Winter wonderland February 15, 2021
Minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit for the high today and will drop to Minus 20 to 25 depending on if it stays clear or clouds come in overnight.
FORTUNATELY there is no wind!
A windless night will save a lot of birds during these extreme actual temps.

Nishnabotna froze over.

City crew kept busy this winter

February 4, 2021

Live long enough and you see one extreme weather event after another.
While we haven't had anywhere near record amounts of snow this winter in the Manning area...but this is definitely the coldest extended spell of near zero to below zero temps we've had in decades.

This winter is more like I remember when I was a kid.

I forget the exact year and I didn't take pictures but it was during one winter before 1985, when one evening we had sustained winds of 50+ MPH out of the northwest, and the actual temperature was minus 27, and as I recall the wind chill was minus 80 - if you remember the year or have pictures, please let me know.
We still had our old farm house that had no insulation like most old farm houses of the past. The bathroom was on the southeast part of the house and that night the water in the toilet bowl froze solid.
I even had plastic fastened to the first story on the outside of the house, along with hay/straw bales stacked up to cover the first story. At that time our new windbreak trees were less than 5 feet tall, so they did no good to block the wind.

Needless to say, I saw something I had never seen before when I went outside the next morning. The winds had subsided and as I walked around the yard, there were sparrows, starlings, and all kinds of song birds lying dead all over. Some of them must have tried to fly to find a warmer location near a building but probably died mid-flight.

I wish I had pictures to show, so people can realize how difficult our feathered creatures have it during some winters.

I've been feeding my song birds for decades. If you start feeding your area birds now, once you have started you MUST NOT stop feeding them until the winter is over.

Birds are creatures of habit and will get dependent on the food you give them, so if you stop all of a sudden once the weather warms up a little, some of them will not go back to searching on their own and will die.

There is so much going on around us and most of us fortunately don't have to put up with the elements like some occupations require of workers.

I thought it would be interesting for people to hear sounds that they may not have heard before or realized how super cold temps affects things around us.

Take a look and listen to some sounds and sights that I recorded February 15, 2021, around 10:30 pm when it was MINUS 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Listen to the sounds of the Burlington Northern backing up to hook up to cars/tankers at the bean plant
I spoke to the switchman for a few moments. I said it was a good thing there was no wind - he definitely agreed with me. If you stood still and didn't move, it really wasn't that bad but just walking created a wind chill of sorts and it bit right through your clothes.
Another RR worker who connects/disconnects the cars is over to the east. If you look closely during the first part of the video, you can see his flashlight.
This isn't physically hard work but I would suggest you should never complain about your own job, especially if it is always indoors.
Before I left I thanked the worker and told him to be safe. You may not think this type of work as essential but consider where the US would be, or should I say would NOT be today, if it weren't for the railroads.

Listen to the sounds at the bean plant

10:23 pm

Most of what you see venting into the air is steam.

A semi tanker loaded with soybean oil heading out to its destination.

For further information, contact: Matt Caswell, Vice President
Member/Corporate Relations and Government Affairs

AGP Supports Iowa Biofuels Standard

Omaha, NE (Feb. 17, 2021) - Ag Processing Inc., a cooperative (AGP) announced the Company's support for the Iowa Biofuels Standard, a state legislative initiative that would support biofuel production and use in the state of Iowa. The legislation, introduced as House Study Bill 185, creates a state program that would establish biofuels standards for fuel sold in Iowa and provide tax credits and infrastructure support to biofuel blenders and retailers. The bill has the support of Governor Kim Reynolds and major agricultural associations and organizations.

"AGP supports and invests in Iowa biodiesel production," said Troy Alberts, AGP Senior Vice President for Refined Oils and Renewable Fuels. "The Company recognizes the impact that biodiesel has on the demand for soybean oil in Iowa as it accounts for 85% of the feedstock. Increased use of biodiesel translates into higher soybean prices for farmers, economic development in rural communities, and reductions in harmful fuel emissions. This legislation further protects the industry against federal policy and political uncertainty by increasing demand for this important advanced biofuel in Iowa."

The biofuels standard establishes a minimum level of biodiesel to be blended in the state's diesel fuel pool, gradually increasing over time. Beginning in 2022, the legislation ensures that biodiesel comprises 11% of the diesel pool and provides tax credits for higher blends. The program expands to 20% biodiesel blends, or B20, in future years. The legislation also establishes new retail income tax incentives for fuel marketers and provides funding for biodiesel projects through the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program. Financial support for renewable fuels would also be made available from the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund.

AGP ( is a leading agribusiness with primary operations as a major U.S. soybean processor/refiner producing and marketing soybean meal, refined soybean oil, and biodiesel. AGP businesses also include agricultural product trading in domestic and international markets and numerous U.S. grain elevator operations. AGP is owned by 148 local and regional cooperatives representing over 250,000 farmer-producers across the United States. Corporate headquarters are located in Omaha, NE.
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(402) 496-7809
"An Equal Opportunity Employer"

10:49 pm

minus 20 Fahrenheit

12:30 am minus 22
One of the nurses at the hospital told me her car sensor registered minus 28 early this morning.

You know it's cold when the snow "squeaks" as you drive on it.

You know it's cold when the snow "squeaks" as you walk on it.

When we tore down the old house and built the new one in 1985, I wanted a wood burning stove for 3 main reasons.
We grew up in a house with no insulation, and various sources of heat that was warm right next to it such as a kitchen stove we stoked with wood and cobs, and several different radiant heat oil burners, and occasionally mother would turn on the electric oven and leave the door open to help heat the kitchen.
For heat upstairs there was a vent in the floor you could open/close if you wanted heat to rise into your room.
So I wanted to make sure the new house had plenty of heating options. One is the natural gas furnace and the other a wood burning stove with blower.

Another reason I wanted the stove was for supplemental heat when the electricity cuts off.

The last reason is I also spent time in Aspinwall with my grandparents, and Louie Ehrichs had a forced air stove that burned coal, wood, cobs, etc.
I remember hearing grandpa rocking the shaker early in the morning to remove the ash and then re-stoke the I would run down to help - I wanted to rock the shaker arm and I loved the smell of cobs while stoking the stove.

Wood burning stove

Wood burning stove

It originally had a glass window, but as it aged it cracked, so I made a steel plate to replace it.

As an added safety feature I took out a thermostat from an electric oven and then mounted the sensor on the stove pipe and connected the thermostat into the wiring harness. This is a faster way to close off the temperature controlled vent should the fuel source inside heat up too is also a backup to the factory thermostat which also controls when the blower turns on/off.

I heat the whole house without running the natural gas furnace because of the way I have the basement set up. I have 2 intake vents in the cold air duct return that pulls off the heat and through the furnace fan central air ductwork.
Then I put in 2 exhaust fans in the basement ceiling, one of which is a small squirrel cage fan, and both of them blow the air from the basement ceiling and up to the living room on the first floor.
This helps to keep the excess heat in the basement moving to the upper level.

The wood I burn is mostly from trees that die or blow down in our windbreak and then I replace them with new trees. The other source is from the city brush pile, where there is an endless source of wood of all kinds...while hardwood trees such as oak and ash are the best source of heat, I burn every type of tree and large branch shrubs.

Now for fun - see if you recognize this sound and what made it...most people have never heard this sound today, but if you are old enough you should recognize the sound - especially if you grew up on a farm.

What makes this sound?

A steel 5 gallon bucket.

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