Saturday, May 31, 2008

Tornado Beater

This beats a tornado any day!
We had no rain here this evening, but evidently some fell to the east, allowing us to briefly behold a RAINBOW!

Polly Mills Links

In a comment on the previous post, Russell (of Iowa Grasslands blog) mentioned an article in the Des Moines Register about a woman near Dunkerton whose home has now been destroyed TWICE by tornados! Click here to go to the Des Moines Register to read it. Thank you, Russell.

I attended her son Sam's funeral last September, and wrote about it in this post.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Skipper's Oz Trip

You might like to read this story of a beagle's adventure during last Sunday's storm. It was included in an article in the Waterloo Courier yesterday.

Parkersburg Teamwork

My son's high school football team went by bus to Parkersburg on Wednesday to help with storm clean-up. He took a few photos with his cell phone camera.

He said they saw American flags flying in random places throughout the area of destruction.


The team picked up debris at the golf course on the southeast side of town; the greens having a small creek running through them. This photo below shows how the creek looks right now.......packed full of stuff blown out of houses. My son said there was absolutely everything in, clothes, stuffed animals, CARS........just anything and everything from peoples' lives!


This next photo looks north toward the part of Parkersburg which took a much less severe hit than the subdivision of newer homes on the south side of town.


The Aplington-Parkersburg high school was demolished; a fact which both startled and fascinated my kids, who have all played basketball games in the gym there, and ran at the track.

Around this part of Iowa, the school is referred to by its initials, "A-P". A-P is well-known for successful athletic teams, especially in football, and, in fact, four former A-P standouts are on NFL team rosters.......Aaron Kampman of the Green Bay Packers, Casey Weigmann of the Denver Broncos, Brad Meester of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Jared DeVries of the Detroit Lions. I doubt there's another small-town Iowa high school that can boast that many NFL players amongst its alumni!

I've never been a big fan of pro sports, but its heartening to read in the newspaper of the concern these NFL guys have for their old hometown area, and their plans to help raise funds to rebuild the high school.

Update 6/23/08: Here's a newspaper story about a recent fundraising event involving the NFL players from A-P.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Extreme Makeover

I'm not trying to make a joke of Sunday's terrible storm, but this photo below shows the "Extreme Makeover" vehicle heading toward my brother's farm. Its from a video he shot before he skedaddled to the basement.
And, here's why the phrase "extreme makeover" came to mind: On Sunday afternoon, just a few hours before the tornado struck, Husband and I were attending a graduation party in Evansdale. The honoree was the son of an old friend of mine who was raised on a farm just west of the farm where I grew up (now the home of my brother and his family). Our old friend is a very jolly gal, with a distinctive, infectious laugh. As we were bidding her farewell from the graduation party, she spoke of how busy her life had been lately and she jokingly said, "I'm ready for the "Extreme Makeover" TV crew to come to my house and make it over!" She was referring to her own house near Waterloo, but as it turned out, her childhood home was turned into a gutted, mud-filled shell a couple hours later! Now, that's a totally extreme "Extreme Makeover"......and the kind no one in their right mind would ever wish for!
The rest of the photos show scenes from my old home neighborhood:
The flattened house in the photo below was a huge, square farmhouse where I used to babysit when I was a teenager. It is 3/4-mile west of my brother's place, and it is probably being engulfed by the tornado in the video scene in the above photo.

This farmstead in the next photo is 1/4-mile from my brother's place. Our grandmother was born and raised here. Its a blessing, really, that most of the old-timers of Grandma's generation aren't around anymore to see the mess left in the storm's wake. This will sound ridiculous, but I actually feel as if I've aged 10 years the past few days, and my home was not even in the storm's path! Especially so, after touring the damaged area on Monday and seeing the scope of the destruction, it almost made me feel sick. However, I don't regret driving around there and taking pictures because most of these ravaged houses and buildings have already been bulldozed into piles to be burned or buried. The clean-up is moving at a rapid pace, and that will be good for morale, keeping everyone's focus on a brighter future.

The rubble in the middle of the photo below was also a house I used to babysit at during my high school years, about 1/2-mile from my brother's farm.



