ARTFULLY AVOIDING THE LANDFILL (& driving my husband crazy) ONE PIECE OF JUNK AT A TIME

6/19/11

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. 


7 comments:

  1. I love traveling the back roads through the country. Your pictures are great, especially the sunset picture.

    We're having crazy weahter also. More rain than we need but with the fires in some states I guess I won't complain.

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  2. Your pictures are great, I love such landscape

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  3. Looks like a lovely day, Coleen, and beautiful photos! Hope the rainy weather lets up!

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  4. Oh Coleen! Thanks for the trip down your country roads...
    as for the weather cool one day, hot the next--you sure you're not in Texas?
    The authentic windmill picture is gorgeous... like you I have a replica in my yard.

    Nice to see you bloggin' ... haven't seen the word skivvies in print or heard it spoken in a long time. he he he!
    Pat

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  5. thank you for sharing those wonderful pictures with us!
    I've never been to Iowa before. love the boys having water wars! :)
    I hope the weather improves for you guys!
    gail

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  6. Great post Coleen... looks like my trip to work... I travel all the back roads daily... I love it. I want one of those wind mills but can't find them around here unless they are connected to someone's farm... hmmmm do you think they would mind if I just borrowed it awhile...lol.

    Love the kids having a blast... you sound like you are getting the same weather as we are getting here. It is so unpredictable, you dare not plan anything ahead of time.

    Hope all is well with you... good to see you back.

    Hugs, Deb

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  7. I'm hearing you! Our weather has been so crazy! 65 here this morning. My daughter, SIL and 3 Grands are coming today from Arkansas and they'll have quite a temperature shock when they get here and it's so cool! I better get on the phone and call them and let them know they might want to bring a jacket :)

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