I listened to every word of President Trump's address to the Congress and to a large television audience and was impressed by his sticking closely to a well written script. As a fiscal conservative, I am very concerned about the cost of implementing the proposals that are likely to come to pass and the possibilities that many of the revenue producing items may not. As a career soil and water conservationist, I didn't expect much and didn't even hear the word "environment". "Clean air and water" was mentioned in conjunction with health care. I would question some of the quoted statistics, especially the jobs created by the Keystone pipe lines. I don't like his reference to "draining the swamp" since as a conservation technician, I have helped drain some actual swamps. Unless they are drained and developed in an environmentally sensitive manner, noxious weeds emerge, pollution occurs and wildlife habitat is destroyed. His use of the term could turn out to be a warning as much as a campaign slogan.
Monday, February 27, 2017
Our current issue of the Nebraska Farmer came in the mail today. I was going through it with a cup of Tea this afternoon when the phone rang. It was our soil scientist son Jon who is with the USDA in Washington, DC. He has followed my career in the Soil Conservation Service though the Agencies name was changed to the Natural Resources Conservation Service. I mentioned an article in the NF magazine : "Tighty-whities test reveals soil health". The results of the test is shown in the picture, and it is done in the following manner. Take men's cotton underwear and bury it in the soil, leaving the waistband exposed. In three weeks dig it up and see the effect. The amount of cotton underwear which remains (the less, the better), indicates the amount of soil microbiological activity and ultimately soil health. From left to right is a brief that wasn't buried; the next is a brief that was buried in a no-till, cover crop field; the third is a brief from a mulch-tilled soybean field; and the last is from a conventionally tilled cornfield. It is apparent that there is more biological activity in the no-till, cover crop field which is a measure of Soil Health. My guess is that son Jon will get some mileage out of this article, and the Nebraska Farmer should be duly recognized for publishing a very educational article.
Sunday, February 26, 2017
I have been "on the edge" of having the "flu" that slowed Elaine down for about 3-weeks, and last night, I thought I had "it". I didn't feel like going to church this morning but did get some extra sleep. This afternoon we worked on a project of putting information from my Daily Journals and Pictures on DVDs. A couple weeks ago we completed a 4.7GB DVD+R with Pictures and Activities for the 5 years (2012-2016). We are now working in the previous 5 years 2011-2007. We have done a good job of keeping our pictures organized as we moved through the various stages of technology so it had been no problem with pictures. At the end of each year, our typical procedure is to list what we call "highlights" of each month (year) with some 7-12 per month. I also write a 3-8 page Narrative of the the recently completed year. Each year will have 2-4 picture collages with captions as well as other miscellaneous information. While we have much of this information printed or still in the computer, it is much more readily available and easier to copy if it's on the DVD
Friday, February 24, 2017
After 76 degree temperatures on Tuesday and Wednesday we woke up this morning with a 2-3 inch covering of snow with more coming down. We didn't get the bird feeder filled yesterday so Elaine braved the elements and did so this morning. Carolyn and Jack came to visit so I didn't even think about going to coffee and Elaine cancelled a Beauty Shop appointment with the streets and weather like they were. Jack not only likes trucks but also flashlights. He was able to help me put new batteries in this one.
It isn't easy to turn off & on but he has a lot of strength in those little fingers and can do it.
I rode along with Carolyn and Jack when they went up to preschool to pick up Sadie. Jack and I waited in the car while Carolyn went in to get her. It took a while so Jack and I sang and watched cars and 1 truck go by. He was perfectly happy in his car seat but had to peek at the camera when I turned to take his picture. Our high temperature was 31 at 2:10am and the low was 23 at 2:05pm. It is 24 at 7:00pm. A pretty mixed up day.
