Thursday, January 12, 2017

Bakken Economy -- January 12, 2017

ND Legacy Fund. This is pretty cool. After a really, really bad year (relatively) for the ND Legacy Fund, 2016 looked pretty good. It looks like the bleeding has stopped. If you go to the link, toggle back and forth between 2016 and 2015; it's pretty remarkable.

ND Legacy Fund. Through December 2016, total deposits were $3,736,151,063. Deposits, not net assets.

ND taxable sales. Same with ND taxable sales; the numbers are still bad, but officials suggest things will level off, hit a new normal.

Meanwhile, Flashback To The Obama Legacy
From August 26, 2015


January 12, 2017: in the comments section at this post, a reader provided an updated list:
  • Tonopah Solar Energy LLC / SolarReserve ($737 million) -- added July 30, 2020;
  • Evergreen Solar ( lost $25 million)
  • SpectraWatt ( lost $500,000)
  • Solyndra ( lost $535 million)
  • Beacon Power ( lost $43 million)
  • Nevada Geothermal ( lost $98.5 million)
  • SunPower ( lost $1.2 billion)
  • First Solar ( lost $1.46 billion)
  • Babcock and Brown ( lost $178 million)
  • EnerDel’s subsidiary Ener1 ( lost $118.5 million)
  • Amonix ( lost $5.9 million)
  • Fisker Automotive ( lost $529 million)
  • Abound Solar ( lost $400 million)
  • A123 Systems ( lost $279 million)
  • Willard and Kelsey Solar Group ( lost $700,981)
  • Johnson Controls ( lost $299 million)
  • Brightsource ( lost $1.6 billion)
  • ECOtality ( lost $126.2 million)
  • Raser Technologies ( lost $33 million)
  • Energy Conversion Devices ( lost $13.3 million)
  • Mountain Plaza, Inc. ( lost $2 million)
  • Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company ( lost $10 million)
  • Range Fuels ( lost $80 million)
  • Thompson River Power ( lost $6.5 million)
  • Stirling Energy Systems ( lost $7 million)
  • Azure Dynamics ( lost $5.4 million)
  • GreenVolts ( lost $500,000)
  • Vestas ( lost $50 million)
  • LG Chem’s subsidiary Compact Power ( lost $151 million)
  • Nordic Windpower ( lost $16 million)
  • Navistar ( lost $39 million)
  • Satcon ( lost $3 million)
  • Konarka Technologies Inc. ( lost $20 million)
  • Mascoma Corp. ( lost $100 million) 
Original Post
The "original post" was here

It is amazing that out of the dozens of companies that were in the news from the very beginning, "we" picked up on Solyndra immediately. 

The blog is full of Solyndra stories right from the start (see tag). It turns out "we" were correct all along.

Taxpayer money to Solyndra; CEO and directors donate to DNC; Solyndra goes by the wayside after the election. At the same time Lois and the IRS targets Tea Party groups ensuring they are not given tax-free status and the rest is history as they say.

The Obama Administration admits Solyndra was a "scam." Not in so many words, but that's the nut. The actual words are here in the full report, a PDF file.

