May 31, 2006 – Roofing Begins

Work on the reroof began in earnest today.

The scaffolding was set up yesterday. It’s amazing how quickly it goes up and how it fits so well. Today the west side was torn off (layers of asphalt and cedar shakes), new sheeting put down, and new shingles put up (along with old dormer stripped and readied for new siding and windows. I don’t want to go up to the third floor again.

The west side was completed in a day. Tomorrow, off to to the north.

May 29, 2006 – Memorial Day 2006

Today we made our annual pilgrimage to the township cemetery two miles down the road.

We don’t actually know anyone buried there, but it seems appropriate to go there on this day. We usually go look at the gravestones and try to imagine what life must have been like in their time. There are many more babies and children who died at a young age than there is now. After walking around, we sit on a bench, look west and talk about people we know who have died. 

The cemetery is one of hundreds of township cemeteries in Iowa. Most every township (six miles square) had a cemetery and a one room school house.

I imagine the people buried here would be startled to learn that the new life they started here did not support their heirs and that most had to move on. There were more people in this township in 1920 than today. The consolidation of farms has dropped the population through time.

It’s interesting to note how the world has changed since 1862 by a simple observation – gravestone engraving. This gravestone, for example, bears the relationship of the woman buried below, not her name. Her marker identifies her only as “the wife of J.R. Cordell.”

May 28, 2006 – Cleanup Begins

We spent a bit of time cleaning up this afternoon. We put the tractor to good use. The limb that fell on the machine shed was to big for me to budge, so… loader tractor to the rescue.

A chain, a tractor, no problem. We loaded a hay wagon with branches from the yard. Here is a photo Martin took of Linda unloading the wagon.

Stay tuned for pictures some day soon that Martin took today.
Here is the little guy on the biggest limb that we loaded on the burn pile.

It is probably not noteworthy to all you long-time farmers out there, but having the ability to lift up and move a log like this is just a treat and saves the back!

May 27, 2006 – “Beautiful Weekend?”

The weatherman has been promising a great Memorial Day weekend, hot and maybe a bit breezy. Last night a small chance of late afternoon thunderstorms was added – but a small chance. Evidently the storm at 5 am that woke us up was 12 hours late (or early)!
This afternoon damaging winds blew through, not as part of a thunderstorm, at least not here. It made my work for the next few days clear.

I moved the chicken tractors out of the barn a few days ago to check them over as the chicks may get in them later this week. The wind wrapped it around this apple tree very nicely!
Lots of small limbs are on the ground and are on the garage roof, shed roof. A big hollow limb off a silver maple fell off in the back pasture.

There a lot of branches in the front yard snapped off, but still hanging in the trees. There were at least a dozen bird nests blown to the ground as well.

I didn’t notice right away that the back door of the barn had been ripped off as well. I heard Paullina bellering especially vigourously and went to check. I could hear a kid (goat) whining in what sounded like a part of the barn that wasn’t supposed to have goats. I went in and couldn’t find her. We still have a few layers of hay against one wall of the barn, about 6 bales high. The sound was coming from within the bales, so I started unstacking the hay. Sure enough, the kid (Millie) had gone through the place where the door had been, climbed up to the top of the hay and fallen in the crack between the hay and wall. When I got to the bottom and could see her, she wasn’t moving – her head was stuck between the bottom bale and the wall and she couldn’t lift it up – her momentum must have wedged it in pretty good. With trepidation, I pulled the bottom bale, not knowing if she had broken anything and she was fine!
We lost power and as I went out to check on neighbors, I saw the reason for the outage.

A powerline snapped at the ground in front of our closest neighbor’s house to the south – and didn’t fall to the ground because it was leaning against some trees.
The other direction from this neighbor, a big silver maple blew down (away from the house) and the small park a mile away lost trees as well.

Not exactly the “beautiful weekend” advertised! But now I know what the weatherman means when he says a “bit breezy.”