Saturday, April 30, 2005

Kim took this picture today on her hike with Aaron and Adam. This is why we have so many turkeys in our valley! Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 28, 2005

President Bush & Social Security

We listened to President Bush with interest tonight. According to him, Dan and I will be receiving our social security with no problem because we were both born before 1950. However, I worry about the entire program and believe the President when he says the system is in trouble.

As a full time Federal employee who started after January, 1984, my retirement is social security. President Bush mentioned that members of congress have a optional savings plan available in addition to social security. In reality, all Federal employees have that same option. As I said last October, I feel this is a very good plan. I have contributed the maximum amount for 21 years and I feel good about its outcome. People need to take some responsibility for their retirement years, this plan is in place, and it should be considered.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Barbecue vs smoked

I am never sure of the difference between barbecued meat and smoked meat. Without giving it too much thought, I think barbecue is a sauce and smoked is done on the grill. Maybe barbecue is faster and smoked is slower. Or barbecue is hamburgers or steaks and smoked is briskets or chicken. How about barbecue is gas and smoked is hickory wood. Then, what does "grilling" mean. Someone need to clear this up for me.

I do like meat cooked outside, no matter how. And, there are so many ways to do it that there are even contests. We went to one once--it was great.

When it is all said and done, though, if I were a judge, it would not be the meat that would decide the individual winner. It would be the beans. Tonight at Dan's spring water district meeting, I had the best beans I have ever tasted. The guy who provided the food caters for a living and specializes in smoking. He is entering a smoking/bbq/grilling contest this coming weekend. I will try to find out how his beans place. I put my money on them.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Monarch Butterflies Posted by Hello

A misty morning on the Wakarusa River - 24 April 2005
 Posted by Hello

Newspaper & Butterflies

Thanks to Chip for the fantastic pictures above. I am openly and admittedly jealous of his camera and his ability to catch the great shots!

Speaking of Orley “Chip” Taylor, I was waiting on my Planet Sub last Thursday on our way out of town when I glanced down at a Kansas City Star newspaper on the counter. There, lo and behold, on the front page, was our neighbor Chip!

As I have mentioned before, Chip is a nationally known expert on butterflies. He is very humble so I don’t know the extent of his research and writings. However, I have heard him speak to my little SHARE group and have heard first hand his knowledge and passion about butterflies and their habitat.

I would invite all who read this to click on the link and read the article entitled, “Butterflies need human allies.” (click on Google link to avoid registration) His analogy of butterflies needing way stations along their migration route just as the Pony Express riders during their delivery of mail makes an important point to people of all ages. Development of land and farm chemicals limiting the milkweed and nectar plants is eliminating places for “refueling” the beautiful orange, white and black Monarch butterflies on their route from Mexico north as well as other species.

His solution is for all of us to be allies:

All it takes to set up a way station is some seeds of milkweed and nectar plants. Those who want more direction can buy a “way-station kit” for a small fee from the Monarch Watch office. The kits will contain seed packets and information on how to create the best habitat.

Monarch Watch also plans to set up a registry of way-station sites. For an additional fee, those who register their sites will receive a sign they can stick in their garden identifying it as a monarch way station.

I plan to order a kit (maybe even a t shirt) and am hoping all who read this and Chip’s article will give these endangered, charismatic insects a place refuel or lay their eggs.

Monday, April 25, 2005

The house is in there someplace. Posted by Hello

Colorado weather

We spent two days in Colorado Springs helping move Doug & Drue to Monument, Woodland Park area. We had perfect weather. Because of previous help from Kim & Marc the weekend before and careful planning, the move went better than any of us expected.

I do love their new house. It has a genuine “Colorado” feel and look—plenty of aspens and pines on a mountain terrain. I had trouble staying on task because I wanted to just stand with little Carly Kay in arm and stare out the windows.

As I have mentioned before, I am intrigued with the weather in Colorado. In Kansas, we tend to look out the window towards the southwest to see “what’s coming.” It was in a passing comment by our geologist cousin several weeks ago that I realized Colorado has more of a weather pattern than I thought. Of course the range is a factor, but I learned that the Palmer Ridge also plays a very important part in the central Colorado weather. The Palmer Ridge begins near Monument and extends out toward Limon and follows I’70 through eastern Colorado. (Note the rivers) The reason I find the Palmer Ridge interesting at this time is that Doug & Drue’s house sits pretty much on that ridge north of Colorado Springs in the Monument area. This satellite image show how this particular snow storm followed the ridge.

Doug called this evening to let us know they were doing well in their new home. He said today it had rained, snowed, sun came out and then a period of heavy snow fall again. It will be interesting to see if the weather at their new location different than it was less than 10 miles south.

We are going to stop by this place the next time we go by. Posted by Hello

World's Wonder View Tower

The World’s Wonder View Tower is just off the Genoa exit on I70 in eastern Colorado. We have driven by this tourist stop many times. We always say, “We need to stop there sometime.” Friday morning, Dan stopped while I took a picture from the road.

According to eastern Colorado tourism information, the tower was built in the mid 1920’s as an attraction for rail and highway travelers. It claims a view of six states (Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Colorado). It also has a museum filled with the odd (like a three-headed calf), 50,000 glass bottles and the weird. CW Gregory, dubbed the P.T. Barnum of Colorado, started the museum. Gregory’s spirit lives on in the current owner Jerry Chubbuck, an amateur archeologist who has added to this amazing collection by bringing his own collection of fossils and Native American arrowheads.

We definitely will be checking out this unique place the next time we make the trip to Colorado. Oh, we will also be stopping by the “World’s Largest Prairie Dog” in western Kansas.

Home from the Springs

It's very late so this is to say we are home! I never did get to a hook up to post any pictures so check tomorrow evening. Later!