Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A bird in town . . .

I had a pastor's fellowship about a half an hour away this morning.  Carol and I were talking on the phone while I was driving home and she told me that she had taken a picture of a very large bird out in the back yard that had been tugging at something on the ground for around 45 minutes.  She told me that she had seen it fly off and that it had a very large wingspan.

When I got home, I looked at the picture from her cell phone and assumed the bird to be a hawk.  While driving on the highway, I think that we see them often as they sit on fence posts and power line poles, but seldom if ever in town. 

I walked out to where the bird had been and saw the remains of an unfortunate squirrel.  As I was walking back to the house, it dawned on me that I was hearing a lot of birds chirping in the front yard; as I walked to the front yard, I noticed a bunch of activity in the top of one of our trees.  A crow and a dozen or so smaller birds were chattering and flying around the top of the tree.  As I walked closer, the smaller birds flew away and I could see what seemed to be the hawk in the top of the tree.  I took quite a few pictures of the bird with my cell phone (not the greatest of quality).  My assumption is that it is a hawk, though I acknowledge that ornithology has never been my greatest study and though I don't like admitting to ignorance, I would appreciate a clarification on whether this is a hawk.

We are sure it is the same bird that Carol saw earlier in the day; as the kids were playing outside this afternoon, they found the remainder of the squirrel under the tree (I was only looking up in the tree at the bird and so missed the squirrel on the ground).

Below are the best shots that I could get with my cell phone.

I must admit, that as the bird looked at me in this photo, I was ready to run.  I've seen enough youtube videos of birds chasing humans that I know that it is a potential danger.  Should that terrible hypothetical situation have become a reality, my wife would have been concerned, Gardner and Kara would have been too mentally stimulated to have begun their naps, and it is likely that my neighbors and passers by would have laughed for days!  (I know that motorists driving by were watching me take pictures.)  I'm still pretty fast for my age, but I don't think I could outrun a hawk.

Here are a couple of better pictures from the front side of the tree.

In case you think I'm scared of birds, or don't like birds, here is a video from my parent's back deck last summer.  I took several videos from only about 6 feet from their humming bird feeder.  If you watch the whole video for a minute or so, you'll see at least 5 birds at one time.  I actually counted 7, but never could get them all on camera at the same time.

 I had better sign off - tweet dreams!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The parent of a teenager . . . ?

Joel turned 13 today.  I remember so much about that day (and the night before). 

It has been a busy day, but as I've sat down for a few minutes this evening I have just now started think about all that it means to have a teenaged son - hmm.

Today was also a work day at church.  We moved the new baptistery into the building; we had to take out a big window to move it in and ended up breaking the window (we half expected to break it).  Hopefully, we'll have a baptismal service in just a few weeks.  Joel would be one of those baptized and Carol and I reminded him that it was not just a coincidence that the baptistery was brought into the building on the day he turned 13.

Here are a few photos and a video.

We thank the Lord for the growth in Joel's life and the progress at the church!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Catching up a bit. . .

I normally put individual pictures of each of the kids on the blog after we have our family pictures taken at Christmas; I've probably had time to get them up in the last 6 weeks, but just haven't done it.  I have an hour before I need to pick the kids up from school, so I thought I would get them up here.  (I feel like snoozing a little, but this gives me a chance to check something else off of my "to-do list!" :-).

Here is the family photo.  Any of you who received our Christmas card have already seen this one.  It is also the photo on our church website.  The address is www.gbcpaxton.com if you haven't looked at it yet.  It is still under construction: I have a little more work to do on uploading sermons and completing the visitors page. 

Levi and Carol . . .

Joel (will be 13 on 2/9) . . . a teenager!

Laura will be 12 in May.

Grant will be 10 this year.

John will be 8 in July.  (That is how long we have been in Paxton; it is kind of interesting that our 4 younger children have only lived in Paxton - this is the only location they have known.  Joel and Laura remember Belvidere/Cherry Valley and Grant joins them with minimal memories of Shelby/Lattimore, but the younger ones only know central Illinois!)

Josiah is 6.

Kara just turned 5 (she shares her mother's birthday of January 10th).

And . . . Gardner - 2!  (Yep, the picture is an accurate representation of his personality!)

We paid a pretty good amount of money for all of these pictures.  I can take some pretty good ones myself that don't cost anything . . .

Believe it or not - the kids wanted to do this (take the pictures, they don't know that I put them on the blog yet!).
Other things:

For the Holidays
We spent Christmas Day in Belvidere with Grandpa and Grandma Bumgardner.  We went to Missouri for New Years; our crew joined Dad and Mom and three of my brothers and their families as well as my Grandma, my Aunt and her family for chili, oyster stew, some other soups, and crab dip (a New Years family tradition!).  A friend gave us 2 pigs to butcher while there, so we spent a couple of days working up meat - 180 lbs of pork total from our two.  The third one is for Dad and Mom.

 For the church

We purchased a baptistery for our new building.  It arrived in the middle of January; it was too big to fit through any of our doorways, and so we are going to have to remove on of the big windows this Saturday to get it in the building.  Consequently, it is now stored in the church garage,which we just had to jack up and put back on the foundation after a strong mid-western wind blew it partially off a while back.   We did fix the garage before using it to store the new baptistery (either spelling baptistery or baptistry is acceptable - for those of you who are curious).

Putting the south wall back on the concrete pad.

 It will certainly be a joy to have the baptistery available.  We have several people who are waiting to be baptized (a couple of them are my own older children; I'm very curious to know what it will feel like to baptize them . . . ?).

For the house/home

I finally got a chance to rebuild the back steps on the deck.  Sometimes, I'm overwhelmed by the work that I have to do around the house.  Slowly I attack little jobs, but it seems like others add themselves to the list faster than I can keep up with them . . . are you familiar with the carnival game "whack-a-mole" . . . ?  It seems like the story of my life!  :-)

12 Tons of gravel here - intended to make the driveway stretch all of the way to the garage as well as make it large enough for both vehicles - but mostly just to fight the mud in the wintertime!

Another little problem that had to be dealt with was that our washing machine sprung a leak.  I couldn't put that one on a waiting list, we do too much laundry in our family for that!  The washing machine is 7 and 1/2 years old and does an estimated 20 + loads a week which equals at least 7,800 loads of laundry - it is probably about time for some parts to start failing.  The pump had a little hole in it that probably was the result of some little piece of metal or rock coming out of Tom Sawyer's pocket (er, I mean, Joel's or Grant's, or John's or Josiah's pocket :-).  I can't complain about the longevity of the washer . . . it was pretty simple part to replace, thanks to the help of my brother being on his computer looking at diagrams and telling me what to look for and how to do over the phone . . . I have yet to stump him with a problem (you don't need to tell Stephen I said that . . . he already knows it!).

The hole is right next to the base of the tube on the right.  It's amazing that so much water could come out of that little hole.


Grant had a skate night at school in their gymnasium.  There used to be a roller skating rink in town, but it's now our church!

Carol made this cheese ball "candle" for Christmas dinner at her folks - she loves to be artistic in the kitchen.  She had a picture and recipe, but it's still pretty good I think.

Finally, I was talking to my brother, Michael, on skype a few months ago.  As he sat down to talk (I think he was in the college student center), he innocently centered his head in front of the Christmas wreath - I couldn't help but laugh and quickly take a picture of his head . . . he knows about the picture and is pretty good natured about my humor, maybe even docile.

Well, I didn't quite finish the post before picking up the kids from school, but came pretty close.

 Enjoy! (I/we sure do . . . )