Monday, August 31, 2015

Early Color in Burning Bush

I worked out in the back yard for a while this afternoon and picked this twig from our Euonymus alatus (Burning Bush).  It was a south facing branch in full sun but most unusual to color this early in the fall. I was unable to detect any damage or infestation which may have been a factor nor any other branches showing color. The bush has been in our yard for some 30 years and don’t recall ever seeing this happen. Wikapedia provided the following information: Euonymus alatus, known variously as winged spindlewinged euonymus or burning bush, is a species of flowering plant in the family Celastraceae, native to central and northern China, Japan, and Korea.This deciduous shrub grows to 2.5 metres (8 ft 2 in) tall, often wider than tall. The stems are notable for their four corky ridges or "wings". The word alatus (or alata, used formerly) is Latin for "winged", in reference to the winged branches. These unique structures develop from a cork cambium deposited in longitudinal grooves in the twigs' first year, unlike similar wings in other plants.[1] The leaves are 2–7 centimetres (0.79–2.76 in) long and 1–4 centimetres (0.39–1.57 in) broad, ovate-elliptic, with an acute apex. The flowers are greenish, borne over a long period in the spring. The fruit is a red aril enclosed by a four-lobed pink, yellow or orange capsule.
The common name "burning bush" comes from the bright red fall color.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Friendly Goats and Paths to Success

Carolyn came down this afternoon with her laptop to show us the pictures taken yesterday while on the farm tour with the Owens family. This is one of my favorites. Sadie seemed to relate to them as friends. This family has a large heard of goats and produces Cheese commercially. I have an affection for goats after being “raised” on goats' milk. It seemed that I was unable to digest Mother’s milk nor that from cows so Dad followed the Doctor’s advice and spent $60.00 for a Nubian goat that had just “come fresh”. It worked and I weighed 25 pounds when 6 months of age. We continued to have them around out on the farm for a number of years. 
I also learned to “wrap text” around pictures while continuing the writing of our 1987 narrative. It took several “trial runs” to learn what would work but finally found a productive path. It may not be the most efficient but it works and I have it documented for future use. That becomes more important for things that are only done occasionally as one gets older. It’s almost embarrassing once you learn the “path” that it took some many “failures” to finally find “success”. I wonder if that's a miniature model of life. Unfortunately, the failures on computer trials are usually not as “costly” as those of real life. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Airplanes, Tractors and Old Times

We got out to the Seward Airport this afternoon where small planes were stopping by on the way to an Air Show over in Iowa. Whistler Aviation manages the airport and has made it a vital part of the area economy. In addition to the collection of small planes  they also had a number of antique tractors which are always interesting to those of us that used some of them. However, I spent much of the day working in the narrative of 1987 as part of my life story.
I have written thousands of words on my “Life Story” with 25 Chapters that covered up to the time we came back to Nebraska from Virginia in 1980. Since then annual narratives have replaced chapters, however some of those busy years it didn’t get done. Since retiring, I have gone back and picked up those years and today I started on 1987. While we listed 3 pages of Highlights from my Daily Journals and 2 collages of pictures, it is the oldest one that hadn’t been done. I have done most of them with Microsoft Word and incorporated pictures into the text for some of them. However, it has been 2-3 years since I incorporated pictures and am having trouble finding the formatting that will allow me to put them where I want them and wrap the narrative. Any help would be appreciated. Speaking of old times, we are listening to Eddy Arnold sing “Make The World Go Away” on PBS, and I am reminded of the time son Jon and I drove our VW Bug up to the Shady Grove Theater in  Gaithersburg, Maryland to hear him in person.

Friday, August 28, 2015

My Walking Cane

This is my Walking Cane that I have had for some 30 years. It was cut from a volunteer Pin Oak growing up in the fence line. The Handle was part of the tree trunk and the “stick” part was actually a limb. The twist that is visible was caused by a Grapevine growing around it while still small. We moved soon after I cut it to a neighborhood with several dogs running lose where I did a lot of walking. I used the Cane on my walks as protection against the dogs but also appreciated the additional stabilization.  During the past years, I have used it very sparingly; usually at Auctions where it was necessary to stand for some time. The other day I used it to walk the couple blocks over to the Hospital to see Charley and realized the Cane felt longer than I remembered. I realized that I’m not as tall as I once was which accounts for the change. I remembered reading of a Circus midget who walked with a Cane in his Act. The story told of midgets occasionally growing after their maturity which was a concern of the Circus performer. As a trick, some of his Buddy's secretly cut a small chunk off the end of his cane periodically and  the guy became convinced  he was growing and would probably lose his job. It was a cruel trick. I was back with my Cane again today to see Charley and the Therapist working on him, told me that I need the "extra length" in my Cane to provided for flexibility.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Interesting Day

