I didn’t do this post justice, so it is time for a “do-over.” This will be the 2nd to last post for this blog, Now that I’ve had some time and distance, the enormity of it all is more apparent. Nearly 20 years of “stuff” off to the highest bidder. The auctioneer came out on Friday and got most of it set up. Since there was a 0 percent chance of rain, we were good to go – until about midnight Friday night when frequent lightning approached. So, armed with tarps and car headlights, we covered as much as we could. It was a fretful and rather restless night as round after round of rain pelted most of our farm-related belongings set out in the yard.
This is the remains of the boxes that were rendered useless by the all night rain – about 2 inches worth that fell.
And of course, it was a nice Iowa summer day!
At any rate, here are some photos of the auction all ready to go. As kind of a farewell, I’m going to do a bit of “what strikes Mark about the photo” for each.
Aah, Silverball, the 2002 Prizm with over 250,000 miles. Trusty commuter car and freedom for Claire and Emma for school and at summer camp. All the bikes that have not been used much since the move to a gravel road. The motorized John Deere tractor that Martin loved and hauled garden produce and other things in his own loader bucket. And the mini-horse cart that was never pulled by a horse, but was pulled by people.
What strikes me about this photo is the familiarity of the shadows on the ground. I’ve come to know the patterns of the shadows throughout the days and the seasons on the farm. A way of becoming closer to a place through observation. The tiller and single plow were great labor-savers in planting garlic and preparing beds for planting.
The bees – livestock you really don’t “own.” I think of the challenges we had on our farm due to the pervasive ground and aerial spraying around our place. We finally gave up. Our best hives were at another farm that had acres of native prairie and a buffer from the spray.
On nearly any acreage, the time allotted to mowing can be substantial. Here is the collection of mowers form years gone by. A milestone for the kids was the first time they were allowed to mow using the riding mowers.
I see the barn here. The signature outbuilding on the property. In the time we lived there, seven barns within two miles of us were destroyed. This barn is something that will soon be rare on an Iowa farm.
I think of my father in this photo. I see an old woodstove he had in a previous house, a utility trailer of his that I rebuilt, and an old boat and motor that had set idle for 20 years after plying the waters of Minnesota for my entire youth.
Raising chickens comes to mind here. The portable grain bin and old cages used to transport the chickens to the locker before we butchered them ourselves. Gonna miss those meat birds in the freezer.
The old corn crib. I love the new white roof. All the outbuildings but the barn had bad to non-existent roofs. I remember being up on the roof and calling Linda on the cell phone to come out and lift up another section, then return to the house to mind the young children until I had that piece screwed in and call again for the next piece.
This is a collection of old things I didn’t use much, save the blade for plowing snow. I am grateful we planted the maple tree for shade for the animals in the cement area. Amazing how fast it grows (or how old I am)!
I see the struggling peach trees in the back of this photo. Peaches are iffy in this part of the country, but we usually got a couple of good years from each tree, which was worth it. I also remember watching tornadoes coming out of the clouds a few miles south of here.
The piles of old dimensional lumber to the right are from the original house on the property (the mortgage company almost didn’t let us buy the property with such a hazardous building). But we took it apart board by board and had lumber whenever we needed it.
I think of friend and neighbor Nancy in this photo – the dragonfly vase she found for us. This symbolizes all the “stuff” you can’t take with you, but the significance of the relationships can never be lost.
Unfinished business. That could be said for many of the photos. There is always something else to do on the farm. I see an industrial size light fixture that was never mounted in the machine shed here.
The “lumberyard” built into one side of the corn crib, with lumber from a disassembled garage.
The tractors. There is something about driving and using an old tractor. I was lucky enough to have a classic 1947 Farmall Cub and a 1960’s era John Deere 2510 with a loader bucket. I could attach tillers, blades, and plows. On a small farm, the loader is incredibly useful.
Here’s a collection of mostly hand tools. This hearkens to thinking about the market garden work we did. It was great for the girls to see crops from planting to selling at market. This will be the second to last post on the high hopes gardens section of the blog.
While Linda was off doing “minister stuff” Martin and I took to some exploring.
We are headed to the flume, a natural gorge, 25 minutes from Plymouth. Here is a bridge along the way.
The falls at the top of the flume.
The crazy fun walkway that leads through the gorge. This walkway is removed every winter so it is not destroyed by ice.
Blueberries in bloom.
The view from somewhere near the middle of the mountain.
The Sentinel bridge on the Flume trail.
Maaahtin on the bridge.
A view of Mount Liberty. If you squint, you can see George Washington in repose as the mountain.
Up the road a piece at Crawford Notch.
While we were in Plymouth for candidating week, we often awoke at 5:30 am. Rather than staring at the ceiling, we often went for a short morning hike.
Coffee in hand, we arrive at Quincy Bog, just a few minutes from the hotel.
It’s an interesting area of wetland, bog, and wildlife. We saw many spring flowers, lady slippers, and one evening Martin and I saw one of the beavers that live here, including a great tail slap on the water.
There are many boardwalks that cut through the trail, giving you access to territory you would not normally be able to walk to.
And no, the bugs were not bad at all (perhaps the early morning chill helped).
