VEISHEA and ISU’s Lake LaVerne

It’s greening up nicely here in Ames, Iowa!  Today it was marvelous to just watch leaves blow in the wind.  I love green lace time when tree branches are like nurseries full of baby lacy leaves, but today the leaves are like teenagers, big enough to blow around, wrestle and interact with the big blue sky.

Here are some pics I took a week or so ago during ISU’s own home brewed celebration called VEISHEA, a word made up from taking the first letter of each of the colleges that make up the university.  Our little Lake LaVerne  next to the Memorial Union is one of my favorite places on campus.  During VEISHEA there are canoe races and students and visitors  sitting around the lake to watch.

Calling Laura Ingalls Wilder fans

While my son was growing up, we read the Laura Ingalls Wilder books aloud to each other, probably several times for each book.

This winter, as the snows kept coming, I got a yearning to read The Long Winter again and the agronomist in me became re-fascinated with the idea of Pa and Laura twisting slough grass into sticks to burn after their coal ran out.

At Purdue I learned about alfalfa and timothy, but slough grass hadn’t been covered.  Just what IS slough grass?  I still don’t really know the technical answer to that, but I do think I have a picture now!  After our picnic at Briggs Woods park, we slipped off the road to Baurer Slough.  It was still pretty brown and bleak looking, but I hope to go back when it is green, and maybe sometime when it is teeming with water fowl!

I’m guessing this is similar to Laura and Pa’s coarse slough grass.

I wonder if Laura would be honored or amused to know that in 2010, we are talking again about using grasses for fuel…not twisted sticks of slough grass, but cellulosic ethanol!

Spring picnic

The weather was still gorgeous on Thursday, so Steven and I drove north on highway 17 to Briggs Woods county park for a picnic.   First we stopped at Wheatsfield’s, our local food co-0p, for some picnic food: Thai tuna burgers, ginger slaw and a delectable cold linguine with cashews.

I love these little remnants that show the scallions and even whisps of seaweed!

Briggs Woods Park was lovely and I hope to go back there to explore some more. The park has a lake, a tiny sand beach, a paved trail, three shelters including this barn, and is paired with a golf course.  There are also campsites and a couple of small cabins to rent.

Iowa State University

Probably one of the most important reasons I chose to come to Iowa State University is the beauty and small size of this large university campus.  Yesterday the temperature climbed into the high 70’s and everyone on campus seemed to be in a state of bliss!

The Campanile was providing a concert.  There was the fragrance of grilling coming from somewhere.  Students were hangning out on the steps of Curtiss Hall and sprawled out on the warm grass.

The little blue flowers were peeking out from under the brown leaves.

It was a perfect day in Cyclone country!