Thursday, June 28, 2012

Goshen Fleetwood RV Rally and Fleetwood tour

Expensive computer technology and router with one of the employees
who uses the equipment and visually inspects it   He told us it was a massive
improvement from the old days where 8 would be needed to do what the
equipment enables one person to do.
Touring the Fleetwood RV plant yesterday in Decatur, IN was interesting with a great deal of walking and some of the people at the Rally are marginally mobile. All three tour bus options, Tuesday-Thursday were sold out with a waiting list.  I did consider scalping our seats for a good price, because we are often in Decatur and could do this on our own.  Well the facotry tour is something we have talked about doing for years, when we stop in Decautr but it is always relegated to the next time which next never comes. Having the opportunity for the tour here at the Fleetwood Rally was the remedy, so I did not scalp our seats.  Some people declined to get on the bus after it was explained they'd be walking for a couple hours after a two hour bus ride. DUh! What did they expect? Did they not read any of the registration material?  Perhaps they thought there would be scooters to escort and drive them through the factory?   It seems people pay no attention until reality smacks them in the face or falls at their feet in this case.   
Jerry near some wiring harnesses inthe plant wearing
safety goggles we all donned
Upon arrival we were greeted in the massive breakroom, gathering place and given safety goggles which we would wear at all times in the plant. Fleetwood  separated us into 6 groups about 10-12 of us  each and introduced us to our guide, who was a line manager or shop supervisor and who'd escort us through the entire mfg process.  All the guides wore red shirts, seen in some photos below, kind of an alert to the floor--"Tourists coming through!" Each group started their tour in different wings of the plant so we would not be a full busload of gawkers descending upon the workers at once which could be a distraction in a plant that is prideful of its safety record.  

