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Curriculum Kits

#1) Family Owned and Operated Since 1985
Timberdoodle was founded for one reason: meeting the needs of fellow homeschoolers. We aren't here for your money (though we'd never exist without your purchases!) but we want your family to find homeschooling to be stress-free and bursting with excitement and will do whatever we can to make homeschooling a feasible endeavor for your family!

#6) Timberdoodle Encourages Independent Learning
As a teaching parent, you don't want to be spending all your time in teacher prep or holding your child's hand through all his lessons. Neither do you want to agonize over missing a day's work because of a doctor's appointment. Instead, we advocate helping your child become an independent learner just as soon as he's ready. We use a weekly checklist approach so that your child will easily know when he has completed all this week's work. Read more about why we encourage independent learning here.

So, whether you are a veteran teaching parent or a bewildered newbie, we now have what you need. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.


When we started our business in 1985, it was the ability to build your own curriculum that set Timberdoodle apart. While we still offer parents the ability to tailor their curriculum to their unique family, we meet more and more families each year who are simply not comfortable with that particular aspect of home teaching. For those of you who would rather someone else put the curriculum together so you don't have to wrestle through those decisions, we are delighted to offer what we believe is the best of the best in convenient packages.––>

Complete Tree Climbing Gear Kits

Get started climbing trees with a full set of tree climbing gear. We have kits for beginner and professional climbers, for every type of tree climbing. When you choose a WesSpur tree climbing kit you know your gear will work together - plus you'll get the best deal around! Call our customer service team to customize any kit to your liking.

WesSpur Complete Rope Climbing Kits

WesSpur Rope Climbing kits contain all the gear needed to enter the tree using rope and throw line in a Moving Rope System (MRS). The Premium Ropewalker kit also has a super-efficient SRS Ropewalker setup. Contains professional equipment including, saddle, rope, throw line, carabiners, and extras like gear carry bag and Tree Climber&rsquos Companion.

Complete Climber Kits (with or without rope system)

WesSpur complete climber kits beat the competition for durability, quality, and value! Our kits have professional tree climbing equipment to get you started working professionally and safety. Complete kits have a full spur climbing setup and the required second connection to the tree with an Moving Rope System. Kits without rope system are available if you want to source your own.

SRS Climbing Kits

WesSpur SRS (Stationary Rope System) Climbing Kits get you started climbing with SRS ascent techniques in one easy package.

Kit Upgrades

We put together these climbing kit upgrades add on to our popular spur and rope climbing kits. From a simple climbing line upgrade for spur kits, to a complete safety gear kit, you'll find great deals on the gear you need next.

A complete selection of gear to begin climbing and working using a Moving Rope System. We put this kit together with good quality gear that is still affordable.

We built this kit for the beginning professional who is going to be spending lots of hours in their kit and is able to invest in more fully-featured gear.

This Premium kit gives you a high-quality, streamlined set of gear that lets you climb in either a moving rope or stationary rope system with the Rope Wrench.

A complete selection of gear to begin climbing and working in pruning or removal scenarios. Includes a full set of spur climbing gear backed up with a Moving Rope System.

A complete set of gear selected for the professional. Includes full spur climbing setup, and moving rope system, all selected for high-performance.

The ultimate set of professional tools for the serious climber. Most customers customize this kit - you are free to upgrade or swap out harness, pads, ropes etc., and keep the kit discount!

A beginner spur climbing set that does not include a rope system or throwline. A rope system is still required to work on on spurs.

A professional set of spur climbing gear that does not include a rope system or throwline. A rope system is still required to work on on spurs.

Ultimate lightweight, comfortable spur climbing kit. Does not include a rope system or throwline. A rope system is still required to work on spurs.

Designed by Joe and Scott with New York Saddle Hunters for hunters to enter their tree in a Moving Rope System (MRS).

Designed by Joe and Scott with New York Saddle Hunters for hunters to enter their tree in a Stationary Rope System (SRS).

Designed by Peter "Treeman" Jenkins, founder of Tree Climbers International. Ideal for TCI students or any beginning recreational tree climber.

Built for TCI Climbing Program for Entry-level Tree Workers. Perfect for working climbers' first kit, with long-lasting, high-quality gear at a great price.