The interesting thing is that Solyndra was not the only scam. I doubt many folks remember this post and the list of 36 companies that received federal support from taxpayers have either gone bankrupt or are laying off workers and are heading for bankruptcy. This list includes only those companies that received federal money from the Obama Administration’s Department of Energy.
The amount of money indicated does not reflect how much was actually received or spent but how much was offered. The amount also does not include other state, local, and federal tax credits and subsidies, which push the amount of money these companies have received from taxpayers even higher.
The complete list of faltering or bankrupt green-energy companies:
  1. Evergreen Solar ($24 million)*
  2. SpectraWatt ($500,000)*
  3. Solyndra ($535 million)*
  4. Beacon Power ($69 million)* -- see "update/correction" below
  5. AES’s subsidiary Eastern Energy ($17.1 million) -- see "update/correction" below
  6. Nevada Geothermal ($98.5 million)
  7. SunPower ($1.5 billion)
  8. First Solar ($1.46 billion)
  9. Babcock and Brown ($178 million)
  10. EnerDel’s subsidiary Ener1 ($118.5 million)*
  11. Amonix ($5.9 million)
  12. National Renewable Energy Lab ($200 million)
  13. Fisker Automotive ($528 million)
  14. Abound Solar ($374 million)*
  15. A123 Systems ($279 million)*
  16. Willard and Kelsey Solar Group ($6 million) -- see "update/correction" below
  17. Johnson Controls ($299 million)
  18. Schneider Electric ($86 million) -- see "update/correction" below
  19. Brightsource ($1.6 billion)
  20. ECOtality ($126.2 million)
  21. Raser Technologies ($33 million)*
  22. Energy Conversion Devices ($13.3 million)*
  23. Mountain Plaza, Inc. ($2 million)*
  24. Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company ($10 million)*
  25. Range Fuels ($80 million)*
  26. Thompson River Power ($6.4 million)*
  27. Stirling Energy Systems ($7 million)*
  28. LSP Energy ($2.1 billion)* -- see "update/correction" below
  29. UniSolar ($100 million)* -- see "update/correction" below
  30. Azure Dynamics ($120 million)* -- see "update/correction" below
  31. GreenVolts ($500,000)
  32. Vestas ($50 million)
  33. LG Chem’s subsidiary Compact Power ($150 million) -- see "correction" below
  34. Nordic Windpower ($16 million)*
  35. Navistar ($10 million)
  36. Satcon ($3 million)*
  37. Nissan Leaf battery facility, Smyrna, TN (see November 15, 2012, update above) 
  38. Twin Creeks Technologies, Senatobia, MS ($26  million)* (see November 30, 2012, update above) 
  39. Abengoa, Madrid, Spain; added April 16, 2016; bankrupt; largest bankruptcy in Spain's history; 
* Indicates filed for bankruptcy.

Note: the list came from another source; not all links were fact-checked. Much has been lost since the list was originally published. I can no longer vouch for the accuracy of the list, but it gets the point across to anyone paying attention. If this is important to you, go to the original source, at the post linked above.

China: World's Largest Auto Market; Sales Surging; Crude Oil Demand To Hit Record In 2017 -- January 12, 2017

From Reuters via Rigzone, China says crude oil demand will grow 3.4% this year:
  • to a record 12 million bopd
  • China: world's 2nd biggest user of oil
  • reports surging vehicle sales; expected to continue
  • world's largest auto market
Is this the definition of a Pyrric victory? Am I missing something? From Twitter:

If there was a victor, I'm pretty sure it was not Saudi Arabia. If anything, the US shale industry was the victor, and to call it a Pyrric victory is a stretch. The US shale oil sector struggled, lots of pain, but in the big scheme of things, the industry survived stronger than ever.

The real question is whether Saudi Arabia will ever try this again in my investing lifetime? I doubt it.

From The Williston Herald, the definition of insanity, or more likely, paid participation, the fighting Sioux:
Tipis and tents still stand against a frigid North Dakota winter in the Oceti Sakowin camp along the banks of the Cannonball River. The occupants in what is the largest Dakota Access protest camp have withstood blizzards and extreme temperatures, but a force of nature is coming that the camp won’t be able to withstand. 
Substantial spring floods in the Cannonball River area appear likely, with the Bismarck-Mandan area already receiving 55.3 inches of snow. That is the most accumulation on record for that area through January 10, 2017, according to National Weather Service data. The above-average precipitation is likely to continue. A La Nina weather pattern still has the Great Plains in its grasp, which tends to result in winters that are colder and wetter than average. Weather forecasters have predicted the trend will continue for at least the next month — if not longer.
The amount of precipitation, however, is just one of the many factors that will play into how big localized flooding gets in the vicinity of the protest camps. Garland Erbele is an engineer with the North Dakota State Water Commission, and is among state officials with eyes on the situation.
And more:
Another flood like the one in 2013 would not only put the camp’s estimated 500 to 800 occupants in harm’s way, Archambault said during the meeting, but debris from the camps — which include abandoned vehicles and buried human wastes —  could result in contamination of the very river protesters have said they came to protect.

