Thursday, August 31, 2017

Becoming Acclimated To Iowa

I'm not sure when it happened...  but I think we are becoming "used" to Iowa.   How?  Several small observations have helped me realize this.

No need for a cast....anymore.
When we first arrived here,  I noted there were a disproportionate number of people wearing leg casts.   At first I joked that it was "people catching their leg in a combine."    But that would look much more gruesome.
Why would anyone do this?

Has this fallen out of Fashion in Iowa?
It was not until later that I heard from one of them that they had been "kicking pumpkins."  Whether this was true for every case was not clear, but it was an entertaining topic to blog about.

However,  in the last few years,  I "noticed" that I have not noticed any leg braces lately.   In fact,  we recently saw someone in our store and that triggered the memory.   So what happened?   Had Iowans learned that kicking pumpkins is a bad idea?  OR  had I simply become so used to it that I no longer see it as "unusual?"

Everyone has a Tattoo... Somewhere.

The same can be said for the number of Tattoos here.    Upon arrival,  I had never seen so many people with tattoos.  (And that is saying a LOT!   Coming out of the Army....)  I thought at one moment that there was a possibility the tattoos in Iowa were contagious!
They hand them out at the fair?
 But recently I simply accept that everyone has a tattoo...  somewhere.   Cheryl and I joked that everyone gets a tattoo coupon upon graduating from High School.   Perhaps that still is the case,  but the overwhelming presence of tattoos on everyone no longer seems unusual.    Have I become numb to this stimuli as well?

From Great Britain.
Nissan Figaro.  
One of the cool things about Iowa are the "Project Cars."   There are still moments where people choose a car and dump money into it to revive it to the former glory.   Then they drive around and show it off on weekends and Holidays during the summer and fall.  Recently a guy came to the Farmers Market with a Figaro.

Right side Driver.   Passenger can have some fun moments.
  A European car made in Japan by Nissan.    It still had the drivers side on the right side!   I snapped a few pictures to post on the blog... in the event Mike ( brother-in-law) ever reads this posting.   Mike is not a Subaru guy...but a Nissan fan.  Still,  Nissan is made in Japan and that can not be a bad thing.

If you like the look of Moss
So there it is.  Iowa is growing on us.   Like a moss or lichen... or mold.   Maybe that is not entirely bad.    Moss makes rocks look attractive and helps hide flaws.   Also it gives the entire forest a "Rainforest feel."  And sometimes that appeals to certain people.    We shall see how it effects us in the long run.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Farmer's Market Saturday.

Morning sunrise  over Muscatine.
And the Mississippi.
 Chilly mornings with overcast skies made for a subdued farmer's market yesterday.  However, we still had fun and made a little cash.
Cheryl did not have the time to work on her display as much as she would have liked... (She had to work this week for Pearson....)  but we still managed to put up something new and (hopefully) exciting.
Cheryl works on her latest display

Lots of colors

And new storage displays.

Turkey vultures hanging out by the boats
The Sunrise over the Mississippi was pretty.   Along with the various birds we see along the river banks.  I personally have a soft spot for the Turkey Vultures  that clean up the shore from time to time.
Cleaning up the shore.
Surfing the waves...

 They are so far on the ugly-slide scale that I believe they loop back into beautiful.

Theylike to fish too!  Just in a simpler manner.

 Red heads with black feathers.   Seeing one up close is actually very cool.   Not to mention that they always look like they are having a good time on the wind currents.   Similar to a surfer on the waves.  I could go off on a tangent on how beneficial they are to the world...but I'll save that for another post.

Is that a Crane?
Or a heron?   ( Or duck?) 
Cheryl noted that she might have seen a crane by the shore.  I ran down there only to find out it was a blue heron.   Still,  blue herons are pretty awesome birds as well.
  Far more of a dangerous predator than one might think...and not always just to fish!
Maybe she meant this type of crane...
 They eat pretty much anything they can fit inside that huge beak!  (Watch them eat rats and squirrels on YouTube!)  The blurry picture inspired me to fold up some items for Tees.

Blackberry Sundae
Origami dancing crane with fish
Typical after market celebration is to visit Tee's and eat a blackberry sundae.  One of the employees recently had a kid and wanted me to fold up a stork.   I used the "Dancing Crane" model and added a bit of a twist.   We shall find out what she thinks about it when we go back there next week.

Origami Dragon
Stork with bundle of Joy 

So that is pretty much all for this weekend.  Cheryl is currently in the shop planning her next felty model to unveil.  I will be joining her soon with some more folding.  I have a few more bugs to hammer out of the fish models.   The scales continue to be I need the practice.     Thanks for stopping in.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Origami, Bugs, Bird, And Fish. Typical Wednesday.

Painted Lady
I have been collecting these pictures for a while now...but figured I had better post them before ultimate deleting them randomly.  So here they are...

First.   Butterflies!

Waiting outside Hobby Lobby.
A really fresh buckeye was hanging out for a while next to the cone flowers.  With the sun being so bright,  I had to rely on my camera figuring out the focus....  Which it did not do very well.

