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Archive for the ‘Adventures of North Carolina’ Category

Hello all! We’ve had a very busy last few months, so I apologize for not posting too often. However, lucky for you we have our annual Groundhog Day card and letter for you to read to get you all caught up on our adventures.

GroundhogDay2014Final

Happy Groundhog Day everyone!

It’s that time of year again when giant rodents all over America come out of hibernation and predict the change of seasons for all of us based on the sighting of their own shadow. That also means it’s time for us to reflect on the last twelve months, which have had some ups and downs and big changes in our lives.

Shortly after our last Groundhog Day card, Stacy’s father, Gene Schacherer passed away on February 4. We came home for the funeral and to be with all of our family. There were a lot of sad and happy moments as we reflected on his 69 years of life. There was a very large turnout for the visitation and funeral – a testament to how much of an impact Gene had on everyone who knew him.

In June we celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary. You can see Stacy with her anniversary flower bouquet on our Groundhog Day card. Also in June we went back to Iowa to celebrate Colby’s brother, Matt’s wedding. Matt and his bride, Amber were married in Altoona, Iowa, Amber’s home town. It was a fun wedding, and a great opportunity to see all of our family again. You can see Colby and his brothers all dressed for the wedding in the top-right picture on the card.

In late June Stacy’s mom, Carmen, and Stacy’s brother, LeRoy and his family came to North Carolina to visit us. We showed them around Raleigh and explored NC State’s campus, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and tried out some great Carolina-style barbecue. We then took a day trip to Wilmington, NC to tour the USS North Carolina battleship and hang out on the beach. We also took a trip to Beaufort, NC to see a different part of the coast. The surf was up while we were there, so we didn’t get to go in the water. However we still got to walk the beach for shells, see some dolphins, tour the Maritime Museum, and tour Fort Macon–a Civil War fort that guarded the Beaufort inlet. When it started to rain we toured the North Carolina Aquarium. It was a busy weekend, but everyone had fun.

In August Stacy returned to Iowa for the centennial celebration of her home town of Wallingford, Iowa. She was home for a week and was happy to see all of the Schacherer clan. Colby stayed in Raleigh so he could continue working on his dissertation. He finished it during the fall semester and successfully defended his dissertation on December 18. Everything is now complete for his PhD except for the official commencement ceremony, which will be held in May 2014. His dissertation is entitled “Dynamics of Phosphorus Release from Wetlands Restored on Agricultural Land”. If you have insomnia and would like to read all 232 pages, let Colby know and he’ll email a link to where you can download it.

In December we packed up our apartment in Raleigh and started our move to Seattle, Washington (more on that in a second). Stacy’s mom and Colby’s dad came down to Raleigh and were incredibly helpful in getting us ready for the move. They stayed for almost a week to help box up our stuff and get our apartment in ship shape (so we could get our deposit back). While they were here, Adam and Marissa Howard very kindly hosted a going away party for us. It was a lot of fun, and made for a great send-off from all of our close friends we’ve made in Raleigh over the last five and a half years. We later shipped our stuff to Seattle in a “U-Pack Relocube”. We had to shed a bunch of our larger items (gas grill, couch, bed, etc.), but we got most of the rest of our stuff in the container. We sold Stacy’s car and drove Colby’s loaded-down Ford Fusion back to the Midwest for the holidays. We stopped in Illinois to celebrate Christmas with Colby’s Mom and her husband, Buck. We then moved on to Estherville to celebrate the holidays with the rest of our families. After the New Year we started the second half of our 2,800 mile drive. We stayed on I90 for two and a half days. It was a beautiful drive, and despite a lot of wind the weather was favorable.

On January 6 Colby started his new position as a “postdoctoral researcher” at the University of Washington Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He is still doing soil and root research, but has switched from studying phosphorus to studying methane-a potent greenhouse gas. He has also switched from Carolina bay wetlands to Alaskan bogs and fens. Colby will be headed up to Fairbanks, Alaska for most of the growing season (June-September) to study methane at a “Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) station”. He is working on some laboratory experiments on campus in Seattle in the meantime. The picture of both of us on the center of the card is on UW’s campus near Colby’s new building.

Seattle is beautiful so far. It’s is actually as warm as or warmer than Raleigh in the winter, and isn’t nearly as rainy as everyone says. It is surprisingly hilly though. We haven’t explored the area too much yet, but we’re working on it. Our new mailing address is 6189 Radford Drive, Apt. 1911, Seattle, WA 98115. We’ll keep our current cell phone numbers and email addresses.

