Two weeks of fun with the Iowa grandkids
Andrea and I enjoyed a rotation with our three Iowa grandchildren that concluded on July 2, with all three having their own personal stay at Chateau de Annie. Ten-year-old Claire started the cycle when we picked her up on Father’s Day afternoon, and her 6-day stay included a lot of visits to the Read Park pool in Freeport (she would live there if feasible), several stops for ice cream at Union Dairy, and a fun morning at the Ag Breakfast on June 24 (she’s now a fan of beef bacon). Claire is growing into a fun and fascinating young lady, but she’s still her grandma’s girl in many ways.
We made the first kid transfer in Iowa City on June 24 as Claire went home and 8-year-old Cora came for her stay. Cora is wired completely differently than her older sister, with her mind and imagination going nonstop. She has very particular dining tastes and activity preferences, and her itinerary ranged from the Dairy Days Parade and the post-parade activities at Union Dairy (where she patiently stood in line twice for nearly 30 minutes each time to ride a pony) to a pool visit and a trip to the movies where we saw “Despicable Me 3”. Suffice to say that Andrea was exhausted trying to keep up with the pace.
The final stay was our 6-year old grandson Clay, who had been waiting with unbridled anticipation for his turn which began on June 30. This was his first solo grandparent excursion, and we purposely made it a shorter one to see how he (and we) would handle things with his respiratory issues and some occasional emotional episodes. I’m pleased to say that his two-day stay was absolutely delightful, and we got some great bonding time playing in our little inflatable pool and breaking in Grandpa’s new hammock. It was a wonderful two weeks and we look forward to our next experiences, and I give tremendous credit to my amazing wife Andrea for her patience and stamina for those two weeks as she did the heavy lifting. We now look forward to an upcoming visit from our daughter-in-law Andrea and granddaughter Sofia, who are traveling back to the Midwest from Armenia for a month’s visit with family and friends. Our son Dave will join them later in the month, and we look forward to a big family gathering at our place in late July.
Iceland trip preview
We have scheduled a trip preview program for our September 23-28, 2018 Iceland trip with area Farm Bureau and Tri-State Travel. The program will be on Wednesday August 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Farm Bureau, with Tri-State’s Jack Wideman here to share the trip details verbally and visually. The details are posted at www.stephensoncfb.org and you can call (815) 232-3186 for more information.
County fair wraps up
As you read this, the Stephenson County Fair will either be wrapping up or totally finished, and I look forward to providing a complete rundown next week. As a member of the fair board and chair of the Building and Grounds Committee, it has been a great experience working alongside so many dedicated volunteers providing great leadership and support for this popular event, and the enthusiasm and anticipation for this year’s fair is stronger than I’ve seen in my 14 years of involvement. New president Jeff Becker has provided steady and sound leadership with a great flair for empowerment and delegation, and everyone has stepped up and assumed responsibilities in a positive fashion.
One of the most positive outcomes has been the smooth transition by groundskeeper Jerry Kubatzke Jr. and his capable team, who picked up the pieces following the unexpected death of Jerry Kubatzke Sr. in January after 24 years as the fair’s groundskeeper. We’re fortunate that Jerry Jr. and Katie were great students of Jerry and retained a lot of important details, and they deserve great credit for keeping our busy fairgrounds going steadily.
Peach orders being taken
We’re now taking orders for those delicious Cresthaven peaches from Rendleman Orchards in southern Illinois, with our delivery date set for Wednesday August 16. Cost for a 25-lb. box is $29 for Farm Bureau members and $34 for non-members, and peaches can be picked up on August 16 from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and August 17 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (we’ll carry them right to your vehicle). The Rendleman family has been producing premium fruit since 1873, and we have been very pleased with the quality. You can download your order form at www.stephensoncfb.org or stop in the FB office – orders with payment are due by August 7.
Join us for fun!
Our Wisconsin State Fair bus trip on Tuesday August 8 is a fun adventure to one of the Midwest’s best state fairs. The layout in Milwaukee is compact and easy to navigate, and our trip will take place on “Crazy Grazin’ Day” when many vendors offer discounted prices or smaller portion sizes to allow you to sample a lot of great food and beverages affordably. I can attest to the vast array of items to be enjoyed, as Andrea and I love to grab something and just sit watching people. Let us do the driving and drop you right at the front gate for a day of great fun and food – details at www.stephensoncfb.org or call us at (815) 232-3186.
Bruce Johnson is the Manager of the Stephenson County Farm Bureau.