Friday, October 31, 2014

Sadie; A Czech Queen

Sadie and her Daddy stopped by last evening after participating in the Annual Seward Rotary Club Halloween Costume Contest.  Julie had done a lot of hand sewing on Sadie's outfit depicting a "Czech Queen" but she was confined to the hospital following the delivery of son Jack. Sadie was pleased to show us the Medallion awarded to her as the 1st place winner in the Age 2 category.  I don't know what the criteria is to be a "Czech Queen" but in this outfit, she looks like one, especially to her Great-Grandfather who is half Czech. I don't know much about her Daddy's genealogy but unless his family can contribute to her Czech heritage, it appears to be diluted down to being only 1/16th. Some would say that's probably all it takes to continue that "Vrana Gene" tradition of speaking up and expressing their opinion. It does appear that Sadie has inherited her parents musical ability. She loves to sing and make up the words as she goes along. Her parents Jr. High band instructor predicted several years ago when they competed for 1st chair of the saxophone section, that "if John and Julie ever got married and had a family, they should be good musicians".

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Great Uncle Fred Turner

With the Baseball season over, and our need to get rid of some of our "stuff, I pulled out  some old picture post cards to consider putting on eBay. This is one that came to us in an album of Fred Turner's. Fred never married and was a brother of my Mother's Mother, making him my Great Uncle. He died in 1968 in Lincoln, NE and we knew him very well. My Aunt Dorothy Walker, who never married, lived with him during the last 10-15 years of his life. They even baby sat our kids a couple times when we lived in Lincoln. He worked in Sioux City, IA as a young man where his  older brother Henry had moved to from Seward, NE and worked for over 30 years with the City Water Department. Both Henry and Fred were in the Army during WW I. Fred evidently came back to Ulysses, NE  for a short time before the War since this card is addressed to him at that RFD 2 location. It is from a lady by the name of "Ida" and mailed from Sioux City on July 16, 1914. She wrote: "Dear Friend- You will have to forgive me for not writing sooner but you've heard from the folks all about how I write. Take care of yourself and come back when you can." It was mailed with a 1 cent stamp. As I knew Uncle Fred, he was always very much a gentleman. One can only imagine what "Ida was telling Fred" with this humorous message. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

ARCSE Newsletter

The Association of Retired Conservation Service Employees Nov.-Dec. Newsletter appeared in my email today. It is a 39 page document with reports from most of the States. Here is the Washington  group. "DC area retirees met Oct. 2nd, 2014. Sitting, front: Barbara Osgood and Ron Marlow. Sitting, Back: John Peterson, Blanche Peterson, Lennie Losh, Faye Campbell, and Bill Boyer. Standing: Diana Morse, Peter Smith, Roger Cronshey, Plater Campbell, Marc Safley, Lee Shields, Margie Ralston, and David Ralston. Taking Picture: Ann Marlow" 
During my years with the Agency and the Soil and Water Conservation Society, I worked with most of the people included in the picture. Having spent several years in Human Resource management, I had the opportunity to know many of the employees throughout the Agency and the Society. The number of people  I knew and are referred to in the Newsletter, decline with each issue but I always look forward to seeing what Galen Bridge and his buddies have been up to.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Great Grandson, Jack Edward Owens

Great Grandson Jack Edward Owens was born this morning to Julie and John Owens at 10:46. He weighed in at 7 lbs. 4 oz and is 20" (1 cubit) long. His big sister Sadie was very proud to lead us over to see  him after meeting up with her, John and Carolyn in the lobby of the hospital.   While Sadie seems to look a bit more like John's side of the family, Jack appears to favor Julie's. He has the right number of fingers and toes and a full set of "all new" parts. With Julie being an only child and Sadie being the girl that she is, having a boy will be a new experience for her. John is most pleased to have a son as all Dad's are. They didn't know ahead of time what sex  the baby was but believe all of us were hoping for a boy. This will give John the excuse for getting some of the "boy toys' that he wanted and never had when he was a kid. While Grandparents are pleased with Grandchildren, Great Grandparents marvel at the Miracle of Gods creation and take pleasure in knowing that some of their genes are passed along. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Dairy Farm Near Seward

Our program for Kiwanis this noon was provided by Marty DeHoog who with his family have moved from California to a Dairy Farm in our community within the past year. They are the 3rd family to occupy the Dairy Farm within the past 25-30 years and appear to have made the transition from an area near Los Angles to Seward in a commendable manner. They are milking some 400+ Holstein cows 3 times a day with 6 helpers, some of whom they brought with them. They also moved over 300 of their cows. Their milk is provided to the Dairy Association of America in Omaha and distributed throughout the area. Marty is a good speaker and may have set a record for responding to the highest number of questions that were ever asked of a program presenter. He obviously knows his business, is a hard worker and we wish he and his family and the Dairy Operation complete Success.  

