Ashton Anna Trips & Activities

We Visit England!

Anna and I have finally returned from England! We went with Anna’s mom, Carol, and Ashton’s Grandpa Joe. It was a fantastic trip. We’ll try to recap:

Anna’s entire English family lives in southern England, so we were able to stay with her family while we were there. Ashton hadn’t met any of his new England relatives, and he got to meet almost 20 of them on this trip.

This post is going to be a picture blog with descriptions. Enjoy!

We left America at around 4:00 in the evening, and 10 hours later, we arrived in London at 10:00 am the next day. This was our first glimpse of England. It took a couple days for me to figure out why the landscape definitely looked like England: None of the roads (or tree-lines) go in a straight line for very long… England is devoid of any semblance of straight driving areas.

Summer Trips & Activities

Florida Volleyball!

(We’re extremely behind on posts, so I’m going to start posting some picture for old posts.)

Anna and I spent a couple months in California and Florida early this year. While in Florida, I got to play volleyball with some great, friendly people at Clearwater Beach.  Here’s some pics Anna took of me today:

Trips & Activities

Ashton at Front Sight

Although I work with Front Sight, I rarely have time to take a course. I took my first two-day defensive handgun course around 2002. Then I took my wife out for a two-day defensive handgun course in 2008. I finally made it back in 2010; this time for a (mid-week) four-day defensive handgun course!

Unfortunately, almost none of my friends made it. The only one who made it go right to come to the class with me was Emily, a friend of a friend who I hadn’t actually met in person before. It could have been much more awkward than it actually was; but turned out great. The only real awkwardness was that everyone in the class assumed we were dating or married.

We got to Front Sight ridiculously early in the morning, and stood in a surprisingly fast “sign-in” line. We got our firearms checked out and went into for our introduction speech.

Then we went off to our Ranges. We started on Range #14; which is part of the semi-new ranges at Front Sight.

Of course, the Front Sight Staff demonstrated the things we would be learning before we learned them (which they did amazingly perfect).

We shot a couple hundred rounds the first couple days, including some simulated bad guy posters:

We had wonderful weather and some fabulous sunsets at range 14.

Even though it was a mid week course (Monday-Thursday), there were around 350 students there. The parking area seemed to extend forever.

For the speed tests, we used targets that would turn away from you after the allotted time. Here’s Emily getting a round off at the last possible second (as the signs turned away):

We also learned some basic movement tactics for going through a doorway. (Side Note: If you every go to a shooting class like Front Sight don’t bring scratched glasses for eye protection. The extra blurriness is not helpful.)

At the very end of the four-day defensive handgun there is a “skills test” that tests the speed you perform all of the things you learned at Front Sight. It was much harder than I expected it would be for me. I did manage to sneak in a “Graduate Certificate” which about 5-7 of the 40 students got. We had one “Distinguished Graduate” in the class.

Here’s me getting my cert and with the Front Sight Instructors:

I have pages I’d love to write about my experience at Front Sight. The course was fun, entertaining, yet very disciplined. Lunch was taken in a room with 300 other “armed-to-the-teeth” students, and it felt like any normal lunch. The Instructors were really amazing. The drills were very repetitive, but the instructors remained enthusiastic, funny and alert.

Probably the most impressive part of the weekend was the Q&A session during one of the lunch breaks. Students were asking all sorts of questions, and Wes answered them all simply and plainly. There was no dodging of questions or any games.

I can’t wait to go back (with Anna this time)!

Ashton Anna Montana Trips & Activities Work

Merry Christmas From Montana 2009

Ashton and AnnaWe have survived another year in Northern Montana!

To the right, you can see Liana (pregnant Trakehner mare), Anna, Ashton and Maple Pancake in front of our house.

Our ranch is still keeping us very occupied. We planted another 15 baby trees just in case we run out of oxygen. 😉 We added 500 feet of underground water pipes to add 4 hydrants all around our property.

The largest project we have done to date was building a new “Epic Barn!” With the help of many great neighbors and friends, we took down and rebuilt this 1000+ sq ft barn! Ashton's Barn(You can see endless details on our AshtonAnna Blog. )

Anna’s Top Priority Trakehners is doing great. Liana (above) is pregnant (due 2010). They also purchased a new Trakehner named Elbe: an imported mare from Germany. She had a small meeting with Trakhener Breeders from Idaho and Montana, plus a special guest, Dr. Maren Engelhardt, a breeder from Germany.

Anna went for a 3 week apprenticeship with a Trakhner breeding farm in Florida and started showing the first horse she bred: Ossette.

On the nerd front, Ashton found a great group of web programmers in Montana. He has done a few presentations on topics like CSS and Search Engine Optimization. He’s learned a lot and found some more great friends.

Ashton’s Websites in a Flash business is still doing great, starting out the year with a brand new website re-design and another consistent highest-ever income year. The more he learns, the more he realizes that the learning curve for web developers never really ends.

Here’s a collection of my favorite posts from 2009:

Sledding on our neighbor’s hill

ATV 306’s on Ice

First 2009 Spring Grub Club

Epic Barn Project Begins

Digging a Moat around our house

Epic Barn Completed

Ashton and Anna

Epic Barn Project Ranch

Epic Barn Project: Destruction Completed!

By the time I got up to Buzz’s, he and his wife, Connie, had already started taking down the poles!
Epic Barn

I jumped right in, and gave Connie the camera to be our official videographer and narrator. She did a wonderful job:

Epic Barn

At the end of the day, all that remained was a large mess:
Epic Barn