We had to leave our foster dog, Forrester with the Triangle Beagle Rescue when we left Raleigh. We had him for almost two years, and he was featured in our Groundhog Day card/letter last year. We’re missing him, but hopefully he finds a permanent home soon. Our beagle, Maisie is doing well. She handled the road trip to Seattle well (with the help of some meds from the vet). She’s adjusted well to Seattle, and is happy that there is a dog park across the street. The park goes all the way down to a beach on Lake Washington, as shown on the card.

In other news, both of Colby’s grandmas are now in the Good Samaritan nursing home in Estherville, IA. They both have Alzheimer’s, but seemed stable and happy while we were home over the holidays. They both have great men taking care of them too, so they’re in good hands.

That’s it for our news since the last Groundhog Day. If you are interested in visiting Seattle, give us a heads-up. We hope you and yours all the best.

Happy Groundhog Day!

Stacy, Colby, and Maisie

That concludes our Groundhog Day 2014 letter. Now that we’re caught up we’ll try to post more frequently with pictures and stories from our adventures in Washington and Alaska. Thanks for stopping by!

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Stacy and I have been getting a lot of miles in on our road bikes this summer. One thing that motivates both of us is having an event down the road for which we know we need to prepare. We have a couple of rides were planning on doing this summer. The first is the Team MSFits Ice Cream Ride on June 15. We’re planning on doing their metric century ride (100 Km, 62.1 mi). They offer a shorter, 30 mile route (just in case it’s a scorcher that day and we don’t want to do the long route). That ride ends with ice cream to look forward to at the end, and it benefits the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

We’re also planning on riding in the Velo4Yellow ride on July 20. We’ll also do their metric century route, though they also offer 30 and 100 mile routes. We did Velo4Yellow last year and it was a great ride with lots of support and rest stops. That ride ends with free beer to look forward to at the end of the ride, and it benefits the Livestrong Foundation.

We’re keeping our eye out for other rides too, particularly in the fall once it cools a bit. We did the New Bern Bike MS two years ago. However they raised the entry/fundraising fee to $300 each, which was just too difficult for Stacy and I to raise and/or pay ourselves, especially since we can’t get sponsored by our employers, she’s in social work, and I’m a grad student (we’re poor). That was a fun ride though. We’d like to do a century ride (100 miles) this year, preferably somewhere in the Coastal Plain where it’s flat.

Stacy had a bit of a crash on her bike last Sunday. Luckily it was just bruises, so it will heal soon enough. It was sort of the fault of both of us. I slowed up while approaching a greenway trail bridge that crosses the Neuse River. She swerved to avoid me, and crashed right into a post that prevents vehicles from driving on the trail and bridge. She did a somersault over the handlebars, but was able to ride home. Hopefully she heals quickly so she can both not hurt, and be able to keep training for our upcoming rides.

Anyway, that’s it for cycling talk now (my lunch break is over). For you cyclists out there, keep the rubber side down.

Cheer!

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We’ve had a pretty nice spring so far here in Raleigh. The temperatures were below average for a long time, but have now risen back to what would be expected for this time of year… and the pollen has followed suit.

Pollen collects in the storm drainage water after a spring rain storm

Pollen collects in the storm drainage water after a spring rain storm

Every spring the numerous loblolly pine trees in the area start to pollenate, and the above picture is the result. A dry day and a slight breeze results in a yellow haze that engulfs the city. In the picture above, several days-worth of pollen were washed away in an overnight rain storm. I washed my car that night, and it was covered in pollen withing only a few hours. It gets pretty gross.

Despite the pollen, we’ve been spending as much time as we can on our bikes trying to get back into “cycling shape”. The Neuse River Trail near our house was under construction for most of 2012. Now we can enjoy it. The trail comes to an end eventually (picture below), but we can ride over 20 miles on an “out-and-back” ride from our driveway on the trail. This is great for us as we get our cycling legs back, since the trail follows the river and is mostly flat and traffic free. Once we’re back in shape we’ll be attacking the hills of the rural, eastern Wake County roads as soon as we can.

Stacy Cycling to the end of the Neuse River Trail

Stacy Cycling to the end of the Neuse River Trail

We’ll probably sign up for some charity rides this summer. We’ll have to look into what rides (and causes) are offered in the area, and we’ll plan and train accordingly.

