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I Spy the Fourth of July

Kent Fireworks

Farewell Wittigs


Akron Zoo with Wittig Cousins

German Family Society Old European Days

Pymatuning Lake

Porch Demolition

Tea Party

Geodesic Airolite Classic 14 Rowboat

Bubble Pool

Papa's Stories

Amigarumi Crocheted Turtle & Hamster

Witches, Communists and Register Sex Offenders


Backyard Barbeque

Concrete Foundation

Scott and Jenny's Wedding

Airolite on the Water

We support Ron Paul for President 2012.  

I think the founding fathers would be very disappointed in what has become of the American government and its leaders; we now have a corrupt empire that largely ignores its own constitution and tramples on individuals' liberties.  The founding fathers would like Ron Paul, however.  Congressman Paul consistently votes no on issues that are unconstitutional. If elected Ron Paul will end our wars, close our hundreds of military bases across the globe and end our unsustainable, financially irresponsible empire.  Ron Paul has more support from US troops than all other presidential candidates combined!  Dr. Paul is critical of government corruption and believes in protecting whistleblowers.  As a congressman, Paul does not participate in the congressional pension, has never voted to raise congressional pay and as President he would draw a salary of just $39,336, which is the median salary of the American worker.  Paul believes the War on Drugs is not working, is a waste of money, and violates citizen's personal freedoms.  Congressman Paul has never voted for: raising taxes, an unbalanced budget, a federal restriction on gun ownership or an increase in the power of the executive branch.  Paul is the only presidential candidate proposing a viable balanced budget.  He voted against: the Patriot Act, the TARP bailouts, regulating the Internet and the Iraq war.  Search YouTube for " Ron Paul predicts " to see how Paul has predicted many of our current major problems and crises years or decades before they happened.  Please do not waste your vote on the status-quo; elect Ron Paul for US President in 2012.  - David & Joan Hall



This is your reminder that all three girls will be playing orphans and pickpockets in the Tallmadge Dynamics production of Oliver!  The play will beat Tallmadge High School on August 5th, 6th, 12th and 13th at 7:30 P.M.  Tickets are $9 for adults and $7 for children, at the door.


Backyard Barbeque

7-31-2011 ~ Blog #398



Last night we had our annual backyard barbeque, complete with waterslide and bubble pool.  The food was great and it was nice for everyone to catch up with their less than immediate neighbors. Pam came through with a nice birthday cake for Svea.  We've been so busy, and under so much pressure lately with the addition and play that Svea's birthday has once again, taken a sideline.  We still have a week until her birthday, but nothing has really been planned yet.












































Concrete Foundation


We had a rain threat delay this week, so our foundation pour was postponed from Thursday to Saturday.  On Wednesday the foundation/footers were dug and passed inspection as did the water and sewer chases and lines I built.  As of today the foundation is curing and the greenhouse foundation and remaining pads will be poured tomorrow morning.















Annika picked tomatoes and Brigitta caught a tiny toad.




Scott and Jenny's Wedding

by Joan


Papa, Nana, David and I attended my cousin Jenny's wedding on Friday night.  As David and I get older, we have noticed that most of the friends our age are already married that we go to fewer and fewer weddings each year.  We enjoyed attending Jenny's and Scott's beautiful ceremony and reception. 




























Airolite on the Water

I took the GPS for a row in the Airolite rowboat today (Sunday) to get speedometer readings. At a comfortable heart rate of ~130 I row about 3.5 mph; at a harder 145 it cruises at ~4.5 mph; in a sprint, heart rate at 155, I can get it up to 5.5 mph, but not for long. If you are really bored, here's a 16X sped up video of my row:​ies.htm#2011

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Geodesic Airolite Classic 14 Rowboat

7-25-2011 ~ Blog #397

(David & Joan)


I love human powered watercraft; I'd rather paddle a nice kayak or row a fine boat than zip around in a fast speedboat.  I've been studying kayak and rowboat designs for years and have owned a small flotilla of human powered watercraft over the years.  When I built the Kiddiyak for the girls in March of 2008 I based much of my skin-on-frame design and covering materials and techniques on Platt Monfort's Geodesic Airolite series of super lightweight boats.  He's been selling his plans and kits for decades.   Although thousands of Geodesic Airolite boats have been built, they are still relatively rare.  I'd never seen one in real life.  Two weeks ago I refreshed my local Craigslist/boats page and saw a newly listed Airolite Classic 14 at a very low price.  At 14 feet long and 54 pounds this is one of the biggest and heaviest of his boats.  I snatched it up as quickly as possible.  I'd been dreaming of building one for years, but with a build time of 170 hours I never took the plunge and bought a kit.  The one that I bought had no seats and the oarlock mounting plates were cosmetic, glued only to the boat fabric.  Last week I demoed part of the gunwales, beefed them up and properly epoxied the oarlock mounting plates to the reinforced gunwales.  Not having the original plans, I designed my own seat and mounts.  As simple as it looks, I believe the seat and mounts have 67 parts.  I did all of my work while the boat was hanging inverted in the garage; the first time it was upright in two weeks was when I put it in the lake yesterday.  My rowing experience has been limited to my 11 foot Sea Nymph square stern and bow flat bottom aluminum skiff.  It's not an efficient design and makes a lot of wake, even when rowing.  I had high expectations of the Airolite and it didn't let me down.  It feels very efficient, fast, stable, light and tracks well.  With all of my housework this summer, my first paddle of the season was just a few days ago.  In my out-of-shape state, I comfortably paddled my very fast and efficient Ocean Kayak Sprinter ~2.8 miles in ~35 minutes.  In the new rowboat I covered the same course in 45 minutes, minus a couple minutes for photos.  The action of a rower is significantly more efficient than that of a paddler.  With the exception of sculling boats, rowboats are typically much wider than touring kayaks, which easily eats up the efficiency advantage of the rowing action.  Considering that the Sprinter has less than 40% of the width of the Airolite and 121% the length (that's a HUGE efficiency advantage), I am delighted with the Airolite being around 80% as fast as the Sprinter. 






