Friday, July 31, 2009

SkyWatch #55

07 27_0013

“I’m late, I’m late……for a very important date!”  And, that would be SkyWatch Friday.  I had planned to skip it this week, but thoughts of SkyWatch crept in and nagged at the back of my mind all day today.  That’s what happens when you get caught up in this stuff.

These two photos were taken in the evening four days ago.  I was mowing the lawn and suddenly noticed the big, billowy cloud formation blooming in the southeastern sky.  These photos do not do it justice.

07 27_0008 

Thank you for visiting this SW post!


Visit to find the entire list of this week’s SkyWatch links!


Kittens Discover World

July 30th 008

Yesterday afternoon I turned four kittens out of the basement for the first time. As always, it was entertaining to watch them get acquainted with leaves, blades of grass, ash seedpods, pine needles, etc.

July 30th 012 (2) Not sure I've ever seen such a pudgy fluff-ball of a kitten as this gray one is!

July 30th 010

This tiger kitty kept trying to hide in whatever little corner (or rooftop) she could find.....

July 30th 060 (2)

Young kittens' blue eyes are the sweetest! Too bad the color doesn't stay.

July 30th 042 (2)

Uh-oh......Betsy decided to plop down and put on authoritative airs, making sure the kittens know who's boss!

July 30th 052

But, not to worry......before long the mama cat, Dinky, showed up to provide security and a comforting snack!

July 30th 057

By evening chore time, Dinky and her family had taken up residence in an empty calf hut. I'm going to head outdoors and check on them, though, as soon as this blogpost is finished.....which is right now.


Have a great day!


Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Future of Dairy Farming?

A blogging friend, Sempringham, sent me the link to this YouTube video:

I don't really know what to say. Apparently, this may be the future of dairy "farming". Each state will have a handful of these gigantic facilities providing milk for the population. Why, really, do any of the rest of us even try anymore?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Shots of Izzy

Izzy Lily 1

If you’ve ever wished to see a dog’s nose in up-close proximity to a lily, well here you go!

My daughter sent these photos of her good-natured yellow Lab, Izzy, who visits our farm occasionally, basking in the opportunity to run free and cavort with Betsy and Buster.  I’ve never caught her in the act of sniffing flowers here, though!

Izzy Lily 2 Yes, the Izz-ster loves water, too!  If there is a mud puddle in the vicinity, she will run right over and splash around in it!

Izzy in pool *

Today my son and I were gone all day on a college visit. (Sniff, sniff, boo-hoo, I can’t believe my youngest will be heading off to college next year!!)  I guess I won’t say where we went, but it was out-of-state.  We live 90 minutes from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois… take your pick.  We did cross the Mississippi River, however, so that fact narrows the state choices down to two.


As we neared the big bridge, I tossed the camera at my son and told him to snap some pictures.


He liked the way this next one turned out:

IMG_4784 And, I appreciated this steeple he snapped as we drove through ________.  Does anyone know?  It is the oldest city in Iowa.

IMG_4858 *

I’ve been an unfaithful blogging friend of late.  Sorry about that.  I do wish all of you well, truly I do, and hope to get back in the swing of things soon.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Harvesting Oats & Baling Straw

July 26th 062

Our neighbor showed up around 1:00 p.m. to start combining the oats.

July 26th 011

We had some seriously gorgeous weather all day long!

July 26th 069 Of course, I had to get one last shot of the field adorned in its striped graphics.  This next photo was taken from inside the tractor I was driving, pulling the baler and basket.

July 26th 070

In the next photo, see the straw coming out of the left rear corner of the combine, making a swath for baling.July 26th 072

July 26th 061 (2) Nice, clean, golden straw……to keep cows and calves comfortable all year long!

July 26th 063

And, what about the actual oats that were harvested?  As I type this, the grain is being unloaded from the truck into the bin:

July 26th 098 The combine’s meter recorded 1400 bushels harvested from 15.9 acres.  My trusty calculator computes that out to 88.05 bushels per acre.  Husband says that’s the best oat yield we’ve ever had.  I have no idea how that happened……the weather must have been the major factor, for we don’t fertilize oats.  The name of this particular oat type is “Ogle”.

