Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween and other October Happenings in the Outback

Fortunately the month of October is going out like a lamb, after roaring like a lion several times during the month in the Nebraska Outback. The latest blizzard resulted in the closure of Interstate 80 from North Platte to Wyoming, Interstate 76 into Colorado and Highway 30 to Wyoming for much of Thursday and Friday and part of Saturday. As a tourism professional, I will take a 100% occupancy rate in the local hotels and motels no matter what the cause, but I also have to feel sorry for all of the travelers who were stranded away from home and their destinations.

Now here it is Halloween day, and all across the outback, there are still soybeans standing in wet fields. For those non-agricultural readers out there, soybeans should have been out a month or more ago. There are a lot of soybeans molding in their pods, and more that have already fallen to the ground and are un-harvestable.

The corn harvest should also be well underway, but has hardly even begun. The snow that came the 22nd & 23rd was heavy and wet and broke down the tops of the corn. This most recent snow was extremely heavy and wet, and came with high winds. The crop damage is still being assessed.

A friend of ours spent yesterday helping a rancher friend move cattle back to the summer pasture. They had been moved into corrals waiting for corn fields to be harvested so they could be moved onto stalks. Since no harvest happened, they have to go somewhere, so it’s back to pasture. This was no ordinary cattle drive. It was led off with a tractor equipped with a large blade that had to clear the road just so the cattle could make the trip. The tractor was pulling a sled carrying a haystack so the cows were definitely motivated.

The Mister and I have spent the past week in Lincoln, mostly to help our #1 daughter and son-in-law move, but we managed to squeeze in a lot of fun as well, and we missed the entire western Nebraska blizzard! Now we’re heading west on I-80, listening to the Nebraska-Baylor football game on KRVN radio, hoping to get home in time for the Mister to put the chains on the tractor and get the driveway cleared before the day cools off. Right now it’s 50+ degrees, so hopefully the bulk of the snow will be melted into the ground and won’t have to be moved.

The move went great, with plenty of time to move a room and get everything put away before moving the next room. Then by Friday when a large crew was available to help, they were able to get the big stuff and put it all where it belonged. We even managed to get the old house cleaned from top to bottom as we went. Thank goodness for lots of friends and family to lend helping hands.

The week started out last Saturday watching a disappointing Husker game with friends and family, then heading to Omaha and the Sokol Underground to enjoy some incredibly fun Celtic Punk rock music by Chicago’s Flatfoot 56 and Lincoln’s Killigans.

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We also got to hear a fun duo, Destroy Nate Allan.
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Monday night is Big Band Music by the Lincoln Capital Jazz Society at Brewskys Underground in Lincoln’s Haymarket district. Fortunately this is an 18+ show, so even the #4 son was able to go and listen to some very talented musicians playing a style of music young people don’t necessarily get exposed to very often. We got busy and missed the Jazz night on Wednesday, but on Thursday we enjoyed a variety of bands at the Red 9, including Staggerford, a Lincoln-based Indie band that we really liked.

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We managed to have enough energy left on Friday to head back to Brewskys for the Blazin’ Pianos performance. If you ever have a chance to go to a dueling piano show, I highly recommend it. It’s so much fun.

Tomorrow is November 1, and the beginning of NaNoWriMo 2009 – National Novel Writing Month. I have accepted the challenge to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. That is 1,677 words a day for the next 30 days. My characters and their antics are already bursting to get out and take off running on paper, but I am following the rules and doing nothing more than making plans until 12:01 a.m. tomorrow morning when the writing can begin.

With NaNoWriMo and getting ready for our first House Concert of the fall, as well as Thanksgiving and holiday preparation should make November a very busy month.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

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