June 26th Island survived the winter and now sports a "Welcome Kayaks" dragon.


Bubble Pool


We finally fired up the bubble pool this week.








Papa's Stories


As a way to preserve family history, the girls have begun recording conversations and stories with Papa and Nana. 

Episode One can be found on our Movie Page.



Amigarumi Crocheted Turtle & Hamster

by Joan

I have a tendency to try things just to see if I can do them.  I have never crocheted before and really only knitted briefly on a loom knitter.  Knowing one of my biggest faults is losing interest in really big projects, I decided that sweaters, socks and shawls were definitely out for me. I found these little crochet patters for animals and gave them a try.  They are all pretty easy to do and don't take up much time and if the girls ever want to try crocheting, I, at least, will have a handle on the stitches.  (my own touch was adding the hats because what animal doesn't look better properly "chapeaux-ed".)


Witches, Communists and Registered Sex Offenders


You are panicking a little bit aren't you?  You just read the phrase, "Registered Sex Offender", after all.  That phrase strikes fear and shuts down reason in typical American brains.  In the 1600's the word was "witch".  If someone was accused of being a witch they often did not receive a fair trial and were burned at the stake because people's fears shut down their ability to use reason.  Society murdered innocent people because of government enforced public fear.  In the 1950's the word was "communist".  McCarthyism had us worried that our neighbors were communists.  Out of principle, some pleaded the First Amendment (free speech and assembly) others pleaded the Fifth Amendment (the right against self-incrimination).  The constitution was ignored, panic prevailed and people were investigated, tried and convicted based on their opinions, not their actions.  Clearly some people really were communist (unlike witches.  But what threat were they really posing?  McCarthyism is now best known for accusations in spite of a lack of evidence.


Today our nation panics over Registered Sex Offenders (RSO).  While true pedophiles and rapist clearly should be behind bars our: conservative fanatics, lawmakers and judicial system have resulted in thousands of normal/harmless American youths and citizens being imprisoned and labeled as Registered Sex Offenders.  Teenagers have been consenting to sexual acts for thousands of years.  Now teenagers (ages depending on state) who consent to various sexual acts or take, share or receive images of themselves are treated just like the adult pedophile who lures small children into his "free candy van" and sexually assaults them.  What are the most common age of Register Sex Offenders in the United States?  Would you believe 14 and 15 year olds?  Certainly some of these kids are a real danger because they target very young children.  But a great many of them, thousands of them, are just typical consenting teenagers responding normally to their hormones.  It certainly isn't smart for teens to send nude photos of themselves to their girlfriends or boyfriends, but do we really need policies that treat them like the producers of real kiddy porn?  As Registered Sex Offenders, these children may not be able to attend any school, live at home, have children of their own, get a decent job... ever.  Often the lifetime consequences and punishment for murder is less than that for consensual sex among teens. Why are our laws so incredibly black and white?  Depending on the source, 10% to over 50% teens will have been involved in some activity that could have resulted in them becoming a Registered Sex Offender before they reach age 18.  We are locking kids up for "assaulting themselves".  Many politicians/lawmakers, prosecutors and judges have done more damage to today's youth than even the worst true pedophiles.  The real monsters sometimes wear suits and ties and work for the US Government.  Be careful about electing politicians who are "tough on crime".  Often they are playing on your fears and criminalizing normality.  For more I highly encourage you to read the blog post: There is a fury and and sadness inside that I cannot express.


Many adults are in jail, are RSO's, have been murdered by vigilantes or have had their own children taken away for: hugging, dad taking photos of mom nursing, streaking, public urination, having porn from downloading malware unbeknownst to them on their computers, etc.  We should be outraged by such nonsense, but instead we breath a sigh of relief and pat prosecutors and judges on the back for locking up so many criminals.  So many who work in our judicial system blindly and eagerly pursue and lock up good people who have technically broken insane and unjust laws.  If there was a law against breathing they would lock everyone up, save the last cell for themselves and then flush the jailhouse keys.  For more on how stupid are RSO laws are, please read: A partial listing of our material on teens, sex offending, and the infamous registries.