These Hybrid Ropewalker kits take full advantage of the newest SRS climbing gear to get you in the canopy fast, with a built-in discount on the gear.

All the hardware needed to use the Rope Wrench for SRS. It gives you smooth, precision control in and saves time in switching between SRS and MRS systems.

RADS (Rapid Ascent/Descent System) kit is a simple single rope system which allows the user to easily ascend a single rope with mechanical advantage.

American History Lap Book Kits

Two lap book kits for American History from Inquisikids, American History I Lap Book Kit and American History II Lap Book Kit, are the most complete lap book kits I’ve seen. The first kit covers from the period of exploration up through 1850. The second kit continues up through modern history. These are ideal for students in grades three through five.

Each kit comes in a sturdy cardboard box and includes almost everything you need except colored pencils, stapler, clear tape, permanent markers, a hole punch, and scissors. You will also need to supply a few odd items such as a spoonful of dirt and some spices such as ground cinnamon, ginger, and cloves for the first kit and ground pepper for the second kit.

Along with the precut file folder sections on which you will build the lap book, you get a large stack of pre-printed pages, including some on colored card stock. Packaged in the box along with these basic components are supplies such as double-sided tape, all-purpose glue, glue sticks, toothpicks, and glittery gems--depending on the kit.

In American History I Lap Book Kit, a 39-page book presents full-color, illustrated directions for the 25 sections that will go into the lap book. The American History II Lap Book Kit has 45 activities! Many of these activities involve constructing lap book components with clever cut-and-fold techniques, so you will want to follow the instructions carefully.

I'll concentrate on just the American History I Lap Book Kit. Sections in the lap book will cover key people and events in American History such as the early explorers, Native American tribes, slavery in America, George Washington, King George III, the Lewis and Clark expedition, and the War of 1812. A few pages at the end of the instruction book have suggested answers for the sections where students need to research and fill in information. And don’t miss the very important tips at the beginning of the book that might save you some grief if you know about them in advance.

These lap books do not try to cover every person and event. They are necessarily selective so that they can be completed within a reasonable amount of time. To keep things manageable, the kits have a lot of text on some of the printed pages so students need not invest a great deal of time writing. Even so, completing one of these lap books requires a significant amount of time--one to two hours to complete each activity. While the lap book activities are great, they are not the spine of your curriculum. You will want to make sure that students are connecting lap book activities to what they are learning in whatever U.S. History course you are using.

For many children, the hands-on activity provided by lap book kits stimulates their interest and attention in ways textbooks and computer-delivered courses cannot. These two lap book kits provide some of the most extensive coverage of American History while making it as easy as possible for parents and students to create fantastic lap books.

Pricing Information

When prices appear, please keep in mind that they are subject to change. Click on links where available to verify price accuracy.


DUTCH vs. Saliva Testing

While the free cortisol pattern in saliva has clinical value, there is a significant missing piece to surveying a patient’s HPA-Axis function with saliva testing – measuring cortisol metabolites. To properly characterize a patient’s cortisol status, free and metabolized cortisol should be measured to avoid misleading results when cortisol clearance is abnormally high or low. Likewise with sex hormones, measuring estrogen and androgen metabolites gives a fuller picture for more precise clinical diagnosis of hormonal imbalances and HRT monitoring.

DUTCH vs. Serum Testing

While the most universally accepted testing method (due to the availability of FDA-cleared analyzers that are reliable and inexpensive), serum testing is lacking in some areas. Adrenal hormones cannot be effectively tested in serum because free cortisol cannot be tested throughout the day. There is also a lack of extensive metabolite testing (especially for cortisol and estrogens).

DUTCH vs. 24-Hour Urine Testing

There are two primary drawbacks to 24-hour urine testing of hormones. First, the collection is cumbersome, and as many as 40% of those who collect, do so in error (Tanaka, 2002). Secondly, dysfunction in the diurnal pattern of cortisol cannot be ascertained from a 24-hour collection. Some providers add saliva for daily free cortisol. DUTCH eliminates the need for two tests.

Why Did This Crazy Kitplane Kill So Many Pilots?