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Soil and Water Conservation Society

Among the many interesting things we were able to do on our drive up to Tomah, WI last weekend was to stop at the Soil and Water Conservation Society Headquarters at Ankeny, IA. It was 25 years ago this fall that I began my tenure as Executive Vice-President of the Society at this location. The office was closed  when we stopped but Annie Binder, Director of Publications,who  was working invited me in to visit. It has been several years since we last stopped while traveling to Tomah where we have family, but things look good. Society membership has declined over the years which is typical of many membership organizations. I am a life-member and participate to some extent in the Nebraska Chapter activities. Jim Gulliford, the Executive Director, is providing excellent leadership, and the Society's Journal of Soil and Water Conservation continues to set the standard for Referred Journals in its field under Annie Binder's leadership. We have many happy memories of meetings around the country with the Society. And, the Society's impact on the conservation and sustainability of our Nation's Soil and Water resources is most significant. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Visit to Czech Republic in '93

In late September of 1993, my sister Vivian and her husband Adolph, my brother Don and his wife Gladys, my wife Elaine and I visited the Czech Republic. We are shown here at the home of Dr. Miroslav Dumbrovsky and his wife Michelle in Bruno. I had met Miroslav  a year earlier in a Natural Resources Conservation meeting at Budapest and he had been to this country and our home during the interim. He worked with the Czech National government on Resource Conservation. Adolph Soucek was very fluent in the Czech language which was a great help to us in our travels.  He had cousins with whom he and Vivian visited in Znojmo. Don's wife Gladys had relatives in Rouchovany so they traveled together to visit them. Elaine and I went with  
Miroslav to Bruno and stayed at the Hotel Slovan. Over the next few days he took us to the Limestone Caves (Moravskeim Krasu) near Blansko.  Also to Bratislava, saw the Gabcikova Dam on the Danube River and got back together with the rest of our group for dinner at the Dumbrovsky's . We rode the train down to Budapest and back to Prague. Uncle Nick, whom Don's and Soucek's had met on an earlier trip, took us on a night tour of Old Town Prague, Charles Bridge and the Castle. Uncle Nick arranged transportation for us to visit Kutna Hora, St. Barbara's Cathedral and on to Caslav where our Grandfather and Grandmother had lived prior to coming to the United States in the early 1870's. Damirov, Jenikov, Hostoulice and Horky are all in the immediate area and places whee the Grandparents and family had lived. We were gone 14 days and had a wonderful trip. We are most indebted to all of those that helped to make the trip outstanding, especially the Dumbrovsky's with whom we still exchange Christmas Greetings. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Hall of Fame Baseball Coin

I was able to obtain a recently released silver dollar commemorating  the 75th anniversary of Baseball's Hall of Fame and Museum at Cooperstown, NY. It is the first curved coin ever produced by the U.S. Mint and is legal tender containing 1 oz, of silver. The "heads" side depicts a classic leather glove (very similar to my old Joe DiMaggio model) and the "tail" side showing a baseball. Liberty, In God We Trust, and 2014 are printed on the glove; UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E Pluribus Unuum, and ONE DOLLAR on the baseball. The coin came within a clear plastic protective covering and in a black velvet box. I will cherish it among my many baseball souvenirs. It also has some special meaning since son Tim and I visited the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown when we were on our 1993 baseball tour. We saw 8 major league games in addition to the Hall during the 10 day trip. We were able to spend a couple hours in the Hall the evening of May 22, 1993 before it closed at 9:00pm and much of the next morning. I commented in my Journal of only buying a few cards and a baseball, but Tim did quite a bit of shopping. We went out to see the Hall of Fame field.
Our '92 Buick La Sabre is shown parked right in front of the Hall. (And I still drive it locally) We enjoyed everything in the city as well as the Hall. They are great hosts for the tourist attraction they have. The motels and restaurants all seem to emphasise baseball. We left in time to get checked in to a Motel near Fenway Park in Boston and watched the Red Sox beat the Yankees 5-2 that evening. This was a great trip and a real boost to my seeing games in all 30 major league parks. It wasn't until a few years later that I achieved that goal and was able to keep up with the new parks until Miami built theirs in 2013. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

