September 15, 2010 – Subsidized Crop Harvest About to Begin

The subsidized crops (corn and soybeans) in the neighborhood are starting to dry down.

Our good neighbor, who farms the ground around us, works with us in that he leaves a 30 foot buffer in his field around our property – gives us both a little peace of mind that the spray trucks don’t have to back right up to the fenceline and start spraying.

one year ago…”Mulberry Feast”

September 14, 2010 – Dear Blank…

Dear Vegetarians,

Please stop eating all our food.

Sincerely, the herbivores
Dear New York,

Way to be creative about your name.

Sincerely, York, England
Dear Fantasy Football,

You should rebrand yourself as a contraceptive.

Sincerely, Lonely Wife/Girlfriend
Dear 2012,

They Fall for it Every Time.

Sincerely, Y2K
Dear Guy Who Stole My Bike,

Thanks for leaving my helmet behind. Now if I fall down walking home, I’ll still be protected.

Sincerely, bike-less girl
Dear Joke Writers,

Please mind your own business. We should be able the cross the road without being harassed for personal information.

Sincerely, The Chicken
Dear Corn,

Please leave some room for the rest of us to grow.

Sincerely, All the world’s other domesticated plants

All these and more can be seen on Dear Blank, Please Blank – a serious time-waster of a web site that Emma showed me. If you’d like to share your own “Dear Blank, Please Blank” that just flashed through your mind, just put it in a comment!

one year ago…”Gettin’ the Cub Runnin'”

September 12, 2010 – Trombone Chooses Martin

This week was band instrument selection week at school.  As a 5th grader, Martin now has the privilege of playing an instrument.  Much like the sorting hat at Hogwarts, the instrument mysteriously selects you.

The trombone selected Martin, so then we purchased him a starter trombone.  At this point I will refrain from posting you tubes of him learning how to play!

one year ago…”Fresh – The Movie”

September 11, 2010 – Graphic of Obesity Epidemic

I ran across this animation put together by the Center for Disease Control showing the instances of obesity in the United States from 1985-2009.  It’s very startling how quickly obesity has blossomed. There are huge implications for public and private health spending as obesity-related chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other diseases become much more prevalent.

one year ago…”Carrot Harvest”

September 8, 2010 – Sistas

Linda’s sister dropped in from Southern California recently to tuck in her off her daughter, born 6 days before Claire, to another midwestern college.

Even though these two don’t get a chance to see each other that much, they seem to greatly enjoy each other.  They both have managed to be successful in their respective pursuits – Linda in sustainable agriculture and teaching and Kathy is now working as director of International Marketing for Cisco.  I think these two would make a dynamite pair working for the same organization, if they could find such a place.  People at work are starting to wonder how much longer I can hang with Linda!  It’s interesting how much Claire takes after Linda and Emma takes after Kathy.  I guess that leaves Martin to be like old Dad.

one year ago…”North Side of Barn Painted”

September 7, 2010 – Subey-Deux

With Claire out of the house, our mini-van days are behind us! Ever since we bought the girls an old beater Outback, we’ve liked the car, especially in winter, when it is just a beast in the snow.

2007 Subaru Outback

So, we picked up a 3-yr-old Outback. We like to name our cars, and this one’s name came quickly to us – since the first outback was simply named “Subey” the 2nd one is naturally Subey-deux!

one year ago…”Garlic Cleaning”

September 6, 2010 – Garlic Cleaning

One of the early fall tasks is to clean garlic – by now it has cured up in the hayloft, now it is time to get it ready for sale. Most of this is destined for seed stock and Wheatsfield Grocery in Ames.


Cleaning garlic is greatly enjoyed by some members of the family. It involves cutting off the stem and roots and peeling back a few of the papers to make it look clean and white.

one year ago…”Heirloom Tomato Tasting at Grinnell Heritage Farm”

September 5, 2010 – Emma’s Car

Some of the best money we ever spent was to buy this old Subaru Outback.  We always said it was Emma’s car, even when Claire got to drive it for high school.  Now she’s at an urban college and doesn’t need a car, so Emma finally gets the car she’s been waiting for years to drive.  Thanks to Claire for not crashing or otherwise destroying the car (although she did leave three bags of room debris we’ll have to deal with).

Emma has already taken to auto care by waxing the car for the first time in many years.  Here’s to small, sure footed cars to keep Emma safe this winter.

one year ago…”Tomatoes Finally Arrive in Bulk”

September 4, 2010 – Monarch Migration Respite

This is the second year we’ve observed our farm windbreak as a respite for migrating monarch butterflies.

monarch butterfly

We’ve had strong south winds for the last few days, and many monarchs gather on the north side of the pine tree windbreak, waiting for the strong winds to subside. With all the flowers and blooming buckwheat, if they are hungry, it is a nice butterfly B & B!

one year ago…”Mazie Ready for Makeover”

September 3, 2010 – Claire Settles in at Macalester

It’s going off to college weekend for Claire (and us!).  Macalester has an extremely long parent orientation – three days!  We’re calling it the helicopter parent orientation and doubt Linda will stay for it all.

Here all of Claire’s “stuff” neatly fits in the new Subaru.  She refers to the contents of the car as the essence of Claire.

New student on campus.

Her room, all set up – noticeable in my eyes are the Indian tapestry, mommade quilt, and sock monkey.  OK, throw in the Indian disco ball and periodic table as well! We look forward to the reports from her next adventure!

one year ago…”Thingamajig Thursday #175″