Category Archives: Sarah Toot

Walnut Woods Bird Blind

I need to start today by wishing my cousin Sarah a happy birthday. Happy birthday Sarah!


August 29, 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Bennett Family Reunion

I hope it is as amazing as you want it to be!

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Back when I was on vacation, one of the State Parks I visited was Walnut Woods in the Des Moines area. I’ve driven by the sign for the turnoff to Walnut Woods hundreds of times. It seemed like I should finally make that turn and see what it is all about.

I didn’t get to spend much time exploring Walnut Woods, but by far my favorite thing I found there was the bird blind that overlooked about a hundred bird feeders. The bird blind is closed because of the badly mismanaged pandemic, but you could still stand near the bird blind and enjoy the birds. I probably didn’t have the exact lens I would have wanted, but I still took a plethora of bird photos. Even took some I liked.


Walnut Woods Bird Blind

Walnut Woods Bird Blind

Walnut Woods Bird Blind

Walnut Woods Bird Blind

Walnut Woods Bird Blind

Walnut Woods Bird Blind

Walnut Woods Bird Blind

Walnut Woods Bird Blind

Walnut Woods Bird Blind

Walnut Woods Bird Blind

Walnut Woods Bird Blind

Walnut Woods Bird Blind

Walnut Woods Bird Blind

Walnut Woods Bird Blind

Walnut Woods Bird Blind

This trip to Walnut Woods inspired me to want to buy my own portable bird blind. I’m going to get right on that after I buy a larger external hard drive, 3 new monitors, and a new projection screen. Maybe a retired Iowa State football locker. It is definitely on the list!

Fly Iowa: A New Beginning

I should start today by wising my Aunt Linda a happy birthday!


09-21-08

Bennett Family Reunion

Bennett Family Reunion

April 9, 2019

August 29, 2017

Recently I shared a collection of pictures I took of the old Boone Dump sliding into McHose Park. Aunt Linda sent me a story that I thought I would share, so you would know what kind of people I come from:

I really liked this history of the junk yard. I have fond memories of going to the junk yard as a family….my dad, mom, David, Gerald and me. Dad would take a gun in case we were attacked by rats. We often found treasures to take home for one reason or another.

I want you to think about this story the next time you even remotely think of trying to mistakenly labeling me as an elitist. I’m the guy that comes from a family that used to go to the town dump, with my Grandpa packing heat to fend off the junkyard rats! These are my people!

Happy birthday Aunt Linda!

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Time for yet another collection of images from Fly Iowa:


Fly Iowa - 2019

Fly Iowa - 2019

Fly Iowa - 2019

Fly Iowa - 2019

Fly Iowa - 2019

Fly Iowa - 2019

Fly Iowa - 2019

Fly Iowa - 2019

Fly Iowa - 2019

Fly Iowa - 2019

Fly Iowa - 2019

Fly Iowa - 2019

Fly Iowa - 2019

Fly Iowa - 2019

Fly Iowa - 2019

Fly Iowa - 2019

Fly Iowa - 2019

Fly Iowa - 2019

Fly Iowa - 2019

Fly Iowa - 2019

Only 700 more images from Fly Iowa to curate!

The Great Eclipse Failure of ’17! – Uno

You might recall that back in August of 2017 there was a solar eclipse in the United States for the first time in decades. Or at least a really long time.

It cut a swath through Iowa, but in Iowa you couldn’t see the totality. It was only something like 85%. And if you are satisfied with an 85% solar eclipse, you aren’t living life to its fullest. Let it sink in and do better.

The totality was cutting through parts of Kansas and Missouri. I have some kinfolk in the area where the totality was to happen. My big city cousin Sarah was even going to come home from New York with her beau Tim to see the totality.

We made a plan to get together and watch the eclipse together. She did some research and we determined a park on the Missouri River in Saint Joseph, Missouri would be the best place to watch it. The totality was at its longest there. Plus, Saint Joseph was considered one of the top ten places to watch the eclipse because of the length of the totality and the fact that it hardly ever rains in Saint Joseph in August. People do research on such things.

Jesse and I took a couple days off to come down to see the eclipse. Another one of my cousins, Jordan and his wife Erin graciously allowed us to stay in their tall basement for the night.

