Along Our Way
Here's how it has looked at our place in west central Iowa much of this spring -- rain gauge full, Deadbrier Creek out of its banks, farm neighbors running later than ever before in getting the crops planted, and for five straight days we had to do frequent pumping and water vacuuming in our cellar. We had 14 inches of rain in one 13-day stretch!
[FOR THE STORY & THIS PHOTO
IN LARGER FORMAT, CLICK HERE.]
with the Offenburgers
Chuck Offenburger was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins follicular lymphoma cancer on July 10, 2009, had six months of chemotherapy & started a maintenance program. Carla Offenburger underwent surgery on April 26, 2010, for removal of a jaw tumor which was found to contain adenoid cystic carcinoma cancer. She underwent six weeks of follow-up radiation in June and July, 2010. Since then she has returned to good health, but she continues to have close medical observation. Two days after Carla finished radiation, Chuck noticed a pain in his left hip, and within days, a small mass near his tailbone was diagnosed as more aggressive large-cell lymphoma. In the fall of 2010, he underwent intensive chemotherapy, and had a stem cells transplant in November, with follow-up radiation in January, 2011. Since then he's been doing well, too, but continues to have regular check-ups. We post updates frequently here, including brief insights from Chuck, Carla and at least one of you readers.
''Hi, Chuck & Carla. I'm so incredibly happy for you guys, and hope for many more years of good reports.''
FOR THE LATEST UPDATE,
WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH THE
BLACK & WHITE SADDLE SHOES?
CLICK HERE FOR THE STORY OF OUR FARM IN GREENE COUNTY, IOWA.
Here's looking at life
at Simple Serenity Farm
Take us out to the ball game! Carla Offenburger and I had a great time on Father's Day afternoon at the Iowa Cubs baseball game at Principal Park in Des Moines, even if the I-Cubs lost 3-1 to Omaha. It was great having the time with Carla's mom (and I-Cubs superfan) Sue Burt, Carla's sister Chris Woods and her husband Tony, daughter Perri Woods and son Harrison Woods. Sunshine, warm temps, very little wind, Chicago dogs, salted-in-the-shell peanuts, couple pops - hard to beat all that!
FOR THE STORY & MORE PHOTOS
IN LARGER FORMAT, CLICK HERE.]
latest book on sports
legend Gary Thompson
''GARY THOMPSON: All-American'' is the new, 352-page biography of one of the state's genuine sports icons. From 1950-'53 Gary Thompson led the Roland Rockets to high school sports glory in basketball and baseball, giant-killers from one of Iowa's small schools. Then he led the Cyclones at Iowa State from 1953-'57, becoming the college's first two-sport All-American. He's had major success in broadcasting and business, from his home base in Ames. And he and his wife Janet have a family as solid as they come. "I'm the luckiest guy around," Thompson says.
CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS
Our Partners & Patrons
Iowa Hall of Pride
Sam's Barber Shop
Douglas T. Bates III, Attorney
KMA Radio's ''Dean & Don Show''
The Monks of New Melleray Abbey
Want to Reprint?
Chuck Offenburger's columns
Christie Vilsack's columns
Carla Offenburger's columns
Carla's book reviews
Life at Offenburgers'
Simple Serenity Farm
Our Iowa News Digest
Along Our Way
Don Poggensee was back|
in an Amish community in
eastern Iowa to have a
look when spring arrived
Pictures by Iowa photographer Don Poggensee
COMING UP IN IOWA
We recommend the following, if you want to experience this state at
June 28-30: Des Moines Arts Festival, a great time downtown with a wide variety of art, music and food. Get the details by clicking here.
July 3-4: Best 4th of July celebration in west central Iowa is in our small neighbor town of Yale. You can get all the details by clicking here.
July 9-15: Our Greene County Fair in Jefferson. For your county fair's show dates, click here.
July 21-27: It's RAGBRAI time, with thousands riding bicycles across Iowa from Council Bluffs to Fort Madison. This is the 41st ride. For all the details, click here.