Elaine and I enjoyed “Happy Hour” on our deck this afternoon following an interesting day. We had a “spirited” discussion at coffee this morning after news of the Virginia shooting, following the recent French Railroad incident. We cannot hope to solve the problem but should    look to what can be done to reduce it. Suggestions will  range from more “gun control” to arming more citizens with “concealed carry permits” to counteract the “shooter”. I believe more research into the “why and how” people develop the hate that leads them to such acts should also be pursued. 
Elaine enjoyed a visit with the Great Grandchildren, and  Carolyn while I was at coffee. We did Home Delivered Meals. Our last “client” is down in the Manor, next to the Lied Senior Center so we enjoyed the Potato Bake. The Monthly Potato Bake is as much a Social Event as it is a place to eat. We bought groceries down at Pac-n-Save and visited with a young man stocking shelves with material brought down from the “defunct” Mike’s Market. We did catch the closing of the stock market on Wall Street and got the recap of another volatile day. Then, worked in the yard for about an hour including the “harvest” of mature seed heads from the Black Samson (Echinacea angustifolia) from along our driveway. The Royals won this afternoon so tonight we are watching the weather instead of a baseball game as well as enjoying John Sebastian Presents: Folk Rewind (Archival folk pop performances on NET). 


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Elaine’s Shoebox of Rocks

Here is Chuck examining Elaine’s box of rocks. Petrified wood came into discussion yesterday so I took in the box that included a piece of it. The group around the table is much more knowledgeable than I on such matters and identified several different types. Neither Elaine nor I know much about rocks, but she began her collection when we went on our Wedding trip to California. She has always been more fascinated with them, and never passes an opportunity to add  unusual ones. They have come from our travels all over the US and may even be a few from overseas. While Elaine and I were raised under very similar conditions; I grew-up in the Bohemian Alps glaciated area where we had an abundance of rocks. Only 7 miles away where she was raised in the Loess Plains area, there are no rocks. I knew what it was like to hit a big buried rock while listing corn and get the planters beam bent out of shape. It may have influenced my “love” of rocks even if they were unusual. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Robert T. Gale Historic Monument

The Kiwanis Flag Display at the east entrance to Seward gets the attention but just across the highway is the Robert T. Gale Memorial. Mr Gale and his family were the first to homestead land in 1863 that became part of Seward including that where the monument and flags are located. It was dedicated by Secretary of State John Gale on October 7, 2002 who is not aware of any relationship. The “First Impressions Committee” of the Seward Chamber of Commerce provided the research, design, material and labor to have the Monument built and approved by the Nebraska State Historical Society. Jane Graff, author of “On a Bend of the River” was a member of the committee and provided research. 
Pictured here are: (L-R) Pat Coldiron, Jane Graff, Tony Vrana, Lyle Muelller, Clarence Wattier, Greg Majerus, Dorris Marxhausen & Melvin Bolte. (Lisa Bennett not pictured). Lyle Mueller another member and built the Monument by “laying up” the glacial rocks that had been collected from the north-east part of the County. Most of the rocks came from a piece of land that we farmed as a young man and later owned so I had probably picked up some of them earlier and put on the rock pile. Lyle did an excellent job of masonry, after 13 years there is no evidence of any deterioration. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Del Peters at Kiwanis

Del Peters presented the program at Kiwanis today and gave a seminar on carving. It was most enjoyable to see the entire two tables at the head of the room covered with his items. Del is a local product who followed his Dad as a Mason until he became a representative of a Lumber Supply Co. He took up carving while recuperating from back surgery which also prompted his change of profession. He has been a student and an instruction of the Art of carving for a number of years. He told of the tools, techniques, types of wood, patterns,etc. connected with the activity. While all of his products have considerable value, he says that if you equate it to an “hourly wage” it doesn’t pay real well. Basswood or that from a Linden is best.
He talked about the technique for carving hands and often does so in a way that it will hold an object like the Uncle Sam holding a flag in the above picture. He demonstrated how the characters could be made with removable heads, which enables them to be switched around and completely change their appearance. His most prized item is shown below, of a four horse team pulling a lumber wagon. He told of the bartering that was necessary to get help constructing the harness on the horses and also the guidance in getting the “right” number of spokes in the wagon wheels. It was a great program.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Charley in the Hospital

I walked over to the Hospital this afternoon to visit my friend Charley who is awaiting diagnoses and relief of his lower back pain. He and I played many rounds of golf together during the past several years. We are close to the same age and while on the golf course, covered just about everything that 2 old guys might have experienced. Our scores were never a priority and followed the social and exercise value of our being out. He was being medicated to reduce pain and much of our discussion was with Ruth and their daughter. 
It has been nearly a year now that the addition to the hospital has been underway. It is certainly impressive and demonstrates a lot of creativity by the architects  in it being yet another major addition and yet blending all of them to where it appears to be part of a Master Design. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Playing (on) a Piano

Little girls like to play with dolls but when the opportunity exist to entertain themselves with a piano, that works, too; especially when her new little brother was trying to sleep in the baby basket a few feet away. Carolyn was just over 15 months old when Jon was born. Elaine, Carolyn and Jon spent a few days out at her folks after coming home from the hospital while Verlon, Tim and I stayed at my folks. I continued my work schedule and even planted some trees but visited Elaine as often as possible. I don’t know how Carolyn learned that she could make a lot of noise by sitting down on the piano keys but she really got excited in doing it. She would move up and down on the piano bench to get different sounds but those low notes were her favorites. I wonder if that might have initiated Jon’s interest in music. 

Friday, August 21, 2015


Sadie’s Grandmother told of her forgetting to take  “Mymar” doll along as they went to Lincoln the other day and wanting to drive back to get her. They didn’t but when I came across this picture of Carolyn, it is easy to see how important her Thumbelina was and all dolls can be to little girls. This of Carolyn was taken during our early years back in Virginia. As Elaine and I talked about dolls, she was never very attached to them. One of her first dolls was a small, black baby doll like I remember having one in our house while growing up. As I remember, they were quite common back in those days. I don’t know what impact they may have had on race relations but they were always treated no differently than any others. I never  appreciated the Barbi Dolls because of their unrealistic, suggestive proportions and the promotions for encouraging collections of them and their clothing. My sister Vivian always had dolls, and I’m sure it was our Mother that got me my “Tommy” doll as a 3-year old. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Celebration of Project Completion

We were invited to participate in a Pot Luck Dinner at the Cabin this evening to celebrate the completing of the Pathway of Flags connecting the Plum Creek Walking/Biking trail with the Kiwanis Parade of Flags. The Pathway is a couple hundred feet in length and has Flags along the way of the 5 U.S. inhabited provinces: Puerto Rico, U.S.Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Marianas. The beginning of the walkway is shown at the left of this picture and winds down where it connects with the trail. The project has really helped to make the entrance into our City outstanding. It was built on Flood Plain land in cooperation with the City.
Marv Taylor is shown here out at the Cabin explaining to the group some of the details of working with the City Council in the final stages of the Project. It is being named in Honor of Don and Barb Suhr for their financial support. He also announced that the committee has now installed their 811th Flag Pole. It was a great evening of food and fellowship and recognition of a “Job Well Done”. Special thanks go to Marv, Dave and Eileen Oates and others who helped do the work of putting it all together. It was a great event to celebrate a great project.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Dale Flowerday, son Verlon and Elaine

Here is Dale Flowerday, son Verlon and Elaine. It was taken while Verlon was back rebuilding the deck, replacing the garage post, etc. Dale stopped by on his way back to Lincoln from being out-state on a project. It was during the summer of ’07. This is among many of the pictures that we transferred from the Gateway computer when we got the HP. We talked with Tim tonight and he mentioned that the picture of Elaine with her folks, that I used in a recent blog, showed Albert and Flora looking just like he remembered them. We havn’t seen Dale since they moved to TN last winter, but this picture is so typical of Dale and is what I “see” when I think of him. I’m sure that most of the PhD candidates that he advised, think of him as Dr. Flowerday, but I also believe that their mental image of him is similar to this picture. On several occasions I have had the opportunity to indicate that I was his brother-in-law and whenever his name was mentioned, it would be followed by a chuckle as they thought of one of his jokes.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Julie at our First Computer

