Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Rural Kansas

Ugh.  95 º out this evening.  Have I mentioned that we are painting our house?  The exterior.  "WE" being the operative word.  That Spouse o' Mine and I began scraping and priming when it was still cool and quite nice out last week.  And the painting has commenced.  We have two large porches with roof overhangs, and that's been my main haunt this week during painting hours.  Scrape, prime, paint, trimwork...scampering up and down ladders in windy weather.  The first two days I was a bit reticent to venture too high on the ladders, but I am feeling more and more at ease with each passing, painting day.  I think I am building up a tremendous right arm; I may have to start up my tennis game again - I might have a mighty serve at the end of this mammoth job!

Martin, our tiny little kitten, is in the way during this painting biz.  Last week he managed to polka-dot himself with white paint.  Tonight, though, is the worst.  I was painting "Misty Something" (blue), and Martin managed to climb some bricks 12" above ground, and arch his entire backside into "Misty Something".  He looks like a baby skunk with a blue stripe.  I am so sorry, Melissa!  (former owner)

I had a fun morning today.  My schedule of late has been to head outdoors as the sun rises, paintbrush in hand.  But this morning I was distracting myself with all things non-painting.  I just did not have the energy.  And lo and behold, that Spouse o' Mine called me mid-morning: Would I like to work in his lab today?  (He is a BioSystems Engineer who works for USDA and his job title is "Scientist".)  He mentioned, "And it has air conditioning!"  Well, that won hands-down over sweating like a pig on a June mid-morning.  Off I went...

My job was to measure soybeans for their oil content.  They first went through an NIR (near-infared)
spectroscopy (which that Spouse o' Mine developed!) and then my job was to place each soybean into a test tube, weigh each soybean in milligrams (a soybean weighs ~100-200 mg, by the way; compare that to a 325 mg aspirin.), and then move that test tube to another machine, an NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) which takes the weight and gauges the oil content.  Kind of like an MRI picks up things at your local hospital.  Kind of.  It was really menial labor, tedious, and yet, I had fun.  I have honed a fine, fine skill of guessing the weight of a soybean.

The cherry season has begun in Washington State, and that is big stuff in our household here in rural Kansas.  My work, aside from painting houses (and kittens) blue and weighing soybeans, is to make and sell testing instruments and equipment to orchard growers around the world.  And this season is U.S.A. and Canada cherry season.  I have to say, orchard growers and packing house folks are the nicest people to work for.  Really nice people! 

Speaking of Washington...the BEST news of the week is that college boy Graham returns to rural Kansas from Western Washington Uni. this weekend.  For the summer.  It will be so good to see his smiling face in real life, not on Facebook, not on Skype.  

And that's the news from rural Kansas.  Oh, wait...

Our hayfield has never looked so good!


Melissa said...

The brome is fine this year, isn't it? But where's the picture of Martin with his blue stripe? :D

Gill said...

Dad's lab is always interesting!

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