The house shown below has been abandoned for many years. When I was a kid, an old man named Louie lived there, and, even then, the house looked the same as it does now......unpainted and uncared-for! Louie was rather a hermit, I guess.......his wife and children had left him. My mom would take him cookies once in awhile and sometimes I'd tag along. Anyway, can you believe it!?..........this derelict house was one of the few buildings left standing intact in the neighborhood!! Figure that one out!!

The photos in this post were taken on Monday, the day after the storm. At every damaged farmstead there were crews mobilized to start the clean-up process with chainsaws, skidloaders, endloaders, and loader tractors. My brother told me that groups of people from various places just showed up at his farm all day Monday. As an example, he said there was a father and son from Central City, Iowa, who had seen the storm reports and simply loaded up their skid-loader and headed to Dunkerton to help out. A Red Cross van drove through the area providing food and water.
Here below is the peeled-away roof at my brother's house. They feel so very blessed that their dwelling received only this relatively minor damage. The most violent middle portion of the tornado veered a bit to the northeast, sparing their house from a direct hit.
Ah, yes.......I have many childhood memories of playing on the big rock below, which was in a little pasture lot on our farm. We kept a small herd of sheep there. My sisters and I would play "house" on the rock. (We played "house" in every conceivable spot we could find!) We'd cart dolls and blankets and toy dishes all over the farmstead to furnish our "houses", and we'd take turns being the "mom".

The old ash tree finally met its demise........and, if nothing else, we can at least be confident of one thing:...........Not even an EF-5 tornado can blow this rock away!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Daughter's Birthday

Lest I forget, in the midst of all the recent storm is my oldest child's 27th birthday!! Here she is at 14 months:

It seems like only yesterday, of course, when she brightened our lives as our first baby!
I do have a stormy weather memory that involves her. When she was about three weeks old, a bad windstorm went through our area.......not a tornado, but a very strong straight-line wind. It was in the late afternoon; I was feeding my daughter and watching the news, which included a severe thunderstorm warning. The storm line on the radar map appeared ominously close to home, so I ran to the north window to look out and saw the most awful-looking bunch of black clouds rolling along the ground toward our house (we were renting a place near here).
I quickly put my daughter in an infant seat and grabbed a blanket and we ran to the north room of the basement. I can remember hearing the wind roaring overhead, and for once in my life I was truly afraid in a storm. There was added worry, too, because I wasn't sure exactly where Husband was.......I had driven him to a field we were renting a couple miles away shortly before the storm blew up. There were no cell phones back then, so people couldn't be in touch with each other constantly.
It turned out he had taken the tractor back to his folk's farm and was trying to drive home in the car. As the strong line of wind roared through, he was sitting on the road by the cemetery, the car rocking back and forth. He saw a pine tree snap off and go flying over the tombstones and he truly thought he and the car would be next!
When my baby daughter and I emerged from the basement, the first thing I saw was our large walnut tree leaning over against the machine shed. There were many other big branches down all over the lawn, and trees fallen over the road. It was a good thing Husband didn't keep driving; a tree or power lines could have fallen on him in the car.
As I said, that was the only time in my life that I was truly frightened during a windstorm. Possibly, though, having another little person to be responsible for also heightened my anxiety, one of the side effects of becoming a parent!!

Night of Tornado

I almost hate to admit this, but I went driving around on Sunday night after the tornado went through, mainly to try and find out whether my brother and his family were OK. The TV news reports kept repeating that houses on his road had been destroyed, and he wasn't answering the phone, causing my concern and curiosity to be overwhelming.

When no one was looking, I escaped in the Envoy. Not far into the journey it became apparent that many gravel roads were blocked off due to downed power lines. I drove slowly along the paved road a mile north of my brother's place, trying to make out the outline of his buildings. Things looked ominously different than they had before. I pulled into an acquaintance's driveway; there were several people standing in the yard, looking south. I blurted out, "Can you see my brother's house?" I had binoculars with me, and we took turns peering through them. The Morton Building machine shed was obviously ripped open, with the combine visible inside. Bins were dented. The old barn roof had fallen in. About the house, we couldn't tell, though. Then one of the guys took the binoculars up to the second floor of the house to get a better view, coming back down shortly with the good news that the house appeared to still be there.

