Time for a quick dispatch from the desk of Holmes.
Early June: I took part in our stake youth conference in Nauvoo. It was a great spiritual and educational experience. Doing baptisms and confirmations with the youths in the restored temple was probably the highlight. The church has done a phenomenal job creating a host of fun, free activities that will appeal to families.
Mid-June: I spent one week at Quivira Scout Ranch. QSR is located in the beautiful Flint Hills of eastern Kansas. I enjoyed the chance to put in some significant time birding. It's been several years since I've put in a good birding trip. I picked up two lifers: Great Crested Flycatcher and Eastern Phoebe. I spotted what I thought were two cuckoos but they were gone before I could get a species ID. (I still haven't seen a cuckoo.)
Late June: We had our Holmes family reunion in the upper Shenandoah Valley. My family flew into Raleigh, NC so we could see old friends. The drive through Virginia was gorgeous (rural VA is high on my favorite places list). The reunion was sweet. One highlight was getting my dad to climb in an inner tube and float down the Shenandoah River with my brothers (sans Rich who is now located in Trinidad & Tobago). My right sandal fell apart within the first five minutes in the river and most of our tubes went flat well before our take-out point. The river was slow enough that we (except bro-in-law Mat) headed for the highway rather than trying to swim and walk the edge of the river. Mat caught a ride with some canoers down to our car and was able to pick us all up on the highway. I love it when a plan comes together! Hoo-ah!