Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Crop Circle or Something Else Near Bertram, Iowa



Like the crop circles found in England this circular impression begs for an understanding from Bertram, Iowa. It is round in nature with no burn marks or related smells in the area. Could it be the work of aliens or natural earth-bound forces trying to tell us something? Despite those characteristics this meadow grass feature is probably a manmade harvest built by a nearby farmer and his thatching equipment. But, still...could it possibly be from another world?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Return of Air Conditioned Air


Ah, its finally back - the cool breezes of conditioned air. Thanks to the AC technician who came to examine why the older-than-it-should-be central cooling unit shut down on Friday evening. Turns out it was not a faulty compressor or blown fuse. The air conditioner stopped working because a mouse or chipmunk chewed some wires inside the unit. After replacing the wires and securing the housing, the AC unit roared back to life, hopefully doing its thing for the rest of the summer.

Monday, June 27, 2016

An American Railroad - Mixture of Media


Shiny rails indicate a still active rail line passing through Vinton, Iowa. The old Vinton Depot is a favorite photo target and is now a historical museum. The depot building, which was once part of the Rock Island Line, will be featured in a future posting but for now I am quite taken by the detail in this image.

On a rail bed, called ballast and made up of hard rocks typically quartzite, is an almost submerged cedar or Douglas fir tie. Upon the tie is an iron brace which shores up the rail line. Two railroad spikes anchor the brace on the exterior of the track. There is an interior brace and spikes opposite the exterior brace however they cannot be seen from this viewpoint.

One can often find spent spikes or brackets along the tracks, garage sales, thrift shops or as repurposed artwork. Technically these items belong to the railroad and are often rounded up near the tracks and hauled away for salvage.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Monday, June 6, 2016

Love 'em or Hate 'em


An annual validation of Spring. Mow them or let them be? Doesn't really matter. They will be back again.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Union Pacific Pulls Empties Back to Wyoming Coal Country


Union Pacific's locomotive 7271 pulls a long line of empty coal cars through Mount Vernon, Iowa westbound. More than likely the UP is on its way to the coal fields near Gillette, Wyoming. At the end of this train was another locomotive pushing this long line of empties.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Springtime Cloud Building in the Neighborhood


Nothing like a cool front pressing through the region to build these cumulus beauties in the late afternoon. While the sun was setting to the west, these clouds developed ahead of the front. Storm clouds in the west moved in two different directions on Monday evening. These pillows of white were the best, most dramatic of the bunch.