Monday, June 30, 2008

Since John and I both turned '50' in March, we thought we'd have a party this summer with a few relatives we don't see often. John's sister, Kathy, thought we needed a slogan, so she came up with "Still Steamin' at 50!" I added the clip-art 'steam' engine and it didn't turn out too goofy.

This is a 13-second video of the kittens playing on the deck this evening. The sound is Kim's voice (didn't realize it until I played the video again) calling one of our friends to join us for our road trip! It's cute of the 3 kittens!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunday Drive and outside cats settling in.

The picture on the right is of my friend, Kim, and her purple convertible. (She LOVES purple.) It was such a pleasant evening that she came over to pet the kittens (she likes the tuxie) and we discovered the ginger cat appears to be a 'boy'. I'm not sure about the rest of the clan yet.

We picked up LeaAnn and Janet and then went to Jewell to have ice cream! It was really fun. The picture was taken at LeaAnn's farm (with Dave and Rebecca and Kendra and their animals, too).

The picture on the left is Mrs. 8:30 and her brood having supper. They seem to be settling into their makeshift shelter, and I'm planning on working on a better one this week. Alex is supposed to come home for a couple of days working around the house, too, so that will be helpful. I have a big list for him already!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Momma and the babies, continued....

Another picture of momma with the babies, and then the make-shift shelter I made from a pampers box covered in plastic with an old fleece piece in it. I had to transfer momma (and most of the little ones) again from the garage to back under the deck, and hopefully away from most of the wind and rain.

The picture on the right is the 'shelter', with all occupants getting cozy it looked like. I took this picture from (inside) the back porch window, covered in rain drops and dirt (on the outside of the window), because this is the first time I've been able to see out this window since we moved here 11 years ago, due to the large bush John took out that was growing between the porch wall and the deck.)

Pictures of the babies...

The 'tuxie' and the 'ginger' are a little more shy than the other three, and a smidge bigger, so I wasn't sure "Mrs. 8:30" was really THEIR momma. They're definitely hers, though, and they were all just nursing a few minutes ago on the patio (other side of the house from the deck).
I took a 45 second video of 4 of them gathering around her right before the nursing session it's posted on the flickr site. The 'runt' didn't make it around the house apparently, and momma went back around after a short family nursing session.

I got some dry kitten kibble and set it out in a bowl under the edge of the deck, so when it's raining and/or the wind is blowing, it's a little more protected. The top of the deck looks REALLY good since John spent so many hours scrubbing it and replacing more boards the other day.

Mrs. "8:30" trying to add more cats to my house...

This little kitten (left) was crying at us the other afternoon, and after she spent some time in the house we determined she was very sweet and smart, so took her to Des Moines so my mom could have a 'normal' cat. (They have the most unsociable cat I've ever known, but it had a difficult infancy life at another house.)

I thought that would be the end of it, but after we got home, Mrs. "8:30" (right picture) had deposited two more little ones under the back deck, and this morning, THREE MORE showed up! They're darling, but I HAVE ENOUGH CATS.... One is ginger-colored with white feet and a white v under its neck. One is black, with pure white clear to his knees on all 4 paws, and a white v under its neck, too. The other two are grey/black and one might be another calico, but the colors are more muted than in the first one.

If I was made of money, and could afford endless vet bills and food, I'd build them a little house on the property somewhere, but I'm NOT (made of money, that is...). I still have two kids in college and those loans aren't going away soon.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cat population....

Camp Stanhope seems to have become the new 'gathering' yard for strays from our "Prairie" field around us. This is Noel hiding out one day last week while there were 'guests' in the part of the yard she likes. Poor wimpy Bogie just stays in, so that the mean kitties don't try and make friends (or fight??).

I'm not sure what we're going to do about the growing population of felines, because I don't WANT any more cats in the house, for sure! I'm also not sure how healthy some of these ferals are, and some are quite mean to each other.

The picture on the right is last Tuesday evening when we were coming back from Ames, over Little Wall Lake (by Jewell, not by Wall Lake). It was really peaceful and much prettier than the pictures ever capture.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunday morning, continued...

This kitten showed up on our deck (we're replacing the rotten boards on this deck, so it looks bad at the moment) yesterday evening, and cried and cried for its mom, but I'm not sure where or WHO she is.

The kitten had a round belly yesterday but we fed it some baby formula this morning and some dry kibble. It ate some but is still crying and very wary of us 'beans'.

