Friday, January 26, 2007

Bean a box real soon

Time is running out on the Now You See It, Now You Don't contents. For me, that means I need to finish the prize (a hand-made box) by Feb. 3. For you, it means get out there and find our quarry. It is supposed to be a nice weekend.

Fox-fyr has a great idea for voting that I'd like to use:

"Since there are so many entries, I'd hate to have to vote for just one. I would like to vote for several. Also, unlike other contests we've had in which we can all see whatwe're voting on, not everyone has found all the contest entries. I propose a voting method that addresses both of these issues: For each box, assign a paper cup or other contaiiner labeled with the box name, and give people beans to put beans in the cups for which they'd like to vote. The number of beans would vary based on the number of boxes each person found. 1 box = 2 beans 2 boxes = 4 beans 3 boxes = 6 beans Mre than 3 boxes = 6 beans plus one for every box in the contest they've found. People could put any number of their beans in anyone's cup. They could put all in one cup or divide them among several cups. That way, the voting is more weighted, andi it helps spread out the votes. I hate it when some really nice boxes boxes get no or very few votes because we are restricted to choosing only one. The kids could count the beans and anounce the winners.
And -- being the nice person she is -- Fox-fyr even included a list of the entries:

Frog in a Box by C2B2
Oracle by TouchTrek
Promenade by Touch Trek
Ode to Charlotte by Ahistory
Wagon Wheel by Ahistory
Gemini by Ahistory
Nancy Drew by Mama Roots
Use Your Noodle by MamaRoots
Home Twet Home by Fox-fyr
Sun, Sea and Sky by Fox-fyr
Mud & Strings & Artful Things by Jenny J

Have a fun weekend!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Letterboxing 101: Lost in the Woods

Last fall at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park in Columbia I taught a beginner's map and compass class called Lost in the Woods. I am willing to offer it again for letterboxers interested in learning how to use a compass, how to read a topographical map, how to use a compass in conjuction with a map, how to count paces, and how to recognize natural landmarks so you know where you are on the map. The class consists of about a 1-hour lesson followed by about three hours of hiking mostly OFF-TRAIL and AS A GROUP for about two miles. Bring water and snacks.

Of course, there will be at least half a dozen stamps to collect and a logbook to sign into if you make it to the end. Letterboxing etiquette will also be shared, and, of course, you will get to hang out in the excellent company of mid-Missouri 's fine letterboxers. The class is free unless you wish to purchase a $2 colored map of the park which will aid you in your land navigation. I am thinking of doing this on Saturday March 3 from noon to about 4 p.m. with a make-up date of the following Saturday, March 10 if the weather is inclement. Any takers? I will bring a sign up sheet to the Feb. 3 Gathering. (So, Touch Trek, I will need my map back before then ;)

You may also wish to check out an excellent website at that provides some basic instruction on map and compass use.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Local Box Gives a Great Bonus!

Winter is a tough season on everyone, especially those who are die hard letterboxers! Recently, I was on a great quest for a local box and found that the word camoflauge can mean a variety of things - I am calling this camo 'the squirrel effect'.

I have followed my clues faithfully with my 2 year old in tow and have approached the moment we LB'rs love - the box..will it be there? what's inside? Oh such sweet anticipation!

This box had a squirrel effect. I looked into get the box .. I saw the rock and leaves and fur on top. Fur? A fur tail? I thought it was alive and then I realized it would've been gone..then I thought oh how clever..put a fake fur tail on as I just moved it and got the box.

As I was putting it back, I happened to move the rock back and some of leaves and this fur was stuck to it all. So I pulled on the tail and ta-da I was rewarded with a squirrel corpse! It couldn't have been dead too long b/c there was a lot of fur attached and just the body was shriveled from dehydration and wrapped around the debris surrounding the box.

After that I was pretty grossed out a little and know if some stranger is pokin around in here, this will keep them away! Plus, I thought hmmm someone else will be braver than me to pull it all the way out. Not to mention my son would've been too curious about the whole thing!