It's not reasonable to expect people to always treat each other justly, but when it comes to our own government we MUST demand it. 



Pymatuning Lake


7-18-2011 ~ Blog #396

(David & Joan)


With our construction project and play practices, our only real vacation this summer was an overnight stay at our friends' cabin near Pymatuning Lake.  We visited a couple beaches, a forest creek, shot BB-guns and rented a pontoon boat for an hour.  The girls had a blast and it was nice to get away from the house for a while.








Killing Cans



I never imagined I'd live in a place too densely populated to shoot even a BB-gun; but we do.  I always figured I teach my children gun safety and marksmanship, but practical places to shoot are rare in Ohio.  I've picked up a few BB-guns at garage sales, but this was our first chance to shoot them.  Svea got the hang of cocking the Daisy Red Ryder and Model 1894 in a few minutes; the lever actions are difficult to cock.  Once she started shooting with her right eye she started hitting the soda cans.  Brigitta managed to hit a few cans even though she insisted on shooting with her left eye.  We'll work on posture and form next time.













Svea managed to lose her flip-flop in some pretty deep muck and talked Brigitta into retrieving it for her.




Pontoon Boat














Porch Demolition


The porch demolition has been brutal on my arthritic hands; but we managed to get it down and hauled away.  The job was complicated by the fact that the furnace thermostat, cable TV, and phone lines were all centralized in this room.  We also had to redo some wiring and reroute the dryer ducts and vent to the front of the house.  I upped the duct diameter to six inches from four to help compensate for the 32 feet of ducting.  The jalousie windows dominated the walls requiring us to drop the roof and joists before cutting out the windows.  The Sawzall, sledge hammer and pry bars got a good workout last week.






The girls helped remove tiles.



The entire porch fit neatly into a 16 yard dumpster.


Tea Party



Joan and Annika had a nice tea party on the old porch slab; Svea and Brigitta served.




I Spy the Fourth of July

7-3-2011 ~ Blog #395

(David, Joan & Svea)


Svea made this "I Spy" : Fourth of July

(Can you find)


I Spy

A streetcar, 2 birds, and a turtle that's blue,

An acorn, a building, a bridge and white shoe.

A cow, a bee, a bell with a cat.

A fan, an umbrella and a kid with a hat.



Kent Fireworks

We celebrated the Fourth of July early at the Kent Heritage Festival on July 2nd.  It is a new tradition to join two of our neighbor families, walk around the city, throw some blankets on the ground, have some snacks, wear some glo-sticks and watch the fireworks.  It isn't elaborate, but the our neighbors are great and the girls all agree that having friends with them makes watching the fireworks more enjoyable and memorable.  It is a good tradition.














Long Exposure





Farewell Wittigs

Sheryl, Michael, Becky and little Michael had a great visit.  One of the reasons for adding this extra leg on their trip was to have the young cousins spend some time together.  They all got along very well and played as kids do.  There was Lego play, Wii play, Playmobile and Poly Pocket play, outside play and inside play, drawing, reading and movies, too.





Group pictures left until the last possible moment.  Two headed off to volleyball camp, two still in pajamas.










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The big project this summer involves replacing the roof on our house, tearing down the old porch, rebuilding it along with a new kitchen, greenhouse and mini-observatory.  The 56 year-old 3/8" roof plywood over the original portion of the house was sagging and delaminating.  We replaced it with 3/4" plywood along with new shingles over everything except where the new addition will tie in.  Michael was a huge help in both physical labor and technical advice.




We were careful to walk only on the rafters, but I did step through once during a moment of complacency.



New shingles being delivered.




The back side door of the garage exited where the new kitchen will be, one of our many prep jobs involved moving the door to the back wall of the garage.




We jacked up and moved two 500 pound slabs of concrete to extend the walkway in the front of the house.



And we busted up the 1,344 pound slab/back door stoop.



Akron Zoo with Wittig Cousins

Photos by Svea and David







David is less than thrilled in the lemur house.  Moments later we found him laying down on this very bench.






















German Family Society Old European Days

(Four 20 minute Old European Days movies here)


The girls danced at GFS's Olde European Days, a mini Oktoberfest held on the last weekend of June.  The weather was perfect.  They have a Mass in German, a blessing for all the deceased family members, put flowers on the statue of Mary and released doves to symbolize peace.  Annika was one of two chosen to lead the procession and Svea and Brigitta got to carry baskets of flowers. 








Brigitta took it upon herself to distract the daughter of one of the Kindergruppe's leaders while her mom was helping with the dancing.  Brigitta loves all babies - and had a blast and was able to keep the little one amused and off the dance floor.










Annika exhibiting a rare reaction to "strudel overdose".














The last dance of the Jr, Youth group involves bringing audience members in for the dance.  Brigitta chose her cousin Becky and Svea chose Michael.  The dance is called the Atlantic Mixer because you do not get to stay with your original partner and are forced to "mix" with the other dancers - a fact that Becky does not always seem pleased with.





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