From a handful of seeds

Some may recall I found an envelope of seeds I had collected and dried as Meg cooked – but I couldn’t remember what they were.  It was late to plant so I just pushed five or six seeds a thumb deep into the ground. This is what came up.

Some of my butternut squash here are much larger than most of those I see in the store and I know they taste great because I only keep seeds from items I like.  These squash will last most of the winter in the cool garage.  They should provide some great roasted squash, squash soup and so forth.  I was planning to toss those that hadn’t ripened but Meg found a whole series of receipts for not-fully-ripe squash.  

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Autumn Leaves

We are happy to be home once again.  I understand they had a lovely autumn here.  We got back in time to rake leaves. Maybe we will be here next year to enjoy autumn at it’s peak rather than decline.

Meg had left home for England on September 19 to go to our daughter’s family.  They have been living there the last three years.  She help pack and get ready and they all flew to Indiana.

I left Boise by car on September 22 carrying things they had stored at our place when they left for England.  So through different routes we all met up in Indiana.  How great to see our daughter, our son-in-law, and our grandson, all back in the USA.

Meg arrived in England just in time for our grandson’s 1st birthday.  When we were there in Indiana we were there to see him take his first steps.

Then I flew off to California to go my for 55th high school reunion in the midst of this.

I returned to Indiana and finished up on some of our key goals, including help them find a place to live and a car to drive.  When we left Indiana, we decided to visit Wisconsin and tour Frank Lloyd Wright’s home.  It was a beautiful drive up there and we really enjoyed the tour  Also, with this drive to Wisconsin, we have now traveled to all 50 states.

We were fortunate during this time to have a friend and former coworker stay in our home.  We arrived home with suitcases full of dirty laundry to be greeted by a huge stack of mail, and much to do to get ready for winter.  Starting with raking leaves.

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Craters of the Moon

We planned our route to take us by Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.  The place consists of over 464,000 acres of lava fields, lava cones, cinder cones and so forth.  The last eruption here was about 2,000 years ago.  You can see it takes a long time to restart a whole forest

Being so late in the season we were pretty much alone here.  We understand that in the past some astronauts had come here to train and test new lunar vehicles.  I heard that all stopped after they went to the moon and found it really wasn’t anything like this place.

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Arco Idaho

We drove to Arco, Idaho for lunch and had atomic burgers at Pickles Place.  This little town of less than a thousand people was the first city in the world to be powered by nuclear power. The power came from a reactor built near EBR-1 known as Borax III.  This was way back in 1955.  They wanted to show the world there were peaceful applications for nuclear power and to prove it was practical.  Arco was, and remains the home of many employees working out at the INL facilities.

Trivia note:  Arco was originally named “Root Hog” but they later changed their name.  There used to be an expression in the early colonies, “Root Hog or Die” that referred to the practice of turning the hogs loose in the forest to fend for themselves.  During the Civil War it came to mean you need to create your own shelter or die.  So in general it means, “Be self-reliant!”

In Arco, far out here in the desert I was surprised to find the sail (upper structure) of a nuclear submarine.  This sail is from the USS Hawkbill (SSN-666).  This sub had traveled an amazing 1.5 million miles during it’s years in service.  It finally came to rest in Arco as tribute to this place where nuclear propulsion was developed at the nearby labs.

The Hawkbill was named after a sea turtle

Triva note:  Because of it’s number, SSN-666, the sub came to be know as The Devil Boat or Devil Fish.  This is from Revelations 13, which begins with, Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. and after much more, it ends with, Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.

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Nuclear Bomber Engines

When you visit EBR-1, you can also see this.  At one time, during the Cold War,  people believed Russia could attack at any time. The U.S. wanted to build a nuclear powered bomber that could circle continuously on guard as a deterrent to the Russians. 

Here are two of two of the reactors (HTRE-3 and HTRE-1) that were developed to power the engines.  HTRE means Heat-Transfer Reactor Experiment.  They would need some large aircraft for these.  Shielding the crew from radiation was a big challenge. The HTREs were tested extensively. The HTRE-3 was selected to power existing GE J-47 turbojet engines on a new bomber called the Convair X-6. The X-6 would be based on the Convair B-36 Peacemaker bomber. (B-36 pic from Wikipedia)

The project to create nuclear powered bombers was eventually cancelled.  The U.S. made so much progress on ICBMs (Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles) that the flying bomber shield was no longer considered necessary

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Experimental Breeder Reactor 1

We spent much of the day far from phone and wi-fi contact in a remote area of Idaho.  In this area, more nuclear reactors have been built than anywhere in the world (well over 50).  Experimental Breeder Reactor 1 ( EBR-1 ) was the first.  Work there proved Fermi’s idea that a reactor could produce more nuclear fuel than it consumed. EBR-1 was also one of the first nuclear reactors to produce electricity.  At first, it produced only enough power to light 4 – 200 watt light bubs.

In this apparent emptiness, there is a lot going on.  The world famous Idaho National Laboratory (IDL) is nearby.  It’s a huge facility where many many very bright people work on many many very secret things.  Interesting stuff.

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Idaho Falls

We stayed at the Shilo Inn in Idaho Falls.  Behind it is the Snake River.  There is a nice long walking trail along the river. Along the trail they have a number of very unique benches if you wish to stop to rest and enjoy the view.

Across the river is a beautiful LDS Temple, the oldest in Idaho.  It was designed in the late 1930s.

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