Enjoy! Just know your next winter box can have a bonus of some nature!

The location of this box has been hidden from you, if you would like to see the squirrel corpse...good luck!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Rubber Trouble

A questions from a stamp carving novice: What product is everyone using for stamps. I bought some "Speedy-Cut" from the Speedball Art Products Company, and have found the rubber impossibly soft for detailed carving. What brands are working for you, and where are you purchasing?


Friday, January 12, 2007

New Blogger, new MidMo design

Blogger released a new version of its software this week that allows more options and more functionality. I used it to switch our page design and will continue to tweak items as you comment upon them. Go to your Blogger Dashboard and click "What's New" to learn more about changes or just click HERE.

The new program lets us customize the site in many ways. I made a quick logo to put in the corner, but those of you with a more artistic bent might offer something better.

It also allows us to put a list in the right column. I think that could include a image set of person stamps, if you are interested. I'm also trying to update the list of trail names we have come across in our boxes. Once I get it formatted, I'll want you to read it and update it.

Meanwhile, there is one catch. In order to post to the blog now, you must update your Blogger account. That means you will sign in via a gmail address instead of a user name. You probably already have one through your registration with Blogger. This switch to internal email address es rather than user names is spreading through Google, Yahoo and all the major Web hosting sites.

Take a look, rip it up and comment like all get out. The nice thing about the Internet is that we can change items immediately. Don't be afraid to suggest.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Caving Anyone?

Anyone want to go caving?

Last fall, several local letterboxers expressed interest in going together on a trip this spring into Devil’s Icebox Cave at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park in Columbia. To accommodate this request, I made some inquiries and have been granted permission to lead such a trip in April, 2007 (see below for possible dates). (FYI, normally, groups are not allowed to sign up on trips—they have to follow individual registration procedures just like the rest of the public. If you are interested in going, read below for details.

About the Trip
First of all, let me stress that the Devil’s Icebox Cave is not for everyone. It is an all-day adventure-style caving program that involves 5.5 hours underground (including a half-mile canoe trip with occasional LOW ceilings) as well as special equipment* and being in good physical condition. (*You may be able to borrow some equipment—see end of blog for details). While no prior caving experience is required, participants must be at least 14 years old, able to carry a 65-pound canoe for a ¼ mile, and willing andprepared to walk, crawl, or climb over muddy, wet and uneven surfaces in a 56 degree cave. Caving in the Icebox is a very strenuous activity.

Other Requirements
The usual fee of $25 per person and the maximum of 10 participants also applies (sorry, I can’t waive the park fee). The park provides the canoes, lifejackets, paddles and helmets. Participants must provide three sources of light including at least one headlamp, shoes with excellent traction and ankle support, non-cotton clothing, and a lunch and water to take into the cave. For more details, please contact me or visit the state park website at Select “Places to Go,” choose Rock Bridge State Park, then select “Cave Trips” from the drop down menu near the top right..

Why Go Caving?
If you’ve never been caving and are wondering why anyone would choose to go on such a trip, here’s some info about the cave: The Devil’s Icebox Cave is a 6.25 mile cave system that currently ranks 7th longest in the state. It also ranks 2nd or 3rd in biodiversity within the entire state of Missouri (out of more than 6000 caves). Animals you may see on a trip include several bat species, salamanders, frogs, crayfish, monorail worms and the elusive pink planarian: a rare flatworm whose only known habitat is the stream of Devil’s Icebox cave. Besides animals, you get to see a number of pretty cave formations, and there is simply the challenge of navigating through such an immense, intense, and unique environment. Most of the tour (except for the canoe portion) is upright walking, but there are sections that involve some climbing and crawling. We’ll have some choice in which sections we visit, so if visiting the nooks and crannies appeal to you we can venture out of the main passage. If you like the higher, drier road, we can do that, too. As a certified cave tour guide, I promise not to get you lost and to keep you safe.

