Friday, July 10, 2009

Day 9 - Visit to Land of the Dutch

On July 5th we are still in Iowa, but today we are headed for Orange City to visit with Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Great Aunts, Great Uncles, and to see some sights. We started out on the 3 hour trip with this for a view.
Oh and a little bit – okay A LOT of this. There were miles and miles of corn surrounded by miles and miles of soybeans. This is one tiny piece of the picture. It becomes overwhelming at times to realize how much grain is growing out here. After 1000s of years with nothing but grass and trees growing and then fertilizing the ground for a new years growth to build on, with wildlife grazing and adding to the soil, this Midwestern dirt became the perfect growth medium for this type of crop. I should have gotten a picture at the intersection near my sister’s to show you how absolutely black the soil is in comparison to our garden and hayfield dirt. You can begin to get an idea by looking inside one of those bags of topsoil mix at the garden store… except that would probably still not be dark enough if it was laid next to this real farm dirt. The sad part for us is that the intersection I am talking about is going to be covered in concrete for an Aquatic Park. We would love to have that dirt spread about a foot thick across our hayfield and they are going to bury generations of it with cement. That is the way it goes though. They might like to have some of our old growth trees too, but that isn't likely either.

Back to the trip, along the way we made a quick stop to see Pocahontas in the same named town. And you thought she lived in WV or VA or one of the other many places that have borrowed her name. Nope, she is in Iowa and she seems to be welcoming us down the road. And no, FabHub did not listen to his B-I-L's suggestion about looking up her skirt. He is a gentleman afterall!

We also found another dinosaur.
This one is named Sinclair and was a little bashful so we didn’t invade his privacy.

We spent a nice afternoon with relatives from my father’s side of the family. First we had lunch with some of my Aunt Rose’s and Ruth’s families where we caught up on what everybody is doing these days and enjoyed sometime with them. Then we went to a community meeting room and socialized with the more extended family, which was mainly my father’s Aunts and Uncles. We hadn’t seen most of these people for several years. A lot of them recognized my brother immediately because he resembles my father quite a bit. We recognized some of them, but mostly it was a mutual introduction greeting. They asked what we were doing and where we had traveled. We listened to what they remembered about Dad and what they thought of the job the President is doing. It was very enlightening to hear a perspective from the Corn Belt region versus the Coal region. They are interested in the use of bio fuels and wind farms. We could have spent more time listening to that conversation.

After the gathering we stopped in the town square and looked at the new windmill and bridge display. FabHub and I sat still long enough to get our picture taken in a giant wooden shoe.
There was a “Standardmolen” or Post Mill on display.
It is so named because of the big wooden pillar or post that it turns around as the wind catches its sails. This type of mill was used for grinding corn mostly around the year 1200. There aren’t very many of them left in Holland, even for display, anymore.

There was a “Wipmolen” or Hollow Post Mill on display. It is so named because it developed from the Post Mill in shape. It is used to drain the polders so the rectangular mill house portion is smaller, with no living space, and the lower part is set higher.

There was a “Paltrokmolen” or Saw Mill on display.
This one was designed to be along the water-front because the logs were floated in on rafts. The body of the mill was left open so that the long logs could project from either side.

There was a “Poldermolen” or Drainage Mill on display.
These evolved from the “Wipmolen” as the top was made smaller and the body larger, which caused the mill to generate greater power and allowed suitable living accommodations. Often these mills were built in gangs of five, wach one lifting the water three feet.

There was a “Stellingmolen” or Tower Mill on display.
These mills were used as an industrial or corn mill. There were generally seven floors. Grain is hoisted up in sacks to the Bin Floor by a sack hoist. The grain would flow by gravity to the Stone Floor where it is ground, and then to the Meal Floor where it is sacked. Below the Meal Floor are the Grain Floor, the Grain Store, and then two floors of living quarters. Some mills also had a Loading Floor and some a Stable Floor.

One other display in the park is the “Brugge tot Oranjestad” or Bridge to Orange City, which happens to be where Mom and FabHub took a break.
The bridge is an example of a drawbridge that was used in the Netherlands to permit the passage of loaded ships or ships with high masts.

After we finished site seeing in Orange City we headed over to Sheldon to visit and stay over night with my aunt there. It was nice to be able to do that so we could spend some time with here. My cousin and her daughters came over to visit also so we had another small getting reaquainted party there. We really enjoyed both visits and were glad to be able to see everyone.

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