Ken Gamble:
In Memoriam

Our Family cruise to Alaska -July 2008

Uncle Dave's Music Web Page - Buy the CD

Kids Camp Wildwood August '06 

Visit from Niomi and Ivey 4-10-05

Hot Tub & Deck Project Updated 6-23-05

Pumphouse Remodel Updated  3-7-07.

Sari's Wall of Stone
Updated 6-23-05.

Miscellaneous Updated 5-4-05

Disney Trip 2005

Wildwood News Archives

Dec 2009-May 2010
Aug 2009-Dec 2009

Mar 2009-Jul 2009
Nov 2008-Mar 2009
Aug 2008-Nov 2008
Jan 2008-Jul 2008
Jul 2007-Jan 2008
Apr 2007-Jun2007
Oct 2006-Mar 2007
May 2006-Oct 2006

Currently Reading

This archive collects Camp Wildwood 2009 and the few months prior to that.

7/26/09.  Here's a few more items leftover from Camp Wildwood.  As requested on the cbox, a few pictures of the finished birdbaths the kids made while they were here.  This is where we put both of them.

And a close up of each.

A video of the last clue in the treasure hunt.  Click on the picture to play in quicktime format.

And another video, of the 4 of them playing a multiplayer shoot-em up game called Half-Life.

Ma, Pa and I went on a walk down the road, it appears someone is clearing some land along the road to try to build a house.  Somehow I don't think that's going to happen.  It's right next to the slide we had a year and a half ago, and there's no water availability.

And finally, last Tuesday the neighbor above our place had a tree guy come out and take down a couple of dead madrone trees.  The crew piled up the cut logs for us, since the neighbor doesn't have a fireplace for the wood.  I spent about an hour splitting some of them on Sunday.  Very nice wood to split, straight grain and few branches.  I may try for a video of that next week, but for now here's a picture.  The pile on the right is split and ready to burn this winter.

7/18/09.  Well, Camp Wildwood 2009 is officially over.  All the kids are gone.  I think they all had a good time, and laughed a lot.  This morning was full of packing and laughter on all the stuff that went on over the week.  And we got a few more activities in.  Matthew and Lauren did some archery (Lauren lost an arrow, which I later found), Tammy and Jenn played some Ping Pong.  And all the kids played a game called "Find all your Stuff and Remember to Pack it"


And a big "Thank You" to everyone who made Camp Wildwood 2009 possible! 

7/17/09.  The past few days have just flown by.  Friday everyone got to sleep in a bit.  We played a few games but it seemed everyone wanted to do something different.  Matthew, Lauren and I went on a walk down to the slide area.  Then we came back and got some lunch, and Matthew and Jen and I played a board game in the gazebo while Jessica and Lauren made 2 cakes!  They argued it would go as fast as the last one, so they needed 2. Below we're all playing Balderdash.  Everyone complains that I always win, but I didn't win a lot of the games we played.

I made the mistake of getting the kids interested in a multiplayer shoot-em-up video game on the computers and they spent nearly the rest of the day playing (3pm till midnight??).  I had to take a break and head into town to get some Chinese take-out for the group.  Hot-n-Sour soup! (among other dishes)

We did go outside to play a game of hide and seek, and burned  marshmallows on a stick in the fire. Tammy arrived in the evening to take the kids back to their homes tomorrow.  I've been so busy this past week I've only read about 50 pages of my book.  I usually read a book a week.  But it's been loads of fun.

7/16/09.  Thursday involved an early morning drive to drop the kids off to Suzy and Dave's in San Jose, and then they all went to San Francisco to see the King Tut Exhibit at the De Young Museum.  I didn't go, but headed back to Wildwood to give Ma and Pa's car back (the only car that would hold 5 people) so they could go shopping and restock the pantry.  We sort of wiped them out of food.  Dave drove the kids back to Wildwood after their museum tour and stayed for dinner.  They broke out a new 2000 piece puzzle after dinner to work on. 


