Monday, June 17, 2013
A nice short visit to the farmers' market would do anyone good--loading up on baked goods, rhubarb, and hopefully a few geraniums and tomato plants. And I was really hoping the casual passerby would load up with geraniums and tomatoes, for my visit to the farmers' market was anything but short.
Thursday I had received a message from a friend who owns a nursery/greenhouse. It's getting late in the season, so she was wondering if I knew anyone who would be interested in taking some of her flowers to a farmers' market and splitting the proceeds 50/50. It sounded interesting to me, so we picked flowers up at the nursery, grabbed some rhubarb from our garden, and headed to the Eldora Farmers' Market which opens at 4:30 p.m.
I was less than delighted to see a large selection of flowers already at the farmers' market, but my flowers were prettier (in my opinion) and our prices were very low; so I paid the $15 (per season) vendor fee and set up, selling a geranium or two in the process.
Geraniums sold for $2 per pot, Roma tomatoes for $0.50 a plant, and 4-packs of Huskie Red tomatoes, red salvia, (purple) evolution salvia, various colors of petunias, and dusty miller for $1.00 each.
To our right were a couple ladies selling homemade bread. We bought a loaf of their cinnamon oatmeal raisin variety--it was scrumptious! The next vendor was a lady selling brownies and more bread. My papa purchased a plate of brownies for us to snack on while we waited for customers. Needless to say, it didn't last for long.
To our left was a lady selling Middle Eastern cooking. I tried some of her flatbread, and that too was delicious! If you're looking for good home-cooked food, look no further than an Iowa farmers' market!
We had a few customers who each bought 1 or 2 plants each. Papa and I decided to set up our chess board and play a few games to pass the time more quickly. Right in the middle of a captivating game, a lady came over and started choosing flower after flower. She was our star customer of the day, purchasing about $30.00 of plants, so we stopped the clock and helped her load them into her pickup truck.
When the farmers' market ended for the day, after paying the greenhouse owner's half and tax, I was just a few dollars in the positive. We still had plenty of plants, so we decided to try the Iowa Falls farmers' market Saturday morning.
*Beep-beep-beep* is not the most pleasant sound to hear on Saturday mornings, but I heeded the message of my alarm clock, and we were soon on our way to the Iowa Falls farmers' market which opens at 8:30 a.m.
After a rainy night, it was a pleasure to see the sun shining. The only other vendors were the lady we had bought brownies from in Eldora and the man who sold flowers in Eldora. This morning the lady had a nice selection of breads as well as brownies and zucchini bars. We chose another plate of brownies and a loaf of banana nut bread, which was scrumptious.
My sister and I brought a couple books to read to make the time go by faster. We were able to sell some flowers and tomatoes, and by the end of the day I had just about broke even (after the entry fee, which will cover the rest of the season)
Thank you to my friend at the greenhouse! It was a good experience, and I had fun.
I learned that if you want to make money as a vendor at a farmers' market, it will take persistence, patience, and a good book to read. It's not likely you'll make a great profit the first time you visit a farmers' market, but if you come back for a second and third time, you should gradually make a small profit.
I'm not sure if I have the persistence required for success in this field, but should we have extra garden produce this summer (as we usually do), we now have a place to sell it--the farmers' market. I also know that if I'm in the mood for delicious baked goods (without making them myself) the farmers' market is the place to shop!
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
There's an old story about a couple with a leaky roof. The wife told the husband, "You need to fix the roof; it's leaking!" "Honey, I can't fix the roof now," the husband replied, "it's raining." After the rainstorm stopped, the wife asked the husband, "Would you fix the roof now please?" The husband replied, "Why do I need to fix the roof now? It's not leaking." The next rainstorm it leaked even more. The scenario was repeated until finally not just a little leak needed fixing; the entire roof needed to be fixed. I'm not sure if they finally fixed the roof or decided to move to the barn, but this story clearly demonstrates the evils of procrastination.
In Proverbs 24:30-34 Solomon relates, "I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: so shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man."
