One of the things about blogging…

Had a friend and  fellow blogger come for a visit last month. 

The first time Kristina came, she brought her  son.  

Second time she came, she brought the hubby.

After that she’s come by herself.

After Kristina left, last Saturday she wrote  something.   I asked her if she minded me sharing a portion of it with you…


“I visit my friends smack dab in the middle of farm country.

Its quiet.

Its beautiful.

Its noble.

We don’t do a darn thing but cook, eat, organize, play cards, shop the thrift and Amish stores and talk.

We solve the world’s problems.

One cup of coffee at a time.”



One of the things about blogging over an extended period of time is, if you care to, it allows you to get to know someone on a level, most people never realize.

I (DM) have been putting myself out there via various WordPress blogs since 2007.  Well over 1000 blog posts on 4 different blogs.   Kristina (our guest) has been reading along since the very beginning. 

 And she STILL wants to stay in touch.

That is one of the highest compliments  a person can give. 

Unconditional acceptance.

  The past few years, I’ve noticed the frequency of my posts have started to taper. 

I feel like I’ve said everything I want to say. and that’s OK 🙂


If you’re a blogger, why do blog?

Describe your blog to me in 10 words or less. 

Have you ever met any of the people you’ve initially crossed paths with via your blog in person? Tell me more.  I want details. DM



Last night

42 years ago last night, I popped the question….

Engagement photo.

(That’s me on the right)

40th surprise anniversary party family photo.

I have a lot to be thankful for!

Just a quick post to keep those of you that are regulars in the loop. Take care. DM

You can, but you don’t have to

Thirty years ago I attended a weekend workshop offered through our local community college on assertive communication.

I’ve mentioned this before.

Cost of the weekend was $40.

Best $40 I have ever spent…..


I was reminded of that course again this afternoon.

Yesterday, I stopped at 5 different locations assessing storm damage after last Monday’s Derecho.

I had mixed feelings about bidding on one of the projects.  Some of this stuff is intuition.

I’d originally gotten a call from a woman last week, who sounded nice enough.  After a couple of questions, she asked if I would mind speaking with her husband.   Not a problem.  When hubby got on the phone, there was a completely different vibe.  (I think she’d called me without  talking to him about it first.)  Anyway, he was a little dismissive and non committal about whether or not he wanted me to stop and look at their job.   ( I am already into November with scheduling, so  I felt like I was more doing him a favor than me needing work).

Last Sunday night he called back,  different tone.  Little more humble.   Set up a time for me to stop on Tuesday.  Monday, we had that storm  so I didn’t get to their place until yesterday (Saturday).

After looked at the project, I decided I really didn’t want to  pursue it any further.

I sent him a text this afternoon, letting him know I stopped, but after looking at the project have decided to pass on the work.  That is all I’m going to tell him.   And that’s where some of the material we covered from the assertiveness class came back.

Assertiveness Bill of Rights

I have the right to change my mind.

I do not have to explain why I chose to do what I do.

I can  tell you why I’ve decided to do something a certain, way if I want to,  BUT I DO NOT HAVE TO.

The husband wrote back, asking why I was going to pass?

That’s is far as that conversation is going to go.

I am not going to unpack my decision with him.

Nothing to be gained.

Would love to hear your thoughts.   🙂

I can’t lay my hands on the original list we covered but  here are a few variations of it I grabbed off Google image…




We have a friend (Kristi)  who lives an area of  Cedar Rapids that was heavily damaged by Monday’s  Derecho.   I was finally able to connect with her last night.  Made plans to help do clean up this morning.

Just got home.

It went well.

By noon, we did all we could do. I had to leave  one large limb  leaning on the neighbors roof, I told Kristi I didn’t feel comfortable with  that one.

I know my limitations.

A couple of neighbors stopped @ one point.  I told them I was going to pass on one of the tree branches.  Just too many variables.  The younger fella, dismissed my concerns and thought it wouldn’t be too hard, just  needed to do this, this and this.

I listened. 😉

It didn’t change my mind.  As much as I would have loved to completely finish the job, there was a real chance when that branch came down  it could take out a window.

No thank you . 🙂


As I was having my morning cup of coffee (Starbucks/ french roast) this morning before heading to Kristi’s, I spotted movement on a windowsill.

We live in a 110 year old 2 story farm house…you just never know.  It looked like it was either a leaf, the tail of  a sparrow, or a ground squirrel?

None of those possibilities made much sense for different reasons.

5 minutes later I saw it again.  At this point I said something to my wife:“I think  there is something outside on our window sill…. either a ground squirrel or a sparrow…”

Then  suddenly more of the creature came into view….

It was a tree frog!

What the heck.

And it wasn’t on the outside of the glass.

And it was stuck between the window and the screen.

The poor little fella, had crawled through a small tear in the screen and gotten trapped, and he looked pretty dehydrated.

One more day and and I’m thinking he would have been cooked.

I picked him up, to take him outside. The birdbath caught my eye.  Set him in the water, and within a minute he was revived.


Also spotted one of our honeybees thrashing around upside down in the bird bath.  I nudged her out of the water and got her up on the ledge.

Within seconds, she was revived.