Steering mechanism installed on the coach
Another shop supervisor explains processes for
installing side walls and cabinet
We were also cautioned to be aware of moving equipment and forklifts and the like.Our tour guides herded us carefully and shifted us aside to allow the forklifts to race by.   Three people from our group dropped out halfway through; they went back to the lunch room where they waited on the rest of us. They said they couldn't walk any farther. That was a good thing because they were the same who would not pay attention to the speakers then would ask dumb questions on the shop floor about something that had been covered. Questions to understand or to learn are OK, but to talk  to hear oneself is tiresome to others.  It takes all kinds! I wanted to thump these people on the head. This is why it is often best for me to participate in group activities; I have no patience for idiots. 
One lady may have some dementia or Alzheimer's. She wandered in the break room at first and  her husband had to fetch her. He doesn't seem all that well himself and may be in denial about whatever is best for her. Seems a factory tour would not be something for her.  She sat at our table when we arrived across from us but with a man who was not her husband. Thought perhaps she knew him but when the man's wife arrived with the woman's husband following along it became evident they were unacquainted. The other woman asked her to exchange seats to be with their own husbands. The demented one just stayed seated staring. Her husband switched seats with the other man but the woman just continued staring. It was obvious to a couple of us that she had something wrong which became more evident. I have sympathy for her husband but what is he thinking taking her into unfamiliar surrounding?  As I said he does not look all that all right himself, and remember these folks are driving RV’s!  The other couple began to say rude things about her so I walked over to them out of earshot of the demented one & suggested they might consider that she is unaware what is happening and suggested she had issues. This seemed to embarrass them both as  they gasped & said they'd not figured that out.  With this muttering they promptly went to another table. Maybe they thought this dementia contagious?  Maybe they wondered about me?
I chuckled later about this unfortunate situation. Think about the humor here.  Is that what's ahead with our age group? Like mainstreaming the Developmentally Disabled? Mainstreaming the demented here come the boomers!
Multiple Daily Information
I was most interested in all the shop floor data, measurements, analysis in constant quality improvement and their full adaptation of Kaizen, Japanese data driven processes. I studied all that in CA ; even attended seminars with the guru, W Edwards Deming. Governor Pete Wilson charged several of us from multiple agencies   to improve state government using these methods. There were some  substantial improvements in services such as at the Dept of Motor Vehicles but really it became an absolute exercise in frustration with most of the bureaucracies. Bureaucrats were so data resistant--when we'd show improvements by educating the workforce they were amazed.  I could write a book about many of those efforts, not all were successful but there was more than ample frustration for all. . As many of us feared it became fad du jour and today not one lasting effect remains. 
Four years ago in WY at the initial Fleetwood Rally Executives of AIM, the corporation which bought out Fleetwood addressed our group and promised improvements and absolute attention to customers. Ahh music to my ears.  I recognized the techniques they said would instill to revamp & revitalize their industry & ensure top quality. So today we see it in full practice in the consolidated Fleetwood operations in Decatur. And watching full blue collar staff enthusiastically explain data measurements shows that data based decision making modeled after what Deming taught the Japanese to reconstruct after WWII, was a testament to the process. The photo of the MDI wall to the left is only one of many all through the plant.  Each morning as their shifts start, all the employees gather at the board, go over the data, talk about the goals for the day and after they all stretch and move through some warm up exercises they go to work. 
Jerry inspecting the wiring harnesses behind him
Jerry was very interested in much of the construction materials and processes for the coaches. I did not at all like the Laminating wing--very noisy & dusty there so I told our guide I'd scoot thru and wait outside. Well Decatur has a population of 10' & Fleetwood employs 1100 so it's important to the community. Many families work there & our tour guide was 2nd generation & his son now also works for Fleetwood. Reminds me of the old PA mills--Alcoa, PPG, steel and I think of all my family who worked there.  The Fleetwood plant is very different though with staff wearing shorts and tennis shoes.  On the bus ride back to Goshen I thanked the Lord that I never had to work in a plant or factory. Not for me. 
Two of our plant tour guides with some of our group
outside the door of the laminating wing.  Very dusty and
noisy in there 
There is more railroad activity in Goshen than I knew existed. The railroad runs next to the fairgrounds. So all night we hear trains. The worst were dueling train whistles at night, a language I am sure the conductors understand.  We have become used to it and slept through it last night or was that the effect of little sleep the night before and a very busy day. When we attend events like this Rally we realize how easy our routine daily schedule is at home.  Here the day can start at 7:00AM gathering for breakfast and continue through 10:00PM.  We select activities to allow for some free time to visit vendors and still try to cram in as many seminars as we can.
This is a sign I saw immediately when we entered the plant.  I had
to photo this while laughing.  Don"t you know someone who
could be sharpened?  Send them to Fleetwood in Decatur.
  The plant guide was curious what was funny to me.  He sees
this sign all the time and didn"t find it odd.  He explained that there is a company
who comes in to sharpen equipment and this was to be sharpened.  I laughed.

One of the coaches with the tape and layer design painting
At first I thought this was Steeler country--go black and gold
But it is just the design team at work, notice factory casual dress

Last night’s Rally dinner for over 500 of us was good but to bring some semblance of order to getting food from the buffet, tables were assigned numbers which were randomly drawn and called for to get food.  The man who had this task asked a 10 year old girl, who was likely a bored grand daughter  to draw and call numbers.  Some people bring their grand children to these events, most do not.  Most of us are quite content to be empty nesters.   The caterer had set up 3 tables of food but the child responsible for the Table bingo.was not aware that more than one table seating 8-10 people,  could be called at a time.  Someone finally explained 3 or 4 at a time would work and that speeded it along.   

