November 29, 2011 – Christmas Tree Season is Upon Us!

This year, we will be once again selling Christmas trees at Wheatsfield Grocery in Ames and off the farm.

Weather depending, we’ll be at Wheatsfield Sat Dec 3 from 10-4, Sunday Dec 4 from 12-4, and Sunday Dec 11 from 12-4.  The trees will be cut on Friday December 2, so they’ll be a much fresher than the ones at Menards and Hy-Vee that were probably cut early to mid November.  We’ll also sell them from the farm as cut your own by arrangement.

November 15, 2011 – At a Wind Turbine Work Site

After seeing the turbine blades lifted in a dramatic night-time maneuver, we thought we’d go check out one not quite built to get a scale of these turbines.

Inside wind turbine towere

The towers are made of three sections. This is the bottom of a yet unattached top tower section.

Here’s the top of the same (third) section – not much room for a person to squeeze through.

wind turbine blades

Emma with 2/3 of the tower built, along with the blade assembly still on the ground.

November 7, 2011 – Wind Turbine-Raising at Night

Now that is is dark before dinnertime, today we noticed that one of the new wind towers to the south was illuminated.  It looked rather cool from a distance, a massive gleaming white tower, looking like an Atlas rocket, growing out of where there was nothing a few days ago.

So we ate dinner, and after dinner tasks and thought we’d drive down to see how close we’d get and to measure just how far they were from our house.

When we arrived, we were in for a surprise.  We could get fairly close and at first it looked like they were raising a blade with the crane, but then realized it was all three blades at once going up together.

The blade assembly slowly lifted into the night air.

The crane must have been about 300 feet tall.  Each of the more horizontal blades also had support guy wires on them

Finally, in the dark, calm of the evening, punctuated only by the sound of the crane winch, the blade assembly was in place.  This tower is 2.8 miles south and a mile east of our place.

November 5, 2011 – Iowa State Varsity Marching Band

Broke down and attended the Iowa State football game this weekend.  Brought the kids along and sat in the cheap seats, er cheap grass, 4 tix, 4 dogs, 4 pops, for 40 bills for hillside seating.  Two of us found a couple of seats at midfield and the rest stayed on the hillside.

Before the game, the ISU band invited the KU band over for some pre-game frivolity, one section at a time.

At halftime, got to see over 600 marching band members from the combined bands play the 1812 overture!

November 1, 2011 – 4-Leggeds Gone

This weekend marked a different kind of milestone – something significant getting subtracted from the farm. We sold the last of the sheep and goats today. It was a bittersweet time as the four-leggeds had been part of the farm for a long time. But realistically, we have no right trying to squeeze the animals into our schedules.

So, this winter, the barn will be silent. We’ll see next spring if we can stand not having any return, but for this winter, so hay sourcing, no trudging to the barn in the cold and dark hours before dawn to attend to food and water before heading off to work.

We might enjoy the spring and not having to be around most of March or April waiting for the ewes and does to give birth. But, the animals also added life to the farm, and we are firm believers in having a complete system of animals and crops. We’ll still have chickens and turkeys to provide some fertility.