Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cruising the River in a 1963 Corvette

Weekends in 42N country include an age old custom - cruising in your best car. This 1963 Chevrolet Corvette has had one owner and is in near mint condition. The light blue colored sweetie was seen resting along the Mississippi River at Guttenberg, Iowa this weekend. Its owner says that he usually tells women that he was born in 1963 just like the year of the car. They usually laugh and say that he is 63 years old. He laughs back. In any event he has a beautiful car that cruises every May - November to avoid winter salt. Know that.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Crop Dusting Near Amana, Iowa

July is crop dusting (or spraying) time in Iowa. Here in Amana, the grass strip airfield hosts a couple of sprayers from various parts of the country. Pilots and planes are rented by farmers to deliver bug management applications on grain crops in these latitudes. Then the pilots move on to other jobs in the area or region. The pilot's skills are airshow worthy, dangerous and fun to watch. On this particular occasion the pilot tested some fix to his plane before filling up with spray and flying to the job. Know that.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Once Upon Somebody's Home

On the road from Central City, Iowa take the road southeast to Waubeek. Here you will discover this framed farm house circa 1880s. Looks like the current landowners stay next door in a brick home but preserve this structure, although barely.

The north facing porch vaguely resembles the home that Iowa native Grant Wood painted in the American Gothic scene. That famous home is located in southeast Iowa some eighty miles away near Eldon.

Still, you can imagine that this rural Central City house was once brand new over a hundred years ago, perhaps occupied by a farm family and flourished for many generations. It was once somebody's home. Know that.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Goose Neck Corn

Last week's severe wind storm (July 11th) produced damage to buildings and crops in northern sections of Linn and Benton counties of eastern Iowa. Wind can cause corn stalks to bend close to the ground. When the stalks re-right themselves, the resultant shape looks like a goose neck. Many times this condition is found along roads or open areas where the wind can blow on unprotected stalks.

These particular stalks look to be fine. Other stands we observed last weekend were more severely deformed. Some stands were already chopped by farmers for silage. Know that.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Clydesdales Parade through Czech Village

The Budweiser Clydesdales return to Cedar Rapids, Iowa after nearly 30 years. This time the six horse team pulled the King of Beers wagon through Czech Village, across the Cedar River and finally stopping at the new restaurant, Capones. 

Hundreds of people lined the nearly 100 degree street to witness the brief parade. Hey, what else do we have to do in this hot and humid summer weather?

Bennie, an eight-month old Mountain something breed was the hit of the pre-parade. He made friends quickly and did not harass the horses.

At the end of the parade, a special clean-up vehicle made frequent stops to keep Czech Village tidy. Had the tavern owners along this street obtained permission to sell beer outside, the weather and the horses would have made the case an easy sell. Know that.

Iowa Braille School Damaged During Wind Storm

Iowa Braille School in Vinton, Iowa lost a portion of its roof and many trees during the severe wind storm on July 11, 2011. Six days later the 42N crew observed utility crews restoring power and construction teams stabilizing the structure. The entire town is in much of the same condition.

The school for students who are legally blind provides housing, skill development, educational training, and other services. Perhaps its most famous student was Mary Amelia Ingalls, sister of Little House on the Prairie author Laura Ingalls Wilder. In her books Laura writes of Ma and Pa taking Mary by rail from De Smet to Vinton where she learned how to be productive without her sight. Know that.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Corn Crop Continues Growth at Sand Springs, Iowa

So far so good during this growing season. At Sand Springs, Iowa, hay is mowed and corn is looking pretty good at 5 - 6 feet tall to date this growing season. Blue American Harvester silos were generally put in place around the 1950s and 60s throughout the region. While the wire-bound concrete silos were built in the 1940s.

Another common sight in 42N country are seed corn signs like this one near Hopkinton, Iowa. Pioneer Hi-Bred International is one of the largest brands in the Midwest. Signs are placed along roadsides to show potential customers that this field is doing just fine by the genetics of this seed company. Although mostly made of plastic now, older versions of these seed signs were made of metal and are quite collectible, like gas or oil company signs. Know that.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A week ago on July 11th severe straight line winds damaged portions of Iowa's Marshall, Tama, Benton and northern Linn counties. Wind speeds researched 135 mph for a short time. Overall damage consisted of uprooted trees, destroyed grain bins, downed power lines and damaged homes. During a short drive to Vinton, Iowa the 42N photography staff took images of what the area looks like almost a week after the early morning storm hit.

A few blocks south of the downtown area in Vinton are large ornate homes over a hundred years old. Many of these homes experienced damage from the winds. Century old trees were also toppled. A radio report pointed out that nearly 50 percent of Vinton's trees were destroyed.

In Dysart, Iowa farmers burned debris damage. This particular farm sustained heavy damage to its bins, barns and out buildings.

Aside from seeing metal fragments of grain bins scattered in open fields like downed satellites, there was this site of round hay bales resting in the road ditches. Very unusual. 

In Garrison, Iowa the local library sustained loss of their roof and second floor. What a mess. Corn crops showed signs of wind damage and some were re-straightening themselves with a bend at the base - something that is called "goose necking" by farmers. It will take months to clean and restore structures from the damage. Hopefully the bins can be restored before the fall harvest in a few months. Know that.

