Central Standard

Author: Patrick Irelan
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
ISBN: 1587293811
Format: PDF, Docs
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Not so long ago, the Rock Island Railroad was a household name, the Great Depression was a recent memory, and family farms dotted the landscape. Today, the great railroads have nearly disappeared, the Depression is a chapter in history books, and family farms are hard to come by. Yet this time is not forgotten. In Central Standard: A Time, a Place, a Family, Patrick Irelan vividly recaptures a remarkable era in midwestern history in twenty-four beautifully crafted and often witty essays. Beginning with his parents’ marriage in 1932 and continuing into the present, Irelan relates the many wonderful stories and experiences of his Davis County, Iowa, family. In “Country Living,” he describes his parents’ disheartening life as farmers during the worst years of the Depression. “The CB&Q” then relates the happiest years of his family’s life when his parents lived and worked in the Burlington Railroad depots of rural Nebraska. Irelan’s tales of hard times and harder work, family meals and talkative relatives, depots and farmsteads paint a brilliant yet deceptively simple portrait of one rural, working-class family. At its heart, Central Standard carries a greater message: it reminds us of the enduring strength of the American family.

A Peculiar People

Author: Elmer Schwieder
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
ISBN: 1587298481
Format: PDF, ePub
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Now back in print with a new essay, this classic of Iowa history focuses on the Old Order Amish Mennonites, the state’s most distinctive religious minority. Sociologist Elmer Schwieder and historian Dorothy Schwieder began their research with the largest group of Old Order Amish in the state, the community near Kalona in Johnson and Washington counties, in April 1970; they extended their studies and friendships in later years to other Old Order settlements as well as the slightly less conservative Beachy Amish. A Peculiar People explores the origin and growth of the Old Order Amish in Iowa, their religious practices, economic organization, family life, the formation of new communities, and the vital issue of education. Included also are appendixes giving the 1967 “Act Relating to Compulsory School Attendance and Educational Standards”; a sample “Church Organization Financial Agreement,” demonstrating the group’s unusual but advantageous mutual financial system; and the 1632 Dortrecht Confession of Faith, whose eighteen articles cover all the basic religious tenets of the Old Order Amish. Thomas Morain’s new essay describes external and internal issues for the Iowa Amish from the 1970s to today. The growth of utopian Amish communities across the nation, changes in occupation (although The Amish Directory still lists buggy shop operators, wheelwrights, and one lone horse dentist), the current state of education and health care, and the conscious balance between modern and traditional ways are reflected in an essay that describes how the Old Order dedication to Gelassenheit—the yielding of self to the interests of the larger community—has served its members well into the twenty-first century.

Gardening the Amana Way

Author: Lawrence L. Rettig
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
ISBN: 1609381904
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Gardening in Iowa’s Amana Colonies is the culmination of techniques that stretch back several centuries to central Europe, when adherents to a new faith called the Community of True Inspiration formed their own self-reliant communities. As a child of parents who were part of the communal life of the Amana Society, Larry Rettig pays homage to the Amana gardening tradition and extends it into the twenty-first century. Each of the seven villages in Amana relied on the food prepared in its communal kitchens, and each kitchen depended on its communal garden for most of the dishes served (the kitchens in Rettig’s hometown produced more than four hundred gallons of sauerkraut in 1900). Rettig begins by describing the evolution of communal gardening in old Amana, focusing especially on planting, harvesting, and storing vegetables from asparagus to egg lettuce to turnips. With the passing of the old order in 1932, the number of the society’s large vegetable gardens and orchards dwindled, but Larry Rettig and his wife, Wilma, still grow some of the colonies’ heirloom varieties in their fourth-generation South Amana vegetable garden. In 1980 they founded a seed bank to preserve them for future generations. Rettig’s chapters on modern vegetable and flower gardening in today’s Amana Colonies showcase his Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens, now listed with the Smithsonian in its Archives of American Gardens. Old intermingles with new across his gardens: heirloom lettuce keeps company with the latest cucumber variety, a hundred-year-old rose arches over the newest daylilies and heucheras, and ancient grapevines intertwine with newly planted wisteria, all adding up to a rich array of colorful plantings. Rettig extends his gardening advice into the kitchen and workroom. He shares family recipes for any number of traditional dishes, including radish salad, dumpling soup, Amana pickled ham, apple bread, eleven-minute meat loaf, and strawberry rhubarb pie. Moving into the workroom, he shows us how to make hammered botanical prints, Della Robbia centerpieces, holiday wreaths, a gnome home, and a waterless fountain. Touring his gardens, with their historic and unusual plants, will make gardeners everywhere want to reproduce the groupings and varieties that surround Larry and Wilma Rettig’s 1900 red brick house.

