Image of the Month

Lee Marvin in Cat Ballou

Lee Marvin as Kid Shelleen in Cat Ballou (1965) for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. During his acceptance speech for the Oscar he mentioned, “I think, though, that half of this belongs to a horse somewhere out in San Fernando Valley.”


Why By David Jacobi

I am old enough to know

About love and loss

Death and life

Growing older

I remember those gone

And try to understand

My people still here

Bless them

What is left for me

In my twilight

Answer my question


2020 By David Jacobi

A Vacation In The Middle Of It All

Wisconsin Red Pines By David Jacobi

The acreage has been through some weather variables over the last several weeks. Hot, unyielding sun and no rain persisted until the lawn went dormant and the crops around us dried to a golden yellow. During that time nature sent us a “derecho” also known as a land hurricane, with some parts of Iowa experiencing over 100 mph winds. We did not feel the brunt of the storm but were left picking up branches scattered over the place, while other areas suffered significant damage to trees and buildings. Over 400,000 people were without power, some for weeks, and 6 million acres of crops were damaged. Once the storm was over the drought continued. Then, despite riots and protests, a derecho, a drought and a pandemic we decided to go on vacation. Shelly had been missing Lake Superior so we packed up the car and drove through Minnesota and over to Wisconsin for a several day stay with our 12 year old Lab Marley. This was our third stay at the same cabin so it was both a getaway and familiar. Marley seemed to love it, and eventually got used to coming over to the side of the car so I could pick her up and place her in the back seat of the vehicle. However, in her defense, she could still jump out of the car, just not in! She had no hesitation swimming into Lake Superior to fetch the stick, and had lots of admirers on the beach for being such a good old lady. Shelly and I enjoyed the time away but were both glad to get back to our little acreage…just in time for a cold front to come through and rain on us for a week. At least the drought is over!

Website Review: The Onion

The Onion

If you enjoy satire The Onion should be one of your first stops on the internet. One of the more hilarious examples of their humor occurred when they announced Kim Jong Un the sexiest man alive and the Chinese People’s Daily website ran the article. As might be expected, part of the about page reads: “The Onion is the world’s leading news publication, offering highly acclaimed, universally revered coverage of breaking national, international, and local news events. Rising from its humble beginnings as a print newspaper in 1756, The Onion now enjoys a daily readership of 4.3 trillion and has grown into the single most powerful and influential organization in human history.” If you have never checked it out or it has been a while, give it a visit.

Garden 2020

Our sidewalk tomato plant

We planted our garden in the spring with the usual high hopes most gardeners have starting the growing season. Tomatoes, green peppers (and one habanero, bought by mistake that I insisted we keep) zucchini, cucumbers, green beans and asparagus. Because of shortages caused by the pandemic Shelly had to go to several greenhouses to find the plants we wanted. Many more people than usual decided to grow vegetable gardens this year. Once we got everything in the ground and mulched against weeds we were set. Until birds, rabbits or mice (maybe all three) dug up the green bean seeds and the asparagus withered and died. We will try to establish the asparagus bed again next year and as for the green beans Shelly had the idea of cutting a plant cage in half and covering it with chicken wire, then laying it over the seeds to keep out pests until the plants are established. The rest of the garden progressed well through the spring and into the summer until we entered the drought that continues as I write this in early September. It has been so hot and dry the grass crunches when we walk across the acreage. Some of our trees began dropping leaves last month and the corn and bean crops surrounding us are gold and yellow, ready for harvest. We did the best we could with our garden but unending weeks of hot dry weather took its toll. At this point only the tomato plants are still producing, but I am holding out hope for the green peppers. We are also keeping our eye on the the little volunteer plant that popped out of a crack in our sidewalk, now full of yellow flowers and little green tomatoes.

The Roundup

Rows By David Jacobi

The Sifter “is a publicly available searchable database and is designed to be a tool to aid in finding, identifying and comparing historical and contemporary writing on food and related topics. It is overseen by an advisory board of rotating members of the Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery as well as other friends of food history. As with Wikipedia, it will be populated by its users. Entries will be made both in standard English and the language of the original document. It will be possible to enter data in over 150 writing systems. As many countries as possible will be included. Corrections may be made by registered users. Data visualization will be a component. With the aid of this tool it is our hope that what has been invisible will come into focus.”

Canva is a design website offering thousands of layouts, images, fonts, photo filters, icons and shapes. Plans start with the free offering and graduate up to $30 per month.

Just Facts “is a non-profit institute dedicated to publishing comprehensive, straightforward, and rigorously documented facts about public policy issues. To accomplish this with objectivity and excellence, we use exacting Standards of Credibility to determine what constitutes a fact and what does not. The vision of Just Facts is to equip people with facts that empower them to make truly informed decisions about important matters. This requires proven facts that accurately and fully convey reality—not pseudo-facts, half-truths, or talking points.”

If you are looking for freebies check out Hey, It’s Free “a nationally recognized site dedicated to finding the best, legitimate freebies on the Internet while having a little fun along the way. I genuinely believe you’ll find HIF to be one of the top sites to find 100% free consumer samples (aka freebies) and we have the awards to back it up!”

The Transition Continues

Downtown Des Moines, Iowa

A few weeks ago I was feeling a bit out of sorts, as many of us do from time to time. Was it the deadly virus, violence and riots, the tanking economy? Well, yes, but not entirely. What was it, then? What I eventually came to realize was that after two years I was still waiting for the land to posses me and for me to completely embrace my new surroundings in the country. To experience and write about living in the country has been like a dream come true. The last thing I expected was to miss the city, which I had spent years trying to get away from. The action and movement that I had known my whole life, the traffic and busyness, neighbors and dog walkers and bike riders, stoplights, buses, taking a walk in the city, and just the sense of being around what is happening. In the city no matter what time at night you go out there is something going on, there are streetlights and people driving, walking, running. Everything I wanted to escape from I missed. Here in the country when the sun sets it is dark, almost pitch black if there is no moon. There is an occasional truck or tractor moving along our gravel road at night. In the fall the coyotes begin calling again. In the country there are neighbors who live way down the gravel road, and they are friendly and willing to help when needed, but most people here want to be left alone. In the city people mostly want to be left alone as well, but because of the closeness there are more exceptions. If I wanted to speak with a neighbor in the city, I would walk across the street and talk. Out here you are far enough away from each other it becomes a planned visit. Once I realized what my problem was I decided a replacement plan was in order. Tractors for buses, gravel for freeways, and wide open skys for a house next door. It will be a pleasure to keep working on this transition.