Monday, May 30, 2016

Garage Sale Saturday

We are getting ready for a Garage Sale this coming Saturday, June 4. It will be at 131 N. 1st. Street here in Seward and run from 9:00am to 3:00pm. I am parting with golf clubs, new & used golf balls, yard and garden tools, antiques, and the usual household items. I no longer play golf and felt it time to pass on the equipment and paraphernalia. We also have many more yard and garden tools than what we need to use. I will try to add some additional pictures during the next few days. This fancy hedge trimmer has been used very little. The old coal bucket however has been used but is in excellent condition as is the little black coal shovel that comes with it.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Remembering Family on Memorial Day

Peonies and Iris are normally the main flowers to use for Memorial Day. Our spring weather was such that the number of such flowers being available today was minimal; almost non existent. Elaine was able to find a few that we put in a vase of water and placed at the Vrana and Flowerday headstones. We didn't get our plastic flowers picked up in time last year so our supply of them was minimal as well. Elaine's family graves are scattered within the Cemetery but many of my family are in the same area. My Grandfather Joseph J Vrana died in 1950 and he and Grandmother's graves were decorated with a number of arraignments. The number of descendants within driving distance is a factor.
We put one arraignment at Aunt Ethel and John's tombstone. They had no children, and I am the only nephew living in the area. We also put a bouquet on Grandpa and Grandma Walker's headstone which also includes Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Bill. It is located in the oldest area of the cemetery and there were very few graves decorated. For several years we helped Aunt Ethel with putting flowers on her list of people. It was a learning experience because she had stories to tell about relatives we had never met. One that we also did with her was my Turner  Great Grandparents who had come over from Ireland and he fought in the Civil War.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Saturday on the Home Front.

Ben came down with his truck early this morning. He and Verlon took two loads to the City Burn Pile. It is only open for a few hours each week so Verlon's tree trimming was done according to that schedule.  Elaine was out to see them off with their first load and to express her satisfaction that neither she nor I had to be involved in the process. We had another 1.35" of rain last night, and it was well that Ben's truck has 4-wheel drive to get through the mud down by the burnpile. Verlon and I went down to Harvest Hall for a Grubaugh Auction. It included an unusual collection of guns, western memorabilia, signs, toys, etc. Verlon even found a cowboy hat that was just his size.
We spent all afternoon out in the Garage getting ready for a Garage Sale we plan to have next Saturday. We still have a long way to go but got many things ready. We did a lot of shifting things around and even put many things in the garbage. My Golf Clubs and Equipment will be a part of the collection of things being put out for same next Saturday.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Tree and Shrub Trimming

This was a "tree trimming" day with Verlon working on the low hanging branches of the Linden and Maple trees in our front yard. The pole has a 7" saw on its upper end. The long pole is like the "saw handle" in cutting small limbs. It also has a "knife" inside a hook for cutting limbs up to about a half-inch lower branches opens up the yard to a lot more sunlight and air circulation. He also worked on the Red Oak tree in the back yard as well as trimming back the Japanese Yew at the front corner of the garage. It takes a bit of optimism to trim it back this severely. Yews are about the only shrub that will shoot new growth from old wood.  Had we done it earlier in the spring it might have had a better chance of success. We have had new growth on Yews next to our Deck that is encouraging.
The City "Burn Pile" is only open on Saturday mornings so we tried to get all of our major trimming done today. We have utility lines coming in from the alley so that dictated some of the trimming of the Red Oak. We had the City crew involved with their "bucket truck" a couple years ago in doing some pruning of the Oak and major trimming to the Concolor Fir in the yard that the wires ran through.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Good Time on a Stormy Day.

Brother Don called a couple days ago and made plans for getting together for lunch in Bee today. Gladys has family graves in the Dwight and Bee Cemeteries as well as in Seward so when they are up this way ahead of Memorial Day, we often meet somewhere for lunch. Don had called nephew Terry Soucek who lives in Bee so with Verlon being here with us, we had a "family reunion". After lunch and a lot of good visiting, we took this "selfie" by time delay. Elaine is almost hid behind Don but she is there. We drove past the farm where Elaine was raised on our way home. Verlon spent quite a bit of time with Grandparents out there when he was little.
The house and several of the buildings have long since been removed with only the Barn, Corncrib, and Windmill remaining.  By the time we took the picture a big cloud was coming up from the south that brought us some rain, hail and threats of tornado's. Seward never reached the storm level that hit Lincoln and much of southeastern Nebraska. Lincoln reported many streets closed because of flooding after heavy rains. So far, no tornadoes have been reported. We had no hail and just short of an inch of rain. We consider ourselves lucky.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Progress on Home Maintenance

