Tuesday, June 30, 2009



"Blog for Iowa" Blog

Here's a blog I just found.....Blog for Iowa. Today's post concerns health care reform. It mentions a small business owner in Iowa who just found out that his health insurance premiums are going up 80%. That's crazy! Insurance companies have everyone over a barrel and it needs to be stopped.

Bloomin’ Milkweed

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Well, its now the time of summer when milkweeds begin to bloom. “Dad-burned, bloomin’ weeds, anyway!”, some folks might say. Despite that, these Common Milkweeds (asclepias syriaca) are interesting plants to observe, not only in summer, but also in the fall. Milkweeds are popular with insects---the Wikipedia article mentions Monarch butterflies, Milkweed Beetle and Large Milkweed Bug, among others. Wouldn’t that be something to be a plant and have bugs and beetles named after you!! In the next photo, the Milkweed blossom is inundated with what looks to me like a type of lightning bug, though I could be wrong about that. 'Tis the season for their appearance, too.

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Yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day, weatherwise. Coolish breezes from the north continued to bless us with refreshment. In the morning, I spent time crawling around pulling the sorrel, quack grass, pigweed, lamb’s quarters, and catnip from the flower beds I whined about in Sunday’s post. Usually, I allow most of the catnip to grow because the cats love it. They joyfully rolled around on the catnip sprigs I pulled up yesterday.


Afterwards, I went into the house to do some bookwork---pay bills, mostly. Wish I could have joyfully stomped them into the ground! Recently, we received our annual reward letter from our health insurance carrier……every July they “reward” us by adding $100 to our monthly premium. Isn’t that considerate of them? Especially since we are very healthy and hardly ever have claims. Not that it matters anymore…..as it is, our health insurance is essentially worthless to us unless we would---God forbid---be diagnosed with a serious illness or suffer a major injury. God forbid, please, on both counts. Because the premiums have risen so markedly the last several years, we’ve had to raise our deductible to a high level and go to a 50/50 co-pay situation.

As self-employed people, we must purchase our own health insurance, of course, and believe me……there are NO good deals out there. Does anyone know…..are health insurance companies accountable to anyone? They seem out-of-control to me. Do our government leaders ever talk about reining in insurance companies? Or is the insurance industry just too big to touch? I wouldn’t doubt it. I can envision the insurance execs leaning back in their leather desk chairs, perusing cruise and resort brochures, maybe yacht catalogs, too, then beeping the secretary and saying, “Hey…..its time for our premium increase, isn’t it? Type up the form letter and send it out to our customers. Heehee.”

I wish some of you readers from Canada would weigh in on how your healthcare system operates up there. Do you pay health insurance premiums each month? Are you free to choose your own doctor, hospital, etc.? Do you get the care you need right away? What about mental health services?

Not that I expect to be hospitalized for a mental illness again, but it did happen to me once, unexpectedly, three years ago. Lo, and behold…..our insurance company had stopped covering mental health services a few years before that. How nice. I’m still slowing paying those bills off. My breakdown occurred outside of our home area and I was conveyed back to our local hospital by ambulance…..haha……the bill for that 2-hour excursion with me strapped tight to a gurney was $1500......$750/hour! (It would probably cost $1000/hour now!) Then add in the cost of my five days in the hospital AND the psychiatrist fees. We psych unit patients would sit lined up in the hall each morning, waiting our turn to meet with the psychiatrist who visited the unit daily. Mostly, she sat there and clanked metal clipboard charts opened and closed, scribbling here and there. When it was my turn, she would simply ask, "How are you today?" Finally, on the fifth day, she phoned my husband while I sat there, to ask him if it was ok if I went home. I recall she told him it would be ok for me to drive, but not to anyplace like Chicago. Sheesh. Each one of those five-minute-or-less sessions with her cost $100!! Its a racket, in my opinion. What is the matter with our health care system that such exorbitant fees are allowed?! Things are really out of whack. The health care industry needs treatment, big time......it needs bundled onto a gurney, thrown into an ambulance, and hauled off to the hospital.

Having the fanciest digs and making the most bucks possible seems to be what healthcare is about nowadays. Hospitals in our area keep trying to outdo each other by spending and spending on new additions and remodelings. Politicians at all levels---national, state, local---are mainly concerned about the next election, thus you have a situation where nothing ever gets fixed.

I can't make heads or tails of what the currently-proposed health care overhaul consists of and if it will even help self-employed people who are struggling to pay high premiums. Government leaders are most concerned about people who fall into the "uninsured" category, and rightly so, of course, but I hope they will also figure out a way to provide relief for self-employed folks and everyone else who struggles to pay very costly health insurance premiums.


In the meantime, I attempt to "insure" relatively good health by: not smoking, not drinking, getting enough sleep (my favorite), walking, eating plenty of fruits and veggies and dark chocolate (another favorite).


Believe it or not, I'm actually in a very good mood today! The above rant just sort of blossomed its way into existence. Blame it on the bloomin' milkweeds (and, the arrival of the health insurance letter).


Monday, June 29, 2009

Cow Tends Newborn

Ho-hum. Over the weekend, we once again witnessed the miracle of birth and the moments following......for the umpteenth, gazillionth time on this farm! There's a video below.


In case you aren't aware of it......immediately after giving birth, a mother cow will give her baby a thorough tongue-licking, to stimulate the calf and wash it clean, of course. She nudges the newborn in the direction of her udder, too, so the baby can start nursing and ingest the "first milk", officially known as colostrum. Isn't that amazing! (And, I just found the following info on a colostrum website: In the English countryside, colostrum is called "beestings" and is used in a variety of custard and pudding dishes. Wow.....I've never heard of the word "beestings" before, or of bovine colostrum being used in cooking!)


Ok.....the video is below. Sorry about the cacophony of noise in it. Fans running, radio blaring, guys talking, barn swallows squawking.......the usual summertime barn sounds.


"Welcome to the big, bad world, my child!"

"Hey, watch it there, Ma. Take it easy on my little 'ol ear!"

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Catch-A-Bug Jar

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Its a Sunday, not always my favorite day of the week, sad to say. Sunday mornings are ALWAYS hectic. Sometimes I loathe the rush to get barn chores done in time to hurriedly clean up, struggle with obstinate hair, and search my pathetic wardrobe for something to wear. Then the mad dash to church---a trip of only a few miles, thankfully. Sit…..stand…..sing……speak in unison......listen……for an hour. (Singing is my favorite.) Yack with fellow churchgoers for a few minutes, then race home again so Husband can feed and tend to the cows who forever need tending to, and Ma (me) can cook dinner. (Around here, the noon meal is known as “dinner”.) Then its time for us humans to eat, followed by clean-up of the kitchen.

FINALLY, then……the best moment of the day: collapse in a comfortable place to read a book or take a nap…..or blog. Today, that place is on an old couch next to a wide-open north window through which the most amazingly refreshing breeze is blowing. Mugginess has fled, as the weather has taken a sudden---and, VERY welcome---turn for the better. Early this morning, the house was still full of heavy, humid air left over from last night, but now that is only a memory. Hooray!

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The red “catch-a-bug” jar in the photos was a Christmas gift from my son and daughter-in-law. It was purchased at a shop in Galena, Illinois, and is a clever garden ornament and the perfect gift for a canning jar collector.

Try to ignore the messy, weedy aspects of the flower garden. I need to pull that pesky sorrel which keeps creeping into every empty spot in our landscaping. The sundial is guarded by a stack of three caramel-colored chert stones we found out in the field. They weren’t found together, but their colors matched, so we put them together for display. The bottom stone is large and very heavy, of course, requiring my husband’s assistance to put it in place.

I enjoy making stacks of stones; there’s something centering in the challenge of fitting rocks together so they balance just right and yet look interesting. The stacks add a bit of intrigue and mystery to the garden, I think, and are good conversation pieces. Sometimes I walk out to the rock piles in the fields and build random stacks here and there, just for the therapy of it.

My husband went a bit berserk landscaping our yard a few years ago after we built a new room onto the house. He put in many retaining walls and little terraces and stairways. I know I shouldn’t be complaining, but it requires alot of work to keep it all weed-free and looking nice. Before that we had NO landscaping, and, truthfully, I was very happy with that situation. Now, there are so many little flower bed areas to worry about---not to mention the huge lawn that has always been there anyway.

Mowing the lawn used to be my main groundskeeping responsibility, and it still is, for the grass certainly hasn’t gone away, but now there’s all these extra flower bed thingees that need care, too. Ack. Admittedly, many of you might be envious, and that’s fine, but to me its mostly a big hassle. My dear, hard-working husband was so proud of himself for designing and doing all that landscaping, while I was hovering in the background, trying to keep my frowns hidden. “Yes, honey, its beautiful…..you are so very kind to do this.” Cough, cough. I enjoy just letting things grow, and am appreciative of perennials that don’t require much care. Obviously, I’m guilty of laziness in the groundskeeping department. Good thing we live way out in the country where hardly anyone ever sees our yard.