Flying out of Wels, Austria, Rupert Überacker and his piston-engine Bede BD-5G are regulars on the European airshow circuit.

Jim Bede aimed high with his little homebuilt BD-5 bullet, but engine woes and questionable financial moves caused him to overshoot the target.

On August 2, 1972, standing near a taxiway at Wittman Field in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, I pressed a check for $200 into the hand of a short, fat guy in a red shirt. His name was Jim Bede and he was promising to deliver, at some unspecified future date, the parts and materials for me to build a tiny single-seat airplane that looked like a rocketship and was powered by a snowmobile engine. The kit, he promised, would take only about 600 man-hours to assemble—just four months of full-time work—and cost no more than a new Volks­wagen Beetle.

The tiny plane was called the BD-5 Micro. More than 3,000 people—many of them, like me, with imaginations fired but zero experience building airplanes—eventually purchased BD-5 kits. A handful of factory prototype BD-5s made test flights, triggering paroxysms of excitement among us kit-buyers. But plagued by the lack of a reliable engine and reckless financial mismanagement, Bede never delivered a single complete BD-5 kit. The company eventually went bankrupt, and thousands of Bede customers ended up losing some $10 million.

Yet the plane’s allure remained undimmed. A number of diehard builders managed to complete and fly jury-rigged BD-5s powered by improvised engines. In the process, they crashed and killed themselves in horrifying numbers.

But when I recall watching an airshow trio of jet-powered BD-5Js swoosh by at 300 mph, or think back on my brief 1974 flight in a factory prototype, there’s no doubt in my mind: Almost 50 years later, the BD-5 is still the coolest lightplane ever, still the ultimate private pilot’s fantasy.

Jim Bede’s place in aviation history is that of both visionary and charlatan. An aeronautical engineer with an upbeat, fast-talking personality (“100 words a minute, with occasional gusts to 150,” as he put it), Bede was part of a grassroots clan of sport pilots frustrated and bored by expensive, stodgy Cessnas and Pipers.

In the early 1960s, Bede designed and promoted the BD-1, a conventional-looking two-seater intended to be fabricated by amateur homebuilders. In a harbinger of things to come, he ran out of money before he could finish the project. Outside investors took over, kicked Bede out and redesigned the BD-1 as an FAA-certified production aircraft, the American AA-1 Yankee.

His next project was the BD-4, a boxy, easy-to-build four-place homebuilt. He started selling BD-4 construction drawings in 1968, and in 1970 introduced prefabricated kits—a new idea at the time. And a splendid idea it turned out to be several hundred BD-4s were completed, and many are still flying.

Encouraged by the BD-4’s success, in Novem­ber 1970 Bede offered for sale a $5 information packet about his latest concept: a plane so small and sleek that the pilot had to lie semi-supine beneath its fighterlike canopy. The promised specs were astounding: a top speed up to 270 mph, full aerobatic capability and a basic kit price of just $1,800. He cashed the first $200 deposits for the still-imaginary plane in February 1971.

The tangible BD-5 made its public debut in July 1971 at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual Oshkosh fly-in. Not yet flyable, but looking very badass indeed, the tiny red plane was an instant sensation. By the end of the show, the bullhorn-wielding Bede, ever the carnival barker showman, had collected more than 800 deposits.

That first BD-5, N500BD, had a fiberglass fuselage, a V-tail and a 36-hp Polaris snowmobile engine. It flew, briefly and barely, on September 13, 1971—a short hop down the runway, with Bede at the controls. The little plane proved wildly unstable. A second brief hop was equally precari­ous, and it never flew again. But in another ominous harbinger of things to come, a subsequent Bede newsletter cheerily reported that the company was “quite pleased with the results….of these flight tests,” conveniently neglecting to mention that the plane never got more than a couple feet off the ground.

The third BD-5 proto­type first flew in March 1973. (Experimental Aircraft Association)

Soon thereafter Bede made what was perhaps the best decision of his aviation life: He hired a 28-year-old stability-and-control engineer from Edwards Air Force Base in California to be his director of development. The young fellow’s name was Burt Rutan.

