Monday, July 26, 2010

From Flowers to Tractors to Rivers

 I was out taking some pictures of daylilies this morning, all of them castoffs from my friend Leo's hybridizing program.
 I was particularly enjoying the throat colors of the blooms when I noticed something odd:
Why is this center green?
I got a little closer and oh, that's why!
East-facing daylily blooms soak up nice, warm morning sunshine rays for the little tree toad

I was thinking how blessed I was to see such a rare sight this morning and moved on down the row of daylilies only to discover this!
Do you see it?
Another tree toad sunbathing!
I guess I couldn't find a better place to soak up sunshine myself!

This past weekend was a doozy.  Remember I said we need to create a crisis (CAC) to get something substantial done?  Well, we haven't settled on any one crisis yet, so now we are running around in circles and doing all sorts of things.  I did manage to get some work done in the garden this weekend, despite the fact we received another 1" of rain on Friday night into Saturday and a brief, heavy downpour on Saturday when I was mowing lawn. 

We had some delightful visitors from Minnesota come over on Saturday afternoon right after the rainstorm to  check out the yard with their aunt and uncle who are friends of ours.  It's great fun having fellow gardeners tour and our visit was over much too soon.

Joel has a new gadget for his camera, extension tubes, and I have to learn how to use them.  He's only had a few minutes to try them out and here's what he managed to capture:
Lily stamen closeup--this is the pollen I always get on my face (and especially my nose-which answers my question as to what garden visitors are staring at me for)  and hair and just about everywhere when I work around the lilies.  There is a lot of pollen produced, isn't there?
Lily interior closeup

Dewdrops and pollen on nasturtium leaf

Saturday night we had company, Ann,  Richard & Emily and their beautiful baby daughter were here and we visited and played Sheepshead until nearly midnight. 

Geranium closeup

Sunday morning Ann arrived around 9AM and Carl, Joel and yours truly headed to Waupaca County and the town of  Symco for the Thresheree.  The Thresheree is an annual event with vintage tractors and steam engines, farm machinery of all types, threshing demonstrations, and all things farming.  I guess every year they highlight a tractor manufacturer to feature and this year it was our big yellow friends, Minneapolis Moline.
I have another confession to make:  I love tractors.  Always have, always will.  I grew up driving Dad's Farmall H tractor on the farm at a very early (unsafe age!) of around seven and hope to be driving them when I'm a very unsafe age once again just like my dad did until the day he died at age 88. When I see tractors in a parade, especially the old ones, all restored and shining, I have to fight back the tears, but most of the time I don't even bother...just let 'em roll.  (Horses in parades also make me misty, in case you're keeping track, there might be a quiz later.)   I cannot explain what it is about tractors I love to anyone who doesn't get it--I know there are people out there who feel all warm and fuzzy about their pet boa constrictors, too, so hey, this is my thing, don't laugh!

We arrived early, around 10:30AM, toured the grounds a bit, chatted with Ann's brother-in-law who was doing a blacksmithing demonstration and then took our folding chairs and staked out a place along the highway to wait for the parade.  One thing we forgot was hats, water, and sunscreen, wow, it was hot!  Joel, Carl and Ann all got a sunburn, but for some reason, I didn't.  I suppose it's because I'm outside a lot at that time of day when all three of them are working so I've already got my sunburn from that angle.   

There was a veritable garden of tractor colors to be seen today:

Case Steam Engine
Rumely Steam Engine
John Deere
David Bradley--but not sure if it's a tractor or a tiller

Allis Chalmers

Ann's nephew, Ray, driving a Minneapolis Moline
Once Ray realized who the crazy fans yelling at him from the sidewalk were, he gave us a wave and the tractor a little gas....

 Great job, Ray!
Ann grew up with Oliver tractors on her Dad's farm
Carl grew up Case tractors--when repainted, this one would be a bright orange.
 Of course, Joel and I have a prejudice to Farmall red:
 Farmall H just like the one I started driving way back in the day--if I could find our tractor, I would restore it, but it's whereabouts are unknown...maybe this is it??
Both of these tractors are Farmall's...not sure about the black paint on the one on the left; have to do some research to see if there ever was a year they came in black from the factory.
This proud Super C owner is the father-in-law of one of Joel's friends...what a beautiful restoration job!
From the unpainted to the 'too pretty to drive' below:

What a great parade!  Despite my love of tractors, this is the first Thresheree we've ever gone to (and they've been having them for 43 years) so we will have to go back next year.  Joel's Farmall M should be parade-ready by then, too!  The only problem with being in the parade is you can't see the parade. 

After the parade, we toured the rest of the grounds and exhibitions ranging from chopping hay and corn to grinding feed, hay baling, sawmill operation, rock crushers, hit and miss engines, huge generators and old, restored churches, banks, stores, blacksmith shops, etc.  

There was an announcement just before we left about a chainsaw competition so we dutifully trekked over to the bleachers and sat down to watch people saw wood.  I know how silly it sounds, a whole audience of people seated on wooden bleachers to see which competitor could saw through a large block of wood the fastest, but it was fun (ok, you had to be there, but it was fun).  At the very end, the last competition was for two-man crosscut sawing which was a whole lot slower but also a lot more work, with teams of men and women competing.    Ann and I need to practice and come back next year and give it a try....we can do this!