I hope the weather is taking a turn for the better in your area, too, on this last Sunday of June. Can you believe it…..the 4th of July and midsummer are almost here! The summer season goes way too fast, that’s for sure.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Artistic Monticello Tour

Blogger Sempringham put on his history buff hat yesterday and shared an excellent link. Obviously, I had no choice but to shamelessly steal it to post here on my own blog. Thank you, Sempringham!
The link is below and takes one to an article from this week's New York Times. It is a unique and amazingly artistic tour of Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello, where you will also learn much about Mr. Jefferson himself. After reading the article, I felt as if I had been to Monticello, a place I would love to visit in person, but probably never will. I was moved to learn the origin of the article's title, Time Wastes Too Fast. The artist/author is Maira Kalman.
Please click to feast your eyes and mind upon:

Friday, June 26, 2009

Shimmering Corn Fields

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My blogging goal today is to try to convey to you how cornfields look right now; especially, their bright, shimmery appearance beneath morning sunshine. Only in morning sunlight does corn look like this.

26th 001 I love such scenes and am almost sad each summer when tassels start forming on top of the cornstalks, dramatically changing the appearance of the fields. In a few short weeks, that transformation will take place, and possibly sooner, thanks to the hot, steamy conditions we’ve been having. Corn grows like crazy in weather like that. They say you can hear the corn growing on hot summer nights……if only I could stay awake long enough to verify such a claim.

26th 007 Uh……these fellows were glowering at me as I took the above photos. I mustered up the courage to ask them about nocturnal sounds emanating from cornfields. The guy on the left mentioned “rustling” and then right away the dude on the right went off on a tirade about cattle-rustling. They definitely had their wires crossed and an argument between them quickly ensued, with barbs flung from both sides. I carefully backed away and sincerely regretted my decision to attempt pursuing a conversation with these large male bovines.

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“Sure as you’re born

Let’s talk about corn”

My husband sings those two lines sometimes, but I don’t know if they come from an actual song or not. Lately, there have been articles in the newspaper debating whether farmers are to blame for the obesity epidemic in the U.S. Much of the argument revolves around CORN. Corn prompts more fat in meat, so it is said. High-fructose corn syrup in soda pop, fruit juices---and a myriad of other foods sweetened during processing---somehow causes more fat to form in our bodies, so they say.

Farmers argue back---and, rightly so---that each person is responsible for what they put into their mouth. The main problems are, of course, that most of us shove TOO MUCH food into our mouths these days and we live very sedentary lifestyles. So much food is available to us and restaurants serve over-sized portions of everything and we giddily gobble them right up. Loosening our belts, we groan and trudge to our cars to sit for the ride home where we then sit in front of computers and TV. Do squadrons of farmers stand guard at restaurants, forcing people to eat huge amounts of food, and then demand that sitting be our main activity every day? Of course not. Thus its difficult to follow the argument that farmers are to blame for the nation’s obesity problem. But, we always have to find someone to blame other than ourselves…….and, yes, I am as guilty of that as anyone.

There are other corn debates going on, too, of course……one involving corn-based ethanol and whether or not it is an environmentally-friendly source of fuel. I don’t know enough about that. All of the corn we grow on this farm ends up being fed to our own livestock……as silage and grain. We make bedding out of the remaining cornstalks. Each year, when our home-grown supply of corn runs out, we must buy corn for a few months. We were not happy at all when corn prices soared from $2-3/bushel to $6/bushel last year. Especially, when the price we were receiving for our milk was taking a downward plunge. Not a good combination. That scenario makes dairy people very grumpy.

Hopefully, I haven’t offended any readers. We are all entitled to our opinions, of course. We can agree to disagree and still be friends……I hope.

Have a great day!


Thursday, June 25, 2009

SkyWatch #50

Welcome to northeast Iowa, USA!

Last Tuesday the weather was unbearably hot and humid. Not surprisingly, by late afternoon, a grumbling squall line of clouds rolled in from the west:

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We could see the rain falling several miles to the south:

23rd 049 After the storm……an amazing cloud display accompanied the sunset:

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Thank you for stopping by! Please visit Skyley.com to find the many other SkyWatch links.



Ed Thomas Video - ABC/GMA

Link to Good Morning America video about Coach Ed Thomas:
Link to ABC News article:

Mirage, Mirage, On The Road…..

24th 002 Mirage, mirage, on the road….

Who drove most straight and with caution slowed?

24th 004 C'mon, now.....don’t make fun of that verse; it took me quite awhile to think it up. The first line was easy, but not so the second. The little-used poetic muscles in my brain are stiff and flex with much creaking…..they need some grease!

I took the mirage photos while driving to Oelwein yesterday to pick up a new grille for the front of our lawn tractor. The old grille fell off the other day while I was mowing……obviously, I couldn’t see what had occurred and ran over it, smashing it to smithereens. The new one cost $99.

Anyhow, yesterday was the first time I’ve ever had the notion to try and snap a photo of a mirage. Aren’t they just the most intriguing phenomenon?! We, the viewers, “incorrectly interpret this sight as water which is reflecting the sky, which is, to the brain, a more reasonable and common occurrence (than seeing the sky on the road!).(From the Wikipedia article about mirages.)

The mirage of water on the pavement is an example of an “inferior” mirage……inferior because it is seen BELOW the real object (the sky, in this case). “Superior” mirages are seen ABOVE the real object. I believe I've seen such a thing when looking at the eastern horizon early in the morning, when the sun is not yet high in the sky. Farm buildings and trees are visible then above the line of the horizon, but later in the day it is impossible to see them. I’ve always wondered about that and now know it is a form of mirage!

The road to Oelwein took me through the town of Fairbank, where the annual summer celebration is drawing near. In the photo below…..read the banner carefully. I hope the town fathers received a discount on this particular item……

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While driving, I was pondering the stunningly tragic death of Coach Ed Thomas which occurred yesterday morning in Parkersburg, about 30 miles from here. Coach Thomas is very well-known in our area. I inadvertently caught him in a photo this spring while at a track meet in Parkersburg, right next to the site of the new high school being constructed to replace the one demolished in last year’s tornado. The sign in the background reads “Ed Thomas Field”.

Parkersburg Ed Thomas

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Thomas family and to the communities of Parkersburg and Aplington……and, to the shooter’s family, also residents of the Parkersburg area. A very, very tragic event. Ed Thomas’ son said, “God always has a reason.” And, he asked for concern and compassion to be shown to the family of the shooter.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Oats are “Heading Out”


Farmers…..and, all of us (including you and me), have the tendency to state the obvious on occasion.  “The oats are heading out…..”, Husband remarked recently as we looked at this field.  “Heading out to where?”, you may ask, if you are not familiar with the growth cycle of grain crops.  “Out to dinner?  Out to Colorado?  Out to go fishing?”

22nd016 Remember the mayonnaise jar in the fridge who proclaimed, “Shut the door….I’m dressing!”?  These oats would declare to you that they are “heading out”…….and that means they are busy growing heads of grain on top of their stems.

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Late yesterday afternoon, ominous-looking storm clouds rolled in from the west and took over the sky.  (This next photo is poor, but gives an idea of how the clouds looked over the oats field.)

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Afterwards, parts of the field were in a rather flattened condition.  (Hopefully, these areas will spring back up to some degree.)

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But most of the field looked presentable…….and, especially so when the sun returned for a bright encore after the storm had finished its performance.

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I love the sea-of-green appearance of an oats field at this point in development, before it ripens to the harvest color of golden-tan in mid-July.  Probably I’d feel right at home amongst wheat fields of the Great Plains.


Wishing you a joyful day!


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Parade of Tractors

Old Tractors 22June09 (18) It pays to look up from the grindstone once in a while. Yesterday morning I was trudging around doing calf chores, my gaze directed downwards as usual to avoid stepping on cats. All of a sudden I happened to look up and noticed an amazing sight in the distance…….a convoy of old tractors rolling down the nearby highway. Ah, yes……I had heard about the Two-Cylinder Club Expo being held this week in Waterloo and recalled that the old tractors would be taking tours in the area each day.

You better believe I dropped the calf bottles, ran to the house to grab my camera, hopped in the car, and kicked up plenty of dust speeding to the corner for a closer look……

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Every farmer has his own tractor-driving style……

Old Tractors 22June09 (22) Some are more stylish than others…….

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After a lifetime spent on the farm, I'm familiar with a host of tractor brand names, but, honest to goodness, I’ve never before seen or heard of a “Cockshutt” tractor!

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Hey.....look at this.....the guys are starting to exhibit a bit of friendliness…….how nice!