Rutan arrived at Bede headquarters in Newton, Kan., in March 1972. The second BD-5 prototype, N501BD, was then under construction. The new version was made of aluminum and had a conventional vertical tail, a swept horizontal stabilator and a 40-hp Kiekhaefer snowmobile engine. Rutan’s job: get the airplane ready to fly and conduct the flight-test program. One of his first moves was to hire a friend and fellow engineer from Edwards, Les Berven, as chief test pilot.

Rutan quickly discovered that 501 was hideously tail-heavy. (Solution: Fill up the nosecone with lead.) The flaps had to be redesigned. High-speed taxi-testing led to a complete redesign of the stabilator. After a deal to buy production engines from Kiekhaefer fell through, a German-made 40-hp Hirth snowmobile engine was substituted.

In May 1972, eight months after the first runway hop and 15 months after the first deposit checks had been cashed, the BD-5 finally made its first up-and-away flight. It was brief the Hirth engine overheated within seconds and the cockpit filled with smoke. Berven shut down the engine and glided back to a safe landing. But at least the flight-test program was finally underway.

The smoke and overheating problems were quickly fixed. Berven reported that the plane flew beautifully, with good stability and “the best-harmonized controls I’ve ever flown.”

But, recalls Rutan, “We had many engine failures.” One came during a demo flight in front of FAA officials, from whom Bede was seeking a permit to fly at the 1972 Oshkosh confab. With the FAA men watching, the engine seized 90 seconds after takeoff. Berven managed to glide back to the runway, but ran off the end and crunched the nose gear. No permit.

The plane’s failure to fly at Oshkosh that year didn’t dissuade me, nor many others, from handing Bede deposit checks. (Hell, the thing looked like it was going 200 mph just sitting there on the ground!) A month later, 6,000 people showed up at Bede’s home field to watch the first public flight demonstration.

The following month, however, 501 crash-landed on a road after another engine failure. Rather than repair the substantial damage, Bede scrapped it and focused on the next prototype, N502BD, scheduled to fly in a couple of months. But vibration problems with a new belt-drive system persisted, and by the time Bede began to ship the first partial kits to long-yearning builders in early 1973, 502 had still not flown.

At this point, Rutan was having second thoughts about Bede’s business practices: “I was thinking, if we can’t even fly the airplane for two minutes, how can we be sending out kits?”

Perhaps money had something to do with it. The BD-5 program had been puttering along for more than two years on Bede’s personal funds and about $600,000 in kit deposits. But once the first partial kit packages were ready for shipment, builders had to come up with the full balance—in my case, $2,385. Multiplied by 3,000 customers, that worked out to about $7 million.

UPS dropped the first two big cardboard cartons in my driveway in March 1973. They contained the canopy, airspeed indicator (it read up to 300 mph!), wheels and brakes, and prop spinner, plus the parts to build the vertical stabilizer’s framework. But no plans or instructions. I spent a lot of time staring at the airspeed indicator and fondling the spinner.

In April the wing kit arrived, with a set of excellent plans and instructions, and I at last began what I hoped would be my 600-hour journey to flying nirvana.

Meanwhile, back at Bede, with partial kits now shipping, the money flowed in. And out. The 502 prototype finally flew in March 1973, but the belt-drive system and the Hirth engine continued to cause problems, triggering more forced landings. The Hirth also lacked the power to meet the plane’s promised performance. “It was becoming clear that this was a junk engine,” notes Rutan.

Despite Bede’s desperately upbeat reports to its customers (“The basic twin-cylinder engine manu­factured by Hirth is as good, or better, than any engine we have had the opportunity to study and test….”), it was around this time that the rumblings of discontent among us builders began.

Perhaps as a distraction from all the engine problems, in mid-1973 Bede fired a double-barrel shot of adrenaline into the Micro community: the promise of an FAA-certified production model, the BD-5D, and a real-life jet-powered version. Slick two-page color ads in aviation magazines (“You’ve just run out of excuses for not owning your own airplane”) sent ripples beyond the world of homebuilding. The ready-to-fly production BD-5D, it was promised, would cost less than half the price of the cheapest new plane then available, yet fly twice as fast. Send in your deposit now! Just $400! “He needed a new product, and he needed it fast,” recalls Rutan.