We bought our first computer on December 26, 1993. It was an Apple Macintosh 660 with a 15” Phillips Monitor. It was a joint project that we shared with Carolyn and Julie. A couple days later we bought an Apple Stylewriter II printer from Walmart. Carolyn and Julie spent a lot of time with us those days and with Jon and his family living in Seward, we had a lot of help in getting it set up and in operation. Soon after the first of the year we bought a computer desk and office chair from Best Buy. It wasn’t long before Julie learned to make the computer talk and say what she had typed. It wasn’t until June of ’94 that we bought a modem and installed “America on Line” and was able to connect to the Internet. While we were doing a lot of traveling in those days, I couldn’t of had a better introduction to the use of a computer. Elaine had worked with them during her latter days of Federal employment, but I had never sat down to one before bringing ours home. We went on to get a complete Gateway 2000 setup which we really liked. In 2007, Jon helped us buy the Hewitt-Packard set up that we now have. It shows some problems but since my Apple MacBook is what I mainly use, I hope the HP will continue to function. I had no expectation when we got our first one that I would spend as much time on it someday, as I do. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Verlon’s Birthday

August 17th is the birthdate of our oldest son. We typically get to see him once a year when he comes back from Richmond, VA to speed a week or so with us and work on our house and yard maintenance. He has worked as a finish carpenter and boat builder over the years so has the necessary skills to do many things. Elaine spent most of the day he was born in the delivery room and though I worked at the local SCS office, spent a lot of time in the waiting room at the hospital. Finally at 5:15pm the nurse let me in to see her and learn that we had a baby boy. After Kiwanis today, I suggested to Elaine that it would be very appropriate for us to celebrate the anniversary 
 of his birth with a strawberry milkshake from McDonald’s. He called while we were gone but called back this evening, and we had a lengthy visit. This picture of him in the coaster wagon would have been taken the following summer in the front yard of our house on East Bradford Street. As is apparent, there were no houses across Locust Street to the east of us. While we had electricity and water in the house, it wasn’t until a year or so later that we connected to the sewer and built on a bathroom. During Verlon’s first 12 years we moved to a bigger house in Seward, he had a sister and 2 brothers, we moved to Lincoln and to Washington, D. C. Those were hectic times but looking back and visiting with him about some of the incidents tonight, They were great years for all of us.
This is a picture of Verlon taken about a year ago when he received considerable publicity in the Richmond newspaper on his having built this boat in the living room of his house. Only a bachelor would be able to get by with doing that.  He stores the little boat at one of the nearby lakes and said tonight that he considered getting it out to go sailing today but decided against it. Visiting with adult kids is always interesting what you hear for the first time. As we told him of Carolyn and Ben getting stung by yellow jacket wasps, he told of an incident that happened to him many years ago as a young carpenter. It seems that he and 2 or 3 other guys were working on an old house out in the mountains west of Charlottesville, where they were going to school. They would shuffle back and forth as their schedules demanded and he got stung all over his face and body while working out there alone. His eyes swelled shut to where he couldn’t see to drive but after 36 hours was able to drive for help. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Albert, Flora Flowerday and “Sister”

I continued to do some work on getting “Elaine pictures” into a folder and this is one of them. It was taken in the early ’70’s up at their home on Locust St. here in Seward. The wagon wheels above Elaine’s right shoulder are the ones that we got from them while still on the farm and made into a bench at our 5th St. house in Seward. We moved the “bench” to Lincoln where it was a very important part of our backyard furniture. When we moved to Washington, D.C. we returned it to Flowerdays where they enjoyed it. This is a very typical picture of all 3 of them. Albert was very comfortable in his bib-overalls and can of Shasta soda to drink. He would have been operating a County Road Grader at the time maintaining rural roads. Flora was working at the Seward Dry Goods basement and knew the size of overalls and caps that all her customers wore. I believe the expression on the faces of Albert and Flora demonstrates their happiness and satisfaction with Elaine and her family whenever they were around. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Challenging Times