Several good things happened at our house today. Soon after breakfast the "Home Appliance" repair man came, installed a switch in the control panel of the Maytag Washing machine and got it going. The H & S people were here soon after and worked on the Air Conditioner. It took them quite a while, but they got it going. They will be back to put in a new relay but we were happy to have the fan circulating the air. Verlon continued to check items off the list by fixing a wheel on the lawn mower and working with compost. We have composted our grass clippings and leaves during most of the time we've lived here.
I setup the first compost "bin" with woven wire in the northwestern corner of our fenced in back yard and filled it over the years. Then built another bin nearby. We have used the new bin for the past several years as the original one "matured". The new bin is now full so it is time to clean out the original one and begin a new cycle. Verlon used Carolyn's wheelbarrow to place some of the "well aged" compost over the exposed roots of the Maple tree in our front yard. He has placed more of it around the house and places we will seed grass. We do have facilities where we can store some and use it as needed.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

We Appreciat Family

Jack was at our house when I got home from coffee this morning. We did our usual "Pony Boy" and played some ball. He had found that he can bend over and look at the world from a different perspective. What he's wanting is for someone to tip him on over in a somersault. In my early days of working with SCS on Irrigation land leveling, an engineer showed us how to strike Jack's pose and see the "lay of the land" much more accurately. We also enjoyed Sadie's visit when she and Julie came to pick up Jack. She continues to impress us with her treatment of her "little brother".  He will learn to appreciate his big sister more and more as time goes by as I did. After having Jack with us this morning, we were able to pick up our oldest son up from the Lincoln Airport this afternoon. 
Verlon's visits get more and more important to us as we grow older. Over the years we have talked about his doing our "home maintenance" and as shown, it has even extended to lawn mowing. Our list of "jobs" expands ever year but we have a lot of good "social time" as the tasks are "checked off". When my folks were still out on the farm, Dad never missed the opportunity to get something done with the help available. One of his favorite chores was getting several of us involved in moving cattle from one pasture to another. We learned to enjoy working together as much a playing together.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Historic Interviews

Pat Coldiron is woking on an interesting project of interviewing some of us older Seward County "natives" and making the information available on a web site. The objective of the project is to provide 1st person memories of life in Seward County during the Great Depression and Drought years of the 1930's and beyond. Shown here are Jill Martin, Pat and Laurie Anderson who are helping her with the project.  Elaine and I were interviewed this evening. We were so talkative that the dilemma the ladies are confronting in the picture, is in freeing up additional recording time. Pat follows a prepared script for each of us that includes: What did your folks do for a living; What did you have for supper sometimes; Where did you go to school; Describe a day at school; and, What was going on in the world at this time.  Joint questions involved: How did you meet; Did you have a big wedding; What music was popular at the time; What type of work did you do; places you lived; cars that you owned; and What brought you back to Seward?.  She also brought up some things she already knew about us like: my keeping current in seeing games in all 30 of the Major League Baseball Parks, my history of keeping a Daily Diary and later a Daily Journal; my "Tony-The Crow's Nest" blog site, etc. They never found additional recording space so we are to go back at a later date to wrap-up the interview. My ending "punch line" will be, "Though we were poor people, Elaine and my parents both provided us with a very rich childhood."

Sunday, May 22, 2016

"Buffalo Bill Cody" in Seward

The Seward County Historical Society sponsored a presentation by Jeff Barnes on "Buffalo Bill's Nebraska, The Land that Made the Legend" at the Civic Center this afternoon. Mr. Barnes was dressed in "period style" and traced Bill Cody's life from being born in Iowa, raised in Kansas died in Colorado but considered Nebraska home. He came to Nebraska as a young Indian Scout. As such he was involved in many of the Indian scrimmages during the years following the Civil War. In later years he described himself as two people; Mr. William Cody and Buffalo Bill. 
He was stationed at Ft. Robinson during the late 1870's and established his ranch and home in North Platte in 1882. He developed his Wild West show about this time and presented it throughout the United States and Europe. He was one of the best known people in the country because of using real Indians, live Buffalo, etc. in his shows. Annie Oakley was one of the attractions. On September 12, 1912, he brought his show to the Seward County Fair. Copies of the Seward newspaper coverage of the show was available during the refreshment period following the presentation, but we left early to congratulate friends celebrating a 50th Wedding Anniversay. 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Busy Day of "Fun Things".

