Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hope's New Job

Hope started her new job today! She's working in admissions for La James Cosmetology College in Fort Dodge! As usual she will be doing lots of traveling this fall.

Our 1948 CJ-2A

I (Brian) bought a jeep today. Some people might not understand why one would want to seek out and purchase old looking Willys Jeeps. But look at the following photos and maybe one day you too could be a Jeep Junkie!

Here is a photo of the transmission and transfer case for the Jeep I purchased. A keen eye will notice the water marks on the garage floor. One might ask, "does a Jeep use water in the transmission and transfer case?" No, but the Jeep I just purchased had water in it.

One of the great things about buying an old vehical/Jeep is the little extra things you get without even knowing it. My Jeep came with ammo, tools, and pop tops from old beer cans!
Very clean interior considering being built in 1948!

Well here it is in all its glory. I won't do a total restoration on this one. I just want to be able to drive it and have it look somewhat decent. Next on the parts list are some seats and an engine. Hopefully the dogs like riding around in this one as much as they liked riding in the other blue Jeep left behind in Alaska.

Quick Trip to New England

I went to New England this weekend to attend my great uncle's funeral (Grandma Platt's brother Bob). It was a very nice memorial and I reconnected with family I hadn't seen in a long time. In addition, I spent some excellent time with both Grandma and Grandpa Ouillette and Grandma and Grandpa Platt. Here are some highlights from the weekend.
I picked and ate some tasty blueberries at both the Ouillette's and the Platt's.
Checked out Grandpa Ouillette's newest stonewall (building stonewalls is his hobby).

And helped Grandma and Grandpa Platt harvest from their garden.A quick trip, but I was very happy to be able to be home for Uncle Bob's memorial. Oh yeah, not shown (also a highlight) was the sprinkled donut that I ate from Dunkin' Donuts.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lightening Storm

We've been having a lot of thunder and lightening storms recently. Here's a photo I took earlier this evening from our front yard. Watching the storms coming over the fields is truly amazing.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Iowa State Fair

We took a drive to Des Moines yesterday to check out the Iowa State Fair. It was a cloudy day with some rain in the morning, so the crowds weren't bad at all. We started by taking a ride on the "Sky Tram", so we could get a feel for the layout of the place. The Iowa State Fair is huge! We spent four hours there and certainly didn't see everything there was to see.

Here are some shots from the Tram.

We also had to sample some fair good. We tried to find mac and cheese on a stick, but were unsuccessful. Thus we had to settle for more traditional foods. Here's Brian with a tasty Gyro and funnel cake. We also tried sweet potato fries and corn dogs (and thus were very full when we left).I liked checking out the animals best. Brian even humored me and we spent some time in the horse building (Brian's terribly allergic to horses...he sniffed a bit afterwards.) There was one building where they had lots of baby animals. In fact, all the baby animals are born while at the fair.
Here's a chick who has just hatched.
There were actually lots and lots and lots of chicks. Day-old piglets.A 2-day old goat (which acted just like a puppy...he was really, really cute)!Hello cow! Here I am petting a big cow (you can't see her calf, but they're both just hanging out letting people pet them).We had a great time! Anyone want to come visit next year and join us?

Justin came to visit

Brian's high school buddy Justin came to visit this past weekend. He could only stay for a night, but we managed to find time to take him to Rustix Restaurant (of course) and for he and Brian to play Heroes (a lengthy computer game). Thanks for coming, Justin!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Mattie's new trick

This is perhaps the greatest trick one can teach man's best friend. We're very proud.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Brusy Creek State Park: A day of hiking

Again today Brian and I were trying to get out of painting, so we decided to take Mattie and Dawson for a hike At Brushy Creek State Park, which is only about 30 minutes from our house. We walked for about 4 hours around the lake...but didn't get too far. The lake is about 700 acres, so we didn't make much of a dent in the 45 miles of trail. The lake is pretty and the trails are well groomed, as you can see in the photos below.
There were lots of interesting dead trees around like this one, so we assumed that the lake wasn't always as big as it is today. This tree was in several feet of water, with fishing boats navigating around it. We had a lot of fun...and managed to wear the dogs out. There's a large campground that allows horses in the area, so we had to keep the pups on leashes. I don't think that either dog has seen a horse up close before, so they were a little scared when we came upon several on the trail. Mattie was great...Dawson did some barking.
Here's Brian singing to the fields, happy to be out in the sunshine. Life is good!
And me in front of a soybean field we walked by, along with some soybeans up close. Very interesting. I always wondered what soybeans looked like.It was very hot, but luckily we found some excellent swimming spots for the dogs, so they didn't overheat like on our last walk. In hindsight we should have brought sunscreen- I managed to acquire a pretty bad burn. Brian seemed to be unaffected by the sun, probably because he spends so much time outside mowing the lawn.

Here's Dawson waiting for Mattie to get back from retrieving a stick. He lets her do most of the work and then tries to steal the credit. Eventually Mattie got her revenge..as you can see in the video below. Nice work, Mattie.

A very fun afternoon!

Ames, Iowa

Brian and I were trying to find something to do yesterday afternoon besides painting, so we took a quick trip south to Ames, Iowa. Ames is home to Iowa State University, so we thought there would be some interesting things to see and do. First, we drove around the University (Brian's dad's alma mater, by the way). Here's a shot of the stadium sign. Then we walked around mainstreet- which was lots of fun. We found a nice pub and sampled some of the local beers (and nachos). I had a rhurbarb beer, which was very refreshing. Brian tried the local amber...and approved (Brian seldom meets a beer he doesn't like). We popped into some of the art galleries and one very cute consignment shop where I found this excellent old barn window that I plan to hang in the living room. (I promised Brian it would look great...we'll see).
All in all, an excellent afternoon and wwwwaaayyyyyyy better than painting!

Crop Duster

On Thursday morning the corn fields around our house were getting some attention from a crop duster. It was really wild because the fields come right up to the edge of our property, so he had to fly over the house- just above the tree line. The pups didn't quite know what to make of it-- Mattie barked, but Dawson thought it was a good idea to hide behind me until the dusting was over. Here's a short video.