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This next guy is trying to tell me something…….something about “five”, I can tell that for sure. "Bring me 5 hamburgers!" or "I'm driving in 5th gear!" or "I'll be in for supper at 5:00!" or "You're a 5!".......ahem. Farmers are notorious for sending hand signals from the tractor seat. The challenge---as you can tell---is to correctly decipher what they are saying to you. What do YOU think he is saying??

Old Tractors 22June09 (53) Well, well……these next two farmers look REALLY friendly. "Hi, Guys!" Uh-oh……it suddenly dawned on me that I was wearing my HOOTERS t-shirt. Dang. I forgot about that. Its one of the old t-shirts I wear for doing barn chores. Its not an immodest shirt, certainly, but does have the word, "HOOTERS", emblazoned across the front in large, conspicuous neon orange lettering. Oh, dear. (Here's the explanation of how I acquired the "Hooters" shirt.)

Old Tractors 22June09 (24) What a relief……finally here come some guys toting their hunnies along with them. Looks like an enjoyable time of togetherness!

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And, never let it be said that tractor-driving is not an equal-opportunity activity. Look out.....here come the ladies!!

Old Tractors 22June09 (41) All right! You go, girls!! Oh, I would love to spend a day on a tractor tour!

Old Tractors 22June09 (55) Hmm……this next rig has a suspicious look. Rusty wheels……no shiny new paint or decals……what’s going on here? Hmm. Can the eyes behind those sunglasses be trusted? Hard to say. The guy looks guilty of something. Perhaps he and his old John Deere were out working in the field when they spied the tractor parade passing by and decided to sneak into the line-up. Obviously, a cunning opportunist at work here. (I am totally kidding here, of course.....I hope you readers realize that.)

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This next driver appears to be lugging his outhouse along with him, in a handy spot behind the tractor seat. Well, farmers are nothing if not practical and sensible……and they are full of…..of……of......ingenuity and good humor, of course!

Old Tractors 22June09 (58) Oh, that was fun…..watching a parade of colorful vintage tractors roll by on a perfect summer morning. Certainly, it was a rare treat! Its great to know there are people around who enjoy restoring and displaying the old farm equipment. Long may this hobby---and, those tractor flags---wave!!

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Here’s a few related articles from the Waterloo Courier:

Tractor Jam: Vintage Tractors Roll Through Northeast Iowa

Two-Cylinder Pride Shines at Expo

Tractor Time

And---for good measure and balance---here’s a dairy article:

Vermont Farmers Cut Cow Emissions By Altering Diets


Oh, my goodness......we absolutely sweltered here yesterday. It was horrible, and turned me into a virtually non-functioning blob for the afternoon. At 8 p.m.---after chores---I mustered up enough pseudo-energy to take a walk down the lane. The air was still oppressive with not even the the tiniest hint of a breeze for refreshment. Ugh, and double ugh! By 10 p.m., there was a slightly cool breeze drifting in from the south......and evidently straight out of our neighbor's hog confinement manure pit. Down went the windows and on went the fans, full blast.

No doubt the weather is similar in many parts of the country and the world. My husband's nephew is stationed in Iraq.....he and I were chatting online the other day and he said the temperature at his base was 130 degrees F! Its a dry heat over there, I know, but still......130 degrees is pretty darn hot!


Stay cool as best you can!


Monday, June 22, 2009

Early Birds


Today dawned in a fuzzy haze. Starlings---who are not darlings in my mind’s eye---basked in the misty golden glow. Would you believe early white settlers of the New World brought starlings over here with them from Europe! That’s mind-boggling to me. Of all birds, why bring messy, homely, annoying starlings? Apparently---so I’ve read---having these birds around was somehow a comfort and counteracted homesickness. Like I said…..mind-boggling!

22nd036 (2) That’s a stray barn swallow wing protruding from the corner in the above photo. The wing may belong to one of the two swallows in the next scene. They spend their days dive-bombing through the air, feasting on flies and gnats.

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Speaking of bothersome birds, when my daughter called from Germany yesterday, she talked about pigeons. On the train trip to Munich, she was dismayed to find that the pigeons are very friendly, flying around in the train stations and winging their way in and out of shops in the towns. Mostly, Daughter didn’t care for the fact that the birds could be found overhead even in areas where people were eating. And, she said, “Mom, a pigeon targeted my head!” I thought she meant she was a recipient of a specialized calling card, but no……a pigeon bumped right into her forehead! She also mentioned that there are rows of nails in place along the tops of signs and other potential pigeon perching places, to discourage the birds from sitting in those areas and leaving remembrances.