I began the day  by going to the Ag Pavilion where Schweitzer's  conducted an auction of "collectibles". There were many interesting things to look at including a beautiful '89 Buick Reatta. but I didn't buy anything. I believe a high percentage of the items were bought by Dealers.  I stopped at a Garage Sale in our neighborhood, got acquainted with the owner, and bought an 18" dia. exercise ball for $1.00. This Collard Dove and its mate were "ground feeding" under our feeder when I got this picture through our kitchen window.
We went to Orscheln's this afternoon for bird feed and also bought some Salvia and Petunia plants. We planted them around our old black kettle and added the white Petunias to the Geraniums planted previously. In addition to many people in town for the last day of the City Wide Garage Sales, there were literally hundreds of Cyclist in the Spare Time Lounge area.  This evening we watched the running of the Preakness at Pimlico in Baltimore. Elaine and I have happy memories of attending that race with all the Black-Eyed Susan's during one of our last years while living in the Washington area. It was a nice day.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Hohner Button Accordion

Elaine went through the listing of the Seward garage sales last night and found one that listed an accordion. While many of the sales opened yesterday, this one didn't open until today. We got up to it early and found that it was the Franklin Hronik residence. We have known Frank and Phyllis for a number of years through the Church as well as his leading the Polka Jamboree at the County Fair. He not only had this Hohner for sale but also another more elaborate one. We brought this one along home in a case made for it, and I even attempted to play it a bit. I sent pictures to Jon and look forward to their being out in a few weeks and hearing him play it. Frank did play it for us as a demonstration of how well it worked and sounded before we made the purchase. What he didn't do was volunteer to give me some instruction on how to play it.
I also continue to work on getting pictures of birds at our feeder. This male House Finch was just one of the many that crowded around the feeder this afternoon. I also have a picture of a pair of House Finches and like most birds and wild animals, the male is the most colorful. I remember of my Dad explaining that to me and his saying that in humans, the females are most attractive and colorful.  (Some of the color may be applied.) With some of the fancy beards that some males cultivate, I wonder if it is an attempt to compete.  

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Sadie & Garage Sales

Sadie was in the "sandbox-kitchen" area of Grandma & Grandpa Hughes' backyard when we stopped by this afternoon. She is very much at home there and served "apple peel" to each of us along with a salad she was able to collect in the area. This was her last day of pre-school for the spring but she looks forward to a summer session and some swimming lessons. She will have her 4th birthday before the fall term begins. After fixing our "apple peel", she was the Waitress serving it to us. It took some instruction for Elaine and I to respond correctly when the waitress called our number. She is more accustomed to eating in places that serve that way than we are.
 Some 50 city wide Garage Sales opened today and will run for the next 2 days. We have one on our street where we took Jack over to buy a Garbage truck this morning. There were 2 bags of golf clubs at a very low price; much below what I am hoping for on mine. On our way home from Hughes, we stopped at Hobbin's sale just up the street from our house. Many interesting things. I've got one "checked" that will open tomorrow morning that has an accordion. I hope to check it out and who knows what might happen. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Boy and Birds

One of Jack's favorite times when he is at our house is sitting on Elaine's lap at the kitchen window and watching the birds at the nearby feeders. It has even prompted us into photographing and identifying some whose names we questioned. Baltimore Orioles like our Grape Jelly feeder and frequent it several times a day. I wasn't able to spend as much time with Jack this morning as usual because of Marshall Adams joining us for coffee down at the Bank and other business there. We did play a little catch, do "Pony Boy" and work the flashlight before taking him out to his car seat to go home. (Note that big ball throwing hand).
Everybody knows what a female English Sparrow looks like, but we will try to see how many he will be able to identify before he starts to school. We will also be working on flowers, trees, shrubs, grasses, bugs, etc. There are so many things that little kids are anxious to learn; things that teenagers could "care less about". But much of what they learn early will be with them all their lives. It is an important part of their inheritance; even learning the difference between a Female and Male English Sparrow. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Jack's Latest Visit

Jack sat on my lap at the kitchen table last evening when his Grandmother Carolyn brought him down to visit while she was taking care of him. She sat across the table from Jack and I and he threw the ball to her. As athletic as our son Tim was as a youngster, I don't remember of him ever throwing a ball overhand at this age as Jack does. These pictures were taken by Carolyn while "fielding" the ball. Jack is always so proud of himself after throwing.
While the concept of it "taking a village to raise a child"  is good, I believe that children with multigenerational family involved in their
development have an advantage. Not only do the children profit by "family" participation, but there is no measure of the satisfaction that this old Great Grandfather gets from having Jack express his desire to spend time with Elaine and I. He shows the same affection to Elaine who even shares her fragile "Music Box" with him.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Beauty of Nature

