played during the performance were from one of my favorite movies, Finding Neverland.

This was the last movie I saw with my sister. We both cried at the end.

As my niece twirled, smiled and waved as she danced as a little mermaid, I swelled with an Uncle's pride, as a tear made it's way down my cheek.

14 February 2015

The Living Planet

It' a rare treat that I actually do something in my hometown, what with constant road travel and everything.

The world is a big place.

Occasionally though I do find myself home for a weekend, and on even more rare occasions, I get to play Uncle with my nieces and nephews.

On one such Sunday, it all worked out where the four of us enjoyed a warm winter's day exploring the new Living Planet Aquarium at the south end of the valley.
It's a place where everyone can be a kid under the wonderment of nature. We learn about shark feeding habits, the close knit family habits of penguins, the solitary life of jellies.

We see new creatures and our imaginations soar. We touch the skeletal remains of the deep ocean.

Twas a nice Sunday.

29 December 2010

the time capsule

When I first heard the idea come out of my sister in law's mouth over a month ago, I thought to myself  " this idea is a joke " and waited for someone, anyone else, to agree with me and vocally squash the idea of our family making homemade gifts for Christmas this year. Other than her, ( and maybe Mum) none of us boys are the crafty sort, nor do we really have the time or energy to do this.

But no one spoke. In fact, everyone thought it was a good idea. We each picked out names of the person we were to make our gift for. I picked Flooey, my youngest niece at a mere 15 months old. I knew I was screwed.

As the days passed and Christmas drew near, I still had nothing. No ideas. I briefly thought that maybe I could buy something that looked homemade, and that I might be able to pass this off. Flooey would have no idea, but I didn't want to cheat, not on Christmas.

Like a good swift kick in the arse, it came to me. I gathered some small possessions that mean a great deal to me. I wrote a letter to Flooey, the contents of which will not be divulged here. I put the letter and the possessions into a box, sealed it up with ribbons, and attached a Christmas card.

I made her a little time capsule, not to be opened until she is eighteen. One wonders if it will have the impact I hope for after all that time has passed, or if she will still have the box. I hope so.

In retrospect, the idea of making our own gifts was probably the best idea ever.

27 September 2009

welcome Flooey

So my newest little niece was born at 8:09 PM on Saturday Sept 26th, 2009. DJ and Janae chose the beautiful name of Florence Tea-Marie Thomas. Florence because several of Janae's relatives have that name, and it's Mom's middle name. Tea-Marie for Truddles. I like nicknames though, so Flooey it is (rhymes with Zooey)
One Happy Uncle!.....
Especially since I won the family bet, being the closest to the actual birth date. I figured I'd never win since Janae was due on Sept 19th, and so I was brilliant enough to suggest that the winner buy dinner for the family. At least I get to pick the fabulous place to take everyone......