August 10: Jefferson hosts the second annual Iowa Bicycle Festival, which was postponed in bad weather in late May. Get the schedule of events, as it is revised, by clicking here.
Twenty years ago, three-fourths of Iowa was devastated by flooding in late June & July. What do you remember most from that?
[SEE PAST RESULTS]
Join us in Jefferson
on Saturday Aug. 10
for the second annual
Get all the details and
schedule of events at
Carla Offenburger, ready for parade as ''garden biker.''
|Three generations of Towers builders!|
|For a while one morning last week, we had three generations of one family working on a new addition to our farmhouse here at Simple Serenity Farm. Left to right are Justin Towers, his dad Tim Towers and son/grandson Nathan Towers, 5. Justin's company, Towers Construction, of Jefferson, is adding a new bedroom to the west side of the house. ''For now, it'll be for guests,'' as Carla Offenburger has explained. ''And it'll be for us when Chuck gets too old to climb up the steep stairs to our bedroom now.'' Chuck's answer: ''I'm just glad to be here.''|
|Out in Greene County, Iowa|
|It’s been a rather shabby start, but campaigns for & against a Greene County casino are ''on!''|
By CHUCK OFFENBURGER
June 18, 2013
Most people here are still wondering where and when the idea developed for a casino, conference center, hotel and entertainment in Jefferson. Now opponents are organizing, and our columnist says they had a kind of rough start, too, with one of Iowa’s most active anti-casino spokespersons coming in here and laying a egg in his speech Monday night June 17. The county’s people seem almost evenly divided on the issue, with both support and opposition coming from all the usual societal sub-groups. It promises to be a heck of a campaign over the next six weeks, and then we’ll likely be voting the idea up or down on August 6. [READ MORE]
Featured Partner & Patron
The Monks of New Melleray Abbey & their new Trappist Caskets
The best spot in the whole state of Iowa.
6500 Melleray Circle
Peosta, Iowa 52068
It's been nearly 30 years ago since Chuck Offenburger first wandered into New Melleray Abbey, a 160-year-old Catholic monastery 12 miles southwest of Dubuque. He struck up a friendship with one of the Trappist monks, Father Jim O'Connor, and they've been in regular contact ever since.
When Offenburger compiled his ''Top 12 Spots in Iowa'' for the Des Moines Register and The Iowan Magazine, listing the places people should visit to really experience the state, he ranked the abbey as No. 1 – not only for its serene beauty but also for its abundant spirituality and role in Iowa's early history. Family, friends and college classes have followed Chuck and Carla Offenburger in for visits. ''We've sent people of all faiths, and people of no faith, to New Melleray and every one of them has come away feeling there's something very profound and moving about it,'' Chuck has written.
You can arrange stays in the Guest House. The monks observe seven prayer times daily, beginning at 3:30 a.m. and ending about 8 p.m. Visitors are free to set their own schedules. Many people do retreats there. Some just read, pray and meditate. Others ask for spiritual guidance from one of the priests or brothers.
The monks, who've always been farmers, have now started making ''honest wooden caskets'' for those who are concerned about the opulence and costs of typical funerals today. Prices range from the $575 plain pine box to the $1,385 ''premium'' walnut shaped casket. The wood comes from the New Melleray forest, the logs are milled into boards in the abbey's sawmill and the monks build the caskets in their woodshop. ''Our Trappist philosophy towards labor calls for us to work quietly with our hands while applying simple integrity to our workmanship,'' their brochure explains. You can also buy their wood cremation urns, as well as various-sized stools, benches and kneelers, beginning at $40.
Needless to say, Chuck Offenburger has already reserved his own Trappist Casket, although he hopes not to use it soon.
Brother Felix Leja, who heads New Melleray's new Trappist Caskets venture, and the monastery's Abbot, Father Brendan Freeman, with one of the monks' fine pieces of work.