Sometimes strange things happen to normal people, but more often than not, nothing much extraordinary happens in Hermann. Hermann.... an honest town, a friendly town. The other day I was at Village Market, it was the last day of summer, before fall kicks in, and looking over the parking lot I noticed that about half of the vehicles has been parked with their windows rolled down. I remember seeing twenty unlocked childrens bikes laying in the grass next to the pool, I am thinking about my honor system cashbox that seems to be working just fine. How the other day I picked up a fixed lawnmower tire at Scheidegger, I didn't feel like waiting and came back to pay next day when there was no line. More honesty: you can leave your boat out on the shore close to the bait shop, or at least that is what I have been told.
The other day I am on the river, and some in the river. It sure is nice to have a boat that floats, but it is even better to have one with a motor that propels. (Like Steve says: Boat: bust out another thousand). Pablo commented that I seemed to have arrived in life, a house, a boat and now also a moat (more later). Those boats are nice but you have to haul them around, and that means borrowing Pablo's car since it has a hitch. Although it is a really low hitch and you have to back the trailer up so far that you know you are far enough when the car exhaust makes bubbles in the river (good thing it is Paab's car). So to make life simpler I asked baitshop dude, who was sitting there like royalty overlooking the river from his deck at the baitshop, if I could leave the boat there. That would be fine he said, and how the conversation went I am not sure, but next thing you know he has pawned off on me this clown that someone had found and dropped off at his place. He didn't have any use for it and so a little while later I am driving back, pushed all the way over in the drivers seat with that 60 pound, 6 feet tall, damn stuffed clown sitting in the passengers side. It was hard to keep a straight face driving through town, but I made it home safe. Next thing of course the kids wanted to practice the shotgunability of said (sad?) clown, but, as part of my new agrotourism endeavour, about which more later, I told them to forget it. I had a long long 3 inch thick rope and Justin knew how to make a noose, so next thing you know the thing is hanging. Someone asked me if I was sure it was a white clown, because we don't want to hang no black clown, that would be racist (?). It was hanging there mighty fine, just visible from the road. I became attached to my clown, and now, my world has come to a screeching Halloween halt. Someone stole my well hung clown! WTF, I thought Hermann was a town where you could hang a clown in your driveway... Nope. So, keep your eyes open and let me know.
Back from Holland, for 5 weeks now, could as well have been a year. I thought about it the other day, even though I strenuously avoid any agricultural activity that could lead to perspiration, I still have gotten some things accomplished, indirectly related to Wilhelminag Gijsbertha van den Hengel farm. When my mother was here she thought it was so hilarious that people would adopt a part of a highway to clean, and frankly she is right, it is way silly. After my return, and before the guvment really shut down MODot did spruce up my road. So .... now ma has her own adopted highway! A mile either way from the driveway, I think the signs are refurbished since they have the big white patch on them, but they are right handy when you buzz down the road looking for proximity. I am thinking of sprucing up the signs with some snazzy graffity. So when ma comes this spring she won't have to clean my kitchen kabinets, nope, we got bigger fish to fry! Here's twenty bags ma, go and knock yourself out.
I remember that th Ku Klux Clan had adopted a piece of hwy South of St. Louis, always thought that would be hilarious if everyone would take their tires, washing machines, and regular trash there. But please do not do that to me. So here is to Ma's highway, now she too has arrived in life.
Another thing done: the bridge deck has been replaced. It was time, it has held up for 15 years and it was down to more gaps than boards. When Justin said we should replace it (He who holds the world record for most miles on a spare donut tire) I did listen. Had the kids help for as much as possible and they really outdid themselves for 3 hours. I did take them boating and kept them lubricated through the whole process. But the bridge is still wobbly but it looks better and you an actually ride your bike over it. And since I was working with wood I rebuilt the deck behind my house, finished the waterfeature (= mosquito pond between the kitchen and my bedroom, and got the hottub working again. A man has to know his priorities. Weeding, mowing, planting? the hell with it for now.
