Filed under: blizzard, cold, house, Ice, Minnesota, rain, snow, travel, weather, wind, winter | Tags: cold, Minnesota, rain, rivers and lakes, school bus, snow, south windows, southwestern minnesota, travel, weather, wind, winter
The weatherman was predicting blizzard-like conditions for Southwestern Minnesota this morning, but again the predicted moisture did not come. Our “snow” came mostly as rain, and fell not in the middle of the night, but just as the sun was starting to rise. Overnight winds waited until after the rain to change from south to north and we have ice all over again, including quite a bit of ice on our south windows. Morning temperatures were near freezing, but dropped quickly when the winds switched.
Last week we had an unusual occurrence for us, it rained over an inch in one day! It has indeed been a long time since that much rain fell in a 24 hour period. Since the rains fell on frozen ground, we will not get much good out of it. The rain melted a lot of the snow we had left and quickly ran down into the low spots. This meant a quick rise to our rivers and lakes. Most bodies of water now have open water on the edges, or in the case of rivers, could be ice free. Now we are going to have a few days of cold and wind.
This mornings driving was also tricky with ice on most roads. I had to follow a snow plow/sander as I left town on my bus route which made me late for a few of my stops, but I was able to make it up on the gravel roads. Paved roads were ice covered despite the attempts of county and state to remove the ice.
Now as the wind howls, the sun has come out. If you can find a place out of the wind it isn’t too bad out. I however have a few inside chores to do and will stay in the warm until I have to go.
Filed under: cold, Ice, Minnesota, rain, School bus, snow, travel, weather, Wildlife, winter | Tags: cold, deer, Minnesota, nature, rain, school bus, snow, travel, weather, wildlife deer, winter
My early morning bus route yielded another close encounter of the deer kind, both deer and bus are OK.
My bus route follows the Des Moines river out of town and crosses the river twice, and several of it’s creek and marsh areas also. As I wend my way from house to house in the early morning darkness I’m always on the lookout for wildlife. Deer can be found anywhere along the route, but are most common in just a few areas. The warming weather has moved deer out of the protecting trees to forage in the fields. During the coldest weather I would see few if any deer, now it is not unusual to see 50 to 75 in a morning. Mostly they are back in the fields and grasslands, but sometimes they choose to cross the road right in front of the bus.
The rain of two weeks ago had left the roads covered in ice. The county and state maintained roads had been cleared after just a few hours, but the gravel township roads have been ice covered for too long. Coming to a stop at a stop sign has been hazardous, and sometimes starting again after stopping is difficult. Any kind of an incline can keep you from moving forward. Yesterdays warm temperatures and south wind finally removed most of the ice from the gravel and I’m hoping the forecast warm temperatures will finish the job this week.
We have more snow forecast for the weekend. It’s not that I want snow, but we are so short of moisture in the fields that I will take anything. The local weather people say we have had 12 inches of snow so far this winter, but that translates into very little water. Several of our snows this year have looked very promising, but when melted down they have yielded little or no water.
Despite several very cold days we’ve had a good Minnesota winter. Travel has mostly been easy and schools have only had a few late starts and no cancellations. Here’s hoping for a bit more moisture before planting, and could it please be in rain, not ice or snow.
Filed under: school, School bus | Tags: children, debate, school, school bus, shirt and tie, speech, speech team
It was an impressive sight looking at all of those dressed up young people, where was I?
It’s Saturday and I have an out-of-town bus trip with the speech team, they sure are an impressive sight. Not only that but they are polite and dedicated, and working hard at something that many kids would not dream of doing. I mean, who wants to be able to do the Gettysburg Address from memory, or an old Ellen DeGeneres monologue, or maybe debate the use of food as a weapon? The kids are taking on some hard stuff and making it look easy.
It is interesting walking through the halls seeing young men and women talking to walls as they practice for their round, these kids really have to be focused. Yes, the boys are at least in a nice shirt and tie, but most of them are in suits. The girls are well dressed also, not prom dressed up, but better cloths than most of them would ever wear otherwise.
Yep, these are our future preachers, teachers and business people. The future is in good hands.
Filed under: school, School bus | Tags: caps, children, gloves, lost and found, school bus
My bus has started to develop a mini lost and found. So far I have 2 stocking caps, a small tan glove and a ram headband. That is just from the last two weeks. I know the pile will get higher, winter has only begun. And despite my keeping the pile right by the door where they can see it both going in and out, no one will ever claim these items.
