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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Grant Wood Country

Thursday evening we traveled due north into the rolling hills and Wapsipinicon River valley of Jones County. These are the landscapes that Grant Wood painted.

We picked up Derith and continued to Monticello and the Jones County Fair. At the fair, giant corndogs are no longer large enough – now there are Jurassic corndogs. I ate one. And a gyro. Jones County has a population of 20,000 persons, and there were by Alan's estimate at least 6000 persons in the grandstand for a rock music show by bands Heart and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Heart's Wilson sisters were in excellent form. They closed with "Barracuda" and after that what could they do for an encore, except Led Zepplin? And we got a terrific rendition of "Misty Mountain Hop". Lynyrd Skynyrd turned out to be...not my cup of tea. Donna captured their encore on video, the ubiquitous "Free Bird":

A cold front came through on Thursday night and Friday's high temperatures were only in the 80s, much more pleasant for outside work than day-after-day of 102-106 degrees. Alan & I had previously changed the 8-inch blade for the 12-inch on the PTO-driven, 3-point hitch-mounted auger, and excavated foundation holes for a trap shooting platform at the range. We then mixed and poured a literal ton of concrete, formed into cylinders above the ground surface, and mounted deck hardware into these columns. We'll let the concrete cure for a week before resuming construction.

Saturday we finally had a working chainsaw again and so could continue work on recreational trails in the woods. These are old tractor trails dating from the time the woods was just a cattle pasture. Beginning at openings into the woods from the crop fields, I'd gone as far as I could with the big rotary brush mower until stymied by fallen trees and overhead branches. Now we can push on through.

One end of the trail we worked on yesterday is behind the gardens, near Baby Grave.

It descends into the floodplain of Kincaid Creek.

It looks continuous as it turns to the right and makes it way up to a field on the east side of the property...

...but there's the creek, and no crossing. We've got a length of corrugated metal culvert, but installing it as a low-water crossing will require some careful thought and the proper materials so that high-water conditions don't wash it out.

Up at the farmstead there are several old dumps, and this one has some large concrete pieces that might be suited to holding the culvert in place. How to move and place them, even with a tractor, has posed us a bit of a conundrum.

But there's no hurry, and we'll figure it out.

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