Owl Hoots

We have Barred Owl visitors in the trees behind our house fairly often. This was a daytime visitor a while back. They usually call “Who…Who…Who Cooks for You.” Not always.

Steady gaze

Last night we heard hoots. I opened an audio recording app on the phone and held it out the back door. We heard faint distant return hoots but they were too soft to get recorded.


Solar Panels | First Results

How I See It

Generation of electricity by the panels has been monitored for the six most recent days. The days varied from sunny, to cloudy, and variable. The output by the panels varied, too. The blue bars are total electric energy generated for the days of October 9-14. At the top of each is the kilo-Watt-Hours (kWhr) of electric energy made by the panels that day. During those days, total electric energy usage by our home averaged 5.52 kWhr. Generation is keeping pace with usage.

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Devil’s Lake | Baraboo Circus City

by Melanie and Jim

What reasons make you decide to go on a brief vacation? Our list was rather long. Friends recommended a place they like that was not far away. Our anniversary was coming, as was a birthday. Health and strength improved. A good friend could meet us for dinner. A nice day was in the offing. We had been too busy. And, the devil and the circus were both involved.

We chose an interesting B & B in the city of Baraboo, Wisconsin called the Ringling House. Yes, the family of Ringling Brothers Circus fame. There were even two elephants in the front yard dressed, it seems, for Halloween.

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Turkey Creek Nature Preserve

The Bur Oak Land Trust executive director Jason Taylor guided our group through their managed property Turkey Creek. Near Coralville Reservoir, the property is their largest holding with two restored prairies and a creekside portion. Trails allow visitors to hike around the property. Right after we started our hike, a flock of White Pelicans flew over. It was a good omen.

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Climate Strike | Local Edition

There was a large turnout for our local Climate Strike. See photos of the many international strikes. Our march gathered at city hall. Led by high school and college students, and followed by everyone else, we marched several blocks to an open area in the center of town.

We were joined by our local group of activists 100 Grannies. They can always be counted on for support of good causes.

The strike started off with a few minutes of silence out of respect for those who are suffering because of climate change. In particular, the residents of the Gulf coast were noted for the recent very heavy rains from storm Imelda. Speakers followed who urged us all to be active, vote for the best candidates, and demand current officials to take action to protect Earth.

Harvest Moon | Shine On Us

A lot of fuss was been made of the Harvest Moon on Friday the 13th. Our Chinese friends noted its significance for them and their love of Moon Cakes. On our way home last night from a dinner party with our friends, we enjoyed views of the full moon high in the southeast sky.

Awake before sunrise on the 14th, I looked for the Moon before it set in the west and was rewarded for my effort with these views. The most-zoomed was at 6:34 am.

A few minutes later sunrise approached. I turned to the east and was rewarded with this golden sky. That radio tower is 13 miles away. Good luck and blessings for all. Peace.

Sunflowers and Zinnia

by Jim and Melanie

Much of Iowa holds “the best of both worlds.” If you live in a rural area, you might not be very far from a bustling town. If you live in town, you probably have farm fields within a dozen miles of your home. Just north of us is a small farm actually within its city limits. On the farm grows corn, but it’s best known for the large pumpkin patch, open for weeks in the fall for happy families to visit. The pumpkins that families purchase make grinning, gap-toothed Halloween decorations and harvest decor that lasts for months.

Besides the pumpkins, the farm owners have developed another field growing sunflowers. Recently on a sunny morning, we stopped by to enjoy the brilliant orangey-yellow petals, held aloft on sturdy stems.

This one reminded Melanie of a person tapping her face with her fingers.

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“What is that big thing way up there in that tree?” asked Melanie as we finished dinner on the deck. It was a groundhog 30 ft up a Mulberry tree munching on leaves. It is a favorite food for them. I went to a better location and recorded this video. The next day it was 40 ft up the same tree. We’ve had previous encounters with our resident rodent described in these posts.