January 30, 2008 – Garage Keeper

Last week’s Thingamajig Thursday was part of this piece of folk art made by our friend and art professor.


The eyes are a couple of electric fence insulators and the body is a brightly colored combination of found wood.  Even though it has been outside through blizzard, cold, storm, and ice, it has maintained its color while keeping an eye on the place.

one year ago…

January 29, 2008 – 24 hours

Yesterday was sunny and 46. Laundry got out on the line.

Today, well, today is a day to survive, not thrive.  The temperatures plummeted to -2, along with winds of 51 mph, combined for a day that could suck the life right out of you if you were outside for very long.  It’s hard to get a photo that conveys that kind of cold.  So we’ll just let that day go with wherever the wind took it.

one year ago…

January 28, 2008 – A Crime in Some Neighborhoods

Here’s a picture of a crime scene in some neighborhoods…


OK, maybe crime is too strong a word, it’s against the rules in many suburban and urban neighborhoods. There’s even a group promoting the long-standing practice of drying clothes on a line and have started the “right to dry” and “National Hanging Out Day” (April 19) campaigns. There’s even a powerpoint presentation entitled “Laundry, An inconvenient chore?” Here’s some of their reasons to dry clothes outside

  • Save money
  • Conserve energy and the environment.
  • Clothes and sheets smell better
  • Clothes last longer. Where do you think lint comes from?
  • It is physical activitywhich you can do in or outside
  • Clothes dryer fires account for about 15,600 structure fires, 15 deaths, and 400 injuries annually. The yearly national fire loss for clothes dryer fires in structures is estimated at $99 million.

It’s worth a trip over to the site to poke around.
one year ago…

January 27, 2008 – Pearl City Invitational Debate Congress Champion

Yesterday Claire ventured to Muscatine, Iowa for the Pearl City Debate Invitational (Muscatine is called the Pearl City because there used to be button factories along the Mississippi that made buttons out of mussel shells).


This is the first time Claire has finished first.  In a Congress event, the participants act as congressmen (less the lobbyist money and other vices) and introduce, argue for, and vote on timely issues.  We know Claire has finely honed her debate skills at home and we’re happy that she’s finally rewarded for sharing these skills with the world at large!

one year ago…

January 26, 2008 – Playing in the Snow

Heatwave!  Today, the temperature approached 27 degrees!  We could finally go outside without endangering life and limb.


Martin and I took a walk down the road to play in the snowplow banks on the side of the road.  It was a refreshing change of pace to spend some time out in the sunshine.  Since the next few days are supposed to be even warmer, I took out the tractor and pushed all the snow away so the sun could try to get the driveway back to gravel.

one year ago…

January 23, 2008 – It’s Cold, That Only Leaves Accounting!

The deep mid-winter is time to catch up on the pile-o-receipts from the past tax year. It’s not really too bad – I do a fairly good job of saving all pertinent materials in three-ring binders and entering sales as they happen, but the bill receipts get stuffed in a plastic pouch in the binder and finally get entered this time of year.


The scene is not especially inviting – a pile of receipts, last year and this year’s record books, and Quicken on the PC. It’s only a week or so until sales tax deadline, so that moves this up on the list of things to do. After the high hopes books get in shape, it’s time to move onto the personal taxes and accounting. Better in January than July.

one year ago…

January 22, 2008 – One Corn Wagon Emptied

The heating season better be over half complete!  The first wagon of corn is emptied.  100 bushels gone.  We’re on schedule, since at one time, I looked up the average coldest week of winter and it was January 22 – the average low temperature bottomed out on that day and slowy started rising afterwards.


There’s one more wagon, but in true delayed gratification style, the harder wagon to scoop out corn is in the first position and the easy one second.  My thinking is, near the end of the season I want it to be easier, not harder to get the corn.  The second wagon is a gravity wagon that I can fill up the buckets from a chute, instead of scooping out the top of a wagon.  When it warms up to a temperature where it is not bone-chilling to be outside, I’ll jockey the wagons around to get the current wagon closer to the door of the shed.

one year ago…

January 19, 2008 – Behave or Grandma Will Take You Out!

Finally, some farming pictures – outdoor farming pictures are few and far between during cold January weeks. However, there is one beehive at high hopes that is very aggressive and gj is not willing to work with overly aggressive bees. 


The solution is to go out on a cold morning and remove the bees.  She wasn’t too sure how long the bees would live in the 3 degree morning, so she’s dressed in full beekeeping attire.  I bet you never thought that beekeeper’s attire worked well as winter camoflauge.


One frame is removed and the ball of bees is visible from in the hive.


Scraping the bees off into the snow and cold air.  Some bees tried to fly away, but at 3 degrees the flight lasted about 5 seconds before they fell and perished.  Next spring we’ll start over with a new queen and some buddies.

one year ago…