Caucus

Caucus meeting

Building a Giant Snowman

I thought it would never snow but overnight we got several inches in Kaysville. Out came the snowman builders to construct a giant snowman. Just build him like a regular snowman but bigger. You may need some help to hoist his head so pay attention to the photographs that follow.

Pass the snow

1. Pass the snow

Compact the snow

2. Compact the snow

Lift his head

3. Lift his head

Secure his head

4. Secure his head

How it is done

5. Use a step ladder

Give him a mouth

6. Give him a mouth

The engineers

The engineers. Dan, Rachel, and Jake

Later in the day our snowman got a nose but lost his buttons.
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I Love to See the Temple

Aurora and Cassandra at the Salt Lake Temple

Aurora and Cassandra in the grounds of the Salt Lake Temple


Last week my granddaughters Aurora and Cassandra went to the wedding of their mother’s cousin Alyse. This photograph was taken in the grounds of the Salt Lake Temple while Alyse and Adam were getting their pictures taken.

1 I love to see the temple.
I’m going there someday
To feel the Holy Spirit,
To listen and to pray.
For the temple is a house of God,
A place of love and beauty.
I’ll prepare myself while I am young;
This is my sacred duty.

2 I love to see the temple.
I’ll go inside someday.
I’ll cov’nant with my Father;
I’ll promise to obey.
For the temple is a holy place
Where we are sealed together.
As a child of God, I’ve learned this truth:
A fam’ly is forever.

Photo Credit

“A Place of Love and Beauty” by Adashot.me

Song

“I Love to See the Temple” #95 Children’s Songbook of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Words and music: Janice Kapp Perry.
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Graduate Nerf Wars

Nerf Wars lineup

A friendly photograph before we started shooting each other

 
Rachel graduated with her Bachelors degree in Child & Family Studies and Derek with his M.B.A. To celebrate we ate out, waged Nerf War, and finished with cake. So on Wednesday it was off to Cafe Rio and then to Jake and Rachel’s basement.

We divided into two teams with total annihilation of the opposing team the goal. A player was considered killed when he or she was hit in the head with a Nerf bullet. Each team had LED rings in their team color for identification.

I spent most of my time as a Nerf War correspondent, taking photographs on the front lines. Yes, it was a war out there…

Nerf Wars - Adelaide

Adelaide

Nerf Wars - Aurora

Aurora

Nerf Wars - Dan

Dan

Nerf Wars - Derek

Derek

Nerf Wars - Jake

Jake

Nerf Wars - Jill

Jill

Nerf Wars - Megan

Megan

Nerf Wars - Paul

Paul

Nerf Wars - Rachel

Rachel

Nerf Wars - Steven

Steven

Graduates Rachel and Derek

In the end we all ate a Congratulations Grads cake


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Tracy Aviary in Winter

Tracy AviaryTracy Aviary has free admission (with a $1 conservation contribution) on Winter Wednesdays through February. So I went with my grandson and other family members to see a surprising number of birds for a cold day in December.

I enjoyed seeing Bryson’s reaction to the birds and also taking a few photographs (click to enlarge) of the feathered residents.

A pair of American White Pelicans

American White Pelican
Utah’s largest native bird, the American White Pelican weighs up to 30 lbs with a 9 foot wingspan, and lives around freshwater wetlands and lakes.

These birds do not dive beneath the water for their prey, but instead hunt along the surface in groups, herding and corralling fish toward shore into an ever-tightening half-circle. The pelicans then dip forward in simultaneous motion to scoop prey into their expanded pouches.

One of the largest breeding populations of American white pelicans in the world, often over 20,000, gathers on Great Salt Lake’s Gunnison Island, raising thousands of young each year. Pelicans can also be seen at Farmington Bay Wildlife Management Area, Antelope Island, Stansbury Lake, Ogden Bay, Willard Bay, Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, Salt Creek Wilderness Management Area, and Cutler Marsh.

Andean Geese

Andean Goose
The Andean Goose resides around wetlands in the Andes, above 10,000 feet, unless forced to descend to lower altitudes by winter snow.

These birds avoid swimming except in emergencies and are mainly vegetarian, feeding on grasses, sedges (perennial plants that resemble grasses), and fleshy aquatic plants.

The Andean Goose builds a shallow nest of vegetation on the ground and lays 5-10 eggs with incubation around 39 days.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle
Bald eagles are found only on the North American continent living near open water from Alaska to Northern Mexico.

Their primary food source is fish but they also feed on carrion, waterfowl, and small mammals. Adult male eagles generally weigh about 9 pounds and adult females typically weigh between 12 and 13 pounds. Adult eagles have a wing span of up to 7 feet. The distinct white head and tail and yellow beak of the mature bird is developed between 4-5 years of age.

