April 30, 2011 – Emma’s Week: NHS and Prom

It was a good week or so for Emma.  She knocked 45 seconds off her personal best in the 3000 meter, she was inducted into the National Honor Society and last (but probably not least in her eyes), prom evening.

Here she is with all her peeps before prom.  As we told her, although the theme of the evening was “Oh What a Night” it certainly wasn’t meant to exactly follow Frankie Valli’s lyrics:

“Oh, what a night, Hypnotizing, mesmerizing me.
She was everything I dreamed she’d be.
Sweet surrender, what a night!”

We advised that there be no sweet surrender, but a fun night with her friends, prom theme be da$$ed!

one year ago…”Takes a While for the Old Guys”

April 29, 2011 – Bees at Work

Bees are fascinating little creatures.  They are no doubt among the happiest creatures that spring has finally sprung.

bee pollen sac on daffodil

Here’s a bee gathering pollen from a daffodil.  Notice the little yellow sacs on its legs where it collects the pollen.

bee pollen sac

Here’s more of a close-up which shows the sacs a little better. The pollen is the protein that makes the hive hum.

bee on plum flower

There’s also busy on the first flowering tree, this plum.

one year ago…”Thingamajig Thursday #206″

April 27, 2011 – I Should Know Better…

My days attending arena concerts are nearly over. The reasons are many – ticket prices are too high, yacky and/or drunk people behind you spend the whole evening talking/yelling at their friends/spilling beer on you. Turns out most of the artists I like play at smaller venues, so it’s been ok for a while.

But Mellencamp was in town this week, tickets were under $50, he was touring to support the first album to make the Billboard top ten that was recorded in mono since 1964, and he was playing in a small house (2500) and the latest album was very follky.

But all to no avail. Not all of his fans have grown up with him. Despite the fact that early in the show as people yelled out songs as if it were a piano bar, he said, “don’t worry, we’ll get around to the songs you want to hear.” That didn’t seem to prevent the people from behind us bellowing out “Jack and Diane” or Hurts so Good” at every quiet moment.

And when the band left the stage for about a 45 minute acoustic set with just John and his guitar, it was viewed more as “recess time” and time to chat mindlessly instead of listening to these great new songs. I felt bad for myself and bad for the performers that all they really cared about was the songs from 20 years ago. He didn’t quite go Dylan and make the songs unintelligible so people couldn’t recognize them, but he really substantially rearranged many of the hit songs to get rid of the arena-rock chords and make them either more country, rockabilly, or bluesy than the originals. It was nice that he brought back the accordion and fiddle for this tour as well. John was pretty low-key about his political thoughts this time around, with only one pointed remark to today’s politicians when he reminded us of the preamble to the constitution “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare” He commented that while providing defense seemed to not be a problem, promoting for the general welfare of the people was forgotten.


one year ago…”A Late President’s Day Message”

April 25, 2011 – Quad Lambs!

Our most skittish ewe surprised us with four lambs today!  Doing the morning chores, we saw her with recently-born twins, so we ushered her and her lambs into the mothering pen.  We checked on her a bit later and she was fine.

I left for errands and when Linda got home, there were four lambs in the pen!  We wish her well and will probably need to help her along with extra milk.

one year ago…”Locavoring at Church Conference”

April 22, 2010 – Spring in Suspended Animation

Despite a couple of 85 degree plus Sundays in April, the rest of the month is just short of miserable. We should be in the mid-60’s by now, but it seems many days it struggles to reach 50.

Most everything seems to be in suspended animation. This asparagus is purple because of the cold and hasn’t  shown appreciable growth in a week since it poked out.

Fruit tree buds, like these plums, are likewise, just holding steady and not advancing like they usually do. Last year the plum trees were in full bloom on April 14 – looks like this year could be two weeks or more behind last year’s blooming time.

Despite being the 8th warmest March on record on a global scale, we did not contribute to that warmth. There’s blue dots over us. April will likely be even much colder from average than March.

one year ago…”Thingamajig Thursday #205″

April 20, 2011 – Powerline Problems

The last few days the turbine has been shutting down during times it should not.  I checked the diagnostic software that transmits info from the turbine itself.  The software reported that the grid voltage was not ok.  Line 1 voltage was at 133 and line 1 at 120 (the voltage should be close to the same on both lines). I called the power company, and within 30 minutes there was a truck here to look at the problem.  They thought it sounded like a neutral problem and it looked like the neutral wire connection near the transformed was bad, so they reconnected it and it was fine for a while.

The next day it was reporting the same problem and the lights in the house were slightly dimming and brightening.  I called again, and this time they found a problem on the pole in our yard.  One of the hot wires had lost its plastic coating and had evidently run against something it wasn’t supposed to touch and it looked like it had arced and melted about 1/3 to 1/4 of the metal strands that supplies power.

The red circle shows the replaced section of wire.  This tells me that the Skystream is a good forecaster of future household electrical problems and it does a good job of protecting itself  in the case of a problem with the quality of electricity coming to the house and turbine.  Kudos to Consumers Energy for promptly responding and fixing the problem!

one year ago…”Emma on the Track”

April 19, 2011 – D+ for Drake

With one daughter recently in college and another on the way, we take our credentials as judge and jury of college mailings seriously. After all, our mailbox has been home to “please apply here” college material from coast to coast. However, one stands out as being particularly puzzling, and it’s a college only 60 miles from here – Drake.

Here’s the cover to the brochure they sent to Emma.


Really? D+ is supposed to give me warm fuzzies about Drake? What is D+? The grade Drake received in the most recent Peterson’s Guide to Colleges? The average GPA of admitted students? After a closer look inside it’s evidently supposed to be Drake “plus” all kinds of great things. But if you don’t get past the cover (and why would you be intrigued by a place that labels itself as D+?), you’ll never find out. I give a D+ to the marketing department at Drake for this campaign!

one year ago…”OK Allergy Sufferers”

April 17, 2011 – What Should Maizie Do?

Life isn’t always pretty and beautiful on the farm. This post from Maizy proves it.

First off, it wasn’t my fault. Last night my owners gave me too much leftover rib fat and rib bones from their dinner. I had to eat it all, and it went down so easy I had to steal from the cat’s portions as well. Then they locked me up in the mud room overnight. I tried whimpering so they’d let me out when I started having problems. Did they come? No.

dog doo

I missed MOST of their shoes and boots with the four separate piles I left. Now I’m getting the stink eye from them. What do I do? Pretend it never happened? Act all guilty like those dogs in the You Tube Guilty dog videos?

one year ago…”Spring Mushrooms”