Curious onlookers examine two BD-5Js used by Corkey Fornof’s jet demonstration team in the 1970s. (San Diego Air & Space Museum)

Powered by a minuscule 200-pound-thrust French Microturbo TRS-18 turbojet engine, the BD-5J set the 1973 Oshkosh airshow crowd agog. (A landing accident caused by a stuck thrust attenuator dampened spirits not a whit.) It flew so well and so reliably that six months later Bede let the first aviation journalist, former U.S. Air Force F-86D Sabre pilot Dick Weeghman, take a test hop. Weeghman rhapsodized, “It remains a haunting, indelible experience that got me as close to Birdsville as I ever expect to get.”

In June 1974 at the Reading Air Show in Penn­sylvania, Bede unleashed a three-jet aerobatic team of BD-5Js that upstaged the Blue Angels with, among other stunts, quadruple vertical snap-rolls. That day may have been the zenith of Bede hype, the last gasp of fantasy before reality started to set in.

That same month, Burt Rutan resigned. “I didn’t want to be around when he went bankrupt and the lawsuits started,” Rutan says now.

The engine woes continued. Bede worked closely with Hirth to build an engine specifically for the BD-5, but the underlying problem was that airplanes are different than snowmobiles. “We broke every part of the engine on the test stand,” Les Berven later admitted. “Rings, cylinders, pistons, bearings, crankshafts. Everything went at one time or the other.”

At about the same time, the ever upbeat (delusional? lying?) Jim Bede wrote in “Bede News,” Vol. 1 No. 3, “We have completed all testing of the BD-5.”

By the summer of 1974, a new prototype of the prop-driven plane, N503BD, was finally deemed ready to be flown by journalists, although the engine had to be pull-started by hand like a lawnmower and would stop dead if the plane encountered turbulence. I was lucky (?) enough to be invited, despite my meager 400 hours flying time.

The Bede’s Hirth engine required a pull-start like a lawn mower. (BD Aero)

Slipping into the tiny cockpit, I felt as if I were pulling on an aluminum body suit (or perhaps climbing into a coffin). Instead of the normal control wheel or stick, there was a tiny joystick control on the right armrest—just like the YF-16, the revolutionary new Air Force fighter prototype that had recently made its first flight.

I lack the words to describe the half-hour of giddy dream fulfillment that followed. N503BD was extremely stable, yet responsive to a flick of the wrist. I indeed felt as if I were soaring among the birds, albeit at only 170 mph, not 270. Forty-five years later, it still rates as the peak moment of my flying career.

Not long after my flight, Hirth went bankrupt. At that point it dawned on me that my dream might never be realized. I’d been plugging away in my barn workshop for almost two years, and had a beautiful set of wings, a fuselage shell and a vertical stabilizer. But many of the kit parts and materials—including, of course, the engine—had not been delivered.

With his cash flow dwindling, Bede turned his focus to the FAA-certified airplane, leaving us homebuilders feeling abandoned. Worse, he was also spending money—our money—developing two new projects, the BD-6 and BD-7. A new engine from the Japanese manufacturer Xenoah was tested, with the usual results: many promises, no reality.

By mid-1976, I had concluded the BD-5 was doomed, and sold my partially completed kit. I’d put $3,500 and 400 hours of labor into the project, but felt lucky to get $1,500 for it. (I recently heard from the fellow who bought it the pieces remain in his basement, untouched to this day.) Looking back, I had probably done no more than 10 percent of the work to complete the job. Even with all the parts, it’s now obvious I lacked the skills and determination to ever finish it.

In November 1976, the 503 prototype was destroyed in a crash. Bede Aircraft Corp. was by then a dead company walking. Having burned through some $7 million in kit payments and $2.7 million in production model deposits, it had no money left to build a new prototype, produce kit parts, find an engine or pursue FAA certification of the BD-5D. Multiple attempts to secure financing foundered, and bankruptcy mercifully arrived in 1979. Accused of fraud by the Federal Trade Commission, Bede signed a consent decree promising to not accept money for any aircraft project for a period of 10 years.

