Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Only in Iowa - Seed Corn in Town

Many backyards in Iowa have vegetable gardens that include sweet corn. This display, however, takes the iconic plant to a new level. Where else but in a corn state like Iowa does the homeowner not only plant corn as a decorative crop in the front yard but finishes it off with a seed corn sign, like those found along countless rural roads?

Monday, November 5, 2018

Color in the Neighborhood

Mid-autumn and leaf color has peaked. In fact over the weekend when 1.5 inches of rain fell, most of the fall color is now brown, turning brown and on the ground. At the 42N latitude its been a short color season this fall. However, just a week ago this maple tree displayed its brilliant yellows just five houses away. Those leaves are now done, racked to the curb, and ready for pickup by the city's services. See you next fall.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Preserving Windmills from Iowa's Past

For more than 100 years the Aermotor Company has been manufacturing windmills which are used primarily for pumping water to livestock. These icons of farms and ranches can be seen all over the country especially here in the Midwest. This non-working specimen is located at the Vinton Railroad Depot in Vinton, Iowa. The sails on the wheel are chained in place as to restrict movement and to help prevent long-term damage. The tail shows at least two bullet holes which qualifies it as an authentic and time-tested Aermotor windmill.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Seek American Legion Poppies from Jackson G Nyitrai

On most Labor Day weekends, American Legion Post 305 member Jackson G. Nyitrai positions himself underneath the Mississippi River bridge at Marquette, Iowa. His mission is to offer red paper poppies for a donation to those gathered at the annual flea market. An event that attracts hundreds of people.

This year rain fell for most of the day, making the flea market crowd run for shelter below the overhead structure. Jackson, a retired US Navy service member who worked on ship boilers for many years, collects monetary donations to help fuel the Legion's local scholarships and honor flights to Washington D.C

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

NE Iowa Beauty in the Valleys

This is not the image of Iowa that most people have of the Hawkeye state. NE Iowa was spared from the advancement of glaciers some 12,000 to 14,000 winters ago. Last Sunday following an early evening rain storm, the valleys west of Elkader filled with clouds. True to Iowa form, the 2018 corn crop can be seen in the foreground.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Foxtail in Late Summer

Beauty is all around. Example, here are a few stands of foxtail grass reaching for the late summer sun along the nearby rising Indian Creek. The grasses are quite common around this portion of eastern Iowa. Generally at this time of year the grasses are yellow and brown from lack of moisture. Not this year.

T-6 Awaits for AirVenture 2018 Landing Slot

At the Dubuque, Iowa airport (DBQ) a vintage T-6 waits for the landing slot at AirVenture Oshkosh 2018 on July 22nd. Annually, the North American Trainer Association (NATA), made up of T-6 pilots and owners, gather in Dubuque for association business and to practice takeoffs/landings and formation flying for EAA's Airventure in nearby Wisconsin. WWII-era T-6 planes from around the world come to Dubuque for the meeting and are occasionally accompanied by a few P-51 Mustangs and F-4U Corsairs. Watching and listening to the planes as they roar to life, circle overhead and trail smoke in various formations is well worth the trip to Dubuque. The event inside the hangers and on the tarmac is not open to the public except for viewing behind fences. Be sure to stick around after the T-6s takeoff for Airventure - a few minutes later the planes will be in formation, trail smoke and give Dubuque an aerial salute before traveling east over the Mississippi River.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Iowa Flag Still Flies Despite F3 Tornado in Marshalltown

Marshall County's Iowa flag flies above the courthouse square two days after the July 19th tornado. I don't know whether it survived the F3 winds or replaced the one that flew during the storm. One Marshalltown resident told me that the flag was still flying right after the tornado went through downtown.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Watching the Flying Past

A farmer whose land is located near the Dubuque Regional Airport (DBQ) watches 41 T-6s take off to join AirVenture 2018 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Annually the T-6 Association conducts meetings and practices formations at DBQ in preparation for a week's worth of activities at the EAA event in Oshkosh. The hour and a half flight of T-6s from Dubuque to Oshkosh generally commences sometime between 1:00 PM and 2:30 PM on the third Sunday of July. Stay a bit longer at the airport following the T-6 take offs. You'll see a special salute to the airport and community from these aging warbird trainers.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Factory Damage to Lennox International in Marshalltown, Iowa 7-19-2018

On Thursday, July 19, 2018, a F3 tornado damaged much of downtown Marshalltown, Iowa including the Lennox International factory. This clip shows the north side of the factory along East Main Street traveling west.

Lennox International Factory Damage from a F3 Tornado 7-19-2018

On Thursday afternoon July 19th, a F3 tornado struck Lennox International, severely damaging the Marshalltown, Iowa factory. This clip shows the office portion of the factory on the west side of the property. I'm told these offices were constructed in the 1920s and in later decades. You can see the damage to the offices as well as some of the factory collapse.

As of July 30th Lennox has pledged to rebuild the factory and donate $500,000 to the city of Marshalltown for cleanup and restoration efforts.

F3 Tornado Damage to Lennox International in Marshalltown, Iowa 7-19-2018

Aftermath of the F3 tornado damage to the Lennox International factory in Marshalltown, Iowa. The tornado struck on Thursday afternoon, July 19. This footage was shot two days later on Saturday, July 21, 2018. 

The clip shows the far eastern portion of the factory and the small brick house across the street. As of July 30th, Lennox has pledged to re-build the factory and has offered $500,000 to the general Marshalltown cleanup effort.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

A Photo from WWII Okinawa

At a recent estate sale I purchased several World War II-era photos which are attributable to John K. McCormick Jr., a former U.S. Army soldier who was stationed on Okinawa, following the fierce fighting against Japanese forces. Several images show day-to-day army life on the island, with only a few snapshots displaying air power. On the photo's backside, John wrote a sentence or two about the image's subject matter, adding to the overall record of the historic time period. As a Photoshop design experiment, I scanned John's photo and reposted the description content onto an aerial photo (different source) of the WWII Okinawa airfield. The final composite brings John's image into greater historical context. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Marshalltown Iowa Post Tornado Recovery

On Thursday, July 19th a F3 tornado ripped downtown Marshalltown, Iowa. Fortunately there were no deaths or serious injuries associated with the tornado but property damage was extensive including this 1880-era courthouse. It will take months and years before normalcy returns to the town of 26,000.

I took several photos of the devastation and posted them on Facebook. I will post several here.