Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Dog Days of Summer

The Dog Days of Summer...... around here, that means that the dog's inside, stretched out on the cool tile floor, basking in the chilled and dehumidified air, and we humans are outside on the porch, watching the weather.
It's hot.
It's so hot the hummingbirds are panting.....  I'm not kidding!

We were sitting on the porch the other day and a little hummer landed on the string of party lights right over my head, and he was panting! It's kinda sad to see a little guy like that with his little beak open and breathing so hard.
The hummingbirds love these flowers

As to why we were sitting on the porch in that heat.... well, we do wonder ourselves sometimes. Porch time, as we call it, is a good time to track the progress of the seedlings and succulent cuttings we are starting for future landscaping purposes. And, when you've been working out in it, in the garden or whatever, sitting in the shade of the porch, sipping something cold, watching the birds and admiring the puffy clouds and the graceful mesquite trees, it seems pretty comfortable. So it's all relative I guess. We often repeat a line from one of Jason Boland's songs..... "I guess it finally rained, it's down to 85".....  [Comal County Blue] It did cloud up and sprinkle a bit the other day and sure enough, it did cool down to 85. We just won't mention how humid it was!

As I write, at 7 AM, it's 78 degrees, with 88% humidity. It's actually the humidity that's keeping things as green as they are. It's also benefited the flowers. In the photo, Shiner looks like she's admiring the back porch flower bed... she's actually waiting for a lizard to appear so she can chase it... it's one of her favorite entertainments. I'm not sure the lizards look at it the same way.

We actually are in serious drought as is most of the southwest. The drought has meant water is becoming a critical issue. It has been in some areas for quite some time. Folks who own "lakeside" property have enjoyed canyon (rather than water) views for several years. We just got our "modified stage 3" water notice, a small step back from the stage 4 we had received earlier in the week, meaning the garden can only be watered once a week. That doesn't work well when the days top 100 degrees.

The drought situation has inspired Steve to begin work on the rain capture system he'd been planning for awhile, starting with a gray water system. That way, if we are careful, we should be able to meet the 40% reduction the aquifer management folks are hoping for. The first step was an expansion of the RV carport.

Not only does this expanded roof provide additional parking area (and hail protection) for vehicles and equipment, but the roof will collect rainwater that will flow into large tanks. The collection system is situated on the highest point on the property, so gravity takes care of getting the water out! He has tanks ordered, and as soon as they are delivered he'll start putting everything in place so we'll be ready for the first fall rains.

Most of the garden and potted things have held up pretty well, but after a month of the triple digit weather, even with our careful watering with recycled water they are beginning to turn up their toes. 'Must be time to start getting the fall garden in, as soon as things cool off by a few degrees.

Watching the weather is not only interesting, it's important in this land of boisterous thunderstorms and gulf hurricanes. Our own weather station is now online, so we can check conditions at the house no matter where we are when we are traveling.

If you follow the link above, you'll go to Weather Underground. On the left, near the top, you'll see the text I've copied below. If you don't see "Oak Meadows" under the City and time stamp, click the little down arrow you see right after "change station" and select Oak Meadows from the list. That will be set as your station every time you come back unless you change it again.
   San Marcos, TX 
    7:43 AM CDT on August 29, 2014 (GMT -0500)
    Oak Meadows | Change Station 

The summer weather has meant pacing the activities - garden and other outdoor work early, then inside to plan future projects, sew, cook, etc. Jax hasn't even been into his sand pile much, as by the time he gets here it's too hot to be out there, but we've found plenty of other activities to keep busy with.

Jax has his very own little shovel, farm hat, and wagon, and he has put them to good use, helping to sift compost (early, when it's still cool) and with other gardening chores, and there are always craft and cooking activities in the kitchen.

The Armenian cucumbers produced like crazy, so Jax helped layer them in a gallon jar with dill seed and other seasoning to make his favorite snack, dill pickles. Jax has helped harvest food from the garden too. Cherry tomatoes are his favorite... he doesn't eat them, he just likes to pick them!

We've canned a lot of black-eyed peas and other vegetables too.  We aren't usually home in the summer, and Steve's favorite black-eyed peas take a long time to grow, so we took advantage of being home this summer to grow a few, and we managed to duplicate what he remembers his grandmother canning. It took a bit of experimenting, but we did it! We also have a pretty good okra crop going. Those plants love this kind of weather!

