April 30, 2009 – Plum Blossoms

We continue to be in a dark, cold weather pattern.  Hard penance to pay for the 80 degree day last week. Low overcast with continual wetness starts to feel oppressive after a while.  I’m worried that the wetness, cool temps and wind will prevent the pollinators from getting out to the fruit trees.

The plums are first out of the gate and in full bloom.

one year ago…”Wind Turbine Foundation Poured”

April 29, 2009 – Let the Outdoor Work Begin!

There are so many things to get done around the farm, that every few years it seems they catch up and overwhelm me so I hire out some jobs. The shingles on the south side of the detached garage where starting to curl up. Since I had a bunch of shingles left over from re-roofing the main house, it wasn’t that expensive to do.

I’ve always liked this little garage – the color and architecture remind me of an old frame forest service structure. The other little tasks were finishing the soffits on the first floor converted porch, taking and sealing the hole of an old toilet in the basement, and unplugging a basement floor drain. Now I feel much better and can keep moving forward on more projects and spring activities.

one year ago…”More Loader Benefits”

April 28, 2009 – Claire with More Opportunities

Claire was selected and awarded a scholarship to attend this year’s Iowa Youth Leadership program!

Students from around the world will attend and go through a two-week program. The following is from the organization:

The Iowa Youth Leadership International (IYLI) prepares international students to assume active leadership roles in their community and global society. Through IYLI, students embark upon a lifetime of meaningful participation in their local and global communities. Signature academic programs based on the framework of history, culture, geography, environment, economic, education, music, sports, and community provide training and exposure to prepare well-informed leaders and citizens. IYLI emphasizes the connections between local and global conditions, challenges and opportunities.

Some of the activities include a day at the Capital talking with representatives, time in US Senator’s Iowa offices, law firms, banks, outings to natural resource areas, health institutions, utilities, and many more places to get a sense of important community institutions and opportunities.

one year ago…”Hot Chicks and Cold Nights”

April 27, 2009 – Energy Group

I was invited to be part of an amorphous group looking to increase efficiency of small and medium-sized farm energy use and use of renewable energy. The participants included a wide range of parties, including I-Renew, Iowa Environmental Council, Farm Bureau, Alliant Energy, Iowa State Extension and Engineering, Rural Electric Co-ops, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, and Practical Farmers of Iowa, among others.

We met at a research area owned and designed by Grinnell College. I love this photo that shows and environmentally and aesthetically conceived building, wind generator, and artisitic monolith in the adjacent prairie.

I hope that the group is able to come up with actionable plans that meet everyone’s needs and can usher in new ideas in farm energy use and creation.

one year ago…”A Constant Battle”

April 26, 2009 – Gully Washers

Today we had downpour after downpour as a line of thunderstorms “trained” over our place.  During the band concert in the high school, water dripped through the lights of the auditorium and the rain did not stop. Water was waist deep on some streets in Marshalltown.  Most of the county received 6 inches of rain.

The debris and runoff from the adjacent field collapsed the fence around the willow nursery in the back pasture.

A wider view of the temporary river where water generally does not flow.  It was a depressing sight, to drive around and see all the topsoil being washed away in nearly every bare field.

one year ago…”Stocking Up on Fuel”