The Farm at Holstein Dip

Author: Carroll Engelhardt
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
ISBN: 1609381351
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Carroll Engelhardt’s parents grew up in homes without electricity on farms without tractors and began farming in the same way. As a farm boy in northeastern Iowa, he thought that history happened only to important people in earlier times and more exotic places. After decades of teaching, he at last perceived that history happens to us all, and he began writing this book. Set within the thoughtfully presented contexts of the technological revolution in American agriculture, the Second World War, the Cold War, and the emerging culture of affluence, The Farm at Holstein Dip is both a loving coming-of-age memoir and an educational glimpse into rural and small-town life of the 1940s and 1950s. Engelhardt writes about growing up in a spacious farmhouse where life was centered in the kitchen and frugality dictated that every purchase be weighed carefully. His chores grew up with him: he fed chickens and gathered eggs at age six, rode a horse on the hayfork at nine or ten, milked cows by hand at eleven, and hired out to other farmers to load bales in the field and work in the haymow at fifteen. The simple pleasures and predictable routines of a Saturday night at the movies in nearby Elkader, Pioneer Days on the 4th of July, Confirmation Sunday, class picnics, and baseball and basketball games play out against a background of rural decline, alternating economic uncertainty and prosperity, and Cold War anxiety—next to polio, he most feared Communist subversion and atomic blasts. The values and contradictions imparted by this evolving mix of international, national, and local cultures shaped his coming of age. Engelhardt brings us into the world of his fourth-generation farm family, who lived by the family- and faith-based work ethic and concern for respectability they had inherited from their German and Norwegian ancestors. His writing has a particularly Iowa flavor, a style that needs no definition to those who live in the state. Readers will discover the appeal of his wry, humorous, and kind observations and appreciate his well-informed perspective on these transformative American decades.

The Butterflies of Iowa

Author: Dennis W. Schlicht
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
ISBN: 1587297612
Format: PDF, Mobi
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This beautiful and comprehensive guide, many years in the making, is a manual for identifying the butterflies of Iowa as well as 90 percent of the butterflies in the Plains states. It begins by providing information on the natural communities of Iowa, paying special attention to butterfly habitat and distribution. Next come chapters on the history of lepidopteran research in Iowa and on creating butterfly gardens, followed by an intriguing series of questions and issues relevant to the study of butterflies in the state. The second part contains accounts, organized by family, for the 118 species known to occur in Iowa. Each account includes the common and scientific names for each species, its Opler and Warren number, its status in Iowa, adult flight times and number of broods per season, distinguishing features, distribution and habitat, and natural history information such as behavior and food plant preferences. As a special feature of each account, the authors have included questions that illuminate the research and conservation challenges for each species. In the third section, the illustrations, grouped for easier comparison among species, include color photographs of all the adult forms that occur in Iowa. Male and female as well as top and bottom views are shown for most species. The distribution maps indicate in which of Iowa’s ninety-nine counties specimens have been collected; flight times for each species are shown by marking the date of collection for each verified specimen on a yearly calendar. The book ends with a checklist, collection information specific to the photographs, a glossary, references, and an index. The authors’ meticulous attention to detail, stimulating questions for students and researchers, concern for habitat preservation, and joyful appreciation of the natural world make it a valuable and inspiring volume.

Field Guide to Wildflowers of Nebraska and the Great Plains

Author: Jon Farrar
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
ISBN: 160938072X
Format: PDF
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From the mixed-grass prairies of the Panhandle in the west, to the Sandhills prairie and mixed-grass prairies in central Nebraska, to the tallgrass prairies in the east, the state is home to hundreds of wildflower species, yet the primary guide to these flowers has been out of print for almost two decades. Now back in a second edition with updated nomenclature, refined plant descriptions, better photographs where improvements were called for, and a new design, Jon Farrar’s Field Guide to Wildflowers of Nebraska and the Great Plains, originally published by NEBRASKAland magazine and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, is a visual treat and educational guide to some of the region’s showiest and most interesting wildflowers. Organizing species by color, Farrar provides scientific, common, and family names; time of flowering; distribution both for Nebraska specifically and for the Great Plains in general; and preferred habitat including soil type and plant community from roadsides to woodlands to grasslands. Descriptions of each species are succinct and accessible; Farrar packs a surprising amount of information into a compact space. For many species, he includes intriguing notes about edibility, medicinal uses by Native Americans and early pioneers, similar species and varieties, hybridization, and changes in status as plants become uncommon or endangered. Superb color photographs allow each of the 274 wildflowers to be easily identified and pen-and-ink illustrations provide additional details for many species. It is a joy to have this new edition riding along on car seats and in backpacks helping naturalists at all levels of expertise explore prairies, woodlands, and wetlands in search of those ever-changing splashes of color we call wildflowers.

Iowa s Geological Past

Author: Wayne I. Anderson
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
ISBN: 9781587292675
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Iowa's rock record is the product of more than three billion years of geological processes. The state endured multiple episodes of continental glaciation during the Pleistocene Ice Age, and the last glacier retreated from Iowa a mere (geologically speaking) twelve thousand years ago. Prior to that, dozens of seas came and went, leaving behind limestone beds with rich fossil records. Lush coal swamps, salty lagoons, briny basins, enormous alluvial plains, ancient rifts, and rugged Precambrian mountain belts all left their mark. In "Iowa's Geological Past, " Wayne Anderson gives us an up-to-date and well-informed account of the state's vast geological history from the Precambrian through the end of the Great Ice Age. Anderson takes us on a journey backward into time to explore Iowa's rock-and-sediment record. In the distant past, prehistoric Iowa was covered with shallow seas; coniferous forests flourished in areas beyond the continental glaciers; and a wide variety of animals existed, including mastodon, mammoth, musk ox, giant beaver, camel, and giant sloth. The presence of humans can be traced back to the Paleo-Indian interval, 9,500 to 7,500 years ago. Iowa in Paleozoic time experienced numerous coastal plain and shallow marine environments. Early in the Precambrian, Iowa was part of ancient mountain belts in which granite and other rocks were formed well below the earth's surface. The hills and valleys of the Hawkeye State are not everlasting when viewed from the perspective of geologic time. Overall, Iowa's geologic column records an extraordinary transformation over more than three billion years. Wayne Anderson's profusely illustrated volume provides a comprehensive and accessible survey of the state's remarkable geological past.