Monday, April 30, 2012
Many trees were planted during Arbor Day last week which is good. While it doesn't get the National Publicity it does in Nebraska because of having been started by J. Sterling Morton, while a Nebraska City newspaper editor, it is recognized nationally. Morton was appointed Secretary of Agriculture during President Cleveland's administration. He promoted coordinated services to farmers as well as encouraging the National Forest Preserves. I believe the Arch walkway over Independence Avenue which connects the South Agriculture Building with the Administration Building is named in his honor. (check it out Jon). His son Joy Morton started the Morton Salt Company in Chicago. Pictured is a Red Oak tree we planted in our back yard in the spring of 1995. This was the way it looked during its 2nd year. It was a "scrub" tree that required "staking" and careful pruning for the first few years. It is now over a foot in diameter and some 35 feet high. We have Hosta growing at its base and have always given it plenty of water. It is amazing how fast trees will grow if they are 5-6' tall when planted as compared to those 12-14'.When Clarence and I were planting trees for Nebraska Nurseries over 50 years ago, a fellow here in Seward built a new house and wanted to show it off with 15' Pin Oak trees. We drive past them every time we go to Lincoln, and to this day, the trees have never had the "vigor" nor the size of much smaller trees planted at the same time. Some time it pays to be "Penny wise rather than pound foolish".
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Here is Miss Veronica Pape and her twenty District 28 country school students during the 1935-36 school year. Elaine had her 5th birthday a few days after she started into 1st grade. She is pictured here in the front row next to Victor with whom she went through all 8 grades as her only classmate. Having just started to school, she was pleased to have anklets compared to the older girls with long cotton stockings. It wasn't unusual for boys to help with the farming as first priority and go to school until they reached the mandatory age of 16. And, many of those boys became very successful farmers. Victor became a successful "Land Improvement Contractor".
Saturday, April 28, 2012
The picture isn't very good but was taken without a flash at the CASA Melodrama at Concordia University Thursday evening. Lloyd Schulz (far right) is reading a Proclamation from the Commissioner officially naming Seward as the County seat of Seward County. The villain had attempted to "Steal the Seat" and establish Milford as the seat of County Government. The play was written by Nick Lee, a Concordia University senior whom we have know since his being a youngster growing up in the Methodist Church. Lloyd Schulz is a veteran of Melodrama having been in several years of performances in Goehner. He played the part of a "town drunk" (commissioner) to perfection. His facial expression and timing leaves nothing in doubt. The performance followed a good dinner and a "casino" setting of predinner activities. With a couple complementary "chips", I parlayed them into a sufficient number at the roulette wheel that our table won 1st prize, which we donated back to the CASA program. It was an entertaining evening.
Friday, April 27, 2012
The old Gateway Computer and Monitor are loaded in the car trunk and will be taken down to Schrock Innovations for recycling tomorrow morning. We bought it back in early 2001 along with a scanner, printer, speakers and the whole bit. It was state of the art at that time. The whole package cost $2,832.90. It was my pride and joy for many years as I could work on digital pictures, burn CD's etc. Son Jon helped me buy a HP replacement in the fall of '07 but I still kept the Gateway in operation for many things that I didn't transfer over. It finally got down to where I had hoped that Elaine might be able to use it as a Word Processor, but even that became more of a problem. When we noticed that Schrocks were accepting old computers and monitors, we decided the time had come. It served us well.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
