Thursday, August 25, 2011

Two down, Three to go

Again, my apologies for forgetting about you.

We've been back on the farm since about Aug 5 and we have 3 family gatherings down and four more gatherings to go.  Then we're free to roam.   But the last gathering is September 17th (my class reunion), so we have a few weeks yet.)

During the first week of August, we had our daughters plus Julie's family here.  Things were kind of tight, but we really enjoyed their presence.  They are long gone.  Last weekend, we journeyed to northern Iowa for Sandy's family reunion.   It was a long day, but again very enjoyable.

I haven't really done much here on the farm, except pay bills and dream of what needs to happen.  So much of it spends money, so naturally we drag our feet some.  For the last 3 weeks on Thursday, we have driven a friend to Iowa City for Chemo treatments.   One doesn't realize how nice we have it until you get tied into helping a friend like that.  Suddenly, good health is nearly priceless.  Little things like dental cleaning and new eye glasses are nothing but an inconvenience for a short time.

This weekend, we have a luncheon to attend for past presidents of an RV club we used to belong to.  It is always great to see them once a year even though we no longer belong to that club.   Then on the Saturday before Labor Day, we are hosting a "Homing Pigeon release".   A friend from Milwaukee, WI is bringing a trailer loaded with about 200 homing pigeons.  They will be released at 7 and 8 AM, then several of us will go out for breakfast.  We met him at the park in Florida that we own a lot in.  So it is nice to see him and many other friends that come to see the pigeons off.   (The pigeons will probably beat him home to Milwaukee.)

Sometime this fall, we want to visit with daughter Beth in Dodgeville, WI, perhaps after Labor Day weekend. We're not sure of our plans.   We also have a Field Day dinner hosted by our custom farm operator to attend next Tuesday (after we get a filling fixed.)  So life is not dull in this household.

It is getting pretty dry here in SE Iowa, but in our case, the crops are well enough along to maturity.  We are very thankful for what we have.  Now we wait for hurricane Irene to drench the east coast with excess moisture.  Our daughter Julie and family live in New Jersey between Philadelphia and Atlantic City, so you know we'll be watching the news closely.

In due season, it will rain!


Monday, August 15, 2011

It is "Peace on the Hilltop" again.

The end of the week has arrived and again there is peace on our hilltop.   Our daughters have left with our only grand children.  So now we can try to return to a normal way of life.

Getting back to normal will take some time.  Friday, we almost pushed the daughter and family out so that we could travel to Ames and pick up a neighbor's daughter from a 4-H event.   We used the time in Ames to visit a former roommate of mine that is in the appliance business.  I wanted him to give me a short course on "Ice Makers" built into the refrigerators.  Besides learning how they work,  I got a real education on the various models, their  pluses and minuses.  They really are pretty simple devices.   (Ken had enough junked ice makers to fill a standard sized dryer shipping box.)

We parked our car in the church parking lot across from the student union and went into the church to make sure it was okay.   There we met the pastor who was there when both of our daughters were students.  He recognized us and even called me by name.  (Our daughters graduated 20 plus years ago.)  That ability to remember names has to be a special gift from God.   You can introduce yourself to me and five minutes later I've forgotten it.

We kept the storage trailer locked on Thursday so our youngest daughter wasn't able to sort stuff on her own.   On Wednesday,  Julie, Beth and Sandy sorted through several boxes labeled "kitchen" on the inventory.  A lot of it went out, such as plastics that probably has picked up the moth ball oder.   A few items were consigned to the burn pile, others to a niece who is into home canning, some to daughters and a little bit for our motorhome. (It grows!)  The box count was reduced some and they were happier.    Since it was all kitchen, I pretty well stayed out of it or was left out!

On Thursday, Sandy went with Julie and grand-daughters to the State Fair in Des Monies, which surprised me very much.   Three years ago, the grand-daughters were VERY un-impressed with the state fair.   What un-impressed me afterwards were the prices that were charged for some of the items.  One ride was $25 per individual.  Even the grand-daughters told Julie (their mother) that it was too much and didn't go on it.  They also avoided a ride that one had gotten an upset stomach on the last time.   Plus they expressed or took more of an interest in some of the 4-H show items, which really pleased Sandy.  The other thing was the prices on vendor food items.  Sandy bought a "sticky roll" with no nuts for $5.  It was six dollars if she wanted one with nuts.   I think  some of these vendor prices are as unreasonable as the parking fees at many airports!  (Or do I sound like my dad?)

