An Obvious Quote

I just came across this quote in a blog called “Which Came First” Sept. 25, 2007 6:48 PM on the New York Times website The 3 part series is in itself a very interesting examination of how we can know something about history (in this case about some photographs taken during the Crimea War), but this quote by the author Errol Morris really jumped out at me. It’s something to consider the next time you are trying to research some history, buy something expensive, or have a conversation.

As I’ve said elsewhere: Nothing is so obvious that it’s obvious. When someone says that something is obvious, it seems almost certain that it is anything but obvious – even to them. The use of the word “obvious” indicates the absence of a logical argument – an attempt to convince the reader by asserting the truth of something by saying it a little louder.


Winter Weather

In Iowa it is surely winter. We really don’t have any right to complain because we haven’t had a proper Iowa winter in about ten years. There have been ice storm winters and occasional blizzard winters, but we haven’t had a proper lasts all winter type winter for 10 years easily. This year it got an early start right at the beginning of December (they have started earlier – we have a movie of my grandfather picking corn on Thanksgiving in the snow) and has not let up since. Luckily while it has been very cold at times (first time I heard of a negative 40 windchill in years) for the most part the extreme cold weather hasn’t come with the storm decreasing the amount of snow and insuring that the snow is wet and heavy enough that it doesn’t blow easily. Our farm (and at present the roads – three days out from the last storm) are still full of drifts and Monday afternoon I saw a virtual constant curtain of snow at the corner of St. Mary’s church and another one up by our nearest neighbor if it had been dry, fluffy snow we would have been in total white out conditions. We had 11 inches in one day and lastest storm was between 6 and 7 with almost an inch of ice under it (the downside of staying warmer). Monday once again they are calling for a wintry mix. The house isn’t buried yet, but we’re running out of places to put the snow we move.

I can also testify the veracity of some of Laura’s statements about snow as I haven’t been able to in years. You clear a path (for a person or a train) throwing the snow up on the sides and the next blowing storm will fill up the gap to the top of the two side walls no matter how much snow actually fell. Also, the hard packed path type of snow is about the last to melt, especially without concrete or asphalt under it. Just as she described. Everyone is ready for spring, but isn’t March yet and we usually have at least 2 winter storms in March.

We’ve had our first calf of the year and 3 ewes have had their lambs, taking full advantage of the some of the worst nights of the year.

Happy Birthday, Almanzo!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Sorry I’m a day late with the rest of the post. 

In honor of Almanzo’s birthday, Dean Butler has uploaded another preview of his documentary on Almanzo’s life. Its release date has been delayed, but for the very good reason that they want to add more stuff to it. 😉 This new preview shows a very good look at Trout River and the pump house (forgive them the kitchen pump in the pumphouse, it’s what’s actually there) and then quick peeks at a walkthrough in the dining room moving from just after the door to the Master bedroom, past the heater (take a look at it, I really don’t think that it’s set up the right way), and into the front parlor, then to the barns. The next quick peek shows very quickly two rooms in the barns, but I’m not sure which ones. It then cuts back to Dean Butler and when it returns to the barns in the tool room which is the first room in the horse barn (they have a lot of old tools and they liberally spread them around the barns). I’m pretty sure the next bit is the barnyard end of the South Barn.  The bad thing is they show using Wikipedia as a research source (NEVER EVER do this unless you are looking up an old TV show, a new rock band, or a techy breakthrough – it’s not a reliable source and makes almost all librarians’s blood run cold). See it for yourself here:

Country School Association of America Conference

The registration form for the CSAA conference this June is now online. This is the national one-room school association. This year’s conference is being hosted at Miami University where McGuffey of McGuffey Readers fame taught. It will feature a special focus on him, including tours. Find the registration at the link below. Also, they’ve extended the deadline for the call for papers, so if you hesitated too long, you still have a chance.

Book – To the Flag by Richard J. Ellis

This book is the story of the Pledge of Allegiance. It’s a very interesting story. How the Pledge developed slowly into its final form, it’s rise and fall with in schools, and how the physical salute changed over the decades is covered in detail. The story of the history surrounding the pledge is even interesting.has For example, it seems that one of its best known historians was also a plagiarist. The analysis of the early history is the best part and presented in a fairly even handed way. Ellis has his own modern political point of view and the closer it comes to the present time, the less even handed his approach becomes. It’s still a very interesting book for anyone with an interest in the Pledge or the history of education. I’d recommend any one involved in one-room school history read at least the first 2/3rds of the book.

Dean Butler’s Blog

Dean Butler, the Michael Landon version of Almonzo, has a production company. As one of his latest projects he’s announced that he’s working on a documentary about Almanzo’s life. The latest issue of “Farmer Boy News” announced they were taking pre-orders at their Christmas event. I’ve added a link to his blog to my blogroll. Keep up with Dean. Thank you to Sandra Hume of “The Homesteader” for pointing out his link.