This evening, Elaine and I were among a group that toured the new Branch of Cattle Bank & Trust in the Village Gardens area near 56th and Pine Lake Road in Lincoln. It will be the Banks 2nd Lincoln Location joining the West A Branch that has been in operation for the past 10 years. We enjoyed Dinner at the FireWorks restaurant near 87th and Old Cheney Road. And, got back home just in time to see Alex Gordon hit a 3-run home run in helping the Royals beat the Indians 8-2. Alex got 3 hits which raised his season average to 197. Billy Butler hit 2 HR's and Hosmer also got one so it was a great way to break their 12 game losing streak. Our temperature got up to 91 degrees again today but is due to cool down tomorrow for a high in the low 70's.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
I pruned one of our Lilac bushes this after noon following my round of golf. It is a shrub that dates back to the farm where Elaine grew up. When her folks moved to town back in the mid-fifties, they brought a part of the plant to their house on Locust street here in Seward. When we bought this place in the early 80's we brought a start down here. It has done well over the years. I have done some pruning nearly every year but today I really worked it over. This is the ideal time to prune, right after they have bloomed. I cut out all the old wood and trimmed the tops of even some of the smaller stems. The "book" says you shouldn't take more than 1/3 of the growth while removing any stems approaching 2" in diameter. In extreme cases, it says you can cut the whole bush down to about 10 inches high. It will take about 3 years for it to bloom after that kind of drastic "butchering". We had a Lilac bush out at the farm where I grew up too. It was in the front yard near the well. Dad trimmed it one time by leaving 3-4 big stems and cutting away everything else. It looked like a small, multi-trunked tree with no foliage below about 6'. Mother wasn't pleased but it came back to be a nice bush after 3-4 years.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Jim Daws, President of Daws Trucking was our program at Kiwanis this noon. Lana, his wife and Principal of the Seward Elementary School is a member of Kiwanis and was there for moral support. Pictured is an example of the many "oversized" items that the company transports. This is a "press box" which was "factory produced" in western Nebraska. Mr. Daws said they have delivered these all over the United States. One of their big items is transporting Center Pivot Irrigation equipment throughout U.S. but also to Ocean Port cities where they are shipped elsewhere in the world. The Company is used to haul railroad cars that are damaged by accidents. They are loaded on oversized trailers and hauled to locations for restoration. While Jim has been involved as an "over-the-road" driver since highschool, the current business was begun in 1994. It is now approaching a 20 million dollar annual level of business with 75 trucks and some 90 employees. Jim says the secret of their success has been the service they provide. His employees are their best recruiters and current customers their best new business recruiters. It's great to hear success stories in these difficult times.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Saturday, April 21, 2012
This was Seward's Annual Clean-up Day. After Elaine and I turned in an old TV, we went to a huge estate Auction down at the Ag Pavilion. It was the largest collection of "collectibles" we had ever seen. Elaine is looking at a Barbie Doll from one of 3 tables where they were displayed. We estimated there were over 150 of them. There were large numbers of belt buckles, yard sticks, ash trays, baseball caps and above all glass milk bottles. The Auctioneers sold out of 2 rings for much of the day. The "stuff" was in very good condition and brought good prices. We didn't know the people who collected all of these many things but understand they lived during the drought and depression days of the 1930's when we didn't throw away anything. They must also have had storage facilities and some "financial where-with-all" in order to have obtained so many things. It is interesting that many of the lucky bidders were of an age that they may have used or played with some of these things when they were kids. They were not bidding on items as much as memories.