While they were gone I spent the day making a treasure hunt for them all.  Instead of the usual clues everyone got pieces of clues and had to put them together like a puzzle to find the next clue.  Their treasure happened to be right above them on the chimney.

7/15/09.   Today Jessica had a test she needed to go back to school for, so Suzy drove all the way to Wildwood to pick her up at 8 in the morning.  Then went back to San Jose.  After that Suzy drove back to Wildwood with Jessica so she could enjoy more time with the other kids.  We did a few more timelapse videos, but there's only so much I can think of to do. It was a low-key day with not a lot going on.  For dinner we had chicken and dumplings, always a favorite, and Lauren made a cake, which got eaten in one big mad rush.  Feathers flew everywhere and somehow Matthew ended up with a quarter slice.  Accounts vary on how he got it.

7/14/09.  One of the new things we did today was a time lapse video.  We made several attempts to look silly and I think we succeeded.

7/13/09. Monday and day 4 of Camp Wildwood. Yesterday was a very filled day.  The entire Season 6 of Corner Gas DVD's has been devoured and finished off.  Quite a bit more TV watching than I like is happening, though I do try to get the gang to do other activities.  

We went on a walk / hike down the pump trail, around to the mailboxes and back up Band road.  It was Jen's fault, she made me promise we wouldn't hike back up the steep Lothian hill.  So we went up the steeper Band road. 

I'd agree with this picture!

We all had to rest a bit for the final 200 feet.

Other things we did on Sunday: Risk (again), Qwirkle, Lauren made brownies, Murder in the Dark, Hide 'n Seek, Ping Pong, and more games.  

Today we started out with Grandma making cinnamon bread as a breakfast treat for the kids.  Then we set up Monopoly, and had to pause  midway through that for a project of Grandpa's and Grandma's.  They wanted to make a birdbath, because they've seen some birds jumping into potting trays full of water.  They had everything ready - mortar mix, pedestal, broken tile for a mosaic.  All that's left is to put it all together.  Matthew did the honors with a timelapse video below.

Here's Jen and Jess painting the pedestal.

And both sides of the finished project.

We also saw yet another example of forest life - a snake!

Jen and Jess watching the snake.

More games today.  Finally got to the water balloons and BB gun activity. 

Played frisbee, ping pong, and finished up Monopoly (Jen won, Ms. Moneybags.)  Grandma had to go into town to pick up a few items and Lauren, Jen and Matthew tagged along.  We keep trying to make note of the jokes we tell so we can make a video show later on. One of the only ones I can remember at the moment - Jen commented on my dinner of spaghetti - "You ate that whole plate?"  And I said "No, it's still there."  Yeah, bad, I know. Ended the day with a showing of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

7/11/09.  Welcome to Camp Wildwood!  It actually started yesterday, with Lauren and Jen sacrificing their health and sleep to get up at 4am to get ready to take the train from Sacramento so Tammy didn't have to spend a whole day driving here and back.  Suzy picked them up and drove everyone to Wildwood about 1pm.  I got a mysterious message on my phone saying "TJ we want Premier Pizza for dinner" - click. So I had to get some Pizza to bring up after work.  

We all saw some deer today. With 2 little ones.  Matthew chased them as far as the treeline.  

Matthew and Lauren appeased the fire gods with an offering of empty pizza boxes.  Hope they don't burn down the forest.

Jessica and Jen wrote up a treasure hunt for their siblings and are shown here coming back from hiding clues. I had to hide and take these pictures.

And we tried to dominate the world, but had to leave halfway through.  I think I'm winning at the moment ;-)  We'll have to finish this another day.  Now they all want to play hide and seek, in the dark, with the skunk, deer, possums, raccoons, scorpions, mosquitoes, and Fluffy all roaming around.  Ah, memories are made of days like these!  More to come in the week ahead!

7/4/09.  Happy July 4th!  We had a BBQ planned for today and invited family and friends.  I picked up Matthew from his place on the way to Wildwood yesterday, and he helped Ma and Pa and I get things set up for the BBQ today. Matthew has been wanting to visit since his school got out a month ago. He kept saying he wanted to split some logs.  Which he finally did. He also managed a skunk sighting. 

