I'll Never Be More Proud

A man walks on this earth
For not so very long
And he wonder what
He'll be remembered by
When he is gone.
So he struggles through the years
Down a road he paves
With hopes and fears
Trying to carve his name
upon the wall of time

And so it is, my son
That I stand here now
Looking over the years
Of all the sweat and tears
That crossed my brow
All the battle plans I drew
And all the mountains
That I tried to move
Lay behind me now
Like miles of sifting sand.

But of all the things I've done
I'll never be more proud
Than of you, my son
And of all the dreams I've had
It meant more just to hear
You call me Dad
More than any wealth or fame
Or any glory I wish I could claim
More than anything I'll ever do
Son, I'll always be most proud
Of You.

Project: Underwater Camera Rig

Ever wonder what lies beneath the deep blue sea?

My dad has always been a big fisherman and he did a great job passing the love of fishing down to me and my kids.  Stream fishing, fishing out of boat, and ice fishing -- we love it all.  We even have a small pond in our backyard full of tiny little fish, turtles, and frogs that we love to watch and play with.

But I've always been curious to know just what happens deep below the surface of the waters.  Are there few fish...?  Or many...  Are they taking my bait...?  Or are they playing with me... What else is lurking down below?

So we put together a little underwater camera rig equipped with a GoPro Hero 3+ and underwater case and setoff to find out...

I've dropped this rig in both salt and fresh water and have seen trout, perch, crab, halibut, shrimp and more.  It's been a super fun thing to bring along to any fishing and camping adventure.

Project: Custom Settlers of Catan Board

Settlers of Catan is a game in which players assume the roles of settlers, each attempting to build and develop settlements and cities while trading and acquiring resources.  Players gain points as their settlements grow and the first player to reach ten points wins.  There are a number of expansion packs available for the game as well.

For a period of time, this was a very popular game within the family.  However, setting up the board was cumbersome (as was clean-up).  So I decided to build a custom Settlers of Catan board (actually, I built two) using wood, an Adafruit Feather board, and NeoPixel LED lights to ease the setup.  Upon powering the board, the layout of the various resource tiles (rock, wood, sheep, brick, and wheat) is randomized.

I started by build the basic wooden board.  I did this by cutting several 1x3 boards into eight different pieces measuring 24" in length.  Using Elmer's Wooden Glue, I glued each of the boards together.  Once dried, I sanded the boar…

Project: Build a Box Fort

As a young boy, I had a wild imagination.  On any given day, you could find me rummaging around through my Dad's toolbox searching for the parts to make a robot, or perhaps climbing high up in the trees and pretending I was in Never, Never Land, or squatting on the edge of the roof of my house with my Batman hood on, waiting for evil to rear its ugly head.
But by far, my most favorite afternoon's were spent inside deep within a blanket fort my Mom would make for me out of comforters, clothes pins, and the kitchen table chairs.  Buried deep within the recesses of my fort, I would wait with my arsenal of Nerf guns for the first person to dare encroach upon my sacred territory -- often this was a brother or a sister.  
Forts come in all shapes and sizes: blanket forts, tree houses, under-the-bed hideouts, garage garrisons, sandbox pits.  A quick and easy fort for a lazy afternoon is the box fort... all you need is a solid set of boxes and lots of imagination.
Time: 10 minutes or…

Project: Build a Catapult

Warning: A catapult is a weapon and should be handled carefully to avoid injury.
A catapult is a device used to throw or hurl a projectile a great distance without the use of explosives.  It's meaning, derived from Greek, means "Shield piercer."  So, my son and I set out to build one of our own shield piercers, albeit a much smaller version.  Our goal: to be able to chuck flaming marshmellows (warning: chucking flaming marshmellows is dangerous and should not be done -- ever).  We got ideas for a design from various websites and books, including Backyard Ballistics by William Gurstelle.  In the end, we ended up building several different versions.  Read below for a short description of the tools, materials, and instructions needed to build a small version of a onager catapult; I've included a little video of a larger catapult that we built to use as a pitching machine. Tools: Cordless drill Miter box and wood saw Tape measure Various drill bits Crescent wrench Materials: