It really isn't until after Labor Day weekend that I start to feel normal... Normal for ME anyway --( Stow the wisecracks! ) School starts the day after our State Fair, but it's still a few weeks before I can seem to catch my breath and the three day weekend is my official end to the summer activities. I surely must enjoy being busy in the summer, because I can't imagine it any other way or how I got to this point. It surely is hard to explain what we do to those who believe that teachers get their 'summers off'. I wasn't lucky enough to go abroad like Wes -- see this blog yet? -- but summer was a great one.
Since I haven't blogged for a while - we got some catchin' up to do. Kick back and pass the Pepsi.
Before the end of the year, there are always a few projects around the school that need finished -- my landscape class got most done but about 10 trees needed my loving approach to finish the job right after school got finished. Strange how the help disappears sometimes - like water at a mirage. Luckily we had time to shoe-horn in an officer retreat -- getting kids schedules to match up is a lot harder than I remember it being 15 years ago.
Literally within 24 hours of returning from our retreat, I left for Pennsylvania to teach a CASE Curriculum Institute for Penn State University. It was an absolute dream. The participants were top notch ag educators and I look forward to their impact in our profession in the future. I also got indoctrinated as a positive agent of change by Daniel Foster who was hosting this institute, along with the best 'make it happen' duo in the business - Michael K. Woods and Abigail Smith who took care of all our institute needs. (Pictured @Neil_Fellenbaum Keely Weinberger Mike @Greg_Babbitt and the group)
All work and no play is no good at all --- I haven't been on a horse in 20 years. Luckily it's just like falling off a bike... Thanks to Melanie Bloom for the suggestion of touring Gettysburg on horseback and making it sound as cool as it was. Sergeant (pictured) and I had a great time.
Back home again and we had our North Polk / Southeast Polk joint meeting and cook-out along with the "Battle for the Sourth Polk Cup" - except for exceptionally hot weather, it was a blast.
Before leaving for CASE Biotech in Maryland, we ran the cows thru for one final check prior to fair. It helps to anticipate our timing schedule on who goes to the fair first.
During my great CASE Biotech experience in Maryland, I studied under the expert tutelage of Aaron Geiman and Carl Aakre - two of the smartest ag teachers I have ever met. And with their guidance, we ran DNA electrophoresis, genetically modified bacteria to glow, and learned more about Biotechnology than I could remember at the end of the two weeks. Luckily in the midst of the intellectual calisthenics, we got to spend a Saturday in New York City -- a first for me. Good friends make travel well worth it and if you want the best 12 hour tour of the greatest city of them all then -- Michael K. Woods is your guy.Leslie Fairchild Romana Cantu , Carl and Mike and I had a great tour from Penn Station, thru Times Square to the Park, back to the Battery, by the World Trade Center, thru Wall Street and back to Times Square. It was a first on many levels.
Remember that while you are busy making a living, don't forget to make a life --- we couldn't say goodbye to Maryland without crossing the Bay bridge (not many bridges in Iowa), eating some crabs on the eastern shore and enduring a little novice crab-shucking pain. I reveled in the richness of the CASE experiences and my travels so that I could bring a greater sense of purpose back to my agriculture program. Tiffany Morey Wendy Vidor Katy Macleod
All good things must come to an end -- and there was no rest for the weary as we ramped right up into Animal Learning Center preparation for the Iowa State Fair. A pretty motley bunch signed up for the Summer LAB course this year and they brought their inner Larry the Cable Guy to life with a "Git'R Done" attitude. Even though we started later than usual, we were, by far, more ready than usual during the last couple days before fair. I even got to change my office venue for a day or so. Nothing like a little hard work to put things into perspective. PALCO APACHE are my heroes - their equipment make teaching kids how to handle and work cattle easy and SAFE!
Along with cattle care, ALC duties, and cattle transportation; we also worked at the Seed Survivor booth in the Agricultural building, appeared on TV and radio to promote our building and agriculture, and spoke with the Governors' Iowa STEM council in the midst of the hubbub of the fair. (students pictured with Lt. Governor Reynolds below)
And once we got back to school - our biotech equipment had arrived, we started school and held our Greenhand tailgate before the first home football game.
And now, after some Labor Day rest, I think we can start over and do it all again.
It would be so easy
To find a better way
Oh but I know I'll never change
Cause I love the long shot
And the left out lost causes
Hanging out in the back of the pack
with the dark horses