All posts for the month July, 2008


Yesterday Jan called me out to the kitchen to look into our back yard. There were two momma wild turkeys, each with four to seven chicks. They were on opposite sides of the yard, not straying too far from the tall grass where we don’t mow.

Mother turkey with chicks

Wild turkeys used to be almost non-existent in Iowa but several years ago were reintroduced with stock from Missouri. Everyone said that they were shy and would not do well in proximity to people. To the contrary, they are thriving now and we frequently see them strolling nonchalantly across our lawn. This is the first time I have seen them with young though. Maybe they are getting used to us.

Random Quote #5

Another good one for an election year.

If a large number of chimpanzees at typewriters will eventually write “War and Peace”, then Congress will certainly balance the budget. —Unknown

Tree Frog

We’ve had some very pleasant evenings in the last week and therefore have spent a lot of time on our deck. While out there we are frequently serenaded by the local frog chorus. Last night I decided to see if I could spot the closest performer. Here’s what I found:

Tree Frog

I was quite surprised to see the degree of camouflage on this little guy. I believe this is a Common Tree Frog, Hyla arborea. For reference, the branch he is sitting on is about 3/4 inch in diameter. He puts out quite a sound for such a little critter.

Random Quote #4

I don’t know why I like this little verse. Maybe a shrink could tell me…

If I don’t drive around the park,
I’m pretty sure to make my mark.
If I’m in bed each night by ten,
I may get back my looks again.
If I abstain from fun and such
I’ll probably amount to much;
But I shall stay the way I am,
because I do not give a damn.
–Dorothy Parker

Flood Aftermath

Things are, very slowly, getting back to normal around the Cedar Rapids area. There are still many people who can’t return to their homes and a significant number of homes that will be totally demolished.

Roads that had been submerged are being repaired and power to the worst hit areas has mostly been restored. Neighborhoods that used sandbags in attempt to hold back the water now have mountains of them waiting for removal.

Thousands of houses and apartments had water damage to one extent or another. As a result there is a huge overload of trash consisting of waterlogged furniture, carpets, clothing and other household items. Among this trash are appliances of all types – washers, dryers, water heaters, air conditioners, and other major items. All around the area are temporary trash dumps where these items are being collected.

Appliance graveyard

Above is a picture was taken near the town of Palo which was completely flooded. Normally this is a corn field but now it has been pressed into service as a temporary dump.  Just trying to imagine the replacement costs is mind boggling.

Household trash

Here’s another shot of the temporary dump for non-metallic flood refuse. This was 10 or so times larger than the appliance pile. You can judge the size by the dump truck in the image.

The cleanup and reconstruction is going to take years and some towns and neighborhoods will never be the same.