Thursday, February 23, 2017
We have had some experience with The National Geographic's "Great Courses" in the past and were always favorable impressed. We particularly enjoyed Audio versions which we listened to while traveling in our car. This past fall when the catalogue came with this DVD version of 36, 30 minute lectures, along with a 368-page course synopsis, on the Wonders of the National Parks, we went for it. We have visited a significant number of the 59 National Parks and thought this would be an excellent way to "visit" the ones we have not been to and a refresher for those we had. What we didn't fully appreciate in the Course Title (in smaller print) was, "A Geology of North America". We watched and listened to the first lecture soon after Christmas and were somewhat disappointed with its technical nature. It was done by Ford Cochran, Director of Programming for National Geographic Expeditions, a "respected journalist and educator in the earth sciences." His lectures include geologic pictures and drawings as you would expect to see in a Graduate Geology Course. The Synopsis is also technical and it's pictures are all in black and white. We have only watched 4 lectures so far and after the first one, do so only when there is nothing more entertaining on TV. A beautiful, large, colored picture of Bryce Canyon, on the listing in the catalogue, may have influenced our expectations.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Jack was back to spend some time with us this morning for the first time since Elaine got the "bug" a month ago. He does a lot of talking but we have a bit of a problem understanding it all. It could be that our hearing is part of the problem but his diction also is a factor. That doesn't slow him down from talking. He enjoys pushing the buttons in Photo Booth as he did in taking this picture. He also had Garrison Keeler on for a while in addition to Olivia Newton-John singing the "Teddy Bear" song. I'm sure he didn't intend to do it, but somehow, Photo Booth doesn't show among the icons on the desktop. I have to "search" for it until I figure out how to get it back. He is very much at home with it.
He also enjoyed just sitting on Great Granddad's lap and sucking his thumb. He has learned how to make it "pop" when he pulls it out of his mouth. Elaine had him down to where all the toy trucks and tractors are located before I got home from coffee. When I got here he was spread out in the living room encouraging Elaine to get down on the floor to play "trucks" with him. All of that activity helped prepare him for relaxing on my lap. He did take my pen out of my shirt pocket and insist that I draw a picture of a train. He didn't comment on it but I could tell that he was thinking that it didn't look like the trains that Mommy and Grandma draw. He did pick up the domino's, put them in the box and put them in the lamp table where they are stored. He's a good boy.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Elaine and I spent much of the afternoon in the lower level working to perfect a 5-year DVD that includes pictures and activities for each year. While Elaine was typing, I cleaned out some files that have gone for recycling and garbage. We each caught a short nap but that didn't keep us from having hot chocolate, cookies and setting on the deck. Our Seward Electronic reading showed a high of 75 and our old thermometer shows a bit high with the sun shining directly on its mechanism. We can expect another warm day with a definite change coming for the weekend. We may see highs in the 30's.
Our neighbors were out doing a lot of tree trimming and general yard work this afternoon but we didn't quite feel up to that. We are spoiled with having family visiting here to do much of that on a "as necessary" basis. We do expect to talk to a local service to take care of the lawn this year.We enjoyed a beautiful sunset this evening and got a picture of it setting behind our County Courthouse. It was sill "officially" 67 degrees at 6:30 pm.
Monday, February 20, 2017
This is what people should be doing in Nebraska this time of year rather than playing golf and other outdoor activities. This was taken back in 1983 when Julie and I were both younger. We didn't roll the snow to make a ball and eventually a snowman, but rather did it entirely with shovels. Julie has some snow in her hands so she probably "filled in" some of the voids. As is often the case with pictures, some of the incidental items that appear, are as interesting as the "main subject". I'm referring to the Handles sticking out of the snow to the right of the snowman. These handles are on a small, sod busting, walking plow that was used by Elaine's Grandfather Koch. It had been handed down and we received it from Elaine's parents. It was in "fair" condition at that time but we didn't have a place for it and it soon began to weather.
We moved it from this location to the backyard under the spruce tree and it has deteriorated considerably during the past 25 years. When Verlon was here last fall, we looked at it and while all of the Iron is still there and "in tact", the wood is completely rotted. We have pictured an identical one at the Homestead National Monument Museum and it's too bad that we didn't give this one to the Seward County Museum in Goehner, when we first received it. It may be the only plow here in Seward County that actually broke Seward County Sod.