But Only God can make a Tree

Demolition continues on the old Seward School buildings. I have watched this one with particular interest since I was among the first group of students that moved into the building when it was completed. I was in the 1st grade  when it was ready for students in January of 1932. I was only able to enjoy the new facility for a few weeks before moving to the Vrana Family Farm north of Garland in February of '32. There are only a couple of classmates names that I recall and plan to write to the editor of our local paper to see if there are others still around that were among that first group of us to move in.
It is well that we have some colorful trees around town to offset the depressing sight of the old buildings being demolished. I was a couple days late in getting this picture since many leaves have already fallen but it is still one of the most beautiful in the area. We are planning to go to the League of Women Voter's Candidate Night at the Civic Center this evening. It is anticipated that a good group of candidates will be present to express their positions. I have always felt that it was my responsibility to learn as much about the candidates as possible before elections.  I have recently switched who I intend to vote for based on his position of an issue very important to me.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The 17th Vrana Drywall Hole

I finished "processing our Wisconsin trip pictures today. While I'm pleased with all of them, the quality of many just isn't as good as it should be. When I got my new Panasonic Lumix camera a couple years ago, I just switched the Sun Disk 2GB card from the old camera to the new. I have also done some experimenting with settings and don't use the flash. Any back lighting seems to cause a slight "blurr" as is apparent in this picture. I would appreciate any ideas for improvement. Elaine had lengthy dental appointment this morning where a crown had to be removed, a filling put in and a temporary crown installed. She will go back in a couple weeks for the permanent crown. Our temperature hit 80 late this afternoon followed by a brief shower. The rain shouldn't slow down the Soybean and Corn harvest which is in full swing. It has been a beautiful fall and our trip to Wisconsin provided a crowning touch.
This lower picture was taken on October 9, 2001. We had driven up with Vivian and Eddy Soucek, Don and Gladys drove up and Janice and Larry were working on Mark and Dena's log house. Don, Larry, Jerry and I played golf. My Journal entry for the day includes, "We spent about an hour in the Club House where one of Jerry's friends said Jerry and I looked like brothers but thought Don might have had the same Mother but questioned his having the same Father as us."  I also noted that, "Jerry seems to have a lot of friends. In a scramble this summer, he and the bar tender were 18 under in 18 holes".  We drove the 525 miles home on the 10th and I went to a Bank Board meeting at 4:30 that afternoon followed by a Seward Foundation Meeting at 7:00. Now we have been home for 2 days and I'm still "resting up". Thirteen years make a difference as we grow older. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Empty Bowls Luncheon

Our Seward Kiwanis Club hosted its 7th annual "Empty Bowls Luncheon"today. The picture is of our Club President, Wess Robothan, Scott Young of the Lincoln Food Bank and Teresa Dredge, chair of the empty bowls committee. The event provides funding for our Back Pack Program. This  is a program that was started in Lincoln several years ago by Scott to provide food for the weekend for elementary school  students that are eligible for subsidized school lunches. The food is placed in backpacks and sent home with students on Friday evenings. Today's luncheon included the special soups donated and served by 14 food vendors. Drinks and desserts were also served. There were several key contributors and many of us bought tickets above the $25.00 minimum. The Art Department at Concordia continues to mold small bowls for each of the participants as a gift. The event attracts several hundred people and was held at the Harvest Hall down at the Fair Grounds after outgrowing the space at the Civic Center where it was held in previous years. A Great Event. Thanks Scott, Wess and Teresa.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Back Home from Tomah

