Sunday, June 24, 2012

Back on the Farm, another Hot afternoon

The rally was over today and we headed back to the farm. It was a pleasant drive, only about 84 miles and we arrived shortly after noon.  Near Albia, we met several pickups, each pulling a heavy duty utility trailer carrying  an old restored tractor.   There was a bit of an urge to return to Albia so that I could admire all of the restored tractors.

It has been 3 or 4 days since the last blog and there were events that I was intending to remember to write about.  But here it is, and I don't remember a thing that we saw, talked about or what ever.  During my employed years, I used to carry a couple 3 by 5 cards in my pocket to make notes on.  Perhaps I ought to do that again.

Saturday was spent touring the Iowa State fish hatchery by Lake Rathbun.  Afterwards we toured some of the lake surroundings before returning to the motorhome. One of the items I wanted to see was the "Resort" park that Iowa built about 10 years ago. The Chamber of Commerce lady said that it had been good for Albia. I'm not sure that it has been good for the State of Iowa. (Sometimes it has been referred to as a Money Sink!)

A few years ago, I was told that the original rules for the C.O.E when they developed the adjoining campgrounds was that one of them had to be free.  There is indeed a free campground on Lake Rathbun.  It had 3 tents and a church youth group using it.  In other words, not busy with only 5 sites out of 35 being used.  The other campgrounds were packed with wall to wall campers.  I guess most of the campers wanted to have AC so that they could use the air conditioning!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

A real Mouse Trap tour

We're at a rally in Albia, IA at the fairgrounds.   For our RVing friends, this is a super fairgrounds (level, 50Amp, and water)  but sadly, no dump.  They don't really have a building.  However, they just finished building a new swine building and poured the floor last week. So guess what we used.

Today we toured a local factory that has been around for 75 years, and is still  wholly owned for the founders offspring. It makes mouse traps, lots of them.  It employs about 50 people, which is a fair number for the small town of Albia.  Their popular snap trap is fantastic.  It is a one hand setup.  I'm really impressed.  You  can release the dead critter and reset it via one hand.

What really impressed us was that when the tour was over, everyone on the tour was given a unit. It isn't often that you see a business doing that.  They have several traps of different sizes.  The largest live trap is suitable for wily coyote.   However, they sell very few of them because the shipping cost is just too much for a box the size of an adult coffin.  In the mouse size, they have a large live trap that can catch up to 20 rodents in one setting.  The next size can catch 7 critters before it has to be reset.  On the single mouse size, that have a simple rocking trap that catches one critter and then it has to be reloaded.  Most of their traps are only sold by small  vendors.  They don't sell via big box stores because big box stores want too many custom changes, such as packaging, size, etc.    The product name is Kness.   They have some concealed cases that allow resturants to use the traps without making it obvious.  The case looks like an air vent cover.

Okay, let's see how well we did this time.  Sandy gave me a small at-ta box for the last blog posting. So after about 3 or 4 years, one finally passed!!  Something must be wrong.  I'm sure there are one or two minor errors here, but I think you'll get the message just as well.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

It is our big day anniversary

Here it is June 17 and Sandy and I are both inside the RV with the A/C running.  Something about keeping cool or being lazy.  Actually, it is keeping cool for Sandy and being lazy for Gene.

It was 51 years ago  today when we were married in northern Iowa.  I think it was about as hot then  as it is today!  But we made it.  Of course, there isn't too much I really remember of it.  Sandy  remembers the details like what gift someone gave us.

We both have had our annual physicals and I think we've passed with flying colors.  At least Sandy is cleared and I'm waiting for the blood test results. (I'm not sure if they'll call no matter what or only call if there is a problem.)  So far, no call.

Last weekend I attended a conference on solar and wind power.  As a result, I'm hot to add some more solar to my solar farm on the roof top.  Prices have come down dramatically since we first started adding solar.  My heart burn now is that I really need only one more panel and the shipping cost is about half of the cost of a panel.  Perhaps it will become a winter project when we're back in Florida and there will not be a shipping cost.

I don't remember if  I told you about our need for a new waterheater.  The old one did a "back burn" when wind blew in the exhaust.  The result was that it melted some of the wires together and knocked out the controller.  I wanted to hire someone to replace it, but the RV shop I was going to use went out of business, so we decided to do it myself.  It involved a fair amount of laying on my back, but we got it done.

The next day the local electric service came to replace our power pole and they left the old pole for me to burn.   So naturally I needed to start the chain saw, which went pretty well.  We cut a number of sections and then I split them for easier burning.  Then when I was going to restart the saw, I pulled something in my left shoulder. and quickly decided that we'd done enough cutting for a while.  I guess I'm just not as agile as I used to be.  (The bummer is that they gave me 4 other posts to burn and they need to be cut up.)

It is very dry here on the farm, as it is in the rest of the Midwest.  We have been blessed with two recent  showers of a quarter of an inch of rain each, which has been a blessing to the crops, which really need about 2 to 4 inches more.  I guess we'll let the Lord take care of it for us.  In the past, it always seem to arrive a day before it is too late.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A quick trip North to Mason City (by toad)

About a month ago, I got myself in deep trouble when I told our Escapee Chapter President that we would host a July rally  if no one else came through for him.   One little detail I forgot was tell Sandy about it.  So for the last couple of weeks, I've been suffering from verbal abuse because we don't have our rally planned and "what are we going to do?".   So today we changed that.  We took the Honda and drove to Mason City.

All went well really.  It is a long drive, but we survived it well. On the way (nearly there), we stopped at a care center to visit with Sandy's brother.  He had stroke last summer and he is what he is. At least he can talk, which is a blessing..

Then on to Mason city where we located an eating establishment, then a Frank Lloyd Wright hotel and bank building (together) and a FLW house.  On the way to the hotel, we also said, Yep, there is Music Man Square which we'll also tour (Meredith Wilson memorabilia).   It looks like we'll have enough tours for the rally.

We then headed north to a County Nature Center to see if it was high on our list of "we need to tour it!"  However, after spending 30 plus minutes there, we decided that it didn't measure up.  It does have lots of stuffed water birds and birds of prey, but nothing really pulled our chain.

It was then on to the county park that we intend to use.  It was as expected and if we can occupy  the sites near the shelter, it also will be ours for the duration.  (No reservations allowed.)

Then it was a long drive back to the farm.  I gave up part way and turned the job over to Sandy and I guess I sacked out.   I did take over the driving later.   We are  home, safe and both of us are very tired. We'll sleep very well tonight!