As the weather changes again to warm, or cold, we will get coats and boots added to the pile. At anytime of the year we can get book bags, lunch bags, note pads, art projects and occasionally a cell phone. All of them in good shape, none of them labeled.
When children get to school with out their outdoor gear, they will miss out door play time. No boots, no coat, no hat and gloves, you stay inside and look at the walls.
It is understandable that some of these little people will forget where they left their things. They have so much to keep track of. What bothers me is that the parents do not think to get a laundry marker and add a name inside. It really would help get the stuff back.
So what becomes of these items of lost clothing? They end up in a box at the bus barn waiting for parents to claim them. It is really rare that anyone comes looking. Eventually they will be donated to Good Will. Is your child missing something, check at school, or in their bus. Oh, and please don’t leave empty handed. There must be something in that pile your child can use.
Filed under: Christmas, Holidays, safety, school, School bus | Tags: children, Christmas, December, safety, Santa hat, school bus
For years now I have been wearing a Santa hat on my morning bus route in December. It gets me in the holiday spirit, and it’s warm. Oh, and yes, I do quit shaving for a few weeks, the white beard is a good seasonal complement to the hat. Although the kids on the bus may look at me a little funny when they first see me in it, I get few comments from them on it except a few “Hi Santa”s from them the first time they see me. The effect on the adults has been much more interesting.
The hat is a conversation starter. Usually the conversation comes around to the fact that I wear the hat for the school bus route, and then the stories start.
I also get comments from others about how they could not drive a school bus, and questions about how kids behave. Stories of out of control kids on the bus are often told to me, as are other stories that involve school and bus trips. I have a few stories, no names included to protect the guilty, but very few stories that I tell. After 17 years of driving school bus, I can tell you that most kids today are really good. I tell everyone that I have good parents for my route. That may be the most telling remark about kids.
I understand that kids will be kids. They all need to learn, some just take longer to learn. Younger children need to be told the rules more often, and older ones will usually keep out of trouble if they are allowed to. Mistakes will be made, and kids do learn from mistakes. Parents are my biggest help. Stopping and talking to parents when the kids are present really cuts down on problems. If a phone call must be made when a problem arises, so be it.
A school bus ride should be safe and fun. The Santa hat is part of the fun.
Filed under: Minnesota, School bus, seasons, summer, time, travel | Tags: attitude, children, friends, school, school bus, summer, vacation
The summer is drawing to a close and many kids are back in school. My daughter has been teaching at her school for most of the month. School started here this week. I hear the lament “Where has the summer gone?” I’m here to tell you that summer is still here and will be until September 23.
School for many signals the end of summer. The end of vacation and a slower pace we all look forward too, at least if there are school age children or teachers in the house. I think we are giving our children a false message when we lament the end of summer. We make it seem as if school was not a good thing.
A friend of mine was lamenting that he had to cover the spot of one of our youth who got a job and then quit after one day. The fact is that school, like work demands our time and attention. Quiting is not an option if you plan to make something of yourself. There are too many “summer people” in this world, and not enough fall, winter and spring people.
When I pick up the younger children in my school bus I see the excitement in their eyes. They are getting to be with friends and learn new things. The world is exciting, new and full of adventure. We need to somehow keep that new and exciting feeling in our lives. We need a school time attitude, not a vacation attitude.
When you travel to other countries you see how easy we have it here. We in America seem to live in a summertime attitude. We vacation and play so much, we have so much, even our poor people have so much more than the poor in other countries.
If we want our country to remain great we need to get back into that start of school time attitude where we are always busy and always learning. We need an attitude of the start, not of the end. The next time I hear the lament that the summer is over, I’m likely to reply that is a good thing. America and her people need to end their summertime attitude. It’s time to roll up the sleeves and get to work. This is the end of summer, it’s an exciting time.
Filed under: cars, church, safety, School bus, South Africa, travel | Tags: ELCA, ELCSA, safety, school bus, South Africa
I started taking pictures of signs I saw that were in both Zulu and English. With English being the language of school and business and Zulu being the language of home and the church, there were quite a few of them around. If you want to read them they are usually pronounced just the way it looks. I don’t see any that have one of the two types of click sounds that are found in Zulu.
I hope you enjoyed your lesson in Zulu.
