Sunday, September 19, 2021

Autumn in 3...2...1

Today's post title is a nod the the *last* one!  

Ya know, I do feel guilty for not posting more.  But the Spawn's last day of work is soon and I'll have all of my evenings (mostly) free again.  I've been babysitting 4 evenings a week and as much as I love the grandson... I sure can't get much done without him wanting to help!  

And granddaughter is still on course to arrive October 13.
I also somehow adopted the titles / responsibilities of admin for my VFW post's Facebook page and website!  And whoever came up with that website template is a moron! Not user friendly at all.   

Oh gosh.  Let's recap the summer. 

Most importantly - everyone is, and has been, healthy!  

The Spouse and I celebrated our 15th anniversary in July and took a trip to the Upper Peninsula (you can read about it here - thru the googly eyes of a 3 foot tall skeleton!)  I haven't posted much over there lately, either, so it's not just this blog that I've neglected!  
It was a beautiful trip.  We had perfect weather the whole time. 
Miner's Castle
I hadn't been to Mackinac since I was a kid and the Spouse had never been there. 
The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore was stunning! 
Highly recommend the sunset cruise along there. 
And the shipwreck tour on the glass bottomed boat was really cool, too. 
We were about 6 feet above the shipwreck here. 

I was nominated into the position of mounted team lead on the SAR team.  Not sure *who* did such a thing!  Me, the only person on the mounted division that does not own a horse???  I have a million pictures of Kisses and off her back, but she's not actually mine!  
But after speaking with Sis1, who does own Kisses, I accepted the position.  I'm supposed to be in charge of getting the horses trained so we can get them SARTECH III qualified.  Pretty much, they need to have almost the same training as a police horse, except we don't have to shoot off their backs.  But they do need to be exposed to sirens & lights. 
I had to get in front of people who know more than me and "train"!?!?  
It ended up being a group discussion about basic equine first aid and horse handling since most of the people on the team have their own pasture ornaments.  There is one guy who's not too familiar with horses, so we had him lead Kisses around and filled him in on what he should do if he came across a loose horse without a rider while out on a search.   

We were called out on several searches this summer, but only one was BIG.  Like a week long, zillions of volunteers HUGE.
That's a LOT of resources!
And it's not even the civilians in the neighborhood that came out to help. 

It didn't turn out well, tho. The last day of 'official' organized search was on a Saturday and Wednesday he was found in a pond.  The general consensus was he was underwater and it just took that long for him to surface.  And it was one of those really big ponds that was totally covered in thick algae and lily pads so there was zero visibility for the dive teams.  Interesting, tho - talking to another team who has HR (human remains) dogs, they felt the K9 might not have indicated from the shoreline, but if they had gone out into a boat, they probably would have found him sooner.  Always a learning experience.  

Last weekend was the inaugural SAR Olympics.  It was put on by the same lady who did Halloween Camp last year so I knew it was going to be fun!  There were 3 SAR teams in attendance, so we were with a lot of people we'd worked and trained with before.  We all shared gear and helped each other out, so there was a lot of teamwork that wasn't just in our teams!

We did a lot of events that we had learned in SARTECH - area search, route search, land navigation, ropes, plus we did a couple practice searches.  I was really surprised to get a silver medal in area search, where we had to search a lane 10m x 100m for playing cards, while maintaining a 110° bearing.  I got another surprising silver in ropes, where we had to make an improvised harness and "repel" between 2 trees as fast as we could.  Then I got a bronze in fire starting - I was shocked at how many people had trouble in this.  But it was mostly figuring out what we carry in our packs that might help start a fire. But we had to start it and build it big enough to burn thru the string of a balloon about 18 inches above the ground.  I managed to get mine lit but that was it.  But it got me a 3rd place!   
The 'searches' we did were pretty cool.  One team has a drone and submersible ROV operator so I took the opportunity to be his support / radio person.
He showed me the track he took the drone on over our sector and I was amazed at the coverage he got.  Too bad there were a lot of trees, so he didn't see much on the ground.
Later we all got to file out onto a really rickety dock and see the ROV's screen when he found the "subject" we'd been looking for, in the bottom of the lake.  Super creepy!

We had a night search with the K9s looking for some high school kids that volunteered to come out & hide for us.  

There are a lot of events coming up in the next couple months.  Parades and community events.  Getting our name out there mainly.  Our last team meeting the sheriff, the under-sheriff and one of the county commissioners stopped in the visit.  (We met out in a local boy scout camp and the sheriff got lost!  We had to send someone to go get him - LOL!)  But apparently a lot of people were impressed with our abilities and professionalism during that big search! And since we're affiliated with the sheriff's department, it makes them look good, too.

So yes - Halloween time is approaching!  I start setting up the cemetery next weekend!  We got the skeletons out last weekend and the blowmolds & coffin came out yesterday.  The skeletons are the worst to dig out, since they hang from the rafters in the back of the garage, which means we have to pull the snowblower and bikes and random other crap out of the way to get to them.  
Next I just have to get the headstones & critter skeletons out of the shed and clean everything up.  I know it's a cemetery, but I don't like authentic spider webs & bug corpses.  I need to check all the lights in the blowmolds, too. 

The lawn will be mowed one last time, then at least the front will be let go until November 1 when everything comes down.

So that's about it for now.   

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