Then we had a great time entertained by Kenny Evans who entertains at Pigeon Forge, TN and who sings all the good 50”s 60”s oldies from the Diamonds to Roy Orbison to Elvis.  A fun time with some of us dancing in the aisles and wearing off our dinners.  I saw another strange (to me) sight—a man from Ohio who wanted to dance with his wife who adamantly did not.  He was up to his feet swaying along and begging her to take a spin, she finally agreed. Most men are reluctant dancers if at all, Jerry is in that group.  This man was different.  
Today was a barking dog day--over 100 degrees with a hot wind.  Our coach Air conditioning is cooling the coach and here we sit to recover from several trips to seminars.  It was  just too daoggone hot to leave and flag down a golf cart transport down to the seminar building, so we skipped one on Alaska, which we really wanted to catch.  Really, manybe not--the 5 minute walk to the buildings in 100+degrees even with potential to see glaciers on the big screen will be another day and or we can talk to the vendor at their booth.  . By 4:00PM the bright sun is a downer! Even the Amish bakery declined to show up today to sell their baked goods.  Tomorrow will be better and it does cool way down to 50 or 60 degrees at night.  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Two short days on the road has us in Goshen, Indiana at the Elkhart Fairgrounds with perhaps 600-700 other owners of Fleetwood motor homes from all over the country and Canada for our 4th annual Fleetwood Motor Home Owner's Association Rally. Our next door neighbors are from Ontario, Canada.   Finally the Association has begun to collect annual dues which has not appeared to decrease attendance.  Fleetwood has been very generous sponsoring the rallies so there is no downside  and most easily afford the $20 annual pittance.  I found this great blog which tells lots about Goshen and has some dandy photos which I do not yet have to post
This was an easy trip, a fun time 463 miles from home only 9 hours and 20 minutes driving time over two days.  We see the decrease in gas and diesel prices and a corresponding increase in traffic as families take to the highways.  In May we filled up at Flying J in South Beloit WI at $3.85 per gallon with our RV discount card and yesterday it was $3.40 per gallon, cheaper than regular gas at home in La Crescent. Do you think with the decrease in cost of fuel  that other prices will come down just as they escalated with the rising cost of fuel?  Don"t hold your breath as Mom used to say. That'll be the day!

 We found a delightful RV spot off I 80 in Utica, IL where we stopped last night, Hickory Hollow RV.  We seldom travel I 80 coming east but this trip it was the easiest route.

We thought we would be early because the Rally events begin tomorrow evening, so arriving today was  a day and half ahead, but others were already here.  Maybe 2/3 of expected attendees are already in place.  Tomorrow AM we board a charter bus to the Fleetwood Plant in Decatur to  tour the factory where our 2nd homes are manufactured and put together. We stop in Decatur almost every trip going east and we have said many times that we  should take the factory tour.  Do we?  No, so it was offered tomorrow and Thursday from the Rally and we will take advantage of that which means an early AM rising as the bus departs at 8:15AM.  That early curtain call is a challenge for the likes of me who has become accustomed to sleeping  in almost to 8:00AM and it's a challenge for Jerry who is accustomed to imbibing his entire pot of coffee and reading  a newspaper before he ventures into the shower and then begins his day.  We notice many RV'ers are early to bed and early to rise, but we have overcome that.
I continue to be amazed at the number of these people who cannot or choose not to walk short distances to the rally events in the buildings, , and or who all ride scooters or golf carts rather than get a little bit of exercise walking.  So there they are almost immobile and then they climb behind the wheels of these big rigs!  Something in not right about that, there should be a licensing and testing of RV drivers just as there are with truckers.
It has been very dry here in Goshen where rain is badly needed (but not while we are here)  All the lawns are brown, dried up and the farmers are irrigating their crops. This reminds us of northern California where everything is brown after spring unless irrigated.   Meantime Florida is getting the Debby Deluge.  Mama Nature is just not fair.  We are now adjourning for the party  forming outside as the sun goes down, it is warm here. Bad new is 101 degrees  predicted for Thursday!  That's just too hot for me, but without rainfall it should not have the accompanying Indiana humidity, still hot is hot and I don"t like it.   I"ll be inside at the activities in the heat of the day.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Recycling the Death Jar

Japanese beetle
 I despise nothing more in the garden than the miserable creature,  Japanese beetle species Popillia japonica.  It is about 15 millimetres long and 10 millimetres wide, with iridescent copper-colored elytra and green thorax and head and was 
detected in New Jersey in 1916, having been introduced from Japan.