We left Boone at something like 4 in the morning because I didn’t want to miss the eclipse because we were stuck in eclipse traffic. I also didn’t want to fight other people for a spot to see the eclipse. We were going to have our spot carved out a good 4 hours before the eclipse started.

We were successful. We beat the traffic and we secured a spot of real estate next to the Mighty Mo. Then it started to rain. Then rain some more. We didn’t get to “see” the totality. It was covered by clouds, for the most part. However, we did get to experience it. The temperature does drop like 10 degree. Everywhere you look in all 360 degrees looks like a sunset.

I didn’t get the picture that I wanted, but I still got an amazing experience. With some amazing people. Including my Uncle Mike and cousin Adam and his daughter Florence.

Here are some pictures from the failure:


Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

Solar Eclipse - 2017

I’m already making plans for the eclipse in 2024. It cuts across Paducah, Kentucky. I have some kinfolk that live near there!

Won’t Take that Credit; I know Where We Get It; Them Blessings Be Comin’ from God Above

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Rather than my standard picture of an inflatable turkey, thought (with apologies to Lecrae, I’d give thanks for some of the many blessings in my life.

Count it up, count it up, count it up.
Line ’em up, line ’em up, line ’em up.


Bennett 2017 Family Photo
Blessed with a tremendous biological family. Blessed to share DNA and a life with these people.


Blessed to be a part of Olivia’s family. Blessed to learn a new definition of the word “family” from Shorty and Doris.

Mission Trip  - Day 0
Blessed to be a part of an incredible church family. From Youth Group to Methodist Men to the people I see in the pews on Sundays.

Thanksgiving - 2017
Blessed to have a job and double blessed to have a great work family. 7 AM comes pretty early, but so many of the people I work with make the struggle worth the effort.


Blessed to share a life with this band of brothers. Not one of us has any fashion sense, but I’d still take a bullet for any of them.


Blessed to fit in with this band of sisters as well.

Movie Club
Blessed to be able to share my love of weird cinema with like minded individuals once a month.

October 28, 2017
Blessed to be a Cyclone and double blessed to have somebody to share so many trips to Jack Trice (a spiritual place for me) with.


Blessed to have a roof over my head that belongs to me. Blessed that I can extend that roof over friends and family when their life needs it. Blessed that when I say, “Want to help paint by house?” 20+ people show up.


Blessed that friends from past jobs are still important pillars of my current life.

The Howard Children
Blessed that people that aren’t related to me consider me an uncle to them.

August 15, 2017
Blessed to have a car that I can drive out of town and not worry about the tire falling off.


Blessed to have so many people in my life that when I say, “I’m coming to your city”, they say, “You’re staying with us right?”

Tenderloining at Nick's
Blessed to have so many people in my life that fill gaps.

Selfie Project - March 5
Blessed that even though I’m aged, I still healthy enough to still ball. Although pretty poorly these days.

Selfie Project - January 27
Blessed that even though I’m aged, I still have people in my life that keep me young.

Selfie Project - January 21
Blessed to have people in my life that want to change the world for the better, when I get cynical.

Selfie Project -January 14
Blessed to have art in my life.

May 25, 2017
Blessed to have a beautiful beard. Even if the old guys at my church hate it.


Blessed to have people who will help with projects like this, no questions asked.

Photo of the Day 0003 - May 5, 2014
Blessed to share a life and a domicile with this crazy beast. Teaches me about selfless love every single day.

June 28, 2017
Blessed to have a chance to spread my blessings to others, sometimes, with some of my favorite people.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of my blessings. But I don’t want it to start to sound like I’m bragging.

LSD the Bridge

I have a rather shocking confession. I have never done LSD. However, if I had tried LSD, I imagine the experience would be something like walking across the High Trestle Trail Bridge on a dark night.

Several weeks back my cousin Sarah and my Aunt Linda were in town and we did just that. Here are a few pictures from the evening:


The High Trestle Trail

The High Trestle Trail

The High Trestle Trail

The High Trestle Trail

The High Trestle Trail

The High Trestle Trail

Recently the neighbors have complained that the bridge is too noisy at night and now the authorities are turning the lights off at 9 PM. Very sad.