It's been a pretty productive garden in spite of all the harassment from the insect world.
It's amazing how much damage one large caterpillar can do in one night, and we have a weird looking leaf-footed bug (so-called because of their wide flat leg and foot) that can suck the life out of a squash in minutes. The wide variety of insects has provided lots of entertainment for Jax, and an opportunity to try out all sorts of inspecting tools.

He's not brave enough to touch the insects yet, but this way he can get a good look from a distance.

The circus was in town just in time for Kendra's birthday, so we all braved the heat and headed up to Austin. What a fun day!
Jax was a bit overwhelmed of course, and Raylan doesn't have a clue what's going on yet, but we all had a good time.

It had been years since any of us had been to a circus, and the Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey is classic. They even had a lady shot out of a cannon! I'm surprised OSHA hasn't shut that down!

We haven't done much special training with Shiner lately, as she's not too lively in the heat, but we did get her hitched up the other day for a little bit of draft work. . . hauling her namesake beer!
 It's hard to believe that the fall season is already here, and just when we were getting used to being hot all the time! The forecast looks like it will begin cooling off a degree or two each week, which we all will appreciate, and it also signals the plants to start winding down.

For wildlife in the area, one of the important fall crops is the mesquite beans. They grow long, and slightly curved, and the clusters hang from the tree branches like Spanish moss. In the afternoon breeze they wave gently and the overall effect is rather graceful, much like a weeping willow. They are starting to fall now as they ripen, and the wildlife will enjoy them as food. They're rather sweet and spicy, like spiced honey, and very high in protein. 

This spring was an amazing year for cactus flowers, and the resulting fruits are just now ripening. These also provide a lot of food for wildlife.

Driving in to town, both sides of the road are lined with garnet colored fruits. Since they are so prolific this year, it seems like a good time to make a bit of syrup or jelly, so Jax will probably get in on that project too. The few I've collected so far are pretty sweet, so it would be a shame not to do something with them.

According to Steve the best thing about fall is......

We won't be attending any Duck games in person this year, but we'll catch 'em on the tube. 'Nothing wrong with a living room tailgate party! The first game is this evening. GO DUCKS!

More and bigger pictures are available in the album.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

We needed that!

Wow! A glorious thunderstorm marched across our part of Texas a couple of nights ago. It cooled things off a bit, and produced about an inch and a half of the wet stuff! The lakes will certainly profit from it. It's not enough to fill them up of course, but it's nice none-the-less. Our garden profited too. The plants practically explode after a rain.

We were pretty happy with our newly expanded garden when we first planted it.
Here, Shiner is admiring the harvested elephant garlic and newly planted veggies. Keep your eye on the little sign hanging on the post right over her head.

On June 2 I took another photo, showing how the plants had grown.
The sunflowers along the side fence on the left are especially noticeable.

Even though  bugs or something had eaten off several seedlings of different types, things were growing pretty well, and we'd avoided any major hail, insect or wind damage.

Now, in mid July, we're harvesting melons, black-eyed peas and tomatoes. Here's the latest version, taken just a few days ago, with Kendra's dog Enzo serving as the model this time. Can you see that little sign, now hidden in the cucumber vine on the fence? I guess we can say this year's garden is a success!

Walking around the yard with Jax one afternoon about a month ago we discovered a fuzzy caterpillar in a hackberry tree. It seems that every year we have a different insect trying to take over the place. This caterpillar seemed a good candidate for this year's winner.

Upon closer inspection we soon found hundreds of these little furry critters. It took awhile to identify them, but we finally figured out what they are... so ladies and gentlemen... introducing the bug of the year....  The ruddy dagger moth!  As an adult it's a plain gray moth about an inch long, looks like gray tree bark - nothing remarkable about it as moths go.

Now, moths don't seem like a big deal to most people, and indeed they usually aren't.
These little guys are particularly destructive however.
As caterpillars they nearly stripped the hackberry tree of leaves, which is fine with me as we have way too many hackberries anyway, but as they reach the end of the caterpillar cycle and move into creating they chrysalis the problem begins. They somehow take all that "fur" and combine it with some sort of caustic liquid to create a little cocoon ..... and in the process dissolve what they are attaching it too. There are dents now in our wood porch floor where a few of them settled in under a box, and several made holes in a canvas drop cloth in the garden shed. As I said, destructive! The whole process moves along quickly at least. Just about the time we thought they were going to take over they suddenly all disappeared. I'm sure we'll walk out of the house some evening and get attached by all the adult moths once they've hatched. That's life in Texas, and that's the "bug of the year" for 2014!
[For those nature lovers who are interested -  life cycle of the ruddy dagger moth]

We really have been busy with a few activities other that watching caterpillars. The laundry room, which everyone insists on using as the grand entrance to the house, was always a sort of sore spot.

