November 27, 2005 – Shed Roof

I’ve completed one side of the shed re-roof and I think I’m done unless the weather continues mild into early December. The first step was to pound 2×4’s horizontally on the roof into the rafters and through all the shingle layers. I had to put a few 2×4’s vertically to try to take some of the bigger swales out of the roof. These give me a footing on the rotting roof and give a solid surface to screw the metal roofing into.
From up on the roof, you can see the boards.
The plan for this building is to save the part that has a new roof and build a new structure in the footprint of the part to be torn off and put in doors in one of the new sections on both sides so animals can go through or be restricted to one side or the other. It will give us many more options than we have now.

November 23, 2005 – Good Neighbor/Unrelated Tragedy

During the big storm about a week ago, we lost one of the posts of the clothesline. Now, we use the clothesline a lot and this fact must not be lost on our neighbor. He noticed the line was not upright and just happened to be driving by with his tractor and post hole digger attached and stopped by to dig a new hole.

It saves a lot of time with the hand post-hole digger!

He told us a story of a 35 year old man who borrowed someone else’s tractor and post hole digger and went out himself to put in a new fence line just last week in the northern part of Marshall county. The next day, the tractor was found, with the post hole digger still spinning, and the man found dead about 100 yards away, missing his arm at the shoulder. I just hate to think of it.

November 22, 2005 – We Have a Winner!

Today Emma found out she won a poster contest for a drug education campaign encouraging kids to avoid drugs and alcohol! Here’s her tie-dye style winning poster.

Here she is showing the poster to her classmates at a party at a bowling alley celebrating their graduation (don’t look too close at the beer poster on the wall!)

November 21, 2005 – Glads

Today we (Linda) started digging the gladiola bulbs out of the garden.

When we planted them this spring, they were less than half the size they are now.

It’s nice to see so much growth – and we can use them again next spring and will probably get bigger glads. There’s still more to get and freezing ground is not far away.

November 19, 2005 – Last Class

Starting in about a year ago, we enrolled in a “growing your small market farm” class where, among other things we wrote a business plan for an “on-farm store.” The plan and research showed us that the store would probably not be successful, so we avoided a lot of pain! We did however incorporate into an LLC and helped focus on some other planning.

Today was the last meeting after a summer hiatus and during the meeting, our instructor, Penny Huber Brown won an award as the “Woman Entrepreneur Achievement Award” for her work in helping small farmers think like small business owners.

November 18, 2005 – The 100s

Yesterday I introduced you to the local locker owners, today you get to hear about a great new Iowa band. I got their CD as a pledge gift for the KUNI public radio pledge drive. KUNI is my favorite radio station as they play everything – not just classical and jazz. They play progressive music in the evenings, folk music, blues, live concert broadcasts of local bands, and the usual assortment of news, talk etc. You can listen in on the internet at their streaming web link.

At any rate, the disc they sent (I said I don’t care what CD they sent as long as it was a local band). The 100s are a band with members from music hotbeds like Mt Vernon, Anamosa and Central City. Here’s a press review about the band:

“Uncle Tupelo started the movement. The 100s are keeping it alive in Eastern Iowa. The movement is “alt-country”, an amalgam of country, rock, punk, folk and blues. The 100s feature six veteran musicians who have played most styles of music throughout their careers. Their songs feature three- and four-part harmonies and a layered sound bolstered by banjo, mandolin, lap slide, dobro, and fiddle. “We play 14 instruments between the six of us, so there’s a lot of variation,” says guitarist and mandolin player Pete Raine.”

I like their sense of humor – here’s a picture of the 100s from their web site:
Here’s their commentary about another similar band:

From the “You’re-Not-Gonna-Believe-It-But” dept: Somewhere on the back gravel roads of Japan is a six-piece band called Hyaku-Shiki. (That’s “The 100s” in Japanese.) Here’s a shot of the band (you can check them out on their Toshiba/EMI label at You simply can’t make this stuff up. It’s like a parallel alternate universe of music on the other side of the big beach ball…

Listen to a sample from “Happy on the Farm

November 17, 2005 – State Center Locker

We are fortunate to have a good, locally owned and operated locker about 12 miles away in State Center.

Small town lockers are a very important part of a local food system and economy. In this age of vertical integration of livestock, it’s good to have small independent lockers like this one.
Ralph and Janice

Ralph and Janice are the owners and they’ve had it quite a while and made some great improvements to the facility. They do everything for us but poultry. They do a good job of accomodating our requests and customer’s requests for custom cutting and wrapping of the meat, always with a warm smile.

November 16, 2005 – Got Roof?

At a farm a couple of miles away, looks like there was a bit more wind this weekend. This was previously not site for any structure – the edge of a bean field and farm windbreak.

It looks like a roof of a pole barn lifted over the trees from the farmstead behind the trees and fell in the field and was subsequently covered with snow. If you look closely, you can see it broke off the tops of some of the trees. Today was miserably cold for any month today.

November 14, 2005 – Bad Storm Risen, Another Rising

Ok, tornadoes on Saturday, blizzard conditions on Tuesday. This is a great country!
from the forecast: “A bigger problem will be increasing winds by late Tuesday afternoon as the storm continues to strenghten. Northwest winds are forecast to increase during the afternoon with winds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts to 50 mph by Tuesday night. This will produce considerable blowing and drifting snow with near blizzard conditions. Whiteout conditions may develop Tuesday night as the winds strengthen.