I had planned to go to an Auction this morning but changed my mind and worked in the yard. After digging out a clump of Iris that had infringed on a lawn sprinkler and working over another sprinkler head, everything seems to be working O.K. Meanwhile, Elaine worked over the clump of Iris by splitting the tubers and planted them in the area where we grew potatoes this year. This afternoon, I worked on selecting pictures from  CD’s that we have had processed from the original 35mm slides and added them to an “Elaine folder” and one with pictures of our kids. The pictures added today included those taken after our move to the Washington, D.C. area in 1962 till 1970. This one of Elaine was taken at Christmas in 1970 which reminds me of why people would tell me that I had a beautiful wife.
This was taken a year earlier when Elaine was “modeling” an afghan that her folks  brought back to her from Bogota, Columbia after having been there to visit Dr. Flowerday and his family. While we continued in the Washington area till 1980, it was during the first 8 years than many changes took place in our lives. Our kids went from little ones to college age. Elaine began employment with Civil Defense in the Pentagon and transferred to the Forest Service in USDA where I was working for the Soil Conservation Service and had completed BA & MBA degrees at George Washington University. They were exciting times of spending an evening in the basement during the height of the “Cuban Missile Crisis", followed by the tragic death of President John F. Kennedy. We never felt young again after that but persevered. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Common Pokeweed

I was faced with a well preserved plant clipping when I got to coffee this morning. Stan brought it in yesterday when I wasn’t there and it was kept in a plastic container to “stump me” when I was unable to identify it. After going through the Nebraska Weed book, published by the State of Nebraska, Department of Agriculture, Weed Division in 1979, I believe it to be Common Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana L). The book indicates that "it is not a common weed in Nebraska. It is most often found in old gardens or in moist, rich, bottom soils in southeast Nebraska”. Information on the internet indicates that it is more common in the south and is sometimes eaten if prepared properly. Son Jon who lives in Virginia confirmed this afternoon that he had eaten “Poke Salad”. I would be interested in comments from anyone who is familiar with the plant.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

T. J Fraser

We attended the service “Celebrating the Life of Pastor T. J. Fraser” at the Seward United Methodist Church this morning. It was an outstanding service with Paul Soulek playing the Organ  with congregational singing of, “It is Well” & “For All the Saints” among others. Pastor Dale Lambert gave a very appropriate message in celebrating the life of T. J. We visited briefly with some of the family from the New York City area that we had heard a lot about over the years. T. J. and Virginia were very much a part of the Seward UMC since coming to town in 1998 after having served in several locations in eastern Nebraska. There were a large number of retired Pastors at the service including the Reverends Charles Gates and Al Smith who had served the Seward Congregation. I had an enjoyable visit with retired Rev. Cliff Reynolds during lunch. We agreed that those of us who are older  so appreciate the organ music, the traditional hymns, and the formality of service that was demonstrated today. As a society we seem to have lost a lot of the respect for traditional relationships, authority, and even for each other during the past few years. Our Churches need to help bring it back. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Backyard Flowerbed and Lawn

I spread some well decomposed compost on this flowerbed in our backyard yesterday. The Clump River Burch provides shade that limits the flowers that can be grown in it. The lone red rose bush bloomed in early June but hasn’t since. The perennial Diantheses bloomed beautifully early and still have an occasional flower. We planted the small red-blooming Inpatients this spring which are doing well. We mowed the grass in the front yard as well as the backyard this morning. I also trimmed the Barberry hedge in front of our house. The quality of our lawn doesn’t compare with Dad’s lawn after the folks retired to town. We had Merle’s Garden Shop apply the chemicals and fertilizer for a number of years but have attempted to take cane of it myself the past couple. I believe it more appropriate to again contract with them to do the application. It is enough of a job to take care of the watering and mowing. We have run the underground sprinklers only once so far this summer but might do so again tomorrow. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Happy Birthday Grandma Carolyn

Today is Carolyn’s birthday. Our “Seward family” got together this evening to eat at, “The Quonset” in Staplehurst. The food was  good and was topped off with Cheese Cake back at Owenses. Birthdays of immediate family always bring back memories associated with the actual event for which we celebrate anniversaries. It was during that summer that I reached the height of my “Town Team” baseball career playing with Garland in the Blue Valley League and Seward in the Cornhusker League. I had grown a full beard in conjunction with Seward’s “Old Settler’s Day” and won 1st place representing the Garland community. I recall going directly from the County Fair where the Beard judging took place to the Hospital to check on Elaine. I was setting in the waiting room when Dr. Carr walked through and without even slowing down, said: “you’ve got a little girl”. After having two boys, we were most pleased. While we were both happy to have a daughter, we didn’t realize until we reached retirement age, just how important it is to have a daughter and family living nearby. It worked out that way again tonight with them picking us up to go out to eat. While we say, “Happy Birthday” to Carolyn, it was even more of a Happy Birthday Day for all of us. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Progress Report of Hospital Addition