The original "decor" - dark chocolate brown walls, with one crooked white shelf (that I couldn't quite reach) and one wimpy light fixture far overhead. It was definitely an ugly duckling in need of a transformation. I had used up some leftover primer several months ago just to lighten things up a bit (the white sections on the left) , but when we finally decided on a plan of action it didn't take us long to complete the project. Here are a couple of "before and after" photos. The new cabinet is a petty good match to the shelving on the opposite wall.

The Borax Bill Jr. poster has been in every laundry room we've had since we were married in 1973, so it's practically an antique! The stitchery of a borax wagon, over the door on the right, to the kitchen, is one Mother did in the early '80's.

We also added a florescent light so now I can actually see what I'm doing!  It's not the Taj Mahal, but we're happy with the improvements.

Other entertainment has been the removal of several large cedar trees. Yes, I know they are really junipers.You have to understand that in Texas everything is called a "cedar" of some sort.

At any rate, these are highly flammable, highly allergenic, and quite an annoyance when they get large as they are really hard to trim. So, we allowed a cedar harvester to come in and take the large limbs and trunks he could use for poles. He took out three trailer loads (photo to the right is part of the first load) of various size poles. That's a lot of lumber!

We are now in the process of cleaning up the leftovers. There are some really large trunks and a LOT of brushy tops to deal with, so we'll be at it for awhile.

Thankfully we've had several small rain storms, keeping things damp enough that we can continue to burn, as the really brushy stuff is hard to chip, and some pieces are too large for the chipper.

Steve uses his tractor to move piles of the brush to the burn pile after we've chopped things up with chain saw and pruners, then after the pile is big enough to burn he can relax all afternoon while he "minds the fire".

It's work, but more interesting than a trip to the gym!

Skot and Kendra also have a lot of cedar trees to remove, though in their case most are already dead, so we had a tree cutting and chipping party at their house about a month ago.

Their climate is marginal for that particular tree and a few wet years did them in. Once the trees were down the guys hauled them to the back and the fun began.

Jaxen pitched right in, wearing his mom's gloves. He always like to be right in the middle of the action, and if it involves machinery, so much the better. He was good about keeping his distance from the chipper however.

As with most of these kinds of projects, there's still a lot to do, and they will be at it for awhile.

Summer wouldn't be complete without swimming lessons, so we headed out early one morning to take Jax to his lesson over in Bastrop, at the state park. He and Papaw had a great time while Mamaw took photos. They didn't have any fun of course!

At the end of June we made a quick trip up to Amarillo to take Steve's mother to her family reunion.

It was great to see all of the "siblings" together. She hadn't seen her brother in several years, so it was definitely worth the trip to get them all together. The stories and teasing were flying back and forth, and it was hard to keep up with it all. These Stephens folks are a feisty bunch when you get them all together!

Of course, the biggest news of the summer is the newest addition to the family, little Raylan Steve Krebs! He's the whole reason we stayed home this summer! We all gathered at the hospital for the delivery and were able to see him when he was only a few hours old.

It's been great having Daphna here.
She was able to hold little Raylan in the hospital on the day he was born. Not very many great-grandmothers can say that!

In the photo at left he's about five days old, all happily settled in at home.

We've also put Mom to work, picking and shelling black-eyed peas, among other things.  You can't get much more "country", or "Texas" for that matter, than sitting on the front porch on a hot, steamy afternoon shelling "peas".

One of our goals has been to duplicate the flavor of her mother's canned black-eyed peas. Careful questioning of all the sisters and some testing in the kitchen has produced what we think is a pretty good resemblance to the original. Another family tradition preserved!
Future entertainment around here will be focused on cleaning up all that dead cedar, and a new construction project "out back". Never a dull moment!

Larger versions of the photos, and a few additional, are available in the album.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Wildflowers, mud bugs, thunderstorms, and Easter eggs.

Wow, what an eventful month we've had! After what seemed like a long and very cold winter the weather finally warmed up and those famous Texas wildflowers started peaking out above the grasses. We could finally shed the heavy coats and gloves and stop complaining about how cold it is, and start complaining about how hot it is!