Friday, April 20, 2012
Elaine cut this bouquet of Purple Iris and Vanhoutte Spirea from our yard and put it on the kitchen table. The Iris are some that were here at the house when we bought it 30 years ago but we have divided and moved them a couple times. The Vanhutte Spirea still forms a boundary between our front yard and the neighbor. All of the Spireas seem to have done well this spring. Our warm March has brought the flowers, shrubs and trees out much earlier than normal. We did find a couple Moths in the house today after reading in the morning paper that the extreme storms last Saturday brought many of them into the area. The storm did bring us some much needed rain but there were buildings destroyed within about 10 miles of Seward. That's as close as we want to be to tornado's.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
While in Lincoln yesterday, we stopped at the Computer World shop where Mike helped me download Flash Player. It enabled us to see son Jon's 10 minute version of his historic rendition of Congressman Justin Morrill of Vermont speaking on the virtues of establishing a Cabinet level position to promote Agricultural Education. It was the Congressman's efforts which led to the 1862 signing of the Morrill act which established the Land Grant College system. The US Department of Agriculture was also established at that time largely through his efforts. Jon has been involved in Civil War reenactments and the impersonating of Col. Silas Burke, of that era, for the last couple years. Elaine and I enjoyed watching the 10 minutes of his presentation. Her comment was that "Jon would make a good politician" but we agreed it was probably better to impersonate a potitician who had a successful idea 150 years ago than to face the problems of today. We are proud of him whatever.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
We participated in the SCS/NRCS Spring Banquet this evening at the Cotner Center in Lincoln. Gary Muckel served as MC and the program was presented by John Chapo, Director of the Lincoln Children's Zoo. The Screen was set up to the right of the Head Table which accounts for Gary and his wife looking away from the speaker. The retirees meet monthly for breakfast but we only get down to the Spring Banquet and Fall Breakfast where spouses participate. It's always enjoyable to get back with old friends. During my working days with SCS our working companions were among our closest friends. Many of the people there tonight worked more closely with our son Jon than they did with either Elaine or I. They are always interested in hearing about him and his family. I have known John Chapo since he came to Lincoln 25 years ago when we were new members of the Lincoln Center Kiwanis Club. He gave a great presentation and has brought the Lincoln Zoo into International prominence. He told of a National project underway involving Joel Satori and The National Geographic Magazine that began in the Lincoln Zoo. Our life's work as Natural Resource Conservation was closely aligned with that of the Zoo's in preserving endangered species, according to Chapo. Craig Derickson, current NRCS State Conservationist, and his wife Kate were among the attendees. Craig is a native Nebraskan and they came back after serving the Agency in Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania. It was a great evening.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
The Seward Senior Center will recognize some 60 volunteers at a Dinner tomorrow for their efforts in making the Center the "Hub" of activities for many people in the community. Our City Mayor, Josh Eickmeier also serves as legal counsel to the General Affairs committee of the State Legislature. He could not get away on the final day of the session, so asked me to represent him in addressing the group. I put together some information this afternoon which I plan to use. It further helps me appreciate what volunteers do at the center. They have activities 5 days a week, run a Senior (Taxi) Shuttle, have a monthly Potato Bake which attracts some 200 people, and a wealth of activities throughout the day. This is all done under the leadership of one paid "Manager" and an 8 member volunteer Board of Directors. As a member of the City Council, I serve as a non-voting member of the Board. Among the interesting statistics that I came across is that 504,814 Nebraska residents volunteered 57.5 million hours of service through or for a nonprofit or community organization in 2010.
Monday, April 16, 2012
They aerated the Greens at the Golf Course today so it was another day without a game. So, we spent some time on our project of collecting pictures which will eventually be put on DVDs. It is an interesting way for Elaine and I to rekindle old memories as we collect, scan, and title the pictures. Hopefully, they will also bring pleasure and amusement to future generations. This picture of Elaine with her dog, Fluffy, was taken during the summer of '48. It was about this time that we began to take our relationship seriously. From her position as Secretary for the County Extension Agent, she had been instrumental in helping me get a job with the Soil Conservation Service. Though we grew up about 6 miles apart , we never crossed paths until Elaine was 16 years old. She was a Senior in HS and her brother introduced us at a dance. It was probably fortuitous that we didn't know each other sooner. Being 5 years older than Elaine, had I know her earlier, I would have thought of her as Dale's "little sister". By the summer of '48, when she was 17 going of 18, she had matured into a very attractive young lady. I was as attentive to her as Fluffy, and the rest of the story is still unfolding.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Three inches of rain yesterday and last night prevented my playing any golf today so we started a project. Some years ago I put together some 100 pictures on a DVD of my "youth". It includes the early years in Seward and on up to the time Elaine and I were married. It seemed only appropriate to do something similar for Elaine. This is one of several pictures we scanned this afternoon and placed in a computer folder where more will be collected. Elaine says this was the year that she started to country school. Brother Dale is petting a couple pups and Brother Bill is all set with his book and lunch pail. Old June (The horse) gave way to a Dapple Gray "Pet" that Elaine rode to Seward for Confirmation classes. The old '27 Chevy was replaced by "The Yellow Wheeled Chevy" which we believe to have been a '32 Model. The DVD project will take some time to complete but the process of working on it will be interesting. It has already prompted some stories that I hadn't heard before. Living during the Drought and Depression of the 1930's wasn't easy. But, many of us agree that "though we were poor, we had very rich childhoods".