Colby Cycling on the Neuse River Trail

Colby Cycling on the Neuse River Trail

In other springtime-related news, last weekend we went on a camping trip with the Soil and Water Conservation Society at NCSU, a club that I’ve been very involved with over the last four years. We went camping one night, then got some fishing in the next day. I caught a crappie and a white bass. Frank, my friend that was fishing with me, caught a small, small mouth bass. We also saw a hawk catch a fish right out of the water, several bald eagles, and a small cotton mouth snake while we were fishing. Here’s a picture of the group that camped overnight:

The 2013 SWCS at NCSU camping trip campers (Stacy was there, but was behind the camera).

As you can tell, we had our pooches there, and another student had his great big German Sheppard there too.

It was nice to get some camping in again. The dogs loved it too, although they thought it got a little cold at night.

That’s our news for now. Thanks for stopping by.

 

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Hello all,

Stacy and I sent out our annual Groundhog Day card and letter last week to family and a few friends. Since I’ve been a little too busy with grad school lately, I haven’t really updated this blog as often as I should, despite there being a lot of big news in the last 12 months. I’ll repost our letter here. Consider this our “catching up on blog posts” post.

The 2013 Moorberg family Groundhog Day card.

The 2013 Moorberg family Groundhog Day card.

Happy Groundhog Day everyone!

It’s that time of year again when giant rodents all over America come out of hibernation and predict the change of seasons for all of us based on the sighting of their own shadow. That also means it’s time for us to reflect on the last year. This last twelve months have been pretty busy for us. Stacy is still working at the hospital. She’s also been busy working on a variety of crochet projects, including some afghans that will be auctioned off to benefit the Relay for Life. Some other notable projects include an afghan wedding gift for Colby’s mom and husband (more on that later), and some bearded stocking hat Christmas presents for Colby and his brothers.

Colby has been busy with school and research. As you read this he’ll be just finishing up with his preliminary exams for his PhD, and will be preparing for the oral exam to become a “PhD candidate”. He’s also been homebrewing in his free time, making a bunch of different styles of beer and hard cider. Some notable recipes include the “10YR Amber Ale” (a soil science inside joke), the “Hot Mess Pale Ale” (included 10 roasted Anaheim peppers that were soaked in tequila prior to fermentation), and the “MoBro American Black Ale” which was brewed during “Movember” (more on that later) and  included five ounces of hand-picked hops from the Department of Soil Science’s hop field trial plot.

For Memorial Day weekend, Stacy’s sister, Brenda and her kids, and sister, Corey came to visit us. It was the kids’ first time to the coast so we took them down to Wilmington, NC. There we visited the USS North Carolina (picture on the card). We also checked out the North Carolina Aquarium, and then headed to the beach so they could swim in the ocean for the first time.

In June we took a trip to the North Carolina Zoo for our fourth anniversary. It was a really fun trip, and one of the best zoos we’ve visited. We also did some traveling out of the state for some big events on Colby’s side of the family. In May we flew to Iowa to see Colby’s brother Matt graduate from Iowa State University with his bachelor’s degree in Agronomy. It was nice to have a break and get back to Iowa at the end of the semester to partake in the celebrations. Congrats to Matt!

In September we flew to Wisconsin to participate in Colby’s mom’s wedding. Ruth married her husband, Buck in the end of September in an outdoor ceremony with the foliage at peak colors. It was a pretty wedding, and a great opportunity to see all of the Green family. Congrats to her and Buck!

In November Colby’s grandmother, Dorothy turned 90 years old. It’s quite the achievement! We couldn’t make it back because Colby still had class, but we were celebrating from afar and over the phone. Also in November, Colby’s dad came down to Raleigh to celebrate Thanksgiving with us. All three of us also had a blast that weekend at a NC State football game (two of the pictures on the card).

There isn’t too much news from Stacy’s side of the family, other than everyone is healthy, especially Stacy’s dad who is now three years cancer-free!

Our beagle, Maisie is doing well. She’s had a new buddy for the last twelve months though. Forrester (the tri-color beagle on the card) is our current foster dog with the Triangle Beagle Rescue, and is our sixth foster dog so far. He is a senior foster dog who is around 11 years old. The older foster dogs don’t usually get adopted too quickly, so we’ve had him for a while. If we still have him by the time Colby finishes his PhD, he just might end up becoming a permanent member of the family.

