Lions & Tigers & Bears - Oh My!

Good grief.  I guess I better stop complaining about the weather because it seems the upper atmosphere has ears and doesn't like me grumping about all the rain.  I think there are very few places in the United States that have actually had a nice Spring.  Fires, floods, tornadoes - you name it, it's been awful everywhere.  Guess I really didn't have much to complain about compared to what others are facing and losing.  I was complaining about cold, cloudy and wet.  Nothing, I tell you, nothing compared to the devastation elsewhere.

So, I guess it's my own darn fault that I lost one of my good (tree) friends in the storm last night.

He was a goofy looking thing, for sure, but he was like the Sentry at the end of our driveway.  Our personal Wal-mart wanna be greeter. Our unique, not-another-one-like-it-in-the-world tree.

Snap.  Gone.

By far, the worst damage we've had out here from storms since moving out here in 2003.   We've had wind storms that picked up pieces of outdoor furniture and blew them across the yard and downed huge limbs, but never have we had whole, giant trees destroyed.  

Okay, so we didn't have lions and tigers and bears, but there were plenty of "Oh My's!" as we walked around the property surveying the damage.

Inside the spare garage... at least the new garage door opener wasn't destroyed.

Poor little spare garage.

Grain bins don't belong in corn fields.

(If you click to enlarge the picture, you will see Dolly Llama is a little confused about the large object in the corn field too)

The charming old machine shed took a beating too.  The same tree that embedded itself in the garage roof, banged into the machine shed...

... and actually moved the building.

Mind you, the building wasn't in the best shape to begin with, but at least it was straight.  The boards were not leaning to the east before the storm.

This was another giant beauty that was hard to see fall.  It held remnants of a tree house built years and years ago and was a wonderful source of shade for the little grain building and the llamas.

It fell into the fence and took out a couple sections.  The llamas, like the goats in one of the other pens on the north side of the property took advantage of the breaks and were roaming freely around the yard this morning!

Considerable damage, for sure.  BUT, there are more things that weren't damaged... our vehicles, our house, our little pond, our family.  It could have been much, much worse.  

The big machine shed will have to come down now before it falls down with the next big wind.  (but won't those 100 year old boards make some awesome, rustic items?)  The spare garage may disappear too.  Its cement floor may become a basketball court.  The trees, as they were, cannot be replaced, that is the saddest part of all.  The appearance of things out here will change - slowly, dramatically, but isn't that the way it is in life?  Change, always change.


Iowa Life

I have very little to show in the way of project progress for the weeks I've been away from the blog, so I won't even bother.  Instead, I've been spending time outdoors, enjoying as much of it as possible.  The weather has been wickedly cruel this spring - cold and wet with intermittent days of blazing heat.  Temperatures in the 60's one day followed by 90's the next.  It is almost as though Mother Nature is demanding our attention... or punishing us for ignorance of her great powers.

Three of the four exit roads from our place are posted with caution signs.  These "Level B" roads are blocked all winter long and practically impassable right after rain the rest of the year until the county grader scrapes away the ruts and gullies.   They remain open solely for farmers who have no other access to their fields.  They are slowly disappearing from the Iowa landscape as new accesses are created on higher maintenance roads and they become crop ground... a win-win situation for farmers and the county.

One hot evening, after an afternoon of water wars and running around in their skivvies, the boys and I hopped in the pickup after supper and traveled down the disappearing roads.
To the naked eye, these roads have little to offer... unless, of course, you're a kid with a dirt bike.  But I find they lend a glimpse back in time when there was nothing unusual about them at all.

I hate to even guess how old this fence post might be.  It's definitely before the invention of the perfectly milled, weather treated posts used today.  It looks pretty proud standing there next to the steel post and electric fence, don't you think?

The windmill - once the life blood of the family farm - pumped water from the well to the farm, providing water for the family and livestock.  These are disappearing as well.  It is fairly rare to spot a windmill that is still standing intact. 

Perhaps that explains why so many people, like me, use replicas to adorn their lawns and gardens.

Wildflowers add a delicate touch to the rugged landscape on the seldom traveled dirt roads.

Patches of Iowa's state flower, the Wild Rose can be found out in the middle of nowhere too.

How beautiful the Wild Rose and other wildflowers must have been back before the days of modern farming, chemical weed sprays and high maintenance of roads.

The boy's favorite flower, of course, was the spent Dandelion.  This one was as big as Ethan's fist.  There was no leaving the area until they were allowed to blow all the seeds off the stem and into the wind.

I ended our adventure as the sun was setting.  The boys tried desperately to make me draw it out a little bit longer, but this mean old grandma took them home and put them in the bathtub despite their pleas. 

 It was one of those perfect days when everyone was happy - albeit for different reasons.  For Grandma, it was a nostalgic event.  For the boys, an excuse for getting dirty without getting in trouble. 

I did remember to thank Mother Nature for the nice break in her cycle of wicked weather.  It has warmed up to reasonable again, but we received 3" of rain yesterday morning and they are predicting rain and thunderstorms each day for the rest of the week.  We will be fine atop our hill, but western Iowa/eastern Nebraska does not need any more water.