This morning we got things set up, chairs out, tables moved, etc.  And our guests finally arrived!

I got grilling duty on the BBQ.  Peter likes to make the shish-kebabs.  They're kinda hard to cook.  When I try to turn them, all the stuff rotates and stays in the same position on the grill.  Annoying.

We had some activities like Ping-Pong and Horseshoes to keep the younger folk busy while the older ones chatted.

And several more folks wanted to try to chop some wood, so Matthew and I dragged out the axes again.  Don't cut your toe off!

Here's just a short video showing what was going on today.  All in all, a pretty fun day with good people.

6/28/09.  We got a few things accomplished this week.  In the area we cleaned out all the stumps a few weeks ago, there was a large stump left from a Madrone tree.  Dave Gamble came by with his chainsaw and cut  about 5 feet from it.  Click the picture below for a quicktime movie. 

When he was cutting the tree I noticed a yellowjacket hive about 20 feet away.  It was a small hole in a rotting tree root system.  It wasn't there when we cleaned up the area of stumps a few weeks ago.  But today i noticed there was a big hole in the ground where the hive was.  My guess is that a skunk got to it, ripped up the wood surrounding the hive and had a feast.  Way to go!

It started getting hot on Saturday, but we had a nice cool place downstairs to hide out.  Our thermometer said 91 degrees in the shade.  I did get the stairs on the front porch painted before the worst of the heat. Here's a before picture.  Still some work to do on railings and such.

We've also been getting things ready for our BBQ this July 4th.  We're getting things cleaned up, chairs out, BBQ area ready, fixing little things here and there. Oh, and here's the size of the mushroom.  I think Jessica's guess is the closest.  Good job Jessica, and thanks to all 4 of you who made the effort to guess.

6/21/09. Pa worked on a project of his own today.  We have a wooden water tank outside the basement door.  There was a wood platform around it for a while, but it's been rotting away for quite a while.  Pa tore it out.  Along the way he found a turtle!

Aww.  This guy's been around for a while, I think.  Mostly because he's plastic. ;-)  Anyway, we're thinking of using this tank to catch rainwater.  Pa originally had an idea to use it as a holding tank for a solar water heating system that never quite got finished. 

This is a very short timelapse video of the cat.  I had to trim it down because the last 2/3's of it has no movement (except breathing) from the cat.

And lastly, from our humorous vegetable series of pictures, a mushroom!  It's big. How big, you ask?  Make a guess in the cbox.  1 guess per person, please!  Answer will be revealed later.

6/20/09.  Howdy, howdy, howdy!  Well, over the past week or so we've got quite a lot of projects done!  Pa and I moved the basketball hoop down the hill a way.  Where it was before gave the players an awful lot of exercise, because the ball was always rolling down the hill.  Now it's in a pretty flat space, and with a hill behind it, the ball will (usually) come back. We had to fill the base with dirt, as well as putting old slabs of concrete on the base, then covered it with more dirt.

The Deck!  I finished installing new 2x4's and so Ma and I painted the deck.  Ma got one set of stairs painted while I was gone for the week.  Here's a before shot:

And after:

6/13/09.  Over the past few days I've caught up on rest and relaxation and looking forward to some projects, and lo and behold, projects appear!  This one held my interest for a few minutes.  A fencepost was rotting quietly away, and broke when Pa was moving the gate.  We had a spare, so it was only a matter of digging the old post out and removing the wire fencing.  I had to dig down about 2 feet (the hole is on the left edge of the picture), but it wasn't very hard.

Ma started me on a different project.  She mentioned that maybe we should paint the porch. I said I need to replace some of the boards before she painted, since some of them are rotting away.  So I brought up a load of wood from Home Depot and cut them to size, and started priming them.  We decided to prime and paint them on all sides because they seem to keep better that way, and not rot as quickly.  And painting them before installing them is much easier than installing, then painting.