I left there, and made my way slowly along whatever road was open, going by my sister's house where the driveway was full of cars and pickups and people were up on the roof putting a tarp in place.........then into the town of Dunkerton, which appeared largely untouched by the storm, then out of town again towards my brother's place. Here's a scene from north of Dunkerton that night:
At my brother's corner, I was relieved to see light glowing through the windows of their house. (They had a generator running.) I didn't go down their road due to the downed lines. Look what else was in view........the sun making a sudden, surprising appearance in a sunset of out-of-place beauty!! Unbelievable!! Rain started pouring down again shortly after.
About that time, my cell phone was my son, asking, "Mom, where are you? You'd better get home; there's another storm system moving in." Gulp. I made my way back through Dunkerton and then west to try to find an open road to the north. The only available route went by St. John's Lutheran Church, Bennington Township. It was destroyed by the tornado in May of 2000, and proudly rebuilt on the same country road west of Dunkerton. Look........this time, it lost only the top of its steeple (hopefully)!!

These photos look dark because it was nightfall by the time I went by there, and it was raining.

I had to take this adventure on my own, because my husband has better sense than to go driving around right after a tornado has gone through. I don't regret going; I knew it would be OK. Sometimes, I have to circumvent sensible-ness, and please assure me I'm not the only person who occasionally does that!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tornado Damage

Yesterday, my son helped clear trees and debris at tornado-damaged farms south of us. He took the photos on this post. The farms are located northwest of Dunkerton.



Keep in mind that no one died or was injured at any of these locations. The residents were either away from home at the time of the storm, or they were hunkered down in the basement with their loved ones.
Much post-storm activity at the farmstead shown in the next photo.......corn needed to be trucked away from a collapsed bin.......and livestock removed from fallen buildings. Machinery sheds all blew down.......the back half of the house roof is gone........and see the mangled trees.

SO MANY trees went down!

This entire neighborhood is simply a mess of devastation. It leaves me stunned and speechless. I grew up on this brother lives at the homeplace now; his house survived intact, but the roof over the bedroom area was peeled away. Rain poured in and the ceilings fell down. My brother says they can sleep under the stars now!

My brother videotaped the tornado bearing down on the neighborhood........that is, until he saw the neighbor's bins and buildings being popped into the air like ping-pong balls, he said. Then he decided it was time to run to the basement to join his wife and children. His video is on the KDSM-TV website (within the video link entitled "Survivors Recall Moments of Terror").

So much material loss in the area! As I imagine those folks hunkered down in their basements with the monster storm roaring overhead, I imagine that in such a moment your priorities are completely galvanized. You know what truly matters, and it is the people huddled with you. That is it. You have no control over what's going on above you; as long as your loved ones are safe, that's what counts.

Monday, May 26, 2008

In Our House

Beneath these three gravestones lined up in a row in the cemetery near our farm are three children of the Dickey family. Each child died at two years of age, probably of diptheria, Orton in 1871, Arthur in 1876, and Leota in 1879. The Dickey family was one of the early owners of our farm; I have seen their name on the farm deed. Albert and Phebe Dickey were the parents of these three; I have no idea if any of their children lived to adulthood, but there is no one by that name living in our area today.
What suddenly dawned on me with startled clarity, a week ago on Sunday afternoon, as I was gazing at these stones, was that these children would have lived and died right in the house we live in!

When we remodeled a couple years ago, and were tearing out walls, it was easy to tell which part of the house is the oldest. There was old, dark, hand-sawed wood there with square nails in it. We think that oldest portion of the house was built in the 1860's. A two-story addition was constructed in 1897, and we know that for sure because the date "July 11, 1897", was penciled in on the boards beneath the old wood siding we were removing. (Get this....... July 11 is Husband's birthday!)

Here is the inscription on Albert Dickey's tombstone. He died November 26, 1893. (Click picture to see it larger.)

And, below is the friendly cat that followed me around in the cemetery that sunny afternoon, posing contentedly for a portrait here and there.



Wow, can very many of us imagine living in a time when losing children like that was a common occurrence?! There were no antibiotics and vaccines back then. Just think of it.