We went over and got this picture to show the progress on the addition to the Seward Memorial Hospital. It’s amazing to me that architects are able to put pieces together and build addition after addition and still maintain the integrity of the building  and provide facilities to carry out the evolving mission. The original building opened in 1950 and much of it is still in use. I contrast that with the new Seward County Justice Center (Jail) where a totally new facility is being built. The structure that was built about 25 years ago will be demolished when the new building is available. I know there are federal regulations that have a major impact on decisions, but it would seem that we are more concerned with how we treat prisoners than medical patients. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

On Ben’s Birthday

Today is our son-in-law Ben Hughes’ birthday. It’s not surprising that he has received a wealth of best wishes on the occasion. Ben has a large circle of acquaintances and all of them are his friends. He and daughter Carolyn are  very compatible and make a great couple. We took birthday cards up to them this evening since Carolyn’s birthday will be on Tuesday, August 11th. Maybe having their birthdays so close together is what makes them so compatible.  Ben gave Elaine 3 tomatoes from their garden which helped to “make her day”. She has already eaten one of them. We got down to Dennis Kahl’s Retirement Party after Church this morning. Having that on the last day of the Fair as exhibits were being taken down was very appropriate for a retiring Extension Educator. We met their son Bryan who is a Resource Conservationist with NRCS located at Chadron, NE. He spoke favorably about the new Client Gateway program that our son Jon led the development of at the Washington, D.C. headquarters. Again, Happy Birthday, Ben. Just looking at this picture of you helps me to relax.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Accordion Jamboree at Seward County Fair

Franklin Hronik and his Accordion Jamboree group stood for their last number at the Seward County Fair this evening. We were treated to some new musicians but missed Eddie Svoboda as the Drummer. Elmer Nemec on the Tuba is an essential part of the group. They all contribute to making it one of our most important reasons for going to the fair. The size of their audience seems to be getting smaller each year but to those of us who have memories of accordion music in our homes, it’s a spiritual transition back to  happy days with our parents and the music we enjoyed.
Elmer Nemec has played the Tuba and sang with the group for as long as I can remember. While many of us enjoy listening to the music they play, probably no one enjoys it more than they themselves. We visited with Phyllis, Franklin’s wife, afterwards and she said that he plays his accordion nearly every day. This years program included a couple from Minnesota who each played  “solo” numbers. Most of the music is played “by ear”  by what is now the 4th or 5th generation from those that brought it with them when they immigrated to this Country as it was being settled after the Civil War. The folks from Minnesota play with a bit different style than what we Nebraska’s are familiar. It’s still good, just different. Our youngest son Jon who lives back in Northern Virginia plays my Dad’s accordion nearly every weekend. He would enjoy playing with this group.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Dennis Kahl, UN-L Extension Educator

Dennis Kahl, UN-L Extension Educator in Seward County, NE since 1993 has announced his retirement date of August 31, 2015. A retirement party has been scheduled for Sunday morning, August 9th at the 4-H building in the Fairgrounds from 9:30-11:30 as the Co. Fair winds down. During his tenure in Seward, he has also led State Extension programs and projects in other locations. Dennis received his BS from UN-L in Animal Science/Agricultural Education in 1972 and an MS degree from UN-L in ’77. Dennis served as an Ag Education Instructor at Wood River HS and Extension Educator in Colfax Co. (Schuyler) before coming to Seward. 
I have worked with Dennis on many projects within various organizations over the years. His contribution to the people and the community during his years here has been unmeasurable. The programs that Dennis has provided leadership to have been as varied as the ages of the people which whom he has worked. As we walked through the 4-H building today we marveled at the “professional” appearing wood working projects as well as the cake decorating, etc. Young people have learned skills through 4-H projects that will benefit them all their lives. Back in the mid-’90’s when personal computers were becoming popular, I recall taking a course that Dennis taught. He also personally mentored me in putting together a Power-Point presentation on the 30 Major League Baseball Parks in which I had seen games. We owe him our Heartfelt Thanks for a Career of Helping Others. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Sadie Elizabeth Owens at Three