I apologize if this shocks anyone, but here in farm country, people often shoot pigeons! It seems every farmstead has a flock of the gray and white birds and ours is no exception. The abode of our pigeon congregation is high up in the loftiest reaches of the silos. They surely must love us and feel comfortable here, for we haven’t made any attempts to thin their population for several years.


Have a great day! (Gramma Ann……how are you? Last evening, I heard reports about flash flooding happening in your town.)


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Double Milestones Post

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Ok……here we are……at the finish line of my blogging goal for today, June 20, 2009. Its my 51st birthday, which is no big deal. More importantly…..this is my 1000th blogpost! The photo above shows me as hostess at my first birthday party, ready to launch the festivities by yanking that cake onto my highchair tray. All right! Bring it on! Actually, my eyes have that glazed-over, ready-for-a-nap look……and, that’s been the theme of my entire life!

I began blogging on February 12, 2007……here’s the first post. Haha, at that time I knew precious little about blogging…..I didn’t even know how to add a link to a blogpost. I’m indebted to kind-hearted fellow bloggers who offered instructions for that and other blogging tricks. I started with Blogger's Mojo Green template, I believe, and didn't post photos for a year, until we switched our internet connection from dial-up to DSL.

Bear with me, please……I enjoy these old photo scenes mainly for the glimpse they give of old linoleum, curtains, wallpaper, furniture……decor from a past era. In this next photo, it appears I’m getting an early start on learning to sort laundry……definitely a necessary life skill.

dresser drawer

One change in my blog’s look came when I learned about using Windows Live Writer a few months ago. Lots of handy options in there. When uploading a video from my own camera, I still use Blogger, though.

Ah, yes…….next we see one-year-old me busily absorbing knowledge from our set of Collier’s Encyclopedias. Please don’t be shocked by my attire……the white towel placed on top of the head helped to hold information in place until it could be fully soaked up by the mind’s memory bank. I’m not sure what that tail-piece towel was for. (As I recall, my mom placed these small towels on armrests of the sofa and easy chairs---to provide protection from dirt and wear. My great-grandma crocheted doily-like pieces to be used for that purpose, too.)

Lj encyclopedias

Another blogging improvement happened when I learned how to increase the size of the blog “wrappers”. Other bloggers directed me to this Norwegian blog which gives instructions for going into the blog’s HTML and increasing the measurements for the wrappers. It allows the blog to use more of the computer screen area and photos can be uploaded in a larger size. If you visit the Norwegian blog, there is a translator widget in the sidebar so you can convert the post to English or whatever language you need.

This last photo is a bit blurry, but I enjoy the scene. I still have that white teddy bear that's lying there on the sofa in the photo, but I've no recollection of the monkey. I attempted to zoom in to see the item in my hands……it looks for all the world like the cell phone I currently use!! (Wow.....dig those well-matched linoleum and wallpaper designs!)

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Sorry for all this focus on ME, but I had a blast arranging this 51st birthday post to also be the 1000th post on my blog!

Have a pleasant weekend……and a wonderful Father’s Day (which is my son’s birthday……and he was born right on Father’s Day in 1992.)!


Friday, June 19, 2009

Jolly Green Silo Critter


This creature is clinging to our silo right now. Is it a horse? A donkey? A bird? I’m just not sure. If you know the scientific name for this species of critter, please say so. Thanks.


Snowy Railroad Crossing

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Yesterday's weather was like a sauna here in Iowa, prompting me to search for photos that had the feeling of "COOL". I love the above scene…..though am not sure why. It was taken on March 26, 2008, when I happened to be out driving around during a sudden spring snow shower. At one point there was a loud ruckus in the woods……it was this double-armed tree trimmer moving down the railroad tracks:

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Railroad bridge over the Wapsipinicon River, northeast of Dunkerton:

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I spent several hours on the lawn tractor yesterday afternoon in an effort to get all the grass cut before more rains come. The day's mugginess hinted that storms could develop in the evening......I typed this at 9:30 p.m. last night and all was quiet at that point, though still uncomfortably humid, the type of weather in which you don't feel refreshed even after taking a shower. It doesn't help that we don't have air-conditioning in our house, either. I'm worn out from hours in the sun and just gulped down some ibuprofen and am going to hit the hay. Good night......even though you'll be reading this in the morning. My blogging marathon will soon be finished!