We got away from Tomah in good time this morning and the sun was shining brightly as we crossed the Mississippi River on I-90 at LaCross. The bridge is being repaired and traffic was backed up on Friday when we were coming up but there was no problem this morning. We had a beautiful clear day for traveling. We rehashed all the good time and conversation we had with family in Tomah and used the time to clarify some of our own family memories. We couldn't have found better scenery, temperature and road conditions for such discussion and travel. While we had some "one lane" stretches, it wasn't a great problem, we kept on rolling toward home.
We were fortunate in being able to buy gas on the trip for under $3.00/gal. Here is Don doing the honors at Sapp Bros  just east of Nebraska City on the Iowa side of the Missouri River. We had lunch at Story City, Iowa, where we found  McDonald's had a special on McRib sandwiches. We also drove in to the "Antique City" of Walnut, IA and remarked of its well kept homes. While Don did most of the driving, I did get behind the wheel from Albert Lea, MN, to Story City, IA. We saw some bean and corn harvest underway but much of it is still in the field. There are hundreds if not thousands of Wind Turbines along the route and many trucks on the highways hauling large components for building more. It was a great trip but it's always good to be home.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday in Tomah

We had lunch this noon out at the golf course after all of us going down to the tee box on the 17th hole to pay tribute to Jerry and the Memorial Bench. It is a beautiful setting and the bench is a real classic with the likeness of golf balls as part of the framework. Pictured here are Kayce, Cody, Carly and Ethan; Sondra and Jerry's grandchildren. Cody and Carly are Cindy (Vrana     ) & Chad Clay's kids and Ethan and Kayce are Deb and Tony Vrana's. Sondra says that she has received many favorable comments on the bench. Jerry has had the "Vrana Drywall" sign at the Tee Box for a number of years, and this is just a great memorial  for Jerry, family and friends.
We sat the camera on the golf cart and got this picture of all of us. Back row is: Cory, Chad, Tony and I, 2nd row is Cindy, Don, Kayce, Deb, & Carly, sitting on the bench are Gladys, Sondra, and Elaine. The back of the bench has a very appropriate inscription that was a part of Jerry's funeral folder. We are so pleased that we made this trip to visit everyone and see everything looking so great. We are going to eat at Culver's this evening and think about Vivian and Eddy since it was always a must to eat their when they were with us. We will gather at Sondra's afterward, tell everyone goodbye and plan to leave for Syracuse and Seward early tomorrow morning. We couldn't have picked a better time to come to Tomah. Thanks to everyone who made   this trip so special. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

From Tomah , WI

We have had a great day here in Tomah, WI  and the day isn't over yet. This was down at Tony's "Vrana Drywall" office. Back row is Don, Tony and Tony (me), front row is Gladys, Kayce, Deb and Elaine. Tony took us out in the country to see the Cranberry harvest, colorful trees, and beautiful scenery. We stopped at the Cranberry Farm where Cody works. This is a major production area for the Ocean Spray company. The fellow that Cody works for has some 3,000 acres with 200 of it in beds. He also produces plants which are marketed . He gave us a tour of their operation which was most interesting. They had "cut" some berries which will be picked up within the next few days and get them out of the water.
Here is Sondra and Cody and his black Lab pup. Cody is 20 years old now and has really grown since we saw him last (3 years ago). Tony and Deb"s kids were involved with HS Prom activities this evening but several of us got together at Burnstad's to eat. We missed out on the first half of the Nebraska-Northwestern game and were disappointed to see the way the game was going when we got back. I got a picture of the "Crow Bar" in downtown Tomah as we came back to the motel. Our last name of "Vrana" is the Czech word for Crow (the big black bird), which is my reason for calling this blog page "The Crow's Nest". I don't believe the Crow Bar is called that for the same reason. Nebraska has scored a touchdown to take the lead at 21-17 at the end of the 3rd quarter.  