The P. Levang Wells In Grail Oil Field

Existing as of January 12, 2017:
  • 29786, 1,599, QEP/Helis, P. Levang 2-14-23TH, 47 stages, 4.5 million lbs, t8/15; cum 318K 10/20;
  • 29520, 2,406, QEP/Helis, P. Levang 3-14-23BH, 49 stages, 10.2 million lbs, t8/15; cum 308K 10/20;
  • 29519, 2,396, QEP/Helis, P. Levang 4-14-23BH, 48 stages, 13.6 million lbs, t8/15; cum 354K 10/20;
  • 29749, 2,159, QEP/Helis, P. Levang 1-14-TH, 49 stages, 6.7 million lbs, t5/15; cum 294K 10/20;
  • 29375, 2,298, QEP/Helis, P. Levang 14-32-23-24LL, 48 stages, 9.9 million lbs, t5/15; cum 304K 10/20;
  • 29374, 2,342, QEP/Helis, P. Levang 1-14-23BH, 49 stages, 10.1 million lbs, t5/15; cum 362K 10/20;
  • 29373, 2,235, QEP/Helis, P. Levang 2-14-23BH, 49 stages, 10.2 million lbs, t5/15; cum 376K 10/20;
  • 23472, 1,734, QEP/Helis, P. Levang 4-14/23H, Three Forks, 30 stages, 3.1 million lbs, t11/12; cum 451K 10/20;
Production profile for earliest P. Levang well:
  • 23472, 1,734, QEP/Helis, P. Levang 4-14/23H, Three Forks, 30 stages, 3.1 million lbs, t11/12; cum 451K 10/20;
Monthly Production Data

PoolDateDaysBBLS OilRunsBBLS WaterMCF ProdMCF SoldVent/Flare
P. LEVANG6-20150000000

Seven (7) New Permits; Three High-IP DUCs Reported -- January 12, 2017

Active rigs:

Active Rigs3654156192182

No wells coming off confidential list Friday.

New permits: 
  • 33267, loc, QEP, ND Levang 3-16-21T3HD, Grail, NWNE 16-150-95, see below;
  • 33268, loc, QEP, ND Levang 4-16-21T2HD, Grail, NWNE 16-150-95,
  • 33269, loc, QEP, ND Levang 8-16-21BHD, Grail, NWNE 16-150-95,
  • 33270, loc, QEP, ND Levang 5-16-21T2HD, Grail, NENE 16-150-95,
  • 33271, loc, Whiting, Nelson 11-18TFHU, Truax, Lot 1 18-154-97,
  • 33272, loc, Whiting, Nelson 11-182TFHU, Truax, Lot 1 18-154-97,
  • 33273, loc, Hess, EN-Leo E-154-94-2423H-12, Alkali Creek, NENE 24-154-94,
Nine permits renewed:
  • BR (6):  three CCU Mainstreeter permits; two CCU Boxcar permits; and one CCU Audubon permit, all in Dunn County
  • Enerplus (2): one Deuce permit and one Curve permit, both in Dunn County
  • Whiting: one Buckman permit in Stark County
Whiting canceled two permits;
  • two P Ellis permits in Williams County
Three producing wells (DUCs) completed:
  • 29181, 1,779, Moccasin Creek 8-26-27-5H3, Moccasin Creek, t12/16; cum --
  • 29182, 1,863, Moccasin Creek 8-26-27-4H, Moccasin Creek, t12/16; cum --
  • 29588, 1,256, EOG, Fertile 59-0333H, Parshall, t12/16; cum --
Locations For QEPs New Permits

 If this area looks familiar, it's because we just discussed this same area a few days ago at this post, December 15, 2016.

I believe these are the first ND Levang wells. The P. Levang wells are a couple miles to the east, two sections over.

Jobs And Gasoline Demand -- January 12, 2017

The jobs data comes out first, then gasoline demand.

