The primary challege regarding the math contests for Keith has been scheduling them. The Center half-day program severely limits options, and then contest rules sometimes impose impossible constraints. Most Center teachers have been cooperative, but not all. February brought the American High School Math Examination: 30, five-answer, multiple-choice questions in 90 minutes. The scoring of zero for wrong, two for blank and five for right imposed a severe guessing penalty. Three students scored over 99 and advanced to part II. Keith made two trips to CCF in February for wood. The first was just after his birthday and the second two weeks later. AU's annual Faculty/Staff/Board award buffet is held in late February. Keith was looking forward to it this year, because he had every reason to expect to be listed this year on the program for a 15-year award--he wasn't. A letter brought the award by mid-May! For this and other reasons, Keith has never been thrilled with the unique "full-time contract but not faculty" aspect of his work relationship. We received written indication of a pending cost-of-living increase that would keep the position attractive. Through June Keith was being aggressively approached for a half physics, half computer science position to which he gave serious consideration.
In June, receipt of materials from AU involved emptying a semitrailer stuffed with a hodge-podge of miscellaneous large and small computer equipment. About half the equipment went into the basement and the other half into George Plue's barn. First, basement raised flooring had to be installed. Since it was stored outside, much of it swelled and rusted over the winter so installation was completed with a thorough strip and wax job. Then a ramp was built (using new barn 2"x8" sill plates and 4'x8' sheets of barn siding), a chain hoist procured, and support for the hoist built. Building the hoist support involved cutting off part of the backporch cement floor, building a new wall, and finishing the porch floor. By June 18 a 12' red pine log from CCF was atop twin towers of tape drive frames just wide enough to drive the pickup between. Since AU agreed in January to pay the semi-trailer rental through June and make it available for ten working days, all Keith had to do was find someplace with a forklift. Tafcor, a local wood products business, did the job nicely, even encouraging off-hour use. Keith loaded the 1200 pound 16Mb memory box from ground level at George's barn onto the pickup and unloaded it by himself. Once some big pieces were in the basement (with help from Chris Treu) other big pieces were unloaded into George's barn using a rental truck. A recent federal law caused difficulty obtaining a truck with a lift gate.
Just after Keith said "not now" to the job offer, AU informed him there would be no cost of living raise. In fact, although, previous budgets had money for course development, now that the Center was fully developed, that money was not there, so he would be getting a 7% cut! A math conference for secondary chairmen at Kettunen Center (near Tustin) completed June--it rained and rained, but Keith was able to skip breakfast Friday to start mowing the CCF lawn--completing it before he left that Friday evening. He observed a cat in the barn Wednesday afternoon when he arrived. Terri has been generating monthly newsletters for both sides of our family. On Keith's side, many contributions are received and the following CCF update came from the August issue; written by Keith's brother Fred, then edited extensively by Keith.
Keith, Fred, and Daddy discussed the minimum we hoped to accomplish this week. Repairing the barn roof was primary. The NE corner of the new part (south 36'x36', 1917) was rotted through; tin roof, rafters, upper sill, wall, concrete floor, foundation, and SE post of the old part (north 24'x36', 1880?'s). Closely related was landscaping the east side of the barn so water would drain away. (We think the east posts rotted at their base due to excessive moisture, causing stress to the roof connection between the new and old parts in the middle of the east side. There may have been beams under the posts as well.)
We decided to spend the remaining daylight cutting a 10' replacement post. In the hardwood we selected four possible trees. We wanted one which would not produce better lumber if left, would benefit the woods to be removed, and big and sound enough to do the job. Keith first cut a beech we knew to be hollow for the first six feet, hoping it would be good above that---it wasn't. By then we knew Keith's saw wasn't going to run right (rusty carburator); Fred's saw cut crooked and did not match the fuel mix available. Daddy and Keith went to Home Harbor Farm to get Daddy's saw and retrieve Theron and Michelle who had walked there. Daddy cut another beech. The more we worked with it the happier we became. After pulling it out of the woods with the pickup, we hitched the front end of the log off the ground, behind Daddy's big truck to drag it to the barn without scarring the fallow cornfield. (Our tenants did not renew their 5-year lease.)
