Monday, July 4, 2011

Let Freedom Ring!

So it's America's birthday again. Founded in freedom 235 years ago and still the envy of those wanting to taste freedom. For those, like me, who grew up in America and don't know any different, it is interesting to read what foreigners and new U.S. citizens from around the world say about what they like about it here. Things like food choices (thanks to farmers), clean water, indoor plumbing, 9-1-1 (nothing like that in many countries), driving a car, and mostly, being able to say whatever you want. I like it when the Fourth is on Monday because it extends the weekend. And what better way to celebrate Americana than attending a baseball game. Last night we went to the Lansing Lugnuts (Single A affiliate of the Toronto BlueJays) vs. the pesky Captains from Lake County Indiana. The Lugnuts broke the tie in the bottom of the 9th with a hit to knock in a run and win 5-4. There were over 8,000 happy fans. But the show wasn't over. After the game there was a fireworks show.
Oooooh..... Aaaaah.....

Then this morning, the actual 4th of July, there was the annual parade in downtown Lansing. Now I had never been to this parade, but it was such a nice day I wanted to see what it was about and to share it with all of you. The parade began at 11 am with the Marines carrying the colors by the capital of Michigan. There were a number of other flag bearers as well. You may notice a light crowd on that side of the street. Most of the watchers like me were in the shade of the buildings on the opposite side. I did not want to be like those people sitting in the scorching 76 degree heat! Plus the view was nicer with the capital in the background.

There were several veterans groups. There also was this guy below who was in the First Black Marines in 1942, some 69 years ago. The sign said it was the 1st Montford Point Marines.

And since I am a dog lover, I had to show this group of pooches from the Capital Area Humane Society encouraging people to adopt a dog. I'm sure they would welcome visit from you. Tell them I sent you.

Lansing was, and still is, a major manufacturing city for cars. It once was the headquarters for Oldsmobile, which was sadly retired a few years ago. But it is still a big GM town. There were a lot of classic and modified cars in the parade. Troy has a classic Olds 442 that he has owned for many years that I'm sure would be welcome.

Now if you look closely at the front door of the green and yellow car below it says John Deere in faint paint. These guys didn't look like farmers, but they must be sending a shout-out to the agricultural community. How nice.

These tricked out cars were Outta Control, as was the name of their club. Low Rider: cool car and song.

And this car below is a 1970 Olds Toronado built right here in Lansing. It's fun to remember when cars were big. I remember being a kid in Oklahoma liking the Toronado. No, really! My dad had a big Olds Cutlass built here.

Well like I've said before, it's not all fun and games up here. We have a project where we take soil samples every Monday. The soil did not know it was the 4th of July, so I volunteered to do it, since I was gone some last week and all. Normally Jeff and Amanda take the samples. Well, I've got to tell you, the lack of rain has made this ground hard and difficult to sample. There are 6 plots and 10 samples per plot. So I figured if I could do a sample a second, and then time to fill the bags, it would be 2 minutes tops. But with the hard ground, I was jumping up and down on that probe (fortunately ours has a step for pushing) to get it in deep enough. So it took quite a bit longer than 2 minutes. We have talked about getting a hydraulic probe to help with all the sampling that we do. And by "we", I mainly mean Stephanie who does all the fall sampling. I have never used a hydraulic probe before, but if they can sample ground this hard, it would be worth the cost, whatever it is.

So back home for another cookout on the charcoal grill (I am not a gas-man) and sat on the porch listening to all of the fireworks going on out here in rural Wacousta. But heck, why bother watching it all outside when you can see good fireworks from Washington on TV?

I guess it's not the same. So I enjoyed the holiday and celebration of our independence. I really hope you all had some similar, or even better, meaningful experiences. (Back to more farm stuff later this week.)