Check out the listing on Zillow!
The search is over (well almost)! Linda has been called by the Starr King Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Plymouth, NH as their ministerial candidate. We will travel to Plymouth in about a month when Linda will get a chance to preach a couple of sermons, meet the congregation, and then a vote will be held whether to affirm her as the new minster.
The church building is about 30 years old and looks like a church you might expect in the White Mountain region of New Hampshire. The round turret with the high windows gives light in the center of the sanctuary.
This is a picture of the new religious education expansion wing in the back of the church.
Plymouth is about an hour and 45 minutes from Boston, about an hour and a half from coast of Maine, and a couple hours to the Adirondacks. The ski resorts in the White Mountains (and highest point in New England) start about 10 minutes away, as is the northern edge of the Lakes region of New Hampshire. Plymouth is also home to a state university.
Now all we have to do is sell a farm and find a place to live.
It’s not hard to travel through a number of states in the NE.
On the ferry across Lake Champlain, as is the case most of the time, a Subaru is ahead of us.
Near Plymouth, NH is Squam Lake.
Looks a lot like Northern Minnesota, in fact, it is the same rock formation as the North Shore of MN.
The view from our cabin window the morning before heading back to Boston to catch a flight back home.
Can you say windy? It felt almost dangerously windy on top of Whiteface Mountain.
We cheated and took the leisurely drive up Whiteface Mountain instead of hiking 10 miles, but still had to climb up the last 300 feet.
Not that the last 300 feet was a superhighway, but there were rails.
It was a different season on top of the mountain than in the valley.
Fall becomes winter.
The view looking southeast.
Obligatory selfie on summit.
With Lake Placid behind her, Linda is stunned to find out Team USA defeats the Soviet Union 4-3!
Back down, the light from the heavens shines down on Linda.
Taking her pose in a BWCA-like campsite along a lake. Scroll down to see what Linda’s looking at.
Another lake, about a 480 rod portage from the nearest road.
Another day devoted to hiking in the morning and driving in the afternoon.
Yet another “pond” along a trail.
Another view of the pond.
Another pond on a different trail.
A mountain stream showing its fall colors.
Some planty stuff for the flora lovers.
Forr Emma – a gazebo roof gone wild with lichens and moss.
Finally at our resting place for the night, an old fashioned 1 bedroom Adirondack cabin.
After a couple of days in Boston and fortunately missing the hurricane that was a possibility for the coast, it was off to greater New England. First day was in the SE Adirondacks in a cabin on Brant Lake near Lake George.
Linda dutifully signing in the trail log book in case we don’t come out, they know the names of the bodies.
Someone ahead of us had a sense of humor – you’ll see a presidential candidate with the final destination cut off the picture – the White House.
The forest here is spacious and open for the most part.
This was the steepest hike of the trip – about 1400 feet elevation gain – pretty much always up without any switchbacks.
A wonderful mushroom that looked edible, but since we did not have a mycologist aboard, let it be.
Finally the day has arrived for Linda to make the pilgrimage to Boston appear before the Ministerial Fellowshipping Committee to get the green, yellow, or red light to apply for positions as a minister.
We hoped entering on the Red Line was not an ominous sign, nor the downpour which closed down the red line shortly after we exited.
Later, we met up with another of Linda’s fellow seminarians. In the background is a spot on the Freedom Trail – King’s Chapel – the oldest Unitarian Church in the U.S. Another night we did attend services there as well.
Evidently the forbearers of the American democracy did not feel compelled to use particularly religious symbols on their tombstones as this motif was the most common in the graveyards that included the Revere’s and John Hancock among others.
Linda as she happily exits the MFC interview with a green light to move ahead!
Who has more patience?
Up on top of telephone pole.
At bottom of pole.
Squirrel get antsy, takes a flying leap about five feet from the ground and makes it to a tree.
Had a chance to see the bro’s band this weekend.
They played at the “Pallet Party” in North Oslo MN.
The paryt has evolved over the years – from a bunch of marines getting together once a year, to a two day blowout with live music, lots of food, beverages, fires, and more.
The band with namesake Gus – a black bulldog.
Gus enjoying the limelight. The band was named following a wedding reception where the bride and groom could only afford a short list of open bar patrons, so the close friends and family who went to the bar and said “Gus sent me” got free drinks.
Brother Kraig on lead vocals.
Sister Julie checking out the dairy bulk cooler with assorted beverage. Was good to see the siblings and get an earful of Gus Sent Me!
A few years ago I “accidentally” found a wood strip canoe for sale on Craigslist. I was actually trying to sell a canoe, not buy one.
But I found homemade this strip canoe that had been sitting in a shed for over 20 years, protected from weather and UV light. It was love at first sight.
After a bit of rigamarole to get it licensed (many thanks to the mother of the owner for handling all the paperwork), we finally got it out on the water.
It is a work of art – here is some of the detail inside the canoe. I think it would look great on a lake near a cabin someday!
A sunflower popped up inches from the kitchen window.
Mr. Goldfinch pulls seeds out of the sunflower and places them on the “table.”
And then proceeds to get the meat out of the nuts. A great addition to doing the dishes!