On Independence Day, Keith and Fred were out evaluating and prioritizing by 5:30 am. We spent 3 hours cleaning the 6" drain under the new part of the barn. Apparently it has not been used in more than 60 years. Since lack of drainage caused the settling problem we were repairing, we had to resolve the drainage issues. We removed several pickup loads of bean and other straw insulation from above the horse stable. When Daddy and his chain saw returned we hewed the post to size and shape, using the lumber maker Fred purchased in 1979. It slides along a 2"x6" guide nailed onto the log. The post turned out nicely: 6" x 8"x10' 5". We left it in the sun to dry.
We then poured a foundation for the new post. Some roles were established that continued throughout the week. Keith ran the mixer. Daddy, when available, kept us supplied with material. Since the well failed about Wednesday, this included fetching water. Fred tried to make sure all corners of the forms were filled with concrete and put in as much rock as possible. When Keith found it, Fred also put in reinforcing steel. We made the first of two trips to the moraine at HHF for gravel. When the sprinkles finally drove us into shelter, Keith and Fred consolidated the disk drives to the south end of the barn to produce floor space to the north. The Red Donkey puzzle (puzzle consists of shifting pieces around to get the big piece out the 'door') was helpful in this regard! During this process, apparently, Fred lost his pocketknife. Daddy started a task he kept returning to until finished Thursday--removing nails from old lumber stored over the cow stalls. That evening, after agonized hand-wringing, Theron decided to see the fireworks over Lake Cadillac.
Wednesday, July 5 we poured the foundation for the post in the NE corner. It was a good thing we put a jack and some additional support under it. The large rock supporting the post fell into our hole just as we started to pour. It was a mess but we got a solid foundation poured. A year earlier Keith poured foundations for the four posts toward the northwest when he poured the barn floor. The two posts toward the southwest of the old part are on rock and dry since they are against the new part, thus no hurry to cement them. The remaining post east of the old south doors is now resting on air, thus begging for attention.
We dug a drainage ditch from the east side to the south. Daddy says a bulldozer to rework the landscape is the best way to go. His tractor could barely plow an initial furrow to start the ditch through the broom grass in the old barnyard. Keith, Alice, and Fred, with an eye toward keeping this operation low budget, are willing to work annually with a number 2 shovel to keep the drains clear. We also ditched around to the north and in front of the north doors where it is rock filled. Culverts in front of the north barn doors and under the driveway at the NE corner are indicated for next summer. Some of the ditch dirt went toward filling ruts left by the cement truck last July. In the evening we poured a 30" x 60" step in front of the east door of the horse stable. This step extended the 6" drainout from the barn and will facilitate landscaping the east side. By morning there were cat tracks on the slab!
On Thursday, July 6 Our first task was a step on top of the previous night's pour. By dinner we marked it with cousins' footprints (Theron, Hanniel, Zadok, Michelle). We found these prints made somewhat of a commitment to preparation for another set of footprints on Sunday when Mathue, Keren, Jephthae, Alisa, and Jared would be available. (When Bruce's children are available, a south horse stable step might be next.) High winds continued to delay raising the barn, so we poured a foundation for a row of cement blocks west of the north door. That part drifted west about four inches a year ago when raised, so we established how it was to be corrected before the blocks are laid. After dinner, in spite of the wind, we raised the barn back up to where we think it was built (96" to the bottom of the first beams). Three posts had to go up about 9". Keith worked the post on the east side of the north door, Daddy the post in the NE corner, Fred was on scaffolding of computer frames raising the corner for the new post. David Bolduc (Bethany's husband) kept us supplied with whatever we needed, especially blocking material under the posts. Fred's post was impossible to block until we realized we could turn the new post backward (180 degrees) setting its step mortise under the old post. Things got tense at times while each creak and pop were analyzed. The 4"x4" Keith was jacking under started to separate from the doorpost. We drilled a hole and bolted them together. Problem solved. (Later this post jumped north about 4", due to the cable and come-along at its top pulling the barn together.) The computer frame scaffolding started to buckle. We gave them additional bracing and continued, soon slipping the new post into place. It looked nice.
Daddy used his chain saw to cut square blocks off the old hemlock posts until we had sound wood. About three cement blocks under each of those north posts will do nicely. In the evening we dug foundation for a row of blocks east of the north doors to the corner and started digging on the east side of the old part. One of the many buried artifacts remains unidentified. These foundations and blocks will ensure that water will start going around rather than through the barn. Much of the dirt went toward filling a low spot in the driveway just below the garage flat.