We bid the Thresheree farewell at 5PM and then headed up to Big Falls to see the Little Wolf River.
Baling hay
This is the two-man chainsaw competition
Here's Carl standing near the dam in Big Falls, we have never seen the water this high in July!
With the abundant rainfall, the rivers are at capacity right now, so since we were in the area, we had to take a look. 
Joel debating the best place to toss a kayak in.......
He had to wade across to scout the river
Holding my breath, didn't want to see him swept downstream without a kayak or a life jacket
Farther upstream, above County J--this is normally a big, sweeping curve with a rock face rock today, all water.
If we would have had a kayak along, Joel would have dived right in.  It was around 7:30PM when we were scouting the rapids and he did talk to two guys who had gone kayaking all day.  They said the water was fantastic.  We left the Little Wolf behind and headed to the Embarrass River in Hayman Falls County Park.
This is normally a small stream that branches off the main flow of the Embarrass that a child could hop across---but not yesterday!  Here Joel wades across to see what the other side looks like.  Luckily, he had a tree branch to help him hang on.
On the way back
Embarrass River rapids Hayman Fall Co. Park
I struck up a conversation with some folks in the park who told me they watched a canoeist get in serious trouble in the rapids yesterday.  His boat filled up and basically folded up and came apart, but thankfully, he was ok.  This section of river is a bit tricky at lower water anyway, but at high water, wow, what a difference.

The first time we canoed this stretch of the Embarrass River (in much lower water) was in 1981 when we were both around 22 years old.  Now it's 30 years later and this is way more water than I feel like tackling.  I started kayaking a few years ago and it's fun but I'm not the greatest at it.  Carl tried a kayak once and only once, tipped over almost immediately and that was the end of his kayaking career; he is a connoisseur of 'Dry Canoeing' and rarely ever gets wet.   Joel is a river rat and was just itching to get out and run this river yesterday.    Ah, youth!

We finally stopped at a restaurant in Clintonville around 8:30 PM and made it home just before 10PM.  Long day, but we had a great time! 

1. What is my favorite tractor?
2. Reading between the lines, which pet am I most likely not to own?
3. True or False: I am not getting old.



Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Oh my, your little tree toad is adorable, fabulous photos. Now, I just have to hope my husband doesn't see the second half of your post...I'm certain that Case steam engine will throw him into a fit of tractor-envy! :P

Jester said...

1. Farmall 2. Boa Constrictor 3. HELLNO
LOve the pix of the tree toads...which also answered some questions. For 3 years I have been hearing them when I sit out at night,but they are usually in the treeline & brush. A couple of weeks ago I was sitting in my usual spot in the garden at night enjoying the stars & fire, when one of them starting singing, and it was only a couple of feet away. Scared the bejesus outta me. They're awfully loud for such a little thing!!! I got a flashlight & imediately hunted him down, I was finally going those what these critters looked like!! He looked like yours! I wasn't sure if he was a toad or a frog so of course its been a debate around here. Now I have 2 in the garden, with one of them hiding under the rocks in the firepit (no I don't use it, its usaully filled with water...) he drives my dogs nuts cause they can't find him.

Ginny said...

What great pictures - I would love to find a tree toad in one of my daylilies! Love the tractors, too. My father-in-law had a Farmall Cub. When my children were small he would take them for rides on it. He died several years ago and now his grandson (my nephew) is restoring the tractor. We all whooped with glee when he sent us a video of it running!

Darla said...

Wow this was a long post. Love the flower photos. You should submit that frog one to a magazine or something. Nice addition to your husband's camera, beautiful captures with it. I like tractors, but not as much as you...

Anonymous said...

You packed alot into this post. :) I love the shot of that tree frog, so cute just resting in that pretty daylily. :)

Jean said...

The tree frog photos are all adorable! Of course, your blooms are too! Jean

Anonymous said...

Yikes! A test to see if I was paying attention. Is it lucky for me that I can see all the answers in the comments that have come before. I love the pictures of the frogs sunning themselves. My answers to your skill testing questions
1. It is obvious that you love all tractors!
2.I missed the info on your least favorite pet hidden somewhere between the lines, but Jester above claims it is a snake.
and finally my answer to
3. We are all getting older
Amazing pictures of the river!

Zoey said...

How nice to have a friend who gives you his castoffs from his hybridizing program. They are all lovely flowers and the tree frog adds a bit of fun to the photos.

That new lens looks like it will produce some winning photographs.

It sounded like you had a great family day with the tractor show and the waterfalls.

Karen said...

Jester, Thanks for taking my quiz, lol, and you are really, really kind to say I'm not getting old! (However, look at July 28's post, there's proof of my aging!) I probably did say it was a tree toad when I guess it's a tree frog? not sure myself, but he's cute. I know that for a little bugger, they are very loud when they sing...or is it croak?

Curbstone Valley, hope I didn't cause any tractor problems at your house!

Ginny, Someone else who knows the feeling of joy in seeing an old tractor come back to life, aren't they special? and the memories are priceless.

Darla & perennialgardener & Jean, thank you for the compliments, and yes, I know I write too's a bad habit!

threedogsinagarden, your answers to my quiz were right, you get an A along with Jester! The river almost did me in the very next day, so the answer to Number three is a resounding TRUE.

Thank you,Zoey! Yes, we are very fortunate to have the daylily friend (though he begged me not to tell anyone where they came from since he felt they were rejects) so I hope I'm not in too much trouble--but he never reads my blog, anyway, lol!