It's spring and moving towards summer.  A weekend down here at this time of year is very different from Minnesota.  A comparison:

Oct-Nov in Warnbro Oct-Nov in Minnesota
  • spring
  • clocks spring forward
  • Trick or Treating in warm, late-sun evening
  • baseball, cricket, and basketball seasons underway
  • tops of 70-90°F
  • school year winding down
  • ice cream trucks out in the community playing "What Child Is This?"
  • flowers blooming and deciduous trees leafing out
  • autumn
  • clocks fall back
  • Stuff as many warm clothes as possible under Halloween costume
  • football, ice hockey, and basketball playing
  • frost, freezes, and early snows
  • school year finishing 1st quarter
  • hot cider
  • fall colors and raking leaves

I'll give a little description of what this past weekend was like for us.  For those who are bored by these details, keep in mind we have grandparents who appreciate this kind of news.

Shed Men (Friday Night)
Our men's group from church gathers every fortnight (bi-weekly).  This Friday night, nine of us went to the lot where one of the guys is building a new house sort of out in the country.  We sat in the uncleared back of the lot drinking beer, BBQ-ing over a firepit and watching a DVD projected onto a makeshift screen on a shed.  The showing was somewhat chosen particularly for me as it was the popular 1997 Australian comedy "The Castle".  It's loaded with corny jokes and humour that only Aussies would catch - thus it never fared will in US theatres.  Lanette saved the night by making an extra drive out to us with a cable that we needed in order to solve a technical glitch.

The stereotypes of what happens when men gather are the same in the US and Australia.  Down here, the typical gathering place is in or around the "shed".  If you need some humour about some Aussie male stereotypes and their sheds, watch this "Marriage Man" YouTube video filmed here in Perth.

Dane the plumberHalloween (Friday Night)
There's mixed interest in Halloween down here.  People definitely know the traditions, but many are opposed to Trick-or-Treating because "it's an American holiday".  Dane dressed up as a obese plumber and went to a backyard party with a ghoulish theme on Friday night at a classmate's house.  Peter and Karl handed out popcorn bags for the dozen or so trick-or-treaters that came by.

Karl and DaneBaseball (Saturday)
Saturdays for us from October through March (minus the six-week holiday around Christmas) are all about baseball.  This past Saturday we were fortunate that both our kids' teams played home games on the same field.  That means a 3 mile drive to Hourglass Park in Rockingham, home of the Rams Baseball Club.  Karl and Dane play in the Little League (same organisation that's in the US) with 8 to 12 year olds whose games are always at 10:30am.  Their team is 4-0 with 3 of those games being won by more than 10 runs.  Both are doing well and have a great coach working with them.  Last week Karl was the starting pitcher (while Peter was starting pitcher for his team on the same day).  Karl opened with a strikeout on 3 pitches and then proceeded to pitch 2 innings (40 pitch limit) giving up no hits and one run (after hit-by-pitch) with 19 balls and 16 strikes.

We then stayed around on a blue sky 75° day for Peter's 1:00 game.  Peter's team (and coach) are a bit less disciplined than Karl and Dane's, but this time they pulled off a 30-15 win.  I think it was actually a no-hitter against the other team as all 15 runs scored mostly on walks with a few due to errors.  Peter played shortstop, but it likely to see action at pitcher, second and first, too.

Warnbro sunsetSunset at Our Beach (Saturday Night)
After Saturday supper we walked over to the beach for some play in the sand and to watch the sunset.  Karl and I waded in the water that's getting warmer now.  Lanette read her book.  The boys made a walled castle as the high tide waters approached.  And the sunset was just incredible.  Peter and I took way too many photos.

See some sunset photos from Saturday in the photo galleries. (login to the site required)

Kids' Church (Sunday Morning)
Sunday morning church was a special "Kids' Church" which we do every few months.  It's a service where everything is done for the kids, so, for example, in the middle of church the kids do a craft with the help of the adults.  The story was about being fishers of men, and Lanette had a hand in helping set up a fish net and preparing some cutouts for the kids.  Interestingly, the prayers included a request that God would lead Americans to choose the candidate who would serve the country well.  I wondered when the last time was that an American church prayed regarding an election in Australia.

Picnic at the Winery (Sunday Afternoon)
After church we headed to the Peel Estate Winery about 5 miles southeast of our house.  Our junior school staff had an informal picnic on the grounds of the winery.  It was another beautiful blue sky afternoon.  We brought out Peter's "cornhole toss" game, and the Aussies had a good time playing this game that was new to them.  Our kids also played catch with baseball, an American football, a soccer ball, and an Aussie Rules football.

Peel Estate Winery picnic      Peel Estate Winery picnic

Another Sunset at the Beach (Sunday Night)
After Sunday supper, the boys begged to go for a bike ride down the beach.  Lanette stayed home while the boys headed out the door.  We biked about a half mile down the beach path and ran up to the top of one of our lookouts for beautiful 360 views.  We discovered that we could actually see the skyscrapers of downtown Perth - barely.  Then we went down to the beach to run around in the sand.  Karl is competing in an inter-school athletics competition tomorrow, so we all practised the triple jump (hop-step-jump) in the sand.  Clouds rolled to hide the view of the sunset.