Friday, July 7 it was misting just enough when we started work that we didn't want to do concrete. We decided it was time to dig a new outhouse pit. The sandy soil north of where it sat was a pleasure to dig. We were pleased to discover that the site we chose was (basically) new! It was necessary to wait until we had at least four men to carry the building 8' north. Four men were supplemented by everyone on the farm. Eleven of us strained to set the outhouse into place. We endured the distraction of toppling brown stalagmites, as we realized the outhouse had been installed without a pit! Keith then crawled underneath to assist with repairs--splash guard and reinforced floor. Daddy and David repaired the outside. Now it's dark inside--the views to the north and south have been ruined.
Gary did lawn maintenance, mowing and picking up sticks. Alice helped cover or remove problem rocks and transplanted a white pine tree. Zadok and David continued projects from Thursday; rock removal and moving brush to the bonfire site. Keren and Michelle continued the homemaking routines, especially notable was the crowd they fed dinner that drizzly noon. Fred tore out the damaged roof on the NE corner of the new part of the barn and by the end of the day with help, especially from David, had a new top sill and two rafters replaced. Since this was the preparation day we stopped work by 5:30 and were clean and fresh for supper at HHF.
On Sabbath, July 8 17 took the afternoon walk south two miles from CCF to HHF via the cemetery. Saturday night, the bonfire and fireworks were well attended and a roasting success. Afterwards we added three barrels of trash removed from the barn earlier in the week, "pee wood" from under the outhouse, and the remains of the huge cottonwood stump east of the house. In spite of continual attention, the cottonwood was still burning Monday noon.
Sunday, July 9 we were back at it before daybreak--changing a flat tire--there's still plenty of old fencing in the orchard. There was concrete to pour and deadlines to meet. Before breakfast we poured the foundation wall east of the door on the north side. We lined the bottom of the hole with large rocks to get them out of the way and to give a solid base. After breakfast at HHF, Keith and Fred started pushing to get the pour completed on the east side of the old part. This pour included not only the foundation for the row of blocks but a step for the 4' door on that side. The step required engineering a 6" drain through it at an appropriate level. Daddy could not help much because he had to get Ernest at 11:00. Milton helped but headed for dinner by noon. Keith and Fred hustled to complete the pour. It was the last and largest, 15 mixer loads or almost 4 bags. We put in as much rock as we could. Fred kept busy moving concrete down the 24' form. Keith rustled raw materials; water, cement, sand, gravel, steel, rocks (small, medium, and large). He kept the mixer mixing constantly. When we were late for dinner, Terri checked on us, securing a promise that we would miss no more than the meal--we would be at the gift exchange by 2:00. Ten minutes of our precious time were taken by an excavator who wanted to buy rock piles. We established a price of $100.00 for six of ours.
After the gift exchange, five more cousins left their footprints in concrete. Zadok and Fred went back to closing up the roof. David soon took Zadok's place. Daddy joined us after returning Ernest. Keith kept busy sorting tools and tying up loose ends. At dark when we went for showers the barn was stablized enough to leave for a while.
After Terri returned, Keith finished collecting ancient tape drive parts he sold (indirectly to the government) and finished yet another address conversion job. The disk drive that fell was removed from the basement in pieces. The next week the screen doors finally arrived. Also that week, half a ton of cast iron/steel, half a ton of aluminum, and a ton of gold-bearing material were removed from the house and yard; most of it going to market. The gold-bearing material from the back porch apparently harbored many yellow jackets. Considerable time had been spent handling it, since 50 pounds of aluminum were removed. Somehow many of the yellow jackets infiltrated the kitchen and stung Terri and Jared. Starting Sunday, July 30 after the Anderson reunion near Sparta, Keith and Theron moved the east side of the CCF north barn doors south 4", raised it 4", laid 40 blocks, installed bolts into the blocks and posts, and installed treated 2"x8" sills between. They also removed the rejected log from the corn field. Seasonal neighbors at HHF were storing an ATV there and encouraged it use--Theron enjoyed daily ATV and tractor rides immensely, except when stung by wasps at a stonepile stop. How many times did Theron watch Grandma's Yellowstone video? Picnics are now special (see photo possibly enclosed).