Early this morning it was noted that first time unemployment claims surged. One would expect gasoline demand to drop. Let's see what happened.

Some Will Follow Him Everywhere; Global Warming Buries Britain -- January 12, 2017

Oil cut: Saudi says it will cut more oil production in February than originally agreed. Sends price of oil up a bit; will probably close above $53.50 or thereabouts. But not only that, look at this: Saudis concerned oil market could become "tight" by 2020. From Platts:
The world could run short of oil by 2020 due to the recent sharp global downturn in upstream investment, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said Thursday.

"From what I can see, within two to three years there will be tightness because many projects have been deferred and delayed," Falih told delegates at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi.
He's talking his book, as they say on the street. Saudi needs best price possibly going into the Saudi Aramco IPO and $50-oil isn't going to cut it.

7" Of White Global Warming Buries Britain

From The [London] Telegraph:
Blizzard conditions are sweeping Britain, with snow falling as far south as London and dozens of flights grounded, amid coastal evacuations because of a flood risk. Thundersnow is expected to bring up to 7in (20cm) of snow in parts of the UK, with the worst weather during the evening rush-hour. 
But I love this. I was in North Yorkshire for many, many months while serving with the USAF. They knew how to sit out any storm or adversity: the pub.

Wow, I miss northern England. 

The Musical Countdown

#12 in the 20-song countdown.

I Will Follow Him, Little Peggy March

They won't have to travel far. He's staying in Washington, DC.


Amazon says it will create 100,000 new jobs over the next 18 months, The Washington Post.

Wow -- The Vern Whitten Autumn, 2016, Portfolio -- January 12, 2017

Whenever I post a Vern Whitten link / update, I can be pretty much guaranteed a record number of folks coming to the blog.

Just the other day, I was thinking (always a scary thought), we've haven't heard from Mr Whitten for awhile; I was hoping we would see something.

And here it is, almost on cue. Wow. The Vern Whitten autumn, 2016, update. I have not looked at them yet, but want to get them posted immediately.

After posting the link, I will go back and look at them.

Mr Whitten would love to hear from you. Please send him a "thank you" note. His site is

Later, highlights for me:
  • the new Minot air terminal
  • the 10,000 lakes of Minnesota (not all were shown)
  • the Big Iron Fargo farm show
  • the beets go on

Target Logistics Man Camp May Be Converted To Hotel -- January 12, 2017

From The Dickinson Press:
  • Williston, 13 104th Street East
  • 40 acres
  • 636-bed hotel
  • plan presented to county's Planning and Zoning Commission
  • would remove cabins from the site; re-purpose buildings to meet zoning and building code standards
  • the city rezoned the property from light industrial zoning to general commercial, which allows hospitality operations
  • land was originally purchased in Williams County, but annexed by city, 2013

Whiting's Wold Wells -- Staggering Data


March 27, 2021: production data updated. See below. 

January 7, 2019: these Wold wells are a mile or so to the northeast of the "original Wold" wells:

  • 34471, 1,573, Whiting, Wold 41-5-3H, Banks, t11/18; 126K 9/19; cum 174K 1/21;
  • 34470, 2,283, Whiting, Wold 41-5- 2TFHR, Banks, t11/18; cum 137K 9/19; cum 184K 1/21;
  • 34469, 2,714, Whiting, Wold 41-5-2HR, Banks, t11/18; cum 153K 9/19; 208K 1/21;
  • neighboring wells --
    • 25804, 1,837, off-line since 1/18, back on line, 5/19; t3/14; cum 124K 9/19; cum 149K 1/21;
    • 23153, off-line 10/18; back on line 12/18; t3/13; cum 189K 9/19; cum 194K 1/21;
    • 23154, off-line 10/18; back on line 12/18; cum 114K 9/19; cum 118K 1/21;
March 18, 2018: graphic updated --

November 28, 2017: Whiting has two rigs on the 15-well Wold mega-pad. Two neighboring wells were shut in as of 9/17.