The jet-powered BD-5J proved to be the most reliable of the Bede family, with about a dozen of the 25 built still flying. (Connor Madison)

(Ten years later, almost to the day, Bede announced the BD-10, intended to be the world’s first supersonic homebuilt. Five examples were built and three crashed, killing their pilots. None ever got close to supersonic speeds. In 1995 Bede began taking deposits for the BD-12, a two-seat version of the BD-5 with a standard aircraft engine. It crashed on its first flight attempt. Jim Bede died of natural causes in 2015.)

In the four decades since Bede’s bankruptcy, an estimated 150-200 determined and resourceful BD-5 builders have managed to complete and fly improvised planes. BD-5s have flown with Honda Civic, Volkswagen and Subaru engines Mercury outboards Wankels Rotaxes and even an updated version of the accursed two-cylinder Hirth that seems to run just fine. There was a turbo­prop version, powered by a gas generator from a Chinook helicopter. Perhaps 50 BD-5s are currently airworthy worldwide.

Almost as many have crashed and killed their pilots. The Aviation Safety Institute database shows a total of 25 fatal BD-5 crashes—12-15 percent of all BD-5s that ever flew. Many occurred on the first flight of newly finished aircraft, with engine failures and subsequent stalls a common thread. Of the first four homebuilt BD-5As, a version with shorter wings, three crashed and killed their builders on their first takeoffs. The fourth survived long enough to crash on its first landing.

I’ve always been puzzled by this rash of fatal crashes. The plane I piloted was easy to fly, with dead-on pitch stability. Its stalls were gentle and predictable, with instant recovery when back-pressure on the stick was released. Yet the same plane I flew, N503BD, later stalled and crashed. I still don’t get it.

Perhaps poor workmanship degraded the flying qualities of some customer-built planes. And most homebuilt BD-5s, with their bulkier engines, were much heavier than the factory prototypes, which increased stall speeds. The heavier engines may also have caused center-of-gravity problems the BD-5’s safe CG envelope was literally a matter of inches. But one thing is clear: An amateur pilot with less recent practice in flying than building has no business in the cockpit for the first flight of a homemade airplane with a kludged-together engine. That’s a job for a professional test pilot—and a very brave one at that.

The BD-5J is perhaps best known for its cameo in the 1986 James Bond film Octopussy. (MGM United Artists)

The BD-5J, with its more reliable jet engine, has been by far the most successful Micro. (Who can forget James Bond’s miraculous jet escape in Octopussy?) About 25 BD-5Js have flown over the years, mostly as aerial stunt planes for purveyors of liquid refreshment. A dozen or so Microjets are currently active.

Surprisingly, pilots newly smitten with BD-5 fever can still pursue their fantasies. A company called BD-Micro Technologies, in Siletz, Ore., has decades of BD-5 experience and a stockpile of original Bede kit parts. It makes all the missing pieces (with many design improvements) and has set up construction tooling and jigs. An aspiring BD-5 builder can today, after writing a check for about $90,000 and putting in 200-300 hours of supervised hands-on labor at BD-Micro’s production facility, fly away in a new, Hirth-powered BD-5 that’s way better than the original.

David Noland is a former editor at Air Progress and Aviation Consumer magazines now drifting into semi-retirement. He currently flies only in his imagination. For more information on BD-Micro Technologies, see bd-micro.com.

This feature originally appeared in the May 2020 issue of Aviation History. To subscribe, click here!

Complete Kit - History

An easy guide to help you pick your homeschool materials.

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    Sonlight Connections Podcast

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    "I was so excited when I browsed my first Sonlight catalog and saw they included Handwriting Without Tears," writes Melissa N of Chittenango, NY. "I was already working with Handwriting Without Tears when our first Sonlight materials arrived and found integrating the Sonlight Language Arts for Grade K Readers program into what we were already doing an easy transition. Thank you Sonlight for recognizing that every child is different and for giving parents a variety of options to choose from!" Here, Sawyer (5) and Coen (3) work with the Handwriting Without Tears manipulatives in their second year of Sonlight.