I got the sawzall and cut portions of the porch out that needed replacing.  Most of the original wood is still good after 40+ years, but some ends of the boards are starting to rot.  Most of it was heart redwood, as you can see with the red sawdust in the picture below.  

Here's another problem with the porch that I needed to fix.  A redwood tree root system had moved this pier and post, and it needed to be set upright again.  I had to go under the deck to fix it.  Got really dirty, and the spider webs are no fun. (This is the spot where the skunks like to hang out.)

I also replaced one of the 4 beams holding the 2x4's up.  The other boards are rotting on the ends, but I extended the resting area by 2 more inches, which should last a few more years.  The new 4x4 post I put in (on right of picture) is actually only 3.5" x 3.5".  Well, when Pa put the porch in those many years ago, a standard 4x4 measured 3.75" x 3.75".   I had to do a bit of fiddling to get it to come out right.  A funny story about this new 8 foot long post:  Pa carried it from my truck and set it upright against the house.  The next day as I was painting boards I saw a tiny bird bringing nest material and putting it on top of the post.  I had to move the post, but Pa tried to put a substitute board in place so the bird could continue with nest building.  The post was only there a day before the bird found it!  I don't think the bird came back to the new nest.

I also put another couple of posts under the middle of this section (below) to firm up the porch.  I'll get a picture of the finished porch tomorrow, but there's not much to look at.  Just a porch.

6/5/09.  Here's a picture of a thunderhead drifting over the mountains in the Santa Clara Valley a week or so ago.  I understand it was pretty powerful over Sacramento later on.

And Pa noticed this birds nest set about 5 feet above the ground along our back driveway.  It's set along the side of the tree.

5/31/09. Today I did some window washing and cleaned off the roof of the shed.  I had to use some long poles for both tasks.  I also have another skunk sighting.  Poor Janet, she wanted to see the skunks during her visit last weekend.  I took a video but my camera was still set to timelapse mode, so here are some stills. There were 6 in all (Ma and Pa said they saw 8 all in a row last week), and yes the little ones came right up to my feet again.  I hope they find lots of insects to eat!

5/30/09.  I spent most of last week at Wildwood, an unexpected vacation since work has been slow lately.  Not that I mind spending time at my favorite place.  I managed to help out with a number of projects, and got to finish a few books as well.  We're still cleaning up the area below the house.  We had another pile of rotting boards we cut up with the chainsaw.  Pa and I worked on the plumbing under the Pumphouse, soldering new copper pipes under the house where the kitchen sink will go.  below is a tree our neighbor Dave cut up a while back and let sit.  We hauled about 20 logs up the hill and put it in a pile awaiting helpers to split it up.  Any takers? 

Our pile of wood awaiting the splitter.  Most of these are so heavy (oak) we can't lift them to the splitter's platform, so we need to split them in half by hand before we can split them on the hydraulic splitter (movie below).

Here's Pa doing some actual work!  (Yes, he works hard, which is why I always get pictures of him resting.)

And one more movie.  These are my new motorized, remote control, battery operated, all-terrain skates.

Nah, those aren't skates. I was tired from digging up yet another stump, and started thinking about my timelapse camera setting, so I tried this out to see what it looked like.  I need to get more ideas for Camp Wildwood in a few months.  Maybe get all the kids riding around like this...

5/25/09. Niomi and Janet made an appearance late last night, and I managed to get a photo today as we played a game called Qwirkle.  Niomi said it was her new favourite game.  Much talk was made of going on hikes, drives, etc, but eventually it came down to relaxing and staying in one spot.  

And Ivey and I, just before the trio left Wildwood for the more sophisticated Berkeley.  It was lots of fun seeing so many friends and family in just a few short hours.  And I got lots of games in.  Ivey - practice Liar a bit more and maybe you'll win...;-)

5/24/09. As promised, we had lots of visitors today.  It began with Ivey, who had earned a sleep-in after a day of traveling and seeing a play (Spamalot) and more traveling after that.  Sari Ivey and I took a walk down to the bridge and I took a picture.

