Exposed to the Sap

I wasn’t expecting it to be as hot outside as it was today, but it managed to arrive one more day to torment us a little more. With the way in which we acclimate ourselves, I won’t be surprised if we feel a bit chilled when it gets back down in the 70’s.

For the most part, it was an all-around quiet Thursday which afforded me time get some accounting and bill-paying done. I’m still in a bit of dis-belief we’re soon to be saying adios to the month of July. Where has our summer gone?

Since I have to play for St. Paul Lutheran on Sunday morning, I figured I’d best get some practicing done before the weekend arrived, so I sat down for about a half hour and ran thru the pieces they selected. Unfortunately, they had to change one of the hymns, as they didn’t have the correct accompaniment for it, because when I looked at the one they found, for the most part, that’s all I would’ve been doing was chording, which is not a good thing when you don’t have someone fully familiar with it, where they’d be the ones keeping the song line going. Now if I had a woodwind or string instrument playing the song line along with me, then I would’ve said, “Let’s go for it.”

As I suspected, the traffic was heavy while driving over to Clear Lake for my noontime appointment. It was a good thing I left early and took less-traveled roads, because if I hadn’t, they would’ve been waiting for me. That long and drawn out paving of the Monroe intersection has got to be the slowest project I’ve seen in years. Of course the bottlenecking that’s been taking place these many weeks at Federal and Hwy 122, makes for an even longer journey from one end of our City to the other.

My Noon showing went very well to where the buyers are now doing some mental placing of their furniture, and picking color choices for the various rooms they’re planning on painting. It’s always quite refreshing whenever seeing the excitement first-time buyers have over their new homes. That was another home I insisted on being a good long-term investment due to its location and quality of construction. We must always remember, we cannot change the location of a home unless we spend many thousands to have it moved.

I had a soulful visit with a long-term client whom I’d not spoken with in at least two or more years. We managed to catch each other up on the recent happenings on our sides of the fence, and also talked about what we’ve doing this summer in our off hours. We’ve know each other for so very many years that we don’t have measure our words or pick vanilla subjects to talk about. I was glad to hear they’re going to be moving into one of their parent’s homes which will be a good fit for them.

Late this afternoon, I crossed paths with a gentleman who owns a Century Farm in our area, and since he was so very proud to talk about the straight-line generational ownership, I was brought fully up to speed on how many generations of his family had lived on that place. Of course I had to mention the fact that once upon a time, my mother had the opportunity to purchase the land that was homesteaded back in the 1870’s by her grandparents. Now if she’d purchased it, and the bloodline ownership had continued to this day, it would be bordering on being a Heritage Farm designation which is only for farms which’ve had direct ownership in the same bloodline for 150 years or more. Here in North Iowa, I’d say that’s an accomplishment.

In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world, it’s a marvel to find a family in ownership of a home in our City for a mere 50 years. One of my recent sales was in that particular family for over 65 years which I considered an accomplishment. Whenever I do come across long-term and multi-generational ownership situations, I’m alway keen on getting the scoop from the current owners regarding how they managed to stay so long. Of course there’s always the down-side with many of those homes because I’m still of the belief that long-term ownership creates the possibility of there being entities paying nightly visits to the new owners. I don’t know if I did mention the length of ownership of that acreage where I encountered a poltergeist, and if it didn’t, I must tell you now that it was owned by the same family for over 90 years, and keep in mind, that encounter took place well over 20 years ago.

With all of the out-of-town appointments I’ve recently had, I’m now fully shocked at how much Queen Anne’s Lace and wild parsnips I see growing along the roadside, ditches, and timbered areas. About a week ago, I spotted a lowland waterway that must’ve had ten or more acres of it growing. This year has been the worst I’ve yet to see, and all I can say, is these farmers and County road crews had better start spraying them because they are exceptionally invasive, as well as toxic to humans and animals. Once you’ve come down with phytophotodermatitis after being exposed to the sap from them, you’ll always be extremely careful when handling them. I got a small area on my arm burned once from them which was lucky for me, but I’ve also seen hellacious scarring on arms and legs of people who were out weed-whacking while being sleeveless and wearing shorts. As far as I’m concerned, wild parsnip is the worst because the burns they deliver are similar to a very bad sunburn. If you have time, do a little investigating of wild parsnip and Queen Anne’s Lace, and make sure to get a good glimpse at what those plants look like.

Having grown up on a farm, I’d never seen either one of those “weeds” until years later, and I’m of the belief they’re likely coming from all the many conservation areas we have in North Iowa. Whatever the reason be, they need to be eradicated.

Tonight’s One-liner is: The pen is mightier than the sword, only if the sword is very short, and the pen is very sharp.

Joe Chodur

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