    "If you're on the fence about the HBL A World Cultures History Project Kit, let me convince you to get it!" writes Davina K of Carlsbad, CA. "It's amazing! I'm an anti-craft mom because crafts are time consuming and messy, but this box has removed every excuse I have. It has everything you need for each project and is already perfectly organized. The directions are simple and easy to follow." Harry (7, HBL A) and Owen (5, HBL A) show off their catapults from the Hands-on History Project Kit. The K family has been using Sonlight for 3 years.

    "We love how the Hands-On History Project Kit is reinforcing what we are studying in history. The projects really drive home certain aspects of what life was like in the past," says Felicia F of Puyallup, WA. "We are also so grateful for the beautiful works of literature we would never have chosen ourselves. Every new book, Jonathan exclaims, 'That was my favorite book!' and when asked which is his favorites so far, he always says, 'All of them!'" The F family have been using Sonlight for 3 years now. Jonathan (6) is using HBL A, Artemus (5) is using Pre-K, and Mattix (2) is tagging along.

    First Aid Kit

    While it may seem hard to comprehend, the common First Aid Kit we take for granted in this modern-day age of advanced medicine and technology surprisingly can trace its roots to the railroad industry.

    The founder of the Johnson & Johnson Company worked with the Denver & Rio Grande to establish a new product that would greatly improve the health of workers constructing the railroad through the backcountry of Colorado.

    As it turns out the idea proved so successful that it led to an entire line of kits being sold by Johnson, not only used by railroads but also across other industries and the general public, as well.

    Throughout the early 20th century the First Aid Kit was the common method of treating less-severe injuries and led to the development of the classic Band-Aid brand of adhesive bandages.  

    It's always interesting how fate and timing can lead to new discovers and important products.

    Take, for example, the First Aid Kit. During the late 1880s Johnson & Johnson founder Robert Wood Johnson was headed west through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to enjoy a relaxing vacation at a cattle ranch.

    To get there he took the then-Denver & Rio Grande Railway (D&RG), which was in the midst of major construction. The railroad had been established in only 1870 and its original owners envisioned a system that would connect Mexico with Denver.

    However, funding never materialized and new ownership under the notorious tycoon Jay Gould saw its future change. 

    Railroads In The 19th Century

    Gould's plan was to see the D&RG build west across the Rockies and reach the growing urban center of Salt Lake City (the system eventually grew into the Denver & Rio Grand Western that operated across Utah, Colorado, and northern New Mexico).

    During Johnson's trip over the railroad he met one of the company's surgeons, which were typically general practitioners with some surgical experience.

    As the two began talking they realized that each could help the other the surgeon needed quality, sterile equipment in which to have available for patients (a difficult proposition when most railroad construction was miles from the nearest hospital and injuries are frequent and sometimes severe) while Johnson came to understand that he had a great opportunity to develop a new product that would fill a great need. 

    After the two spoke at length Johnson drafted several letters during the spring of 1888, sending them to railroad surgeons all over the country inquiring as to what kind of medical supplies they would need in the field, if available at a moment's notice.

    Part of Johnson's letter read: "We are about to get up a railway emergency case, and wish to make one that will be of real service in the field it is intended for…

    it is our wish to get suggestions from practical railroad surgeons. We already have them from one of two of the surgeons of the largest western railroads.

    After gathering this data Johnson & Johnson began offering what was known as the "Railway Station And Factory Supply Case" in 1890, a type of First Aid Kit placed in heavy duty metal boxes that was meant for use by station agents and factory workers.

    An advertisement for the product described what it was used for (proclaiming that it could not only treat minor injuries but also "a number of serious accidents") and the supplies it held, which included everything from cotton swabs and bandages to mercury tablets and rubber adhesive plaster.

    A few years later in 1901 the company began publishing First Aid Manuals, which were included within the kits offering detailed information on how someone could properly treat a long list of different injuries while the waited for doctors to arrive.

    When introducing the manual the company had this to say about it:

    "To all who are interested in first aid work we recommend Johnson & Johnson's First Aid Manual, a volume handsomely bound in blue cloth and decorated in red and gold.

    It contains one hundred and twenty pages and over one hundred illustrations, some in two colors, describing almost every imaginable accident that can occur, and advising best treatment, with especial warning of what not to attempt. 

