August 17, 2005 – Joy!

Martin enjoying a wild swing from his sister.
Today was full of odds and ends – changing oil and plugs on the mower, picking up chicken food and setting up the brooding room (chicks may come in mail tomorrow or Friday), canning tomatoes, and so on…

This week we have a visitor for “country mouse/city mouse exchange. Tonight she helped milk the new goat.
goat milk

August 16, 2005 – New Mower

I’ve made an upgrade in mowing from the old riding tractor to the not-so-old mower. They are both green. This one when you turn a tight circle leaves about a 6-8 inch circle of uncut grass. The old one left about 6-8 foot circle. Mowing time is probably cut in half. The first time I rode it, I thought I might need some Dramamine to prevent getting dizzy from whipping around the trees.
525

August 15, 2005 – Welcome Blaze!

I know, Blaze sounds more like a horse than a dairy goat, but a dairy goat she is. She was a ribbon winner at the Story County Fair and some neighbors bought her a few weeks ago before they knew they were moving. Getting the goat home was like a scene one may have seen in a joint episode of “Sanford and Son “and the Beverly Hillbillies. The truck was crammed full of garbage for a dump trip the next day, so we brought the “new” utility open-top trailer and Linda and the goat rode in the back.

Here’s our girl, posing.

Here’s a head shot. She’s a great milker. We let Paullina rest starting last week, so it’s nice to get some more milk.

August 14, 2005 – Iowa State Fair

Today was the annual pilgrimage to the Iowa State Fair, now rated one of the top 10 places to visit for a family vacation along with the Grand Canyon, Colorado Rockies, and seven other places I can’t remember. Today, I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking.

Here’s Claire on the mezannine of the Agriculture Building. Just over her left shoulder in a refrigerated case is the
life-size butter cow.

The best way to see the fair is on the skyglider floating above the fair.

Among the many agricultural curiosities at the fair are the big bull, big sow, big sheep, etc. Here’s this year’s big bull, weighing in at a shade under 3,000 pounds.

Today was Wells Fargo day at the fair, so we had a free concert by Jo Dee Messina.

Here are a couple of “Fair Girls.”

kellior

Garrison Kellior of the Prairie Home Companion, spoke with the winner of a 4-H family research project. He was spellbounding talking about the project and weaving his own stories into the talk. He’s a quick wit!

August 12, 2005 – Rain, Rain

It has been very unusual for August – things are starting to mold (raspberries and tomatoes) and mushrooms are popping up in the yard. The combination of still winds, frequent rain and drizzle and warmth makes things tough in the garden. It is unusual not to have any brown patches in the lawn.

We started getting ready for market today and went clothes shopping for Linda in Des Moines and had a dinner at a co-worker’s with “the Department.”

August 11, 2005 – Claire’s Trip Part II

Claire is guest blogging again for part two.

When we were in Salem, we went on a working replica of a ship called Friendship of Salem. It was captured in the War of 1812.
bostonboat
Five of us went on the ship and toured it. It had a deck with all the working ropes, and a place underneath that had sleeping quarters, storage, and tools for navigation. It was very interesting. After that we went wading in the Atlantic Ocean (there were no waves due to the fact that it was a harbor).
The next day we went to Glouchester. We saw the first Universalist Church that was built as a Universalist Church. We walked around the streets and then went to lunch. Our group ate at a little cafe. We met up as a group and rode the bus to the beach. We had fun swimming, making sand castles, body surfing, and burying each other.

These are a few of the middleschoolers, Thomas and Alex, being buried. I was buried but for obvious reasons I could not take a picture of myself as I was completely buried.
That night we had a talent show back at the Salem church. There was music, jokes, magic tricks, skits, art, poetry, and stage combat. It was a lot of fun.
The next morning we packed up and went to Walden’s Pond. This is where my camera’s memory card got full so the only picture I have is of the parking lot.

I was surprised to find out that you could actually swim in this beautiful place. It was a lot bigger than I imagined. I thought it would be marshy, small, muddy, and unpleasant to swim in. Basically I thought of your typical Iowa farm pond. Anyway, it was the most clean water I have ever swam in. It was clear, clean, and fresh. After that we journeyed to Concord to dine and then walked to Louisa May Alcott’s house. It was beautiful and most of the stuff was original. We left Concord and returned to the E&P house.