I'm not sure what to do next. We've had "a" momma kitty "Mrs. 8:30" around the last month or so, but haven't seen her all week. Is she moving the kittens to the deck to live here? I hope she shows up soon. My cats don't have any idea what the poor thing needs (it seems to want to nurse anything that meows), so they're just a little freaked out about it.

Izaac also went home today with Samantha driving. Samantha felt really tired when she left, and when she got to Grandma Markey's- she got sick, too!! ouch. yuck. It's finals week for her Spanish class, too. They're meeting somewhere at 7am tomorrow morning with pictures of friends and family to share, so that could be interesting.

Saturday, Sunday....

Izaac having breakfast on the kitchen table--(I don't remember putting MY kids on the kitchen table for breakfast??) a little creamy strawberry yogurt and bites of ham and banana and part of a lemon-poppyseed muffin and part of a blueberry muffin, too, I think. Then some milk, with a little instant breakfast just for nutrition sake.

On the right is Noel proudly displaying her latest catch to us yesterday afternoon. Eventually it got away, because apparently she really doesn't like the taste and sort of gags on them when she catches them too far in her mouth!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Izaac at Camp Stanhope this week!

This is our car on the "Humpback Bridge" in Boone County last Thursday while we were 'touring' flood-sites and the railroad tracks.

Izaac apparently gave his mother, grandmother, aunt (Michelle) and Great-Grandmother a nasty little flu bug and all were suffering last night, so I went to Des Moines and retrieved the Little Toddler! His walking is getting more steady, but he resorts to crawling if he wants to race somewhere (or some-thing--like a kitty) because he can go at 100 mph!

He's not eating as well as usual, but otherwise seems to be in good spirits. He has started 'giving kisses' and it's really sweet. I'm hoping it's not as hot and humid tomorrow so we can spend some time outside. He did watch while I watered the plants tonight (after all that rain, now things are really getting dry around here--even the yard!).

Monday, June 16, 2008

Izaac with a new haircut walking barefoot in grass!

This is a 20-second video of Izaac right after he woke up from his stroller nap yesterday.

I added more things to the campstanhope flickr site today. Samantha made a trip to Carroll at the end of last week, and she added some pictures from that journey, too.

There is also a link to click on at the right (of this main blog site) over Bogart's 'voki'.

Happy Father's Day!

That's (Uncle) Johnny holding Izaac at Grandma Markey's Sunday afternoon in Des Moines. She (my mom) lives at the top of the hill from where the Highland Park and North Des Moines Little League fields are located. The ball parks were still under water yesterday (as were a couple of houses close to the fields) and that road was still closed, but the water is receding.

We had a relaxing day with food and bunches of desserts (okay, I thought there were going to be more people there, so I made two cheesecake pies, one chocolate, one plain to top with cherry or blueberry pie filling) and a lemon cake and chocolate brownies (just a box mix). On top of that, mom made apple and cherry pies! oh well.

The picture on the right is from the mile-long bridge over Saylorville Lake, which was surprisingly calm compared to what it's been for more than a week! It's still at record-high levels, but we haven't gotten rain (except for a few sprinkles) in 3 days, so it's very slowly heading back to 'normal'.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Breaking News! Iowa flooding MORE!!!

This morning (Sat. 6/14/08) at 3:45am, a levee broke near my old high school in Des Moines, and the National Guard tried to put an 'emergency levee' in place farther from the river, and in the last twenty minutes (8:40am, Sat. 6/14/08) the emergency levee also breached.

There is a live feed here and then click on the top of the screen where it says "live feed of the Floods of '08".

We supposedly had the 500 year flood in 1993, but this is worse in several other cities (besides Des Moines--Cedar Rapids is much worse than in 1993).

84 counties (out of 99) in Iowa have now been declared as "disaster" areas that will be eligible for special funds to re-build, etc.

Also, another good link is at the Des Moines Register. There are some pictures, and a live-camera link on the page also.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Camp Stanhope's Flickr site

I spent the afternoon yesterday (while the window-installers were here) uploading pictures and some short videos to the new Camp Stanhope flickr site. I'm hoping this link works, but I have put one on the right side of this page, also, so hopefully you can just click and the pictures will show!

I haven't taken the time (it was fast uploading, but I think there are a few duplicates, etc.) to title/date each one yet, but that's a goal.