As usual, we’ve done a lot of cycling this year. We took part in just one charity ride though.  We rode in the inaugural Velo4Yellow bike ride in September which raised money for the Livestrong Foundation. Off of the bike, Colby also organized a team in his department for “Movember”, a charity that raises money and awareness for men’s health issues, testicular and prostate cancer in particular. For “Movember”, each of the participants, referred to as “MoBros”, grow mustaches during the month of November. The team of four MoBros raised over $760! Colby also helped out with his Masonic Lodge’s barbecue fundraisers that sell hundreds of plates of Eastern Carolina style barbecue and brought in over $8,000 for the North Carolina Masonic Home for Children, and the Masonic and Eastern Star Home.

As you can tell, it has been a busy year. During all that, Colby has also been feverishly working on his PhD research. He submitted his first paper for peer review last November, but is still waiting to hear any news on that paper. He’s also currently working on finishing up his three PhD experiments, which will be wrapped up by the end of the spring semester. The plan is for Colby to complete the data analysis and writing as soon as possible, successfully defend his dissertation, complete his PhD, publish his current research, and become gainfully employed by the end of 2013. There’s a lot to do between now and then though, as Colby’s PhD adviser would surely tell you.

We hope all of you are doing well, and we’re always happy to get news from home – whether it is over the phone, in a letter, in an email, or on a Google+ hangout. We’d love to hear from you! If you want to keep up with us, Colby posts occasionally on <colbyandstacy.wordpress.com> with big news, or interesting stories and adventures. Colby also has his soil science blog <colbydigssoil.com>, just in case you want to learn about soil science, or Colby’s research.

 Happy Groundhog Day!

Stacy, Colby, and Maisie

So that’s our news from the last 12 months. As it turns out, Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow, so he is predicting an early spring. However Sir Walter Wally, the groundhog from the North Carolina Natural Science Museum, did see his shadow, so apparently North Carolina is still a ways away from spring weather. Also, Foursquare offered a Groundhog Day badge.

Happy Groundhog day everyone!

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Bugs have been part of daily life for me lately. I’ve been spending a lot of time in the field lately, and it’s also the peak of mosquito season right now, so there’s that. Ticks have also been numerous at my research site this year.

However, not all bugs are bad. This summer I attempted to grow some tomatoes. They were a heirloom variety, and didn’t do very well. They finally put on a bunch of tomatoes in late July, but they never ripened. I just let them be, then these little guys chowing down on them the other day:

Antherea polyphemus caterpillar

Antherea polyphemus caterpillar

They are Antherea polyphemus caterpillars that will eventually turn in to one of these beautiful creatures:

Antheraea polyphemus moth. Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons

As I do my field work at my wetland research site, I stir up a lot of bugs as I go through the grass and trees with my ATV. I see a ton of spiders. I even have to set up a branch on the front of the ATV to sweep the spider webs off of the trail before I collect them with my face. One spider web in the wetland is distinctive though. The garden spider, , is a beautiful spider that has a vertical zig zag on the bottom half of it’s web. Here’s the one I saw:

Argiope aurantia 

That’s it for now. I just wanted to share some cool photos I caught with my phone lately.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

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With Le Tour de France officially underway this weekend, it’s only fitting that I put up a cycling-related post today. Maximum temperature records are being broken up and down the east coast this weekend with a huge heat wave. It’s been around 105 degrees F for the last two days here in Raleigh, and it will likely reach those temperatures again today. Stacy and I usually get a ride or two in on the weekends. We didn’t want the heat to get in our way so we set out early yesterday and today around 6:30 AM.

Yesterday we went out on a greenway trail that goes through Raleigh. It was about a 27 mile round trip. The night before the heat caused a huge wind storm that swept through town around midnight. There were lots of broken branches. The greenway trail was covered with debris that made the trip a little more difficult than expected. We also had other obstacles that were construction related.

Summertime is for bike path construction work too!

The above picture is an excavator that was parked on the trail. A crew has been working on sewer lines for a while along that trail, and this must have been part of that project. My dad works with these machines on a daily basis with his work. He is also a cyclist so I had to post that pic on his Facebook page and complain about the “darn construction workers”. Parts of the trail were very quiet, and other parts were busy with cyclists, runners, and walkers trying to get their workouts in before the temperature rose.

Today we went out early again. There is a trail behind our community that goes along the Neuse River. It is in the process of being paved, but there is just enough pavement that we can walk down to the paved part, and follow it all of the way to a new pedestrian bridge that crosses the river, and ride on into the Wake County countryside.