Saturday, April 14, 2012
This picture was taken on Tuesday, April 21, 1992. It had started to snow on Monday as we came out of the Kiwanis meeting and continued through the night. Jon took Heather to a Brownies meeting and then joined us at Kitone practice for the first time. By the next morning we had 7" of snow. I was still doing some editing of the Soil Conservation Society final Food Security Act Report. And, getting ready to fly to Washington, D.C. where I would join a USDA group for a mission to Hungary. Elaine had 12 white shirts ready for me to pack in my luggage. It warmed up the next day melting much of the snow and when I got to D.C. it was 80 degrees. While we had no threat of snow today, we were under a storm warning much of the day. The weather bureau predicted the strong possibility of tornadoes in southeastern Nebraska as early as yesterday evening. So far we are not aware of any great damage but tornadoes have been spotted in the State. We have had 0.65" of rain along with thunder and lightning but no storms. We got run-in from the golf course about noon after getting on the green of our first hole. The Nebraska Spring Football game was cancelled due to the weather. Though many fans were disappointed, few would question the decision.
Friday, April 13, 2012
We participated in the Suhr & Lichti Open House this afternoon, honoring them for their 50 years in the Insurance Business here in Seward. Don, wife Barbara, daughter Diane and son Mark are the principals of the Independent Company that "Fills the insurance needs of customers by knowing their circumstances". We have had our house and car coverage with Farmers Mutual through them since my Brother went out of the business several years ago. Don is pictured here along with Paul Hafemeister and Bob Imig when the 3 of them owned the Business. As Paul and Don moved on, Don took over the business, and, along with his family support, built it into what it is today. If ever there is any doubt as to why people like us come back to our Home Town after careers elsewhere, all they need to do is look at this picture and talk to people like Don Suhr. We literally grew-up with these folks and our relationship has always been one of TRUST. Paul was the local Building & Loan Secretary before getting into insurance and loaned us money to buy a house when we really needed it. Our dealings with Don have been most satisfactory over the years and we know he and his people will take care of our needs. Trust is a great Stress reliever.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
We had rain today. The first in some time. We needed it. My two rain gauges showed close to 0.40 inches. The high temperature for the day was not much over 50 degrees. It was not a day for golfing but a "day off" was welcomed. The picture which shows my "Weather Station" is just off our backyard deck. We put up the fence soon after we moved in some 30 years ago. While we have had a certain amount of "Maintenance" it is really amazing how well it has held up. We treated the 8 foot fence sections with a couple coats of preservative before putting them in place but have not put anything on them since. The 3-rails to which the "staves" are fastened were the first things that needed replacement. That was done by ripping treated 2x4's with an angle cut to encourage drainage. A couple of the posts have been replaced but by and large, it has been a very economical fence. We fully support the old adage that, "Good Fences make for Good Neighbors". (Even if this one doesn't keep out the cats)
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
We didn't get our potatoes planted on Good Friday but did get the seed potatoes cut up and put in the ground today. Elaine had watered the plot about a week ago and again today after planting so maybe they can catch up those 5 days. We did have a busy day. I went to coffee, prepared for the Bank Board meeting, met Charlie for a 11:30 tee time, got down to the Senior Center for the Accordion Jamboree, climbed the ladder to pick bag worms off the Blue Spruce tree, Elaine got her stoves switched (thats a story of its own), her brother Dale stopped as I was leaving for the Bank Board meeting, picked up our Income Tax from the accountant and got checks written, participated in a tribute to Dorris Marxhausen who has moved to Lincoln, and drove out to see the walls going up on Julie and John's new house. It was a full day. There were 5 button accordion players plus a drummer and tuba player at the Jamboree. There is nothing like the old Czech tunes played on accordions with Elmer Nemec on the Tuba to take you back to the time when Dad played the same tunes in the same way. I knew bits and pieces of some of the songs Elmer sang. Some I learned from Dad but mostly from the days I worked with Gene Sloup. As I listened, I thought about the opportunity I lost by not taking full advantage of Gene's knowledge and his willingness to teach. While formal education is important, everyone should be open to learn from the people with whom they work and associate. You never know when that "new found knowledge" will be invaluable to you.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