And later in the day Tammy turned up with her kids, and her neighbor and her daughter.  They brought pizza so were welcomed with open arms.  We played a few rounds of Pit, Liar, and Spoons.  Then we went scorpion hunting with new black lights.  Jenn found one peeking out of a hole, but it was really too cold for them.  It was sprinkling a tiny bit as we were out looking. L to R. Lori, Sam, Ivey, Tammy, Lauren, Jenn.

5/23/09.  Another cleanup session of the area.  We got 4 or 5 medium sized stumps out today.  We also had reports that we'll have a few visitors this Memorial Day weekend.  Tammy and her kids were going to try to get to the Boardwalk Sunday, then spend the night here at Wildwood.  And Ivey, Niomi and Janet were also going to make an appearance.  I'll try to get some pictures.  Should be a fun time.

The Sawzall is your friend.

Here's what is probably the final after picture.  The stumps that are left are just too big to bother with.  They'll rot over time.  Compare with the pic below.

5/16/09.  Pa and I are doing another cleanup session this weekend.  Our neighbor Kenneth years ago tore down several buildings for the wood.  Well, most of it lay rotting for the past 25 years.  Pa figured out some boundary lines and noticed that there was a lot of this old lumber sitting on his property.  So the past few weeks Pa's been cleaning it up, and today we cut up a lot of stuff.  Last weekend We got a sawzall out and cut some roots to some scrub oak trees that were trying to grow in that area.  Pa's land ends about 10 feet from that little red shack that's about ready to fall down.

Also this evening I spotted the skunk again.  With a new litter of 3 little skunks.  They made for the cement drain under our walkway going to the street, probably to keep cool, since it was in the 90's today.  I got a sweet picture of 3 of the guys.

5/10/09.  Another weekend of moving and projects.  Friday I helped Pa with a project at the Pumphouse.  We're getting a drainpipe set up for when we install a kitchen sink.  As usual, there's more things going on that you don't know about.  After cutting a 2 inch hole in the floor to route the pipe through, we found out the pipe going into the ground was not attached correctly and we had to dig up a section of it and glue it up. The white parts are new.

Saturday I went to Los Gatos to help Suzy's friend Gail with another day of moving.  Lots of stuff, I think we only got 2 truck loads this time, but a lot was accomplished.  Much more to go, and not much time. I found Jessica in the moving van reading a book.  No wonder we're not going fast enough!

Sunday Ma, Pa and I saw Sari and Peter and talked to them about their China Trip. They had a great time (for the most part).  Amanda (Sari and Peter's daughter) sent an email with links to pictures she's been taking of her and her husbands various trips around China. Hope you don't mind me posting links to them Amanda!

Sari managed to grow some nice flowers and I thought I'd get a picture before the deer made a meal of them.

5/3/09.  It's been a rainy weekend, but a lot going on, not all of it at Wildwood.  Friday after I arrived I changed the oil in my truck.  I wanted to get that done because Saturday I had to drive back down to San Jose to help Suzy's friend Gail (see the Thanksgiving entry) move.  We got 3 trips in a u-haul, mostly big furniture, which was good.  But there was a whole lot more waiting to be packed and moved.  Sunday was another wet day, so most of it I spent indoors reading, and relaxing from the moving Saturday. I also got the bimonthly water billing for the community done and ready to be mailed out. I finally dealt with the plex mailbox.  Water was getting in from rain and so I put a front on it with a hinge.  Sorry I didn't get any pics of the move.

4/26/09.   Work was a bit slow this week, so I tried my hand at a couple of projects while I had the use of lots of tools.  First, our common mailbox was broken by a branch a few months ago.  It still held up but let in rain and soaked a few pieces of mail.  The mailboxes we use to get our mail delivered are about a 15 minute walk downhill.  It takes another 20 to get back up the hill.  So we have a deal with the neighbors that whoever goes out will pick up the mail from that location and put the mail in the "common" mailbox in front of the houses.  I remembered seeing Kenneth walk painfully to the mailbox once to find there wasn't anything there (he has bad knees).   I decided to make a box out of clear plexiglass, so people can now see from their home windows if there is any mail waiting.  I'll have to take a picture later. Still a work in progress.