The word for today is Rescue.

Riding out my first Derecho

I am thankful.

About noon today a severe storm system that nobody saw coming  (at least not initially) ripped a wide swath of destruction across Eastern Iowa.

Son and I were just starting to pour a footing for a retaining wall when the homeowner came over and asked if our phones had alerted us to a major storm that was heading our way.  It hadn’t.    She pulled up the weather channel , it said we had about 30 minutes before it would be on top of us.

It was packing wind speeds of 100 mph (160 kilos).  Not to mention, the neighborhood we were working in was surrounded by large trees.

We were able to finish the pour, and get on the road about 10 minutes before it hit.

I have never in my life experienced anything quite like it.

Found out tonight this kind of a storm is called a Derecho (which means straight in Spanish/ as in straight line winds.

We pulled next to a gas station and watched power line poles snap,  shingles get ripped off the apartment building across the street.  The winds lasted at least 45 minutes, and when it came time to try to get home,  most of the streets in the area, were blocked by downed trees, and power lines.

Saw two of these large metal high power lines in a twisted heap,  with wires across the highway.

Photo compliments of google

Once we finally got out of the city, we saw (3) overturned semis, metal grain bins, twisted and blown onto the highway, and lots, and lots of mature trees down.

The cornfields in the path of those winds were a total loss

(grabbed this off FB tonight):

Neighbor said she’d heard 40 some cell towers were down in our area.  I can believe it.

Pulled this off the news channel this morning:

We were working about 45 minutes away from home, and our town was in the path of the storm. I told my son, that if our place was hit, there was no doubt in my mind, the 3 bee hives were going to be blown over.  I have one of them cinched together with a strap, and the other two smaller ones, just have a large rock on the top to keep the lid from blowing of.  No way in the world they would have been able to withstand  a 100 mph sustained winds.

As we got closer to home, I could see, some of the corn fields had been spared, and by the time we were within 10 minutes of home, I was pretty sure  (somehow) the storm had went around us.

Talk about mercy…

As we passed our third overturned semi we saw a deputy directing traffic.

I looked at my son and said,  

And to think there are people who want to dismantle  law enforcement….

“They are a  bunch of dumb a@#’s!  

I have an interview I would really like your thoughts on but…

But rather than me post it here w/o your permission, if you’re interested in watching it, I would e-mail the link to you directly.  (It pertains to current events related to the virus (and more)  This interview has  been blocked on Youtube and restricted on Facebook.

If even 25% of what this Doctor said  turns out to be true…

What it did for me was connect some dots on  things have been happening.


I am friends with a local MD, she messaged me a couple of days ago, really distressed about a data base she has subscribed to for the past 30 years…  Won’t go into it any further than that, but it ties into the interview I’m talking about.


I think the whole interview is about 45 minutes long.  No pressure.  Let me know.  I look @ those of you that are regulars as extended family, and because of that, I respect you too much to just stuff things into your in box.  All of us are so bombarded and saturated by information, the last thing I want to be is that person in your life.

Gratitude 7/18/2020

I am thankful.

Thankful so many moons ago, my dad (with whom I never ever remember having any deep conversations growing up) put a book in my hands when I was about 16.  It was called The Power of Positive Thinking.  He’d just finished reading it.  I can remember him saying something to the effect like..”Junior, this would be a good book to read.”

Flash forward to today.  That conversation is still bearing fruit in my life.  I am even more convinced now that I am 60 plus years and counting in the power and importance in the attitudes I chose as I approach  today.   A large part of right thinking involves being thankful.  Finding things to be thankful for, even in the midst of chaos.  Even in the midst of heartache and not so pleasant circumstances.  Even in the midst of medical stuff.

What can I identify I can be thankful for?


Got a call this week from someone in crisis.  Asked if I could take them to the hospital, they were in the midst of a major panic attack. Ever been around one of those?  Lot of people never have.   If you’ve not, contrary to what you might think, it’s not usually weak people that are most vulnerable, rather, it’s often times someone who is a go/ getter/ type a, never take a break, full throttle 7 days a week personality type.  Yep.

I was thankful I was able to get in touch with 2 people on the phone as I was headed to their house…a counselor I know, and a nurse I know.   Both picked up the phone. Both gave me great input as to how to proceed. I was thankful for their input. Thankful I didn’t have to fly completely blind as I took off with my friend to the hospital.


Thankful to for a book I read 25 years ago on the coaching tips from former Green Bay Packer coach, Vince Lombardi.  I am not into food ball as funny as that might sound. I read the book because I was intrigued by his ability to motivate people.   A quote  from that  book came to mind  this week…

He said, “Football…beyond any game invented by man is closest to war…

it teaches a most important lesson of life…. 

the ability to walk through a storm and keep your head high.”

Yep,  It was a full week for me (emotionally exhausting).


I am thankful I learned the art of weaving “margin” into my life in my late 20’s.   As a first born,  get-er-done.  Work 7 days a week/ dairy farmers son I didn’t know any different.

Life is a marathon.

It is not a sprint.

We are not meant to be “on” 7 days a week.

You will pay the piper.