I'm not saying the following was anything more than my imagination, but on Monday morning, the day after I took these photos, I awakened very early to the feeling that someone was gently slapping my feet together. It wasn't Husband; he was still sawing logs. My next thought was that for some odd reason my nineteen-year-old daughter was trying to quietly wake me up to tell me something, that she'd had a dream or didn't feel good, but when I finally lifted my head to look, NO ONE was there. I fell back asleep, and it happened again, and then again, for a total of three times. Like I said, it felt exactly like someone was using their hands to gently slap my feet together. Like something a little kid would do. And no, I've never experienced that sensation before,........ever.

I know that as a Christian I'm not supposed to believe that spirits could hang around a place, but I can't entirely rule out that its not possible. I don't use the word "ghost", for I don't care for the frightfulness that usually gets associated with the word. It wouldn't bother me a bit if spirit remnants of those little toddlers who died here tried to get my attention. I can't say there's been any other odd things happen over the years, so maybe this incident was simply my imagination at work after realizing those children had died here years ago. Although, my daughter has told me ever since she was little that she feels a presence in her room at night......up in a corner near the ceiling; I've always assured her its probably an angel.

I've also read that its possible that the energy of strong emotions can hang around in the place where something traumatic happened. I would think the illnesses and deaths of several children would have produced plenty of emotional reaction in the parents and other loved ones.

Who knows??!! We think we know so much, but I wonder if we really do.

I hope I haven't weirded you out for the day.......stories like this don't bother me, but they might bother some people, and I apologize if it bothers any of you reading this.

Enjoy this Memorial Day! Maybe you're celebrating the start of summer with a family picnic or a day trip or some other relaxing activity. Have a great time and be safe!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Holy Bible Window

Today is Sunday......I don't know what its traditional label is......perhaps, The Sunday After Trinity. Anyway, here's a stained-glass window from my church in honor of today, whatever today may be:

It simply, or profoundly, depicts the Bible, that which Christians view as God's Word.

How to read and use God's Word varies amongst Christian denominations, I think. Some, such as my confessional Lutheran church, place very high importance on the Word of God from the Bible, when SPOKEN by an ordained minister, who must be a male.

A few years ago, at a Ladies Aid meeting, our pastor's wife was giving a presentation to our group of ladies. Her husband, the pastor, was there, also, in the audience. Near the end of her talk, she mentioned a Psalm which was her favorite, and said she was going to read it to us. She opened her Bible and started to read, but then looked up and said, "Oh, I'd better let Pastor read this to you."

It was an interesting, enlightening little moment for me. The true orthodox Lutheran belief would be that a woman should not be reading aloud from God's Word if a man is present. I Timothy 2:12 is the scripture passage used to support this. (I always wish the pastors would read on and explain I Timothy 2:15, but they never do!)

Right then, I had to fight and defeat a rebellious urge to stand up and say to her, "No.......this is your go right ahead and read this Bible passage to us."

Saturday, May 24, 2008

More Cemetery Sights

I'm sure you're just dying to see more cemetery sights! I can't believe I ended
this recent post by stating that the statues my mom and I saw in the Waterloo cemetery "added a sense of comfort and serenity". I hadn't looked at the photos from that day yet! The statue figures add something, but what exactly that something is, is the question!!

This angel statue is probably six feet tall and situated atop an already towering tombstone. The face and wings are frightfully blotchy, and in an attempt to cheer up her/his appearance, I added a happy color to the background. Obviously, that didn't help much!

In my imagination, this stone lady below seems to be saying: "Hey, there.....please, stop for a moment......I have a question about something in this book!" She, too, was over six feet in height and on top of a tall gravestone engraved with a big "E". What do YOU think she's trying to say??

This cemetery surely must be one of the oldest ones in Waterloo. Near the front gate were several graves of the Hanna family, who I think were some of the first white settlers in this area. That would have been in the 1830's & '40's, and at that time Waterloo was known as "Prairie Rapids", and neighboring Cedar Falls was called "Sturgis Falls". This cemetery is sprawled across a sloping rise above the Cedar River. It seems cemeteries often end up on hills. Maybe Native Americans used this area, too, for encampments.......or burials.