Great Granddaughter Sadie Elizabeth Owens celebrated her 3rd Birthday today. Her celebration began early with her hat and 3 candles. We got out to see her this afternoon and will have a further “party” with her and family on Saturday. It is interesting to us Great Grandparents as to how we have appreciated those early years of our own children, the Grandchildren and now the "Greats”. We were so busy with work when our children were small that we just “took for granted” that they would develop as normal “above average” kids. While we have 5 Grandchildren, it was only Julie that we were closely involved with during her early years. While we loved them all, and did have some time with Heather when they lived here for a few years, we got to see the others only a few times a year. Julie was a real joy to us in helping make the transition from the work-a-day world to retirement. We did a lot of traveling and shared in many of her activities. Now with Sadie and Jack we are just fascinated by the rapid changes that occur during those first 3 years. It’s just amazing how she thinks, what she knows, how she can express herself, what she can do, etc. I’m convinced that she is above average.
Happy Birthday Sadie!!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Congressman Jeff Fortenberry in Seward

Nebraska's 1st District Congressman was in Seward this evening for a Town Hall Meeting. After leading the 60-70 in attendance with the Pledge of Allegiance, Congressman Jeff Fortenberry spoke briefly on the Budget, Iran, and his recent trip to Normandy for the dedication of the Higgins Memorial before opening the meeting to questions. On Iran he mentioned that this was not just a U.S.-Iran agreement but involved other countries as well. As he sees it, there are four options to consider before it is voted on by Congress. These are: 1. Continue our  present course of actions, threats, and impotent discourse; 2. Limited agreement, if verifiable, constrains Iran’s steady movement toward nuclear weapons capacity; 3. Press for stronger concessions; 4. Military strikes.  The majority of the questions from the audience dealt with the Iran topic.  I was impressed with the amount of study he has put into the issue and feel that his vote will be a very intelligent one, whichever it may be. The Budget figures are very concerning with expenditures of some 3.6 trillion dollars and only 30% of it discretionary. The national debt has now grown to $56,000/individual compared to $20,000 in 2000 and $13,000 in 1990. His response to a final question recognized the “social fracturing” which has occurred in this country. Congress is now being called upon to assist with problems that were once taken care of within families, churches, local communities, etc. Congress can never solve many of these problems, and it limits their ability to do the job our Founders envisioned. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Dave Hutchinson, Organic Rancher

Dave Hutchinson is an organic Rancher at Rose, NE. I was aware of their operation and of his being the son of D.E. “Hutch” Hutchinson who had tremendous influence on my career with the USDA Soil Conservation Service (Now known as NRCS, Natural Resource Conservation Service). But never knew many of the details of their operation. It was brought to my attention when daughter Carolyn pointed out their “story” in Summer Miller’s new book, “new Prairie kitchen”. I selected other information from Panorama on the Internet where Dave is quoted as saying, "“My parents were interested in conservation of grasslands 80 years ago. We’ve never fed corn to our animals. We know it’s healthier for the cow and for people, says Hutchinson, who carries on the family tradition at his 5000-acre ranch in the Sandhills of North Central Nebraska.”  The article also says, "Along with help from his wife, one of their five daughters, her husband and a grandchild, Hutchinson raises about 500 cattle, along with a herd of 200 buffalo, 200 meat goats, a small herd of quarter horses, seven donkeys and some dairy cows that supply milk for the family.” His Dad, “Hutch”, was very instrumental in my becoming a career civil servant. 

He is shown here with his family who help operate the ranch. Part of Hutch’s mentoring of me included becoming a member of the Soil and Water Conservation Society in which I still maintain membership. After retiring from Federal and State service, I served as Executive VP for the Society at their Office in Ankeny, IA. Some years earlier, Hutch had been instrumental  in getting several acres of the land around the Headquarters building seeded to Native Grasses. While I was Exec. VP, we got it named: “The D.E. Hutchinson Native Prairie” with a Plaque for Hutch as well as one to be displayed in the Office building. Hutch and several members of his family were there for the dedication ceremony that included many dignitaries and friends of the Society. I also gave a Eulogy at Hutch's funeral a few years later. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Seward County Directories.