July 26th 089

The oats will be an ingredient in cow and calf feed throughout the year.


I drove the baler for 5-1/2 hours this afternoon and evening.  There were a few glitches here and there, but overall it was a good day of baling, especially because the weather was absolutely perfect.  I’ve had it for the day, though---clothes are itchy, neck is stiff, eyes are burning---so I’m signing off to find the ibuprofen bottle and then hit the hay.  How thankful I am not to be sleeping on straw tonight!


Busy Sunday On Tap

July 25th 026 Our neighbor who has a combine will be coming over here today to harvest our oats. Thus, it seemed needful last evening to snap a few photos of the field before the swath rows vanish. We will bale the straw right away today, too, so our Sunday will be very unrestful. On a farm, you must "Make hay when the sun shines" or "Make straw when the sun shines", even if its on a Sunday.

July 25th 007 Next is a closer shot of an oat swath. Hopefully, you can see the grain heads.

July 25th 009

The auger had to be maneuvered into place in preparation for putting the oats into the grain bin. Oh, I never like to see anyone sitting on top of a bin!

July 25th 004


If this were 100 years ago, Husband and our 12 kids would probably be in the field making oat shocks (bundles) out of the swaths. I would be preparing food……first catching a chicken for butchering, plucking, and boiling in a stew pot along with carrots, potatoes, onions, and green beans from my large weedless garden. The stew would be eaten with the fresh bread I just baked in the woodstove. The bread spread with butter I just churned from the cow I just milked. For dessert we’d have pie made from raspberries I just picked. After dinner, I would heat water for washing the dishes and then make preparations for supper. Through all that I was wearing a new work dress I just made from a bolt of calico recently purchased at the general store up the road. Wow.....I'm really tired now from just thinking about all of that.


Here, you can watch oat shocks being made in this YouTube video, though the shocks are being made with a machine called an oat binder. We used to have an old oat binder sitting behind our machine shed when I was a kid; my sisters and I would play on it.

And, then there was the "threshing" of the oat shocks, pretty much what a combine does nowadays. When I was young, I often heard older folks talk about the "thrashing rings"......groups of farmers who worked together, moving horses and threshing equipment from farm to farm to harvest the oats. It was a really big deal at the time. The womenfolk would work together to fix the meals. There's hardly anyone alive anymore who remembers such things.


Have a pleasant Sunday!


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Vignettes of Paris

Paris Champs de Elysses

My daughter was in Paris two weekends ago. She stood atop the Arch d’Triomphe…..and The Eiffel Tower (at midnight).

Eiffel Tower at night

Notre Dame Cathedral:

Notre Dame front (2)

Rose Window of Notre Dame Cathedral:

Notre Dame Rose Window Flying buttresses of Notre Dame:

Notre Dame back roses (2)

Daughter at The Louvre:

Rachel Louvre Mona Lisa was there, too…….

Mona Lisa


Culver’s Physic

July 20th 029

With great anticipation I’ve waited for this plant to start flowering along our road, so I could show it to YOU, of course!  It is known by various names……Culver’s Root, Tall Speedwell, High Veronica, Bowman’s Root, and Culver’s Physic.  (This is the first year I’ve seen a pink one…..usually they are only white.)

July9th015 Reportedly, there was a frontier physician by the name of “Culver” who recommended using an extract from this plant as an effective laxative.  (I wonder if the fly in the next two photos knows what he’s in for!)

July9th018This plant is native to North America.  Another source mentioned that Culver’s Root was introduced to European herbalism by the Seneca Indians.


Here’s info from the book, Wildflowers of the Tallgrass Prairie, by Runkel & Roosa:  The root was once used as a cathartic by early settlers, hence the name “Culver’s Physic”.  It was often combined with other medicines.  An infusion of the dried root was used cautiously for a sluggish liver. (One teaspoon of dried root steeped in 1 cup boiling water for 30 minutes equaled one dose.)  Fresh root was a drastic purge and abortivant, but its action was uncertain and severe.  Other uses of the root were as a stomach tonic, a laxative, an antiperiodic, a hepatic, and a cholagogue.  It was also used to treat dyspepsia, torpidity of the liver, debilitated conditions of the digestive tract, typhoid, intermittent fever, diarrhea, and “summer bilious fevers”.