I also haven't uploaded all the short videos that would be fun for everybody to see yet, either, but I think the forecast calls for rain all day Thursday, so it would give me something ELSE to do! later now...

After the storm(s).

On the left is a picture of the Boone River over its banks east of Superior St in Webster City. I took the picture Monday, 6/9/08, from the west side of the bridge on 2nd St (old Highway 20).

On the right is also Webster City (a couple of blocks to the east of the last picture), with the Boone river behind those houses. You can see the canoe in front of the house (you can click on the picture to make it bigger). A valiant effort was given to sandbagging, but the river won in most cases.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Lakefront property?

It didn't just rain again last night, we had several sets of RAIN! We're in-between two weather-reporting stations here, and in the last 24 hours, one station reported 2.41" of rain, and the other had 4.27". triple-yikes!

The picture on the left is the same scene I took on Friday (previous post), now with a really big lake this morning (6/8/08 9:09am). The one on the right is our 'far east' yard with the natural 'prairie' showing behind (the golden grasses, etc.).

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Friday reprieve from storms!

This is the view from my front yard looking southeast. Those aren't lakes, though, that's the corn field across the road from us. I got some weed-killing done, and mowed where I thought it wasn't as lake-like in our yard, but ran through a few puddles anyway (I couldn't see all of them until I was driving through them because the grass was pretty high in places!).

For all of you train fans out there, the Union Pacific Railroad has an interesting site on the public website (complete with a train whistle) with little videos from real employees (one train engineer) and info on what the cars look like and what they hold (what's in that train car--I'm always wondering while I'm sitting and waiting for them to pass by).

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Here comes the rain AGAIN!!!

I don't mind rain, but these nasty storms and tornadoes in this state are starting to annoy me. The wind just came up to 45-60 mph, and it has hailed very small stones for about 3 minutes. The lightning has been going for a couple of hours.

Alex drove up today, and he used the chain-saw to cut off the broken branch in back and cut it up so we could move it out of the path of mowing for now. There was no way we could drive the little red truck back there today (we'd have gotten stuck) and we couldn't drag it to the burning pile because it was pretty big, and there were tons of whirly-birds on it still (it's a locust, like others in the yard). The leaves and whirly-bird things were so wet, it made the branches even heavier to move.

oh well, weather in Iowa?? this too, shall pass...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Lightning show tonight out my kitchen window.

You can hear the weatherman on tv from Des Moines talking about the tornadoes in southern Iowa, but if you're patient, this video pays off. At about the 21-second mark it looks like daylight, and the boom follows shortly after at the 23-24 second mark. yikes. I don't like this stormy weather we've been having.

Here's a link to pictures from the Des Moines Register of the Parkersburg tornadoes. Pictures

This link is the video from the surveilance cameras from a bank that was damaged. One of the cameras is looking across the street at a house being demolished. Double-yikes....
This is the result of the storm last Sunday night. Earlier that day I mowed in the 'far east' (we nicknamed sections of the yard because it's big) and had made a pass around the edge of the 'north 40' (because it's behind a set of bushes and we can't see it from the house) but the grass wasn't overly-long, so I didn't finish there, and I know the tree wasn't split and down then.

We had almost 2 inches of rain that night, and combined with the rain we had the previous Thursday, we STILL have puddles in the yard today. I tried to mow this evening around the puddles, and when I got back near that part of the yard, I couldn't figure out what was on the ground blocking my path (it's been dreary and foggy here ALL DAY). A couple of those thunder-booms sounded like they were in my yard that night, and apparently, one of them might have been!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Michelle's graduation party!

It was time for Michelle Zimmerman's H.S. grad party yesterday at her mom's in Des Moines. It was muggy in the morning, but turned out to be a gorgeous day; warm with just a slight breeze by late afternoon.

In the other picture are part of the family at the party, Samantha, John (holding Izaac and trying to get him to eat something other than a G.Grandma breadstick and fruit), Uncle Charlie, and Joe (who had his party last weekend, but we didn't go because we had our belated Mother's Day fest for John's mom/aunt and sister).

Poppy Q's long-lost twin?

We think this cousin-kitty of ours looks like our friend, Poppy Q! This is Nellie, and she lives in the same house as Izaac, his mom, Amanda, Izaac's aunt Michelle at Grandma Shirley's in Des Moines.

Nellie LOVES everybody. Nellie has two older siblings; Sami, who is REALLY old (16?), and Rascal (10?).

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