Pairs typically mate for life, which in the wild can be between 30 and 35 years. In captivity, they have been known to live up to 50 years.

Bald Eagles have such keen eyesight that they can spot fish from up to a mile high in the air and will dive at up 100 miles per hour. Eagles have been observed lifting prey weighing well over 4 pounds.

Barred Owl

Barred Owl
The Barred Owl is native to North America and goes by many other names but is best known as the Hoot Owl because of its call. The adult is up to 2 feet long with a 4 foot wingspan and weighing 1.1 to 2.3 lbs. It has brown eyes; all other owls have yellow eyes.

The owl lives in large forests near swamps or other water in Canada, the eastern United States, and Mexico but in recent years it has spread to the western United States. Populations increase faster in suburban settings than in old growth forest. The main danger to owls in suburban settings is from cars but the increased offspring offset deaths.

The Barred Owl’s nest is often in a tree cavity, perhaps taking over an old nesting site made previously by another bird or squirrel. The female incubates her eggs while the male brings her food. Hatching takes place approximately 4 weeks later.

These owls have few predators, but young, unwary owls may be taken by cats. The most significant predator of Barred Owls is the Great Horned Owl.

The principal prey of this owl are meadow voles, mice and shrews, rats, squirrels, rabbits, bats, moles, opossums, mink, and weasels. Birds are taken occasionally including smaller owls. It occasionally wades into water to capture fish, turtles, frogs and crayfish.

Bryson at Tracy Aviary

Blue-coated Bryson
Unique to Utah, the Blue-coated Bryson is only seen with this plumage in the winter months.

He feeds on mostly what is given to him but will forage for snacks at any time. He is particularly fond of cheese.

Bryson can be seen at times carrying a stick that he likes to poke objects with or drag in the soil. He is not looking for tasty grubs but is merely playing, as this species is prone to do.

It is essential that he remain free roaming as humans do poorly in captivity. However, the young (and some adults) have to be monitored constantly to keep them from mischief.

The Blue-coated Bryson thrives in the traditional family habitat, which in recent decades has been threatened.

Chilean Flamingo

Chilean Flamingo
Chilean flamingos live in flocks of dozens to tens of thousands of birds along shallow, brackish lakes and rivers throughout South America.

Flamingos are not born pink but turn pink after two years of eating shrimp and tiny algae.

While their feet stir up algae, their beaks tip upside-down in the water, acting as a filtering system to keep food in and strain water out.

By tucking one leg up into the soft down on their stomach, flamingos release less heat along the surface area of their legs to regulate their body temperature more effectively.

Chilean flamingos build two-foot high mud nests on which the female lays one white egg on top.

Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle
In addition to North American, Golden Eagles are found in Europe, North Africa, and Asia. They favor cliffs, mountains, and other rugged terrain. These birds have a body length reaching 3 feet and a wingspan over 7 feet wide.

Golden Eagles mature at the age of 4 and generally mate for life.

When hunting, pairs divide the labor – one bird chases its prey to the point of exhaustion while the other swoops in for the kill. They use their talons to kill and carry their prey. While they can reach flight speeds of 80 miles per hour, their average speed is 30 miles per hour. When they dive for prey, their speed can exceed 200 miles per hour.

Their diet includes rabbits, squirrels, prairie dogs, groundhogs, skunks, fox, and sometimes much larger mammals. They also prey on other birds, such as crows, pheasants, and meadowlarks. Because of the bird’s impressive hunting skills they only migrate during occasional food shortages and rarely long distances.

Keel-billed Toucan

Keel-billed Toucan
The Keel-billed Toucan lives in Southeast Mexico through Northern South America. They are a very social species and live in groups of 6-12 birds.

Female Keel-billed Toucans are smaller and have a shorter bill than the males. The species sleep in tree cavities with other Toucans. They fold their tails up and tuck their beaks under a wing to make more space.

They eat fruit but also enjoy small birds, eggs, reptiles and insects. These birds have 2-4 eggs each clutch; both male and female help to incubate the eggs.

This bird was part of the free-flighted encounters with Tracy Aviary trainers.

Monks Parakeet

Monks Parakeet
The Monks Parakeet is globally very common and in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay they are regarded as agricultural pests. They are found in open woodlands, palm forests and palm groves as well as urban habitats. They eat seeds, nuts, blossoms, insects, and grasses.

The Monk Parakeet is the only parrot that builds a stick nest, in a tree or on a man-made structure, rather than using a hole in a tree. They build a single large nest with separate entrances for each pair. In the wild, these colonies can become quite large, with pairs occupying separate “apartments” in nests that can reach the size of a small automobile.

These nests can attract many other tenants including birds of prey such as the Spot-winged Falconet, ducks such as the Yellow-billed Teal, and even mammals. Their 5-12 white eggs hatch in about 24 days.