Sunday, February 19, 2017
I am indebted to cousin Phil for having put together a CD-R back in 2004 with 193 pictures and then sending it to us. This is one of them and includes all of my immediate family. I'm sure it was taken at Grandma and Grandpa Vrana's place in Bee, NE. My Dad is the tall fellow in back with dark glasses, he is holding Jerry and Mother (right behind Grandma) is holding Janice (twins). Sister Vivian is to the left of Mother and is between Aunt Rose and Uncle Bill Thompson. They are each holding one of their twins: Billy and Bob. I am in front of Dad and Brother Don is in front of me with our Sunday overalls. Dale is listed as being on Grandfather's lap with Phil to the left of him with Ken and George Rada. The Rada kids spent a lot of time with the Grandparents as did Richard Olsen so the fact that their parents are not on the picture is understandable. Uncle Joe and Aunt Ruth are not on the picture, though their 2 boys are. I suspect that one of them may have taken the picture.
Saturday, February 18, 2017
This is a view of the flowers in the southwest corner of our backyard taken some 10 years ago. Julie bringing Elaine a Miniature Rose for Valentine's Day was a good "opening". This is the season of the year when the Seed Catalogues used to come and get us in the mood for our spring planting. Elaine and I have already done some talking about the front of our house but we haven't spent much time planning for the back. We have had very good luck with Inpatients, and the Daisy's shown in the picture are still there. Our old black "butcher kettle" in front of our house is always good for two or three Geranium's with some fern and Saliva planted around its base. We have some perennial Dianthis in the back yard that have done real well. It has been our practice to wait until the end of the planting time to get things on sale. This spring, Elaine has suggested getting them early when we can get what we want rather than getting what's left and on sale. Maybe our age has something to do with that change in thinking.
Friday, February 17, 2017
This was another unbelievable 74 degree day in Seward, NE. Elaine got to the Beauty Shoppe for a permanent this afternoon which helped as much to make her feel better, as the medicine. After picking her up, we went down and bought groceries on the way home.While she was gone, I was able to get a short nap and cleaned some extra paper out of an insurance file. We paid another 6 months of liability insurance on our '92 Buick La Sabre. We had earlier decided to give it a new home within the next few months. It is still a good car and would make someone a good school car or a 25year old "classic".
I looked out the bathroom window after we finished our supper and noted the sun setting behind the Seward County Courthouse. I walked outdoors, set the telescopic feature of my camera, rested it on the fence, and snapped this picture. If the tree branched weren't distracting the view, you might be able to tell time on the lighted clock. In 1952 and 1993, I had the opportunity to take pictures out of the little windows just below the little dome. Our Soil Conservation office was in the Courthouse in 1952 and took 35mm Kodachrome slides which are still in good shape.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Jack and I got our hair cut this morning at Bob's. We met over at the the shop after coffee and had to wait with a couple fellows ahead of us. Julie brought Sadie as well as Jack, and she took it all in as if it happened every day. This was his second haircut having had the first just ahead of Christmas. He was a very good boy and enjoyed watching the trucks go by on highway #15. With Elaine having been "under-the-weather" the past couple weeks, Jack has not spent his normal time with us. His vocabulary continues to increase and some of his new words were difficult for me to understand. That didn't keep him from telling me all about it. Sadie was a very good "Big Sister" in supporting Jack's haircut. They remind me of the relationship that Vivian and I enjoyed.
Bob has been cutting hair in Seward for many years and is the only professional male barber in town. I'm pleased to see the amount of business that he continues to have. There was a fellow in the chair in addition to the two waiting when I walked in. Another fellow walked in while Jack was in the chair who had to wait for me to get out of the chair. Jack liked it when Bob finished up with the clippers and was proud to hand him a tip when finished.
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Dr. Denes Korpas with the Nebraska Heart Institute presented a program this noon at the Seward Family Medical Center. It followed a light lunch and was on Aortic Valve Stenosis & TAVR. That is an acronym for Transcatheter, Aortic, Valve and Replacement. Open heart surgery continues to be the first line of treatment for aortic stenosis but the TAVR procedure is rapidly becoming more acceptable as new procedures and equipment have become available. And, it is the procedure that Dr. Korpas and a team at the NHI are very familiar. This first picture shows an
unopened valve that has been threaded with a catheter to the Aorta. The next picture show the replacement valve expanded and put in place at the end of the aorta ( inside the heart) right over the top of the natural defective valve. The last picture shows the surface of the valve which opens and closes with the heart beat. It was interesting to hear Dr. Korpas tell of their doing a TAVR on a patient in record time of 35 minutes yesterday morning. The patient looked good this morning and was planning to go home this afternoon. For me, it was a very interesting presentation after having had an Electrocardiogram a couple years ago with the catheter inserted in my groin. And, a report of no treatment recommended at that time.
