Schoolhouses 1916 | Plans and Comments

Originally posted on JAR Blog...:

Seedy Bunch stopped the big yellow school bus in front of our farm house. I was excited to join five of my older siblings as they boarded. It was my first day of school.

We arrived at East Railroad School first. It was a mile east of town where some of my siblings were going to get off. I had to get off alone and join a bunch of kids I had never seen before. This school thing was not starting out the way I expected. I cried. I cried for a week.

I must have gotten over the trauma with no harm done. As it turned out, I became a school teacher myself. As a teacher, I felt those pangs associated with the start of school each of my 38 years.

East Railroad School looked very much like this fine example. We found this one on a recent hike celebrating…

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UZURGFT

Melanie McNeil:

Some of my thoughts as Catbird Quilt Studio hits its first blogiversary…

Originally posted on Catbird Quilt Studio:

Traffic merged to one lane before me, polite Iowa drivers taking their turns to cross the overpass, single file. As we crossed, I noted the license plate of the car in front of me.

I solve puzzles, sometimes hard ones, but this one was easy. “Use your gift.”

It got me thinking about gifts generally, and how we use them. Everyone knows anecdotes about a mother, aunt, or grandma who would receive presents — table linens, bath towels, cologne — and put them away. The gift was “too nice” to use. Maybe you’ve done it yourself. Did you get china as a wedding present? Do you use it?

Why do we keep our best gifts hidden away? There could be a lot of different reasons. Fear might be the big one. Fear that we don’t deserve such a gift, fear that someone might think we’re showing off, fear that we…

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Radon In Our House | What We Did

Originally posted on JAR Blog...:

The purpose of this post is to inform, not frighten. Thoughts of radon gas in the home conjures up fear in many people. Reading to learn about it can be challenging. There are many so stories, reports, publications, companies, and anecdotes that making good sense out of them is difficult. It seemed important to document our story to help others have a clearer idea of the correct information so they can make well-informed decisions.



In the spring of 2014, I attended three Mini-Med School sessions for the public offered by the U of IA College of Medicine, about research they are doing on cancer. Presenters told of their efforts to understand the disease, decode its behavior, and how the public benefits from their research. A presenter the second week spoke about lung cancer. Because we live in Iowa, the subject of radon infiltration into homes was part of the discussion. Radon is…

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Wildcat Den | Our Anniversary Hike

by Melanie and Jim

July 8, 2014 was our 34th anniversary of the day we met. To celebrate the occasion, we went to Wildcat Den State Park near Muscatine, IA. It had been many years since our last visit with our young son. He is all grown up now learning to fly for the Air Force.

We drove the hour from home and entered the park from the north in this map view from Google. We parked the car at P and set out with our hiking poles. Light blue arrows show our route started out counter-clockwise around the big loop. Right off the bat we encountered some trouble. There was a giant tree across the path, downed by the heavy rain and softened soil from the week before. Fortunately it wasn’t a harbinger of things to come.

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Past the tree, the trail (marked with a yellow and red line) began with an uphill slope. It crossed the main road through the park and continued upward, finally flattening as we headed west.

Show me the rest of the hike.

Home Made Ice Cream

Summer is a great time for ice cream. The home made kind is a special treat. As kids, many of us remember getting out the ice cream maker. You needed a big tub, lots of ice, salt, the maker, and some people to crank the handle until it was too hard to turn. After the ice cream was finished, someone pulled out the beater and put it in a cake pan. Several kids would gobble up the ice cream stuck to it. You finally got a bowl of it with your favorite topping(s).

OH MY GOSH! MY BRAIN IS FROZEN!

Today, it is a lot easier to make ice cream. No salt is needed for some machines. Our maker has a mixing tub we keep in the freezer. Inside its walls is a liquid at room temps. It freezes when stored there, ready at any time.

IceCream1Our recipe is from the instruction booklet. It is reliable and can be altered for variety. Today, we made vanilla. In the third ingredient, we used a cup of half-and-half with a cup of whipping cream instead of two cups of heavy cream. Sometimes we only use half-and-half. Mint Chip is great with peppermint and green food coloring. Try whatever recipe you like.

Mix up the potion and set it in the freezer for 30 minutes to give it a good chill. The machine freezes it in a shorter time when pre-chilled.

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Here is the mix ready for the pre-chill. Stir it for long enough to dissolve all the sugar grains.

IceCream2After 30 minutes in the freezer, pour it into the machine and turn it on. It takes ours 25 minutes.

IceCream3The machine has an opening in the top to let you see the consistency of the ice cream. When it looks ready, turn off the machine and open it up. Looks good, huh? You can’t have any yet. It is going into the freezer for a few hours to get more firm. The bottom photo shows it ready to go in the freezer.

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After a few hours, dish it out, add toppings if you like, and enjoy a great summer treat. Yum :-)

 

 

 

 

Supermoon | Just An Illusion?

Originally posted on JAR Blog...:

It’s time again for the Supermoon. This post is for those who will have clear skies on the evening of July 11 or 12 and want to see the Moon closer and bigger than normal. Full moon is actually at about sunrise on July 12 when it is setting in the west for those of us in the U.S. Most people don’t notice it setting full. The view of it at evening moonrise, before or after full, will appear almost exactly as it does at moonset the morning of full.

First, a little sciency stuff. This won’t hurt a bit.

  • The Moon takes about a month to orbit Earth.
  • The Moon’s orbit is not a circle around Earth. It is a bit oval-shaped.
  • During the closest part of the orbit it is called Perigee.
  • During the farthest part of the orbit it is called Apogee.
  • Closer things look bigger and farther things look smaller.
  • The…

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FREEDOM

Originally posted on Catbird Quilt Studio:

Collection of the American Folk Art Museum

Made by Jessie Telfair of Georgia in 1983, this quilt embodies our collective political voice. From the American Folk Art Museum,

This is one of several freedom quilts that Jessie Telfair made as a response to losing her job after she attempted to register to vote. It evokes the civil rights era through the powerful invocation of one word, “freedom,” formed from bold block letters along a horizontal axis. Mimicking the stripes of the American flag, it is unclear whether the use of red, white, and blue is ironic or patriotic, or both.

Let freedom ring. Here is the Air Force Concert Band playing “America”.

And to maintain your freedom and our freedom, educate yourself on the issues, contact your elected officials to share your opinions, and VOTE.

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