Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Morning With Anna

First up: Anna tells about her birthday. (Please note that the pasta on the floor was from a game Anna was playing, not from someone's dinner.)

Anna demonstrates her mad counting skills.

Anna plays with the girl on the video camera.

Anna surprises Daddy.

More counting and a goodbye.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Absolute Cuteness Charms Absolutely.

May the Horse Be With You

Tonight we got to see Riders in the Sky in concert. It was our second time to see them, and they were just as good. I love the Riders in the Sky. This was the second concert in as many days that we saw. Both concerts took place at venues most often used for dirt track auto racing (Thomas county fairgrounds, Dodge City Raceway park.) Both Artists ended up playing these venues as the result of violent storms (John Reuben's New Year's Eve concert in Colby was cancelled due to the huge blizzard, and RITS were doing a benefit concert for Greensburg.) Both Artists are from Ohio (JR-Columbus, RITS-Cincinnati) Both artists had wonderful stage presence, were funny, and invoked audience participation. That is pretty much the end of the similarities. All in all, it was a pretty awesome weekend.

Anna and Betsy's First trip to the Chalk Pyramids.

I like to party early...

The John Reuben show was pretty cool. It was a long, hot, and stressful day. Everybody ended up using my drumset, which was cool with me because I got to play my drumset too. The RPM set was...interesting...but everyone seemed to like us, or at least they told us they did, which is just as good. My favorite of the opening bands was Exclusive to None, who are from Joplin, and who had only been together for pretty much as long as I've been playing with RPM. John Reuben's set was awesome, but very short as a storm moved in about 30 minutes in. I didn't have a camera, so I drew you this picture.I also never got to actually meet JR, but I got to talk to Brad Binion and Seth Earnest, who are both incredible musicians as well as real nice people. Or at least they pretended to be nice, which is just as good.

Not really my idea of "planting into moisture"

Economic Geocaching

Bindweed is a nasty weed that is hard to control and almost impossible to erradicate. In addition, an uncontrolled patch of bindweed is grounds for the rejection of an entire field of seed wheat. It is therefore of the utmost importance that I know where every occurance of bindweed is on my new land. Hopefully I will be able to return to these spots this fall, in a couple of years when I have seed wheat planted here and even 30 years from now as bindweed never really goes away for good.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

To Erstwhile MCC Dogs

Your Lieutenant is looking fit no?
He is enjoying my knick-knacks no?
He is liking his new home no?

You wish to see him again? NO!


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

An Allegory

Once upon a time there was a painter. He had first decided to become a painter at the age of 4, after seeing a real oil painting up close for the first time. As he grew up he pursued other interests and hobbies, but he never forgot his first love, painting. When he was 11, he started down the path that would lead him to being a painter. It was a hard, slow process. Paints are messy and you have to handle them just right. After about 4 years, though, he was capable enough with his painting to start getting steady work, painting for his church. It was a very good training ground for honing his skills, and he continued to grow as a painter and as an artist. He felt very fortunate that his church allowed him to paint for them. The problem with painting for the church, however, involved painting just what the church wanted him to paint, no more, no less. He longed for a day when he could paint his own subjects, but subjects are hard to come by. He did, though, find a subject when he was about 17, and it was thrilling and invigorating. He loved the freedom painting his own subject allowed. He could paint just what he wanted, and no one could tell him it was wrong or that the colors were too bright (a common complaint with oil paints (Editors note: lobiwan doesn't really know anything about paints or painting, just roll with it). The colors being too bright was especially a complaint at the church, where they weren't used to such bright colors. From time to time there was idle talk of switching to acrylic paints, whose colors were more subdued and much, much easier to blend. The Painter would always voice his objections, though, and they never made the switch. You see, the painter hated acrylic paints. He found them to be lifeless and dull. The idea that he would need to be forced to use them was something he just could not stand.
Eventually the painter went off to college, where he decided to minor in painting, since he loved it so much. He didn't major in painting because he was needed at the family business back home. He brought his subject with him to college though, and continued to work with with it, though not as much as he should have. At college he found a wonderful world full of painters. At college no one ever even mentioned Acrylic paints even in passing, as they were so foreign and unacceptable. No one he met there (they were all painting majors, of course) would ever resort to using acrylic paints.
He also decided to try to get some paintings displayed in a museum. This was a very complicated process, not the least of which was getting his paintings framed. He proceeded with the plan and finally got 4 paintings together which he thought were worthy of display. He knew a framer who could have made the frames, but who was a bit to modest about his own framing ability. "You really need to have Ted frame your pictures," his friend told him, "he is the best." The painter had never met Ted, but heard many good things about him. Ted agreed to do the framing, and the painter waited anxiously for the finished product. And he waited. And waited. And waited. Ted was always just swamped, and would get to his paintings just as soon as he could. 6 months went by before the painter finally got his paintings back. He was devastated. The frames were obviously put together very quickly and with little regard to the paintings themselves. The temporary frames his friend had made the night he finished the painting looked better than those! The stress proved to be to much for the painter and his subject and they gradually drifted apart.
When he came home for the summer he found that his church had switched to acrylic paints in his absence. He continued to paint for them, since they had been so kind in giving his first real steady work, but it just wasn't the same. The painter felt betrayed and unwanted, and those feelings would eventually lead him to leave the church (along with other reasons, of course) shortly after he returned home from college for good.
Fast forward 9 years. The painter has been busy. He has been at home running the family business for many years. He has a nice home that he shares with his beautiful wife and daughter. He has found a new church which allows him to paint with Oils, despite the bright colors. He feels very blessed. Out of nowhere, a subject calls him and asks if he could possibly paint it. He agrees to give it a shot, and after about five months, begins to feel rather comfortable with the new subject. The subject then decides that it wants to be displayed in a museum. The painter works hard to paint flattering portraits that will be suitable for framing. The subject even has a friend who is a professional framer, so the painter feels pretty good about getting the paintings displayed. This time the framer works very quickly, and in no time at all has produced 5 very flattering frames. The painter is rather pleased with the frames, they are stylish and very professional. As he is looking at the pictures he notices something odd. On one of the portraits, his favorite one, no less, the framer has made a small change. Where the painter had painted the subject with green eyes, the framer has gone in and changed the eye color to blue! Not only has he changed the eye color to blue, he has done so with Acrylic paint! The painter is astonished. He tries to say something, but it is too late! The museum opens tomorrow with his display! There is no time!
So let me ask you, how does the painter feel? How should the painter feel? He has 5 very nice pictures on display, which are framed quite suitably. No one will ever notice the blue eyes unless he points it out. The subject doesn't even notice the blue eyes, and insists that it is not that big of a deal. He is grateful to both the subject and the framer for giving him this chance, and he is sure that everyone will like the pictures and never even notice the small, acrylic blue eyes. He knows that neither the subject or the framer understands his hatred for Acrylic paints.

