Friday, August 7, 2009

Blooming things and Iowa

Things are settling down around here. Tommy, Juta and I have developed our daily routines. The critters are all getting along. It's all good.
So about a week ago, I took a little quilt-shop-hop trip into Iowa with my friend Jeanne. I drove to her house in Barneveld last Wednesday evening, stayed over night (where a gang of cows gathered outside my window very early in the morning--something that rarely happens in the Milwaukee suburbs...), and we took off in Jeanne's car Thursday morning. We stopped at a few places around SW Wisconsin, then drove to Cedar Rapids to shop at The Pine Needles (actually in Marion, IA).
We continued on to Kalona where we stayed at the Pull-r Inn. No, I am not kidding--that's the name of the motel. It was very nice. We found another little quilt shop "downtown", then went to Washington, IA to have a really good Mexican dinner in an old house. The next day, we planned to drive up to Amana, but not before one of Jeanne's co-workers, Firman, who lives in the area, took us for a ride in his dad's Amish buggy. Firman and his dad were very gracious--I even got a picture of them. The countryside around there is just like a picture book--green cornfields dotted with cute white four-square houses with tin roofs and red barns surrounded by 200 year old oak trees. Beautiful!
We poked around the town of Amana for a bit, and, of course, hit Heritage Designs, a quilt shop housed in a 150 year old barn. It is a gorgeous store, and I did a bit of damage to my pocketbook.
On the way home, we made a stop in Iowa City again, then drove back to Wisconsin. Before we got back to Jeanne's house, she took me on a little tour of the farm that used to belong to her mother's family. The homestead it was actually nestled in a hill overlooking a pretty valley near Fennimore. It was beautiful, and I took a pic of Jeanne's Little Valley. It was a fun couple of days, and now that the vessel is filled with lots of inspiration, I can back to my quilt projects with renewed enthusiasm.
I've also been watching lots of things bloom in my garden these days. The big news is the hydrangeas are here...and they are blue! Last fall I sprinkled some special fertilizer on the bushes to change the pH of the soil. That's what makes the blooms blue! I was sceptical, but it worked! I have one bush full of big blue flowers. The other one has pink blooms, and together they are beautiful!
The other big garden news is my clematis came back! It is growing in a flower bed that Tom cleared at the beginning of summer in order to kill the weeds. I thought they were lost, but they popped up, and now are climbing the garage with strength and vigor!

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