Monday, October 31, 2011


Happy Halloween!

Oct 29 (9)

Used to carve jack-o-lanterns and go trick-or-treating.  Back when my four kids were younger (and way back when I was younger, too).  Now I plug in an electric-lighted plastic jack-o-lantern and mourn the absence of that big pile of candy the kids used to bring home.  It was only fair that they share their loot with the mom/chauffeur who drove them into town to go trick-or-treating in the first place! 

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(Looks pretty much real, doesn’t it!)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Newfallen Leaves

Yesterday morning on my way to the barn I was greeted by a carpet of newfallen leaves which had rained down from the big soft maple tree by the house.  Wanted to catch a photo of them before they become brown and curled, which doesn’t take very long. 

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This pumpkin looked photoworthy, too, in the morning light. 

Oct 29 (1) copy When gathering up pumpkins from the garden I try to make sure the cute curliques remain attached to the stems.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Away With You!

Soon and very soon, cold weather will pull in to transport the fall colors away.

Oct 28 That was my first thought, anyhow, when I saw my husband pull up with this pickup load of branches for the burn pile.  He had cleared a fencerow of unwanted brush, which is usually scrubby wild plum and mulberry trees.  Birds like them, but farmers don’t.      

Friday, October 28, 2011

Out to Forage

Oct 26th. Now that harvest is finished, we turned the heifers out to forage for ears of corn left on the ground.  They seem to enjoy the extra food and freedom!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Skywatch Friday

Oct24 (2)From our Iowa farm, SOOC shot of sunset on October 24th.

SkyWatch icon Thank you for stopping by!  Visit the Skywatch Friday website to find many links to sky photos from around the world.

Friendly the Cat

Here’s a portrait of “Friendly”, a very friendly cat who likes to hang around amongst the flowers near the house.

Oct 25 (9) dry brush This photo was taken a few days ago and was given a makeover with the “dry brush” effect.  The marigolds were rather scraggly-looking in reality.  There’s a burning bush in the background and this year its blazing brighter than it ever has before! 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Random Shots

Right now, I have my computer situated in front of the door to the porch and yesterday while I was reading blogs I suddenly became distracted by this ash leaf clinging to the screen:


Before that, I had walked along the road for a ways.  Not much of color or interest in the ditches right now, though I did snap this next photo of a Goldenrod transformed into Beigerod:

Oct 25

Finally, here’s a photo which has been patiently waiting in the top row of the October file, having been snapped while I was out joy-riding on the first day of the month:

Oct 1 (1)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Last Saturday

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I was in Pella over the weekend.  Visited my daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter.  Took a walk downtown on Saturday morning. 

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Such a beautiful sunny day!  Flowers still in bloom here and there.

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Click here to read about a Lincoln exhibit I toured a few years ago at the Scholte House Museum.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cordova Park Tower

On Saturday, this farmwife blogger roamed to the Pella area once again, and decided to visit the Cordova Park Tower on the shores of the Red Rock Reservoir of the Des Moines River.  With a height of 100 feet, it is the tallest observation tower in the Midwest and features the world’s tallest and longest continuous set of fiberglass stairs.  How about that!     

10.22.11 (94)  It used to be a water tower.  Read about it in this next photo.  Click to enlarge for easier reading…

10.22.11 (77) I’ve never mustered the courage to climb the ladders of our farm silos, but the Cordova Tower’s safely enclosed staircase was no problem.  Round and round I went, finally reaching the top observation deck.  Here’s the view to the east…

10.22.11 (67) …and, to the west, with the “Mile Long Bridge” in the distance…

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The long-spanned bridge looked intriguing, so I drove over there for a closer inspection…

10.22.11 (99) Then I headed homeward.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Swamp Milkweed Pods

Sept 22 (69)

Here’s some photos taken exactly one month ago.  These are Swamp Milkweed which grow in the roadside ditch near our farm.  Click here to see how they looked while in bloom during the summer.

Sept 22 (72) The pods displayed this mauve color for a few days before opening to reveal the seeds.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Field Overlook

Buster wants to show you our farm’s very own scenic overlook.

Oct 10 (20) Its certainly not a spectacular view, compared to things like mountains, canyons, and oceans, and barely qualifies as an “overlook”, but its the best our farm can offer.  In order to see this in person, you have to take a hike out to the far end of the field, but what could be better than a brisk walk on a beautiful autumn day! 

Oct 10 (24) The above two photos were taken on October 10th.  This next scene is from two days ago, October 19th.  Notice the color differences.     

Oct 18 

A hard frost is in the forecast, meaning more changes in the scenery are on the way!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Skywatch Friday

Greetings from Iowa, USA!  Thank you for stopping by!

 Oct 12th (5) 

(Photo taken October 12, 2011.)

SkyWatch icon

Visit the SWF website to find a multitude of skies from around the world!

Cosmo & Cat

Usually, I assemble blogposts the day before they are posted, as probably many bloggers do.  Yesterday was a cloudy, cold, windy day and I was in the mood for some color as I perused the photo file.  This Cosmo which was captured on camera three days ago caught my eye.  I’d say its safe to say this pretty flower’s life is almost over.

