Back Sides

It’s just natural to focus on the front, you know….that part you can see in the mirror.  I remember someone at convention speaking once about front yards and back yards.  Everyone keeps the front yard looking well kept….but you really find out what a person is like when you look in the back yard..or something like that!  I was impressed with the back sides of downtown Ames a while ago.  The backs of these stores do face a municipal parking lot, but still, I thought the backs of the stores showed a nice sense of community aesthetic and responsibility.



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Flowers and thin air


So….Colorado….it’s……well…..quite different from Iowa, for sure.  It’s dry, it’s rocky, the soil seems thin and feeble and in many places, the altitude is high and the air is thin.  So why are the flower gardens more beautiful in Colorado than they are in the well watered mid-West?  I don’t know the biological or social science answer to this question, but the mystery got me to thinking.  Can there be too much of a good thing?  With ample water and high humidity, I know that plants can quickly succumb to disease.  What’s good for the plant is also good for the bug or fungus.  But in the dry, thin air of the West, perhaps roses struggle….and they win, because less can be more in many cases.  Less stuff, less junk, less clutter….just life and light equals amazing beauty.

Cow Fever



Cow tonguebaby cow

No, this is not some new disease. If you have it, you know it, and you never quite get rid of it. Mine started when I was in college at Purdue taking Animal Science 101 and had to spend a few hours at the Purdue Dairy Farm helping with milking. Cows…..they just rock. What else can I say? Big, sweet, friendly, laid back animals in a variety of beautiful colors and patterns, I never tire of hearing them yank some grass and chew chew chew. It’s such a peaceful sound. Then there is the sound of lazy tails swatting flies, huge deep loving eyes and tongues that feel like thick tickley duct tape. I love the smell of cows, the way they move, the way they casually check you out and then go back to their grazing. I love their adorable ears. And baby calves….well don’t even get me started!

These pics are from 2007 on a Sunday afternoon trip to Picket Fence Creamery for one of their tasting days. And speaking of tasting….ICE CREAM…where does it come from? Cows!


“Where is the green?” you ask. Well, if you have a true passion for green, for what plants do, this is IT….the reason for it all, what keeps it all going and yes, it’s actually pretty ugly, unless you are into tans and earth tones! The soybean fields are turning yellow now in the midwest, and when they are ready to harvest, they look like this, leaves shriveled and dead, little dry fuzzy seed pods full of hard nuggets of creamy gold. The source of animal feeds, soy milk, tofu and hundreds of other things that I am not even aware of. Our native ancestors probably ate corn and beans and buffalo. We drink most of our corn as colas sweetened with corn syrup and eat cow fed with soy meal. Anyway, I love the harvest. One of these nights I’ll have to go for a drive to see the combine lights at night and hear the whir of the harvest being gathered in.

Welcome Home me

I’ve actually been home from Poland for about a month now. The transition has been slow. It’s been nice to blog about it all…stretching it out as long as possible, but now it’s time to refocus on Ames and home and my responsibilities. I’m still not sure what my next step is, but I have the bills paid, suitcase unpacked and put away and I’ve gotten my computer going to work on my masters research proposal.

I’ve also been trying to work on the little investment things. You know, the little things that if you don’t do them, it’s really no big deal, but if you let them go for 2-3 years, they start to multiply like mice and all of a sudden you feel like you’ve lost your life: filing, planning for the future, deep cleaning, dejunking, making a medical records file, knowing the phone numbers for all your credit cards, making a photo copy of your passport, etc. I have been a Franklin Covey planning person for a long time, and yeah, usually about half my daily pages wind up blank at the end of the year, and I am trying to remedy that too. Just trying to get control in general. Like a good Covey girl, I’ve worked on my mission statement. For a while it has been: I own, manage and enjoy my life in tune with God. Lately though, I have been fiddling with the word “own”. It meant that I act responsible for my life, I don’t hide from my stuff, I own up to who I am, both good and bad, but really God loans us a life, so should I really think about owning it? Maybe a better word would be “steward”, used as a verb. So I am thinking about stewarding these days. I read in John this morning, 15th chapter, where Jesus said he would no longer call his disciples “servants”. He began then to call them friends. I like that term, the friends of Jesus. Maybe I should explore that idea some more too.

Sing your heart out!

Ok, I know Memorial Day is getting long past, but I still have a few things to write about the weekend. Have you ever heard a jenny wren sing? At my sister’s cottage, there are always what we call Jenny wrens, although officially I think they are house wrens. Tiny packages of bird, they are so full of energy and song, it’s like a non-stop one bird concert. I’ve never been sure what makes them want to sing like that, but whatever it is, I want some of it! Maybe being so small is such a blessing, it just makes you want to sing.