March 31, 2010 – Playmobil Napoleanic History Lesson

Since we featured 4th grader’s creative exploits earlier this week, it’s time to move on to high school. This fine piece of Playmobil stop-action history comes compliments of children of family friends in Ames.

It starts a bit slow, but really picks up a few seconds into it. I love Santa’s casting in this piece! It’s worth a five minute review of Napoleon’s dynasty and the Industrial Revolution.

one year ago…”Planting Willows”

March 30, 2010 – Winter Damage

Now that we are getting out and about, a couple of crops have taken a significant hit from the deep snow and drifts this winter.

Many of the blackberry vines were bent over and cracked.  In some ways it greatly simplified pruning – just getting rid of the damaged vines accounted for much of the pruning.  The patch should survive the damage just fine, however.

The white pine Christmas trees are another story.  I’d say at least half of the trees were damaged beyond repair.  Here’s as example of the type of damage.  The Canaan Firs held up much better, probably due to their nature and the fact they were a couple of years ahead in growth to the white pines.

one year ago…”Willows Emerge”

March 29, 2010 – It’s Elementary!

Martin’s teacher had his class (4th grade) use the lambs on Martin’s farm as the basis of a creative writing exercise. She was good enough to send some of the stories on and I’ve put some on today for your enjoyment!

Spy Lambs

There once was lamb that Martin fed and took care of. One night she gave birth to some babies. Three babies to be exact. They were so cute and cuddly. Two boys and a girl. They were AWESOME SUPER SPIES. They were the best in the business and secretly national jewel thieves. Trust me, they were pretty awesome at what they did, but Martin always thought of them as cute and cuddly animals. One day they were on a mission trying to steal the famous picture of Mona Lisa painted by Leonardo da Vinci!!!!!!! That’s when their worst enemy, Leonardo da Vinci, came through the window shattering the glass with his new and old sidekicks. The old sidekick was Daytona, and his new partner, who came in second, was Joshua. It was an all out battle between the lamb triplets and Leonardo and his sidekicks over the Mona Lisa painting, but when the smoke cleared away the champion was, of course, the 3 babies who then went back home and fell softly to sleep in Martin’s barn.

Tank and the Triplets, Super Family

Tank is a sheep with super powers. Tank has super speed, shape shifting and also has telephonesis. That is when you have a telephone in your head. Tank has triplets and they of course have powers too. These powers include things like the super bahh and they are best in disguises. Unfortunately they will not be able to do super work until they master their powers and train very hard so that they do not get hurt and do not let the bad people hurt other people. Plus they have to grow up a bit and when they do they will get new powers and soon they will be saving the World with their super bahh just like their Mom does.

Just Kidding

Tank the lamb joined the FBI and got her degree. She was so intelligent that she became the head leader in 3 and 1/2 hours and was recognized by the town in 1 hour. She could recognize any fingerprint, so was called upon to help solve many crimes. After that she joined the Navy. She stopped the terrorist Osama Bin Laden. She got to meet Barrack Obama because of this accomplishment. She ran and got home to see Martin before the big flood of 2010. Martin looked at Tank and there were 3 babies beside her. Because of the approaching waters they ran and escaped. Then they lived happily ever after in their secret hideout.

Tank and the Triplets

I think that lambs are very cute, but Tanks triplets are the cutest so far. When I went to the State Fair and visited the farmhouse I got to see a ewe give birth to a lamb! It was very cute and disgusting at the same time! It was still a great experience. I also got to see a cow give birth to a calf. You should go this year and experience these awesome things!

Lambs
Lambs are very cute animals when they are young. Lambs also represent spring and the new season. The old saying goes that March starts as a lion and ends as a lamb. This means that March starts harsh, but ends sweet. You can say that because lambs are sweet and lions are harsh. I think Martin is very lucky to have a lamb because they are graceful animals and look very cuddly and sweet. They may be hard to take care of with all of the bottle feedings, but in the end you end up with happy, healthy animal. You would be so lucky to have triplet lambs because it may be hard for the third lamb to live, but it can work out if you take good care of it and it’s mama does too. It can be hard, but it’s all worth it in the end! Just ask Martin!

The Big Rush
One exciting morning Martin’s mom rushed into Martin’s room. “Wake up, wake up. Come see something wonderful!” she shouted. So, Martin got up and slipped on some slippers and a jacket. He followed his mom downstairs, through the kitchen, and outside to the barn. Martin was surprised to find three little lambs scattered around Tank. Martin knew automatically that his favorite one was the small girl lamb. She was white with tan spots. He called her Spotty. “They’re adorable,” Martin said. “Adorable indeed,” his mom agreed. They grabbed some bottles and began to feed them.

