Archive for the ‘weather’ Category

Dismayed isn’t the right word; neither is disappointed. Disgusted is more like it.

With summer heat approaching, Dave and I went to our storeroom over the garage to retrieve our fans. I couldn’t believe it when I saw them… they had not been stored in garbage bags, and upon looking at them, I knew why. I had NOT cleaned them before I put them away last fall.

Years ago we did not have air conditioning… on purpose. We built a new house in 1977 and did not install air conditioning; I was afraid our boys would not play outside if we had air conditioning. Finally, in 1994 we installed central air. Then, the next year (1995) we sold that house. The air conditioning in our next house died our first summer, thus we purchased two AC units in two years.

We were accustomed to using several fans. We still use fans to help circulate the air in our house. Many people use ceiling fans. We only have one. In several rooms, we still use oscillating fans. Currently, we use six fans. Every fall when we finish using them, I ALWAYS clean them and store them in garbage bags.

In 1985, after our house fire in December 1984, we purchased all new fans. They were easy to take apart and clean. As each fan died, we replaced it with whatever kind we could find. Most have been easy to clean. Over the years cheaper construction has become obvious in the noise produced and in the ability to dismantle and clean the fans.

My task now was to clean the fans. One purchased last year would not come apart at all, and another could only partially be dismantled. This is when I realized I have never used our air compressor. Our son, Randall happened to be home (he and his family live 2 houses from us); he gave me an air compressor lesson so I could blow the dust from those fans. Then, I realized Dave has been helping me with one of the other fans, using zip-ties to hold part of it together. I’ve never used zip-ties, either. Randall helped me find them and showed me how to use them. And, I thought with all my years of experience, I could clean the fans myself.

With Randall’s help, mission accomplished. The 1995 air conditioner was replaced in 2011 and with 6 auxiliary fans, we are good to go for 2013 summer heat. I’ll bet I will clean the fans before storing them this fall, and this time I’ll know how to do every step of the process.

I like to learn something new every day!


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Weather anomaly!

Seven inches of snow by the end of the two-day storm on Friday, May 3, 2013! I thought such a thing was impossible.

However, this spring I’ve been researching a family story from 1907. As the story goes, when Clint and Laura Cox with 5 small children (including my grandmother, the oldest at age 10, left on May 1 to spend the summer with relatives in western states, ending in Oregon, they had to take the bobsled to town to catch the train because it had snowed so much. I was skeptical and checked the local newspapers to verify that they had received enough snow to warrant using a bobsled to go four miles to town.

It turns out that 1907 is sometimes referred to as “the year without a spring.” March was unusually warm, but was followed by several much colder than normal months with freezing temperatures and several late snowstorms. Much of that weather anomaly is attributed to the Ksudach volcano that erupted on March 28, 1907 in Kamchatka, Russia causing climatic changes in a large section of the mid-section of the North American continent.

I keep waiting to hear why we have had such a cool, unending spring in 2013, but no one seems to mention a valid reason. In the meantime, this is a spring to remember, most of Iowa and a large part of the Midwest experienced this unusually late spring snowstorm.

By Sunday evening the snow had melted.

May 3, 2013 Seven inches of snow!

May 3, 2013 Seven inches of snow!

Our back yard

Our back yard

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Over the last 2-3 days southern Iowa has benefitted from 5-7 inches of rain. Yesterday afternoon, Dave left work at 2:00 so we could make a Lineville cemetery stop prior to going to Allerton for a special dinner. Not only is everything very soggy after all of that rain, yesterday was a cold 40 degrees with a strong, blustery northwest wind.

Just travelling to southern Iowa can be a challenge after such a downpour. Whitebreast Creek and the Chariton River nearly always flood after heavy rains. Several roads are low grade and water usually goes over some roads… which just happen to be on our route to Lineville and Allerton.

Yes, we could have gone many miles out of our way on I-35 and Hwy 2 to reach our destinations, but that just isn’t our way. We knew Hwys 34 and 65 were closed at Lucas. So we decided to test whether we could go through Lacona and south of Chariton on Hwy 14. I kept checking my iPhone; Hwy 14 seemed to be open. Dave even asked at the courthouse in Chariton; Hwy 14 seemed to be open. So we headed south. We didn’t find any road blocks where we expected, so we kept going. We came to the vulnerable section. We saw local officials monitoring the situation, water lapped along the road and across part of the road. We were allowed to cross and drove through an inch or two of water; no problems. Whew!

We drove on toward the cemetery at Lineville. It always amazes us. The gravestone topper that we left on Dave’s grandparents’ stone nearly two years ago was still there! Dave removed the old flowers and wired a new silk flower arrangement to the saddle. Ordinarily, we spend some time walking around the cemetery, but not today. The waterlogged grass and the bitter wind just were not conducive to a leisure stroll. We’ll be back on a better day.

We stayed on hard-surface roads as we drove around Lineville, Allerton, and Corydon and arrived at the Old Time Soda Fountain just ahead of the 6:30 dinner time.

These dinners are held at interesting venues. The event is the South Central Regional Partnership annual dinner and is sponsored by a local Presbyterian church. This evening was sponsored by the Allerton United Presbyterian Church. Dave started going when he was on Session at our church; now we both attend. The sponsors create opportunities for participants to learn about their community. Last year we toured the Sprint Car Museum in Knoxville. Another year we visited the John L. Lewis Museum in Lucas.

The Old Time Soda Fountain in Allerton is amazing. The building probably dates from the late 1800s, though I forgot to ask. Restoration efforts are progressing. The soda fountain itself is restored original equipment (estimate was $9,000, actual cost just to restore that piece of equipment was $17,000). At one time during the restoration process a large exterior wall collapsed and the owner group struggled to find someone who would tackle that rebuilding project. The original shelving is currently being stripped of several coats of paint and the original wood is emerging. Currently, the group is raising money to remove the false ceiling and reveal the original tin ceiling. The group’s efforts are commendable! For a town that could appear dying, community projects keep the sense of community alive and add quality of life value. The Soda Fountain is open on Saturday nights from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.

Former Allerton Presbyterian Church member, now a resident of Centerville, Nancy Bennett gave the program on Walldogs International. Her group started in Allerton in 1993 when a group of international artists worked to improve the town’s appearance with painting murals on some of the buildings. Since 1993 the group has worked each year in a variety of communities in several countries, though many are in central United States. Interesting how this international group is rooted in Allerton’s efforts to keep their community alive.

From Allerton our dinner group moved to the Prairie Trails Museum in Corydon. Dave’s mother loved this museum in her hometown; Dave and I have visited it previously. On this visit we were impressed with the building additions and the expanded exhibits from our previous visits, but Dave and I were tired. We accepted “rain-check” tickets to come back on a different day.

It has been nearly two years since we’ve made this trek, so if the day had been beautiful, we wanted to visit other family sites, as well. Maybe next year, when we are both retired, we can make it a day trip.

In the meantime, as we continue our sorting projects, we saw potential homes for some items we have. We have some glass milk and cream bottles, as well as some old glass pop bottles that the Old Time Soda Fountain expressed interest in. The museum in Corydon is looking for items from the 20th century and we have several items from Dave’s parents that could be donated to that museum.

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