Keith shifted into high-gear getting ready for school. On Friday, August 25 he left at 1 am and crammed for 12 hours for his Master's oral comprehensive exam in Physics at Notre Dame. He called Terri afterwards, said "I passed", and then it dawned on her why he had left so early! In those 12 hours he had reviewed a box full of textbooks hitting over half the questions asked of him! The Center hired a new director (Dennis), just before the school-year. At AU, the College of Arts and Sciences got their third dean in as many years--that's another one of Keith's three bosses. The 1995-96 Center school-year started with 99 students. The four out-of-sequence freshmen were now sophomores: two taking precalculus (our junior course) and two taking AP calculus (our senior course). Keith only had one out-of-sequence freshman, but at the end of the first 9-weeks, he advanced three more sophomores into precalculus. Thus, in addition to the 91 students in 4 courses, he has eight other students in different aspects of these--usually, he keeps them straight! Keith is enjoying the added efficiency of his office being inside the classroom this year. He now has a telephone, FAX/copier/printer, file cabinet, storage cabinet, etc. Time poorly utilized in previous years (between classes and when few students were present), can now be utilized efficiently. The students also feel the benefit as well--not only is a telephone and (slow) copier handy, but they can get their e-mail without leaving the room.
Theron started weekly swimming lessons. He'd had a brief but negative experience wading at the Anderson reunion, went under, and Keith fished him out. October 1 at CCF, the north barn doors were rehung--sort of. (That was the thirteenth and final trip of the year.) Part of Keith's classroom upgrade included the acquisition of a new computer: 100Mhz pentium, 1.2 Gb disk, 16Mb RAM, with Windows 95 which arrived October 6. Keith explored the Internet just in time for two of his students to win second place in a nation-wide 'web surfing' contest. Since then, he has developed quite a tangle of 'web pages' (included these) and has been encouraging his students to use the World Wide Web in their project presentations. George Plue bought out his sister's half of the house their father built on five acres near Berrien Springs. Much of Keith's computer stuff is stored in a pole barn there. He helped George four afternoons with deferred maintenance, including replacing a 2'x8' soffit, replacing screens over the attic vents and removing exactly four and twenty dessicated blackbirds from the attic. After George returned to AZ, Keith kept on eye on the place regularly, with excitement involving lawyers, trips to the courthouse, the sheriff, etc. Our sales representative at the refinery moved on and the results of the gold-bearing material were not only meager, but also reported suspiciously.... October also started the contest season with a new (for Keith) contest: the Michigan Mathematics Prize Competition. Three students answered correctly just over 20 out of 40, five-answer, multiple-choice questions in 100 minutes and advanced into part II in December. For Halloween, Theron gave us quite a scare with a red and swollen scrotum and 102 temp. After visited the pediatrician, Terri left Jared with Keith in the middle of class to take Theron to a specialist. The urologist decided it must be a viral infection and not double twisted testicles, hence no problem.
The washing machine tried to fill the basement with water, as did the kitchen faucet. We took our 1986 Nova in for brake repair and also asked if the clutch freeplay was a simple adjustment. Last December it was in twice with clutch work and now it just got back from the fourth time this month--the master and slave cylinders seem only to be symptoms of some yet unknown problem. Theron played Joseph at his class Christmas play, said his lines well, and sang right out. During family worships, Jared has started singing, especially gloria in Angels we have heard on high and saying the Lord's Prayer. Jared now spells most every word (often backwards and forwards) and eats any food he can reach. With Thanksgiving and now Christmas vacation, the sunroom is rapidly approaching completion: the third screen door, drywall, priming, painting, underlayment, the ceiling fan/light, cedar-lined closet, and carpeting are all complete. Yet to do in 1996 are: case the window, hang the closet doors, install closet shelves, trim the doors and floor, and then paint the woodwork. Then there's the upstairs bathroom....
We gratefully acknowledge the help of our family and friends in our accomplishments this year. Thank-you for your cards and letters---especially those with genealogical content. Have a happy New Year (what's left of it).
P.S. Fred is working on grafting old varieties of apples to regenerate the orchard at the Calkins Centennial Farm. If you have any memory of what kinds were there that should be preserved, please let us know as soon as possible.