Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pasture Drama for a Little Calf

Last evening in a pasture near Coggon, Iowa a small herd of cattle grazed on late June grasses surrounded by corn fields. This little calf (center) walked away from its mother (right) near this spot. The curious calf jumped up and ran around in circles eventually flushing a nesting red-winged blackbird. Being very territorial, the bird swooped and started harassing the calf. The calf ran away and began to cry out, baaaa-maaaa. "Mom" hurried over and stared down the drive-bombing bird while the calf nestled next to mom's protective cover. After the bird flew off, the brave calf emerged and reclaimed his hard won pasture spot. Know that.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

2011 Quad Cities Air Show - Part 2

The Quad Cities Air Show held in Davenport, Iowa last weekend included a variety of aircraft and flight performances. Precision parachuters battled moderate winds on Saturday. Their skills enabled the team to land on target.

The Lucas Oil barnstormer made incredible turns, stalls and dives. And like many of the performers did so with a trail of smoke to highlight the flight characteristics.

A rare jet assisted glider also wowed the crowd with its graceful climbs and dives performed much slower than its propeller counterparts. The jet engine was not engaged during loops and drives but turned on to regain airspeed for the next set of performances.

The sturdiness of a World War II Stearman is tested by a low level pull out.

Another World War II trainer showed the crowd the difference in technology between the Stearman and this A-6 Texan. Know that.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

2011 Quad Cities Air Show - Part 1

Last weekend an air show in the Quad Cities (Davenport, Iowa) took place for the twenty-something time. Its claims to be the third largest air show in the United States and featured, among other exhibits, the US Navy's Blue Angels. Half of the show consists of static displays. Above is some type of Navy helicopter that was in the process of balancing it's side fuel tanks and was guarded by the local Civil Air Patrol members.

Another static display at the show was this World War II era Avenger. This craft carried a torpedo and was used primarily in the Pacific theater. This particular plane is in immaculate condition.

Spooky is a C-47 transport plane used near the end of WWII and converted to a machine gun platform used in Vietnam. This plane was called in, usually at night, to a target area, circled the target (known as orbiting) and discharged its twin side mounted machine guns downward. This measure usually decimated the jungle and allowed for other attack aircraft to conduct missions.

A-10 Warthog jets have been around for years. They are used in the Middle East to destroy tanks and provide cover for troops on the ground. The two engine nacelles allow the plane to linger over the target area.

The Quad Cities Air Show offers site seeing for many people. Willy the dog however, was not allowed on the show's grounds but hung out in the parking area with his owner. Both enjoyed the aerial portion of the five hour show. Know that.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Flag Day 2011 - A Sioux City Salute

Flag Day 2011 over Sgt. Charles Floyd's grave site located south of Sioux City, Iowa. Sgt. Floyd was a member of Lewis & Clark's Corps of Discovery. This flag represents the number of states that made up the United States at the time of his death in 1804. Know that.

Monday, June 13, 2011

On the Road to the Witness Tree

In 42N country's western Illinois, there is a country road with huge vistas of ankle high growing corn. Take the time to follow these roads, sometimes you will be surprised with what you find.

This boulder is placed just off of County Road 1210N, northwest of Neponset, Illinois. It makes the location of the first white settler's cabin in Bureau County. The Studley family established a log cabin on this site in the fall of 1837. From the looks of it the boulder was recently placed here. 

Around the corner from the boulder or about three miles south of Mineral, Illinois on the east side of County Road AA is this giant burr oak tree. Native Americans of this area used it as a meeting place. The tree received its name because it was a witness, or reference point, for surveyors of the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railroad during the building of the railroad through Mineral Township. Additionally the nearby landscape is in a state of reclamation from coal mining operations performed a hundred years ago. An interesting area indeed.

Take US Highway 6 or I-80 just a few miles from this location and you might never know about these landmarks. If you have the time (and gas) take the road less traveled. You'll still get where you are going but will be more knowledgeable for the effort. Know that.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Rain Slows National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library Move

Yesterday's 95F temperature made moving the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library only 200 feet a slow process but that was by design. The building is designed to move at 1/8th mph. The plan yesterday was to move in a straight line then pivot for the next phase. The pivot was not completed due to heavy rains and hail that fell mid-evening.

Today's forecast includes rain and temperatures in the 70s. Steel plates placed on the ground yesterday for traction will not be as effective in providing support for the multi-ton structure with rain. Since the building won't be pivoted today, workers organized things and re-checked the 40 sets of wheels below the museum.

Workers told me that this process of moving the museum will be a several week process if all the weather conditions, mechanics and personnel cooperate. In the end, the Czech Village area of Cedar Rapids will once again have a world-class museum dedicated to a portion of the city's heritage. Know that.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library Moving Day

Nearly three years ago to the day (June 13th) the Cedar River flooded Cedar Rapids to heights not seen since the glaciers melted around 42N country a little over 10,000 years ago. One casualty that day three years ago was the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library. River water crested about halfway up this structure. Fast forward to today. After nearly two months of rain delays the museum rolled off its foundation and stopped 200 feet to the north in a move to relocate the structure.

The structure is being moved to its new home this week and will be lifted 11 feet atop a new parking structure. This allows for the building to remain in the city's Czech Village area and will minimize any possible future river flooding.

Structure mover, Jeremy Patterson and company from cable TV fame (TLC's Heavy Haulers) is here in Cedar Rapids with his talented crew to move the museum. The move is also being video tapped for a future show.

This afternoon the packed clay dirt was reinforced with steel plates. These will serve as a road to pivot the museum from its present location to its new home.

Crews worked this extremely hot afternoon by turning 40-some wheel pods 90 degrees in preparation of arching the path of the building in the next phase of moving the museum. A severe thunderstorm this evening may delay the pivoting on Thursday but the project will move forward. Know that.