The Seneca made a tea of the root for use as a mild laxative.  Roots were gathered and stored at least a year before they were used.  The root helped to promote vomiting.  Taking a decoction of the root for a month was once considered a cure for venereal disease.  For the Menomini, Culver’s Root served as a strong physic, a reviver, and as a means for purification when they had been defiled by the touch of a bereaved person.  The Meskwaki used the root to treat constipation, to dissolve kidney stones, to make ague tea, and to treat women who were weak from labor.

(There may be a quiz over this material tomorrow, so study up!)

July9th013 (2)


Friday, July 24, 2009

Deer in the Oats

July 22nd 031

Here’s the deer that ambled across the newly-cut field of oats last evening……

July 22nd 040 (2) She gave no indication of being in a hurry.  Obviously, she was unaware of my presence, and the dogs hadn’t spotted her, either.

July 22nd 047

She strolled up to the wall of cornstalks and disappeared therein……

July 22nd 053 (2) *

A few minutes later, Husband and I left home to go out to eat for our anniversary.  A little ways down the gravel road, we spotted a Great Horned Owl sitting on top of an electric pole!  Oh, golly…..I haven’t seen one of those in years!  I could have gotten a picture of it if only we would have slowed to a stop right away!  But, alas, Husband’s photo-hunting instincts are not nearly as pronounced as mine---actually, his are nonexistent---and our vehicle was way past the owl before he decided to brake and back up.  By then, the owl had flown away.  Drat.


Our daughter and her husband had kindly sent us a gift certificate to Applebee’s, so that was our intended dining destination.  First of all, however, we needed to stop at a relative’s house to drop a package off.  And, oh, boy, they had just returned from a trip to Chicago and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and had a stack of photos sitting on the table.  Husband and I couldn’t pass up the chance to look through them;  we’re always interested in seeing sights from other areas.

We saw scenes from atop The Willis Tower in Chicago (formerly The Sears Tower)……..taken from the new glass skydecks.  Wow!  We also saw lighthouses along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan….the Mackinac Bridge…..and the Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie.  Another very interesting set of photos was from the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Bay.  Haha……that prompted me to hum The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald for the rest of the evening!

Needless to say, by the time we got to Waterloo, Applebee’s was closed.  (Pout)  We scanned SanMarNan Ave. and decided to go to IHOP.  It was fine; my spinach-mushroom omelet tasted good and Husband seemed contented with his Tuscan chicken sandwich…..and half of my omelet.

  While waiting for our food to arrive, we sat there staring across the table at each other.  I finally said, “Well, what do you have to say after 31 years of marriage?”  Typically, Husband answered by asking me the same question!  I replied, “Well, you are still the best-looking guy I know of.”  And, that is the truth.  He has the perfect build, a head of thick wavy hair, and nary a speck of fat……just the same as back in high school.  Sheesh.  Sometimes a person like that can be really depressing to live with.  I can’t possibly post photos of him on the blog……female readers might swoon, hit their heads and be knocked unconscious, and I might get sued.


Have a great day!


Thursday, July 23, 2009

SkyWatch #54

sky full hay basket Welcome to this SkyWatch Friday post!  Greetings from our dairy farm in northeast Iowa, USA!  The first photo was taken last Sunday evening around 7 p.m. as we were finishing up a day of baling hay.

The next photo was taken today around noon.  It shows tassels on sweet corn---that’s corn for us people to eat.  Yum!  Corn-on-the-cob!  Can’t wait!  Currently, the field corn---which is for the livestock---is just beginning to tassel.

sweet corn tassels

This final photo shows our oat field, which was cut yesterday using the same machine the hay was cut with.  In the right corner area of the picture is a deer standing in the field.  More photos of the intruder will be in the next post.

oats cut


Thank you for stopping by!  Please visit to find links to SkyWatch posts from around the world!