The Alien Lambs
There were once alien lambs that were trapped on a farm. When they tried to get out they couldn’t get out of that place because they were trapped by a starving monster that was 1,000 feet high. The monster wanted to eat them for supper, but the aliens said, “We do not taste very good!” The monster said, “Ok, we won’t eat you guys because we need you guys to work for us. You can clean the bathrooms, take out the trash, and eat the trash too. Don’t think of getting out of here because you won’t get out at all.” One of the alien lambs said, “We can get out of here tonight. I have a plan!” The others said, “How are we going to get out of here?” The aliens discussed the plan and it worked! The climbed into the trash cans one night before the garbage man came and the three alien lambs were able to escape back to their home planet! They lived happily ever after.

The Bitter Sweet Birthday
There once was a sheep. The ewe’s name was Tank. So, Tank was walking in the field. Then Tank saw a big black funnel. Tank’s owner, Martin, came running outside screaming, “TORNADO, TORNADO!” Martin ran out into the field to put all the animals in the barn. When Martin got into the barn, the tornado hit. After the tornado hit all Martin could see was dust and houses on the ground. But when Martin looked at Tank, he was shocked. Tank had just given birth to 3 babies. Then Martin’s family ran outside. They were all shocked too. Then they lived happily ever after with the 3 fluffy, soft lambs.

one year ago…”Beekeeper Martin”

March 28, 2010 – Vote for Eliza!

OK.  On a whim, Eliza decided to create a video for the Covergirl Stand Up For Beauty Contest. Little did she know that her video would make it to the Top Ten of a national contest! If she wins, it will be $50,000 in her pocket which should take care of college for her! Eliza comes from good stock, her mom is a teacher and her dad loves goats and has converted 20 acres of their farm to native prairie!

All you need to do is go to the contest web site Click on the video with Eliza’s name on it, watch it, and VOTE!  Contest ends April 4 – and you can vote once a day!

one year ago…”Winter’s Last Hurrah?”

March 26, 2010 – Landscape Architecture Class Visit

This week we dragged about 24 members of the Ecological Design class in the Landscape Architecture program at Iowa State around the farm.

We held them hostage for about two hours, showing the various design and microclimate principles we’ve managed to implement on the farm. One interesting comment we received was that the farm was much smaller than they envisioned after visiting the blog and web site.  We attributed the mismatch in reality/perception was due to the fact that the farm is so diverse and has so many different small enterprises that it must be large to contain so much diversity.  But believe us, tending 7 acres intensively with the numbers of different crops we have, makes it seem like much more than 7 acres to us as well!

one year ago…”Thingamajig Thursday #159″

March 24, 2010 – Soil Sampling

It’s time for some soil sampling.  Instead of the small little soil probe that comes with the kit, we decided to use the bulb planter, so we could easily get below the sod line for the pasture soil test.  This particular section of pasture has a thistle problem and I’ve read anecdotal evidence that calcium and ph can be conducive or not to thistle success.

So, off we go getting some samples.

one year ago…”Garlic Up!”

March 22, 2010 – Paul Simon and Ali Farokhmanesh – Separated at Birth?

Did anyone else notice the startling resemblance of new-found college basketball hero Ali Farokhmanesh and singer Paul Simon?

Ali (known as “Stroke” to his teammates) and the Northern Iowa Panthers shocked the college basketball world, when he hit the winning three-pointer in games against UNLV and Kansas, and brings his team to the sweet 16.  I’m sure there’s a nice spoof entitled “50 ways to beat a Jayhawk” just waiting to be produced, but I don’t have time for more than one verse:

Just shoot off the key, Ali
It’s all quite simple you see

one year ago…”Dinosaur Egg”

March 20, 2010 – Spring is Here!

Today is the first day of spring!  A fine day to take out the brand new lawn furniture.  The snow, of course followed a 60 degree day.
lawn chairs in snow

I picked these up yesterday – our old wooden chairs, after 10 years of use are out or on their way out (but not before being cut up for fuel for the syrup stove).  I was dead against the molded plastic chairs, was lukewarm on the mesh chairs, but when I saw these retro chairs, reminiscent of the types of chairs that might have graced the farm 60 years ago, I bought the last four.  They are metal, powder coated, have a  slight rock, and can be thrown on the recycling pile when no longer functional.
one year ago…”Skystream Software”

March 18, 2010 – Thingamajig Thursday #200

Here’s this week’s thingamajig Thursday. As a technical writer, it is fun to look back at technical writing of old. Any guesses as to what year this fun graphic appeared in a tractor manual?

Also check out the last thingamajig answer.

As always, put your guess in a comment below.

Hold mouse over this sentence to pop-up answer.

one year ago…”Skystream Upgrade”