It's that time of year again. The weather is getting colder, the leaves are almost gone and, at least in this area, the first snow has fallen. Winter has come and with it, the holiday season begins with Thanksgiving. So....
We have taken Max to Pumpkin Fest at Country Bumpkin every year since he was one. So, of course we had to go again this year. We went on Sunday so his Mom and Dad could come up for the afternoon too.
He always has a good time with the bounce houses, the hay maze, the petting zoo and the rest. He runs from one thing to the next and back again!
Feeding the animals is always fun. Those tongues tickle his hands. He was especially fascinated by this Unigoat!
I don't know how long Pumpkin Fest will still be interesting for Max. I hope it will be a few more years at least. He really enjoyed it again this time.
I was out before sunrise this morning and saw the bright moon overhead. I just had to go back inside to grab my new Nikon P1000 camera and try taking a few pictures. It is amazing what you can see with a 3000mm lens. I couldn't even zoom in all the way and still get the whole moon in the frame!
I want to try getting pictures of the planets on another clear night. I am going to have fun with this camera!
I am a long time Nikon camera fan. I owned Nikon's back in the film days and my very first digital camera was a Nikon D100 that I got in 2002. Georgia and I both had other Nikon digitals after that. They were, and are, great cameras. If fact, I still have one D70 that almost never gets used.
When we started doing a lot more traveling by airplane and ship, we found these camera kits to be a problem for us. We needed a couple good sized camera bags to carry the camera, extra lenses, flashes, batteries and chargers and all the other stuff that we needed. So, a few years ago, we switched to what are often called bridge cameras.
These cameras have built in flashes and non-removable zoom lenses that cover a wide range of focal lengths. They may not the best at anything but they are good at a lot of things. They are the "jack of all trades" tools that are great for traveling. We bought two Canon SX-40HS cameras that served us well for several years.
The Canons are still great travel cameras and we take them with us on big trips. For other occasions we usually just use our mobile phones for picture taking. The cameras in these devices have gotten really good and they serve us well for casual picture taking.
I have been eyeing other options for a while now though. The newest cameras have feature that the Canons lack. WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS location tagging for a few. I was also envious of the longer reach of the super zooms like the Nikon Coolpix P900 that reaches out to 2000mm. I have been hoping Canon would come out with a new model that would match or exceed what Nikon has. It hasn't happened yet though.
Then, a few moths ago, Nikon announced the Coolpix P1000. It would have all the connectivity of the P900 with a 3000mm equivalent lens. I wanted one! So, when Georgia said get it, I put in my preorder. Nikon released the camera on September 6th and Friday (September 14th) mine finally arrived.
This is a large camera. It is much bigger than the Canon SX40HS and more like a DSLR. With the big lens extended it is really a monster. You can click on the pictures below to see a larger version of the image.
What to you get in that size a package? The camera body itself isn't that big. It is the lens that makes it huge. It is a 125X optical zoom (4.3-539 mm, angle of view equivalent to that of 24-3000 mm lens in 35mm format) that opens up to f2.8 at the wide end and f8 at the extreme telephoto setting. There is also a digital zoom that can take it out to 12000mm but with some image degradation. Good if you need to get a shot of bigfoot standing on the next mountain over I guess 😉
Besides the long zoom, the features that I especially like are:
There are a few things I would like to change about it though:
Overall though, I am impressed with the P1000. I have only had it a couple days and there is an awful to learn about the camera and what it can do. I'm sure I will be writing other posts about it in the future.
Here are a couple quick snaps that show the sharpness and image quality. Click them for larger views.
It has been a busy summer for reunions! Georgia's 50th high school reunion was Saturday at the University Club in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was our third, and last, reunion of the summer. The others were my class reunion and the Clough family reunion.
We drove to Grand Rapids on Friday and had lunch with Georgia's sister Judy before we checked into our hotel. Georgia had an early salon appointment on Saturday so we had dinner on our own Friday night and a quit evening in the room.
Georgia did her salon and spa thing Saturday morning. We had a late lunch then some time to relax in the room before getting dressed to go downtown. The reunion started at 6 PM but the planning committee, of which Georgia is a member, got there early to finalize the room setup.
The classmates began arriving by six and we had a pleasant hour of socializing before our delicious tenderloin and salmon dinner.
There was plenty of time to visit with old friends after dinner. We finally wrapped up the evening around 10 PM then drove back to the hotel. We were tired but happy to have had the chance to attend this special event. 50th reunions only happen once!
Sunday we battled the usual end of the weekend traffic on our way home. We stopped in Chicago to see Max and his mom Angeli. Max had finished his first week of Kindergarten and we were glad to see that he was adjusting to it just fine.
Yesterday I reached a milestone in my family history research. I added the 10,000th person to my family tree on Ancestry.com. That number represents over twenty years of research time invested in this hobby but, I enjoyed every bit of it and I am not done yet.
This seems like a good time to answer a question that I get asked from time to time and to say something about my research philosophy.
Obviously, with 10,000 people in my tree, they can not all be my direct ancestors. That brings up the question:
"Why do you include so many distant relatives in your tree?"
Before I get into the reasons, I should say that everyone in my tree is connected somehow. There are no isolated branches or individuals, they all tie together no matter how remotely.
For example, The last person I entered (Kenneth D. Hayward) is the husband of my 2cd cousin 1x removed. That is a little distant and many family historians would not include him in their tree - but I did. Not only that but, if I find information about Kenneth's parents and siblings I will probably include that too. Those people are not directly related to me (as far as I know) but they are connected.
