I'm back from an extended mid-season, intrastate agricultural inspection extravaganza for my work, the bugs and plant diseases are all cooking up to formidable levels with the summer heat and humidity.
Our 'growing days' so far are about 20% ahead of last year and multiple storms have brought quite a lot of localized rain. At least after these multiple storms, everyone got some, though not necessarily consistently.
In talking to the farmers to the north of us, the last big storm brought some 0.2" of rain, while those only 3 - 5 miles away got over 8" in one night. Well, that's farmin'...
Sweet car for sale on a drive-by. It was still there the other day...
At least 20 to 30% of my time is spent driving the state minivan, down the country roads, through the unincorporated towns, mucking around questionable field access roads (no 4-wheel drive for me), and over the highways and by-ways of the Great State of Wisconsin.
I finally got myself a navigational car GPS, which has saved me a lot of time, while causing me a lot of grief as well. Depending on how it's set, it usually does a pretty good job, however it was interesting the other day...
I was navigating overland across a bounty of county roads, Co.X, Co. Z, Co. ZZ, (my favorite) and "Ghost Road," (another favorite). Finally I'm trundling along from my previous stop with my next stop programmed in, when the GPS lady comes on and says, in her polite but Steven Hawkingesque voice, "In oint eee iles, urn efft on ounty ine oad."
Up to this point, things seemed right, we were headed in the general direction of my next stop, and at least I'm wasn't trying to read four county maps while flying down the road with all the windows open. But turning left or east on County Line Road out here in the middle of Manureville when I needed to go west didn't seem like a logical move. So as I was turning left onto this Dead End road she says, "Prepare to go off-road..."
Whoa there. Ya, right! The mini-van doesn't speak that language. I check her settings and "Off-Road" was not checked, but "Shortest Distance" is.
Okay, let's try "Fastest Time" and hope for the best, because I haven't been following along on the map and it's going to take me 20 minutes just to FIND this road, if it's even ON the map. "Recalculating...."
Off we go.
Needless to say, we made it, but my future confidence in her went down a couple notches.
On the other hand I DID get to see this awesome piece of property for sale (No not the "Not a Door", although that would be awesome), it was a farm with a dilapidated ancient foundation of some mill and huge stone fireplace on one side of the property, with no wood left on the structure at all, just the foundation, a really old windmill and lots of trees. The other side was a moderately old farmhouse and field. I tried to find it again online but it's lost in the "Wisconsin Triangle". I probably won't see it again until I'm lost down there again next time. If it even existed in the first place. Maybe it was on "Ghost Road". Cool though.
But I digress. The story here is about all the signs that one sees while driving around the state. Some are truly amazing. Profound. Profane. And everything in between.
Some I have yet to document, as they sometimes take a while to sink in as I drive by. "Important While Flashing" being one. This is a garishly yellow sign with big lights on it, often seen along the interstate, that I have never ever seen flashing.
It's not like you are going to miss a huge, garishly yellow sign, even if it's NOT flashing, which makes it hard to think it's not important unless it's flashing. I'm sure some government agency spent a lot of money researching the psychology behind huge garishly yellow signs, and they know what's best for me. However, they are not inspiring a lot of confidence on my part either.
I think they are in cahoots with the GPS lady.
Another symbol I haven't quite figured out is the NASCAR air-freshener. I saw one hanging from a car's rear-view mirror the other day, and it got me thinking. Those little tree air-fresheners attempt to smell like pines ('attempt' being the operative word), the gelatinous cherry air-fresheners smell approximately like cherries, so what does a NASCAR air-freshener smell like? Exhaust fumes? Anything to override Dale Ernhardt's body stench after five hours in the same Kevlar suit, I guess.
Okay! Here are of the some signs I've seen in my travels lately:
I think this was a bar.
One of my inspections was at the more than surreal "Jellystone Park".
Yogi welcomes you in, with a stake up his butt, looking more like he is trying to hitch-hike out. Bar-none, this place has the highest amount of speed bumps per cubic foot than ANY place in the United States.
It is basically a year-round trailer-park, and everyone gets around on their fleet of golden golf carts (mostly to pick up ice at the main office).
It's rather... spooky.
If you don't like putt-putt golf and/or have a largemouth bass mailbox, it might not be for you.
Come to think of it, that tie is rather surreal too.
If you happen to be at Jellystone, realize it's not for you and that you would rather not be recognized, you may purchase "many styles' of FUZZY FACE moustaches (or mustaches, depending upon your personal dictionary) from the vending machine in the office lobby.
Somehow seeing everyone there wearing a fuzzy mustache, driving around in their gold golf carts and picking up their mail from their largemouth bass mailboxes, doesn't even begin to make it any more surreal than it already is.
Some people call the police, we call McGruff, the Crimedog. Who will then look suave and point his finger at you.
Why does he have fingers again...?
If you haven't already stopped, you should now be noticing that you are in the middle of a dangerous intersection.
Um, pretty self-explanatory.
Okay board members, what should we call our new church...?
"Well, there is already a cross made out of plumbing on a rock in the front yard, maybe we could incorporate that somehow..."
"Great idea, Billy Joe Bob Cletus Ernie!"
Hook me up.
And from permanently soiling your underwear.
Some cities may settle for a mere water tower, but here in southern Wisconsin we much prefer the Horton Waterspheroid ®
Serve yourself - use the sign if you need to.
From the Shameless Marketing Department, if you're too dumb and impatient to grow plants, we have a solution.
It's all about the all-important 'branding placement'. I think there is a plant in there somewhere. Of course the pot was a giant logo as well, why even question that.
One reason it's "Weather Tough" is that it's considered hardy in at least zones 5 through 11 and can be a creeping invasive species if not kept in check.
Kind of like a frontal system.
It's even more specially priced after it starts looking like it's going to die.
If we deliver it in less than 30 minutes, YOU GET IT FREE!
Somehow I knew after it was all said and done, I'd end up in the Big House...