When is the trip?
The trip would be on a Friday night starting sometime in the late afternoon (5:30p.m.?) and lasting till about midnight. Possible dates are Friday, April 20 or Friday, 27. The cave is also subject to flooding so trips maybe cancelled due to rain. (FYI, the Spring LB Gathering will likely be Saturday May 5 or May 12). If you would like to go, please let me know, and LET ME KNOW WHICH DATE YOU PREFER, preferably BEFORE the end of February so that I have tome to make arrangements. You can reach me at

And before you ask, NO you can’t plant a letterbox in the cave, but YES, I will carve an event stamp.

*Borrowing equipment: A number of us have extra headlamps we can loan (at least enough for one per person). Also, some clothing and shoes may be borrowed and can certainly be purchased used for very low prices here in town.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

now you see them again now you don't . . .

Nancy Drew is active and alive again if you want another shot at it! All in the fun and sport of the now you see it now you don't contest. And since I had to retire "use your noodle" I think it is safe to share some pics that "grace to you" took- thanks for the pics, I have to confess it was time to retire this box, since JaWS wanted his bunny box back and the author of the book came to campus and it was wonderful to host this signing with him. But if you do some research, I think you will find that Strega does like to travel! Now onto the next contest . . .

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Winter Gathering of Games Update

As everyone should know the Mid-MO Winter Gathering of Games is set for Feb 3rd at the Columbia Public Library from 10 AM to 4 PM. As always, staying the entire time is not required, though being there for the beginning is strongly suggested and of course you'd be a fool to miss out on the Potluck (again, no nuts please)!

I would like to ask that everyone who will be attending please RSVP me via an e-mail. Please let me know how many will be coming with your crew, names if you're comftorable. Special incintives apply here so don't delay.

For further details scroll down a bit and see the initiail announcement or contact me.


Monday, January 01, 2007

May I Have This Dance?

One of the great things about letterboxing is that it introduces people to places and experiences that they may have otherwise never known about One of my passions is dancing (American contradance, Irish set & ceili dance, English country dance, and other styles). It is not only fun and good exercise, but PERSONALly, if you’re a TRAVELLER like me, you not only meet new people but also see new places. Lucky for us, we also have lots of good local dancing.

I would personally like to invite you to a dance. This coming Friday, Jan. 5. 2007 is a special FREE DANCE designed especially for brand new dancers. If you missed the dancing venues at Columbia's First Night, you may want to check out this dance. Local callers Jim Thaxter and myself will be teaching all the dances, and you may find that you have the STAMP of a good dancer. The free dance info is below:

Special Dance---January 5, 2007---FREE!
Learn the secrets of great contra dancing. If you, or someone you know, has heard about contra dancing and wondered what it is all about, this evening is for you. All moves will be carefully explained, demonstrated, and practiced. By the end of the evening, you will be a contra dancer. And if you already know how to contra dance, come learn some tips to improve your style.
Taught by two of Columbia's most experienced callers. It doesn't matter if you have two left feet. Either left foot will work. Free. Live band.
At our regular place and time: First Christian Church, Tenth and Walnut, Columbia, MO. 7:30–10:30 p.m. Come alone, or bring a friend or two. Wear comfortable lightweight clothes (so that youwon't get too hot) and soft-soled shoes to protect the floor.

If you can't make it to the free dance, you may want to stop by a regular dance. The local contradance group dances on the first, third and fifth Fridays of most every month (except July and August). The Irish set and ceili group dances on the 2nd Friday of every month. Both dances are located at the First Christian Church in Columbia (enter from the parking lot side on Ash Street between 9th and 10th streets). Both have beginners lessons at 7:00 p.m. with the dance starting at 7:30 and running to 9:30 or 10:30 p.m. There is normally a fee of $5-6 per person (children under 12 get in free). You may also wish to check out schedules and more info about the Mid-Missouri Traditional Dancers contradance group at (note there is no “www”) or the Mid-Missouri Celtic Arts Association at If I’m teaching a dance, you can bet I’ll be there. If I’m not scheduled to call, but you want to find out if I’ll be there, you can contact me through PERSONAL channels or through either through the regular channels or the TRAVELLERS page.