Sunday was our final day in Boston. In the morning, we attended Arlington Street Church. It was a very nice service, and they had good snacks afterward. Banana cake with whipped cream đŸ™‚ We changed and took the Subway to Harvard Square, where we again divided into groups. I ended up in a group with four boys (in case you were wondering their names were Sarek, Dylan, Rory, and Alex). We ate at a really nice pizza/Italian place. Later, we found one of those photo booth things and somehow we all fit in the tiny contraption. Unfortunately, the machine was talking in some foreign language none of us could understand, so I, the one in the front, starting pushing random buttons and eventually it spit out a picture. It was the one where Sarek was hitting Rory on the head with a pop bottle, Dylan was taking up half of the picture, and I was sitting in the front looking squished. Perfect. It was really us.

On the way home on the bus, we had fun watching five movies a day, playing with duct tape, socializing loudly, and rearranging ourselves in new seats. We got caught in traffic south of Chicago and went fifteen miles in an hour and a half. It turned out that the air conditioning on the bus only worked when it was moving fast, so we were frying. We arrived home late on the ninth, about ten. It was a great trip, one of the best so far.

August 10, 2005 – Claire’s Trip Part I

Claire is guest blogging today.

I just returned from a trip to Boston, Salem, and other places in that area of Massachusetts with this year and last year’s Coming of Age groups. We rode a charter bus, and left early August first. We drove for twelve hours and made it to the eastern border of Ohio. We stayed at a church there, and drove for another twelve hours the next day to Boston. On the bus, we mainly watched movies (about four a day), slept, and talked. The first day we spent in Boston, we went to the Unitarian Universalist Association Headquarters and toured it. We walked the Freedom Trail and saw King’s Chapel, Old North Church, Paul Revere’s house, and other significant historical sites including the Massachusetts state capital.

After we walked the Freedom Trail, we returned to the Quincy Street Market, where we divided into groups for shopping and eating dinner. We watched street performers, magicians and acrobats, and went to a wide variety of shops. Even though it was a shopping area, like most of Boston it had a few historical statues and such thrown in.

The next day we journeyed to Salem, where we spent three nights in the Universalist church. We went to the witch dungeon museum, pirate museum, a ghost tour of Salem, and the harbor, where we toured a ship and waded in the Atlantic.
On this trip, I think our group became really tight, and the relationship was very much like that of a large family with twenty-two kids. It was like we were all siblings. The rest of the trip will be continued in another addition of this fine blog (good job with it dad!). Now can I have my own?

August 9, 2005 – Religious Personal Care Items?

Today, I had a bit of an unusual experience – a pocket comb broke in half. These are usually advertised as “unbreakable.” As I was getting ready to toss it in the garbage bin, I noticed there was a slogan on the comb:
jesus saves
Hmmm. “Jesus Saves” on a plastic hair comb. It sounds like a good story for “This American Life” one of my favorite radio shows. What would prompt someone to set up their comb factory to embed this on a comb? Why did I not notice the slogan until after the comb had broken? Does the slogan weaken the comb and make it more likely to break? What does Jesus think getting his name dragged through people’s hair countless times a day? How many other products have religious slogans on them of which I am unaware. If you remember some, leave a comment for all to see.

August 8, 2005 – Winter Meals Made Easy

At 9:00 am these carrots were in the ground and by 1:00 they were out of the pressure canner.canned carrots

While I was messing with the carrots, Linda was chopping up and freezing the bruised and imperfect onions. So now, all we need to make chicken soup in the winter is a few hours of cooking time – the carrots and onions are all cleaned and peeled, and chicken in the freezer.

It’s seemed a little bit like London in 1940 the last few days with the crop dusters buzzing around, especially when they are clearing the tree tops above our house by what seems inches. It’s amazing to watch them fly, but disconcerting knowing the imperfect applications of poisons they drop off. Watching the planes fly, I was wondering how many crash, and I saw in today’s papers that two have gone down this weekend, in a crop field in Green Mountain and in someone’s front yard in Osage.

