March 26, 2011 – Burn, Baby Burn!

Because of the row of new trees down the center of the back pasture, the area from the trees to the back property line hasn’t been grazed for a bout 5 years.  I was time to reduce some of the biomass to let this year’s plants sprout.

Martin ready with some buckets of water, backpack sprayer, and shovels to snuff out fires.

Here, Linda spreads the backfire, moving the fire against the wind.

Once the backfires were lit, we could let the wind take the fire to the backfires.

Martin and Linda on patrol to make sure the fire doesn’t creep upwind to the pine trees.  The mowed path nest to the trees does the most to stop the flames.

The final result.  It’s great to have an excuse to play with fire.

one year ago…”Landscape Architecture Class Visit”

March 25, 2011 – Spring Put on Hold

After a nice week last week, we have plunged to days 15-20 degrees below normal.  Some days it’s struggled to get above freezing (when it is “supposed” to be in the 50’s).

It looks like the maple flowers might have taken a bit of a hit.

This flower is rather bizarre looking – with all the flowing red tentacles it wouldn’t look out of place in a deep sea documentary.

one year ago…”Thingamajig Thursday #201″

March 23, 2011 – “Gracious Professionalism”

Today, Martin and one of his Lego League team members traveled to Ames to exhibit “gracious professionalism” – a core value of the First Lego League organization. They traveled to help the “flying monkeys” get ready for their trip to San Diego to compete in a national tournament.

The team was selected on the strength of their innovative solution project (a prosthetic device) and was needing some pointers on robot programming. Here Martin demonstrates some test programs, in this case, following a black line using a light sensor on a test pad.

Here they look over some programming hints and techniques to help make their robot work more efficiently.

one year ago…”The Sap Keeps a Boilin'”

March 22, 2011 – First Thunderstorm Downpour of the Season

Last night the sirens went off for the first time of the season and some property was lost as a tornado packing 120 mph winds danced across a county south of Des Moines. For our part, all that landed on our farm was heavy rain and pea-sized hail.

This rain arranged a winter’s accumulation of dead pine needles and other debris into nice pine needle dunes as the water lapped off the driveway. It also took all the frost out of the ground and the earthworms did appear!

one year ago…”Paul Simon and Ali Farokhmanesh – Separated at Birth?”