Nancy always says that she misses the weather of Iowa, especially thunderstorms. Well, she certainly got her wish this trip: as we were landing in Omaha it was partly sunny, but by the time our plane finished taxiing to the gate the sky had darkened and we heard thunder. As we walked through the airport to get our luggage we could see that strong rain had started coming down, along with more lightning and hail. It was a fast-moving storm, because by the time we picked up our luggage and got our rental car, the rain had stopped and the sun was peeking out again. Talk about convenient! :-)
As usual, we stayed with my folks. Beth brought over Hannah and Paul for some grandma-sitting :-), and Garrett, Jake, and Jessie came to play too.
The sad family news was that my cousin Jason had been hurt in a workplace accident in Texas. He is in a coma, and nobody knows if he’ll recover. (November 17 update: Great news! Don reports that Jason has come out of his coma. Soon he’ll be able to travel back home to continue his therapy. He’s expected to have nearly 100% recovery!)
One day, Nancy and I stopped by Lake Arrowhead, where Bob and Neva were camping. We also got to visit with Nancy’s aunt Ruth, and Chris, Rie, Jasmine, and Ian. Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures, which is too bad since Jasmine’s a cutie and a very proud big sister:-), but we’ll get to see them again at Thanksgiving, since they’re travelling to Tucson to visit Val, Marc, and Sylvia at the same time we are.
The recent rains were keeping Dad and Jeff out of the fields, so Dad and I went to tour Jeff’s newest acquisition, a farm up near Shelby. Jeff was primarily interested in the fields for corn and beans, but the homestead was archtypical rural Iowa: small white farmhouse with a big red barn and a small pasture. Jeff’s thinking of renting or selling that part to some “city people” who might want to keep horses. I showed these pictures to Nancy and her reaction was “We should live there!” :-) Who knows???
Next, Dad and I drove over to the Minden farm. We took a little walk through Jeff’s test plots, where he planted seven or eight different varieties of beans next to each other to see which kind grow best. Here you can see that each variety has a slightly different color.
And here you can see how different the results can be!
The real new farm news was that Jeff and Dad had been approached by a cellphone company that wanted to build a transmitter tower on top of a hill on the Minden farm that overlooks the Interstate highway for many miles. After some tough negotiating, they’re now renting a small patch of land to the cellphone company in exchange for way more money than the crops that could grow on that land would make. Gotta like that!
When Dad and I stopped by the construction site, they had gotten as far as completing the control building and the foundations for the tower and anchor guylines, but hadn’t yet started raising the tower itself.
So to show me what it would eventually look like we drove a few miles down the road to a similar tower from a different cellphone company.
To cap off an exciting two weeks of social events, on Saturday Hank and Maggie were invited by their friend Nicki to go to the beach! :-) Nicki’s “mommy” is Michelle, a friend of ours and coworker of Nancy’s. So we loaded up Michelle’s truck with blankets, toys, lunch, treats, water, dogs, and people, and headed over the mountains about an hour’s drive to Nicki’s favorite beach at Carmel.
It was warm and sunny at home, but cool and overcast at the beach, which was just what we were hoping for.
Michelle has water toys she throws into the ocean for Nicki to retrieve, which Nicki loves. Our puppies are still a little shy of the water but that won’t last long probably.
The beach at Carmel is known for being very dog-friendly, and Hank and Maggie got to meet a bunch of new friends. They also got to run around free without leashes, which was also a lot of fun for them.
Something else I learned: golden retrievers love to dig in the sand! The puppies watched Nicki doing it, and pretty soon they were enthusiastically working on big holes of their own…
which left everything behind them (people, picnic bags, Nicki…) covered in sand :-)
One of the best things about the beach is that the puppies can run and run and run and run and run and run and run and run … :-) Which eventually left them pretty pooped… for about five minutes. I needed a nap!
Michelle will be moving to southern California pretty soon. We’ll all miss her and Nicki. But we’re glad she and Nicki showed us this great beach . Thanks Michelle!