We've enlarged the garden considerably, since this year we'll be here all summer to take care of it. Gardening here, in Hill Country, is an interesting challenge. Most of the soil is heavy clay, or very rocky, with occasional seams of nice topsoil. Of course, the topsoil never seems to be where you actually want to plant something, so that means trucking in dirt to fill raised beds. We bought a couple of yards of garden soil mix to fill the new planting area and crossed our fingers. You never know how good the mix is, or how well the plants will like it. The veggies we started in pots were anxious to get their feet in the ground, so they were set out in the garden early in the month, in spite of threatened cold snaps. At least with a few green things in the ground it actually LOOKED like a garden, so we were encouraged.

Sisters Dawn and Darlene arrived on the first Sunday of the month, and we had a busy week, alternating family visits with a bit of touring. One of our outings was a day trip to the little historic German settlement of Gruene.
Our first stop was the Smiling Eyes studio for an old-time photo session to record our mini reunion. The photographer prompted us to give him a bit of "attitude", and this was the result.

The umbrella I'm holding was my grandmothers. It's a bit faded now, but recorded for history! the photo session was fun. It's hard to resist hamming it up a bit wearing hats like that!

Gruene is always beautiful in the spring. The shops all have beautifully planted flower beds, and the contrast with the many cactus plants is pure Texas. The shops are fun to browse, and we had lunch in the River House Tea Room - good food, and very relaxing.

A few days later we visited the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. While this year is not the absolute best for wildflowers in our area, it is certainly better than last year. What little rain we had was well time, and the bluebonnets were looking pretty good along the roadsides, so I know there would be some nice displays in the center.
The center is always a treat to visit in the spring, with many plants well labeled so I can add to my knowledge of local natives. Happy wildlife is settled in, knowing they are safe from predators, if not from all our cameras.

A mother owl greeted us at the entryway, as she guarded her little owlets high up on the shelf over the pathway, swiveling her head around at intervals to see if we were all still lurking below.

The turtles in the pond didn't seem to mind us all snapping their photo, but I'm not too sure the owl was happy about it! After touring the garden displays we enjoyed a nice lunch in the center's cafe, and of course, paid our respects in the gift shop! I came away with some interesting little "seed bombs" - mud balls filled with bluebonnet seed, that I'll be tossing out this fall. The seed bomb concept has promise, as there isn't always a lot of soil for a wildflower seed to get its toes into, so I may mix up some dirt and seeds and make some of my own.

We made plenty of time for playing with Jax during their visit. Jax showed off his driving skills during a visit to the kids' house, and he helped us with gardening and showed Dawn how his tractors worked the day he visited us.

Dawn and Darlene left for home on Saturday - too bad, as they missed the CENTX AMVETS post's   first annual crawfish feed.  Variously known as crayfish, crawdads, mud bugs, yabbies (in Australia) . .  and some people just call them bait! Interesting little crustaceans, turning from a dark reddish brown to bright red as they come out of the pot. Jax watched one crawling around in a box and decided he was having none of that! So while we munched our crawdads, he happily nibbled his sausage and potato.

There's a particular art to eating these miniature lobsters, which I confess we aren't quite masters of, but the event was fun, and the food good - a whole plate full of "mud bugs", sausage, potato and corn.  Music was provided by Alan, one of the post members, giving the event a real party atmosphere. Tents and the partly cloudy skies made the day very comfortable too. A great finish to a very busy week.

The next day thunderstorms boiled up on the horizon.

Thunderstorms this time of year quite often come with damaging hail, so tender plants are at great risk of being pounded flat. Fearing the damage a hailstorm would cause, we scurried around protecting all the newly planted tomatoes and peppers. Sheets and blankets, lawn chairs and wire cages to hold them up, it was quite a sight!

The temperatures dropped so low that even with the coverings it's possible the okra was chilled. It doesn't like anything under 50 degrees, but we won't know for awhile whether it was affected or not.  Fortunately we escaped with no damage, though the garden looked a bit strange until we removed all the protective coverings.

Several cold nights later in the month prompted us to cover everything up again..... and.... inspired us to not plant so early again! I guess we got spoiled with our first year of gardening here as we planted in March and had perfect weather until we started harvesting in late April. It doesn't look like this year's weather is going to be that cooperative.