When Ma was visiting she nailed it when she observed that I get the biggest joy out of making something with scrap nothings, the tinkering as it were. That comment combined with my agro refresher course in Holland lead me to some new ideas: I'll be doing even more things that I enjoy, duh. Get a bare foot path going: a walking path over the farm with interesting, funny, questioning objects and activities. You know, just a walk that I will enjoy myself anyway. Still grow things but incorporate them into the path. Zen to the max.
One of the things I would like to do is build my own house on my own place in an environmentally sound and alternative way. Thought about strawbale, cordwood, earthship, rammed earth but have now settled on building just a teensee weensee 10 ft diameter earth bag dome, just to try it. Got me a 1000 bags of poly propylene, and you just fill them with soil and stack em high. Just for the heck of it, and if it works on a small dome I sure would like to expand it into a big something.
There are some cookie people that have worked with eartbag construction, and you can build cool shapes, which suits me just well because the measuring tape and I don't go straight through one corner. This one guy, read it on wikipedia and weep, Khalili, proposed using the techniques of earthbag construction for building structures on the Moon or other planets. Currently, it is quite expensive to lift a positive-mass payload from Earth. Thus, Khalili's techniques would seem to be an ideal solution as the requisite supplies would consist of lightweight bags and a few tools to fill them. He specified that such bags would probably have pre-sewn "hook and loop" (i.e. Velcro) fastener strips in lieu of barbed wire. I however am halfway committed to trying something on earth. So you see, that clown could have been such a nice start of the path. Oh Well.
This year really has had a lot of growth. For the first time that I was actually selling produce, flowers and eggs on a regular basis from my own little honour system (nasty clown thiefs not included) with its expanded room and cooler. So as you can see below: I can grow pumpkins! 30 pounder. I do however have to practice on selecting the seed that gives you the true orange pumpkin, this one here is the Howell variety, which I bought at Morgan County seed because the amish guy in front of me bought them. Well, tell you what: they are an excellent cooking pumpkin. Great for soup and roasting and milkshakes and curries and what ever else you can come up with for 3000 pound of pumpkin. So really, stop on by and get some. Think I'll fill up the cooler with them. But then also, I am thinking, for the Agritourism component about a catalpult, slingshot, trebuchet, to launch pumpkins with. Been thinking about it for a long time, may just get to schelpping some structure together and bomb some cars of hwy 19.
Oh, talk about being stubborn and making items from scratch: Patt stops by, he is a 57 year old couch surfer (if you are not familiar with that term, please google!) structural engineer and general smart and construction oriented. Told him about the sandbag deal and he didn't dismiss it out of hand, merely a thoughtful headshake, a rub of the chin and the "interesting concept" mumble. But in order to put the bags down you have to compact them and you have to have a stamper. Scrounged around with Pat and found some items. He told me you couldn't weld those different metals together... Haha, as if I would listen to an engineer that knows about alloys, metal, iron and steel. Took me a few hours but by the time he got back from Hermann I had put the damn stamper on the front porch of the mobile home: tadaaaaa. Next day he had left me a note instructing me to be careful with cause you could hurt your toe with it when it comes apart and just to show him I threw it on the concrete. And sure enough, it needs a little more welding. Truthfully, I was just clowing around.
Then there is the little landscaping, excavating pond building that occured recently courtesey of a whopping paycheck, visions of grandeur, the redistribution of wealth in the neighborhood and an intense desire for landscape diversification and a starting point for the foot path. Let it just suffice to say that the guys at the gas station have no idea what the hell is happening and what those big mounds of dirt are for. (Neither do I really, but I'll find a use for it.) Now, we'll see if this bathtub/inverted donut will hold water. Right now it is just gorgeous fall weather with no rain in sight.
So the bare foot path.... Help me out and send me some ideas: anything goes that I can incorporate along the path. I want to have at least a section where you walk on your bare feet over different textures, be it mud, grass, small pebbles dirt, mulch and sand.
Right now I am looking at building a 10 foot tall chair
A giant wind chime
A couch and Tv in the middle of the field
A random door you have to go through in the middle of nowhere
A Stonehenge replica
A pumpkin launcher
Assorted metal sculptures
An earth bag house
A big chess set
A big sand box
A hanging clown...
Pieter Los, born in Scotland, raised in the Netherlands, lost in the USA. .