But he knows that he will never be able to look at the pictures without those acrylic blue eyes staring at him, burning his eyes with their non-brilliance.

In other news RPM's new CD is ready. Let me know if you want one.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Happy Birthday Anna!

Two Years Old Already! I love You!

Anna--2 Years Old!

18 Months Old.

1 Year Old.

6 Months Old.

Three Days Old.

Follow this link to see Many more pictures from Anna's second year!
This one for her first year!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

It's always something...

Today I fixed some of the drops on the sprinkler. This job is simple enough in theory, but is definitely not easy. The problem is that the hoses that hang off of the top of the sprinkler eventually wear out right at the point where they meet the sprinkler. This apparently happens after about 10 years, and just on whatever type of hose they (Reinke) put on this sprinkler, since the Zimmatic is a couple of years older and has not had any problems. What is great is that I didn't even know that this job existed until last spring.
The whole part of the job that is difficult is putting the ladder up. It is pretty tricky because it has to go up between the supports and the actual water pipe to work, which means I have to leverage it up sideways, which is not easy to do with a 22 foot tall ladder. It could be worse-- last spring I had to put the ladder on top of the pickup bed because I hadn't gotten my new longer ladder yet (having not anticipated this particular use for a ladder.)
Here is the problem. Besides being a big waste of water, the hoses will eventually fall off. Not a big problem when the corn is 6 inches high (since you can spot where it fell off), but a huge one when the corn is six feet high. If they fall off mid season, I will probably just have to replace the whole thing. The problem there is that each nozzle is different based on it's position on the sprinkler so each lost nozzle means a separate trip to town to get just the right replacement.
The fix is pretty simple: just cut off the hose and reattach it. Last year I'll bet I had to do this to 25 hoses, and I've done about eight more this spring. That only leaves about 230 more which I assume I will eventually have to fix. Renting a cherry picker and "operating" on all of them at once is looking like a better and better idea all the time.
Having gone to all this trouble, it is always important to stop and enjoy the view before climbing back down.

Anna the farmer

Anna helped do some scouting this morning and had a very nice time. We first checked on the sprinkler.

Then we went over to (Gray) "County!" to look at the dryland corn.
Anna insisted on helping with the ball probe.
Here Anna demonstrates the incorrect use of the ball probe. The ball probe gives you some idea of the soil moisture. The little steel ball on the end goes easily through soil with adequate moisture in it, but won't go through dry soil.

This is what you want to see, and it made Daddy very happy.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I'd STILL rather live in Greensburg than Wichita.

Kind of a weird image from Greensburg. That's yours truly at the bottom of the picture.

We were watching the news this evening to see the President in Greensburg and it is funny because all of the news from Greensburg has an underlying hope and niceness to it, from the museum curator excited about the new tornado exhibit they will have next to the meteorite to the Mayor asking "who wouldn't want to live in a brand new town?" to the upbeat elderly woman who promised God that if he spared her she wouldn't "be a whiner" to the school district making sure all the kids get to their sporting events and announcing the time (11 AM) for graduation on the 19th. In fact the only discouraging word I have heard from a Greensburg resident was from a self proclaimed Nebraskan planning to return home for good (and good riddance.)
Anyways the nightly news can only talk about Greensburg for so long before they feel it necessary to discuss the various and sundry crimes and vices which inhabit Wichita on a daily basis. We couldn't watch past the tornado coverage, it got all depressing after that.

On Airplanes

I love watching the refueling tankers. It is especially fun when they come in groups.

Everybody's wheat has rust in it thanks to the abundant moisture and cool weather. I don't think you could go anyplace in the countryside this past week where you couldn't see at least one cropduster hard at work.

Planting Fun

Jeanette and Jonathan came to visit the new land.
Jonathan gave the planter a VERY thorough inspection.
It is always important to taste the machinery.

Jonathan tried to pick up all the sticks off of the ground. It was very thoughtful of him.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

A hope destroyed.

They have officially given up on it.

Scenes from today.

Now thats a nice straight row. That there is row to tell your grandkids about. And they'll all be "but grandpa, what's a steering wheel?"
This lovely phot of a deer is why I need a telephoto lens.
Having this seat put in was the best purchase I have ever made.

Dear P. A. S. ...

Don't EVER do this again.