Yes, we have the instinct of self-preservation, and we try not to hurt ourselves; but often we fall victim to the vice of procrastination and hurt ourselves by missing out on much that life has to offer. "Just 15 more minutes of sleep!" we say as we hit the snooze button on the alarm clock. We finally wake up a half hour later and realize we missed out on a beautiful, invigorating sunrise walk. "Oh, I'll do my studying later!" we say, and we flunk the test. "I'll make things right in a few days," we think after wronging a friend. The days pass, then the years, and we find we have no friend. "The weeds in my garden can wait!" we declare, and pretty soon we have no garden, only weeds. "I need to conserve my energy, Why give my all at work? " we may think, and before we know it, we're fired.
Laziness and procrastination are expensive habits; we pay for them in everything that is most dear. If we indulge in these habits we lose time and money, hurt relationships, and fail in life.
Colossians 3:23 instructs us, "Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord." Put your heart into your endeavors, start with the little things, go on to greater things, and when the roof leaks....fix it!
Monday, June 10, 2013
Jesus Christ said in John 8:23, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
Pilate said, "What is truth?" and condemned Jesus to be crucified.
Like Pilate, many find it easier to lethargically accept lies and acquiesce to the mob rather than to seek the truth. Even if the truth is plainly before their eyes, often they will reject it. Winston Churchill observed, "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."
Why? The truth is not always pleasant. The truth is that life won't be easy.
The truth is that life will be hard, but God will give you strength and grace if you realize your own weakness and trust in Him.
The truth is that people will fail you, but God never will.
The truth is that you will have to work hard to find success. Only if you realize this will you be free to rid yourself of the vestiges of lackadaisicalness which hold you back.
The truth is that you can never be "good enough" to get to heaven. Only when you realize this can you accept God's gift of salvation. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6)
Without the truth, all is anxiety, doubt, and obscurity. Seek the truth in every situation you encounter. Seek the truth in all you hear and do. And accept the truth no matter how difficult it may be.
My prayer for today is, "Lord, 'send out thy light and thy truth; let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.'" --Psalm 43:3
Thursday, May 23, 2013
The third stop of our trip, just 6 minutes' drive from Pioneer Park and in front of the capitol building, was the State Historical Museum. The museum, open from 9 AM to 4:30 PM Monday-Saturday, has no admission fee and occupies the spacious State of Iowa Historical Building.
Upon entering, the visitor is confronted by a huge skeletal mammoth replica and a decent selection of bones and bone replicas.
In the adjoining room, there are Iowa starfish fossils. The American Mastodon femur (upper leg bone) shown below was found near Algona, Iowa.
We saw Native American headdress and clothing, and tools of the pioneers--including a collection of millstones. Native American and pioneer themes can be found throughout the building. After seeing a 2-row planter and a 1 furrow plow, I'm sure all farmers are thankful for their modern farm equipment!
The coal mining exhibit was in a dark room made to look like (guess what?) a coal mine. Nearby, a film played telling the history of coal mining in Iowa.
Wildlife displays were next. The moose behind me are from Alaska and Minnesota.
The 520 pound male bear lived in Grand View Park, Des Moines in 1916. There were numerous bear sightings in Iowa during the 1800s and early 1900s. Also on display were elk, buffalo, Iowa brush wolves, wild turkeys, prairie chickens, hawks, foxes, and raccoons. It was interesting, but also evoked the inevitable "Poor animals--why did they have to be stuffed?" feeling (especially the little fox kits and fledgling hawks).
Upstairs there was an insect display with butterflies and insects from Iowa as well as exotic butterflies from Peru, Malaysia, Taiwan, and the Philippines.
The section of spruce below is from Washington state. It was unloaded in Des Moines by mistake on its way to the 1893 World's Exposition in Chicago.
Currently, the museum has a temporary exhibit on the Civil War. The exhibit depicts camp life and has special sections for weapons, prison life, and civil war music.
Across the hall is a room specifically dedicated to the Confederacy.
These flags, which read "Independence or Death" and "Southern Rights" are 2 of several southern flags displayed in the room.