Friday, October 17, 2014

On The Road Again

We enjoyed beautiful fall colors today all the way through Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and into Wisconsin. This picture was taken on the west side of the Mississippi River just before reaching the bridge that took us past La Cross, WI. While we have traveled up here many times during this time of year, I don't recall a time when the colors were as brilliant all the way as they were today. Across Iowa the pastures were emerald green and the black cows made a striking contrast. The Wind Turbines continue to grow in number and we met many of them on the highways to be erected. We have made plans for a breakfast meeting with Sondra to develop a schedule for the weekend. It has been a long but very enjoyable day. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

First Lighting of Flags

I stopped down by the Kiwanis flag display today and found John and Cory putting the finishing touches of the lights for the big flags. At 7:30 this evening they were turned on for the first time. Marv invited Mayor Josh who brought a friend with a camera drone that hovered overhead and got some pictures. The Official Dedication will be in conjunction with Veterans Day on November 11. There is still a lot of work to be done but the crew of Kiwanians working on it are very dedicated to getting all the flags in place before the winter "shut down". The large tree in the background is a Cottonwood which is the Nebraska State tree. They are a native, fast growing species and thrive on lowland sites. Many of them were planted by Homesteaders but they became very prominent along creeks and rivers in Nebraska.
This is the view of the first lighting from sitting on one of the "Parade of Flags" benches. There was a nice crowd cheering as the switch was flipped and the lights came on. The flags are already a very welcoming display to the City. It was my first opportunity to see one of the little drones in action. While I'm sure it takes some training  and practice to operate it, the fellow was able to put it right where he wanted it and could hold it there for pictures. The pictures are displayed on the control case monitor so he was able to move the drone to get the best view. I'm thinking of asking Santa Clause to bring me one for Christmas. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Here is a picture taken 50 years ago of Elaine and Carolyn while out sight seeing on a Sunday afternoon in the Washington, D.C. area. We had probably gone to Church, had lunch at Roy Rogers and were out enjoying the sights of the City. Of particular note is the way Elaine is dressed for sight seeing; dark blue suit, high heels, matching purse and dark gloves. Times have changed and in many ways "for the better" but most changes are more difficult to make as you grow older. Dressing more informally is one of the exceptions. While I accepted wearing a suit and tie for many years as the normal, I can now even attend Church services in the summer time with a short sleeved shirt and no coat. I must admit to a bit of shock the first time I was served communion by a young man wearing shorts and sneakers but it didn't seem to effect the sacraments. I have heard it said that, "the only constant is change" whether we want it or not.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Verlon & Sadie's Kite Flying

Verlon has had a long time interest in kites which goes back to his childhood at our East Bradford house here in Seward. It progressed from early kite building at Cape Cod to building Japanese type kites in Richmond, VA . He was involved with a Smithsonian Kite Fly,  had a show in the Virginia Science Museum, and in teaching classes on making and flying kites. He made many "bird kites" including one of a life-size Canada Goose for me that hung in the NE Natural Resources Commission office for a number of years. He made 36 of that model as well as a number of Pelicans, Great Blue Herons, and  Owls. He says, "Kite flying makes everyone young" including those in care centers.
When we came across a little kite in the basement that dates back to Julie's childhood, he recovered it and gave Sadie her first kite flying opportunity. The wind was pretty strong most of the day but  late afternoon provided the opportunity. Slight adjustments helped it to reach a very steep angle but after a while, wind currents swirling around the house, took it down and broke one of the old brittle plastic rods. It was enough to get her introduced to the pleasures of kite flying. She and Verlon then drew and erased kite drawings on her Fisher-Price drawing board. She will probably not remember much about what she learned today but will think she always knew it.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Old Seward School Complex

I was among the students who were the first to inhabit this "new Seward Elementary" school building when it opened after the Christmas Holiday and New Year's Day in January of 1932. We moved out to Dad's family's farm on the 8th of February so my time in the building was very limited. I remember one boy who sat next to the windows scratching the new floor under his desk because of his heavy boots. There is nothing but sky on the other side of the openings shown. We could see a front end loader  occasionally making an appearance through the big opening. 
The shell of the above building is shown from its back side in the middle of the picture to the left. The low white wall remaining is the inside of the most recent addition to the whole complex. I'm not sure but don't believe it was over 15-20 years old. The building to the left will be coming down also. It is the oldest of all and is where I had the first semester of my 1st grade while the above Elementary building was being completed. I like to see old buildings maintained if they can be utilized but would rather see them demolished and the space utilized than to see them "rot" down. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Future and the Past

