Now with the snow gone and all, it’s time for a walk around the farm to see what’s up.
The plums are usually one of the first out of the gate.
This pear is just starting to bloom, while another variety has already finished.
This one’s just peachy!
Apples are a bit behind the rest of the gang.
This cherry tree was blown horizontal in a storm two years ago and I didn’t have the heart to take it out, and it looks like it’s making a case to stay, even though the trunk is horizontal – easy picking from the top of the tree!
A close-up of the cherry blossoms.
Mushroom logs are beginning to set fruit as well.
Garlic is looking on target as well.
Now that you’ve proved your strength, you won, now go away!
It’s still snowing and already both the highest May snowfall ever and most snow ever for the month of May (and there’s still 28 days left!).
These lilac leaves didn’t have a chance.
A country road in May.
I’m a little late with prom photos, but here is prom circa 2013.
I’ve been busy in this time of year when the ground is snow-free and vegetation-free to gather up years of accumulated scrap metal from around the farm, most of which predates our arrival here.
With scrap prices fairly high, instead of taking it to the landfill, I’ve been getting around $60 bucks a trailer load and have scrounged up four loads so far. It’s a triple win – the farm gets cleaned up, the metal gets recycled and I get paid to do it!
I’ve been captivated with Claire’s photographs from Iceland. It was an optional trip in her study abroad in Denmark. The vistas, water, and absence of power lines and other human marks upon the landscape make it an interesting place.
The first stop, was of course, Reykjavík, the largest city, consisting of about 120,000 people.
An Icelandic harbor.
Can you say layers? Claire’s got it down.
The Lutherans do it up in grand style in Iceland!.
Claire’s comment on this outfit: “Icelandic fashion, go home, you’re drunk”.
I hope she doesn’t drag this fellow home!.
Beware Vikings ahead! Claire was quoted in an article in the Copenhagen paper asking about American impressions of what Vikings are like.
She had a chance to do all the things you’re supposed to do/see in Iceland.
This at the Whale Fjord. The only picture out of water where she isn’t bundled up!
An Icelandic farm with the famous Icelandic horses. This breed is the only kind of horse in Iceland. Importing any horse is illegal, and if one of these leaves the country it cannot ever come back.
Here she is with one of the horses.
They took the horses on a ride through the countryside.
The intriguing Gullfoss waterfalls .
Another view of the falls.
In Claire’s own words “The most awkward titanic photo ever!”
Another of Iceland’s features are the geysers. in fact, this place geysir is where the word “geyser” comes from.
Thar she blows, this one, every five minutes.
Of course, there are hot springs from all the geothermal activity. This is the BLue Lagoon.
How cool is it to be in water in Iceland?.
Out in the countryside.
This crack is where the european and north american plates meet.
With some fellow students at a late sunset near the harbor.
Emma said one of her goals in high school was to be on a state championship team. Today, her team won the Iowa Envirothon championship. The photo and story below are from a press release from the school. Emma’s contribution was to envision a rotational grazing plan for 186 acres of pasture.
Marshalltown High School is once again the state Envirothon champion.
MHS Team 1, comprised of juniors Abby Snyder, Adam Willman and Ilene Finn and seniors Joe Metzger and Emma Runquist placed first at the state contest Monday, April 15, at Springbrook State Park in Guthrie Center. The team placed first in Wildife and Oral Presentation categories, placing overall ahead of Des Moines FFA by 3.75 points.
The title earns them a trip to the North American championship this summer in Bozeman, Montana.
Sixteen teams competed at the state competition, and about 60 teams competed at statewide regional competitions. The contest consisted of four outdoor stations covering forestry, wildlife, soils, and aquatics as well as a 15-minute oral presentation on this year’s current issue of range-land management.
Many of you may remember that last year when I was cutting down the willows, the chain saw took a slice out of my leg (allowing me to recover and watch the first weekend of the NCAA BB games without guilt).
No such luck this year. After donning the chaps and steel-toes, I was able to cut down all the willows. This is a shot after the fact as we are collecting them all for the burn pile. I’m keeping them coppiced for ornamental and forage purposes.
The never-ending winter continues.
The few days it gets above 32, a bit of sap runs and then it freezes.
More snow last night. I had the pleasure of driving back and forth to Iowa City to pick up Linda from her weekend in Chicago. Love that drive with the snow, wind, slush, and semis!
