Tuesday, July 28, 2009

EAA AirVenture

Small (and sometimes strange-looking) airplanes flying over my parents' house near Theresa, WI signaled the start of the EAA AirVenture show taking place in Oshkosh, WI. This is the premiere air show, particularly for experimental aircraft. In a typical year, about 2,500 show aircrafts participate, including home-built ones, antiques, classics, "warbirds," ultralights, and rotorcraft. This year the massive Airbus A380 is the star attraction.

The EAA show is THE major event in the region, contributing to the economy of places well over an hour away from the show. Try to find a hotel during that time. Restaurants hire extra workers; small county airports suddenly are full; enterprising people open up their fields or driveways for parking; tents sprawl over areas. Approximately 800,000 people attend the event annually.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Not Your Grandfather's Farm

Today I attended Wisconsin's Farm Technology Days with my parents, held near Waterloo in Dodge County. This annual event was hosted on the farm of the Crave brothers who own a state-of-the-art farm. By contrast to my parents' small farm which had 30 milking cows and 80 acres of land, this farm has approximately 2,000 cows and young stock and 1,800 acres. In recent years an on-site cheese factory was added, enabling the family to retain profits rather than simply accepting paltry raw milk prices. The tour revealed automation and the presence of technology in every aspect of the operation. Computerized cow ear tags reveal detailed information about the cow. Special fans with misters automatically regulate the temperature and humidity. Cows were herded and pushed into the milking parlor area in an efficient manner with an automated device. High-tech tractors costing around $500,000 loomed large. The operation was clean and efficient. The farm also has two anaerobic manure digesters that utilize methane from manure, generating enough electricity to power 550 typical Wisconsin homes. The dried solid portion of the manure is being used for livestock bedding and is the main ingredient in a potting mix product. For large farms, it is quite likely that more companies will seek these alternate energy partnerships in the future. This makes SO much more sense than the ridiculous "cow fart" tax proposed by the governor.

Pictured above: The Crave family farm

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lace of the fields

Lining the edges of our rural Wisconsin road is the Queen Anne's Lace wildflower. Upon closer inspection, one can see the delicate snowflake radial sections - another example of God's magnificent creation.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Theresa Marsh and farm

This picture was photographed from the Theresa Marsh in southeastern Wisconsin. The farm on the hill is where I grew up, in the family homestead since 1858.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Sandhill Cranes

Often times on our walks we see sandhill cranes congregating in the fields or flying above. Their call is not melodic but is rather loud, definitely announcing their presence. Wisconsin is one of the major summer breeding grounds for these tall grey birds who prefer open meadows, grasslands, and wetlands - making the Theresa Marsh (part of the largest freshwater marsh in North America) a prime spot.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

To my sister and others serving our country

This posting is dedicated to my sister Sherri serving in Iraq and all the others who have served our country, both in war and peace time.
As Sherri's Facebook profile states: "Remember… only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you:
1. Jesus Christ
2. The American G. I.
One died for your soul, the other for your freedom." ~Author unknown

We're proud of you, Sherri.

Also on this photo is my niece, Amanda, daughter of Sherri. She has also joined the Armed Forces.