Thursday, December 31, 2009

What the heck IS that??

John calls this creature at the door 'chummin' for eagles... He didn't actually get this one ready for that before it scurried off.

Gracie and Bogart check out the 'big white icky rodent' outside their window last night.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Out with the old year, in with the new snow?

It's snowing AGAIN today. It was supposed to leave an inch or so, but has already put 2 inches in the driveway and road (and hasn't quit yet!).

Izaac and I didn't travel to Sac City for the late xmas party, and we're disappointed, but it's safer and easier to stay inside on the days when you don't really know what the roads will be like when you want to return home!

This is a picture of the maiden use of John's new griddle Monday morning with french toast for all! Man, it was good besides being beautiful.
p.s. I left my camera in Des Moines Sunday with all my Des Moines xmas party pictures! So, when I retrieve it, I'll put a couple of them on the blog, too.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Izaac at Camp Stanhope this week!

Izaac got new boots and snow pants so we bundled him up when he went out to help Alex clean off his truck and John's car this morning. (John was snowblowing the driveway.)

Izaac in his new pajamas with the geotrax train. He and Alex had fun and had several different configurations of it before Alex went back to Waseca today.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Partial Christmas gathering

Yesterday, Alex traveled from Minnesota and got stuck at the end of our gravel (snow-filled) road! The plow driver helped him clean out around the little red truck and then John went to give him a pull down the road (it's only half a mile to the highway, but there are several places the road drifts shut when it snows this much!).

We then traveled to Sac City and had a delicious dinner and exchanged gifts with Grandma Walker and Aunt Mary. (Marty and Samantha came from Carroll, too.)

The first half of the trip home wasn't pleasant (that could be an understatement, but I didn't end up driving, so maybe my hubby would state it differently), because it had snowed all day, and the roads that had been wet when we drove over were now slick with ice.

That's the little red truck in the bottom picture, which was completely cleaned off yesterday morning--so you can see how much more of the white stuff we have received!!! It's record-setting snow falls for the month, but it's ONLY DECEMBER!!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas waits for better weather....

Family gifts wrapped and patiently waiting for the trip 'over the river and through the woods' to grandma's house.

(Check out the tree on the left--this is the 'after' picture. The furry children started climbing it when we turned off the lights and went to Waseca a couple of weeks ago, and haven't stopped exploring it!)

This is how it looked this morning when we woke up. We'd had 8-10 inches of new snow, but it was 35 degrees, so it was wet and a little slushy. The 'blizzard' came about 11:30am, with wicked wind and snow, through the afternoon. It's calmed down now, but has snowed again and the temperature has dropped to 20 degrees.

Merry (quiet) Christmas!!

We call this "kitty m.t.v." but usually the entertainment outside is during the day when the birds are at the feeders. (This is Georgy & Bogart watching a single bunny digging for bird seed.)

This is Gracie & Lucy having a warm nap on a cold winter day (today).

Bogart having a nap today, too. It was a quiet day around here!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

White Christmas!

It's going to be a white Christmas here! We've already had one blizzard, and below zero winds, and now we've got a whopper of a storm already in progress, and it's supposed to drop about a foot of snow here before it's done (it's starting with ice and wind and ugliness/freezing fog).

Now, the Iowa (and Minnesota) weather is interfering with Christmas! I'm a big chicken when it comes to driving in bad weather (or the threat of it!), so I'm only disappointed about the togetherness time, not that people will be safe and warm inside their own houses. I love to watch people open their gifts and discuss what ideas motivated which gifts!

Of course, the food (and my mom's homemade candy dish) won't be quite the same at home, either, but we'll be safe and thankful for the other times we can gather together (like waiting till Easter?).

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fun, and not-so-fun

Christmas came early for the 6 furry cats at our house when the "man in brown shorts" (although he was probably wearing wool-lined long pants this week!) brought the "Fling ama string" yesterday. This is Queen (the 10-year old) and Gracie (1 1/2 years old) playing with it together. Queen rarely gets this close to ANY of the other furry kids, unless she's chasing Noel.

This is the new 'outside' cat that has found its way to our house several times this past summer, and now a couple of times since it has been cold and snowy.

I actually let the 'orange boy' in because Bogie was headed for the door at the same time the 'orange boy' came to the door looking for lunch. The 'orange boy' hasn't really bothered the cats (chasing them, etc.). But Bogie starts yowling really loud and chases the 'orange boy' around the yard when he sees him.

Last weekend in Waseca

I had not seen Alex's apartment (or Waseca) so we went for a visit to the 'north country' last Friday and Saturday. Alex's place is small, but he had cleaned for our visit, so it looked pretty good.

This is Alex, Allison and John going into a cute store in Waseca (it was COLD while we were there).