There's another cemetery I had thought of visiting that day with my mom, but we ran out of time. It is north of Cedar Falls, and buried there, I believe, is the author Bess Streeter Aldrich. She wrote about the early settlers of this area of Iowa. Two of her books are A Lantern In Her Hand and A Song Of Years. I read the first one back when I was in high school, and recall bawling my eyes out at the end. Abbie Deal's deceased husband, Will, had returned in spirit to escort her from this is a very moving scene:

She turned to the doorway. "It seems a little dark. You know, Will, I think we will need a lantern. I've always kept the lantern.....". Her voice trailed off into nothing. For Will was still smiling at her, questioningly, quizzically,-----but with something infinitely more tender,-------something protecting, enveloping. Slowly it came to her. Hesitatingly, she put her hand up to her throat. " don't mean it!......No THAT.......not EASY? That it's nothing more than THIS.......? Why, WILL!"

Abbie Deal moved lightly, quickly, over to her husband, slipped her hand into his and went with him out of the old house, past the Lombardy poplars, through the deepening prairie twilight,------into the shadows.


"Because the road was steep and long,

And through a dark and lonely land,

God set upon my lips a song

And put a lantern in my hand."

---------Joyce Kilmer

YYYYYYYYYY eyes are all watery now...... again. And, here's a poem mom and I saw inscribed on a gravestone that was flat on the ground in the Waterloo cemetery (click on it to see it larger):


Bess Streeter Aldrich's book A Song Of Years contains the fictionalized account of a true story that happened in the life of the great-grandfather of a good friend of mine. The great-grandfather, as a young man, had come to this area, on foot, to acquire land to homestead on, and found a nice section that he wanted. Two land speculators driving a buggy wanted that piece of land, too. It would become the property of whoever could get back to the land office in Dubuque first (around 100 miles to the east). Remember, my friend's great-grandfather was travelling ON FOOT, and the other two men had a horse and buggy. Guess who got there first.........yup, that's friend's great-grandfather! Its a well-known story around here. My friend's family still owns and farms that land, and it is a very beautiful area, with good soil, timber and a lovely creek.



One last photo from the cemetery........this tree seemed to shout, "Hey, I fit right in here......I'm dead, too!! And don't you DARE try any stunts to cheer up MY image........such as a pink background, GOOD GRIEF!!!"

Friday, May 23, 2008

Bags of Rye & Soybeans

"Sing a song of sixpence
A bag full of rye......."
Oops.......the rhyme doesn't go that way, does it. Well, here's a photo of our "bag full of rye", containing rye silage chopped from a 15-acre field. We don't own the machine which pushes the rye into the bag; a guy in our neighborhood has several which he rents out. Anyway, maybe you would like to have a blob like this sitting in your yard, as an abstract art conversation piece?!
Ok, the rye was chopped off the field on Wednesday; that evening the field was tilled up to prepare for the planting of soybeans, which Husband did yesterday , shown in photo below:
You can see the residual rye stems and roots, which will serve as "green manure" to fertilize the soybean crop as it grows.


I was given a very difficult task.........driving the pickup to the field and parking it along the edge so the soybean seed bags were in a convenient place for Husband to get at them when it was time to refill the planter boxes. (He needed the water jug, too, for his own hydration.)

As I sat on the endgate of the pickup, waiting to take the water jug to Husband when he reached this end of the field, I read the labels on the soybean seed bags. Look at this.......these seeds were tested in December 2007 and 90 percent of the seed germinated. Does that sound like a very good deal? Ten percent of the seed is no good, apparently!!
In the final photo, here's an overly colorized version of the planter's row marker arm. It cuts a visible line across the field. The person doing the planting steers the tractor to follow this line across the field in order to keep the rows straight.

(After I handed Husband the water jug, I almost walked right under this marker arm as it was being dropped to the ground to begin another row. That could have provided me with a dandy headache or worse......and it would have been my own fault for not paying attention.)