Peacock

Peafowl
Peafowl are a species of pheasant native to India and Sri Lanka and are best known for the peacock’s extravagant eye-spotted tail display during mating season.

While wild peafowl live in forests and open grassy areas, peafowl can now be found all over the world as pets and exhibit birds.

They are content to remain free roaming and fully flighted wherever they have adequate food and protection from predators.

The male is called a peacock, the female a peahen, and the offspring peachicks. The adult female peafowl is grey and/or brown. Peachicks can be between yellow and a tawny color with darker brown patches.

Red-crested Turaco

Red-crested Turaco
The Red-crested Turaco measures 20 inches from beak to tail and is a fruit-eating bird from western Angola. They are so abundant in Africa that they are considered a pest. It inhabits forest and savanna and lives 5 to 9 years. The female lays 2 to 3 eggs but the male helps in the 21 to 24 days of incubation.

Turacos are the only birds to possess true red and green color. In most birds, the color is a reflection produced by the feather structure. The turaco’s red and green pigments both contain copper.

These birds have mobile outer toes, which they can rotate forward or backward. They live in large flocks of up to 30 individuals. During courtship, the male will feed the female.

This bird was part of the free-flighted encounters with Tracy Aviary trainers.

Southern Lapwing

Southern Lapwing
The Southern lapwing is a ground-dwelling wading bird found throughout South America near lakes, riverbanks, open grassland and even urban areas, such as soccer fields.

During the breeding season, parents produce alarm calls that cause their chicks to crouch in the vegetation when a potential predator is near. It has such an alarming call that farmers will use this bird as a guard for livestock.

The timing of breeding for Southern Lapwings is strongly related to the rainy season. They create a nest on the ground supported with twigs and the female will lay 2 to 4 black-spotted brown eggs.

It feeds mainly at night, often in flocks, eating insects and other small invertebrates.

In Uruguay, due to its bold and combative nature it has become mascot of the Uruguay national rugby team.

Beautiful Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan
The Trumpeter Swan is native to Northern North America and is the largest waterfowl found in its range. These birds can live over 24 years in the wild and form tight pair bonds with their mate that lasts a lifetime.

Females lay 1-9 eggs in a large nest of vegetation near water, and eggs are incubated by both parents. The grayish-brown Cygnets leave the nest within 24 hours of hatching to swim and feed with the parents.

During the feeding at Tracy Aviary, a duck was perceived by the swans to be eating their food and was dealt with accordingly.

Feeding Time Video

 

Sources

  • Tracy Aviary Meet the Birds.
  • Extracts from various Wikipedia bird articles.

Credits

  • Thanks to Jill Willoughby for the video and the free-flighted encounters photographs.

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Father Christmas In Kaysville

Father Christmas visiting

Father Christmas visiting the grandchildren

Father Christmas came to visit
My grandchildren this year.
But when he loudly Ho Ho Hoed
They refused to go near.

So Father Christmas skillfully
Made candy canes appear.
And with this very tasty treat
He overcame their fear.

Jill and grandchildren with Father Christmas

Jill holding Bryson and Aurora

Bryson with Father Christmas

Bryson and Santa

 
Photo Credit: Bryson and Santa courtesy of Jill
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100 Years Ago: Exile, USS Utah, Elections

Battleship Utah

U.S.S. Utah, circa 1911


  
The following was adapted from the Improvement Era magazine of December 1911.

Exile

The November 1911 Improvement Era reported that a minister named P. Aslev, under an old and obsolete law, succeeded in banishing four missionaries from Sweden. The cause of their banishment is that they are Americans with no visible means of support, and that they preach “Mormonism.”

The December 1911 Improvement Era followed up the story by writing that the exile “has roused the liberal press of Sweden to sharp opposition. They see in it danger to religious liberty.”

Here is a characteristic selection from [the newspaper] Arbetarbladet, Gefle, September 23, 1911:

It is which and t’other with religious freedom here in the land. This is shown, in part, by the recent exile of the “Mormon” missionaries. It was believed that this action was taken because of the agitation carried on by the missionaries in encouraging emigration to Utah, but this seems not to be the case. The exile, according to the testimony of the actors themselves, is meant as a direct blow at the “Mormon” propaganda as such.

We have therefore to deal with blows against religious freedom itself, and against this and like things the liberal press must turn with all energy. It isn’t a question here as to whether one favors or disfavors the “Mormons.” We may just as well say that we consider this so-called religion especially distasteful, if not infinitely worse than Waldenstromism* and other spiritual epidemics.

But the question at issue is the right to religious freedom, even for those who may happen to be imbued with the teachings of Joseph Smith. It is a question also of opposing the officers who have taken upon themselves the task to carry into effect the driving of the “Mormons” from the land, for these same authorities may at another time turn themselves against the members of other religious organizations.