Filed under: cars, church, food, friends, Kwazamohkuhle, Music, school, School bus, South Africa, travel | Tags: children, ELCA, ELCSA, Food, school, school bus, South Africa
Fifteen people from the Shetek conference of the ELCA flew to South Africa on an agricultural mission that departed on January 31, 2011. Among the things we packed to bring were the supplies for putting on a bible school program like we do in Minnesota. We knew that some things do not transfer to different areas of the world, but we figured they were Lutherans so it should work.
When plans were being made we asked the folks to give us some idea of how many to expect. They estimated that we would have about 140 people at the event to be held on Saturday, February 5, 2011 at the Kwazamokuhle School for the Disabled.
The program we used was Avalanche Ranch.
When you are doing a program in another country where most of the people grow up speaking another language having a native speaker at registration is important and we had the services of a bright young college student named Sinde Xaba to help put our participants at ease.
The school has hallways open to the air, but covered and paved to make wheelchair access possible.
The buildings are fairly new with construction continuing on campus as they continue to improve the school.
When you do a Vacation Bible School (VBS) in Minnesota you expect to get grade school students. In South Africa you get students that range from 11 to 52. Registration was also a bit under what we expected, but Saturday is the traditional day for funerals in the area, and with a funeral for a young person happening that day, numbers were below what we expected.
Travel is also not as easy as we are used to. People were invited to attend from all over the circuit. Some would have to travel for quite a distance. Not all of the travel plans worked out. All part of learning about life in South Africa.
One thing was not a problem, getting the participants up and singing. Zulu tradition is one of singing and dancing in church. When we were teaching new songs and doing actions to them we found ready participants.
Craft projects of all kinds found eager participants. We were very impressed with thought and originality they put into their work.
Although the food was a bit different than we were used to it was very good, and there was plenty of it.
Free time was spent playing with the kids from the school who were not high enough functioning to attend the program. Some students did attend if they were able. The left over balloons and a few frisbees were left to brighten the day of the younger students.
I had not planned to attend the program. As a driver I planned to drive participants over to the school, take a few pictures and then go back to help at the center. The learning experience was one I would not have traded. It was well worth staying.
Sunday will be a busy day. Hope you join me on my travels.
Filed under: Animal care, cars, cold, Corn, Farm, food, harvest, hunger, Minnesota, safety, School bus, snow, Soybeans, travel, Trees, weather, Wildlife, winter | Tags: car, cars, cold, Corn, deer, farm, feeding deer, Food, Minnesota, school bus, snow, Soybeans, wildlife
On my morning bus route I have been seeing quite a few deer lately. Due to the cold and snow they have gathered from their scattered summer haunts to protected areas, usually in river valleys. One of their favorite areas has been a soybean field that was not harvested due to high water. The beans spent too much time underwater this fall and had to be abandoned.
A well meaning person left some corn along their path so that the deer could have a high energy snack. Unfortunately the corn was left too near the road, and four deer died.
To leave the corn for the deer was nice. But because the snow was deep it is hard to get very far from the road. Not thinking of the consequences the easy way was taken and four cars hit deer in that area in one night.
Please, if you are going to feed the wildlife, feed them in a safe area. Get the food well back into the woods or in a field. The carnage of dead deer, dented cars and the possibility of people being hurt because of the feeding of wildlife is not worth the easy way out.
Filed under: cars, safety, School bus, time | Tags: car, cars, machines, repairs, safety, school bus
When was the last time you checked your vehicle before you started it up? Did you do a walk around before you left on your trip, no matter how short the trip? Not checking your vehicle before your next trip could cost you your life.
As a school bus driver I am required to do a bus check before each trip. We check fluid levels, wheels and tires, lights and reflectors, windows, wipers, belts, drive shaft and safety equipment. The other day my inspection found a broken wheel bolt. When the wheel was pulled off several bolts were found to be broken. A near disaster involving school children was averted because I did an inspection.
It’s a good idea to at least do a walk around your vehicle before you move it. Stopping to check tires and lights are a minimum that you should check out. This quick trip around will help to make sure you get to your destination.
If you have an older vehicle you need to be checking fluid levels also. As vehicles get more hours on them the fluid’s start finding ways to disappear. You could be stranded on the side of a road with no help in sight if your engine quits.
Does your mechanic do a check of the entire vehicle when you get your oil changed? If you are only paying for an oil change you are putting your safety at risk. There are so many things it is easy for him to check when the vehicle is up on the hoist. It is important that your brakes are also checked at this time.
You can save yourself time and possibly injury by making a quick walk around the car before you leave. Check with your mechanic to find out what you should be inspecting on your vehicle before every trip.