This was Jax's first year for an Easter Egg Hunt, and he wasn't totally sure what was going on. He started finding, and collecting, the eggs without adult assistance and promptly decided they looked like something he could throw into the bird water barrel to see if it could float. He had about a dozen eggs floating in the little barrel before we could get to him and explain what they were. Once Skot showed him there was candy, and other goodies, inside the eggs he was all for it. Unfortunately this Grandma almost blew it with a rubber lizard that jumped out of one egg and scared the daylights out of the poor little guy. He got over it, but, no more lizards in the Easter Eggs!

Kendra was doing a blog post about Honey Baked ham and related products, so she provided most of the dinner - a delicous honey baked ham, sweet potatoes, and carrot cake for desert!
All we had to do was whip up a couple of sides, and some bunny rolls.
That left us plenty of time to visit with the kids and Skot's parents. The perfect Sunday afternoon!

The next day we were back to gardening - Steve was determined we needed a peach tree. So, Sam Houston peach tree purchased, we dug a test hole and filled it with water to check the drainage. Three days later the hole was still full of water. Ah, hill country clay. Lovely stuff.

So, we moved uphill a bit and tried again. This time the hole eventually drained, but we still felt we needed to provide additional drainage. A planter box was constructed and filled with some of the garden soil we saved back for the purpose. Then we settled Sam into the hole. Hopefully he'll adjust and make us lots of peaches in years to come.

This kind of project is known as the "begats".... and the way most of our projects work. A simple thing, plant a tree, turns into a two week project. Oh yeah, I forgot the part about having to cut down a dead tree and two small trees that were also in the way. That only took a full day, not counting the day off to rest our back muscles. And people wonder what we do for entertainment around here!

The birds have returned and started families out is the brushy perimeter of the yard. They're eating us out of house and home, so I hope they are raising lots of baby birds! One of Jax's jobs when he visits is to
help fill the feeders, and it seems they are always empty the days he visits.

The squirrels enjoy all the seed the birds knock to the ground, and Shiner enjoys chasing the squirrels, so we get lots of entertainment for our bird-seed-bucks!

Every year seems to feature a different critter in prodigious quantities. One year it was walking stick bugs, one year it was cicadas. This year seems to be the year of the rabbit. Though we knew they were around we hadn't seen one in the yard during the day before, (only in night shots with the trail cam). They've gotten brave this year, dashing here and there in the middle of the day, and Shiner has discovered them, so she has a new outdoor hobby - track that rabbit! She can't hardly keep her mind on chasing the ball as their scent is everywhere!

May will be filled with gardening and hopefully a short trip locally. It looks like we'll be having nice weather for enjoying all the outside activities!  For more and larger versions of the photos in this post, check the album.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A little catchin up

It seems we really had a winter this year here in Texas....snowing, raining and then cold, and then hot, and then the same all over again - typical Texas! Spring seems to have arrived now, finally, but we aren't getting over confident just yet.

Shiner wasn't quite sure what all that white stuff was when it snowed, and was really feeling abused that we wouldn't go out and play with her as much as usual (neither of us like the cold!) At least it's been several days since we have had a freeze now, and I'm hoping we are moving permanently toward spring, as we're anxious to get the garden started.

At the end of February I spent a week in Oregon visiting with the "Duck Ladies" for our annual beach trip. I spent a few extra days in Portland with Grayce, and we met Sally at the Cheese Cake Factory for lunch. I'd never been there before, and really enjoyed the visit - the food - and the interesting decor. The hardest thing was deciding which kind of cheesecake to order!

This outing sort of set the pattern for the week!

The beach trip was great!

Chris chose the house this year, and she did a bang-up job. We had a great view, plenty of room, and really enjoyed each other's company. We started out with a little birthday celebration for Grayce, as the day we arrived at the coast really was her special day.

We had beautiful weather, so took advantage of it and took several enjoyable walks on the beach, also managing to fit in a bit of shopping and antique mall browsing, in addition to eating of course!

A highlight for Janice was the discovery of one of the glass floats the city often plants on the beach for visitors to find. She has now registered it, and was given the name of the glassblower who made it.

Grayce and I finished up the week with a trip to the Japanese Garden in Portland. Though the sky was overcast, the serene landscape lost nothing of  it's beauty. More pics from the week in the album.

While I was gone Steve enlarged the garden perimeter and got acquainted with his new riding mower. Just in time too! as we have had a bit of rain recently and as soon as the weather warms up a bit the grass will explode over night ( I'm NOT exaggerating either!)

