Archive for the ‘Family – Martin’ Category
Martin has spent a great deal of time making his PVC marimba for a Science Olympiad contest. He let dad use the power tools to cut the pipe and wood, but did most of the rest himself. First he had to calculate the lengths of pipes using this formula:
Tube length = (Speed of sound/2*frequency) plus (Tube diameter/2)
Of course, first he had to calculate the speed of sound = (Tube length – tube diameter/2) * 2 * frequency
But first, he had to have a way to get the frequency, and there is a neat Kindle tuner app that shows the frequency and note.
At any rate, without further ado, Martin playing his home-made instrument!
And a photo in case the video is too slow.
On a day that felt more like mid-March than mid-February, Martin and I headed out to Ledges State Park a bit southwest of Ames.
At the end of the day, we headed to an overlook over the Des Moines River and the cloudiness broke for a time, giving us an awesome view of the river valley. It’s still rather shocking to see the river this low.
We spent most of the day exploring up a small creek that enters into the river. Knowing that it is only a few inches deep made for great fun trying to stomp through the ice and listening to the glistening sounds of the ice as it cracked and splintered below our feet.
In some spots, a clear layer of ice situated on top of the whiter fractured ice gave an optical illusion of floating on air with out boots.
The ice was particularly slippery today and was good for running and sliding, especially downhill where a bit of slope gave us even more speed.
On this 35 degree day we were surprised to see many of these bugs scooting around on the surface of the ice. Any ideas what they are or what they are doing on the ice in winter?
Finally, the obligatory self-portrait. Thanks to Martin for letting Dad have an excuse to go out and play in the woods for an afternoon!
It’s cold and hard to do much outside, so what better than throw some ice cream in the oven at 425 degrees.
Martin and Emma made a Baked Alaska recently. This the finished product, seconds before slicing it open.
First step is to make a cake, throw it in the freezer, then top it with ice cream.
Then as quickly as you can, cover it with a thick coating of meringue.
Finally, throw it into the oven to cook the meringue. Voila! The ice cream in the middle remains frozen and the dish that sounds impossible comes out of the oven!
It took 51 years before I enjoyed a rendition of Happy Birthday with accordion accompaniment! Today was it.
We (actually Martin) were invited to an Accordionpallooza of sorts. Ten accordions gathered in one room for instruction by one of Ames’ finest accordionists, and a former fellow grad student at Iowa State (so many years ago). Following is a short 30 second intro to his playing.
He even took apart an accordion to show us the inner workings. These are the bass reed blocks, with the wood sealed with a concoction of beeswax, resins, and oils. The inside of the bellows and more reed blocks are visible in the lower right. I neglected to get photos of the complicated bass mechanics and levers.
Following are some of the photos of the participants, young and old alike…
This weekend was the regionals for First Lego League (FLL).
Here’s the team watching a robot run. This year’s theme was “Senior Solutions” and the competition involved the lego robot challenge, core values, and innovative solution/presentation.
After consulting with a couple of senior citizens, they decided to come up with a simple solution to a problem that both seniors, especially one suffering from arthritis, had trouble with – opening milk cartons with the ring-pull tabs. They won an award for their innovative and simple design. Who knows, maybe you’ll see it in the aisles next to the milk cartons some day!
Today we were grateful most of our chickens made it safely to maturity (unlike the 10 turkeys this year who all perished by deformed leg problems, storm, or dog).
Martin hauls the chickens to the killing cones, where I deftly make a cut on the side of the neck where they bleed out.
Next, it’s a few dips in about 150 degree water. The chickens are ready to scald when wing feathers pull out easily.
The chickens before the plucker spins.
About 30 seconds later, most of the feathers are gone.
Then the chickens go to a different pair of hands for cleaning and later cutting up into meal-sized portions. I wouldn’t say it’s a particularly fun day, but it is rewarding have control of the chickens from chick to freezer - knowing how they’ve lived and been processed.
What a treat last night for a beginning trombone player and his father. We were able to see one of the world’s finest jazz trombonists, Delfeayo Marsalis. The band was crazy good!
The they played at one of my favorite places, the Maintenance Shop in Ames,Iowa. The “sidemen” were all top performers as well. On trumpet was Sean Jones, who was featured on a grammy-winning jazz album, is the lead trumpet for the Jazz at the Lincoln Center Orchestra, and has his own group. The drummer, Winard Harper was one of the finest drummers I’ve ever seen and the pianist Richard Johnson also played with the Lincoln Center Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis. What a household it must be to have Wynton, Branford, and Delfeaoyo!
After the performance, Delfeayo had spotted Martin in the audience and made a point to stop by to chat with him and give him some pointers and pose for a picture. He also picked up a couple of autographed CDs.
We had a good portion of the day for yummy food.
We canned two batches of tomatoes (7 quarts and 11 pints), one batch of dilly beans (8 pints), aabout a dozen bags of frozen beans, and a couple of apple pies from scratch. After a two-week break from the stifling heat, the beans have decided to live again and are starting to do their thing.
I was sucked into Menards for the $25 wooden Adirondack chairs. When I got there I found they were unassembled and unfinished. I thought it might be a good project for Martin and I to build.
But turns out that he was more than able to throw on the outdoor poly, sand between coats, and assemble the chairs.
This will be his birthday present to his oldest sister as she moves off campus into a house this fall – perfect indoor/outdoor furniture for a college student.
With Claire home only a few days between her summer at Wolf Ridge on the Superior coast and starting school, we thought we should try to get a few family photos.
First, the big picture.
In the family tradition of first day of school with dog pictures, here’s version 2012.
Martin and Daisy.
Emma and Maizie.
Like many things, hazel harvest seems a bit early this year.
Here’s the yield from about a 15 foot row of hazelnuts.
Some of them are completely dried down, others have a bit more time to go, but with the recent spotting of a new squirrel in the yard, it was time to pick (the squirrel can have all the acorns and walnuts).
Martin picking the low-hangers.
Linda looking at the higher nuts.
Martin and I needed a new adventure and to escape the heat, so this is what we found!
We went to visit a county park we had never been to before, but soon tired of the oppressive heat, so we broke off the trail and headed towards the river.
Actually it was a sandy-bottomed creek that leads to the Iowa River.
Finally made it to the river, where our wading ended. In the last month four children under the age of 12 have drowned in the river close to Marshalltown. We were happy to splash in the creek, but not eager to jump in the river.
Rumor has it that Martin and GJ are both known for making a mess in the kitchen when cooking. That’s why we’ll show the end products.
Today was no exception – on the summer menu: potato salad, deviled eggs, fresh cabbage and beans from the garden, along with some grilled pork chops from an heirloom variety.
Oh yeah, and home-made eclairs to top off the meal. Unfortunately, the instructions say that the eclairs are best eaten within two hours of making them!