Original Post 

NDIC approved fifteen (15) Wold / Wold Federal permits for Whiting yesterday:
  • 33252, AB/1,852, Whiting, Wold Federal 44-7-1TFH, Banks, t8/18; cum 104K 10/19;
  • 33253, 1,158, Whiting, Wold Federal 44-2-1TFH, Banks, t7/18; cum 109K 9/19; cum 141K 1/21;
  • 33254, 2,253, Whiting, Wold Federal 44-7-3TFXH, Banks, t7/18; cum 123K 9/19; cum 133K 1/21; off line for almost a year; back on line 12/20;
  • 33255, 990, Whiting, Wold Federal 44-7-4TFXH, Banks, t7/18; cum 120K 9/19; cum 147K 1/21; intermittent production in CY20;
  • 33256, 1,173, Whiting, Wold Federal 44-7-5TFXH, Banks, t7/18; cum 158K 9/19; cum 165K 1/21; off line much of CY20; back on line 12/20;
  • 33257, 1,649, Whiting, Wold Federal 44-7-6TFXH, Banks, t7/18; cum 150K 9/19; cum 175K 12/20; off line 1/21;
  • 33258, EXP/loc, Whiting, Wold 44-7-7TFH,
  • 33259, 2,064, Whiting, Wold Federal 44-7-1H, Banks, t9/18; cum 149K 9/19; cum 214K 1/21;
  • 33260, 2,211, Whiting, Wold Federal 44-7-2H, Banks, t9/18; cum 149K 9/19; cum 189K 1/21;
  • 33261, 1,091, Whiting, Wold Federal 44-7-3H, Banks, t8/18; cum 153K 9/19; cum 195K 1/21;
  • 33262, 2,712, Whiting, Wold Federal 44-7-4XH, Banks, t8/18; cum 225K 9/19; cum 281K 1/21;
  • 33263, 2,537, Whiting, Wold Federal 44-7-5XH, Banks, t8/18; cum 215K 9/19; cum 304K 1/21;
  • 33264, 2,510, Whiting, Wold Federal 44-7-6XH, Banks, t8/18; cum 176K 9/19; cum 249K 1/21;
  • 33265, 1,997, Whiting, Wold Federal 44-7-7H, Banks, t8/18; cum 172K 9/19; cum 234K 1/21;
  • 33266, 1,997, Whiting, Wold Federal 44-7-8H, Banks, t8/18; cum 136K 9/19; cum 192K 1/21;
  • 32833, 3,058, Whiting, Wold 16-7TFH, Banks, t10/16; cum 213K 9/19; shut in as of 8/17; back on line 8/18; cum 231K 1/21;
  • 19468, IA/866, Whiting, Wold 16-7H, 26 stages, 3.2 million lbs, t3/11; cum 420K 9/19; cum 437K 1/21; see below. Note the production increase in this well after it was put back on line after neighboring (but different formation) was fracked -- a five-fold surge. Prior to coming off-line, this well was producing 2,000 bbls/month; after it came back on-line it produced more than 10,000 bbls of oil in the first 26 days; also note the surge in natural gas production. Shut in as of 8/17;

32833, see above, Whiting, Wold 16-7TFH, Banks:

DateOil RunsMCF Sold

19468, 866, Whiting, Wold 16-7H, t3/11; cum 420K 9/19; see this post.

PoolDateDaysBBLS OilRunsBBLS WaterMCF ProdMCF SoldVent/Flare
TF WELL8-20160000000



Big Oil Ready To Surge -- January 12, 2017

DAPL forecast: again, North Dakota is pretty much shut down for the day. Darn that global warming!! It will be so much better 83 years from now when it's 18.8 degrees below zero instead of 20 degrees below zero.

Why I Love To Blog

I had to quit early last night. I was overwhelmed by one photo that a reader sent me. I will post it later. About the same time I was receiving so many e-mails from readers I was simply unable to keep up. There is so much good stuff out there. On top of that, the fifteen new permits by Whiting is a perfect example of what I mean by "Bakken 2.0." I wanted to dedicate a stand-alone post to those fifteen permits but simply ran out of steam. Perhaps I will get to it today.