If there are any farmers reading this, they will easily realize that we are very small potatoes when it comes to the size and scope of our farming operation. We have 200 acres, which is not much in today's farming world; we don't rent any additional land, and our machinery is small and old. We milk 75-80 cows in a stanchion barn........that's a VERY SMALL dairy in this day and age, and stanchion barns are quickly becoming a thing of the past.
We raise alot of forage crops-------that's stuff for the cows to eat------ hay, rye, oats. Much of our corn crop is chopped and put into silos, also, for the cows to eat. We don't sell any shelled corn, and we probably won't sell these soybeans, either. They will get roasted for the cows to eat. We sell milk and beef. That's where our living comes from. Like I said......we're very small potatoes. So, if you wish to see modern, big, up-to-date farm machinery and dairy equipment, you've come to the WRONG PLACE!! (But, I'm very glad you're here, anyway!)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Flag of the Farm

If our farm were a nation or a state, maybe this could be the design of its flag!

Dirt and dandelions........hey, why not. Now, we'll also need to come up with the farm's anthem, and the farm's bird, and tree, and.....let's see.......(thinking).......the farm flower (looks like DANDELION will win), and a motto!! Any ideas? Let me know!

Oh, and this reminds me........did you ever have to create a country for a high school government class assignment? We did. I named my country "Atlantia" and it was a large island nation east of Argentina (whose climate and natural resources lists I used for references). I'm trying to remember what type of government I gave it........I think it was a representative democracy, but had no president.



Instead of traipsing around in cemeteries yesterday with my mom, I should have been home mowing the lawn. It needs it badly. However, look at the photo below........would you have the heart to mow off all those bright, cheery dandelion blooms??!! I don't, so the mowing will have to wait a couple days until this GORGEOUS yellow carpet turns to unsightly white fluff. (Surely, you're of the opinion that dandelions are gorgeous!)


Mom and I searched for her grandparents' graves in a large municipal cemetery in Waterloo. Quite a contrast to our small local church cemeteries! We thought we knew the vicinity of the graves, but after walking around for awhile with no luck, we drove down to the maintenance shed and asked an employee holding a weed trimmer if he had a moment to spare. He said he'd look up ONE name for us; we gave him thus and he rummaged in a file box, and then consulted old, yellowed plat maps of the cemetery, informing us then of the section and lot number. Our faces must have projected blank perplexity, for he then took us outdoors and pointed to a tree-shaded hill and said "up there, in the middle".

So we went to the middle of "up there" and walked back and forth between the tall trees and closely-spaced rows of gravestones, searching for the name we wanted, with no success. Pretty soon the maintenance guy appeared still carrying his trimmer and asked us if we'd found our grave. We said "No" and he glanced around and quickly pointed to the stone we were looking for! We appreciated his helpful concern. He probably thought we were blind as bats!

As we stood gazing down at her grandparents' gravestone, Mom reminisced a bit. She said that on Memorial Day each year her parents would pick flowers and then the family would have an outing to the cemetery. She said, "My sister and I would wander around amongst the stones. I remember there was a tall one nearby that had a woman's photograph on it." So I started looking around to see if we could find it. Sure enough, several rows away was the tall, narrow stone of a woman who died in 1936, and an oval photograph of her was encased on the side. Sadly, her face in the photo was missing, appearing to have been smashed by vandals. Cemetery vandalism is confounding........I cannot comprehend how anyone could enjoy doing such a thing.

All in all, Mom and I had a pleasant day together. She seemed to appreciate having a chance to visit these family gravesites for the first time in several years. She kept commenting on how few flowers there were on the graves in the section of the cemetery we were in. Well, the plots there were from the 1930's and '40's, and there's probably very few relatives of those people around anymore.

We living humans were greatly outnumbered by tombstones there in the cemetery yesterday. It was just Mom and me, a handful of other visitors, and several employees steering roaring lawnmowers and wielding buzzing trimmers around hundreds of tombstones. In these surroundings, I kept thinking of the title of a book I read long ago, We The Living, by Ayn Rand. Little do I remember about the story, except that I think it took place in Russia during or right after the Bolshevik Revolution. If my vague memory of it is correct, it was a depressing book.

There were some interesting old statues in the cemetery, here and there, on top of the larger tombstones......... mainly large angels that were crumbly and mottled, but adding a sense of comfort and serenity.