Sadie, Julie, John & Carolyn stopped by this evening. We have had some of Julies "play things" in storage for many years. As an only child, she took excellent care of all her toys. It made her a bit nervous when Grandma Elaine  & Sadie brought up her doll house and all its furnishing to play with. It didn't take long for Julie to pick up and put some of the fragile things in a safe spot. The only casualty was a leg knocked off a little table but it can be repaired with a drop of glue. She also called me on our cell phone, played with dough, and turned somersaults among other things. She is never quiet for very long but a real joy to all of us.
This afternoon Elaine and I went to the Library where Charlotte Endorf presented a program on the North Platte Canteen. She is an author & speaker from Hadar , NE, and has written a book on the Canteen's activity during WWII providing a few minutes of food, drink and friendship to troops as they stopped at the very busy RR station. They welcomed up  to 10-12 troop trains every day for some 53 months with everything being donated by area residents. We had heard another speaker some years ago who had been a volunteer during the Canteen's hay day while this lady spoke from interviewing those who had been involved. It will remain an outstanding example of many people helping others in time of need. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Busy, Exciting Weekend

We made 3 trips to the City "burnpile" with the brush that had been cut earlier in our back yard. It is only open to the public on Saturday mornings from 9:00-12:00 so we were loaded on this frosty morning and down soon after it opened. It appeared to be one of the busiest places in town with about 3 "customers" unloading each time we were there. As is shown on the picture, we laid the brush on top of a plastic drop cloth and were able to just pull the load off at the pile. It worked great. We finished the job earlier than anticipated and stopped at the Farmers Market for more of the Trouba Kolachies. It was a job well done and don't believe we lost even a "twig"along the way.
We went to Bee for Fish Dinners last evening at Lou & Maryanne's which is always a "must" when we have family visiting. Carolyn, Julie, John and Sadie came to visit after we got home. Sadie is fascinated with my camera and took several "selfies". It amazes me that a 26-month old has the understanding of aiming and pushing buttons to do what she does. I'm also surprised at myself for letting her play with it. I would never have let our kids or grandkids touch my camera. We stayed up to watch the Royals beat the Orioles in the first game of the American League Championship Series. The Royals have been "our" team all season, and they are playing at the top of their game during this post season play. They just finished winning the second game of the series with a 6-4 victory. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Backyard Fence and Alley

Rebuilding this gate was one of the top priority projects during Verlon's "Home Maintenance" visit. The gate's original framework was rotted and replaced with the 2 x 4's. The upper and lower ones were pressure treated and the "Z" treated with Linseed Oil. The Red Cedar Staves have held up well and re-nailed to the new framework. The bottom also got cut off a couple inches to facilitate the gate swinging back to the position shown. It was also necessary to replace the support framework on the 8' section of fence attached to the gate post to provide a more solid anchoring for the gate's hinges. It is this kind of maintenance that extends the life of a stockade fence that is approaching 30 years of service. It was an ideal fall day for this type of work.
This is the way the gate and adjacent section of fence look  from the alley. The Hollyhocks at the base of the fence are volunteer but have produced some beautiful blooms. We make limited use of the alley but several of our neighbors have their garages located in back of their houses and park in them from the alley. The garbage haulers and utility lines also make use of them. One of the new Lincoln subdivision has a section developed with alleys. The houses in that area are of the architectural style popular in the 1920's & 30's. It is a very attractive area with beautiful front porches. It promotes a more friendly neighborhood. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Multiflora Rose

This picture is of the farm we had in NE Seward County NE after the native grass we seeded  become well established. I am standing next to the Multiflora Rose "living fence" that we planted on the 2 sides of the quarter section farm next to the county roads. Multiflora Rose was used as Quail habitat back at the time of the picture in the late 1960's. It made an attractive field "border",  but it lost favor as it tended to spread beyond the initial row. Maintenance of county roads also was a factor in its demise as chemical weed control became  more prevalent in the '70's. It did provide ideal Quail habitat with the berries it produced and the protection it afforded from predators. We sold the farm several years ago but drive out past it every fall. The farm is still in grass and has been used for summer grazing . However, cool season Brome Grass has largely crowded out the Native Bluestem, Indian, Switch and Sand Love grass that I had seeded and what is shown in the picture. There was a small amount of Brome in the original mixture but didn't expect it to become so aggressive. The change may have been because of the way it was managed, fertilized and the weather. Interestingly, the last time we looked, there were still a few Multiflora Rose plants surviving in "out of the way" places. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Busy Day of Work & Pleasure

