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Lost in the Corn October 25, 2010

Posted by Wapello Warbler in Grandview, Small Town Life.
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In the Maze

Friday night I tagged along as our church youth group and Venture Crew 007 took in the Corn Maze at Barnyard Blooms in Grandview. I had a blast.

The teens ran the maze, pausing occasionally to scare the beejeebers out of each other.

We adults wandered aimlessly at times. Other times, we explored more purposefully, cheating with aerial photos we’d copied onto our cell phones.

Our Iowa corn is usually six to seven feet tall, making it ideal for mazes. GPS controlled planters make it posssible to do very elaborate designs. This year’s maze is a salute to our troops.

Aerial View

To make things a little more challenging, check points with quiz questions related to the theme have been placed in several spots in the maze.

Check Point

Weather permitting, the maze will be open through Halloween. Click here for cost, hours, and directions.


5 Things That Scare Us October 30, 2009

Posted by Wapello Warbler in Small Town Life.
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People who live in Louisa County don’t worry about getting mugged in the subway or about someone grabbing their car at a stoplight. However, there are some things that frighten us. In the spirit of the season, here are 5 things that scare those of us who live in small towns.

  1. Deer. What? You don’t think Bambi is scary? You must be from somewhere else. You haven’t seen what he can do to the front of a car.
  2. Choppers. The Iowa boys in the 4077th MASH didn’t like the sound of choppers because it meant incoming wounded. We don’t like them either. The sound of choppers often means someone we know has been seriously injured.
  3. Incessant Rains. The rain is worrisome because the levies haven’t been fully rebuilt. (They were destroyed by the floods of 2008.) The rains are also interfering with the harvest.
  4. For Sale Signs. People who live in small towns don’t like For Sale signs, especially downtown. What small town wants to get smaller? Louisa County is more blessed than most. Our population has been stable for decades.
  5. Lack of Trick-or-Treaters. This is scariest of all. What sort of future would a small town without children have?

So, Halloween night, be glad when the hobgoblins and princesses ring your bell. Just look out for Bambi!

Halloween Hike Reveals Birds’ Secrets October 21, 2009

Posted by Wapello Warbler in Environment, Events, Nature.
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Birds have secrets just like you and I, but Saturday night a group of amateur actors conspired to shine a floodlight on the secret lives of birds.

Actors ready to reveal the truth about Orioles

Actors ready to reveal the truth about Orioles

The occasion was the Louisa County Conservation Board’s annual Halloween hike.  The place was Virginia Grove Park.  Each year pumpkins carved by Cub Scouts light the way along the quarter-mile trail through the dark woods.  Every hundred yards or so there’s a small clearing and a team of costumed actors that presents interesting or useful facts about some of nature’s creatures. This year the featured creatures were birds.

I know what you’re thinking.  Some guy reading from a sheet of paper says, “Hello, I am a robin.  I have a red breast, etc…”  Let me tell you, it’s not like that at all.  It is cold and dark in the dark woods. If that was all there was, the first hike would have been the last.

These skits are fun.  They’re so popular that you have to make a reservation to go on the hike and the tickets sell well. (This year they sold 294.) The skits are written by two local naturalists.  They combine a few interesting facts with spoofs of famous people, TV shows, and everyday life.  The costumes are delightful.

Nuthatch and Sparrow at the "Poop and Go"

Nuthatch and Sparrow at the "Poop and Go"

Here are some of the skits that this year’s hikers got to watch:

  • A Dr. Seuss bedtime poem about birds.
  • A male Baltimore oriole who thought he should be getting more attention from a birder taking a census.
  • A nuthatch and a house sparrow discussing the problems of spoiled food in feeders and the pooh pollution on the ground beneath them.
  • John TraVulture leading a panel of feathered experts in a discussion of bird songs and behaviors.
  • A rap about Iowa’s birds.

5 Fall Reasons to Leave the City October 11, 2009

Posted by Wapello Warbler in Louisa County, Small Town Life.
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Fall leaves

You loved 5 Summer Reasons to Leave the City and my spring reasons were a hit, too. It’s fall now, so here are 5 more reasons to leave the city.

  1. Fall Colors. Sure, leaves change color in the cities, too; but you’re to busy fighting traffic to enjoy them. Get out of town along the wooded lanes and highways of the country to really enjoy them.  Around here the best place for color is county 99 between Wapello and Burlington.
  2. Hayrides and Bonfires. Throw a few hay bales on a wagon.  Hook it to a tractor and its instant fun.  Just ride around cuddling with your honey or start a hay fight.  Your choice.  Afterward, light the fire and get the hot dogs and s’mores going with your favorite hot drink.
  3. Corn Mazes. Do you like paper mazes?  Try one made of 7 foot  corn.  It can take an hour or more to thoroughly explore one.  But beware, some of them are haunted! Looking for one in Louisa County?  Try Barnyard Blooms just north of Grandview.
  4. Hunting. Louisa County has 13,000 acres available for hunting pheasant,  turkey, water fowl, and large corn fed deer. You can find a list of public hunting locations here and a complete breakdown of seasons, licensing and other regulations at the Iowa DNR’s web site. Click here for waterfowl and here for other game. If you’re an avid hunter, consider moving here.
  5. Safer Trick or Treating. When we lived in the city we had to choose between driving a few score miles or checking our kids candy very, very carefully.  It’s different here. The people at work, the people at church, and the parents of the other kids are all near neighbors.  You see them in the stores, at the gas station, and out for a walk.  It isn’t long before you know who lives where.  You can cover your friends on foot and fill a bag in less time than it takes Harry Potter to grab the  snitch.

Now it’s your turn.  What  fall reasons do you have for preferring life in a small town?

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