Martin has spent a great deal of time making his PVC marimba for a Science Olympiad contest. He let dad use the power tools to cut the pipe and wood, but did most of the rest himself. First he had to calculate the lengths of pipes using this formula:
Tube length = (Speed of sound/2*frequency) plus (Tube diameter/2)
Of course, first he had to calculate the speed of sound = (Tube length – tube diameter/2) * 2 * frequency
But first, he had to have a way to get the frequency, and there is a neat Kindle tuner app that shows the frequency and note.
At any rate, without further ado, Martin playing his home-made instrument!
And a photo in case the video is too slow.
Even though we have had seriously below normal temperatures, running 10-20 degrees below normal all month, the maple s are beginning to show signs of life.
This was the first year a tree I planted was big enough to tap!
We’ve had precipitation 10 out of 14 days so far this month. I’m ready for some sunshine!
The ditches are filling up with water as the snow melts and the rain has mainly been “on” for a couple of days.
This along the road where Linda Maizy commonly walk.
Maizy got a bonus walk today as we walked down to check out the meltwaters.
Even the temporary stream in the back pasture is flowing.
A panorama of the back pasture.
It was a tough drive home last night. While the roads were perfectly dry in town, out here, it was a different story. Even though a neighbor cleared one lane last night, even the blacktop county road was down to one lane in parts, along with our road.
While it seems I’m spending all my time the last week driving on icy roads and bringing cars in for service, Emma had great news as she will join her sister in working at Wolf Ridge Environmental Center on the North Shore of Lake Superior this summer. Meanwhile, Claire is touring Hamburg and Berlin as we speak.
It’s been a busy couple of weekends wrapping up Emma’s college selection activities. Last weekend is was off to Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and this week at Gustavus Adolphus college in St. Peter Minnesota. It is hard not to compare the events since they were so close together in time.
Emma will not make her decision (and it is her decision), until she gets the final aid offers from the schools still on her list – Iowa State, Luther, Gustavus, and St. Olaf. Since she has a strong interest in science and music, it seemed like Lutheran schools on hills fit the bill!
For full disclosure, I have many reasons for liking her decision whatever it may be.
Iowa State – Both Linda and I are alums, Linda with her Ph.D. and me with my M.A.
St. Olaf – Of all the schools we visited, I’m most impressed with the visit experience and facilities.
Luther – All of our kids (Martin this year) have spent numerous weeks at the summer music camp there and the trout streams are a bonus!
Gustavus – Important folks from my younger days, including Marianne K, whose house I lived in during college, and Annette Boman, outstanding friend, scientist, and mother who was taken from us much too early were Gusties, decades apart.
The visit to Luther exceeded my expectations. Emma was invited there for “Scholar Days” to interview for the school’s “Imagine Fellowship.” The day did a great job of “showing” us the school rather than “telling” us about it. The day of the usual sessions was interspersed with heartwarming musical performances by the students. Emma was able to visit the cadaver lab and attend a session on the physiology of running, while I went to a more traditional session on study abroad and a presentation in the planetarium by a physics instructor. Students and faculty were front and center throughout the day, and perhaps the most brilliant stroke was our discovery that at the assigned seats for lunch, all the prospective students at our table were all high school XC runners AND thinking about pre-health professions. Wow, everybody here is just like me!
At Gustavus, Emma was interviewing for the highest academic scholarship. It was a more traditional visit day, with more “telling” than “showing” with perhaps the lowlight of the visit a talk by the college President, Jack Ohle. Part of his remarks included telling us about the Gustavus “brand” along with the focus groups and process that went into creating the “brand.” Suddenly, I felt like I had been reduced to a pawn in an advertising contest. Like that of a carbonated beverage or political campaign, the message was finely crafted to be what I wanted to hear, at least until the current brand doesn’t work and it is “re-branded.” Be that as it may, the school is also full of dedicated staff and faculty along with engaging students (in my eyes much more important to care and nurture those important elements, rather than “branding.”). One of the highlights for Emma was when I dragged her to a table with a couple of staff members from a session I had attended and we had an engaging conversation about current social justice issues.
Now Emma waits by the mailbox for the rest of her information to make her decision. She’s eager to know what next year brings to her!
Last year at this time, we were tapping maple trees for sap. This year seems a bit more normal.
We’re on about 36 straight hors of snow after the prediction was for “occasional flurries” with some places getting up to an inch. The closest town to our west measured 14 inches and to the east 10 inches, so we probably got a bout a foot. Last week they warned us three days before about a major storm that turned out to fizzle. Now this one, they did not make any warnings until hours after the storm started. More of the same predicted for the first week of March, so I’m going with in like a lion, out like a lamb this year!