April 30, 2012 – Emma at World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute

Emma was selected to attend the Iowa Youth Institute sponsored by the World Food Prize.  She worked diligently on a paper regarding water security in Jordan.

Here’s a link to the story for more details. Many luminaries attended,including the President of Iowa State, CEO of Pioneer, and Governor Branstad.  Most everyone except the Governor stayed on course in addressing the youth except the Governor couldn’t help but make his pitch for Lean Textured Beef whatever.

April 26, 2012 – Computer Meltdown

I’ve been absent for a while – but I have a good excuse – two of them in fact! First, my desktop computer died. The most likely culprit was a bad power supply, so I ordered a new power supply and a new iMac all-in-one as a backup in case it wasn’t the power supply.

The new power supply didn’t work, so it was a good thing that this box recently arrived.

The meltdown also came in the middle of a contract writing project that was nearing a deadline. So between those two things, I haven’t been breathing too much lately. Perhaps things will decelerate to more manageable pace for a few days and I can get caught up.

April 18, 2012 – Cedar Strip Canoe Finds a Home

Today, the watercraft fleet had a welcome addition when this red cedar strip canoe found a new home.

cedar strip canoe on subaru outback

The canoe was sitting lonely in a farm shed somewhere in Jasper county.  She hadn’t been in the water for over a decade and we were lucky enough to be picked as her new home.

cedar strip canoe

Shes’ 18′ long and was made in the late 80’s with western red cedar and not seen much water since then.

Despite this annoying imperfection in the hull, a good refinishing should take care of this stain on an otherwise serviceable canoe!

April 15, 2012 – Farewell to a Music Legend

When I heard Glen Campbell was coming to Ames on his farewell tour, I couldn’t pass up the chance to see him play. Sure he has the onset of dementia and needs a teleprompter to remember the lyrics, but he’s got three of his kids in the band and a keyboard player of 35 years to help him along. One of my favorite songs of the night was “Try a Little Kindness.” This video is linked from an earlier concert.

His disease didn’t affect his playing as much as his singing. Here’s a little Dueling Banjo action as evidience.

All in all, it was a nice evening. I don’t ever remember people with such big contented smiles leaving a concert before. If we could all be so lucky to have the chance to take our family along on one last journey of doing what we love to do best, with the full understanding that this is the last go-round, but being able to savor every moment along the way.

April 12, 2012 – Cold Weather Finally Returns

After getting May weather in March, so far April has been more like March. We’ve had three nights in a row with frost, down to about 25 on our unofficial outdoor thermometer.

Some of the trees handled it better than others. This walnut got nipped – all the mulberries turned crispy. Many of the cherry and peach trees have already blossomed, so I’m hopeful the newly fertilized fruit bodies can withstand frost better than the anthers and stamens in a flowering bud, but time will tell how the fruit trees fared. It would be a bummer to have a season without apples, peaches, cherries,a nd pears!