Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Tweed Suit

It would seem that I get the jump on things rather late. I've been wanting a tweed suit such as the one in the photo by Ralph Lauren for sometime. However, I can't seem to find one in my area. Last year I visited the local bespoke and asked about tweeds, which they had none.

Today I visited Walker Brothers, who have expanded beyond belief, and asked again about tweeds and there is hope. My contact is getting in touch with one of their vendors, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I'm not like others in the blog world who are big on MTM, but in the case I'm willing to make the sacrifice.

Photo's courtesy of Shop Housing Works.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

My Father's Day Gift / A Discovery Flight?

OK, if you've never done this, you have to try it at least once.

For father's day my wife got me the coolest gift. She got me a Discovery flight at the local flight school.

I had been telling her that I wanted to learn to fly helicopters for sometime. I'm almost middle aged, and I guess I'm going through my crises. Some men look for that younger woman, some a Porsche, me I want to buy aircraft go figure.

Before you can fly, you have to take a tutorial on the basic components of the aircraft. They had a sports plane that you can take up, but that wasn't really my speed. After taking the tutorial, it was off to the aircraft. Mine was a Cessna 172SP.

Here, my instructor and I are going over a few more basics before we kick the props. He is showing me the where the breaks are, no really that wasn't a joke, he is showing me where the breaks are. The funny thing is, when just looking at a photo of the gages, and wheel of an aircraft one would think that it would be like driving a car, boy was I wrong. While on the ground, you move the aircraft with your feet. And I have to tell you, it was a task to keep it on that little line on the runway.

Me, talking to the tower. I'm letting them know that I am new at this, and they need to be patient. No, I was doing my preflight check with the tower. When doing this, you are checking the traffic on the tarmac, and the air, and you are also checking the Echo, or weather. Why they call it Echo, I do not know. I was new, so all other flight were able to go before me, I wonder why.

OK, now I'm ready, or was I. Yes there is a smile on my face, but I'm asking myself, "what in the hell are you doing here?"

I'm now ready to taxi to the runway. Here, and you can't see it, but I am all over the place on the runway. My wife said that she didn't notice the plain swaying back and forth on the runway, but she wasn't in the cockpit either. You also can't see the yellow and black line either, but you want to keep the nose of the plane in the middle of the line. This is done so that you don't run into any of the lights or other planes that may be on the runway. Yeah, I failed that one. I didn't hit anything, but I didn't keep her steady either.

Yes, I actually made it back, and walked away from it alive. My instructor said that I did a great job. Well of course he did, I'm paying him.

OK, things we couldn't get pictures of.. We made it to the runway, and were ready for take off. The tower gave us the go ahead, so we rived up the engine, and off we went. Now remember you steer with your feet while on the ground. I no longer have to keep her straight, she's on her way. The instructor tells me to start pulling back on the wheeling. I pull, and I start to see the ground getting smaller, and smaller. The long gray runway soon looks like a abstract painting as we pick up more and more speed. And with in seconds we are off the ground completely.
My feet are still on the controls, and my wife tells me that it looked as though the plane was a teador toter. Reason being, is because I was concentrating so much on keep it straight on the ground, that I didn't remember my training and forgot that once in the air, you take over with the wheel. Each peddle controls the wings pitch. The instructor tells me that we will level her out at 500K feet. I'm watching the computer screen, and its climbing, and climbing, we hit it. Roll the trim wheel, and now its all on me.
Oh, and lets not forget that it was windy day. We hit some turbulence and I have to be honest with you, it scared the shit out of me. But once we were in the air, I was fine. I tried to pick a spot to concentrate on to keep my wings level. I found a cloud and used it as a reference point. Once that was complete, We changed up our mixture. Unlike in a car where you have a gas peddle. The plane had two knobs on the dash if you will. One black, and one red. The black knob was to give you speed or acceleration. The red is your fuel mixture. While we were on the tarmac we had the red knob pulled as far out as possible. Once we were in the air the red knob was pushed back in 3 quarters. We still needed fuel, but not as much as we did on the ground as the air and props did much of the work.
So we are now level per our instruments, and looking out the left and right of the plane we could see the same amount of space between our wings. Now to start making turns.
Again, this is harder then it looks. When making a turn in a car, it's automatic or immediate. When doing so in a plane there is a lag time of a few seconds. I had a problem with this, because I would pick a new focal point, and make my turn. The nose would not go in that direction, so I would turn again. This was an over compensation, and my spot would be far to the left or right.
After a few turns, we decided to pick reference points on the ground to know where we were. We also looked at out instruments to gage our speed, and location. Funny thing is, I live about an hour away from the airport, and I was over the lake which is about 15 minutes from our farm.
Now it is time to land... I'm now feeling queasy because my instructor as just advised me that I would be the one landing. We call the tower, the tower ask if we have checked our Echo again, we had. We are told to reduce speed, and change our heading as there was traffic. I didn't see anyone. Again, we are like an hour away in my mind. We push in the black knob a bit to slow the props. What seemed like 5 minutes went by and I could see the highway which is about a mile from the airport out my left window. I look back to the nose, and see a small white dot shoot past, it was the other traffic on its approach. I then look out the left window again, and can see the airport. We are coming up fast, and I'm told to pull back on the black knob for speed. I pull her back, and pull back on the red knob. The airport is getting closer, and closer with each second. The instructor tells me that I want to bring the runway parallel to my left window and make the turn left. She at my left now, and I make the turn once; I learned my lesson with the turns. I then drop my flaps, and push the black knob in a bit to bring down the speed of the props. The ground looks as though I'm going to slam right into it. I push the wheel forward slightly, and a little more, a little more. I feel the front of the plane touch down, I'm in there. I take my hands of the wheel, and apply breaks, and back to the peddles; left, right, left, right. Then I park it, and we tie her down. My first flight is over.
Well thank you honey, it was fun. And I plan to take the lessons to get my licence.