 I was feeling smug about my  rose gardens this year until just yesterday when I thought I saw one, then decided no, the body on that critter was not iridescent.  But that sighting raised my antennae to full alert status so last night on my patrol of the garden I looked carefully and crap, there was a Japper.  I cut it in half with my clippers and felt a great satisfaction.  We have had two days of hot humid weather and maybe that"s why they have arrived.  I did more internet research always hoping there may be a newly discovered cure but as of today, not so.  

One of the best sites for me was the University of MN extension where I learned these things feast on foilage of more than  300 species of  plants.  So much for other advice online to cultivate plants that the beetles avoid--we'd have to eradicate all our landscape and woods.  I also learned that this is the time of year they visit, last week of June or first part of July and so there was no need for my smugness.  They were merely awaiting their cue, as with everything else this year, they are a bit early.

Look carefully there is what will become my
first Japanese beetle death jar occupant this year
My day began early for this longest day of the year and one quick trip outside,  I knew it was time to bring out the Death Jar and invoke my killer, show no mercy persona.  

These beetles are laziest in the early morning hours so that's when I find it easiest to  swat them into the Death Jar.  Apparently they are late sleepers.  These pests are dominant only east of the Mississippi, so I did not encounter them in CA.  From my studies as an ARS (American Rose Society) certified consulting rosarian in CA and an advocate of not spraying pesticides that can be harmful to the rest of the environment, I adhere to a studied Integrated Pest Managment approach.   I do not spray  toxic insecticides because we have so many bees, birds, garden and tree frogs, toads, dragon flies and other Mother Natures good guys that I do not want to harm.  Besides I have long believed there l really is nothing to prevent nor cure the invasion of the Japanese beetles. 

My introduction to Japanese beetles was long ago, as a toddler in PA, I remember my grandma Rose would put a pail in her garden with water and kerosene into which she would drop the beetles, and which she sternly told me to not ever go near or I would catch on fire.  It was one warning I heeded because they were ugly and  stinky and since she did not like them I wanted nothing to do with them.  I remember her determination fighting these beetles by checking her roses and garden at least three times a day.  When she found them they went swimming in the pail.  If they fell to the ground she stomped them. Sometimes I'd spot  for her and race inside to "tell on the bugs"  she would come outside in a second and  catch them for the pail.   When the pail was as full of the uglies as she could tolerate, all contents, dead beetles and liquid were tossed onto Granpap's burn pile, I suppose the kerosene helped ignite the flames for their cremation.   

Oh no she has the Death Jar
Today nurseries sell Japanese beetle traps but my research shows they are not worthwhile.  The beetles have been  known to escape the trap (they don"t escape my Death Jar) and the scent of them attracts others.  Once they are in a neighborhood they spread and unless everyone attacks them and keeps after them, they have arrived.  One interesting tidbit about them is that it is not unusual for this pest to be abundant in one part of a town and not others, now that is just not "fair" to quote the occupant of our White House.   (Clue:  nothing is fair in life)  Just get over it!

Here are the first swimmers of this morning
Notice how they cling to each other
so they float together.
Here in  MN I find myself plagued with the   beetles.  Similar to my Grandma I I patrol my garden but I have a Death Jar (an old plastic Welch's Grape Jelly Jar that I save each year.  When I see a Japper, it's time for a swim.  Some say to  plop them into soapy water, but plain water is all I give them and sometimes a rose petal falls in with them.    Then I put the cap on the jar and let it sit in the sunshine, baking them one on top of the other.  I imagine their screams, "oh no she has returned with the Death Jar."  I would like to imagine that they would be so terrified that they would flee from my roses.  I would be merely hallucinating.   

Death oven baking
Better Homes and Gardens advice is: " The beetles release chemicals called pheromones into the air. These pheromones attract other beetles. So if you see a few of the bugs, they'll probably attract more. Get rid of Japanese beetles early, before they can invite more of their friends to feed on your plants."  So today was early detection and strike with a vengeance.  At last check not a beetle in sight, but there willl be no rest and I really fear leaving them next week when we  depart for our trip.  Last year my next door  neighbor called me, frantic, "Come see what bug I found on my flowers...."   I recognized it right away as a Japanese beetle and was surprised she did not know because she is a native of these parts.  She said she would get some spray but I told her there is nothing that works and that she should begin to harvest them and  showed her my  remedy but she was grossed out looking at  the Death Jar.  Later on she showed me the various sprays she'd wasted money on to no avail.  I warned her to save her $$ but she did not listen.  She has grandkids around and I find it potentially dangerous to have such spray poisons around children. 