The second thing I made was some sawhorses.  While cutting up branches last weekend, Pa mentioned we needed to make the existing sawhorses taller, 'cause it hurt my back to bend over them for so long.  The legs are slowly rotting and making the sawhorses shorter and shorter.  At work we had a used shipping crate that instead of throwing in the dumpster, I took it apart and made 2 sawhorses.  I even re-used the screws I took out of the crate.  Is that being green or what? (cheap maybe)  My Grandpa would be proud.  We used them to cut up even more branches this weekend, and I didn't have to bend over at all.

4/18/09.  My niece and nephew had this week off from school, so we invited them up to spend the weekend at Wildwood.  I took off early from work on Friday, got a couple of pizzas and picked up Jessica and Matthew.  So far it's been a fun time.  When I got to Wildwood, Ma and Pa told me they had a few problems with the high wind we had on Monday and Tuesday.  A few dozen redwood branches fell on the back driveway, and the ping pong table blew over.  We fixed the ping pong table and immediately the kids started playing. We played various games on into the night, had some good pizza for dinner, and donuts for dessert.

Saturday was great weather, it hit 80 degrees!  We enlisted Matthew and Jessica to help clean up the branches that fell.

Jessica showed no hesitation to chopping up a few branches with the chainsaw.

And Matthew wasn't far behind.  He was a great help, moving the sawn wood off to the woodpile and doing lots of the cleanup.  Pa was at his usual spot, supervising.

We played a few games afterwards, frisbee as well.

And we also relaxed a bit, enjoying the weather.

Ma and Pa even found the energy to play a bit.

Later in the day Matthew helped grandpa with some stubborn trees growing from the base of some redwoods.  We used a blowtorch.  Click on the picture for a short video using quicktime.

4/12/09. Over the past few weeks Ma and Pa have been cleaning up leaves from the redwood trees.  There's so much over such a wide area that this is the best way we've found to move it to our "fill" spots.

We drove down to Cupertino today for Ma and Pa's belated anniversary dinner with the gang at Outback.  Not a great picture, sorry.

Afterwards we all visited at Clif and Bonnies place for a few hours.  And separated into a couple of groups.

And I just had to toss this picture in.  It's a painting of Clif, 20 (haha - more) years ago, as he's airbrushing clouds. Someone else painted him, he airbrushed everything else.  

4/5/09.  Well, the string fence failed to keep out the deer (pictures below).  Pa went out the other morning to find quite a few flowers gone.  I think it got in at a low spot.  We got a different kind of fencing from Sari and Peter and may try to put that up next weekend. 

I saw some mole activity, earth being pushed up even as I watched.  I had a camera ready to take a video, but the mole never appeared.  Looks like Fluffy will have a chance at another friend.

3/29/09.  I've been talking with my cousin Sari and Peter about them getting a new computer, since theirs is about 10 years old.  A 15 GB hard drive doesn't go as far as it used to.  I finally found a pretty good deal at Fry's and after ok-ing it with them, picked it up and delivered it on Friday.  I spent some time over there setting it up, getting the internet working, downloading programs, etc.  The next day I tried out an HDTV USB card I had, got that working, but I need to pick up one for them this week.  They're also interested in a flat-panel monitor.  So that kept me busy for a few days.  Sari and Peter mentioned they're going to be moving back to Wildwood, then they'll be spending 2 weeks in Shanghai visiting their daughter Amanda and her husband Peter. 

Here's a picture of some cleanup.  About the way work usually gets done here.

Pa heard a tree branch come down on the neighbors roof Sunday morning.  Those neighbors visit once or twice a year, so I got a ladder and climbed on the roof to see if there was any damage.  Everything looked ok.  I had my camera with me and took a few pictures while on the roof, showing our place.  Here it is, stitched together. I've sized it to fit, but click on the image for a new page with the picture sized larger.

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