Syd's Lessons

We have been very pleased with the Couch Ranch here in Summer's, AR. This is not just some trail ride. Sydney has learned so far the tools used in grooming, and the fundamentals of grooming. She has even been given homework, which she seems to enjoy; she has to remind me to go over it with her sometimes.

Not only has she learned the fundamentals of grooming, but she is also being taught the anatomy of the horse. In the photo to the right, she is explaining each section of the horses anatomy as she brushes.

Here she is working on her lunges before her first ride. Sad thing is, we didn't expect the horse to be as dirty as he was, and while grooming before her ride, she got dust in her eyes. This didn't make for a good first lesson, and I was sure she would want to give up. I was wrong, she was a trooper and not only finished the lesson, but couldn't wait for her next lesson. We learned or lesson, and purchased her some goggles for when she grooms, which seemed to have helped.

It's not as though Sydney has not been around horses, however I am surprised at how well she handles them. See is very confident when it comes to the dealing with the different tack, the arena, and the horse its self. Here she is walking with Carrie; her trainer, for the first time.

OK, OK, so the photo's are out of order. The photo below is of Sydney tacking the horse for the ride. Again I was surprised that she got right in there, and did what she had to do.

I'm proud to announce that Sydney has moved on from the smaller arena for beginners to the O course. We've not settled on a discipline at this time, but she seems to think that she wants to run poles, or barrels. Sydney has had only four lessons at this time, but her trainer feels that she is ready for an upcoming show.
Though she's coming along, I'm still a bit gun shy about purchasing her, her own horse. I think I will give it a year, and if she's still into it, I'll take the plunge. I already know who would be taking care of it if we did.
Remember folks, Safe ridding, makes for fun ridding. If you are someone who are sitting on the fence about ridding; sorry honey, I know you read this and this was not meant for you, I suggest that you take your time in finding a trainer. Just as in any sport, there are good ones, and bad ones. Some in this area are paying a fortune to have their children sit and watch the trainer ride. With Couch Ranch, its all hands on just the way we like it.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Event Highlights

Hang on to your seat, it's going to be bumpy!

Someones coming loose from their riggin'.

Why we do it.


My 4th / Syd At the Rodeo I

National Anthem

A Nice family day out. I'm sure I'm going to miss these days when Syd is much older and find her friends much cooler then her dad, so, I'm going to enjoy them while they last.

My 4th / Syd At the Rodeo II

A fellow New Mexican was a vendor who had authentic turquoise jewelry. Syd found this ring and fell in love. It was a perfect fit, so why not.

Syd first real cowgirl hat. She even picked it out herself. I'm glad she didn't go for black.

Syd and Mommy next to the dully my wife is telling me I can't have. What a spoil sport.

We had a custom buckle made for Syd, but I made the mistake of having them make it at normal size thinking she could grow into it, boy was I wrong. So she chose one of mine to wear for the events.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


My daughter will be starting her ridding lessons this summer, photos of the event will be posted.

We were at our local Atwoods getting feed; for those of you who don't know, Atwoods is a farm and ranch supply store, when we came to the isle that hold all your saddles, bits, shoes, you name it for horse. I thought this would have been a fine time to talk to Syd about some of the different items that she would be learning about during her lessons. When we came to the spurs, you she became very interested. She wanted to know more about the spurs.
We were limited for time, so I told her that I would show her a set of spurs that daddy was going to purchase for himself. The spurs to your left are the spurs that I plan to purchase, well I planned to purchase for myself. Syd has decided that she would like this set for herself, and that I needed to purchase as set much more masculine for myself. Where she learned this from I don't know.