Sadie & Carolyn came by this morning to see Verlon. He and I got an early start at tree trimming in the back yard and welcomed a break when they arrived. It always takes Sadie a few minutes to remember people that she hasn't seen for a while. Julie came a bit later. I not only enjoyed their visit but the chance to rest. There is a lot to be said for Verlon getting back every fall to work on our major home maintenance. We make a project of it every year and the older we get, the more important his help becomes. We also look forward each year to our visits and getting some kolachies from the Farmer's Market like we enjoyed this evening. 
Part of our tree trimming included cutting off the lower branches of the Concolor Fir tree as shown here in the picture. It was among several seedlings  we planted about 30 years ago in a "nursery" setting at the farm. When we bought our "town house" a few years later, we brought this tree to town as a 2 1/2 footer. It was an anchor to the landscaping in the corner of the yard and our pride and joy as it grew into a beautiful specimen. People often wish that trees would grow faster but sometimes they grow too fast. I wish this one could have stayed like it was about 10 years ago. We had the City Tree crew here earlier this year to trim branches that were laying on utility wires. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Welcome to Lincoln Municipal Airport

We met our son Verlon at the Lincoln Airport this afternoon and while waiting, admired this Arrow Sport that hangs in the terminal. This particular plane was built in 1929 by the Arrow Aircraft Co. in Havelock (a suburb of Lincoln). It was in the facility now occupied by the Goodyear Tire Co. When we lived in Lincoln in the late '50's, Verlon and I were given a plane ride at Arrow Airport near Havelock. This plane was purchased in 1969 by Dr. Crum of Burwell, NE who restored the plane and sold it to the Nebraska State Historical Society in 1977. I believe it was placed in it's current location at the time the terminal was build several years ago. Here is a picture of the plaque telling the story that is posted on the wall at the balcony level.

This is an example of the many things that we walk past every day and don't take or have time to learn about them. We just waited a few minutes when his flight came in a few minutes ahead of time. He had flown in from Richmond, VA through Chicago and had a good flight. We were home in time for a tour around the back yard looking at some "home maintenance items" that will be tackled while he is here.  We also had a chance to visit the Kiwanis Flag Pole project where we talked with some of the fellows. It is coming along nicely with some of the Flags up already. We might have even contributed to the solution of a problem they were confronted with on how to attach donor names to State poles. It's amazing the ideas that get tossed out when several people feel free to suggest ways of solving problems. Our politicians need to remember that in seeking alternative actions. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Major League Baseball Playoffs & World Series

Some of us have had difficulty keeping up with the playoffs leading up to the World Series in Major League Baseball. It has become more complicated with the 2 wild card teams and the additional game. Here is my summary of how it stands at 8:00 pm CDT 10/6/14. The Washington National have just won over the San Francisco Giants and their 3 out of 5 series will continue tomorrow. The Cardinals/Dodgers game is about to get underway. My ideal World Series would be between the Kansas City Royals and the Washington Nationals with the Royals being the winners.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

40 Years Ago

During the 18 years we were  in the Washington D.C. area, we never missed a summer of getting back to visit family in Nebraska. We even came back for Christmas the first few years. This was taken during the summer of '74 when we were back and had a family reunion. All of my folks family were together at Souceks here in Seward. This was after 12 years in D.C. and the kids had moved through school or still in college. As is apparent, these were the days of long hair. I think it bothered Elaine and I more than the Grandparents. Elaine might have been able to go to work dressed as she is in the picture but I would have been sent home to change had I gone to work dressed like I am with the plaid trousers. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Well Dressed Little Girl

