In September of 2003, I proposed to my wife, Johanna, under the miniature campanile at ISU’s Reiman Gardens. Every year in September, we return. This year, we didn’t make it until October. Every year Reiman Gardens a new theme. This year’s theme: garden gnomes.
I love the gnomes, and I believe the gnomes were meant to roam free. I support groups as the GGLF (Garden Gnome Liberation Front) who work to free garden gnomes from their oppressive gardeners, and I hope the gnomes of ISU will find a way to be free and be liberated from their holders.
Please enjoy these photos of the gnomes and other things at ISU and the ISU Reiman Gardens.
In my previous post I mentioned Horsfall’s Variety store in Lansing as place worthy of its own post. As I said previously, there was probably a general store similar to Horsfall’s in every town in America 100 years ago. Today, they’re nearly all gone, replaced with True Value hardware stores, Walmarts, BP gas stations, and all the the other big and small box chain stores that have homogeneously grown over america like mold on an old block of cheese.
This wonderful lone surviver of corporatism has become a distinguishing landmark, or perhaps tourist trap, of Lansing, Iowa. People visiting the area — motorcyclists cruising along the river, boaters, campers in their nearby tents and cabins, and even busloads of old ladies – stop in here to marvel at its wares.
The store’s wares include everything from hardware to underwear and everything in between. There are new trinkets next to items that have been on the shelves for (literally) decades. Brand-name and knock-off products of every kind (note the ersatz Cabbage Patch doll called “Sweet Potato”) and Trapper Keepers from 1989.
The below gallery is exclusively pictures of the “Old” section of the store. The place is so full, they have expanded into a newer building next door called Horsfall’s Department Store. The new section has a completely different feel, but every bit as much variety. The new building may be yet another post for another day.
Last weekend Johanna and I went back to her home town for her 10 year class reunion. I took a few shots on the road and more around town. Lansing is a small town along the Mississippi River in the far northeastern corner of Iowa. It has a number of beatiful old buildings down its one small main street, and an interesting old bridge crossing the river into Wisconsin. It also is surrounded by large, wooded hills. If you think the whole state of Iowa is almost completely flat, you have probably never been to this part of Iowa.
The last shot is of Horsfall’s, which is an old locally owned and run variety store. It’s like an old general store, the kind that probably could have been found in nearly every small town in America a century ago, but is now practically extinct. Horsfall’s is worthy of its own post, so I’ll post again about it soon.
This is the train bridge crossing the Des Moines River downtown. As old and neglected as it appears, it actually has a neat industrial aesthetic and in a way looks better than it might freshly painted. At the very least, it seems to blend into its atmosphere better than it would in a fresh coat of white. Remarkably, it seems to be almost completely lacking graffiti, even though it would appear to not have been painted in decades.
I have been living downtown Des Moines for just over 5 years now and love it here. Des Moines is clean and safe. It is big enough to keep me entertained and small enough to be easy to get around. During these 5 years there have been a lot of great improvements and continues to work its way up. Here are a few shots of the area around my workplace on a quiet weekend. Oh, and be sure to check out the good looking dude with the camera that is in one of the shots. I’m not sure who he is, but I’ve seen him around frequently. He seems to hang out in my bathroom a lot, above the sink.
These birds think they’re really freak’n cool. Look at that Robin. Yeah, you’re just the cock of the walk.
This wasn’t supposed to turn out sounding like fupenguin.com, but now I really understand where that guy’s coming from. Below, five pictures of two birds, and one non-bird photo to cleanse your palate.
As a kid, I used to spend nearly all my time during the warmer seasons outdoors. I would spend my time running around with my friends, playing games, riding Big Wheels, sword fighting with sticks, building fortresses in the bushes. The spring, therefore, always reminds me of my childhood. I remember the excitement of the coming warmer weather, and just as I would return from my retreat indoors during the winter, the plants would return too. I remember the violets that would grow on the lawn and the lilacs on the side of the house with their distinct scent, which permeated the whole yard. I remember the tulips reaching out of the dirt like the hand of a zombie crawling from the grave.
OK, so I ruined my beautiful verbal portrait of spring with an image of the rising of our living-dead overlords. Sorry. Here are some pictures of the beginning of spring, a focus on the buds of soon to be lush foliage.