We worked out in the yard this morning in 40 degree temperatures to plant the Dianthus, Tomato, and Impatience plants that we bought yesterday. What you see is the Dianthus that have been in this flower bed for the past couple years. The new ones hardly show. Our Blue Spruce is at its height of beauty with the new growth having come out within the past few days. The contrast between the Blue Spruce and the Japanese  Maple is outstanding this time of year.  The Japanese Maple leaves are vibrant now and will be very colorful again this fall. We took the afternoon off after all our work this morning.
We planted one of the Tomato plants in a large pot that can be moved as necessary to get the proper amount of sunshine. We planted the other one in a sunny spot in from of a trellis where we have had a climbing Black Eyed Susan in past years. The Red Oak in the back yard has grown to where it shades the Deck where we had excellent luck with Tomatoes earlier. It is a trade-off since we certainly enjoy the shade on the deck during hot summer days. While I have wished our backyard was larger, after working out as we did this morning, decided it was big enough for "old folks."

Friday, May 13, 2016

Our Changing Home Town

As Elaine and I continue to adapt at enjoying things closer to home, we went grocery shopping this afternoon. Without even having to drive extra blocks, we were able to check the progress of local construction. Shown here is an addition to the Bottle Rocket Brewery which has been in business for a year or so in the old Campbell Seed House. Jon and I got down there last summer to check on their in-house brew which was pretty good. Verlon will be here before long and we will have to go down and try it again..
We also went past the new Seward County Justice Center under construction. It has been under construction for more than a year.  There have been several contract modifications during construction. The current "Jail" is shown at the right edge of the picture. It is a relatively new facility but doesn't meet the current needs nor standards.  We bought flowers at Merle's
as we continued our drive down to "Pac n Sav".  It is in the process of adding an "ACE Hardware" component to the complex. In addition to a Grocery Store, it is also a Cafe, Deli, Bakery, Liquor Store, Pharmacy and the best Meat Market in town. They also have a Catering service which has provided some 60 meals/week for the Kiwanis Club meetings. It is a "Home Town" store with the owners having been raised in the community. Shopping there is a social event since we always see friends which whom to visit.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Family History

Going back in family history yesterday prompted me to look at a CD cousin Phil put together  back in 2004 and distributed to several of us. This is of Grandfather Joseph J. Vrana and Antonia Milacek on their wedding day in 1888. They had each come over as youngsters with their parents from what became Czechoslovakia and settled in Saunders County Nebraska. They were married in Wahoo, NE and began their family on a farm in the SW corner of the County. They bought a farm in NE Seward County and moved to it in 1903 when my Dad was 6 years old. Uncle John was 5 years older and the rest of the family was born in Seward County. The farm was in the family for some 60 years and is where I was raised and became committed to the Stewardship of the Land utilizing soil and water conservation practices. We built terraces, water diversion ridges, a dam, etc.
By the time of this family reunion and picture in 1992, Uncle Joe was the only one left of the original J. J. Vrana family. He is shown at the top, right corner of the picture. He went on to attain the age of 99. Now that  many of my generation have Great Grandchildren, the number of descendents from that 1888 marriage has increased to a very significant number.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Vrana Cousins

This picture of my Vrana cousins was taken during the summer of 1930  or '31 at our Grandparents place in Bee, Nebraska. They are: (L>R) Richard, Robert, Ted, Lindsford, George, Verlon (me) and Vivian. Richard and Robert were twins and looked very much alike. I hope I made the right choice of names. We received a message from Richard's wife in Colorado today and will send them a copy of this blog page. Richard, Ted and I are the only ones of this group still alive. This group was the older of the cousins which eventually numbered 27.  We were a pretty close-knit group and enjoyed  cousins reunions after our parents were gone. However, we find that our numbers continue to decline. Our youngest cousin, Pat coordinates a quarterly Vrana  Cousins Newsletter which helps us keep in touch since few of us still live in the old area.
This cousins picture was taken in 1986 following Richard and Robert's Mother's funeral here in Seward. The picture was taken at the home of my sister Vivian. The picture includes, back row (L>R) Dale, Vivian, Verlon, Richard, Robert, Pat, and seated: Phil and George. We have lost Vivian, Robert, Phil and George from the time this picture was taken. Our Vrana Grandparents had migrated to this country as children  and married after becoming citizens. We are all proud of those Czech genes which have served us well.