I represent the City Council on the Seward Memorial Library Board as well as the Seward Senior Center Board. Both Boards meet on the 2nd Tuesday of the Month, the Library at 4:30pm and the Senior Board at 7:00pm. Both Boards are made up of dedicated volunteers and each member makes a very worthwhile contribution. An interesting discussion took place at the Library meeting concerning "Service Animals". It seems that last week an "out-of-county" couple signed in to use the computer facilities only to find the lady had what she called a "Service Cat" on her lap. She was asked for any documentation on the cats status which she was unable to produce. After further discussion, the people left but it prompted the review of our animal policy. Our Library Director did considerable research at the State Library Commission, Federal and State law, etc. It appears that dogs (and in rare instances miniature horses) are the only animals recognized as "Service Animals". If a person who has no apparent need for a Service Dog enters the Library, they may be ask to explain what functions the animal will need to perform for them. This is an example of how the unreasonable actions of an individual can cause voluminous regulations.
Monday, April 9, 2012
The Pius X Thunderbolts Baseball team came out to Seward this evening to take on the SHS Bluejays. Our Grand Nephew, Tony McWilliams plays 3rd base and pitches for Pius. He is also a good hitter as demonstrated by his stance in the picture. He was instrumental in getting Pius off to a great start by hitting a sharp line drive into right field to advance the runner and later score. He beat-out a "sacrifice" bunt the next time up and grounded out at his 3rd at-bat. He also made some great plays with his strong arm at 3rd base. SHS didn't field a baseball team until a few years ago and they are in a "building" mode. Pius had a 7 or 8 run lead when I left after 3 innings. I don't know if a "Mercy rule" applies but it might have been appropriate. Seeing the SHS play baseball makes one again appreciate the level of play that the girls basketball team achieved during the past 4-5 years. Their exceptional level of talent, coaching, and commitment to the game only comes along once in a lifetime. I freely acknowledged that these girls could have beaten us Garland HS boys when I was on the team, but there is no doubt in my mind that we played better and could have beaten the current SHS boys baseball team. I also enjoyed visiting with MaryBeth, Dave, Ethan and his girlfriend at the game.
Sunday, April 8, 2012
We had an impressive church service this morning which concluded with the singing of the Alleluia Chorus. I set the camera on the piano and took this picture before going to Carolyn and Ben's. Julie and John were there as well. We had an excellent ham lunch complete with Deviled Eggs and a special "Cream Puff type" dessert. We came home for me to have a nap and watch the Masters. It was certainly exciting with Oosthulzen getting the double eagle and then losing to Bubba Watson on the 2nd sudden-/
death playoff hole. We went back up for our evening meal which we enjoyed along with a good visit. John had his I-phone and was able to pull-up son Jon's impersonation of Congressman Morrill making his case 100 years ago for the establishment of a Cabinet level position for Agriculture. His efforts are credited with the establishment of the USDA as well as the Land Grant College System. Jon really gets into the character of the person that he represents. It was appropriate that Jon would do the research on Congressman Morrill and USDA since Elaine worked for the Extension Service, I worked with USDA, and Jon himself has a long history in the Agency.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
I went through the winter without a whimper of a cold but it has caught up with me the past few days. I have been on these Alka-Seltzer Plus yesterday and today and hope to feel better by tomorrow. Elaine would say I shouldn't have gone to the golf course when it was so chilly and windy and she is probably right. I must admit that when we had 2 holes to go this afternoon, I told Charlie that I wished we were on the last hole instead. A person shouldn't play golf when they look forward to being finished. We went to an old friend's funeral this morning which is also a bit depressing. We had known each other since being teenagers and had even run-around-together a bit. In adult life we socialized and belonged to some of the same organizations. He was a very successful farmer and livestock feeder. And, was well respected in the community. Tomorrow is Easter and we will be with family, it will be a better day.