The best to you on this day!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Chopper In The Rye

Catcher In The Rye is a famous book........unfortunately, I've never read it and have no idea what its about. If you know, feel free to enlighten me in the comments section. Today we will have a chopper in the rye here on our farm, turning springtime into harvest-time for a day.

Last evening, Husband chopped a couple rounds to make sure the machinery was working right. The tractor is pulling the chopper which chews up the rye and spews it into the wagon behind. (Husband does actually have a head on top of his body.......the evening sun is causing odd shadows inside the tractor cab!)

Here's how the wagon looks when it is full of the chopped rye (If you were a cow, you'd be thinking "Yum, yum!" at the sight of this! [Do cows think, I wonder??]):
The chopper and the wagon contain various sharp, rotating parts. Beware!! Stay away!!
Whoops.......the camera slipped and ended up snapping a picture of some waving grass. There's a certain beauty there, I guess, even though its common, ordinary grass. Yesterday was blessed with a stiff breeze, all day long out of the northwest. Jackets and head coverings were required.
This final photo shows the wagon parked next to the bagger. The chopped rye is flowing out of the wagon and into the bagger which pushes the rye into the white plastic tube bag. It will end up looking like a big, long, white sausage sitting in the field.

Today, my step-dad will be here to drive the tractor pulling wagons back and forth from the field to the bagger. Husband will run the chopper. I'm going to put lunch in the oven for the guys, and then Mom and I are planning to visit cemeteries where her relatives are buried, to put flowers on graves. It will be nice to spend some time alone with my mom, so we can have a heart-to-heart visit.


Best wishes for a pleasant day for you, too!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Busy Monday, Monday

Remember that song, "Monday, Monday" from the Mamas & The Papas? No reason for asking, but that tune is running through my mind as I write this post late Monday evening (to be posted on Tuesday, of course).

A very busy Monday it was.........Husband cut the rye can see the winrows lying on the ground in the evening sun. The rye will be chopped and bagged in a couple days for silage to feed to the cows. Rye is seeded in the fall, so it will start growing right away the following spring.

My day was busy, too.......too busy for my liking; not hard work, just too much running around. The milk check had arrived over the weekend, so I had to coax and plead with it to stre-t-ch over all the bills waiting in a pile on the desk. It did......barely, as is normal.

Then as soon as that two-hour-or-so task was done, it was fill the dishwasher, fill the clothes washer, and run to the bank in our nearby small town, and then drive to Waterloo for groceries and garden plants. (I should have stayed home and mowed the lawn, but the cupboards were getting pretty bare. Actually, I was hoping it would rain as forecasted so I wouldn't feel guilty about gadding about shopping, but it didn't.) On my way to Waterloo, I detoured over to the pioneer cemetery near where I grew take some photos, what else!!

Rarely do I see people I know while shopping in Waterloo, but today I ran into my sister and niece at Walmart, and an old friend from childhood at Target. Oh, my......we gabbed and laughed in the bread aisle for probably 45 minutes........she was there to buy supplies for her son's graduation party next Sunday. Its her first time for doing that and she's nervous and worried about having enough food prepared. I told her to make it as easy as possible, and don't stress too much over the food........most of the guests will be making the rounds of many graduation parties and probably won't eat much.......that's been my experience. If you run out of run out of big deal.

All that yacking delayed me from getting home in time to feed calves; but, not to worry, because now that the track season is finally over with, our son gets home earlier from school and can do more chores. Lucky him!

As soon as I got home, the sky was turning absolutely beautiful and needed its picture taken, so I had to run around outdoors and do that before putting the groceries away and fixing supper for Husband and Son, who were hungry as bears. There's just no rest for the wicked!!

Above are grape vine leaves still opening up and looking pink. I really like the photo is WEEDS silouetted against the lovely sunset sky. WEEDS! Finally, they are good for something!!

(Oh, shoot, I should have cropped out that weird little dark mouse-shaped cloud on the right. Sorry!)

Have a tremendous Tuesday! (Now I'm wondering who sang "Tuesday Afternoon"........that was a good song, too.)