This and That. I usually invite you to accompany me on some of my low cost or no cost travel adventures around Iowa. September was a quiet month for me. I mostly rode my bike and hung around home. So I looked back through my 2017 photo album and decided to make this month story time with no central theme. That's why I am calling it, "This and That."


I exercise about every day. When I am not on my bike, I walk. Jeannine and I usually do our morning walk starting from our home in Urbandale. I also like to explore other places, but the two mile trail around Gray's lake is a favorite. It is obviously a favorite for many people because it is usually packed with walkers and bikers. However, today the temp was 90 degrees so I had some elbow room. It was a good day for me to take some breaks and enjoy this beautiful scenery.  

These are MY marbles. Imagine my amazement when I was sorting through some things in the basement and I found a Butter-Nut Coffee can full of marbles. These were the same marbles I played with when I was a kid. Needless to say, we didn't have iPads or other techy stuff and marbles were a great source of entertainment. Some of my friends played "for keeps" but I always picked mine up and went home. It took me a long time to save enough nickels for a new bag so I didn't want to lose them. Maybe I should thank my parents for that. They always told me to work hard, save my money and not bet or gamble. They must have been on to something because, as far as I know--I still have all of my marbles.

The High Trestle Bridge is located between Madrid and Woodward. I have riden my bike across this bridge many times, but always in the daytime. Last month was my first opportunity to see it at night. The art deco is always beautiful--after dark it is spectacular.  

The Lord watches over you--the Lord is your shade in your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm--he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forever more. (NIV) (Psalm 121:5-8)

Music City? No--It is Des Moines, Iowa. We have so many unique things around town that makes the greater Des Moines area such a great place to live. I knew there were outdoor pianos scattered around town but this one is special to me. I spotted it when I stepped out the back door of my favorite coffee shop, Smokey Row, located in Sherman Hill. What a setting! The Kathedral, a Des Moines landmark, is in the background. Here is this young guy struggling to find the right keys. I don't know the man playing the piano--but I do know he wasn't playing Bethoven--he wasn't playing Bach--he was playing his own music--and I liked it a lot.

Somewhere over the rainbow! This year, 2017, has been a rather unusual weather year--not just here in Iowa, but around the world. We have had hurricanes, floods, tornados and high and low temps, plus more. But we won't go there--you already know that. Here is what I want to share--it is right from our home in Urbandale, Iowa. Left: June 17, 2017--rainbow as seen from our front porch. Right: July, 2017, a double rainbow as seen from our back deck.


This and That--some of the nice things from my summer. I think I may have saved the best for the last. On Saturday, August 26, 2017, Jeannine, our granddaughter, Grace and I participated in the GiGi's Playhouse Superhero Walk at the DMACC Campus Lake Trail in Ankeny. There were a lot of heroes there that morning but we walked to show our support for our friend, Joshua. After the walk we had a picnic style lunch on the grass. It was a fun morning for all of us, but maybe a somber time for Joshua. He was facing open heart surgery in just a few days. Surgery is not new for Joshie--he has had many. When Gretchen, his mom, told him he was having another surgery he responded with a thumbs down sign (Joshua is deaf). Just a few short days later--credit to his doctors, medical staff, family and many prayers, his new valve was working perfectly and he would soon be going home. What was Joshua's reaction to that? He signed a thumbs up and even signed "I forgive you" to the nurse who hurt him with that nasty-needle injection. Now he is back in school and doing great. He even has a full-chest scar to show off to his friends. Now when I feel sorry for myself when I wake up with leg cramps, I just smile and do a thumbs up. I've learned a lot from Joshua!

You probably know--it doesn't take much to please me. Last February I stopped at the corner of I-235 and MLK to look at a mural painted on a storage container. This home is located next door. It took my eye and I considered it a work of art in it's own right. It doesen't have any significance to me and I doubt that it is a historical landmark. I just like it--and I'm pretty sure I would like the people who live here!

Something new to me! I grew up in the hill country of western Iowa. My dad had a small herd  of milk cows. Some of the farmers in the area had cattle feed lots. I am familiar with many breeds of cattle including herford, shorthorn,  jersey, holstein, black angus and more.  But when I visited my friend, Mark Grubb, this summer at his farm near Ellsworth I was introduced to this guy. He is a belted buelingo. I read farm magazines and many internet newsletters and yet I can not even begin to keep up with new grain, soybean and other farm crop technology. Who ever thought I'd have to learn about new cattle.

A little more farm stuff. This summer I rode the 70 mile bike loop on the Raccoon River Valley Trail. I stopped at the park in Yale, Iowa for an energy bar and to fill my water bottle. Here is what I saw across the road. There is a huge beautiful grain bin on the left, all colors of farm machinery in the middle and on the right a semi-truck is being loaded with corn from a huge storage facility. That is small town Iowa agriculture at its best.