Thursday, September 29, 2016

Manual Labor...

With the most recent bout of heavy rain last Friday night we saw our driveway deteriorate as water ran down it towards the ditch. While there is new 1.5 inch rock near the end of the driveway next to the cement plant the beginning half or more is lacking in the larger rock and is more sand and small stone. Left with some decent ruts and gullies, and an extended stretch of dry weather that would let the rocks compact the boys and I have spent some time in the late afternoon filling in some spots with extra rock. Perhaps it was using the shovels, or probably more the use of the dump wagon, but all three boys put in the help of some manual labor.

There's probably more spots that deserve fresh rock, and in reality the drive should be higher than the surrounding grass with a few more inches of driveway rock, for now this will do.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

First Day of Fall

While meteorologists and climatologists often refer to Fall beginning on September 1st, the Fall Equinox occurred this morning and brought the first day of Fall. With sunny skies and a high temperature in the low 90s the day certainly didn't feel like Fall here in northeast Kansas. That said, we have had a few days where the temperature stuck in the 70s, humidity remained low, and overnight saw the mercury fall into the 50s. One detail that is always noticeable is the loss of daylight hours. Leaving in the morning is now dark, and after finishing dinner the sun is already beginning it's descent below the horizon.

In the end I think we are all looking forward to those comfortable afternoons with the windows open and the breeze blowing through. Being surrounded by numerous tree varieties will hopefully provide some color to the leaves as they begin to change. Our walnut and honey locust trees have already begun their change, turning yellow as somewhat shown in my picture below.

My wife will certainly mourn the loss of her hummingbirds as they take the journey south for the winter. But, many other birds will become more noticeable including our Cardinals, Blue Jays, and numerous Sparrows. We have even managed to see a Oriole and Goldfinches this past weekend, likely on their journey southward. Grasses are becoming showy and dropping seeds, and with time should begin to sit down and allow some easier cleaning and clearing of our back acres (there are plenty of cedar and sumac to clear). Wildflowers are dwindling with only a few late season bloomers holding on, but dropping their seeds as they dry will help set the stage for next years color.

Plenty of outdoor projects that can still be competed, the fun is in how many of them can actually be completed.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Friday Football, House Guests, & Antenna TV

Wait, it's Wednesday... But I'll post a bit about last weekend and look forward to the next weekend anyway.

We started off heading to the local high school for the Friday night football game. The team was looking for their first win, and touchdown, of the year and thankfully came away with both. The boys were able to keep some of their attention on the game, and it was a nice cool evening for football.

Saturday we welcomed our first house guests other than family into our home, a former co-worker of mine and her significant other. They've babysat the boys before so they knew what they were coming into with noises and running abound.

Sunday I had a few things on my to-do list but they were quickly overshadowed by a different project, installing a TV antenna. We 'cut the cord' with cable many years ago and have survived with Roku and Internet to watch shows and movies, plus a little indoor antenna for local channels. Well our new house is a bit more secluded from the big city, so we were struggling to grab more than 3 stations with our little indoor antenna. So, the middle boy and I went off to the store and purchased an outdoor/attic mount antenna and 50 feet of coax. Prior owners had Dish, so there is coax that is ran into three rooms, however only one was easily traceable.

A few hours of work later, some of which in a stifling attic, we took the easy route this go around and had the antenna installed, coax ran down into basement, and then over and up into our living room. We now pull in every main TV station plus a host of others, I believe near 35 total over the air. With time as we add more TVs (maybe) I will get an amplifying splitter, remove and reuse the prior coax to get it to all of the rooms necessary.

Up next this weekend? We may finish off our bedside tables for the master bedroom, do some pickup in the back acres, and I'm sure manage something fun for the boys. That is of course all a bit sensitive to the potential for heavy rain late Saturday into Sunday.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

More Water...

We have came upon another wet pattern with 3.66 inches of rain within the past 48 hours; 2.87 inches of that occurring this morning. The nearby creek overflowed its banks again, and managed some water over the gravel road for a while.

We ventured back to the pond to enjoy the high water, and captured a few snapshots of the boys. And a sunset too!


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Labor Day Festivities

The three day Labor Day weekend meant a trip up to Iowa for the family to take in the longest running Labor Day celebration in the state. Yes, Graettinger, Iowa has been celebrating the holiday since 1896 and has carnival rides shutting down the length of main street, street dance, games, tractor pull, and much more during the three day weekend.

The boys took on the carnival rides going down the huge slide, and taking a ride on a mini roller coaster. A local family also rode their horses into town and allowed the boys to sit and ride on them, which may have been the highlight for the oldest. We also took in a few pulls during the tractor pull; What kind of boy (or guy) doesn't like watching tractors? We also managed to win two kids bikes during their drawings for the two youngest, they've now each won twice meanwhile the eldest boys remains shutout (he wasn't very pleased).

We also celebrated birthdays for the two youngest while in the neighborhood of most of our family. This meant another cake decorating for the wife and I - I think we are doing pretty good.

We jumped straight into the week upon arriving home. With sunflowers reaching their peak and rain in the forecast we headed out for some family photos Tuesday. I've still got to pull them off the 'good' camera and process them, but for now here's a quick snapshot of the field.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Wildflower Identification: Button Blazing Star

During our adventure through the mud and back the pond we came across a few of these flowers, most of which were just starting to bloom. The plant photographed below was the most mature, and thus offered the most color.

The Button Blazing Star is related to a prior wildflower identified back in July, the Prairie Blazing Star. It may also be referred to as the Tall Blazing Star, Button Gayfeather, or Tall Gayfeather. The Button Blazing Star features numerous flowers, often 16 to 40 dependent upon the height, and grows to be 16 to 48 inches tall. It is a native plant to the state of Kansas, and most often found in the eastern half of the state blooming from late August into early October. Commonly found in drained to dry soils, it is drought tolerant, and handles part to full sun.

Take a look at this unique looking purple flower below: