What a week! It was filled with lots of activity and excitement, as well as sadness.
Paul Wellstone was killed in a plane crash on Friday. Wellstone was a very outspoken Democratic Senator from Minnesota. He and his family were flying in northern Minnesota where the plane went down and killed everyone aboard. Wellstone was a good supporter for family farms, the underprivileged and the working middle class people. Our family supported many of his issues he believed in.
Mom, Dad, and I woke up at 2:00 in the morning on Sunday. We left home for a quick trip to Washington, D.C. We said goodbye to Noel and Sammy at 2:30 AM. We flew out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, at 5:45 Sunday morning. We made a stop in Cincinnati, Ohio to switch flights. Cincinnati airport is bigger than we thought. From there we headed on to Washington, D.C. After arriving, we took the metro train service from Reagan International Airport to the area where we were staying. When we got to our motel, we dropped off our luggage and headed on to tour the national mall area the rest of the day. We saw the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial Wall, Korean Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, White House, the Capitol, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, and lots more buildings and statues. I think I liked the Franklin Roosevelt Memorial the most because it's very neatly designed and very educational. I learned a lot from the sayings inscribed on the walls. I liked the waterfalls coming down over the stonewalls.
As we viewed the White House from a distance, we noticed that there is a lot more security than it used to be. More areas are secluded or fenced off around the grounds than it used to be from when my whole family was there 7 years ago. After walking all afternoon, we weren't too interested in going anywhere for the night. We headed back to our motel and had a pizza ordered in and watched TV. We saw a lot in one afternoon. Our feet were tired.
Monday, Mom, Dad, and I woke up early, had breakfast, and went to a large specialty food store near our motel. It was here where a major United Sates Department of Agriculture announcement was to be held later that morning. (This was the reason why we were in D.C.) As invited guests of Organic Valley, we stood among a group of people also there to hear the big announcement. The big announcement was that USDA Certified Organic could now be used on labeling and that all standards were uniform across the country. Behind us stood many TV cameras and reporters. It was really exciting. After the announcement, questions were answered, and than the media and others in attendance were asked to sample different organic foods around the store at demo tables. Organic Valley had both meat and cheese to sample. We helped meet the media and shared information. What was really great was that Mom, Dad, and I were all interviewed by Robert Hager of NBC news! We knew they were going to use some of the interview for the evening news but didn't know exactly what and how much would be covered. That night Mom made the evening national news. Of course we missed it because we were flying home about the time it was aired on TV. All week long we've had someone calling us or telling us in person that they saw Mom on TV. I guess we will be receiving a videotape of it so we can see it.
Before heading home that evening, we had enough time to visit the Holocaust Museum. This was really interesting! We also saw the outside of the Department of Agriculture. It's a HUGE building!! This was right across the street from the museum. I had fun being gone the two days.Tuesday, Dad picked corn and I helped after I got home from school. Wednesday, Dad sold 5 hogs. After transporting the hogs to Charles City, he went up to St. Ansgar to pick up premix. The wrong ingredients to make the premix were delivered to the feed mill and Dad had to wait for a couple of hours until the premix was ready. That held picking corn off for a while. Again, I picked after school.
I woke up Thursday morning, looked out my bedroom window, and saw that the ground was white! It had snowed during the night. We had over an inch of snow on the ground. I was shocked to see the snow. When I got back home from school, most of the snow had melted away. It was too wet to pick corn on Thursday and Friday. You can't harvest corn when it is wet out because the combine will get plugged due to wet stalks and wet husks. It rained a little on Friday, too. We couldn't get into the field until Saturday afternoon. While Dad was waiting for it to get dry, he maintained the ear corn picker in our shop. He fixed anything that was broken, checked oil levels, filled the gas tank, fixed lights so we could pick in the dark, etc. While Dad was hauling and emptying loads of ear corn, I picked 10 loads in the afternoon and evening.
Farm Fact: Dad and I believe that it is prettier in the fall when you pick ear corn instead of harvest the corn by the kernels. You store the ear corn in corncribs and you can see the nice color of yellow ear corn. We think the corn looks really nice with the clean, bright yellow. If you harvest the corn by the kernel, all you see is gray grain bins, not the crop.