Cage Match

Last year we bought Nathan a pitching machine.  That was all good.  We used it mostly for fielding practice and pop-ups.  This year, Jess wanted to get him the cage to go with the machine.  That way he could actually get some hitting practice.  So that completes the package.  He can load the machine, jump in the cage and hit a dozen balls.  That saves me about a $1 every time he does that. (vs. going to Black Beards Batting Cages).  And of course we all get in on the fun.

A swing and a....

Serious About Baseball

It doesn’t show on his face, but he’s wicked excited.  Nathan is going to UMaine Baseball day camp for a week. This week is “Skills” week.  He’ll work on honing his fundamentals and learning good technique. His face was quite lit up when we walked into Mahaney Diamond and he saw the turf.

Hopefully the money spent will be worth it.. and the two trips to Orono (daily) to boot.

I am smiling.

A Little Chin Music Perhaps?

Baseball is still going strong.  A couple of games a week.  Nathan is doing OK.  Still learning to time the faster pitching he’s seeing this year.  He’ll be ready for it next year.  I used my long lens and decided to stand behind the center field fence for a new perspective.  I like it.

Nathan gets brushed back by Dover's Ace.

Early Berries

Yup, everything is early this year.  Really, we’ve had decent weather since February.  It’s a short season here in Maine, but we grab what we can while they’re fresh.  Mmmm, strawberries.

A little white, just the way I like 'em

¿Habla usted español

Yeah.. neither do I.

We decided to get Nathan a “language” to learn over the summer.  We were leaning towards Spanish for a few reasons but he was pretty set on German.  We weren’t sure where he might use German, but he thought it was a cool sounding and his love for the World War II era was good enough for him.  Then one night we were watching MLB TV and they showed two players sitting on the bench conversing… in Spanish. “You know Nathan, a lot of baseball players speak Spanish.”

Hook, line and sinker.  Now he can place the order at Taco Bell! [tongue in cheek]

We bought the well known computer based learning software, Rosetta Stone.  Now he yells at the computer like the rest of us!

Speak clearly into the microphone

First Big Ride in 2010

I added this to my calendar a long time ago.  Been looking forward to it ever since.  I hadn’t seen much saddle time this year and it’s so much more fun when you ride with others.  Some friends from church organized the ride but in the end couldn’t make it themselves.

We still had a good ride though.  Five bikes, nine riders.  We put about 150 miles on and stopped for a meal and an ice cream, pretty typical motorcycle ride.  We did have one rider struggle throughout the day.  First he laid his bike down, thankfully at a slow pace in a parking lot.  Then he unknowingly collected a hornet in his shirt and when the pain came, he thought he was having “the big one”.

I hope there’s more to come.  My odometer has hardly moved since last year.

Bikers and riders.

Put Me In Coach

We’re working our way through the Little League season.  Win’s and Losses aren’t quite as important as being a team player and learning the game.  Surprising to Mom and Dad, coach decided to give some of the “rotating bench” some playing time in the hot seats.  Nathan started the game off on the mound.  I told the coach.. “I hope you know what you’re doing”.  Nathan did alright. He pitched the one inning and had a strike out.  A good intro to Little League pitching.

It's all in the tongue placement, right Uncle Steve?

Student Pilot – Lesson 25

Two degrees Celsius per 1,000 feet.  That’s the rule of thumb.  It was about 68F on the ground in Pittsfield when I left on my second Solo Cross Country for Millinockett.  They was already a few “cells” of showers moving in from the south that I was eye-balling pretty hard.  I scooted over to Central Maine to get my first short leg taken care of, and there I added a new airport to my landing list.  From there, it was a haul over the woods and remote lakes of Maine to get to Millinockett.

I went to 5,500 for that leg, my highest altitude yet, and was met with some cool temps (see photo).  When you fly under VFR (visual flight rules), the rule of thumb is to fly odd-thousands plus 500 easterly and even-thousands plus 500 westerly.  That typically gives about 1,000 feet of space between you and “on coming traffic”.  The flying was rather bumpy and I had all I could handle to run the cockpit and watch for traffic, so no video was taken during this flight. The clouds started getting lower and lower and I felt like I was getting ready to fly into one.  I was on with Bangor ATC for Flight Following so I requested a lower altitude.  She asked me to use my discretion so I started my decent to below 4,000.  Shortly after that communication, she gave one notification for traffic.  Twelve o’clock, eight miles.

Remember that classic math question we seem to always dredge up for a joke now and again? A train leaves Cleavland going 100 mph… At nearly 120mph, my trainer is going to meet the unknown aircraft in about two minutes.  Start looking!  After sixty short seconds, I finally release my tunnel vision forward facing lock and gaze to my right, already out of harms way, the other aircraft continues south as I move north.

I approach KMLT and notice at the beginning of my choice runway, there is a constant plume of smoke.  A transfer station or business is burning something.  I’m unsure of its breadth and decide to switch to the cross runway, which isn’t an issue as the wind seems light on the ground.  On touchdown I’m greeted by a runway that could use some TLC.  A bit rough and cracked with grass growing up through in places.  It still suffices for a landing and I collect my thoughts and prepare the final leg back.

The same conditions met me on the flight back to Pittsfield.  Clouds hanging at 5,000 and choppy air.  I passed just north of Charleston, but not close enough to see the house.  As I came close to Newport, I noticed a rain shower ahead.  I gave it a wide berth and landed 2B7 to finish my requirements for Solo Cross Country.  What’s next!? A few hours of solo practice and some dual for check ride prep!

No concerns for over heating today.

I Don’t Even Like Tomatoes

Let the green thumb experiment begin.  We thought we could handle a simple plant.  Especially one that was upside down that didn’t need weeding.  We bought a topsy-turvy and added a tomato plant to it.  Now lets see what happens!

It's ALIVE - for now.