Oct 16 (2) copy This cat (who shall remain nameless due to the fact that it has no name) was caught gazing intently at something.  Probably a bird.      Oct 15 (9) We have around thirty cats here on our farmstead and I simply cannot keep up with naming them.  A few older ones have names, but the rest I simply address as “Kitty”.  They don’t seem to mind.  Maybe I’ll name this one “Nameless”!   

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Backbone Overlook

On our way home from Brush Creek Canyon and Motor Mill last Sunday, my husband and I drove through Backbone State Park.  It is Iowa’s oldest state park and when I was a kid we called it “The Devil’s Backbone”.  This first photo was taken at the new overlook along the road just inside the park’s east entrance.  The Maquoketa River can be seen, lined with cliffs of limestone exposed below the tree-covered slope.  If you walk the well-known “Backbone Trail” to the far reaches of its loop, that’s where you will end up.  I have hiked it many times.  There wasn’t enough time to do that on this trip, however.  We had to get home to milk the cows!    

Backbone 10.16.11 (20) We were using the road that winds through Backbone Park as part of our route back home to the farm.  I attempted several drive-by photo shootings of the trees and rock formations, but only this next one was the least bit blog-worthy….

Backbone 10.16.11 (8) Right now, I’m enjoying using the first photo as my computer screen’s background.  What a fun and easy way to instantly enlarge favorite photo scenes!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Motor Mill Area

From Brush Creek Canyon my husband and I drove on to the ghost town of Motor, located east of Elkader, Iowa.  Its focal point is the six-story limestone grist mill building which towers over the Turkey River.  Remnants of a now non-existent bridge can be seen in this first photo.   

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We strolled down Motor’s one and only thoroughfare.Motor Mill 10.16.11 (11)

The interior of the mill was not open for touring.

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Once past the mill, we glanced across the river and noticed a wagon drawn by mules….standing there stubbornly refusing to cross a river that has no bridge!  Actually, there is a riding trail on that side of the river.

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Nestled against the hillside was the old limestone cooperage:

Motor Mill 10.16.11 (19) Behind the cooperage, we noticed some stone steps leading up the hill.  On such a beautiful day, why not take another hike, they seemed to beckon!

Motor Mill 10.16.11 (24) Up the leaf-covered trail we traipsed.

Motor Mill 10.16.11 (53) This sign soon informed us that we were walking through an “oak savanna”---a sort of wooded prairie area.  Click the photo to enlarge it.

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Near the top of the hill was an old quarry site.  We tried to envision stonecutters at work and how they might have transported the limestone blocks down the hill to be used for construction of the Motor buildings.

Motor Mill 10.16.11 (50) At the top of the hill we were rewarded with a nice view, looking in a somewhat northerly direction.  I should carry a compass along on these trail walks.

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A little ways down the road past Motor is a campground.  It looked like a nice peaceful place and if I were a camping person I’d probably like to stay there.  Once past the campground, the road became a one-lane track.  This final photo was taken through the windshield.  It’s SOOC and hopefully helps to show what an absolutely gorgeous day it was! 

Near Motor Mill (7)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Brush Creek Canyon

Yesterday, my husband and I took advantage of a sunny autumn Sunday by going on a drive.  As we pulled away from the farm he asked me where I wanted to go and I said, “Let’s go to Motor Mill so I can take some pictures and after that we can go wherever you want.”  On our way to Motor Mill, I suddenly got the notion that we should also visit Brush Creek Canyon near Arlington, Iowa.  Only one other time in my life had I been there and that was over 40 years ago, on a Sunday drive with my parents and siblings.

After backtracking due to a detour and our inability to be attentive enough to notice small signs, my husband and I finally located the gravel road leading into the park which which owns the name, “Brush Creek Canyon State Preserve”.Brush Creek Canyon 10.16.11   There was a hiking path buried in leaves which we followed for a short ways until it became too steep.  Besides lots of trees, we saw many pock-marked dolomite limestone formations, called “slump blocks”.  (I was expecting Fred or Wilma Flintstone to appear at any moment!)

Brush Creek Canyon 10.16.11 (12) Click here to see info about Iowa’s state preserves.

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The tree-filled slope led down to Brush Creek.  This is what canyons look like in Iowa!

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We could have eaten our picnic lunch in the park shelter house, but since it was still before noon, we decided to travel on.  This is the road leading into and out of the park….

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Tomorrow, I’ll show you Motor Mill.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Our Lady of the Seven Dolors


Since 1949, this statue of Our Lady of the Seven Dolors has been standing in the cemetery behind St. Anthony of Padua Chapel, also known as The Smallest Church in the World, near Festina, Iowa. 

Our Lady of the Seven Dolors 9.30.11 These photos were taken a couple weeks ago on September 30.  The sunny day was pleasant, but provided for shadows.  Where is a cloud when you need one ?

Sep 30

Dolors are sorrows.  She is Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows, with those sorrows being:

1.  The prophecy of Simeon

2.  The flight into Egypt

3.  The loss of the child Jesus in the temple

4.  Mary meets Jesus on the way to the cross

5.  Jesus dies on the cross

6.  Mary receives the dead body of her son

7.  Jesus is laid in the tomb