If the fight against “Mormonism” really is so necessary as it has been taken for granted, then it must at least be definitely demanded that it shall be carried on by legal means. The adoption of an unprejudiced and honorable educational campaign is the only method that can be unqualifiedly recommended.

But this educational campaign must not be handled or directed by the official coterie of religious intolerants in this our land, for in such case it will be immediately subject to question. It is just because of this situation that one can scarcely rejoice over the anti-“Mormon” propaganda which is at present developing in Sweden, through the efforts of the imported American pastor Aslev. It has always been considered a questionable tactic to drive out the devil with Beelzebub.

[P. E. Aslev was called to a pastorate in the Swedish state church in 1911 to counteract Mormon propaganda. Aslev had served as a pastor in Utah and had written a report suggesting that the Swedish government banish all Mormon missionaries.

*Dr. P. Waldenstrom, professor of theology, editor, and member of the Swedish Parliament, created consternation in religious circles by declaring that the death of Christ was no atonement, no vicarious suffering, but simply the death of a martyr.]

USS Utah

The Battleship “Utah,” turned over to the government by the builders, the New York Ship-building Company, on August 30, was placed in commission at the Philadelphia Navy yard on August 31, with Captain W. S. Benson in command. It joined the Atlantic fleet soon as supplies were put on board. “Utah” is the fifth of the all-big-gun type to be launched, is 551 feet long, and has a displacement of 21,825 tons. It developed 21.63 knots on the speed test. It has ten 12-inch guns mounted in five turrets.

The silver service for the ship, provided largely by the children of the state, was on display at Leyson’s in Salt Lake City until the middle of October, and there was no objection by the Navy Department to receiving it. On Monday, November 6, the service was formally presented on board the vessel by Governor William Spry, at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. There were some five hundred Utah people present, including the Tabernacle choir of two hundred voices. Captain Benson, in accepting the service said: “We appreciate the honor shown us by the people of Utah, and we hope they will feel as proud of our ship as we are of this silver service. The service represents the state of Utah, and we mean to defend to our utmost the honor and good name of that state.” The choir sang “The Star Spangled Banner,” and “Utah we Love Thee.”

[Details of the amounts collected for the silver service were reported in the August 1911 Improvement Era. An official first state flag for Utah, was given to the Battleship Utah, as reported in the April 1911 Improvement Era. Follow the link for additional details about the USS Utah.]

Elections

The City Elections in Utah were held Nov. 7, under the new nonpartisan law. The result was quite satisfactory, the new law being generally pronounced good. In Salt Lake City, a non-partisan Commission, with Samuel C. Park, as mayor, was elected, and the “American” party domination was overthrown by a substantial vote, which ranged from 4,146 majority for Park over Bransford, the “American” candidate, to 6,459 majority for W. H. Shearman, non-partizan candidate for Auditor, over Kimball, the “American” candidate. The motto of the non-partizan candidates is “Peace, progress and reform,” which, being greatly needed, let us hope we may get.

[In 1911, a State law changed the form of government for cities of the First and Second Class in Utah from the old Council form to the Commission form of government. This form of government was again reversed in 1981. The American Party, also known as the Anti-Mormon Party, was formed in Utah in 1904 to counter the influence of the LDS Church. The party performed disappointingly in the 1911 elections and was disbanded that same year.]

Adapted from: “Passing Events”, Improvement Era, Vol. XV. December, 1911. No. 2.

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CNG Station in Kaysville

CNG Station in Kaysville

Paul filling up at the new Kaysville CNG station


This evening I heard via Twitter that there was a new CNG station opening today in Kaysville, located at 80 North 600 West, between the UTA Park and Ride and the Davis County Technical Center. The official opening celebration is planned for 2012 but you can fill up now. Paul and I drove over to the station around 9pm to check it out and fill the tank. The overhead lighting was out but the pumps were operational. Two 3,000 psi and two 3,600 psi.

Update

1 Feb 2012 — Questar Gas opens new CNG station in Ogden, UT, on Weber State University campus (4760 Old Post Rd), south of the arena.
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Windstorm Preparations

Windstorm preparations

A long line into the sewer district. There is another line visible further to the east. Click to enlarge

 
In preparation for the approaching storm, scenes like these were repeated all along the Wasatch Front. There were temporary waste collection sites at LDS Church stake centers and at other locations. After helping in our ward, Dan and I drove through several streets in central Kaysville and found hundreds of people and dozens of trailers being loaded. It was an impressive sight.

Windstorm preparations

Follow a laden trailer if you don't know where to go

Windstorm preparations

Because men were driving the pickups, directions were provided without having to ask

Windstorm preparations

Though the line was long we didn't have to wait long

Windstorm preparations

Unloading

Windstorm preparations

Even minivans were drafted into service

Windstorm preparations

The line as we drove for the exit

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