August 7, 2005 – High Hopes Salon

Today was the day for goat pedicures at High Hopes. Nothing but luxury here! We are rookies at the goat hoof trimming experience, but here’s how it goes.
goat hoof trim

Paullina is led into the barn to the goat stanchion for trimming.

goat hoof trim

Here’s a before picture of a very overgrown goat hoof.

goat hoof trim

Linda hard at work trimming the hoof. It doesn’t hurt the goat, but the material is very hard and needs special goat shears.

goat hoof trim

Here’s a newly trimmed hoof.

goat hoof trim

A picture of all 4 hooves neatly trimmed!

Besides this, we also got the chicken house shoveled out and lots of mowing and trimming around this year’s tree planting.

August 6, 2005 – Taking the Bad with the Good

All in all, it has been one of those “full” days. I don’t mean full in the sense of lots of activities, but full of many meaningful and interesting moments. The day started at 6:00 am getting ready for Farmer’s Market. We wanted to try Grinnell’s market. It was also the day to pick up Emma from 4H camp.

The truck was all loaded for market, running just a tad behind schedule, but still ok. Linda was going to market, and I to get Emma and the truck steering column locked up. The wheels were turned sharply when the truck was turned off and the key would not turn the truck over, nor would the steering wheel move. I’ve had this happen before, but it was relatively quick to turn hard on the wheel to make it break loose. We tried over and over and started to feel hopeless about a truck full of produce and flowers and immobilized.

In desperation, I got out an old logging chain (forged in Duluth, MN) and tried pulling the truck with the tractor to try to break the impasse. On the second try it worked. Linda had a good day at market – sold all the flowers, lots of garlic and nobody complained about the prices!

It was good to see Emma again and learn of her week at camp. We had a sheep (Beatrice see blog entry for her arrival) that seemed a bit listless yesterday and when we got home from the morning activities, she was dead. She showed no signs of bloat or diarrhea, just went down. So we spent some time digging a hole to bury her. I’ve come to accept that death is a part of raising livestock, but it’s never easy.

The rest of the day we put up some more sweet corn (last of the season) and picked and peeled the remaining apples from the first three apple trees to ripen. We just peeled and cut up the apples and froze them to make applesauce in bulk at a later time. We did get a 92 inch continuous apple peel!
applepeel
On our way back from the camp we stopped in at “Mousehole Days” in Melbourne to drop the key off to the new lawnmower for my lawnmower guy and fire chief to look it over and haul it home for me. Martin got the chance to sit in the firetruck and blow the fire truck siren!

August 6, 2005 – Special Bonus Emma Update

Today Emma returned from a week at 4-H Camp and writes this blog entry. “I spent the last week in 4H camp and had a blast!
4h camp
This is a picture of all the “everything campers” and I am on the end.
4h camp
One day we got to herd the horses and feed them. The brown one was really fat because it was really friendly.
4h camp
This is the high ropes course. I did the vertical log and thats a log leaning against a tree and you had to climb up it. I also did the post man walk where you walk on one rope and hold onto two ropes about 20 feet off the ground. One kid sat on the log for 30 minutes. We did a climbing towers and I got up about 30 feet off the ground.
4h camp
This is when we were sampling pioneer camp and my friend and I set up the tent and slept in it.
There was this one guy and he would wait for you outside the bathroom door and take pictures when you came out. My friend came up with the name “Papparazi Dude” for him. My counselor and cabin mates were really nice. The boys were annoying. We had three campfires and they were fun. We had one dance and more Papparazi dude pictures. We went on a creek walk and covered ourselves in mud. We went swimming for 5 hours one say it was awesome. I want to go back next year.

August 5, 2005 – Farm Picnic

Linda’s Uncle Ralph and his family was in town from Montana. (In some interesting linguistic development, when referring to Ralph and his family, the term “Ralphs” is used. Not Ralph and Mary Jane or Ralph’s family, or Smith’s, but “Ralphs.” So as long as Ralphs were here, the whole local grandma Jo side of the family came, including “Waynes” and many cousins, totaling about 21 for dinner.
picnic
We have had so many family gatherings at Waynes, it was nice to host for a change. (Although I still have a way to go before we have the pond, beach, zip line etc.)
ralph
Uncle Ralph relaxing in the Adirondack.
ralph
Here’s now the middle generation of the family now that all the grandparents have passed away.
waynes
A nice shot of Waynes.

cuzins

The newest generation – a group of four year olds acting goofy in the playground.