    This valuable work is edited by Fred B. Kilmer, Ph. C., and is contributed to by eminent surgeons who have had long experience in railroad, mining, factory, police and ambulance service, both in this country and abroad."

    By the late 19th century Johnson & Johnson was becoming a major supplier of medical kits for an increasing number of railroads (many of which had their company names/logos placed on the exterior of the metal kits).

    In 1897 it had its own exhibit at the National Association of Railway Surgeons' annual convention in Chicago and by the early 20th century First Aid Kits could be found not only in the railroad industry but also early automobiles (the Autokit) and airplanes (the Aerokit).

    As the years passed the kit became more diversified, advanced, and easier to use particularly for the general public (such as the introduction of Band-Aid brand adhesive bandages in 1920).

    It is rather amazing that an everyday product many of us now take for granted has a history that began in the railroad industry (and can still be found as common items located within locomotives, company vehicles, terminals, and virtually any place else workers are out in the field).

    Complete Drum Sets

    It's hard to imagine, but at one period in time, David Grohl couldn't even play a 4/4 beat. A little further back, Keith Moon was incapable of playing a kick and snare drum simultaneously. Buddy Rich and drumsticks? As a toddler, he was better off holding chopsticks. The point is, even the greatest drummers of all time had to start somewhere, just like you. Nobody is an expert at the beginning of their journey. It takes time, dedication, practice, and a passion for the drums to become exceptional. Searching for the perfect drum set doesn't have to be a stressful expedition either. In fact, it can be an extremely enjoyable one, thanks to the wide selection of complete drum sets available for both learners and industry professionals from Pearl and Yamaha, to Gretsch and DW. Want to make your search really easy? The Export Series from Pearl ranks amongst the best-selling drums of all time.

    The great thing about Pearl Export is that they only get better with age. Providing up-to-date hardware features, SST shell construction and suspended mounts, the Export Series from Pearl come highly recommended. On the other hand, for a portable acoustic drum kit that feels and sounds like a regular drum kit, the Traps Drums A400 offers a bold, resonant sound that packs more than enough punch for your buck. Shell-less kits are a superb alternative to regular kits, and the Traps Drums A400 is without a doubt the best in its class. Another big seller is the Tama Imperialstar 6-piece drum kit with cymbals. This is actually considered the most affordable Tama drum kit ever to incorporate so many high-end features. When it comes to drum sets, there are many different technical elements and features that make every kit unique. But to make your search easier, just ask yourself who your favorite drummers are, and look at what they use. Of course, for younger musicians, any quality drum set that's durable and looks great will do. But whatever you decide, and regardless of your budget or current skill level, one thing is certain. The perfect drum set for you can easily be found right here, and right now.

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    Unbound Solar stocks and delivers complete solar panel kits and backup power kits for homes, businesses, boats and RVs, remote industrial, and unique applications. We also customize systems to fit your exact needs.

    Each solar panel kit contains everything you need to go solar. Install your solar power system yourself or opt to hire a local contractor.

    When you purchase a complete solar system from Unbound Solar, you get tailored solutions and lifelong support. We’ll help you calculate how many solar panels you need, determine the cost of your solar system and guide you when you’re ready to install the solar panels .

    Read our step-by-step guide to learn more about going solar, or reach out to us directly with questions.

    Every project is unique so we’re here to help you determine the right kit for you. Our knowledgeable team of techs will answer your questions and make sure you select the appropriate kit for your project. Or browse our resources, videos, and guides to help decide which solar system kit best suits your needs.

    Each kit contains all the major components you need to install a complete solar power system. Choose from a variety of solar power kits to accommodate your installation needs. Our grid-tied kits include solar panels, inverters and a racking system. The off-grid solar power kits include batteries, solar panels, a power center and your racking system. Complete kits are also available for grid-tied systems with a battery backup, RV and marine off-grid systems and remote industrial solar panel systems. Customize any kit with additional items that align with your project needs.

    Our designers are experts at building flexible systems that can grow right along with your energy needs. Solar panel kits make the perfect starting point for a project that may need more energy down the line. We customize each kit for your needs, so that your system is expandable to account for increases in energy consumption.

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