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lucy scattering snow 7-second video

video

Snow pictures--still!

This was at the beginning of the blizzard when the cats thought the weather would change if they kept going outside (and in, and back outside, and in....etc..).

Hopefully this 27-second video will load today (I tried last week during the blizzard with no success). Not only have we had MORE snow, we have COLD!!!!
video
School was cancelled again Monday here because there was a layer of ice under another couple of inches of snow--and the snow was blowing so much we could not see across the field!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The "day" of the blizzard--12/9/09

Now the reports on television have said this is the worst storm to cover this much of Iowa in decades.... it made me nervous... but I have pretty much more than what I need around here (to think the Walmart guy chuckled at me last week when I said I was stocking up because of the weather forecast!).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

During the blizzard.....

The top two pictures were taken about 5:40pm (central time) out of two different windows (but the same patio), and the bottom picture was taken about 10:08pm. You can see that the snow has drifted to cover two steps now instead of just the one....

The newscasters today stated that this is probably the worst December storm Iowa has seen since the late 1800's!!! oh gheeez......The blizzard warning just went into effect at 9pm, but has now been extended to 9pm tomorrow night (instead of the original noon it had been scheduled to expire previously). I'm tired and I think I'll just go curl up under some heavy blankets!!!

"Before the blizzard"

I had just been telling my hubby that I wasn't sure we needed any more suet cakes for the woodpecker because I hadn't seen him in a long time. He had been faithfully visiting our feeders before we acquired the extra cats last year (5 orphans in July, 2008). He's back!

It's snowing, and we're in a 'blizzard watch' until noon tomorrow. Our area of Iowa is expected to receive 7-12 inches of snow before it stops snowing, and then the winds are supposed to start howling at around 30-40 mph! It's a good time to stay inside!

Friday, December 4, 2009

A snowy Thursday

Even though it was 60 degrees outside on Tuesday afternoon, yesterday we had SNOW!

John hung the suet cakes out for the birds. We haven't seen too many lately due to the kitties chasing them around, but the first sign of snow, some of them back.

It was literally white-out conditions several times over the afternoon. The flakes were really big part of the time, and you can see that in these two pictures. (click on them to make them larger)

Monday, November 30, 2009

My apologies to Michelle and Joe, who are now both 20!!! I'm old, and should have known I needed to 'calculate' all their ages, instead of the ones I hadn't remembered.

From left: Samantha (22), Michelle (20!), Brian (26), Amanda (23), and Joe (20!), and Izaac at 2 1/2 years old.
This is almost the same line-up, but before Ben arrived. Izaac was cooperative for a few minutes at least. (Alex didn't make it in the picture, either.)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Boys and trains...

Izaac at Camp Stanhope for the long weekend and he's had a small circle of track and a train, but today we got some more track and signs, and the boys put it together and discussed 'switching' mechanisms, etc.

In the end, I'm not sure who had the most fun!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!!




These are the grandkids who showed up for a great T-day feast in Des Moines courtesy of their grandmother!!!!  (Including fabulous pies from both she and her brother, our Uncle Charlie!!!)

From left: Ben (17), Amanda (23), Michelle (19), Brian (26), Samantha (22), and Joe (19).
Missing from the pack was Alex, who worked until 11 Wed. evening, had today off, but helped
Allison serve T-day at her house in Waseca.  We missed you both!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Oops....

This is the picture of how NOT to run a coal train. The derailment happened a few weeks ago near Elk Horn, NE, and took out some of the rail line, too.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

This is Bogart Wrigley and Georgy laying in the Prairie Room window on a sunny day earlier this week. They were very relaxed.

Then, that evil dog-cousin, Oliver (Alex and Allison's big puppy) came to visit for the weekend.

None of the cats are relaxed now!!! He looks so angelic sitting there. He's behaved well for me (going out into the yard this afternoon by himself for potty breaks!).

Happy Birthday Joe!

This is (from left) Joe, Bob, their dad, and Ben.

We had his birthday party in Des Moines last Sunday. The birthday parties aren't quite the same as when there were 7 small grandchildren and all the parents in attendance.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ron and Patrick acclimated to their new home

Ron has made himself to home at his new house.

Patrick looks pretty relaxed on Marty at his new house, too.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How the non-farmer sees harvest in Iowa

First, all the helpers gather with their respective equipment.

This is a combine with a corn attachment, and into the field the work starts!

A tractor with a 'bean head' works in the field across from our house.

On the way home from Ames yesterday I saw this tractor filling a grain bin.

A field that's been completely harvested.

After the fields are cleared the soil is treated. (That's a tractor driving on the shoulder of the road in front of the anhydrous tank & pickup.)

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