So that I don't forget anything today, I may just provide some links with minimal commenting and see how it goes.

First the photographs that completely overwhelmed me. Look how far this cattle herd stretches; you cannot see the end at it stretches into the far horizon. It's  mind boggling. The photographs will be sharper at the original site where they were posted.

The rancher says they are generally able to leave the cattle out during the winters in the past; historically there has not been that much snow cover. But this year, the snow was overwhelming and the rancher(s) had no choice but to bring the cattle "in" to make sure they were able to be fed. This is from Gil Red Angus facebook site. The ranch is located in/near Timber Lake, SD. Timber Lake is about 50 miles due south from the Standing Rock Reservation along the ND/SD state line. By road, it it is about 90 miles south of Cannon Ball, ND, site of the DAPL protests.

Cattle are not able to fend for themselves in snow like this; American bison ("buffalo") are able to fend for themselves even in deep snow.

Cattle Call, Eddy Arnold


Big oil ready to surge: projects started before price crash are now coming on line, Bloomberg via Rigzone.
  • seven of the world’s largest energy companies will together boost oil and natural gas output by 398,000 barrels a day, the most since since 2010
  • the oil majors aren’t increasing their drilling budgets. Instead they’re benefiting from money invested before the rout. Lower costs combined with higher output would allow companies including Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc to maximize their gains from improved oil prices. Should crude remain above $50 a barrel, 2017 could be a break-out year, eliminating the need to borrow to pay dividends
  • after reaching an intraday low of $27.10 a barrel on Jan. 20, Brent oil prices more than doubled to a high of $57.89 on Dec. 12. Futures traded Wednesday at $53.97 a barrel, up 0.6 percent, as of 11:46 a.m. London time. The global benchmark rose 52 percent last year, its biggest yearly gain since 2009. Shares in the majors, meanwhile, rose across the board, led by Shell, whose B shares gained 53 percent in London, the best annual increase since at least 1990
Disclaimer: this is not an investment site. 

Oil, gas investment to grow in 2017 for first time since price crash, Rigzone.  Projects will be smaller, more efficient.

Iraq cuts oil production by 160,000 bopd under OPEC deal, via Reuters.

Update on development of Mediterranean natural gas oil field off Israel. This was a big story some months ago; now an update. Tagged: Energean Oil & Gas; Tanin; Karish; US-Israeli partners Delek Group and Noble Energy.

Iso Express, New England: the price of electricity -- "normally" about $30/MWh appears to have hit almost $500 / MWh overnight.

Anyone charging their Tesla in their residential garage in New England last night just before midnight could be in for a huge surprise on their utility bill, I suppose.


Investors are "bolting" Mexico. Peso in free fall. The road to Venezuela? The Wall Street Journal.

Mexico "ready" to negotiate with Trump. First agenda item: the "wall." Reuters via Yahoo News

For newbies, I've been saying for the past few months, two big stories being under-reported by mainstream media: Mexico and India.

  • first time unemployment claims: 247,000 vs 255,000 estimate; that was the headline
  • the real story: claims surged 10,000; estimate was for an eighteen-thousand surge -- wow
  • not only that, previous week was revised upward by 2,000
  • 97 consecutive weeks below 300,000
  • four-week average: fell 1,750 to 256,500
Back to the Bakken

Active rigs:

