June 30, 2007 – Trees Gone Wild!

The trees that are in their third year in the ground at high hopes are really taking off this year.

This tree is typical of that year of trees.  It has sent a leader skyrocketing 21 inches-many of the other trees have experienced similar growth.  This year’s seedlings, while not sending up that much, have 3-4 inches of growth.  They must be happy with the intermittent, but heavy rains we’ve experienced this season.

one year ago…

June 29, 2007 – Welcome Facets Readers!

Today Linda and the girls were featured in a monthly magazine published by the Ames Tribune – the July version of Facets.  As soon as I can get a link up, I will.  This issue focused on “green women” in central Iowa.


Linda contributed “little green gems” numbers 51-63 in the issue.  The only correction we would make to the article is the photo captions switched Claire and Emma!  Thanks to Sue Ellen for making the drive out and meeting with the girls of high hopes.

In other news today, A little birdie told Linda that a local foundation contributed $75,000 to the Entrepreneurial and Diversified Agriculture program that Linda founded at Marshalltown Community College. Â More good news may be on the way soon as the farm bill and other federal appropriations are announced.  She has worked extremely hard to get this program off the ground and do her part to support sustainable agriculture in this part of the earth. More on that in upcoming weeks.

one year ago…

June 27, 2007 – Milestones!

Today our baby girl got her driver’s permit!  We’re hoping that the clutch holds up in the Prizm and we’re not quite ready to let her drive the new van yet.  She drove to the post office on her first trip and library on her second trip.  I’m alive to blog so you know the drive must have been successful! In typical Claire fashion, she wanted to let everyone know that her shirt does not say Wal-Mart, it says “Mall-Wart – Your source for cheap plastic cr#$”
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June 25, 2007 – Strawberry Renovation

Today was the beginning of strawberry renovation (or more accurately, retirement). This is an ugly strawberry patch. We harvested the last of the berries today and that is the end for this patch.

Strawberries are difficult to keep weeded, especially organically-grown berries and this patch is five years old or so and the weed pressures finally made it unbearable to weed. We planned the retirement and planted a fresh patch this spring. Next year, that one will be ready and nearly weed-free!

So we just mow the old one down, spread some manure and old bedding (seen in the photo above) then cover the soil and let the critters of the dark take over the decomposing and kill all the weeds that remain. Next spring this will be available for general garden planting.

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June 24, 2007 – Anniversary/Roadside Natives

Today was our 18th anniversary! We pretended to live in the city today for something different. We went to Des Moines and went for a walk around the new trail around Gray’s Lake, dined at one the city’s “happening” restaurants – Centro, stalked the aisles of a funky gourmet/organic market, drove down Grand Avenue from downtown to the end of the suburbs and watched the city change from lofts, apartments, grand brick houses in tree-lined neighborhoods, finally making way to the strip malls and beige houses in treeless housing tracts. A stop for ice cream prepared on a cold granite stone ended the day.

I didn’t bring the camera, so today’s picture is of a tiny prairie remnant close by our house – purple coneflowers, compass plant and more have somehow survived.

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June 23, 2007 – “Invasive” Plant

An invader has crept into my garage.

This plant has snuck under the garage door, ran behind some sheets of plywood (8 feet long), worked its way up the plywood, found a window and is making its way into the wall propane heater.

Today Linda made the trip tp Decorah to the Dorian Music camp at Luther College to pick up Claire after a week of band camp. Between her fellow bandmates, old and camp friends and other camp friends, she had a great week and Mom was treated to some outstanding music at the end-of-week concert.

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June 22, 2007 – Rain At Last

The rain that’s skipped over us the last few weeks graced us today and left a rainbow in its wake. 

Over 2 inches fell from the skies – enough to keep us going another week or so.

Days like this I wish for my old 35mm camera. I haven’t yet sprung for a good digital camera and I missed the old one with its arrays of filters and lenses that would have made these rainbow shots much more lifelike.

Emma was on her first official babysitting gig this evening while the storm rolled through.  It knocked the power out for about 45 minutes, but she and the kids handled it with excitement rather than fear.

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June 18, 2007 – Flower Tour

Our ground is now “hard as a rock.”  I moved some electric fence and had a hard time pushing in the posts.  Today we were promised relief from the heat and 100% chance of rain, with 2-3” amounts possible.  The rain came, but not even enough to get the ground wet under the trees.  You’ll see most of the rain still sitting on the flower petals on the following pictures.

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June 17, 2007 – Hank’s Guitar

In Neil Young’s Prairie Wind CD, there’s a song about an old guitar.

This old guitar ain’t mine to keep
Just taking care of it now
It’s been around for years and years
Just waiting in its old case
It’s been up and down the country roads
It’s brought a tear and a smile
It’s seen its share of dreams and hopes
And never went out of style
The more I play it, the better it sounds
It cries when I leave it alone
Silently it waits for me
Or someone else, I suppose
This old guitar has caught some breaks
But it never searched for gold
It cant be blamed for my mistakes
It only does what it’s told
It’s been a messenger in times of trouble
In times of hope and fear
When I get drunk and seeing double
It jumps behind the wheel and steers
This old guitar ain’t mine to keep
It’s mine to play for a while

This isn’t surprising as a guy who’s been around as long as Neil has no doubt collected many guitars. But this guitar has a bit of history longer than Neil – it’s Hank Williams’ Martin D-28 guitar. Neil bought it in a music store in Nashville in the 70’s and still plays it today. That leads me to my question for the day. Who deserves the guitar? Who should Neil Young pass the guitar onto? Back to the family to Hank Jr. or Hank III? To a country player who stays close to the roots of Hank’s music or is a good picker – Dwight Yoakam or Vince Gill? A member of another extended first family of country music – Roseanne Cash or Rodney Crowell? One of his friends – John Mellencamp? A younger person who has already established a body of work like Ryan Adams or Jeff Tweedy? If you’ve got an idea, put the name in a comment below.

one year ago…