July 31, 2007 – Blackberries!

The blackberries we planted in the spring of 2006 are giving their first fruit this year!

They have a sweet/sour taste that has to be sooo good for you!  The row looks very healthy and there are many more on the way.  Like most everything we do, we weren’t too sure how we’d like them or how they’d grow here, so we just put in one 75 foot row.  Looks like a thumbs up for blackberries so far.  If I was forced, I’d say blackberries make my favorite jam.

one year ago…

July 30, 2007 – Claire’s First Road Trip

This weekend Grandma Jo took Claire on a road trip to get some driving experience.  They went down to Keokuk, in the tiny SE portion of the state that juts into Missouri.

Over the course of a couple of days, Claire drove 11 hours, down to Keokuk and back up the river.

One stop was at the house where Grant Wood painted his famous “American Gothic” work.  You can look back at our visit to Grant Wood exhibit at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art a couple of years ago.

Claire was challenged to drive down “Snake Alley” in Burlington and reports only touched the curbs once!
one year ago…

July 29, 2007 – Peaches!

Today is a day to live for – fresh sun-warmed peaches just off the tree!

This is a day we greatly look forward to – we are cheating the range of peaches to get them this far north – and despite the ice storm and late, hard frost, the trees still managed to produce a tempting basket of fruit.

one year ago…

July 28, 2007 – A Night on the River

Friday night Linda and I snuck out for some live music.

Cross Canadian Ragweed and Los Lobos played in an outdoor ampitheatre along the river in Des Moines.  Los Lobos, “Just another band from east L.A.” was the headliner.  The encore was “La Bamba” and they invited about 25 of their new closest fans up from the crowd to dance and since on stage with the band.  It was a fitting end, as the artist who wrote La Bamba – Richie Valens, performed the song for the very last time in the Surf Ballroom in Mason City, Iowa in 1959; shortly thereafter, he was in the plane with Buddy Holly that crashed and killed Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper.

I was first attracted to Los Lobos back in the 80’s – their folky ethnic sound was dangerously close to the “Chmielewski Fun Time” and “Jolly Brothers” polka bands that were a staple of my childhood.  Even though the polka bands and Mexican folk cross thousands of miles, the music must share some deep roots.

Opening act was Cross Canadian Ragweed (not really from Canada, from Oklahoma/Texas).  They didn’t seem to like playing in the daylight and we didn’t go to the bar show later than night – the two strongest songs were covers that ended their set – Todd Snider’s “I Believe in You” and Ray Wylie Hubbard”s “Rock and Roll.” (Thanks to Shannon from Cross Canadian Ragweed for correcting the title on the Ray Wylie song, now correct on this entry.) 

one year ago…