He finished up a few more details on the bathroom remodel too. We're very near finished now, though there's a bit of trim to finish up, and more "decorating", to do. We really are enjoying the convenience of the new cabinets - so much more well designed than the ones we took out, and I love my new soaking tub.

You can get a better idea of what we've accomplished if you page through
the album and see what we started with and what we have now.

There are just a few bits of trim left to paint and some accessorizing to do, so I guess it must be time to tear up something else. There is the enlarged garden to deal with, and the laundry room to paint and organize, so that will keep us busy for awhile.

We also take one day a week off from the usual chores to take care of Jax. It takes both of us to keep up with him, but we do have fun!

Papa and Jax both love their "construction work."
Jax's favorite thing is to dig in the sand and work with his dump truck and tractor, and he put quite a bit of energy into working with Papa to haul a new load of sand over to his play area.

He took good advantage of the new sand, and happily spent most of the day under the tree digging and driving his trucks, all the while surrounded by his two dogs and our Shiner. It was quie a busy scene, and the poor squirrels couldn't come down for water all day.

Jax is growing so fast it's hard to believe sometimes, and we're really glad we get to spend so much time with him.

The little veggie seedlings started in the house have finally gone out to to the mini greenhouse on the porch, covered up and kept warm with a light bulb at night. I hope they make it to planting time without too much stress.

Spring projects include not only the garden, but training Shiner to be a freight dog.

We spent some time a couple of months ago working with her walking harness and experimenting with small loads. Then I ordered a special freight harness which finally arrived early this week. Shiner's really a laid-back critter, and she moved right into the new harness like it was no big deal. You'd think she'd been doing this kind of thing all her life!

She has had two sessions now, pulling loads of tree trimmings loaded on a tarp, and will soon be pulling that little red wagon than Jax used to haul his sand (as soon as Steve finishes the shafts and adapter connection piece.) She's been very cooperative about the whole project, especially considering this was her first attempt at pulling a real load. I wonder if the fact that there's a treat in front of her nose has anything to do with it?

The leash I have attached to the load is to assist her when it hangs up on something, as she's just learning what it feels like to pull a load of several pounds. We made 4 or 5 trips with loads of trimmings, dragging the load from those trees in the far distance, uphill to the burn pile which is just a short way in front of us in this photo. She did so well during the first sessions it will be fun to see how long it takes to get her accustomed to pulling a wagon and a real load.

A few more spring photos here.

Last but not least - we've just adopted a theme song. Local girl KaceyMusgraves has written one we just couldn't resist. If you haven't noticed over there in the side bar on the right, here's a link to listen to it . . . "My House"

Sunday, January 12, 2014

It's a new year!

Wow, 'long time since we've posted here. We brought back some bad germs I'm afraid, and it took us almost two months to recover. Toss in Christmas festivities and all that goes with ending up the year and that's about all the activity we've been able to muster.

We are pretty much back on track now, and we got ourselves organized enough to venture past the county line, south to San Antonio for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in the Alamo Dome. What a great experience!

The pre-game activities included ceremonies honoring those currently serving in the Army, veterans, and a pinning ceremony for two service members.

Kendra and a few of her fellow AMVET post members were among the veterans honored. She's shown here with friends from  AMVETS post #115,  James Clements and Bryan Fuentes, and with the two Tuskegee Airmen who were also among those honored.

They created a grand entrance for the active military..... almost as exciting as fireworks!

Musical entertainment was provided by an active military band. Then the presenting of the colors was performed by a group dressed in Revolutionary War uniforms. Very impressive over all.

The roster of players included 90 senior high school students from all over the country. It's so uplifting to see such hardworking kids. And I don't mean just the players.

The band and flag team was All-American too, with practically every state represented. They put on  a fantastic half-time show....better than any we have seen at a college game. The technical crew also included high school students.

We thoroughly enjoyed the game, and as an added bonus the West team won!

Three of the four touchdowns were made by Royce Freeman, who is a UofO Duck recruit. Budda Baker, another Duck recruit from Washington, also played.

There were two other Duck recruits on the West team, and it was fun to see them this early in their careers. We'll enjoy watching them as they develop their skills over the next few years as college players.

Jaxen enjoyed the game too, happily clutched his little football during the whole game, though he did try to make a pass onto the field a few times, his father managed to rescue it just in time. I think he was a bit in awe of the goings on, but it was no where near as loud as a Duck game, so at least the noise wasn't too much for him.

We're looking forward to tracking those new recruits!