Friday, April 6, 2012
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
It was obviously a hot day during the summer of 1929. I would have been 4 and Vivian 5 and a half. I have no memory of the picture but it would have been taken in our front yard on West Moffitt St. in Seward. The Pearl Alley house is visible between our heads. The buildings beyond the clothesline post are in the area where the first Hughes Brothers Plant was located. Today the Plant covers the entire area in the picture and beyond. The railroad track was just a short distance to the west of the tub. Our granddaughter Julie and her husband John are building a new house here in Seward. Dirt is being hauled into their yard from an area down at the Plant where black soil was stockpiled. While up looking at the progress on the house this afternoon, I picked up a rusty old railroad spike that likely was hauled up from the Plant area with the dirt. It would be interesting to know how close that spike may have been used originally to where these two kids were pictured in the washtub.
Monday, April 2, 2012
Elaine picked a bouquet of Persian Lilac from our backyard over the weekend. They don't stay very well in a vase but they smell nice. This is a bush that was here on the lot when we bought the place 30 years ago but we did move it years ago. Our unseasonable weather continues with 88 degrees again today. Our flowering trees and shrubs are about a Month ahead of normal. However, the forecast is for a cold front to move across the State this evening and for more seasonable temperatures the rest of the week. We went to a funeral this morning and to Kiwanis this noon. Our program was on the Team Mates program which is very active in the Seward Schools. Elaine and I drove down to look at the Black Walnut grove that we planted 2-years ago and found the need for some replacements. I still have a few heeled-in in the backyard but will wait for a cooler day to do any transplanting. While at the Church this morning, I did some pruning on the Red Oak tree that we planted up there 3 years ago and it's doing well.
Sunday, April 1, 2012
Here is a Google satellite view of the Seward Middle School that I wrote about yesterday. I have confirmed that the "Old HS Building", (top building in the picture) was built in 1915. The Gymnasium is next to the south, then the 1931 "Elementary School Building". The gray roofed building to the south (bottom) of that is the "new classroom addition" that I believe was built in the 1980's. The little "stand-alone" Maintenance building is next in line. The "Old Band Building" is also stand-alone and is near the Bus pick-up driveway. The picture cuts short the playground area which runs on to the south for the full 3-block area. Somewhat similar situations must have existed within the country during the past few years; it would be interesting to hear the utilization success stories as well as the failures. This morning's Lincoln paper covered a story about the town of Beatrice renovating their old Carnegie Library at a cost of nearly a million dollars. It will be used to house staffs for Economic Development, County Tourism and the Chamber of Commerce. It's good to see historic buildings preserved and put to use but the challenge of this Seward project is beyond my comprehension. At one time the little brick Maintenance Building was used as a shop class for teaching Manual training. There may be some successful alumni with enough fond memories of that building to have it moved down to the County Fair Grounds as a small museum. The gymnasium has some potential as a "YMCA" facility or possibly something the City Park and Recreation Department could utilize. The latest classroom addition could serve many useful purposes if much of the old complex were demolished and a planned, mixed use community was developed at the site. It would have been nice if someone with Seward ties and a passion for old buildings would have won the Lottery last night. They could have hired an architectural firm to come up with economic and aesthetic alternatives. But they didn't so the "opportunity" is still up for grabs. Having something that you don't know how to utilize is almost more gut-wrenching than not having anything. That may be why the asking price is $199,000.