What am I doing today?  mowing part of the lawn I  think.  But nothing with heavy planning. Sandy also is making noises that it is laundry time. Oh Well!


  (As a farmer here in Iowa, we need some rain to fill out the kernnels on a bumper crop of corn.  It has been 4 weeks since we've had any and the grass is dying.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day Three of daughters here

This is now the third day with our two daughters and family here.   And sometimes, it is a three ring circus in the motorhome.  But I think we'll survive.    We sorted some stuff in the storage trailer again and daughter Beth didn't press me on too many issues.  I did get caught on some towels that I had retrieved from the burn pile and put them in a box back in the trailer.  The mistake I made was not to have buried the box back on a shelf.  So today Beth grabbed the box to see what it was and recognized the contents.  Dad got a lecture!

Today we refilled the water tank in the motorhome and in the process, I learned where my air leak was.   For the last year or more we have been fighting what I thought was a bad water pump or a leaky intake line.  But today we broke the code.

To add water to the RV storage tank, we use the internal pump to draw water from a 100 gallon barrel at ground level  into the rig.   We use the "Winterize" valve setting on the pump intake, which pumps from a 3 foot plastic hose that normally would be in a one gallon anti-freeze jug.   We extend the line to my 100 gallon barrel and all is well.

Today when I pulled the plug out of the anti-freeze line to connect it to the external hose, I heard a strange sucking sound.  The valve was leaking air and allowing the water in the pump intake line to drain back to the internal supply tank.  It was frustrating to hear, but now we know why we've had so many problems with three different water pumps.  So either I replace the valve or we make sure to tightly plug the winterize hose when not needed.

The weather has been just delightful here on the farm.  The humidity has been low, the night time temperatures in the lower 60 range and the days in the mid 70s.  We can handle that.   But as a gentleman farmer, we need to complain just a bit.   Son-in-law and I  went into the cornfield and pulled off a couple of green ears.  The bad news is that the kernels are starting to dent and they appear to be short.   But the corn is standing well, so we'll take what we get.  (As a friend used to say to me, "you farmers are never happy!")

Tomorrow Sandy is going to the state fair with daughter Julie and grand-daughters while I'm going in the opposite direction to drive a friend to the hospital for his chemo treatment.   I'm surprised that the grand-daughters wanted to (or were willing) to go to the fair.  Two  years ago, they had a less than impressive opinion of the fair.   All they wanted to do was go on the rides and the first one upset their stomach a bit.

Life goes on.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Family is HERE!

The peace and quiet  here on the farm has been interrupted (and not rudely).   Julie and family arrived late yesterday afternoon after traveling from our family gathering by way of Ames, Iowa.    Julie wanted to show the granddaughters where all of us went to school.   They appeared to have had a very good time.

Beth also went by way of Ames, not for a tour, but to visit with a room mate from her years in college.

Yesterday afternoon, we were able to mow some of our lawn.  The grass isn't just long, it is more like a hay field.   But by mowing it after the dew was gone, the grass clippings dispersed themselves well.  If only my mower blades were "true" verses being slightly bent.   I guess I've hit one too many something over the years.

The next 3 days are going to be very interesting. Beth is determined to dispose of all of my goodies in the storage trailer.  Obviously, I intend to keep them.  After all, a fellow has to make some plans for the time between the end of RVing  and the finally packaging!  At least, for now I'm the only one who knows the lock combination, until I'm forced to divulge it.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Weekend over, back on the farm

Our last posting told you that we were headed for a family (Sandy's side) reunion.   We arrived on Friday afternoon  after stopping for a long break at a city park at Prairie Meadow in Minnesota.  Then when we arrived at Spring Valley, I was informed that we had time to stop so that I could get a haircut (which I had been resisting).   So with no more excuses, I was forced to comply.

The barber in town is an interesting character.  His main occupation is being a barber, but he has numerous other interests to take care of the slack time   For starters, he repairs clocks, all kinds.  He has a mount so that he can work on grand father clock innards outside of the case.   Then I noticed a rack of zippers.  He repairs (replaces) zippers on coats and other items.  To do that he has a heavy duty sewing machine.    While I was sitting in the chair, a lady brought in a chain saw to get the blade sharpened.  (He asked her to take it home and bring in only the chain.)    With all of those sidelines, he was still a decent barber!

I should mention that he has been in business for 42 years and loves it.  I  shouldn't complain,  but he  also only charges $10, probably the same as when he started.  Considering the prices of everything else, I couldn't complain if he raised his price a buck or two.