I have four main reasons for including so much of my extended family.
First: I hope the research I do will help other people searching for their ancestry. Using the example of the Hayward family, someone searching that line, now or in the future, might find them in my tree and learn something new to them. When I have information available to me, it just seems like a waste not to record it.
Second: I am able to connect to other family historians because they see names from my tree and reach out to me with additional information or corrections. Ancestry helps with that by showing me other people researching the same families and allowing us to contact each other.
Third: It is surprising how often extended family turns out to be connected in multiple ways. In the past, more people lived in small towns. I often see multiple generations of marriages between the same families because that is who they lived close to and knew. I have written more about this "cluster genealogy" in another post at wingingitblog.com/cluster-genealogy-can-help-grow-your-family-tree/.
Fourth: Extending the branches in my family tree help me correct errors. I know my genealogy has errors in it. I wrote more about that at wingingitblog.com/my-genealogy-is-wrong/. To go back to Kenneth Hayward, he married the granddaughter of my great-great aunt (my great grandfather's sister). If I find discrepancies between previous research on that line and what I find on the Hayward line I can possible resolve the differences and correct my data.
So, 10,000 down and many more to come. There are still a lot of ancestors to find. I will continue doing genealogy for as long as I am able!
This past weekend, Georgia and I were on the road again. This time to Apple Valley, Minnesota where a Clough family reunion was held at the Apple Valley Community Center.
I come from a large family and I don't see most of my cousins very often - if at all. My grandparents, John and Lydia (Corey) Clough, had nine children born over a period of twenty one years. The births of their grandchildren spanned four decades - from 1927 to 1966. Some of my cousins were grown and married before I was born and some are much younger than I am. Also, the families were spread across the country. For those reasons, there are many cousins that I was never close to. It was nice to see so many of them at this reunion and to get a chance to know them better.
One of those older cousins was Robert Clough. I only met him once or twice when I was growing up. In the last few years though, we were in close contact since we both had an interest in genealogy. We talked on the phone regularly and often exchanged letters with family information.
In February of this year Bob proposed a Clough family reunion and suggested a few possible dates. From the response he got, it was set for Aug. 18th. Sadly though, Bob passed away on April 2cd. It was something of a shock to all of us but some of my other cousins took on the task of making sure the family reunion happened anyway.
During the reunion, we held a memorial service for Bob. His son passed out family history books that Bob had put together for the families of each of John and Lydia's children.
On a happier note, we also celebrated the 98th birthday of Aunt Elaine (Clough) Swaney. She is the only surviving child of John and Lydia. It was good to see her in excellent health and with her memory as sharp as ever.
This picture is of her and my mother at the reunion.
In 1968, I graduated from Bruce High School in Bruce, Wisconsin. This past weekend my classmates and I celebrated the 50th anniversary of that event. I haven't attended many class reunions but, fifty years is special. I had to go!
Georgia and I left home on Thursday of last week and spent the first night at Black River Falls, Wisconsin. We have driven past the Arrowhead Lodge there many times but never stayed. Lately it became a Best Western Hotel and we decided to give it a try this trip. The hotel is old, it has been there as long as I can remember, but it is well maintained and we had a great room.
We continued to Bruce on Friday so we would have time to spend with family before the reunion on Saturday. We spent the afternoon visiting my Mother and took her to dinner at the Wonder Spot Resort on Amacoy Lake.
Saturday we had a chance to see more family before going back to our hotel in Ladysmith to get ready for the reunion.
The reunion was not actually held in Bruce but a few miles away. Bruce High School is a consolidated school with students from there and from the town of Exeland attending. This get together was at the Buckhorn Bar in Exeland.
The turnout was excellent with over half of the class returning for the reunion. We gathered outside for a group photo before sitting down to dinner.
It was a great evening of catching up with old friends. There were many classmates, who came to this reunion, that I hadn't seen since graduation and it was good to see them again.
On Sunday, Georgia and I left to return home. We drove as far as Wisconsin Dells where we spent Sunday night and Monday morning at the Ho-Chunk Hotel and Casino. Ho-Chunk is a favorite "playground" for us. We visit a few times a year and always have fun there.
We got back home on Monday afternoon with another road trip to remember completed.
Last Sunday Georgia, Max and I went to the Lake County Fair for the afternoon. The weather was almost perfect and we had a great time.
On the way there, we asked Max what he wanted to do most.
He said; "See the animals!"
Seeing animals is exactly what we spent most of our time doing and he loved it!
After grabbing a carnival food lunch, we watched some pig races. Those little guys are fast!
Our next stop was inside the main exhibit hall where local businesses and organizations had booths. There was also a talent show going on it one section of the hall. Max liked the police and sheriff department displays. He is now a Junior Deputy Sheriff!
Right outside the back door of the exhibit hall were the livestock barns so we went there next. We saw goats, poultry, sheep and rabbits as well as dairy and beef cattle.
The animals are what sets a fair apart from just a carnival. It is educational too. Now Max knows where milk comes from before it gets to the store.
Next stop was the midway where Max declined the rides in favor of playing the games. He won a few prizes for Grandma and Grandpa to carry.
The petting zoo was next. They had a pretty large group of animals and Max was determined to pet every one of them. I think he achieved his goal. He really does love animals!
He decided this donkey needed help with his hay so he fed him some from his hands. It looked like the donkey enjoyed the attention.
We got back to the parking lot just as a little rain started to fall from the only dark cloud on an otherwise blue sky day. Just the right time for us to leave the fairgrounds.
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