Active Rigs3654156192182

RBN Energy: impact of changes to the Mexican heavy crude benchmark. This article takes us back to the Keystone Pipeline and why it was so incredibly important to the US oil industry's long-term planning. The fact that it would be killed by the Obama administration was the farthest thing from the oil industry's mind when the pipeline was being planned. Not only did killing the Keystone completely disrupt strategic (40+ year-vision) plans for North American energy independence it led the way for keystoning the entire US crude oil and natural gas pipeline planning process.
Maya, Mexico’s flagship heavy crude, has been a key staple in the diet of U.S. Gulf Coast refiners for a long time, and it has faithfully served as a price benchmark for nearly all heavy crude oil traded along the U.S. Gulf, and points beyond.  
Maya’s price, relative to lighter benchmark grades such as Louisiana Light Sweet (LLS) or Brent, provides ready insight into the profitability of heavy oil (coking) refiners. But production of Maya peaked in 2004 and has declined considerably since then, raising questions about its continuing efficacy as a price benchmark.
Now it’s come to light that a component of the Maya price formula was changed effective January 1, 2017. Although the change—related to the formula’s fuel oil price component—might be viewed as a relatively minor tweak, it raises new questions about this important heavy oil price benchmark. Today we begin a two-part series on Maya crude, the new price formula and its potential effects.
Mexico currently produces about 2.2 million barrels a day (MMb/d) of crude oil, which makes it the 12th largest-producing country in the world. P.M.I. Comercio Internacional S.A. de C.V. (PMI) is the crude oil marketing entity of state-controlled PetrĂ³leos Mexicanos (PEMEX) and manages exports that currently comprise about one-half of production, ~1.1 MMb/d.
PMI exports four distinct quality grades of crude oil, ranging from Altamira (an asphalt grade) and Maya on the lower end of the quality spectrum, to Isthmus in the middle, and Olmeca at the higher end. PMI reports that its typical customer base includes a total of about 25 refiners in the Americas, Europe, and the Far East.
A Note For The Granddaughters

When I look back on my life, and I think many folks do the same thing, I look at the forks in the road that really, really changed my life.

I can actually remember one event in first grade (elementary school) that foreshadowed my "life."

The next fork in the road of my life, without question, was two years of Latin in 8th and 9th grade, at Central Junior High. Without question, Latin was the most important course I ever, very took. It got me excited about world history. It made my ability to read English that much better. It introduced me to classical Greece and Rome. Mythology. I remember very clearly my Latin instructor telling us that the most difficult thing about teaching Latin was having to "teach English grammar" to students. Latin prepared me for college, and it really, really paid off in graduate school. I have trouble understanding students who plan a major in science in college who do not take Latin. If they don't take Latin, I consider it a failure of adult leadership, particularly school "counselors." Latin is available everywhere -- if not actually "offered" by middle or high school, it can be taken on-line.

On her own, our oldest granddaughter, now an 8th grade student, is taking Latin. She takes it during "zero hour." Her middle school day starts with first period and runs through six or seven periods. But for those who want, they can take an elective at the high school which starts an hour earlier than her middle school and is called "zero hour." She opted to take Latin in "zero hour" and says she loves it.

One of our favorite topics of discussion on the drive to school is the etymology of words, and then to think of other words that have the same base. It's amazing where the discussions lead.

Which takes me to another story.

I wish I had tracked language development of our two daughters, and the language development of our three granddaughters, but for various reasons (mostly too busy) I did not.

Because of the way things worked out, I spend three to fours with Sophia (2.5 years old). We are joined at the hip. She loves to talk and it's been a real joy to hear her development.

I can't articulate this well, but how toddlers figure out language is very enlightening. When something is happening, we add "ing" to the base verb: running, laughing, cheering, growing, baking. When we add "ing" to run, it means that "running" is happening. When we add "ing" to laugh, it means that "laughing" is happening.

We don't say it is "getting laughed", or "getting baked." Someone is "laughing" or something is "baking."

Sophia and I go to the park almost every day. We stay until its becomes too dark to see anything, although lately we have even gone back to the park after dark.

Over the past three days when it was time to start heading home, I noted how Sophia referred to the coming darkness. She did not say it was "getting dark." She said it was "darking." It's possible she meant to say "it is darkening" but whether it was "darking" or "darkening" she figured that if you say something is baking, running, laughing, then with night time coming on, one says it is "darking."

I don't correct her. We just continue the conversation. I'm not interested in necessarily teaching her English. I'm interested in conversations.

Last night the moon was full, or almost nearly full. I had her look in that direction and she immediately told me it was the moon. I told her several times that when the moon was that big, it was a "full" moon. She remembered that for the rest of the stroller ride home. It will be interesting if she remembers that term tonight when the moon will be just as big / full.