Devils Tower

When we were in North Dakota, we heard that our friends the Perry’s ( were going to be in Devils Tower, Wyoming. Since they were only three hours away, we decided to make the trip and meet them for the weekend. It was great. We went on the walk around the Tower, tubed in the river, watched Close Encounters of the Third Kind (which was filmed there) during a lightning storm, and had endless Nerf wars.

The KOA down the road from the national monument shows Close Encounters of the Third Kind every night on an outdoor TV screen. It’s a movie by Steven Spielberg about a guy who sees aliens and everyone thinks he’s crazy. He follows the clues the aliens gave him and ends up watching them land by Devils Tower. Marcus and I went with our dads to see it at about 8:00 pm. About halfway through, when the aliens start to land near the tower, a huge lightning storm broke out and everyone but us left. The lightning was so bright it looked like daylight and the alien spaceships were glowing as they landed. We were drenched, but we kept watching until a grumpy guy who worked there came and unplugged the TV and we had to leave. Driving back, we saw climbers halfway up the Tower dangling on their ropes in the storm.


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The hike around Devils Tower
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The Bellefourche river.

We found a way to go from the RV park we were staying at to the Belle Fourche river which was warm and shallow, perfect for tubing! We spent two days going up and down the river and building sand castles or having mud fights. We also got REALLY sunburned (my skin is still peeling a little), but it was so refreshing to tube down the river that the sunburn is totally worth it.

Traveling Turtle Tuesday: Harry Potter

I’ve  been kind of obsessed with Harry Potter lately, thanks to my friend Cali. Since I happen to have all the books laying around here, Shelldon picked up the first one he saw and started reading. Unfortunately, that was the seventh and last book in the series. So much for not spoiling it all. Oh well, he’s liking this one a lot and plans to go back and read them all from The Sorcerer’s Stone.


Interview with Rachel Arnow

Hi everyone!! Sorry we didn’t post last week, but we were in Yellowstone and there wasn’t any WiFi. This week I want to tell you about a cool interview I did awhile ago. As you probably know, I love manatees, so when I found out about Man versus Manatee I was ecstatic.  They are adorable comics about manatees, and they’re totally relatable. So I did an interview with Rachel Arnow, a recent college graduate and great artist, who puts up a new strip every Monday. I decided to post this interview now because we just saw Cali Perry (more on that next Monday), and she loves manatees, too, so it reminded me.


These comics are super fun to binge-read, or to read every Monday to help you ease into work (I always read the new one before I do blog work).
Rachel lives in Wisconsin, and she’s never seen a manatee (other than in videos)! So how did this comic come about? Here’s my interview:


Me: Why did you start to make Man versus Manatee?
Rachel: The origin of Man versus Manatee is a spontaneous one.  I did not always know what a manatee was, so after my friend Stephen described it to me only a few years ago, he helped me out by finding a good video for me.

The video is a young manatee nibbling a diver’s hand, and the level of adorable is almost too much to handle.  My thought after watching the video all the way through was, “This would make a great comic!”  So I made a three-panel comic that I named “Man versus Manatee.”  In effect, “Man versus Manatee” was just the name of that one comic.  But after showing it to my family and a few friends, I began to come up with new ideas out of the blue and couldn’t help drawing them out.  After four or five of them, my friends said, “You need to talk to Erty.”

Erty Seidohl is a sweet person who loves to help other people and has experience making his own webcomics.  So the general consensus was that Erty and I should get together to make Man versus Manatee into its own online comic series.  He is the proud webmaster of my comic, and to this day he handles anything outside of my realm of technical understanding and is my go-to person for any novel ideas that I have for Man versus Manatee.



Me: Have you always liked to draw?
Rachel: I am currently a studio art major and psychology minor at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.  I have experience in silversmithing, ceramics, drawing and painting, and although I may not delve into process as much as many artists, I wholeheartedly enjoy the fulfillment of completing a body of work.  Man versus Manatee is a very odd and informal artistic endeavor for me, but it is also a welcome change of pace.


Me: What inspires your weekly comic?
Rachel: Each week, when pressed to come up with Monday’s comic idea, I am inspired by my interests in psychology, physics, art and biology, or some strange, random thing that a friend of mine does or reminds me of.  My friends’ personalities inevitably find their way into my weekly manatee world.


Me: Is there anything else you want to say?
Rachel: I think it’s important for people to know that I began Man versus Manatee after being inspired by only one encounter with the manatee, and that I continue to make the comic because the positive, humanlike attitude of the creature has the power to make people happier.  When I share my comic, I’m not sharing my art—I’m sharing the manatee.


P.S. The featured image (the one above the post) is Rachel’s first-ever Man vs Manatee comic!

The Farm: Part 2

As you know, we already posted once about our friends, the Rager’s farm, but that was about the work, and not so much the play; I’m here to talk about the play. If we weren’t joyriding the golf cart or having flip contests on the trampoline, it was probably because we went out water skiing a few times. I got up on my first try and Lil learned pretty quick too! It was great! We skied all day and got some great pictures out of it!

Another fun thing we did was meet up with our friends, the Manns, who we met in Florida a couple years ago. We saw them for two days and threw a surprise high school graduation party for their daughter Marissa, who works as a housekeeper for the Ragers. Thanks again to the Ragers for letting us park in your yard and teaching us how to ski!