Thursday, September 25, 2008

Blackhawk "Broken" Down

My new Priest Quorum assistant advisor is an Apache mechanic so we took the young men to the airport to see the aircraft for our Wednesday activity. Boys like fire. Boys like girls. Boys like weapons of mass destruction. We started off looking at the blackhawks which are primarily used for troop transport and insertion. They were cool, but we came to see guns and rockets. Sgt. Howard (our escort) taught us quite a bit about the aircraft:
  • Apaches have three weapons systems - a 30 mm cannon with a 330 round capacity, 2.75 inch rockets with firing mechanisms on each wing and hellfire missles.

  • The apaches are state of the art attack helicopters with a price tag of $16 million.

  • The local base has 24 apaches and about a dozen blackhawks.

  • Each hellfire missle (8 missle capacity) costs $40,000.

  • For every hour of flight time, they perform three hours of maintenance.

Fun was had by all and we didn't break anything. No one volunteered for enlistment - we just like to look.

Darren holds a 2.75" rocket and I've got 30 mm cannon rounds.

30 mm cannon mounted under the front of the Apache.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Opening the Windows of Heaven

Returning home from church today we asked the kids what they learned in church. Tyson, Taylor and Darren replied that they learned about Jesus - it's a safe answer, hard to question and usually acurate whether you pay attention or not. Camryn was a bit more specific replying that her lesson was on the law of tithing. In class they completed a tithing donation slip, keeping the carbon copy and sealing the original in the envelope. She asked me if she should now give it to the bishop. I explained to her that she needed to first put money into the envelope. How much she asked. I told her that she would need to put in the amount she wrote down - $2.50. After giving that some thought, she replied, "I guess I don't really want to pay tithing".

Easy Bake Peach Pie

I don't know about the rest of you, but seeing Hilary's peach pie recipe left me hungry. Living so close, I assumed that she had baked one for me and it was a matter of time before I heard her knock at my door. So I waited and waited and waited. The pie never came and the hunger never left so I decided to take her recipe and make my own pie. Being the creative chef that I am, I made a few modifications to the recipe so that it would be more to my liking. I don't want to toot my own horn, but my pie was a masterpiece. I took a picture - you be the judge. I've included a visual recipe should anyone want to try their own hand and follow my lead.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Roughin' It

I'm embarrased to say that other than Lake Powell, our kids' exposure to the great outdoors has been fairly limited. Over the weekend Darran, Tyson and I had the chance to remedy that and spend some quality time with some some trees, dirt and a roaring campfire. I was a little concerned about the location - the west deserts of Utah out by the Dugway proving grounds (i.e. where the army test biological and chemical weapons). We've been home several days and we don't have any noticable deformitities. My concern was compounded because our stated mission was to shoot our guns (as well as the signs around the army camp which declared that they were authorized to use deadly force).

As the years have passed, my definition of camping has evolved and the word tent has been replaced with Courtyard Marriott, a nice bed with fresh sheets is a lot more comfortable than a sleeping bag, and why gather around the campfire when you can hit the pool at night - you get the point. My concerns about camping aside, we had a great time shooting our guns, spotting antelope, roasting marshmellows and making smores, climbing hills and taking in the sights. The campsight was located at Simpson Springs which is an old Pony Express stop. You can see the remnants of the old Pony Express trail from the campsite.
Darren and Tyson outside the Pony Express station. Darren threatened to lock Tyson inside if he didn't behave.
While the telegraph contributed to the demise of the Pony Express, I have a reliable source which suggests the threat of being captured and scalped was even more influential.
The "squiggly" line is the old Pony Express and wagon trail. I believe this is the same trail mom and dad drove their first covered wagon on. If you continue East, I'm sure you'll pass through Half Moon Lake.