To-may-to, To-mah-to

However you say it, I love tomatoes! And my people do to, which is why I grow them some in my garden! Last year, I didn’t get the tomatoes planted until June, and I had to hurry and pick them all green because the autumn frosts came! This was only a fourth of them…this bear had tomatoes coming out his furry little ears!

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This year, the last snow has finally passed and I am about to plant my tomatoes outside! I have the baby plants inside right now, and I’ve been watering them and keeping them in our sunniest window!

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Besides the little plants to go out in my garden, I am keeping a Cherry Tomato plant inside this summer! I just noticed today that the first little cherries are growing! I can’t wait to pick them off and eat them. It’s just kind of sad they are only one bite…I might need more plants!

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Wandering Around The Bear Cave

Hello from The Bear Cave!

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That is my home, here in the Kansas countryside, and is so named because my boy’s nickname is Bear. All of his friends have given their homes crazy names so it’s something of a tradition apparently, although I prefer to think it’s because we run a teddy bear refuge here! Anyway, this evening, before the storm rolled in, I took a few minutes to stroll around the grounds and look over all my plants and things!

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First, I looked at the weather station…it was spinning like crazy! Then I took a peek at my garden. Now that the last snow is finished, it’s time to plant all my food!

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Next, I checked our well…living in the country, we don’t get to use the city water. (That’s not really the well, it is just a cute statue that covers the pumps and mechanical things!) (Which is a good thing, since we don’t have a bucket for it!!) I also noticed that our Bird Feeder was empty! We put sunflower seeds in it, but the wind just blows them out. By the end of summer, there will be big sunflowers growing all around the base of the feeder!

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I took a look at our little Peach Tree, too! It is covered in blossoms, and hopefully will produce some yummy peaches this year! My Irises are coming up nicely, too, they are planted at the end of our house!

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And finally, I helped Paul mow the front lawn before the storm came in! Just another day at The Bear Cave, and I can hear thunder outside right now!

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It’s A Jungle In There!

Hello again! Time for another blog post, and today it’s going to be about the animals I met while visiting my Gran in California! She likes giraffes…a lot! And had lions, and tigers, and I was the bear…oh, my! They were all very nice and friendly, and kept me company while my girl and Gran were cleaning the garage in preparation for their yard sale. There isn’t much to say, so I will just share all the pictures…oh yeah! Gran made me a wonderful hat and vest out of some faux-snakeskin, and I pretended I was Crocodile Dundee!

This giraffe was always looking over my shoulder...

This giraffe was always looking over my shoulder…

It was a long way from the couch to the fridge...but I took Giraffe-Taxi!

It was a long way from the couch to the fridge…but I took Giraffe-Taxi!

Traffic was crazy though, and we had a fender-bender...

Traffic was crazy though, and we had a fender-bender…

...nothing a hug didn't fix, though!

…nothing a hug didn’t fix, though!

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Camping…Part 2

Where were we? Oh yes, we were camping at the lake this past Easter weekend! This was just a short three day trip, so we didn’t get to do a lot of outdoorsy, wildlife stuff, unfortunately. After settling Friday, we went to the nearby town and had the most amazing pizza! Wheat State Pizza in Lawrence, KS is a must if you are ever that way! They make a delicious wheat crust, and they also do gluten-free crusts if that’s an issue for you. My boy, Paul was extremely excited about getting back there for lunch! And we had to send pictures to all our far away friends to make them jealous!

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After lunch (yummy taco pizza), we headed to Target to get some groceries. I got to ride in the cart, but still climbed out to play around! I was a pirate, then did some hard work, then found the perfect bike…but my girl said we couldn’t get it. Boo!!

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After our fun shopping trip, it was back to the camper where we made steaks for dinner, and sat around the campfire relaxing. Once it was dark, we watched some Dr. Who inside on the little TV, then called it a night…because we had a very busy Saturday coming up!!!

Saturday morning, we woke up early and made a big breakfast of bacon, eggs, English muffins, and orange juice!  Then, it was back to Gram and Grampa’s town for a Kite Fly! My guy designs and sews kites, his kites are with people all over the world! So he and his family fly them quite often, sometimes at other peoples events. They also make and put up banners, the tall, pretty flags that you’ll see in the background of my pictures! I even have my own kite (store bought, though) with a teddy bear on it! It was very windy Saturday, so I didn’t get to fly for very long.

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After flying our kites all afternoon, we went back to Gram and Grampa’s house and helped move some furniture and other stuff, then we had barbecue for dinner. My girl was so busy she forgot to take any pictures, though. By then, it was dark and time to head back to the lake and camper.  We watched some more Dr. Who (yay, Netflix) and then it was sleepy time again!

