Sunday, July 31, 2011

Fun At The Fair!!

I think I must have asked my sister a dozen times what date the fair was this year.  You see, last year I MISSED it as I'd entered an agility trial! UGH!!  Kids grow up fast enough without missing the fair!!

They live in Southern Iowa, so, I attended the Des Moines County Fair on Friday.  Yes, the Des Moines County Fair is in Burlington, not anywhere close to Des Moines!  Des Moines is actually Polk County, sometimes you're better off NOT asking why.  

As I arrived a little before 8 am Friday morning, the 'fair smells' hit me. 
The smell of funnel cakes?
Um, no.
The smell of sawdust, wet with manure and urine. 
Yep, I'm at the right place!!

The cattlemen put on a free lunch. 
Of course hamburgers were served!
They were Great!

 Here's my niece, Daphne, grooming one of her two steers.

I know Marsha would LOVE to put a bow in his hair! 
Crazy thing is, he wouldn't have cared!

Daphne did very well with her steers.
One ended up 6th in the weight of gain class.  
This is actually the most important factors for cattle.
How fast can you get them 'market ready'.
Daphne's gained 3.68 pounds per day over 222 days. 

The winning of the weight of gain class was an 1800+lb steer. 
With an impressive 4.68lb per day weight gain.

The judge asked the young man how he got him so big. 
He explained that his steer,
(which was his returning bucket bottle calf from last year),
kept eating his other steers food.
The judge commented that he 'might' have eaten one of 
his other steers.

The down side of the fair is auction day. 
Most of these kids have had these animals through two summers. 
They got them as little bucket bottles, they have feed them, 
watered them, groomed them, and taught them to lead.

Tuesday the kids will sell their animals. 
I'm glad I'm not there for that!

I guess that's why I took horses to fair! 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pond In A Barrel

I'm happy to report, my pond in a barrel is a success!!!  
I started out with one each of these floating plants. 
My have they multiplied.

Okay, so my favorite part is feeding the fish!!

One of the water plants even sprouted a flower this morning!
How cute is that!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Carrie Does Fidley, MN!!

Saturday Morning Carrie, Nettle and I headed to Coon Rapids, MN for a one day PWD Water Trial on Sunday.  Nettle was going to ‘watch’, I was going to ‘judge’ and Carrie, well…..Carrie was taking us there, as usual. 

In case you don’t know this already, Carrie is our 2003 Honda Odyssey with about 212,000 miles and counting.  She’s a good girl!!  Unlike her ‘sister’, our previous van, Christine (yes, she was a Plymouth), who went through 2 transmissions in 196,000 miles.  Christine didn’t like me much; Carrie on the other hand has been perfect!  Okay, so she blew a tire the beginning of June, but that was NOT her fault!! 

I had a book on my Ipod (Jack Reacher Series Book #3), my phone plugged in to charge, a full tank of gas, some coffee in the console, we were ready to go! 

The book was good, the puppy was quite and it was an uneventful trip!  One of my favorite parts of going through Minneapolis is the underground tunnel.  I always think of Princess Diana when I go through it.  Not that I was a ‘fan’ of her, but I guess there was so much publicity around it that I can’t help but think if it.  The yellow glowing lights, the hollow echo….it’s just FUN!

I was about 15 miles from my destination when I took a wrong exit.  It was actually a lucky thing as the dash lights started to flash, then all the door open warning lights came on, as well as the break lamp light.  I later learned that that means you don’t have break lights.  I pulled into a ‘closed’ Shell Station, but left the van running.  Then the odometer started flashing, all the dash lights were blinking and fading.  This is NOT good! 

I started to unroll the windows, WAIT!!  It’s supposed to rain, if I roll them down, I won’t be able to get them back up!  It’s amazing how thoughts can race through your head, and the speed in which you can answer back.  Open doors?  Um….NO!  So, Carrie ‘flat lined’, right there in the Shell station in Fidley, MN, just 15 miles from my judging assignment. 

Not much to do but to “Phone Home”.  I turned on my trusty tracfone only to find out that instead of charging the phone, it was draining it!  I was down to one bar and that was flashing red.  Pretty sure that was NOT a good thing!  Luckily Bill was in the house, he called Linda in St. Paul…she called Stacy who was closest ….and the Calvary horns were sounded!  Help was on its way!!

Stacy arrived first, with Dave, her husband close behind.  Diagnosis, alternator.  CRAP!  What are the chances of finding a tow, a shop and getting my van back in working order at 3:30 on a Saturday afternoon?  NOT GOOD!

While Dave was performing ‘open heart surgery’ on the battery (which wasn’t holding a charge), Bill was back home calling around for shops that might take a late afternoon emergency patient. 

Luckily, Dave carries a spare ‘supercharged’ battery for Weather Chasing!  So, he Macgyver’d that bad boy into place with a couple copper welding thingies (technical term) and it started!  He tested the charge at 13 volts, it dropped to 12.75 after it started.  We then turned it off to conserve the charge until we could determine our destination.  Hopefully a repair shop within 5-10 miles, as Dave thought that might be a reasonable distance in which the battery would last.

Meanwhile……someone reports ‘3 suspicious white adults appear to be stealing batteries from cars in a parking lot’.  Hum…….turns out, “It was Only Dave”.  We were ‘Off the Hook.” 

Bill found Bernie!!  He was about 1.5 miles away and would be willing to wait for us and get Carrie fixed up that night!  AMAZING!!  It was now about 4:15 and not getting any earlier!  We needed to get there before 5.  Shouldn’t be a problem, we’re only 1.5 miles away…right?  Dave had his handy dandy IPAD with it’s GPS showing us the way.  We had 2-way radios for communication, Stacy would lead…I’d be the Sandwich and Dave would bring up the rear!  Off we went………….

We find a strip mall, no Bernie’s.  UGH!!  I keep counting the miles as I follow Stacy, and Dave heads the opposite direction.  After a bit of frantic driving in circles, we discover we were at the correct place to begin with and it’s ‘behind’ the strip mall.  Of course we didn't notice this 'tiny little sign' until it was time to pick Carrie up!

Bernie was AWESOME!!  He got the part and is waiting for us.  He takes Stacy’s phone number and tells her he’ll call when it’s done.  It’s 4:45 and he thinks it’ll take about 2 hours.  WHAT A GUY!!

We picked up the kids, there’s NOT MINE.  Took them and Nettle out to supper at some Noodle Joint.  Nettle stayed in Stacy’s car.  She was PERFECT the whole time!  Who would have thought??

Bernie called, the van was done!  New alternator, new battery…good to go.  It was 6:45 when we picked it up!  Need your car worked on in Findley, MN?  Go to BERNIE!!