1990: Hello People of Iowa from Paul McCartney

Twenty-one years ago today the 42N staff sat in Cyclone Stadium in Ames, Iowa to hear legend Paul McCartney and his band sing for 2-1/2 hours. This clip is from the opening set of the concert. Paul and his 1990's band are clad in those beige suit jackets reminiscent of Paul's Shea Stadium concert with his other band back in the 1960s. Like any good Iowa summer night the humidity was high and so was the temperature (and probably a lot of fans too.) Jackets came off fairly soon after this song as this was the media set - got to look good for the cameras.

Twenty-one years later Paul is touring the USA this summer to these venues:

Sunday 24th July 2011 - Comerica Park, Detroit, USA
Tuesday 26th July - Bell Centre, Montreal, Canada
Wednesday 27th July - Bell Centre, Montreal, Canada
Sunday 31st July 2011 - Wrigley Field, Chicago, USA
Monday 1st August 2011 - Wrigley Field, Chicago, USA
Thursday 4th August 2011 - The Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, USA

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Stepping in Class on the Mississippi

During last Saturday in Clinton, Iowa, a country-themed wedding took place. Part of the event featured a photoshoot along the Mississippi River levee. While I was there to photograph interesting river traffic, the wedding party assembled near where I was stationed - must be a popular spot. From there I took a few photos of the approaching party before the professional showed up. I think mine turned out better. Know that.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Raise Your Hand if You Like Baseball

The debate continues about whether baseball is still America's past time. I heard the topic repeated today on sports radio. Some say football has replaced baseball. In fact this week's All Star Game received the lowest television ratings ever - beating last year's record low and refueling the debate. In the end its all entertainment either way. For the most part the chance to watch a team or player compete in any sport, especially if you are a fan, is a great way to be part of a community while living the wins and forgetting losses. Besides if you have any really old sports equipment you may make a few bucks by selling them off. Know that.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Ain't She Sweet

You all know those horror movies where the camera pans through a nighttime bedroom of a child. All is quiet. Then the camera pans over to the toys where you see various playthings including dolls, all quite still.

The predictable screenplay then shows a doll or dolls glancing in various directions. doll's head turns around or her eyes open. By this time the viewer is ducking or turning away from the screen anticipating what pending horror is next. 

None of the previous happen during this doll shoot. It was just an interesting collection of the same sized dolls, all facing the different directions. Did you see that one just turn? Know that.  

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Glance at the Past

Welcome to the world of 3D as seen a hundred years ago. This device which can be bought on the street for $80 (more or less) lets you see a postcard image of a scene from two slightly different angles. The result is a 3D view of the world in the early part of the Twentieth century. Many scenes were of far off lands, some scenes were religious in nature while other images were of then famous people. Imagine seeing Howard Taft or Teddy Roosevelt in 3D. Whatever. Stereo images are highly collectible as is the viewer. While the images are not animated, the sensation that you will receive when viewing is one of being present in a scene from another time. Know that.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ashokan Farewell Played in Mount Vernon, Iowa

The theme song from the 1990 PBS television show, The Civil War called, Ashokan Farewell is played by entertainers at the Mount Vernon, Iowa Antique Fair a few weeks ago on July 4th. A crowd gathered around to hear them play the hauntingly beautiful theme, then curiously dispersed. Perhaps it was the effects of the sun or the time of day, but people only stood long enough to hear the familiar song and not for the less known tunes that followed. Know that.

Prepared for Mechanical Failure

At the Monticello, Iowa fly-In last Sunday a pilot hand starts his plane to leave the airport before a line of thunderstorms rolls through. He is wearing a blue parachute harness as a precaution to inflight equipment failure. A few minutes later he departed without issue ahead of the rain. Hopefully the pilot and plane will return to next year's breakfast fly-in. Know that.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Gitmo Bay's AT-6C Texan Displayed at Monticello Fly-In

At the Monticello, Iowa Fly-In this past Sunday was this AT-6C "Texan" aircraft with US Navy markings. Built in 1944 this particular plane served with the VC-10 attack squadron located at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In a couple of weeks the trainer will be in Dubuque, Iowa with other AT-6s before heading to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for the big EAA show. Know that.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Of Mice and the Moon

A waxing Moon rose this afternoon which coincided with my discovery of this article from the Clinton Morning Age, Clinton, Iowa, March 4, 1904:

"A curious Indian legend was told to some people in Omaha by a full blooded Sioux who lived at the Pine Ridge agency.

He said the belief was that every time a new moon appeared it was a signal for all the mice in the country to gather themselves together in one spot. When they assembled they then separated into four great armies. One army went to the north, another to the south, a third to the east and a fourth to the west. These armies of mice traveled until they reached the point where from the place of starting the heavens seemed to touch the earth. Then they climbed up the sky until they came to the moon, which, by this time was full.

All of the four armies then commenced nibbling Luna, and when they had eaten her all up the mice would scamper back down the heavens to the earth and wait for her to show herself again, when the journey and the nibbling would be repeated by the mice, and this is what the Indians of early days believed was the cause of the moon growing old and finally disappearing." Know that.

Monday, July 4, 2011

2011 Independence Day - Mount Vernon, Iowa

A shop owner proudly displays Old Glory draped on lattice board and backlit by the sun in Mount Vernon, Iowa. Happy Fourth of July USA. We are 235 years old today.