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
We were pleasantly surprised when Julie stopped by this morning and gave Elaine a miniature Rose plant for Valentines Day. She was taking Sadie to pre-school and Jack was along for the ride. Since Elaine has been "under-the-weather" for over 2-weeks, we have really missed having the Kids around. Jack showed his usual excitement when we went out to see them on their way. We both enjoyed the Rose on the table as we ate and had coffee. Elaine did get out to the Post Office today for stamps and mailing letters. She is coming along but her cough is still hanging on and seems to bother her sleeping at night. Fortunately, it doesn't bother me.
We have hoarded some of the choice item in the Omaha Steaks package what we received as a gift recently. Since we don't exchange Valentines any more, we felt having 2 of the Caramel Apple Tartlets would be that special dessert item appropriate for Day. It was just what we needed after having Chicken Noodle soup for supper. We did have a big Pork Tenderloin noon meal. Our weather continues to be exceptional. It was in the 50's again today and may have some 60's in the next few days. We are watching Nebraska men lead Penn State 50-39 early in the 2nd half at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln.
Monday, February 13, 2017
Cliff Lowell presented the program at Kiwanis this noon by leading us through a "Trivia game". The competition was among the 9 tables and Cliff took us through questions on the physical features of Nebraska, our State's History, Dates of significance to the State, etc. There were 6 games with 5 questions in each "game". Some questions, like the names of Indian tribes in the state at the time of our becoming a State, provided an opportunity for extra points. Our table of 5 individuals scored 28 points which put us near the top. One question that we missed, was the name of the first Homesteader following the passage of the Act of 1862. I have known the answer for several years and last summer, we even had a family picnic at the Monument, but I couldn't "pull-up" the name of Daniel Freeman. Dr. Freemen served as a Physician during the Civil War. His grant, the first in the U.S., was the site where the National Historic Monument is now located along with the "Freeman School" building and a restored Log Cabin. It was a fun program and Cliff volunteered to present such a program again with other themes.
Sunday, February 12, 2017
Dennis and Nancy Kahl presented a program this afternoon at the Library on their experience as Volunteers at the Ridgway State Park in western Colorado. Dennis retired as Seward County Extension Educator (County Agent) about a year and a half ago. They have enjoyed taking their camping trailer to the mountains for summer vacations for several years. They told us of the extensive "on line" process of making plans for their 4-Month commitment of working 24 hrs/wk which would include the weekend. They were provided a campsite with hookups, a Golf Cart and tools for doing tasks on 40 camp sites.
While their commitment was for each of them to log 24 working hours per week, in reality, they put in much more time. They considered Wed. and Thursday as their "days off". Dennis' assigned task was "polishing up" the camp sites each morning as campers moved out. Nancy's job was cleaning the cooking area. It involved cleaning the ashes from the camp fire rings and putting the area in "ship shape". Just being there gives oversight to campers and if problems do arise, they were instructed to contact professional Camp personnel. They had many great "social" stories and hope to volunteer to work in a California National Park next summer.
Saturday, February 11, 2017
Elaine was feeling better today. We took things to the Recycle Center and went on to Walmart where we bought a collection of necessities (including a Blueberry Pie). We had a good lunch of Carolyn's nourishing soup, a short nap, and spent much of the afternoon, burning old files from the HP PC on to a DVD. I have put pictures that we have taken on CDs and DVDs as time has gone along, but haven't been that disciplined with Documents. It was an interesting exercise to see things from old friends, etc.
There are many pictures of the old HS but very few of the elementary to the left on this 1913 picture. There are even fewer of the little white Kindergarten building between the two. My Mother would have attended the two and I went to Kindergarten in the little building. This 2nd picture was taken out of the Court House in 1951. Cattle Bank was building a new facility on the corner. They have expanded over the years and now extend even beyond the old Hinky Dinky store. My black '41 Chevy is parked.