The Gardens alive website offers various techniques, the most comical of which are 3, 4, 5.  I have added some comments to their advice below.   This is not rocket science nor gourmet cooking preparation.  
1. Hand picking can be very effective. Get around their ‘drop and roll’ defense by snagging them early in the morning when they’re slow and sluggish. Place a pan with some soapy water in the bottom below the infested area, reach for the beetles from above, so they can’t fly away, and they’ll drop right down into the water. (My comment who needs soap?)

2. Smother the beasts with a spray of good old insecticidal soap. Just be sure to spray the beetles, not the plants; soap sprays have to coat the bug to be effective.  (My comment,  right they hate a bath!)

3. Plug a vacuum cleaner (preferably a shop vac) into the nearest grounded outlet and hose the little nasties up like they was dust bunnies under a couch. (My comment, uh huh and to say nothing of vacuuming up leaves and petals too.  Oh I can just hear Jerry when I fetch the shop vacuum.)

4. Make beetle-repelling “bug juice” with your catch! Whiz a handful of the sucked-up beasts in an old garage-sale blender with a pint of water (this alone should make you feel much better!), strain the resulting slurry and spray it on your plants. Old time farmers swear that pests won’t go near plants that have been sprayed with the remains of their relatives. (My comment uh huh a blender for beetles...who"s  writing this Ima Gaarten?)

5. If you’re a wuss (or only have one blender), try making a more congenial repellent by whizzing up two cloves of garlic and a hot pepper in that pint of water instead of the pests. Strain, add a drop each of dishwashing soap and vegetable oil (or better still, insecticidal soap and horticultural oil), and spray it on the plants under attack early in the morning. (My comment,  we are not cooking  or manufacturing here and if this were so agriculture would have vat sized blenders to whiz up repel insects of all types...)

6. Or cut to the chase and soak plants under attack with one of those commercially available garlic sprays designed to deter mosquitoes; see last week’s Q ( for all the details. It should work even better than a home-made spray, AND the area will be free of biting bugs for a couple of weeks as a bonus!  (My comment, we live in  mosquito land, they are the national bird of MN.  Believe me garlic does not deter them)

7. If nothing less than an insecticide will suit you, make it a non-chemical, non-toxic one. The natural product Neem—derived from an Indian tree—should kill any beetles it hits and act as a ‘feeding deterrent’ to repel future attackers. (My comment  I have found Neem to be useless for everything else.  I suspect it is useful in making $$ profit for the sellers.  Better to do nothing and save your $$)

8. Birds DO eat Japanese beetles. So create a beetle buffet by placing birdbaths, feeders and nesting boxes near the plants under attack. And don’t chase away starlings! These so-called ‘pest’ birds feed on both the adults AND their grub-babies in your lawn!  (My comment, well we have and feed every bird known to the area including the gold finch nesting in a decorative by our front door.  I have never seen a bird after these bugs.)

One spray of the Kiss Me shrub rose
So I will continue my patrols, it keeps me busy but at least while we are home I can save some of the bushes from the gnawing of the beetles. 

Local deer have been so far successfully repelled by the Crop guard spay so Kiss Me, one  of Bambi's favorite snacks is blooming in glory this year.  Some sprays have 15 buds and blooms, I did get tired counting.  And the slight sweet scent is a reward to inhale/ 

But I did see that  another front hosta provided a munch for Bambi overnight.  Isn't it always something with nature's creatures?

