Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hay bales

How many times have I wanted to stop and take pictures of the freshly rolled hay bales?

Well today: I did.
It was sunset. Mist rising from the fields fresh after a storm.
It was a moment not to be missed.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Co op

Co op.
That's two syllables. 'Co' and 'op'.
Don't say "coop", like: the chickens live in the coop, 'cause that's not what I'm talking about.

The co op in my small home town has been around for a long time, important for the farmers in the area.
I couldn't find any concrete historical information of interest, but I did find that estimated annual sales at the coop is $10-20 million.


And that's small town farming? I really have no idea of the value of these things, but that sounds significant to me.

I have driven past these silver silos, poles and pipes a million times. Usually, I don't even look at them.
Sometimes I wonder what all that machinery is doing.
Mostly when I go by, I'm just looking at the odometer to make sure I'm staying below the speed limit.
Because this is a fast paced world.
And I wonder how any of us are going to keep up.

The railroad

My grandpa tells the story that he used to walk down these train tracks to school everyday.
My grandma says her cousin used to work at the train depot downtown.
"There used to be a depot right here, too, around the corner" my Grandpa said as we drove past, "but I guess it's all closed up now."
"I guess everything's closed up now," said Grandma. "The grocery store, the post office, the school. Even the mill now."

The train does still come through town. Slowly, sometime before noon.
It stops at the co-op, to ship produce to wherever it must be needed. And then it moves slowly on its way again.
The slowness of a past way of life is leaving us.

Railroad TracksRailroad Tracks

Farm and fields

They're pretty. Even if not very exciting and don't give me much to write about.

Sometimes quiet is good.
Maybe you can hear the growing.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Van Gogh's brother

I read an article in the Hindustan Times and said to myself: "Oh no! I've been telling kids this is a painting of VanGogh himself! I've been misinforming them!"

The researchers' arguments as to why it's a picture of Vincent VanGogh's brother Theo and not a self portrait, as previously believed, are sound. So I looked around for some other news to see what the art historians were saying about it.
It seems most of them decided to agree. It's Theo, not Vincent.

In my other readings, though, I noticed something. The articles which included a picture of the painting in question were not showing the same one as the Hindustan Times, the first article I read.

Did the Hindustan Times get the wrong painting (the first one shown here is the one in the HT article)?
I believe so.
So now who's misinforming who?

Turns out I'm okay because I never told anyone anything about the particular painting that the researchers are making claims about.
Just in case being accurate about who is who in 120 year old paintings turns out to be important...which it's probably not.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Small town life

The streets are not busy.
There are few choices for shopping or dining out.
There are more farms than movie theaters.
You can drive your horse and buggy to the store.
You can stand in the middle of the road and take pictures, not worrying about getting run over.
Yes. This is small town life.
Though, my grandma tells me it's no longer possible to go to the store and expect to meet someone you know; it used to be guaranteed.
...but it's also likely she just doesn't get out much.

Grand Rapids--not a small town, in fact it's Michigan's second largest city--recently made a music video.
I heard it was made in reaction to Newsweek calling it a dying city. The city-folk wanted to prove otherwise.
And now the youtube link claims the video holds the world record for the largest lip dub.
This is what is cool in a small town.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Lake Michigan

Ah beautiful Lake Michigan. It's like a small sea in the middle of Midwest America.
Here it is in all it's sparkly goodness.
With a coldness that is not for the faint of heart.
I only put a toe in.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

That blue mailbox

Today I would like to honor the efficiency that is the US postal system.
With my history of receiving--and not receiving--mutilated and thieved-from packages in places outside the US, a quick, untampered-with bit of mail is right lovely sight.

Way to go, USPS.
And, Ben Franklin: good idea.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cow on a pillar

The Kansas City Stockyards: where you'd come to buy and sell your cows. Where cows became beef.
The giant cow marks the spot.

Here's a little bit of history trivia for you today.
Sixteen railroad lines converged here in Kansas City because this is the place you wanted to be if beef was your line of business. Bring the cows, sell the cows, slaughter the cows, pack the meat, and ship 'em out again.

The reason I took note of the stockyard area is not only because there's a giant statue of a cow high above the tree line, but also because it's kind of horrifying compared to the holy cow-ness of India. I've not seen a cow on a pillar here, but I wouldn't be surprised to--and for entirely different and religious reasons.

The cow--to eat it or to worship it.

Actually, I suppose there are those in America who "worship" their steak, burgers, bbq ribs...

Cow on a pillar. Thought-provoking.

Westport pioneers

We were looking for Lewis and Clark.
And this is what we found: the Westport Pioneers.
Alexander Majors, the guy who came up with the idea of the Pony Express.
John Calvin McCoy, the guy who founded Kansas City.
And Jim Bridger, whose claim to fame is being a "mountainman".

There was a map at their feet which did not tell us much about where we were or where we wanted to go.
But maybe it only meant to tell us where we'd come from, historically, that is.

Our stop with the pioneers was brief. Just long enough to leave with some fun pictures and a good memory.

City of fountains

I saw a sign at the Kansas City airport when we arrived that said, "City of Fountains".
I made up my mind right then to look out for fountains. And I did see a number of them.

Some were kind of odd.
As in: what is this guy doing to the horse? And why capture that in statue form?

Giant spitting fish aren't exactly common either.

I would be less surprised to find Zeus if this was Europe and not the midwest, Lewis and Clark territory. But okay, maybe a city full of fountains needs to come up with more ideas than the average city with fountains.

Anyhow, it makes for a fun treasure hunt.