Friday, 30 September 2011

It's the great pumpkin Charlie Brown

My grandparents are taking my sister and me to the Smoky Lake Pumpkin Festival this weekend. It’s going to be great!

Grandpa says there’s a petting zoo, face painting, crafts – even a mini midway. I bet we’ll get to gobble up some scrumptious pumpkin pie. (Not quite as good as Grandma’s, though.) Farmers and gardeners from across the province have been gathering in Smoky Lake for the past 23 years, competing for the title of Biggest Pumpkin.

Last year, the heaviest pumpkin was grown by a man named John Lobay. It weighed in at a whopping 1199.2 pounds (543.9 kg) – can you imagine the jack-o-lantern you could carve out of that? Mom and me always toast the seeds from our pumpkins and sprinkle them with seasoning salt. Best. Snack. Ever. The seeds from that pumpkin could have fed us for a week.

Grandma doesn’t think anyone will top that record this year, though. With all the rain over the summer, she says pumpkins will likely be smaller and softer - like the ones in her patch. I guess we'll know who was able to grow the biggest pumpkin when they way the entries this Saturday.

Oh! And in the afternoon, there’s going to be an auction.

But best of all? I’m excited to see Kevin and Gwen again, the owners of the Jet Engine Funny Car that runs on 100% canola biodiesel. They won’t be racing, but the car will be a part of the antique car show. If you’ve never seen it up close, this is the perfect chance.

The festival takes place at the Agricultural Complex grounds all day Saturday, October 1. Hope to see you there!

Gotta jet!

- Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 23 September 2011

What would you do for 10,000 hours?

Ten thousand hours is a long time, right? It's more than 400 FULL days in a row, if you do the math. And I did!

But apparently, that's the magic number if you want to be successful at...well, whatever it is you're doing. Like playing the piano, learning to swim, or even running. 

My mom is reading this book called the Outliers, and the author claims that it isn't just "practice" that is the difference between success and, uh, not success. It's the AMOUNT of practice. Like, I can't play on Facebook or my Twitter for a few hours a week and expect to be the next Bill Gates.

But 10,000 hours? Yikes!

Right now I'm running *about* four hours a week. At that rate, it will take 2,500 weeks before I'll be recognized by anyone but my Grandpa. And maybe my friend Sophie, but that's just because she's the yearbook editor. <grin>

Hmmm. Looks like I need to create a spreadsheet and start tracking my practice time...and then get out there and start running!

Speaking of that...gotta jet.

- Chase Superman Duffy

Hey! What are you practicing for? What would you do for 10,000 hours?

Friday, 16 September 2011

Feastival is coming!

My Dad bought our family tickets to FEASTIVAL! Well, everyone except me and my sister – we're too young. I can hardly wait until I’m old enough to go.

What’s the big deal? The annual FEASTIVAL of FINE CHEFS is like a giant smorgasbord of delicious local food cooked by some of the best chefs in Edmonton.
My grandparents love to attend, but this will be Feastival’s 23rd year and Grandpa says he’s only been a handful of times. It’s harvesting season, and if the weather is nice, he’ll be out in the field, or helping someone else with their crops. That's most important.

Grandma almost always goes to Feastival, though – usually with her best friend. She loves learning about new ways to cook. And Grandpa says she meets a bunch of new friends because she loves to talk. <grin>

When I’m old enough, Grandpa’s going to show me the ropes – like how to save some room for the amazing desserts. That’s his favourite part. This year, there’s going to be an oil tasting. Grandma is really excited about it, but I don’t get the big deal. Grandma uses canola oil in her cooking, but I wouldn’t drink the stuff, that’s for sure.

This will be my parents’ first Feastival. Mom is looking forward to a night out. Hmmm….I wonder what Dad is really excited about? Probably the desserts, like Grandpa!

Ok, gotta jet. Have a great weekend!

- Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 9 September 2011

Start ahead, stay ahead

Coach Taylor always says, “If you start ahead, you almost always stay ahead…As long as you stick to your goals.”

I always thought he was talking about running, but my Dad says it’s the same in life. Which I guess is why my parents are always talking to me about setting goals.

I thought I set some good school goals for this year, like handing in my assignments on time. My Mom says that’s a great start, but it’s important for me to think about non-school related targets, too.

Like my health. Mom says I eat too much junk food, which isn’t the best fuel for my body. I’ve spent enough time with Grandma to know what makes a snack nutritious, and Mom packs me a healthy lunch, but I don’t always make the best choices when I’m standing at a candy bar with my friends. (I have a weakness for all things chocolate.)

So, that’s my health goal – to make healthier selections.

Not ALL the time. Coach Taylor says goals have to be achievable and believable. Like, I’m not really going to run as fast as Superman one day. Duh! A more realistic goal might be to beat my personal “best time.” I can run around Grandpa’s canola field in 10 minutes flat. Next summer I’ll aim for 9 minutes, or even 8.

So what are some of your non-school related goals? And, er, what’s your favourite chocolate bar? (Just asking!)

Gotta jet.

- Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 2 September 2011

Are you labouring this Monday?

Monday is Labour Day, which means the school is closed. Dad doesn’t work either. But Mom is a nurse at a medical clinic and she’s working the morning shift. That’s crazy!

My teacher says even though it’s a statutory holiday and most workers are entitled to a day off with pay, many companies choose to stay open – like restaurants, mall stores, and tourist attractions.

Grandpa will be laboring for sure this weekend. It’s harvest time and unless there’s rain – or too much morning dew – he’ll be in the canola field. Which is where I’ll be. It’s tradition for me to help out around the farm.

If the crop is too wet, Grandpa and I will fix any broken machinery. And usually, Grandma and my sister are in the kitchen drying fresh herbs, making flavoured oils and freezing corn on the cob. I’d help, but Grandma says I eat more than I save. (You should see me in a pea patch!)

How about you? Do you and your family have plans for the Labour Day long weekend?

Gotta jet.

- Chase Superman Duffy