Sunday morning, after another yummy breakfast, it was time to pack up and return the camper to Gram and Grampa. It was pretty simple, undo the water and power and put everything back away. After dropping the RV off, we got back in out little blue car and headed for home. It was Easter Sunday, and I had chocolate waiting at home! Until the next adventure!

Camping…Part 1

This past Easter weekend, my people and I went camping! We usually go camping in a tent, but this time we borrowed my boy’s parent’s RV and took it to a lake a few hours away from home. It was nice to have, because it was kind of chilly and a tent wouldn’t have been much shelter! We left home Thursday night (my people get Good Friday off work) and drove the two hours to my (other) Gram and Grampa’s house. There, I played with all my bear cousins and we stayed the night in the guest room.

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Friday morning was warm and sunny, and we loaded up all our stuff and headed to the lake! We had to hook up the truck to the RV, make sure all the lights were working, and then drive another 30 minutes to the lake!

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Once we got to the lake,we stopped at the office and paid for our permit!

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It was time to set up. There were wheels to chock (that’s putting blocks around them so the won’t roll…like an airplane, remember?!), water to hook up, power to plug in, and the little slide-out room to set up!

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After the RV was stable and all powered up, I climbed on top and put up the TV Antenna (although we didn’t pick up many channels), then climbed back down to get the fire pit ready. We brought firewood with us, and steaks to grill for dinner!

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Finally! It was time to sit back and relax! The lake was right behind our campsite, and even when it got chilly outside, I could sit in my little window and watch it!

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More…All About the Airport!

My previous post told you all about what goes on outside the airport…you know, when we’re looking for the restroom or paying way too much money for crummy food! But this post is all about the inside of the airport! Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, to be precise! It’s known as DFW (remember, 3-letter airport codes!), and while that happens to be its initials, it is not always like that…most Canadian airports start with a Y (Vancouver-YVR) and Chicago O’Hare is ORD (that goes back to Orchard Field…the original airport long, long ago)! But, I digress…this blog is all about my adventures exploring INSIDE the airport during a long wait for my next flight.

I was headed to California with my girl, to see Gran, and we had a 3 hour layover inside the Dallas airport. We walked all over the place! There was a lot of artwork and modern design, and a lot of nice people that asked me what the heck we were doing! First things first, I had to find out where we were going next! These two informative volunteers were quite helpful, and I even found a vested volunteer who was nice enough to share a picture! And then it was dinner time…we walked all over looking for something decent, only to decide on a snack (a giant snack!) and a soda.

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Once the necessities were out of the way, it was time to explore! We found several enormous mosaic tile medallions on the floor of the air terminal! My girl didn’t want to get too far away, lest someone bear-nap me, so the pictures are only of parts of the artwork. There were floral themes, birds and wildlife, and celestial star ones!

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After plopping me down on the floor every 50 feet for an hour, my girl and I found this wonderful big, old bear doing a very important job…guarding the Chocolate Store! Very important work, indeed! I offered to relieve him for a break, but he said no. I even found him a car to drive (guarding chocolate is hard work, after all!), but he still declined. A good, honest Guard, that one!

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With an hour and a half to waste still, we continued our art walk, coming across this giant metallic, stalactite-ish thing right in the middle of the floor! I tried to pose for scale, but it was enormous! You could walk through the inside of it, although I preferred to climb on the outside!

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Our flight was leaving from the same terminal building as we arrived, but if your flight was farther away, there was a little train to take you between buildings. We went upstairs to look at it, although we didn’t ride it around.  There were super long escalators to get up there, and we rode up and down them a few times…my girl loves escalators! These were super tall, the pictures don’t do them justice…I almost got dizzy!

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After all that walking, we were getting tired and found a nice cushy seat to sit in while we waited to board our flight. Oh yeah, we ate some animal crackers too!

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That’s our flight behind me. From Dallas, Texas to Los Angeles, California was a three hour flight, and it was boring! We were tired but it was too cramped to sleep, so we just listened to our headphones and waited.  But it was worth it, because once we got back to Gran’s house, there was a wild safari waiting for us…but that’s a whole ‘nother blog!

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All About Airports!

Hello, ebearyone! I know it’s been furever since I wrote on my blog, and that’s because I have been busy! Busy traveling all over, seeing all sorts of sights and now I’m ready to share them with you! At the beginning of March, my girl person and I flew out to California to visit her mom (my Gran)! We stayed for three weeks and had lots of fun! I met up with some fellow TeddyBearScouts, went on a Safari in Gran’s house, and flew on lots of big airplanes! That was the best part, and since my girl used to work at an airport, she told me all about how things work! Now, I’m going to tell you all about airports, too!

Many of us are familiar with flying…there are tickets, boarding passes, cramped seats, bad food, and all sorts of racing around between flights. But! There is a whole world of activity beneath the airport! There are conveyor belts, funny looking little cars, glow sticks, and lots of noise!  I’ll start at the beginning…

When the airplane lands on the runway, it taxi’s…drives around the side roads, so to speak, until there is a parking place ready for it at the building.

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When it is ready to park, a person marshall’s it in…using glowing sticks and hand signals to show the pilot where to park! Once the plane is parked, the wheels are chocked…these little blocks go around the wheels so they can’t roll anywhere.

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The Ground Workers, called Rampers (the Ramp is another name for the big parking lot area the planes are sitting on) plug the airplane into various power outlets for fresh air inside the plane and to keep the computers running (since the plane’s engines are turned off).

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Once the airplane is parked, and plugged into backup power, it’s time to unload the people and the luggage! The Jetway (A35 here) (the long tunnel that goes up to the side of the plane) is positioned by the Gate Attendant…that’s the inside worker that takes your tickets at the counter. After the jetway is in place, the passengers (also called Pax, for short) can walk off the plane and into the building…that’s known as de-planing. They will go inside, and either get their luggage and leave, or find their next flight and start all over!

As for removing luggage, the Rampers have a special little car called a Belt-Loader that they pull up to the airplane’s cargo area and put the suitcases on to lower them to the ground. Once the bags are off, Tugs (the tractor-like cars running all over) with Baggage Carts (the big carts with curtains, that kinda look like old circus wagons) come around and pick up the luggage. All the bags have sticky tags on them with codes telling where they are supposed to go. (All airports have a designated code (3 letters) and the Rampers look at those codes on tickets and luggage and they immediately know where people and things are supposed to go!)  So, the Tugs put the luggage on the Baggage Carts and either deliver them into the airport for delivery to passengers, or deliver them to another plane to go with the passenger to their final destination.

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After the people and the luggage leave the airplane, it is time to get it ready to fly away again.  The Rampers do a quick walk through and make sure the plane is clean, has enough supplies (soda, tissue, food, etc.), they clean out the restrooms (through a little door underneath the plane, using a long vacuum hose) (sorry, no pics of that part), and then begin loading the luggage that is arriving from other planes via Tugs. The Belt Loader stays at the plane the entire time, and the new bags are put on the conveyor and sent up to the side of the plane, where a Ramper is waiting to stack them neatly inside the cargo hold (kinda like the trunk/boot of the airplane). Luggage stacking is very important, because during takeoff and landing, the luggage can shift all around…that is a bad thing because balance is VERY important to the plane flying safely! Once all the bags are loaded, the new passengers are allowed down the jetway and onto the airplane for departure.

Airplanes do not have a reverse gear or anything, so they must be pushed backwards and turned around so they are ready to pull away towards the runway. This is called Push (or pushing) the plane, and is done by extra-large Tugs! The Rampers hook up a special pole (a Push Bar)between the airplane and the Tug, and using hand signals between the Tug driver and the Pilot, the airplane is pushed back, away from the building and turned to face the proper direction.  Along with the pilot and Tug driver, there are Rampers Wing-Walking…that is a person on each side of the airplane, walking along the wings and looking out for anything that might hit the plane as it backs up. This is especially important since there are no rear-view mirrors and the planes are so large that the Tug drivers cannot see what’s behind the plane. They could accidentally push the plane back into another plane, or over a passing tug/baggage cart, or something.

20140402_152740After the Tug has pushed the airplane back and turned it so it’s facing the right direction and can pull forward on its own, it is time to disconnect. The tug driver and the pilot use hand signals to set the park brake, and remove the Push Bar, and such. A Ramper will stay out there in front of the plane, until the tug is clear of the roadway, and only then will the Ramper signal the pilot that he is safe and clear to drive off. The plane will then Taxi back to the runway and wait for the Tower to clear it for takeoff.

So! There is A LOT going on while you are inside the airport building, walking around and shopping and looking for the restroom! My girl worked at the airport in Phoenix, Arizona as a Ramper, before moving inside and doing other jobs. It was very hot, very loud, and very strenuous…but she loved it.  Personally, I just want to get my ticket, find a seat belt that’s not too tight, and enjoy the flight!

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