These are Seward County Nebraska Pictorial Atlases compiled and copyrighted by the Title Atlas Company, Minneapolis, MN. The 4 shown are for the years of 1962, 1977, 1986 & 1996. The ’86 version that I looking at is listed by the company at $79.50 (if available). They contain Maps, Plats of the Townships, Rural Directory, Pictures of Farms and Families, Articles about History, etc. They also contain such personal information  on each farm family as the names of the husband and wife's father, mother (with maiden name), if they own or rent the farm, it’s location, what they raise, their children and if children are married, the names of spouses, where they live, how long the husband and wife have lived in Seward County, what organizations they are affiliated with including their Church. I assume the personal information was furnished to the company on a volunteer basis since there are a few with only the name of the head of the family and their location.
I don’t know how some of this information compares with today's social media but it is most interesting to some of us. While Elaine and I were both born and raised here is Seward County, we moved away in 1958 and returned in 1980 missing out on a whole generation. Through our jobs and social activities, we knew a high percentage of the people in the County when we left and never have been able to catch up on family relationships. This has been a big help. We also have a 1990 booklet of Plat maps  of Seward County copyright by R. C. Booth Enterprises of Harland, IA and a Booth booklet of 2006 & ’07 showing Plat maps of the County by Township showing both ownership and residents. County-wide Directory L.L.C. of Larchwood, Iowa, also publishes a Directory showing land owner & rural residents by Township as well as Telephone Directory. It also has an alphabetical list of land owners and the location of their property. We have duplicate copies of the ’62 & ’77 Pictorial Atlases and will hope to trade for other issues.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

A "Walking A" for Measuring Acreage.

This is an antique piece of what at one time was Federal property. It was known as a “Walking A” and used to measure farmers' fields in connection with the Federal Crop Insurance Corporations programs of the 1930’s and ’40’s. Field men would walk along the edge of fields, swinging the “A” and counting the number of 5 foot segments as they walked. They would measure at least two sides to  estimate  the size of the field. The program was administered in USDA by the AAA (Agriculture Adjustment Administration), PMA (Production Marketing Administration), ASCS (Agriculture Stabilization and Conservation Service) by their State and County Offices.
As aerial photography became more commonplace, areas were flown with cameras, and maps were available to show fields which could be measured with a Planimeter to determine acreage.  I bought this “A” at an Estate Public Auction several years ago from a fellow who had served several years as part of the Seward County Committee of that agency.  While I never used one, I have seen them used many times during my early farming days.  As simple as they are, it must have taken some ingenuity to be able to fold it up in such a compact package.  We plan to take it to the Seward County Museum in Goehner to see if it might become a part of the memorabilia displayed.  It is a bit of a symbol of the New Deal programs of the Roosevelt Administration to help balance agricul-tural production and demand.  Ag programs have changed considerably since the days of the “Walking A” with more emphasis on Sustainable Production and Conservation.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Golf Books

I pulled these 6 Golf books off the shelf some time ago in the process of my fading away from the game. As Elaine and I put together a list of items to go to EtCetera, they got included. The hard back Tiger Woods book is probably the best of the lot but the 400 page K.I.S.S. softback says on the first page that it is, “The only guide you’ll ever need!” and I believe it. It was published by Dorling Kindersley in 2000.  Ken Venturi’s 180 page softback, “Stroke Savers” was published by Contemporary Books in 1995 and contains many “tips”. Maxine Van Evera Lupo’s 296 page softback on "How to Master A Great Golf Swing” was published by Contemporary Books in 1992. It has the page marked which shows the role of the hips in the backswing. “Play Better Golf”  by Beverly Lewis was published by CLB and distributed by Barnes and Noble in 1995. It is a 238 page, amply illustrated hardback. Jack Nicklaus’ “Play Better Golf”, a 227 page hardback was published by Galahad Books in 1988 and consist of illustrated instructions in a “comic page” format. The Tiger Woods 306 page hardback was written by Tiger and the Editors of Gold Digest. It was copyright in 2001 by the EWP Corp. and Warner Books, Inc. It has “fold-out” pages to demonstrate Tiger’s swing. All 6 of these books are in excellent condition. I bought them all new and must admit to not even having “paged” all the way through them. While I had to go out and get them from the trunk of the car to write this, I may just hold on to them for a while and see if any of my friends are interested.