Kiss Me Shrub in glorious bloom

Monday, June 18, 2012

La Crescent Generosity

Park alongside the new pool
Where we live,  the economy is not nearly as bad as in other parts of the country, it"s the thriving Midwest, where the restaurants and taverns are booming even though the cost of gas is up and so it the cost of everything else.   People of the Midwest are known for generosity and thinking about others, sharing, etc.  So a year ago when we had a local referendum to increase property taxes on  those who reside in the city limits to fund a new community swimming pool it passed.  We did not vote for that referendum because the cost of repair was 1/3 the cost of new and besides, we firmly believe users should support such an extravaganza, not just burden the property owners, most of whom will not set foot inside it.  This city already has a hockey rink and golf course that are drains on the treasury because the fees do not support the maintenance of the facilities, so a new pool is bound to add to a greater cost draw down too. 

One benefit  of the pool is that while the  line forms to enter, kids can use the park right there  and its accouterments.  This morning some Moms waited with others who were not in swimming lessons.  We have many nice parks in La Crescent that get little use.  I mean who's going to set out amidst the mosquitoes?

Nevertheless, the referendum passed, many  saying, "well the kids need it."  Oh baloney and humbug says those of us who have no kids, but we are now contributing with a higher tax  payment.  It was only a week after its passage that the old pool was opened ready to go another year, did anyone  raise an eyebrow at that coincidence, no! Although it was perfectly clear that  the property taxes would increase this year, many paid no attention until they received their new tax bills and then it  was, "what's this!"   And, comments like, "I didn't know it would cost me $$."  Oh pray tell, you thought Santa Claus would pick up the cost for the good little boys and girls?  And so this summer when we are home, and the pool is only several blocks away, I intend to get  a bit of our money's worth.  Two years ago I took a water aerobics class and enjoyed it so I signed up again this year, classes on Monday and Thursday 5:40-6:30PM. 

Check out the great double slides, which folks
say rival what is at the Dells, a spendy place
The pool opened June 9 and a day last week I took my morning walk over to the pool just to check out the lay of the land.  It is no longer just a community swimming pool; we generous taxpayers have subsidized an aquatic center no less.  Those of you who live in bigger metropolitan areas likely pay $$ for memberships or daily passes, but our generosity allows $2 per day for residents and $3 for non-residents.  In this area, non-residents come from across the river in La Crosse, WI because this facility is cheaper than  what they pay across the river in their state.  I told you we are generous, especially spending someone else's $$.  Sound familiar?

Keep an eye on the boys at the fountain
All this leads up to what I have discovered.  Yes it is an aquatic center and lovely.  And that morning many children were either in the pool, awaiting their entry or watching and waiting their turn as it was time for morning swim lessons.

 I gotta say, I got a big kick out of watching the kids, still not sure if this is worth what it costs me, but enjoyment is not cheap.   And for any grandparents who want to watch the days entertainment such as the couple entering there with their backs in the photo, there are rows of very nice lounge deck chairs.  The place really has something for all, an expanded diving pool, a climbing wall, the big slides which empty into another large area and a few  lanes for lap swimmers who will have to get there during restricted lap time only as the kids are invasive.

Here's a crew just anticipating the wet.   See the chairs

This is the expanded kiddie pool, twice the size of what it was
with a large Apple tree playhouse.  Notice one little guy is quite reluctant to
join the others.  "Mom, I don"t want to go!  Nooooo"

Diving pool and climbing  wall to the right of boards,
center of this photo
As I observed, I noticed some boys barely able to contain themselves from jumping in.  But their instructor was adamant, "not till I tell you."  BTW we are employing over twice as many lifeguards, etc for this as the previous.  Great youth summer employment but more cost.  When the instructor gave the, "OK  get in the pool"  all the boys jumped from the side.  Except one, who jumped forming a cannonball, the choice of boys down through the ages, creating a big splash.  To this there were giggles from the boys and "aaws" from the girls.  The young man  instructor said, ""I have told you to get in normal" and the human cannonball shouted back, "Well that's normal for me!"   It was hilarious.  

