April 26, 2013 – Trash to Cash!

I’ve been busy in this time of year when the ground is snow-free and vegetation-free to gather up years of accumulated scrap metal from around the farm, most of which predates our arrival here.

With scrap prices fairly high, instead of taking it to the landfill, I’ve been getting around $60 bucks a trailer load and have scrounged up four loads so far.  It’s a triple win – the farm gets cleaned up, the metal gets recycled and I get paid to do it!

April 16, 2013 – Tour of Iceland!

I’ve been captivated with Claire’s photographs from Iceland. It was an optional trip in her study abroad in Denmark. The vistas, water, and absence of power lines and other human marks upon the landscape make it an interesting place.

The first stop, was of course, Reykjavík, the largest city, consisting of about 120,000 people.

An Icelandic harbor.

Can you say layers?  Claire’s got it down.

The Lutherans do it up in grand style in Iceland!.

Claire’s comment on this outfit: “Icelandic fashion, go home, you’re drunk”.

I hope she doesn’t drag this fellow home!.

Beware Vikings ahead!  Claire was quoted in an article in the Copenhagen paper asking about American impressions of what Vikings are like.

She had a chance to do all the things you’re supposed to do/see in Iceland.

This at the Whale Fjord.  The only picture out of water where she isn’t bundled up!

An Icelandic farm with the famous Icelandic horses. This breed is the only kind of horse in Iceland. Importing any horse is illegal, and if one of these leaves the country it cannot ever come back.

Here she is with one of the horses.

They took the horses on a ride through the countryside.

The intriguing Gullfoss waterfalls .

Another view of the falls.

In Claire’s own words “The most awkward titanic photo ever!”

Another of Iceland’s features are the geysers.  in fact, this place geysir is where the word “geyser” comes from.

Thar she blows, this one, every five minutes.

Of course, there are hot springs from all the geothermal activity. This is the BLue Lagoon.

How cool is it to be in water in Iceland?.

Out in the countryside.

This crack is where the european and north american plates meet.

With some fellow students at a late sunset near the harbor.

April 15, 2013 – Emma State Champion – Check!

Emma said one of her goals in high school was to be on a state championship team.  Today, her team won the Iowa Envirothon championship.  The photo and story below are from a press release from the school.  Emma’s contribution was to envision a rotational grazing plan for 186 acres of pasture.

Marshalltown High School is once again the state Envirothon champion.

MHS Team 1, comprised of juniors Abby Snyder, Adam Willman and Ilene Finn and seniors Joe Metzger and Emma Runquist placed first at the state contest Monday, April 15, at Springbrook State Park in Guthrie Center. The team placed first in Wildife and Oral Presentation categories, placing overall ahead of Des Moines FFA by 3.75 points.

The title earns them a trip to the North American championship this summer in Bozeman, Montana.

Sixteen teams competed at the state competition, and about 60 teams competed at statewide regional competitions. The contest consisted of four outdoor stations covering forestry, wildlife, soils, and aquatics as well as a 15-minute oral presentation on this year’s current issue of range-land management.


April 3, 2013 – Willow Revenge!

Many of you may remember that last year when I was cutting down the willows, the chain saw took a slice out of my leg (allowing me to recover and watch the first weekend of the NCAA BB games without guilt).

No such luck this year.  After donning the chaps and steel-toes, I was able to cut down all the willows.  This is a shot after the fact as we are collecting them all for the burn pile. I’m keeping them coppiced for ornamental and forage purposes.