Very large Mantis!
Painted Ladies and Red Admirables are quite abundant this year.  It is easy to find them along the road.   They fly so fast it is difficult to photograph them on the wing....unless they are nice enough to hang out on a flower.  (Or are this one)

Don't poke at it! 
In front of Hobby Lobby the other day,   Cheryl noticed a Preying Mantis.   Here in Iowa, the Mantises are quite large.  ( compared to Michigan.)   I used to catch these guys and keep them as pets all summer... Feeding them grasshoppers and crickets.   Small note:  Never put two mantises together.   They will eat each other!
Hiro waits in Ambush!

Hiro the Cat has been enchanted with the hummningbirds as of late.   Mostly because the action has increased significantly since the young-uns have hatched.
Hummer in Flight

The "Dad" of the group.  
  The young birds throw caution to the find as they hit the feeder regardless of Mom and Dad's protests.   Seeing three or more dive bomb each other is not uncommon.

First attempt with gold paper

Second attempt.  More scales!

Gold Koi vs "Pinecone"!
And finally... Origami.   I have been focusing on insects,  but took a break to fold up some dragons and fish.   With the new paper,  I wanted to attempt slightly more challenging models.

 I finally have a Koi I can be impressed with.  It took a full two days to fold , however.   Making me think twice before attempting it any time soon.   ( scales take a long time....)

Hopefully the patter will work out.
New paper for next attempt

But I know I will attempt it again... eventually.   I have been working on some paper that might add a little color character to it.   We shall see how things go.

Monday, August 21, 2017

My Solar Eclipse: A Story of Excitement, Anxiety, Frustration, and Ultimately...Success!

Partly Cloudy?
"Mostly... Over Wellman, Iowa.
It just happened about 20 minutes ago.   My first 93.2% "almost" total eclipse!  And it happened on a cloudy day with rain and wind and floods and volcanoes and locusts!
Volcanoes in Iowa?
Ok,  I made up that last part.   There are no locust here in Iowa.

Where is the sun?
The forecast called for "partly" cloudy.   And by partly,  that pretty much meant, "Only over the Allen's Apartment!"   There were Patches of blue sky all around.    But directly above us....only clouds.

There it is!   Kinda.

As it began, ( around 11:20)  I noted that I could barely see the sun filtering through the clouds.   With my hopes raised ever so slightly,  I grabbed my home made pin-hole camera and went out to see if I could make anything out.   No luck.   The clouds diffused the rays too much to even cast a shadow.
The computer photographs better.
  In a fit of frustration,  I randomly snapped picture of the clouds and the computer.

Apparently,   "Other" people could see the entire thing just fine.    I tried to focus on other things,  but it was pointless.   Cheryl was about to kill me,  the cat would not stop harassing me, and all I could do was watch this moment slip by.....

So that is what "Total" looks like.
Through the Sunglasses.
But then... a break in the clouds?   Oh no..  ( that would be a "happy ending")  But the clouds thinned ever so slightly to allow us a glimpse at the sun.   It was actually pretty cool because the clouds helped filter the rays so I could look directly at the sun and not burn my eyes out.   I still wore my sunglasses, and I used them to cover the camera several times to help the camera filter out the glimmer.
Moon taking a bite out of the Sun.

As the clouds rolled back in one last time,  (5 minutes before the peak event!)   I almost gave it up as the "best I could have hoped for".....  And then..

Small Break in the clouds.
A small bright patch of the clouds broke for about 45 seconds.   And I was able to capture the small crescent of the sun at the supposed moment of totality (Er.  93.2%, that is).   And I could see it all without glasses.

With Filter.  93.2 % coverage!  Yeah!
We could hear the cheers from the local Grade School a couple blocks away.   At least a few other people were outside trying to see what they could as well.    I must say, I'm actually impressed with my small Motorola phone camera.   I had to do just a little adjusting to clean things up... but for the most part, it preformed better than expected.
Good enough for me.... for now. 
And the biggest take away was that I actually have something to blog about today.   That it correct!   I failed to find any new meaning in my life after the event.   No moment of inspiration or epiphany.   The Meaning of life still eludes me and the many questions of my existence remain unanswered.  However,  I managed to preserver and  see the eclipse (93.2% of it!) after many (insignificant) trials and tribulations!   Yeah for Me!
Or in my case:  93.2%!

So now I can go about my daily life once again.   I'll probably tackle a new origami model this afternoon; after being filled with the confidence that only a Solar Eclipse can give.  ( well,   93.2%  anyway.)

I look forward to reading the other peoples' blogs later today.   Hopefully they were able to capture better pics.    The "Brit in Tennessee"  said she will have over 2 minutes of total eclipse.   I'm very excited to see what she has.
Chasing Eclipse is like having Kids....Kinda.

I hope everyone else was able to see the eclipse.... or at least 93.2 % of it.  And perhaps it changed your life for the better.   It was fun...and also frustrating, and irritating.   Without any kids around,   those emotions are rare for me.    (Thank Heaven!)  


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