August 17, 2010 – Linda at Roundtable with US Ag Secretary Vilsack

Linda was invited to be part of a press conference/roundtable discussion of rural issues at the Iowa State fair with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack.

linda barnes

Like a “good” Secretary of Agriculture, Vilsack listens as Linda makes her points about the importance of local infrastructure,  rural broadband issues, and local foods.

linda barnes and tom vilsack

Like a “better” Secretary of Agriculture,  Secretary Vilsack takes notes as she talks!  It was a great opportunity for the voices of a female, small farmer, educator and small business owner to be heard along with the traditional commodity farm groups.

one year ago…”Goodbye to Powershot A510″

August 16, 2010 – Pie Filling

The raspberries are just starting to bear heavily. With all the rain, they are prolific. We picked a couple of gallons from a 70 foot row today (after picking for market two days ago). The apple pie filling was such a hit last year, that we thought we’d try raspberry pie filling. We also had the first few blackberries coming on.

We ended up making seven quarts of raspberry filling, three quarts of blackberry, and we unfroze cherries put in the freezer from earlier in the year for this purpose and canned seven quarts of cherry pie filling. Seventeen pie fillings ready for winter!

one year ago…”Bean Trellis”

August 14, 2010 – Why Are the Soybeans Turning Brown so Early?

There have been large stretches of certain soybean fields that have been turning brown. Some fields seem to be getting worse every day. Some fields just have a tinge of brown.

The beans are suffering from what is known as “Sudden Death Syndrome.” There is no spray to stop it. The beans are not mature – soybeans usually turn yellow before turning brown. The causes go back to the seed variety, planting conditions, and drainage. Seed genetics seems to be the primary culprit. There will be a lot of farmers planting a different brand to seed next year!

one year ago…”New England Dining”

August 13, 2010 – Look for Linda on HBO

Today Linda traveled to Grinnell to be filmed as part of a roundtable discussion of the farm bill and its impact on farmers who might choose to grow something other than corn and soybeans. It’s an HBO documentary that is not scheduled to air for a couple of years, due to come out before the next farm bill is debated in congress.

The weather this summer seems to finally be taking its toll on me – it seems like it is literally raining, the ground and vegetation is wet, or the dew points are in the tropical range. We’re all ready for a break.

one year ago…”Emma Hits Walden Pond”

August 11, 2010 – Flooding Finally Hits Near Home

Last night was another repeat of most of the summer. The ground finally can’t take any more water. Ames may see unprecedented flooding, perhaps even worse than the legendary floods of 1993.

The view of University Avenue and the athletic complex. The basketball court at Hilton Coliseum is now eight feet under water! I-35 is closed, as is US 30 leading in to Ames.

Resident trying to get her stuff out of her home.

South Duff, the main north-south thoroughfare, right in front of the Target store in Ames.

For the first time since we installed the sump pump, water is coursing through the basement, but the pump is keeping up so far. This has officially been the wettest first nine months of a year ever recorded in Central Iowa.

one year ago…”Monsanto, Farmers and Seed Prices”

August 10, 2010 – Back in the Old Days…

Back in the old days, the grass turned dry and brown in August. Back in the old days, hot, humid oppressive days were ended with a thunderstorm followed by cooler air. Back in the old days, if you didn’t like the weather, you just had to wait 10 minutes for it to change. Despite my recent appeal to the rainmaker, the weather is caught in a groundhog day pattern. Heat, oppressive humidity, late night/early morning downpours. Repeat. Repeat.

one year ago…”Mulberry Forage”

August 8, 2010 – House Progress

Slow but steady progress is being made on the cascading garage tear-off project. It has spread to putting new siding on the entire east side and both the additions to the original house.

Although with dew points in the 70’s and even in the 80’s some days, and rain every other day or so leaves much to complain about, slow but steady progress is being made.  Today I ripped off the old siding off the second floor and removed the old storm windows and frames.

one year ago…”Hazelnuts”

August 7, 2010 – Children of the Corn?

Emma (and one parent) woke up early Saturday morning to enter a 5k race.  It was Ethan’s Tractor Race, held in conjunction with and old-tyme tractor and equipment show.  The race is in honor of the young son of her driver’s ed teacher who passed away at a very young age to cancer.  The proceeds go to a scholarship fund, so that makes the run even more rewarding.

Here’s Emma about 3/4 of the way through the race.

one year ago…”Tillage Radishes”

August 4, 2010 – Getting Ready for State Fair-like Event

There are many traditional contests at the Iowa State Fair, so to get ready, we have an entry for the longest continuous apple peel. I’m not sure they still, have the contest, but it’s fun to practice. (It’s also a bit of a sneak peak of the new siding, nearing completion on the east side of the house).

The Williams Pride apples are ripe, so we are in the first round of drying apples and freezing some for making applesauce when other varieties get ripe later in the season.

one year ago…”College Visits”