Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Corn in the backyard 2010 redux?

Most of the corn is harvested by now around here, but there's an interesting phenomenon occurring in most of those harvested fields: a second crop of corn. It's possible to get a couple crops of wheat harvested in a year around here, but I don't believe I've ever seen two crops of corn on the same ground. This year the conditions were right: an early harvest, warm weather following harvest, a bit of rain, and enough hours of sunlight to coax thousands of stray kernels to produce armies of volunteer baby cornstalks.

It doesn't seem to matter if the field has been tilled or not, most all of them have these little boogers popping up in a much more random fashion than their parent plants in the spring.

So, of course, a post about corn in the backyard would not be complete without a picture across the field. Not all of those green plants out there are corn, but plenty of them are. Sorry, Kathryn, I'm sure you thought you were safe until spring....

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mystery in the Backyard, Update #2

In case you can't tell, the latest project in the backyard is a teeter totter. The official maiden voyage of this new toy was actually Sep 17 when a neighbor family joined us for dinner and an evening of teetering. Since then, the main beam was subjected to some weatherproofing and we added another level to the pivot.

This evening, more friends came over to help test this latest version. Here's Arrow and Anchor taming the beast while their siblings wait patiently.

The design is not yet complete, but still available for testing. Do I have any volunteers?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mystery in the Backyard, Update #1

Gretel and I have made some progress on the backyard project, not all of which is documented here.

The posts now have 1-3/8" holes drilled through them... aligned axially north and south if that matters to anyone.

Yep, looks like the holes are lined up close enough to accomplish their purpose.

And finally, a pipe that fits nicely right through the holes. This is really only half of the project, and the lesser complicated half for that matter. We've had several people correctly identify this object so far, but none of them identified it in the comments section. Can you guess what it is?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mystery in the Backyard

We've started a new project in the backyard, but you'll have to guess what it might be.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Corn in the backyard 2010, weeks 18, 19, & Harvest!

August 29

September 5

September 7

And finally an almost clear view of our neighbors again. The field to the right was harvested the day after the field behind our house was cleared, so we're back to our "no-privacy-fence" mode until next spring. Early planting was the norm in the spring of this year, and a relatively dry and hot summer means this fall's harvest is progressing much faster than normal. No word yet on how dry the corn is, or how large the yields are, but the fact that so many fields are bare already is a strong indicator that the crop was ready.

Should be interesting to see what we do for entertainment now that the corn is gone....

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What would you like on your tombstone?

When Victoria commented recently about tombstones her family discovered near Bruton Parish in Colonial Williamsburg, she reminded me of some photos I took in the spring of 2009 that have been languishing on my hard drive. There are many interesting tombstones in the graveyard surrounding Bruton Parish, but I'd like to recognize just one in this post.

Judge Nathaniel Beverley Tucker is buried with his wife beneath a prominent granite obelisk just outside the west entrance to Bruton Parish. The east face of the stone is shown above, containing the details of their births and deaths, including the names of their parents. Most people today might recognize him best as a son of St. George Tucker, although Nathaniel's accomplishments are also impressive.
In case you have trouble reading the epitaph in this image of the south face of the monument, the inscription reads:
Descended from Virginia's best blood
Judge Tucker
Was by birth, and training, a gentleman of the old school. He filled with credit, and distinction positions of trust and dignity. Was Judge of the U.S. Court in the Territory of Missouri, and after his return to his native State was the Professor of Law in the College of William and Mary till his death. His influence in developing the minds and character of his pupils was a prominent trait in his character. He was a ready, accurate, and elegant writer. He was hospitable, benevolent, and charitable, And his honour and integrity were without a stain. This eminent scholar and author, upright Judge, learned jurist, constant friend, affectionate Husband and Father, died as he lived a Sage, a Patriot, and a Christian.
Wow. That sounds pretty impressive.

Even though Mr. Tucker's epitaph is impressive, I think I prefer the epitaph on the north face of the stone, which describes his wife, Lucy Ann. Her text reads:

Mrs. Tucker
Was admired, respected, and beloved. She lived an ornament of the society in which she moved. The kind neighbor, and friend, the charm of her household, the faithful wife, the devoted mother, the pure christian. In her life and character were happily blended gentleness and firmness, affability and dignity. She died lamented, as living she was beloved, by all classes of the community.

In both cases, few of us live up to the descriptions carved on this stone, but if I perceive Judge and Mrs. Tucker correctly, I think they may have doubted whether they actually lived up to these words as well.

Finally, I'm sorry that I don't remember what's written on the west face of the monument.