When we first went onto the trail, the first sign of life we saw was a man (who I presume was homeless) “popping a squat” on the side of the trail. It was very awkward so we just rode on at a faster pace. That was a weird way to start a ride. We continued onto the country roads and found this gem of a homemade slip-n-slide.

Homemade Slip-n-slide along our cycling route this morning

It is a kids playhouse with which they added some tarps and plastic to the slide, and dug out a “channel” into their front yard to make for one huge slip-n-slide. That family definitely found a fun way to beat the heat. You can’t have fun like that when you live in an HOA neighborhood.

The rest of this morning’s ride went well. It was a shorter ride, about 22 miles. It was still a good ride nonetheless.

We’re training up for a couple charity rides we’re participating in this month. On July 14 we will be riding in the Velo4Yellow ride, which is a benefit ride put on by a local cycling club to benefit the Livestrong Foundation. They have 30, 60, and 100 mile options. It’s a hilly course in the countryside north of Raleigh, so we’re opting for the 60 mile route.

On July 28 we will be riding in the Cup-n-Cone Tour in the Cary, NC area. It is a 67 mile ride with lots of good food and good ice cream. That ride benefits the MS Society.

I think July is a good month for Cycling around the world, from North Carolina with rides like the ones I mentioned, to Iowa with RAGBRAI, to France with Le Tour.

We’ve been busy lately, but we’ve had several big events that need to be blogged about. Look for those later today as I stay indoors with the AC during this heat wave.

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Stacy, Maisie, our foster dog Forrester, and I went to the Triangle Beagle Rescue’s Beaglefest 2012 today. Beaglefest is TBR’s annual fundraiser event that they usually hold at the Sunny Acre’s Pet Resort in Durham, NC. They have a series of pens that allow dogs to go off-leash like they would at a dog park.

Some people and beagles waiting to enter the off-leash pens

Some of they things TBR offers at this event include a $5 lunch (hot dogs, chips, and soda), a bake sale with both human and dog treats, activities with suggested donations, a silent auction, a beagle-related goods sale, and a bunch of contests.

Stacy teasing Maisie through the fence with her hot dog and chips

We brought some of our homebrew spent grain dog treats for the bake sale. We made these last weekend when I brewed two batches of homebrew. I helped grill the hot dogs. We also bought some homemade dog treat cookie cutters from the beagle-goods table. We’ll probably use these for the next time we make spent grain dog biscuits for the dog bake sale instead of just cutting them into squares. We also bid on some items at the silent auction, but we don’t know if we won on any bids though.

A bunch of beagles gathered at the gate to the off-leash pen

They had a bunch of contests for all of the dogs again this year. The contests included best howl, longest ears, softest ears, best kisser, best trick, biggest non-beagle, smallest non-beagle, and a few others. Maisie got 2nd place in the best trick contest. She wasn’t quite into her game like she usually is, but did good on her “Snoopy” trick where she walks and spins on two legs. The last time we attended Beaglefest Maisie won the best trick contest and got a bag full of goodies.

This is one of the off-leash pens with the silent auction under the big green shelter

There were a lot of dogs and people this year. I think the TBR folks pushed pretty hard to publicize the event this year and it really showed in attendance. Hopefully they’ll make a lot of money to take care of all of the hospital bills and other related expenses that they incur with rescuing so many beagles and other dogs each year.

Our foster dog Forrester had fun, but was really nervous about being around so many dogs. He’s a little introverted I think. He was very well behaved though. Both him and Maisie are sleeping pretty hard on the couch and floor next to me while a write this. We must have wore them out today at the Beaglefest.

Forrester hung pretty close to Stacy and I

We did manage to get a good shot of Forrester though while he was posing for the camera

These events are always a lot of fun. It’s amazing to see so many beagles of so many shapes, sizes, and colors. There aren’t many “lemon beagles” like Maisie is, but it was kind of funny to see other lemon beagle owners come up to us and strike up a conversation about it.

For pictures of past events, check out the event web page, and our previous post from Beaglefest 2010.

Picasa album of Beaglefest 2012

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Edit: The News and Observer recently featured a series of photos from Beaglefest. Here’s the link: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/04/28/2031489/first-look-beaglefest-042812.html. I like picture #2 the best. Our homebrew spent grain dog treats made the shot in picture #10 (ziplock bags, right above the dog treats sign).

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