The boy who will become the  human cannonball is  in the middle,
camouflage suit between two girls.  This class has two  teen instructors
and the lifeguard perches in her chair
  I wandered back out still laughing at the waterpisodes when I heard the young gal who had a class of children detained in front, it was not yet their time to enter.  I could hear the kids, mostly boys again, "why can' t we go in?  We wanna go in and just watch.  Puhleeeeze, let us go in"  I'm thinking to myself that some young instructor is earning her pay.  As I walked out, I remembered this group of boys were there when I went it, so no wonder they are impatient.  They are about 5-6 years old and all little boy, one little girl has a need to oversee and the young instructor is sitting down.  I heard her say, "OK guys just sit here with me until it"s time"  And see those boys at the fountain?  Not having it!  "Nah, we want to get wet!"  And so they busied themselves splashing with the water fountain.  Problem solved as they giggled, I did too. 

"C'mon boys just sit here awhile..."  "Nah, we want to get wet!"

So it's time to walk on back home.  Across the street, at Breyers, a local business,  the John Deere's are lined up waiting for buyers, oblivious to the splashing fun going on so close.  Breyers sells and services mowers in the summer and snow blowers, removers in the winter.  Locally owned and operated for years.  Next door was the old family home.  The old folks are now gone and I went there when they held an estate sale.  Just looking.  It is a neat old  house with an upstairs deck.  Something different. It looks like they have not sold the old homestead but use some of it for the shop.   Dave, the owner, has other talents and often sings with his guitar on a morning radio show, especially around holidays when he may have more time.

And speaking of something  different on south 7th street is another small house with an unusual lawn decoration, perhaps they are retired dairy farmers. 

This ends the introduction to our La Crescent Aquatic Center and adjacent sights.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Walk with me

Red Knock out roses  adjacent to  salvia in the front rose garden
This time of year, I love to be outdoors and keeping up with our landscape & floral gardens give me ample opportunity.  I have been fighting some aches and an annoying flare up of that  right Achilles tendon, but when I say fighting, you know me, I will not take this sitting down.  So rather than Curves workouts, which I am about to give up because I cannot get in there at the time I'd  prefer and because it is so beautiful around here,  I have been walking in the mornings.  The high school is about 1/4 +mile from our home and there is a wonderful quarter mile track around the football field that makes it easy to monitor the distance, so on mornings when I don"t feel like venturing uptown and farther around the neighborhoods, I head to the track.  Sometimes I bike to the school and lap it on wheels and then head to the track.    Because I have had so little time to blog, I took some photos the other morning to show you where we live and so today, walk with me as I log another  mile and half before patrolling my landscape.  It really is beautiful here in our corner of the country. 

I love the AM shadows from all the trees. 
Down our driveway to Cedar toward south 14th
New neighbors  will be next door, Maders daughter.
Dianne and her hubby who are also Morrison's will
be the new residents.  This is good, they are about our age,
empty nesters but it will confuse the post office to have
Morrisons two in a row.

It doesn't take long to reach So. 14th.  There is our local Community
Center, aka Hockey rink and fields to the left

Turn right and we are on South 14th
We  cross to the sidewalks on South 14th and go along

Wild flowers anyone?  A sweet scent wafts up.

Approaching  our destination, the track

On the right is our local La Crescent High school, back side

Now we are closer and ready to cross the street

Right across the street and past the fence, the track awaits

Enter and begin the serious swifter walking  This is a gorgeous
rubber based track and I have it all to myself

Some hurdles left over this we go

Almost to the first curve, looking back toward So. 14th
 from whence we came

Second curve going down the back stretch looking toward stands

Lap 1 done,  to the right off track are more sport fields and hills

Lap two we can go faster now
We have warmed up

After four laps and we head back down south 14th

Along the way home, this grass caught my eye
The phone pole appears to have an eye on me

Yellow mallow with salvia has me singing Mellow Yellow
Such are the entertaining thoughts that can enter on a
pretty sunny quiet  morning.  It's a good and bad thing I don"t walk with
earphones or any attachment.  I can be content with my own thoughts

Approaching Cedar to the right, Hockey Rink to the left
Still quiet on the roads and all is well

Home again home know the rest.  Inside a K-cuppa will  be
good, hazlenut this morning I think

We still wave old Glory