Friday, February 10, 2017
We had our afternoon tea earlier but when the mail came, we went out on the deck to read it, and enjoyed the exceptionally warm weather. Our thermometer tends to show readings a bit high, but it looked good to see it approaching the 80 degree mark. The Seward electronic readings on the Internet showed a high of 72 which is still great for the 10th of February. The full moon was so light last night with the Full Moon that I raised the shade to check, and it was so bright that you could even see shadows of the trees. Elaine didn't sleep very well and didn't feel as good as she did yesterday. As was suggested when we saw the Doctor on Wednesday, we reported her condition today, and will continue her pill regime and check again on Monday
We were most pleased that Carolyn brought down a kettle of soup and ate with us this evening. Ben was eating at a meeting so this worked out good for all of us. And the soup was delicious. She is very much into " grass fed" beef and Whole Food products and there is a difference. We had a lot of excitement in the neighborhood with the City Crew taking down one of the largest Pin Oaks in town from the street parking area of the house next door. They used a "bucket truck" to take a Chain Saw expert up and trimmed it from the top. They tied a cable at the top of what it was trimmed down to, and pulled it over after making a cut down at the bottom of the tree. I walked over this evening, counted the "tree rings" and estimate the tree to have been 80 years old. The first 10 years showed exceptional growth.
Thursday, February 9, 2017
Yesterday I told of moving out the the old Vrana farm NE of Garland in 1932. This picture was taken in 1922 and was on a CD that Cousin Phil Vrana sent me back in 2004. The silo had been taken down and the cow barn had an addition by the time we got there. The barn was built around 1918 so it was pretty new at this time. I went though the pictures from Phil while watching Duke beat North Carolina 86-78. It was a close game all the way. Allen had 7 3's and 25 points.
Here is a picture of Phil and his siblings with our Grandparents taken back in about 1947. Phil was a handsome young man and probably in college. I remember of seeing the family at the state fair in Lincoln the year that Phil was entering his freshman year and how I envied him. The CD also had this picture of my folks at the time of their 67th wedding anniversary in 1987. Nebraska just tied Wisconsin 53 up with 3 minutes to go. They were down by 3 when Jacobson hit a 3 with 1 second left to take it to overtime. Wisconsin went on to win 70-69.
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
This is how Mother, Vivian, Donnie and I may have looked 85 years ago today as we were ready to leave our home in Seward and move to the farm northeast of Garland. It was to the farm where Dad's parents had moved to from the Abie area when he was 6 years old. I had a severe cold at the time of the move and don't remember much about it. Grandpa and Grandma Vrana had bought a home in Bee, NE, and left all the livestock, machinery, etc. at the farm for Uncle Joe and Aunt Ruth to take over at the time they got married. They moved on after a couple years and that's when we moved onto the place. Our house in town had electricity but no running water so going to an outdoor toilet was nothing new. Mother missed having an electric motor on her Maytag and an electric iron.
I had gone to Kindergarten in Seward and had just moved in to a new elementary building after Christmas vacation as a 1st grader. I had several good friends among kids my age and couldn't believe the difference when I found myself in this Country School with over 30 big kids. I can't say that I was ever harassed but referred to as a "town kid" in not very complementary ways. Most of the kids in school were 3rd generation immigrant Germans or Czechs and often a Grandparent would be living with them. It was a difficult adjustment, but it was the best thing that could have happened to a "town kid".
Monday, February 6, 2017
Julie and Jack came to visit this morning. Elaine is feeling better but still not up to par nor really able to keep up with Jack. We were happy to see them both since we hadn't seen them for some 10 days. They were here when I came home form coffee, and I commented on how he had grown and his hair had gotten darker. Elaine had also talked of his having grown before I got home. He too isn't up to his normal self but still a great joy to have around. His vocabulary continues to grow to keep up with all the things he already knows, such as where things are around our house. Elaine felt good enough today to do a washing and went along down to Walmart this afternoon. This was the first time she had been out of the house since over a week ago. Carolyn called this evening after having been to Lincoln. We were also pleased to have phone calls from Verlon and Tim. They all keep up with us pretty well by reading my blog pages, but having a telephone conversation is next thing to being here and we appreciate them.
