Monday, September 22, 2014

Amish and Mennonite Country

Recently I went on a bus tour in Van Buren County, Iowa.

 Our first stop was Dutchman's Store, an old-time general store run by Mennonites. This store sells everything from groceries (bulk, produce, meat, canned goods, health and beauty items) to ice cream cones to fabric to greeting cards to model tractors to clothing...quite an interesting place. I bought a pie bird and a journal. The staff women wear long dresses and bonnets.

 They had a lovely front porch.

 Pumpkins for sale - it must be autumn!

 Our next stop was an Amish home for lunch. See the pies? Mmmmm!

 Over 50 people were served "poor man's steak," potatoes and gravy, corn, salad, bread, and dessert. We also drank "Garden Blossom" tea, which the homeowner made from various plants in her garden. It tasted minty and refreshing!

 Dessert was strawberry shortcake, apple crumb pie, and hickory nut pie.

 This is how the Amish travel.
We also took a drive through a gorgeous state park, then visited a house on the underground railroad; next, we went through a museum of Indian artifacts and then had a shopping stop in the historic district.

 Queen Anne's lace pottery is made by placing the actual flower onto the clay. When fired, the flower pattern becomes part of the design. Every piece is one of a kind!

 Mugs for coffee or tea

I adore this tea set!

We had a nice trip to Van Buren County - good food, good scenery, nice people!

Linking to Tea Time Tuesday and Friends Sharing Tea

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fall in 2 Iowa gardens

Fall has arrived - if not by calendar, certainly by weather and garden conditions.

Recently I had the opportunity to spend time at the Discovery Garden, a Polk County Master Gardener project garden at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

The Discovery Garden:

 A shade garden near the entrance of the Discovery Garden

 Gorgeous hydrangeas abound in the garden, including this one (probably 'Limelight')

 Got to plant this one in my garden - it's stunning!

 The berm bed's color theme is red and white, with red zinnias, off white marigolds, and white cleome.

 This bed was FULL of monarchs!

My favorite shot from the Discovery Garden - I adore monarchs!

And now, Sunsplash Gardens (mine!):

'Fireworks' is pretty in the autumn garden.

'Carefree Beauty' is blooming well in this cooler weather.

The elephant ears have gotten big.

Fairies in the garden, this one amongst obedient plant.

An unusual dragonfly

Hydrangea 'Pinky Winky'

 The goldfinches love eating the echinacea seeds.

 As we prepare for the big transition of our border gardens, it's looking a bit desolate.

Alas, someone has been drawing! Whatever do you suppose this will be?

More later on the fall gardens, and the big transition. We are preparing for the landscapers - we expect them to start work in 2 or 3 weeks, weather permitting. In the meantime, still lots of gardening remains to be done.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

We are a Monarch Waystation!

 A few weeks ago, there were six monarch caterpillars on milkweed in our gardens. Today 4 monarch butterflies were flying in the gardens. I suspect they just completed their metamorphosis from egg, to larva (caterpillar), to butterfly - somewhere in our garden. So glad to see them!

 They seem to love the Verbena bonariensis best!

 I also saw them on Kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate (above), phlox and cleome (not pictured), and zinnias (below).

Interested in helping monarchs?  Interested in certifying your property? Click here for further information.

I'll be joining The Maple Hill Blog Hop and Fertilizer Friday.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Notecards for Mosaic Monday

I don't know about you, but I've missed the Notecard Party hosted by Vee! I understand that Vee is not planning to host the party this month, but I still wanted to share my summer-ish notecards.

I decided to share them with Judith at Lavender Cottage for Mosaic Monday.

All of these were taken in my gardens this year.

I had a lot of fun making these notecards (and, in fact, taking the photos)! Love the "critters" in my gardens.

And my mosaic (box cover):

Last but not least, recently several of my high school girlfriends and I met for lunch. Last year we had a class reunion celebrating the big 4-0; that's right, 40 years since we graduated!  Photo below:


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