September 29, 2007 – More Folks Poking Around the Farm

Today we had some students from a livestock class tour the farm. It sounds like a fun class – the students tour dairy, elk, goat, and a wide range of common and uncommon livestock farms.


We fit into the small and diversified category. Here, I am getting ready to demonstrate how owl hoots get the turkeys to gobble and fluff up their feathers.

I still remember when I learned this trick from a turkey hunter when I had a summer job at the Story County Conservation Board. I didn’t believe “Joe” when he said, he could make wild turkeys gobble. So one day when we drove down a gravel road into a small timbered valley, he stopped the truck, stuck his head out the window and gave some owl hoots, and out of the woods, came the turkey alarms. I didn’t think there were any wild turkeys living there, let alone that he could get them to talk. It even works on domestic turkeys. I guess the owls are one of the turkey’s enemies and if they hear an owl, they set out the alarm.

one year ago…

September 28, 2007 – Duct Tape Homecoming Dress

Claire has taken to heart the wide-wide world of duct tape with this application that I have not yet run across – the duct tape homecoming dress, with lacey frills.

duct tape dress
Even the shoes are duct tape and lace. It kind of reminds of the old song by Don Henley and Stevie Nicks with the lyrics, “give to me your leather, I’ll give you my lace.”  Well, duct tape and lace are lot less expensive.  I’m not sure if Claire’s home-made duct tape dress was a statement against the excesses of high school dance outfits, or if her allowance forced her to economize on her apparel. She reports it was difficult to get off and on, but it held up quite nicely throughout the dance.

one year ago…

September 26, 2007 – Family Homecoming Royalty!

We found out earlier this week that Martin was the junior boy in the Homecoming Court!


Here’s Martin with the Homecoming Court at the Coronation at the high school auditorium.


Last year he talked often about Ashlen one of his three “girlfriends.” She was the junior girl in the homecoming court. Here they pose after the ceremony. I don’t think either Linda or I ever even attended a homecoming coronation in high school, so it is sometimes strange what your kids get you to do!

He got to ride in a red mustang convertible during the parade and did the royalty thing at the football game as well.

one year ago…

September 25, 2007 – Putting Food Up

When people wander to the basement and see our assortment of canned goods, they accuse us of being Mormon or survivalists! Since we’re near the end of the canning season, I thought it would be a good time to show the canned goods. This reminds me a bit of the inside cover of Bill Bryson’s “Thunderbolt Kid” that shows a family of the 50′s posing in front of all the food they’d consume in a year. (Though, I didn’t drag out all the frozen stuff from the freezer or root crops for this photo.) I wondered how drastically that picture would change if you did the same today for the average American family – it would be dominated by pre-packaged foods and fast food containers.


The shelves contain stewed tomatoes, pickled dilly beans, peaches, blueberries, blackberries, salsa, raspberries, applesauce, and about six diffferent types of jam.

one year ago…

September 24, 2007 – Hops Harvest

The hops experiment has been somewhat successful.  The vines didn’t cover quite as much of the trellis as I’d hoped, but it did produce hops in year one!  Check out what it looked like on May 11 from the same vantage point.


So, now I’ve got to figure out what to do with them. (Actually I know what to do with them, it’s the how I lack.)


Here’s some of the harvest on the drying racks.  I’m virtually clueless on the correct time to harvest hops in this part of the country.  Any brewmasters out there have advice for me on timing and post-harvest?

one year ago…

September 23, 2007 – A Small World!

Today one of our new neighbors had some folks over to play some music at her new place and invited us over. (Yes, she is in our township, so we now may have to amend the slogan of high hopes garden’s farm music slogan to “The Original Live Music Capital of Logan Township!”


She’s the one behind the piano and the one with seven pianos in her garage!


I’m bad at remembering names, but another jammer.


Here’s the “small world” section of the entry.  This is Tim Jenkins, renowned in this part of the country as a fine dance caller.  I noticed his shirt was from a place close to one of my relatives who lives even more “off the grid” than we do in SW Wisconsin.  I asked if he knew him and his eyes lit up and turns out they play together a frequently back in Wisconsin. 

one year ago…

September 22, 2007 – Marshall County Sheriff “Takes Out” Martin

Today was the annual Octemberfest Celebration in Marshalltown.  I forgot to bring my camera to the parade, but wished I had my video camera. 

Here’s what happened.  The sheriff’s department was marching, including the honorable Sheriff Ted Kamatchus.  Like all good county sherriffs he was throwing candy to the kids.  But Sheriff Ted really upped the candy ante for this year’s parade.  No little tootsie rolls, no small caramel chews, but fun size snickers.  He had already gone past us, but turned around and Martin has learned he’s cute and if he waves his arms, candy flies his way.  Well, the sherriff spied Martin and needed a strong throw to get the Snickers to back Martin.  The sherrif has quite an arm – the candy whizzed at Martin at MLB pitcher speed instead of church league underhand softball speed.


Exhibit A
Snickers Bar With Sherriff Ted Kamatchus Fingerprints

The snickers hit him on the cheek and he bent over as if to cry – I thought he was first just bending over to pick up the candy, but he didn’t come back up.  When we got a look at him, his eyes were watering, on the verge of tears, and there was a red welt on his cheek. 

It would have been a great YouTube video of the sheriff trying to be nice, but with unintended consequences.  We made sure Martin ate his prize Snickers first!

one year ago…

September 21, 2007 – Fall, Up Close

The state’s main commodity crops are in drydown.


Here’s a group of dried soybean pods, about ready for harvest. The first combines are out this week. I started scrambling a bit today when I saw our neighbor starting on corn. Since he’s the one that loads up our wagons for the corn stove, I spent a good part of the day getting the current contents of the wagons unloaded. One had ground broiler feed, so I scrambled to find enough empty garbage cans to accomodate all the feed. The other had some corn left over from last year, so I bagged all that up as well. Now I’m ready when he comes over to fill up our wagons.

one year ago…

September 17, 2007 – Turkey Roosting (hey, that’s only one vowel exchange from roasting!)

The turkeys have taken to roosting on the top of the back brace of the hay wagon. They crack me up. It’s actually a good place to roost, especially if your behind is over the back instead of over the wagon!


I wonder how long they’ll be able to fly up to roost as they get bigger? Nine are roosting up on top and one stays on the ground. I wonder if the ground-dweller is the mystic/philosopher of the flock or just the least intelligent one?

one year ago…