We were pressed for time and therefore skipped a visit to the library and historic preservation rooms on the first floor, instead heading upstairs. From the staircase, we had a good view of the three vintage airplanes suspended from the ceiling.
The Solbrig is a benoist biplane that was built and flown Oscar and Mary Solbrig in Davenport, Iowa before 1910.
A Curtiss-Klein pusher (1910) is on the left and a Bleriot XI monoplane (1909) on the right.
Aviation buffs can also find a Hat-in-the-Ring painting made from a scrap from a wing of one of Eddie Rickenbacker's planes. (Rickenbacker was the top American ace in World War I, leading the Hat-in-the-Ring squadron). You can also see the jacket that Colfax, Iowa native James Norman Hall (a friend of Rickenbacker's) was wearing when he was shot down and crash landed in Germany during World War I. (James Norman Hall became a successful author, writing many books, including Mutiny on the Bounty).
(Ouch...I'm sure glad Jimmy Hall survived that one!)
On the second floor there are many beautiful portraits of famous Iowans as well as paintings by famous artists. In the museum there are also musical instruments including an organ, bugle, and melodean--an instrument developed in the 1840s as a more affordable alternative to a piano.
Other interesting artifacts include Daniel Boone's rifle, a pair of glasses that once belonged to Abraham Lincoln, and a rocking chair President Theodore Roosevelt sat in on a visit to Iowa.
A pretty wedding dress caught my eye as well. Around the time of World War II there was a silk shortage and the bride-to-be could not find silk to make a wedding dress. No problem! Her prospective groom was in the air force and flew over his fiancee's house, dropping a parachute to her father. The dress was made from parachute silk!
The museum covers life from cradle to grave. In search of an old-fashioned hearse? The museum has that too--you'll just have to find a horse!
Need to find an iron lung? Let's hope not! But just in case...
And who could live without a Frank-A-Matic? Oddly situated in the museum right beside the iron lung, this may not be as much of a life-saver, but it certainly was a time-saver!
Used in Des Moines in 1964 by the meatpacking industry, the Frank-A-Matic could stuff and link 35,000 frankfurters and sausages an hour.
The third floor of the museum houses a silver plated ware collection and Barratta's restaurant.
By the time our self-guided tour was over, it was near closing time. After a long day, our feet were tired. We had a lot of fun, and the trip was very worthwhile.
We bade farewell to the beautiful golden-domed capitol and headed home.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Our next stop Saturday was Pioneer Park Shelter #3 for the Des Moines Time Odds Blitz. Unfortunately traffic was heavy and slowed us down considerably.
There was no time for lunch; we jumped out of the van just as the tournament director Hank Anzis was finishing the pairings for the first round. "Here's the Carsons!" Hank said, and walked right back to his computer and re-did the pairings; we were so happy not to have to sit out the first round!
Time odds blitz means that players with lower ratings get more time to think while players with higher ratings have less time. In this tournament the lower rated player always had 8 minutes to start with. If his/her opponent was 500+ points more highly rated, the opponent would get 2 minutes, with a 400-500 point difference 3 minutes, 301-400 4 minutes, and so on until a player rated between 0-25 points higher would have 8 minutes.
There was no delay on the clocks as that would defeat the purpose of the time odds. This is called "sudden death;" if you run out of time, you lose. Unlike most chess tournaments, this tournament was not touch move (you touch a piece, you have to move it), but clock move (you hit your clock, your move is sealed). There were a couple other rules slightly different from regular tournaments. After the rules were reviewed, the first round started.
My first game I had 3 minutes as my opponent was much lower rated. I was fresh and have a lot of practice with speed chess from my games on FICS, so I won without spending a whole minute.
My second game I had only 2 minutes, so it was harder; but my opponent lost material and had a tough time. The third game I had 6 or 7 minutes to my opponent's 8. I was playing an experienced opponent closer to my rating, Steve Jacobs. I focused on moving quickly in hopes of equalizing the time so he would be under as much (or more) time pressure as I. Eventually, I won.
A promotion to board 1 for the 4th round meant playing Eddie Divonavic the highest rated player at the tournament. The time odds were in my favor (I had 8 minutes to his 5), but he won easily anyway. The next game, I was demoted to board 2 where I faced Matthew Jacob. He pressed home an advantage and won.
