It's certainly been a while since I wrote in this space, and a whole bunch of things have happened since then. In fact, so many things have happened that I'm not sure where to start. So, I'll write down news as it comes to mind. Order in this instance does not imply importance. That is, if I thought of something before something else, that doesn't make the first more important than the second. Garrison started day care last week. He's now in day care Tuesdays and Thursdays. The school has a picture on their website if you're interested in what his room looks like. He's probably the biggest baby in his class, though there is one older than him by a couple of weeks. He seems to like it there, though he's currently having trouble concentrating on his bottles there. His sold food goes down fairly easily, but he get so distracted by all the goings-on around him that he sometimes comes home with just as much milk as he had when we dropped him off.
He's also creeping towards crawling. He has figured out how to get from a sitting position onto his belly without smacking his face on the floor in the process, as well as how to roll around the room and move backwards and forwards. He moves backwards by lying on his belly and pushing with his hands; he moves forwards by lying on his belly and pushing forwards (generally off something) with his feet. We've already started baby-proofing the house since it is obvious that he's going to be a real terror once he's fully mobile. Tuesday, I had him ready to go to day care and I put him on the floor near the garage door while I put a collar on the dog. As I was putting the collar on Dalla, I heard the tell-tale "splish-splish" of little hands playing in the dog's water dish. Then, I heard the metallic splash that the dog's water dish makes when an infant pulls it over. Finally, I heard the squalling of a wet baby who was lying in a rapidly expanding puddle of dog water. He's gotten into cabinets, has discovered that some furniture is on wheels (very fun to push and pull), and is already eying other areas where he can cause trouble.
Dalla remains very tolerant of Garrison and his shenanigans. She never threatens him with nipping or biting, even when he pulls chunks of fur out of her tail. She often moves away from him if he ends up near her and we're not handy to patrol his grabby fists, but otherwise is doing quite well with the invasion of her den. She is also busy doing her best to remove varmints from the face of the planet. She got another rabbit a few weeks ago and caught a mouse recently, as well.
We pulled all the tomato plants out of our garden a week ago due to an infestation of late blight on the plants and fruit. That was very disappointing because we were on track to have a bumper crop this year and now we've got almost none left.
On the upside, we're still getting a good number of oversized zucchini, some cucumbers, broccoli, kohlrabi, raspberries, and peppers. There are some pumpkins on the pumpkin plants and some butternut squash that will hopefully ripen later this fall. The tomatillo plant looks like it will still produce a good crop. I harvested my hops a couple of weeks ago. Due to a lawn mowing mishap, I didn't get as many as I hoped, but I still got some. I should get a bigger crop next year.
On the brewing front, I recently invested some money in a fairly large, all-grain brewing system that I bought off someone who didn't brew any longer. Using grain instead of extract should help me to make a wider range of beers more cheaply. For instance, I used to spend somewhere around $20 per batch for extract and specialized grains. Using an all-grain system, I can expect to spend somewhere in the range of $6-10 per batch on fermentables and get better results.
We visited South Dakota a couple of weekends ago and stopped to visit some relatives on the way back. It's a long drive both ways and I spent the whole time wondering why anyone would rather drive than sit on a train.
Sarah's parents visited us in July and we took a day to drive up to EAA's AirVenture in OshKosh. While past years have been quite fun, this year was something of a dud due to rain. It was also the first full-day of the show and many of the unique aircraft the show draws had not yet made their appearance. I'm definitely going again in the future, but I would rather go on Friday than on Monday. We took Garrison with us, and he wasn't too impressed. I brought along some hearing protection for him, because some of the flybys are pretty loud. When I put the muffs on his head, the first thing he did was take them off, which meant that it became a struggle between the two of us and neither one was happy as a result.
We helped my sister move in mid-August from a duplex on the southwest side of Madison to a home near us. Her new house is a Lustron, which is a type of metal house built after WWII. It's got big windows and plenty of light inside which is a bit of a change from her last place. The neighborhood is also a bit nicer.
We've had an extremely mild summer this year, which has been great for personal comfort. We've probably only run the air conditioner five or six days all summer. This week, in particular, has been great with sunny skies and temperatures in the lower to mid seventies. It's a bit like an extended Indian summer.
For those interested parties, I'm not planning on visiting the South Pole this year. I'm on the passenger manifest as an alternate to the alternate, which is just fine with me.