September 30, 2006 – Kid Weekend

This weekend is kid-time. I volunteered to be a bus chaperone for the Urbandale Band contest. We left home at 2:00 pm and arrived back shortly after midnight. The Bobcat band earned 2nd place in the 4A contest.

Claire in action, playing some part of the soundtrack from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It pleases her father, a former sousaphone player in marching band, to see her out strutting her stuff.

September 28, 2006 – Thingamajig Thursday #43

Here’s this week’s “Thingamajig Thursday” entry. Also check out
last week’s answer.

Back to high school biology for this. Everyone knows this is a zinnia flower, but what are the yellow thingamajigs called?

As always, put your guess in a comment below.

Answer…
The yellow thingamajigs are called “disk flowers” and the pink thingamajigs are called “ray flowers.”

September 26, 2006 – Friends Across the Field

Today is a “Meet a Neighbor” day. Nancy lives to the northwest of us. In the winter, the sun sets over their house (from our perspective). We share many things with Nancy, mainly a zest for life and courage to pursue non-mainstream lives.

I’m a little bit late with this entry as the piece she is holding is from her just-ended show at the local art gallery entitled “Perspective is Everything” which was a group of assemblages – sculptures of sorts, made from thrown away or kitschy objects that tell a story or provide a view of the world or a small part of it.

This is one of the assemblages that was in the show, “on loan” from high hopes gardens. Those of you who know us, will see objects that somehow symbolize us. This one rests in our china hutch in the living room.

September 25, 2006 – Endless Attic Work

Today is the last day for a while that I will be home and the weather is supposed to be above 60. That means today’s priority is to work on applying polyurethane to trim and bookcase boards for the attic outside where the fumes are not a problem.

I like to do this outside, instead of applying it in a confined space and breathing all the fumes. The hay rack makes a nice platform to work from.

September 24, 2006 – Raspberries Won’t Die!

The frost was not a killing frost – only a handful of tomato plants bit the dust. The raspberries keep going…

Someone asked the variety – they are the old traditional fall variety – Heritage.

One of the neighbors had a “block” party this afternoon(A block meaning a couple of miles square) for all the old and new neighbors to get together. We had some a few years ago, but hadn’t had any for a while, so it was nice to have the tradition picked up again.

September 23, 2006 – Octemberfest 2006

This weekend is Marshalltown’s town festival weekend – Octemberfest.

I like this picture from the parade, shot away from the action, as everyone awaits the next entry. Times like this, Marshalltown looks like an old-style midwestern county seat.

This was kind of a creepy entry – a black horse-drawn hurse buggy with glass sides to allow viewing of the body. To finish it off, the buggy is pulled by a team of horses draped with black netting.

Finally, here’s our Claire, somewhere in the middle of this row of the Bobcat Marching band. It looks like this photo caught the band demonstrating nearly perfect foot work!

September 22, 2006 – Photo Friday – “Girl”

This week’s Photo Friday Contest theme is “Girl.” It was REALLY hard to choose my favorite girl picture. I think this one shows a girl (Emma) in the middle of the golden age of girlhood, age 11.

Today was the first planning meeting for the Iowa Network for Community Agriculture (INCA) conference to be held in Marshalltown in February. I’m sure more will follow!

September 19, 2006 – Family Poet

Here’s Claire’s thoughts on the threat of frost tonight.

The summer labor, under the burning sun
beating down, warming and browning our shoulders and the land
has nearly come to an end.

The tediousness of an extravagant crop,
all summer plucking the fruits from the vines
again and again,
to the point of insanity
where you honestly want to set the luscious fruitful gardens ablaze
and stand and relish the leaping flames devouring your precious
but exhausted plants.

But then the cold comes,
a bitter chill, and then they seem more precious. Out
to pick more of the never-ending supply before the crop is wiped out by winter winds.

Out to pick the fruits
    Out to cover the pumpkins
         Out to harvest the last bits
of the garden that you thought you despised – for its bounty
but found in reality, you love.

September 18, 2006 – Birthday Weekend

Both the girls turned a year older this weekend – their birthdays are only a day apart (and two years). Claire got a new desk to do homework on and Emma a digital camera, so expect more pictures like the thunderheads from Emma. Claire had some friends out for pizza, and they went to the football game to watch the marching band and then they had a slumber party. Emma will take a bunch of friends cosmic bowling next weekend.

Who would have guessed years ago that Linda, Claire, and Emma would go to a football game and I would stay home!

September 17, 2006 – More Food By

Yesterday was a marathon food preserving day.

  • 24 8 oz jars of whole raspberries
  • 16 jars of raspberry jam
  • 16 jars of peach jam
  • 28 pints of canned peaches
  • 8 bags of frozen beans

Some of the jobs are quick – like the berries, just put whole berries in jar, fill with light syrup (sugar and water) and put in boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

Other jobs are more lengthy – like the peaches, blanch the peaches and slip off the skins, cut to remove pit, add some light syrup and bring to boil, then pack in jars and put in boiling water canner for 25 minutes.

The kids love the peaches and I love the berries on cereal and in yogurt for breakfast. It’s great in the winter when the fresh fruit supply dwindles, to be able to reach for a jar of fruit to add to any meal.