We'll save our comments on the how the reunion went until tomorrow.  It was great.

After the reunion was over this afternoon, Sandy and I headed back to the farm near Williamsburg.  It was only a 180 miles, but it seemed to take us a long time to get here.   Of course, we stopped at Walmart to fuel up the beast and get a few groceries.  (It was a thirsty beast also.)  Tomorrow both daughters show up for the week. That will liven up this motorhome.


Friday, August 5, 2011

A quiet County Park in Iowa

We came to this park last Tuesday and it has been very quiet.  Almost too quiet.  We didn't even have the locals driving through to see how it was.  (Perhaps they can just see enough from the street.)  However, yesterday afternoon all that changed.  Suddenly we were no longer alone, as 8 new rigs came in to pick their prime spot for the weekend.  But of the 8 new rigs,  only 3 of them stuck around for the night.  Five of them set up the rig and then bailed out for the night. Okay, it is their buck.

So today we're leaving, heading north to a family gathering this week-end.    It is now a little after 7 and the first one for today has arrived.   We plan to leave by 9.  I have to admit I'm curious how much traffic shows up through-out the day.   It is an interesting statistic on how users show up for a function.  It just takes time and a commitment to collect the data.

The good news about leaving is that perhaps we'll have better TV service.  Presently, only have access to CBS and PBS.   What I have missed is the ABC evening news and the ABC GMA in the morning.   We did have access to "Wheel of Fortune", so there was peace in the house!

We have broke a record while here.  For three days running, we have had a fire in the fire-pit and cooked the meat dish over the fire.  Most of the time, we think we should but never do it.

Time to get moving for the day.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Exploring another County Park

We moved today from the Cerro Gordo County park near Rockwell, IA to another county park on the outskirts of Rock Falls, IA  (NE of Mason City).  The park name is Wilkinson Pioneer County Park.  Its claim to fame in my book was that the data I had showed that it had over 40 sites with electrical hookups.   It does have 42 sites and one electrical post per every two sites.   Upon arrivial, we spent about 10 minutes deciding which site we wanted.  Actually we had too many available sites, since only one site (of 42) was occupied.

We settled in finally and relaxed this afternoon.  I did spot a nice pile of firewood that someone left, so we helped our self.  So we had a fire to roast some brats for dinner and later I sat round the fire until it was too dark to read my book.

The book is one that I picked up at a rally 2 months ago.   A lady brought in a few books and no one wanted this book called "Napoleon Bonaparte".   I find it very interesting to read what was going on in France during the time that our country was just getting her feet on the ground.   Napoleon had a number of good ideas and a few bad ones.  (Remember, we bought the Louisiana Territory because France had a dollar problem.)

Yesterday evening, Sandy's niece Judy stopped in to stay the night.   Judy had just finished her fourth ride on RAGBRAI (Register Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa).  We got an in depth report of what it was like to be riding in RAGBRAI.  When she finally finished, I got a lecture (sales pitch or ??) on why I don't need a notebook computer,  just get an IPhone.  I have to admit that the human factors built into the IPhone are impressive.   It is an appliance with lots of neat applications.

We're here at Wilkkinson Pioneer Park for 2 or 3 days.   We really
have no idea how long we'll stay.  It is nice, quiet and spacious with only one other camper.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Lost my Train of Thought

Yesterday while out for my usual walk to explore the campground, my mind raced over several subjects that I could address in the blog.  This morning, I can't recall a single one.    I guess a good nights sleep cleanses the soul and the mind.

We are the only camper here at the county park next to Rockwell, IA.  So no  complaints from the neighborhood.  There is an RV in the host spot, but no one around.   This morning, the drive through ranger almost stopped, but then decided that we were registered (apparently).

Sandy mentioned that we have "water front property" here.   I guess you can say that, as we're backed into our site with the lake about 30 feet on back.  But it is so cruddy that it is not a pretty site.  A flock of 20 plus geese keep us company day and night. They may look pretty, but the down side is "watch where you walk."   They do a good job of fertilizing the  lawn.

Yesterday we visited a very senior cousin of Sandy's here in the local care center.  Time seems to march on for all of us.  He was once an active and vocal fellow.  Today, you have to give him lots of time to convert his thoughts into words (most of the time).   He has a large photo of a C-46 on his bulletin board along with many other photos.  When I asked him about it, he was very quick to say that he flew one through-out the war in the south pacific.  I guess some things get burned into your memory and you never forget!

I think tomorrow we'll move to another county park near Rock Falls.