Archive for A Passion for Iowa

Iowa Fall Sky

Hmmm, I guess this is my 500th post!


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Seed Savers Exchange

My sister said let’s plan something exciting for my birthday.  For some people that might mean a hot air balloon ride or a trip to the windy city, but I have a passion for green, and one of the first things that popped into my mind was visiting a location on my Life List: Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa.  If you have ever had their catalog,  you’ve probably spent hours lusting over the vegetables and getting engrossed in the stories behind many of the heirloom seeds.  I wanted to see “where the magic happens”!

The first photo shows some of the demonstration gardens that are located near the visitor center and huge gift shop.  The second photo we accessed by driving back a ways into the property, where the real magic happens.  I assume this is a production field that is obviously not very far along in the first week of June.  We did not take time for the walking tour, which might have given us more information and a better idea of what really goes on, but my mission, besides just getting there, was to see what they use for trellising and to SHOP!  As with most museums, the highlight for me is usually the gift shop!  To be continued tomorrow…..

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For Zanariah!

I got some nice comments a while back from  Zanariah in Kuala Lumpur.  She found me through my post about slough grass and Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Last weekend I met my sister in northern Iowa and we got to visit one of the places Laura lived!  I thought of you, Zanariah, and took these pictures for you!

Between On the Banks of Plum Creek and By the Shores of Silver Lake, Laura and her family lived in Burr Oak, Iowa.  It was a rough time in the Ingalls family and Laura did not write about it in her books, but there is a little museum there now in the hotel building where the family worked.  The above photo shows some twisted slough grass like they would have burned in the book, The Long Winter.

There is a book, Old Town in the Green Groves, by Cynthia Rylant, that imagines the time the Ingalls family spent in Burr Oak.

The small museum is located in what was the Masters Hotel. This is how it looks today.

There were a lot of photos of Laura and her family in the museum and the one hour tour was filled with great stories!  Now I want to go back and read the books again and read even more about Laura’s life as an adult.  Thanks you, Zanariah, for reminding me that these stories are loved the world over!

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What do you like to do for fun on a Saturday?  A few weeks ago we went to Harbor Freight in Des Moines.  For me, it was all about the saws!

  Any machine I see that is painted this machine color of green brings back memories for me of my dad and his work at a machine shop.  I even imagine I smell metal chips and oil.






It seems like Dad might have had a saw like this one on the right  in our garage, or maybe I am remembering a drill press.  Sometimes he would call me out to the garage to help hold a large board he was cutting.  It always made me feel so important when I got to help!






   I did bop over to Dollar General while Steven finished browsing the tools.  Then we headed downtown for a blue collar lunch at the High Life Lounge.  I’d heard they have bacon wrapped tater tots…and bacon wrapped anything always sounds good to me! The fried chicken  and mashed potatoes were awesome too.





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Spring Flowering Trees in Ames

Today was the day!  I feel like spring is about at its peak here in central Iowa, so I took out the Cannon and drove around town to capture the beauty.


Iowa State University has a beautiful campus and every year when the blue squill bloom it still takes my breath away.  This year I finally got onto campus for some close ups of the patch between the Memorial Union and the Knoll.




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Lani, ISU and Roots

I’ve gone to the ISU campus several times since I finished my long term sub job and have some free time.  Yesterday, it really clicked with me, I LOVE Iowa State!  My perfect job?  I would really love to find a job at the university doing research, helping this land grant university fulfill its mission of making the world a better place.

I still remember when Steven first e-mailed me a photo of the campus, back when I was in Indiana, trying to figure out where I might go to grad school and how I was going to make a future for myself.  “This campus is so beautiful!” I thought.  “Perhaps it’s the right place for me.”

Since coming here, I’ve put down roots.  And I’ve made some great friends!  Lani has been here from the very beginning, always there if I needed her, even in the midst of a busy life, working at ISU and have two kids.  During one of my visits back to campus, I wanted to see Lani in her ISU setting.  She works here and does some amazing work with Annie’s Project as part of her job.

Now that I’ve finished my masters and its time to look for a job, I do hope I get to stay in Iowa.  I’d love to stay with ISU and see what these new roots will produce!  Thanks Lani for helping me feel at home here!

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New Places to Work

Steven and I do the bulk of our work free lance style, not at a traditional office.  He gets paid for his work, mine is unfunded graduate work right now.  Still, we make a good have-lap-top-will-travel pair!  I drag him to Burgie’s a lot, because that is my favorite place to work,  GREAT dark roast coffee and awesome music, soft seats and sofas as well as nice tables and chairs.  But occasionally we launch out and look for new places to work.  Last Friday for date-night which is often date-afternoon, we went downtown Des Moines and found the library at the state capitol to be quite nice.  For a while we sat in the eating area, but the echos of 60 school children on a field trip reverberating in the 3-4 story rotunda was a little much.  This library was much nicer, and lo and behold, when the students entered, they actually turned it down to a whisper!

Iowa capital rotunda, beautiful but not very quiet!

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