October 31, 2008 – Snakes on the Table

This week was the elementary school science fair.  Martin wanted to do a poster on “Iowa Snakes” and so he did.

He found photos of the 27 kinds of snakes native to Iowa, from the common garter snake, to the venemous kinds – Prairie Rattlesnake, Timber Rattlesnake, Massasauga Rattlesnake, and Copperheads.  I was surprised to learn that so many kinds of venomous snakes lived in the state, but many of them are restricted to the far southern corners of the state.  He also brought along his toy snakes and a live snake from the biology lab.

one year ago…”Presidential Parade”.

October 29, 2008 – Tractor Repair

The last few times I’ve used the 2510, there has been a smell of coolant – I was able to see that it was a relatively small leak, so I let it go until a later time.  That time was today.

I hadn’t yet dug into the tractor, so I had to figure out how to get the hood off as I could remove one clamp off with the hood on, but not the other.  I was happy for the manual to show me how to remove the hood.

Here’s the offending hose with the clamp loosened.

The new hose clamped firmly in place.

one year ago…”City Smoke, Country Smoke”.

October 28, 2008 – Soap Cutting

It was another round of soap-making this week-end.  I thought it would be a good time to show the final stages of soap making.

About 12 hours after pouring into the mold, this batch was ready to cut.  You can tell when it is ready when the soap barely indents to a strong touch.

The soap mold has fold-away hinges and here’s what the mold looks like after the mold is collapsed.

After the plastic film is removed, the soap goes back in the mold and is cut into bars.

The soap must “cure” for 4-6 weeks before the chemical reaction is complete.  We’ve noticed our soap is like a fine wine – the longer it sits, the better it gets – we found some year-old stuff and it was even better than the new stuff.

one year ago…”Rare Breed Chickens – Silver Campine”.

October 27, 2008 – Lucinda Williams

This week Linda and I snuck out to see Lucinda Williams play a grand old theatre in Des Moines. Lu is one of those artists that’s hard to put in a category, so she’s never on commercial radio. She plays rock, country (Cline, Willie, and Waylon type country, not Garth, and other hat acts), and blues all with her own sound. We got fifth row seats, so had a good view.

Lots of her fans are worried now that she’s happy. Don’t worry, she can write happy songs as well as songs that walk on the unpleasant side of life.

one year ago…”Garlic Planting”.