Would you believe that this little girl now has a Granddaughter that is just about this size. With 2 older brothers and a younger one, she was (and still is) a real joy. Elaine enjoyed having a little girl to dress and was fortunate in having a nice array of choices. Elaine's cousin in Casper, WY, was a buyer for children's clothes, and her little girl was just about a year older than Carolyn.  Her "hand-me-downs" were like new and a box usually  came with the changing of the seasons. When Carolyn would "out grow" the dresses, etc. she passed them on to another mother with a little girl. It worked well without the benefit of "Seward Swap" or Et-Cetrea that Mothers enjoy today. 
This is another of the Wyoming dresses that she enjoyed. It is apparent that Carolyn developed a likeness for chickens at an early age. She has friends today that have them on their farms. We have a city ordinance that provides for up to 3 hens ( no roosters). I wouldn't be surprised if someday she has some. Charley Kemper built the archway for us soon after we moved into this house. We planted Paul's Scarlet climbing rose bushes on either side and it was soon covered with roses. We moved the  white "lath" fence down from our little house. We had built it just the year before we moved. Carolyn and Ben now live just  a couple blocks up the same street from where these pictures were taken. That is after our taking her to Lincoln, NE, Arlington, VA, and her going to college and working in North Carolina before coming back to Nebraska. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

NRCS Earth Team

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack presented the NRCS Presidential Volunteer Service Awards to Jerry Hattan, Torrington, Wyoming; and Russell Dorrough of Clarksville, Texas. From left: Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, Donna Hattan, Jerry Hattan, Torrington Wyoming; Russell Dorrough, Clarksville, Texas and Chief Jason Weller, Natural Resources Conservation Service. Hattan and Dorrough have a combined volunteer effort of 12,000 hours. Both Dorrough and Hatten are part of NRCS’ Earth Team volunteer program, which helps the agency meet conservation needs in communities. Volunteers enable NRCS to stretch available resources and help put additional conservation practices on the ground. Without the volunteer program, NRCS would not be able to accomplish what is has,” NRCS Associate Chief Leonard Jordan said at an event honoring them Tuesday. 
This is but a quick look at what two of the thousands of NRCS Earth Team Volunteers do each year in providing Agency services to lands users. The volunteer program came about back in the early '70's when my wife worked with the Forest Service,  which had a volunteer program. I worked in SCS/NRCS Personnel and using the FS program as a model. wrote the first draft of the legislation that led to the Earth Team program. It was just part of a days work at the time.  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Hops in Nebraska?

I plan to report  on an article in the Nebraska Farmer at the Magazine Club tonight on a fellow in Nebraska growing hops for craft beer. It has been said that hops are to beer that grapes are to wine. There are some 40,000 acres in commercial hops production in the US and much of it in the Yakima Valley of Washington. A northern latitude is desired for the length of summer sunlight. The popularity of craft beer made with locally produced products is what has prompted a farmer in Hartington, NE to venture into production. 
He is working with Blue Blood Brewing Co. of Lincoln to not only produce hops but is already producing a strain of Barley for brewing. Barley was grown in this area when I was a kid and used primarily for hog feed. It is an annual and grown similarly to Oats. Hops are a perennial and grow as vines. They produce a small "acorn sized fruit" that resembles an Avocado. The Nebraska farmer and his son have built a trellis system with poles from old cedar trees; guy wires at the top for stability and twine draping down for the climbing vines. The first year the plants will get about half way up and to the top by the second year.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Slide Scanner

I have taken 35mm, Kodachrome slides since before our kids were born. We have thousands of them well organized in storage in the basement. We've had many of selected ones put on CD's and DVDs commercially so I could then process them on my computer as I saw fit. There are still many that I would like to have scanned and eventually put on DVDs for each of the kids. In 2009 I ordered this converter which I thought would enable me to convert slides directly to my  computer. But, I wasn't able to get it installed. Occasionally, I'd pull it off the shelf and try again; each time I "gave up" and had a few done at Walmart. However, the cost has gone up to 58 cents per slide. Consequently, I tried again today to "make it work" and was not successful. We all know about "Try, Try Again" but I've also heard it said to, "Try, Try, Try, Again, then Quit, don't make a fool of yourself".
In checking the Hammacher Schlemmer web site I find they now have this pictured, improved version available. It actually works as a "stand along" item with a battery, chip for storage and a viewing screen. Slides can be scanned  to the chip and then uploaded into the computer for further processing, storage, etc. It sounds like a much better and simpler way of operating than the old one. The question is: "Do I want to spend $150.00 for it". We do already have a good collection of pictures that I could use to make up a set for each of the kids. I don't want the big box of slides to become a "burden" for the kids some day. I do get a lot of enjoyment renewing old memories while working with pictures.  The  slides have retained their excellent color and quality and are a more personal item to retain than much of the "stuff" we have.