Feel free to do otherwise. 🙂

Time  to play in  the shop.  Need to get ready to install another air conditioneer/ coolbot setup in the walk in cooler.

Tell me about your week.   DM

PSA.   I never know who may be reading this in the future.  If by chance you’ve stumbled across this post after googing “panic attack” etc,  Get yourself a copy of The Anxiety Cure by Archibald Hart.   

Trust me, you’ll be glad you did. 🙂



I had a friend do some welding on my truck this morning.

I’ll call him Dave.

While we were working,  Dave was reminiscing about the time  he worked for Harnishfeger.

(Harnishfeger  was a local manufacturing company that built cranes)

Dave worked 2nd shift.  He worked in their experimental lab building prototypes.

Their shop was several hundred yards away from the main plant.  Company had an old pick up truck the guys used to shuttle back and forth to the main building. Guys were always playing practical jokes on each other, and one day, Dave had this brilliant idea of parking an excavator next to the shuttle, resting the bucket  in the bed of the truck, then hiding the keys.

Well, things got busy, and the whole prank slipped his mind until next day when his shift was walking out to the lab.  Someone came up to him (and the rest of the crew) and said, “Whatever you do, don’t say anything, even if you know who did it…. The shift foreman is livid, The hydraulics settled overnight, and the bucket of the excavator punched a hole right through the bed of the truck.  When they find out who is responsible, that person is probably going to loose his job.”

I said, “Then what happened?”

“I went directly to the foreman and confessed the whole thing.  Took complete responsibility.  Told him I had no intention for things to get that far out of hand, I was just stupid.   I owned it.”

Dave got his butt chewed, but didn’t get fired.

Two months later, Dave was promoted to foreman of that 2nd shift.

Lesson there. 🙂


Had this story (and other ones) rumbling around in my head the past while.   They don’t seem to quite “fit” my farm blog, so I decided to take this blog out of cold storage yet again. 😉

I have to be honest.

There have been several times I’ve  wanted to give voice to something , but squelched it because, I knew I would rustle  feathers.

Life is too short to get into pissing matches, on line or in person…but especially on the Internet.

So I keep my thoughts to myself.

I used to get together a couple of times a month with a self professed anarchist.  He was a few years older than myself.  Did a tour in Vietnam  and came back angry.  Long story short, he and I were on opposite ends of the spectrum politically, spiritually, etc.  yet we shared a common interest in history.  He was articulate, and I honestly wanted to understand his thinking when it came to current events…

It worked.

Over coffee, he and I would get into the most robust conversations and I think we both came away richer for it.

I love conversations like that, if they happen in the context of mutual respect.


Currently I am sleeping like a baby.

Even in the midst of the current craziness.

Some of it has to do with my job.

There is an old saying  “The laborers sleep is sweet.”   

Most days, I come home physically spent.  So that’s part of it.

Another big part for me is what I’ve been taking into my mind.

I have become even more ruthless (and selective) if that’s possible, when it comes to staying informed.

I refuse to spend my life going from one “crisis” that consumes me to the next.


There is no pillow as soft as a clear conscience.


Thanks for stopping by, on this 4th of July 2020!

Take care. DM




To everything there is a season….

   ” To everything there is a season, a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted…

A time to speak and a time to remain silent…”  


Been thinking about putting this blog in the archives for a little while  now.

90% of you that are regular readers know I also have a “farm” blog, which I do plan to continue to use.  Rather than just up and disappear, I wanted to put this little notification out.  If you don’t know that website, and are interested,  leave me a comment and I’ll send it to you via e-mail.

I’ll probably leave this blog up for a couple of weeks, just to make sure any regulars  know how to find me, and after that I’ll put it in the can along with my other blog.

Take care, DM




Yesterday morning on my way to work, I passed through the town of XYZ.

A young friend and former co-worker lives in this town, and sometimes I will  call (or text him) just to let him know I am thinking of him.

That happened yesterday,  🙂  I texted him once I got to the job-site.

Several years ago he  played the part of the tailor in the play Fiddler on the roof.

Remember that story?

I texted him:

“Blessings on your head, mazel tov, mazel tov.”

Forty five minutes later he replies: “Morn’n Tevya!”

To which I said: “If I were a rich man…”

An hour later he replied:“Ah, but you’ve been blessed with beautiful daughters, (and son) plus that pesky fiddler on your roof!”

His words made my morning.

Made me think about my four kids…

I am a rich man.

I am thankful for these relationships for several reasons.

When I was younger (and they were young) I didn’t “get it.”  I poured too much of my time and energy into other “good things”.  ie helping other people, youth group, work,  instead of cherishing the ones closest to me.   So I am thankful for the relationships I do have.

I am thankful for each of their diverse personalities.

I am thankful for the  adult version each of them has turned into (in spite of us as parents feeling like we were flying by the seat of our pants, the whole time.)

I am thankful I get to work with our son currently.  He has his own masonry  and commercial business, and I have my own construction and remodeling business.  Some days, he’s the boss, and other days, I am in charge.  What a blessing!



How about you.  Tell me something (somethings) you need to be more thankful for.

You know me, I love details…..details.

If you can’t think of something right now on the spot, give it some thought, and come back.