Sunday, February 5, 2017
Was it just me, or was this the least interesting Super Bowl game ever played. Maybe my hoping to see the Patriots win (or at least be competitive) may have had something to do with it. Are the Falcons really that good and does playing at home make that much difference. When has Tom Brady ever been sacked as many times as he was in this one. I didn't even like the media production of President and Barbara Bush. We know that President Bush was very ill recently and that a stroke has affected his appearance, but why bring them out to "toss the coin". Have we no decency in our quest to break television records.
Saturday, February 4, 2017
Schweitzer Auction had the last of 3 auctions in Seward today for a fellow who lives in California and was the heir of his Mother's estate. The mother lived alone in a big old house for many years and at one time sold real estate. She never missed a Garage Sale and took in most Auctions. I don't know of her collecting any one thing in particular but rather, anything that she thought might be sold for more than what she had to pay for it. The Auctions of her items were considerably different than the regular estate sales. As an example, I must have counted over 25 suitcases of various size and shape.
As always, the auction provided the chance to visit with old friends as well as an opportunity to meet new ones. On my way home, I went past our new Justice Center to see the demolition of the Jail which it is replacing. In a blog page earlier this week, I mentioned it being taken down from the inside out. Now they were taking down the outside. We worked on some Life insurance records this afternoon. I couldn't help but wonder how the gain on some of our policies over the past 50 years compares with the Estate Auction Stuff. But, there isn't any way to measure the value of the life insurance that wasn't used.
Friday, February 3, 2017
This picture was taken out at our farm east of Seward, in the summer of 1985. The occasion was a "Florence and Tony" Vrana family reunion. Many changes have occurred during the 31+ years. I'm sure we have the names of every one written down somewhere, but I don't have it at my finger tips. Mother and Dad are seated in front with us 5 siblings behind them. (I am holding our Granddaughter, Heather). Our spouses are standing in back of us. I won't attempt to go any further. Some of the young ladies are even Grandmothers now. We are all looking forward to our reunion this summer.
This black and white picture was taken in 1927 and includes 5-generations of our family. The little girl is my sister Vivian who is sitting on the chair next to me in the '85 picture. The 5 generation picture was taken here in the Seward City Park. I have early memories of it since we lived nearby during my early years. I have no memory of Great-Great Grandmother Walker but remember the others very well. I will have to see about getting some enlargements of some of these old Family Reunion pictures to have available the summer when we get together at Mahoney State Park for our Reunion.
Thursday, February 2, 2017
Nothing makes one realize how fast time flies than seeing "new" buildings being demolished. This is the "new Seward County Jail" being taken down from the "inside-out" with the new Justice Center being finished in the background. The building being demolished was build in the '72-'73 era which was during the 1962-1980 time frame when we were gone from the area. When we got back it was "The New Jail". I understand there was some dispute between the County and City at the time it was built, and a sign that included "City" was removed by the County and no City offices were included.
Hartmann, a local contractor is doing the demolition from "inside out" They are able to salvage the metal part of the building more easily that way and also are able to load it directly on a truck. It is much more efficient that knocking it down on a big pile and having to sort it out and handle it an extra time. As I understand, the metal can be sold and the rest of the debris ground up and reused in construction. My memory goes back to the "old jail" that was built on this site in 1915 and was left standing for a while even after the '72-'73 one was built. The new Justice Center will not only have the County Jail but also the Sheriffs Office, Court Offices, the Public Defender and County Attorney.
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
This picture was taken back in 1989 when Elaine and I drove our '82 Chevy Silverado pickup truck to Alaska. I could write a book on that trip since we were gone for 6-weeks and slept in the back of the truck (It had a shell) for the most part and camped along the way. The purpose of this blog page however, is not to write about the trip, but rather, about the CD which provided this picture. Soon after getting the new DELL computer, I inserted the CD and a picture came up on the monitor which I had difficult getting removed. I have now been able to open the CD and bring back the pictures, but am unable to find a way to "eject the CD". I have never before had a DELL so am not familiar with its operations. I would certainly appreciate any suggestions on how to get this one to eject. We have a big Windows 10 for Dummies book but it doesn't cover this question. I have inserted a flash drive in the USB port which opens right away, and have found no way to eject it either, other than just pulling it out. Please write a comment on this blog page if you have any suggestions. Thanks