The final round I played Ana, a rapidly improving scholastic chess player who tied for 2nd at this year's Iowa Girls Chess Championship. Early in the game I was pretty sure I had the advantage. However, under the time pressure I carelessly left one of my rooks unprotected. Ana recognized the opportunity immediately, and I (poor me!) was left without a rook. After that, the game was all hers, and she brought it to a quick conclusion.
I was delighted to see my brother win the tournament, and it was a pleasure as always to meet with the old faithfuls--fellow chess-players whom I've seen at tournaments for years. Many thanks to Hank Anzis for directing. Time-odds blitz is definitely a fun way to play chess, as it makes games between players with large rating differences more challenging. My dad remarked that it was one of the funnest tournaments he's ever played in; I have to agree that it was up there near the best.
Future time odds blitz tournaments will be at the same place in June, July, and August (see here for more info).
We stopped in a shady spot for a quick lunch, and then returned to the busy streets, driving toward our next destination...
Photo credits: Thank you to my dear mother and Christine Denison for photos. Other photos are my own.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Saturday we took a trip to the Des Moines area. The first place on our schedule to visit was the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum at Camp Dodge in Johnston. The museum contains the largest military weapons collection in Iowa and is open Monday-Friday 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. and Saturday 10:00 to 4:00. There is no admission fee.
We went through security at Camp Dodge, and soon realized we should have asked the guard where the museum is. After a little wandering, we found someone who directed us down a road to the museum. On the way, we saw national guardsmen/women training and drove past the barracks. Later in the day we could hear target practice.
We were greeted in the museum by a retired sergeant who had told us of his experience in the armed forces , and explained to us the meaning of the gold star. The blue star was placed in the windows of families who had a member in the service and the gold star was for mothers whose sons had died in the service.
The first room we toured contained a gun collection. There were revolvers, dueling pistols, flintlock pistols, anti-tank guns, rifles, mortars, incendiaries, and grenades.
On the left you can see among others a M1917 Smith & Wesson revolver (.45 caliber, 6 shot) and a M1903 Colt .38 caliber. On the right there's a Spanish .54 caliber flintlock pistol (1780-1850), and a German 13mm percussion dueling pistol (muzzle loader) (1830-1870).
In the next room there was a collection of civil war era lances and swords. The Gatling Gun (above right), a forerunner of the modern machine gun, is from 1883.
There was a separate display on each war the U.S. participated in.
|1917 Machine gun ammunition cart and 1898-1909 German light field howitzer|
There were helicopters, a Humvee, a half-track, and a jeep.
A Curtis P-40 B fighter plane replica hung from the ceiling. At the push of a button by any passerby, a sound track would play of the plane going into a dive: then lights would flash from the replica guns and you could hear them "fire."
In the submarine room you can find controls and monitors (and an informational video) as well as a periscope which gives a view of the street outside of the building.
The display on the most recent "Global War on Terror" includes a mortar used in Afghanistan and rockets like those mounted on either side of the Cobra.
On the other side of the building there is a small room with more information on the Civil War. There is a small room dedicated to the Iowa State Patrol with mannequins displaying the State Patrol uniforms over the years.
On the left is the original uniform (1935--why does it remind me of Sheriff Andy Taylor?) and on the left is the current Honor Guard uniform worn by Iowa State troopers.
Outside there was a Republic F-84F Thunderstreak flown by the 132nd Fighter Interceptor Wing Iowa Air National Guard from May 1969 to April 1971. It had a maximum speed of 658 mph and a cruise speed of 539 mph.
There was quite a collection of tanks, trucks, and artillery as well as a few rockets in the field near the museum.
We wished we could have spent more time: there is so much to see! But after a very pleasant hour we had to leave quickly. We didn't want to be late for the chess tournament!
The Iowa Gold Star Museum is a great place to visit! Just be sure to come when you have plenty of time to enjoy it fully.
Tomorrow read an account of the chess tournament: Des Moines Time Odds Blitz