Autumn in Iowa…

Autumn in Iowa…

It has been an Autumn to remember in Iowa.  Trees with leaves  the color of gold, crimson, bright orange and deep amethyst.  Great temperatures.  Skies a gorgeous blue with snow white clouds, bright sunshine and a cool brisk breeze…and lots of pumpkins!

Last Friday was the perfect day to travel to Center Grove Orchard for a day at the pumpkin patch with my daughter, three of my precious grandchildren and my good friend Doug.

Located in rolling hills covered with pumpkins and a beautiful farm setting, Center Grove Orchard was a pleasant surprise.   We began our tour with the little duck race propelled by old fashioned hand pumps.





Visiting with the goats (especially the little kids) was, of course, my favorite.  Then the rest of the farm animals:  the ducks, turkeys, chickens, pigs, sheep and horses.  Need I say, I love farms!






There were tractor go-carts for the kids, a huge inflated jumping deck…



and then, of course, the giant slide (it’s longer than it looks!!!)  that the grandkids talked grandmom (me!) into doing down.  You’re sitting on a large feedsack and sliding down…very, very quickly!  If you’re wondering why I’m reclining while my grandchildren are sitting up, well…I wasn’t prepared that it was so lightning FAST and it knocked me down.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.



Grandkids: “Grandmom! You’re SUPPOSED to sit up!!!” Grandmom: “You didn’t tell me it was so FAST!!! I can’t sit up!”


And what’s a trip to a pumpkin patch without a fun hay ride on a tractor-pulled wagon loaded with bales of hay and a memorable trek through a six-acre muddy corn maze?!  My first time in a corn maze!





Since the pumpkins fields were so muddy, my daughter purchased 4 pumpkins and 2 bushels of apples which she has ALREADY turned into delicious apple butter and apple sauce!  The Country Store also sold lots of other homemade goodies!





Sunday morning reflections…

Sunday morning reflections…

It’s was 56 degrees in Iowa this morning with bright sunshine and clear blue skies…reminding me that my favorite season is quickly approaching.  I’m under the weather this morning after several nights of much less than adequate sleep, so I will put the praise music on and enjoy a time of worship here in my porch rocking chair.

Yesterday afternoon, my friend and downstairs neighbor Susan and I ventured out in the beautiful weather for a few hours.  The goal wasn’t necessarily to purchase anything – although I did find a tiered stacking rack for the spices in my pantry and a couple of Autumn dish towels.  The goal was just to enjoy the afternoon.  Apparently, everyone else in West Des Moines had the same idea!

We ended up eating a late mid-afternoon meal at one of my favorite places – Famous Dave’s.  Memphis Barbecue was featured on the menu as well as Georgia Pulled Pork (which I had).  Having grown up in Memphis, I wondered how Dave knew so much about Southern barbecue.  Click the link and read his story!  Believe me, if Famous Dave’s were in Memphis, they would give Corky’s and the Rendezvous a run for their money!  Everything I’ve eaten there is delicious.

To be honest though, barbecue always makes me homesick for the South, since it’s a Southern “comfort food”.  In the featured photo above, I am having Corky’s barbecue at Penny’s house the Friday night after Thanksgiving in Memphis in 2012 with my niece Sharon and her husband Tommy.  I miss them and can’t wait to see them on October 1st when I fly into Memphis!

Autumn days…

Autumn days…

The weather has turned cool here at last.  The trees are finally wearing their Autumn shades of gold, crimson, deep ruby and russet orange. It is time to drag out the sweaters and place a warmer blanket on the bed.  My favorite time of year, Autumn makes me happy.  It brings back memories of harvest festivals of years gone by…apple picking…apple dumplings…homemade apple pies.


My daughter purchased two bushels of apples, and tomorrow I will help her turn those apples into delicious apple butter!  Years ago, when we lived in Indiana, my sisters and my niece Sharon came for a visit.  We traveled to Nashville, Brown County, Indiana.  It’s a wonderful little town with quaint shops, resident artists and wonderful food.  There, at the Nashville House Dining Room in the historic Brown County Inn, I had some of the best oven baked apple butter I have ever tasted.  I came home and tried to duplicate it and actually came close.  Now, years later, they actually share the recipe here!

Tonight, I will go with my daughter and her family to “The Great Pumpkin Party” at church…just as we did last year.  The large church is equipped all over (indoors) with all sorts of fun events for children – including different “jumping” houses and games.  There are also pony rides outside.  They love it and it is so much fun!


My thanks to those of you who’ve stuck with me through this “postless” last month.  Excuses?  I’ve been traveling and spending time with precious grandchildren – both near and far.  These days, I am also traveling back in time as I spend hours working, once again, on my family history.  Yesterday, I found myself missing Dot, my late oldest sister and the one who dreamed of being able to trace our ancestors as far back as possible.  We were actually “stuck” on Mama’s maternal grandmother, Mary Frances Cooper.  I wrote for her death certicate.  Fifteen years ago – that was how you had to do it.  There were a few clues but also the wrong first initial of her father.  The information about her was being given over the telephones of yesteryear.  Her father’s first name was Vincent.  My Dad was listed as the informant and gave the individual asking for the information the letter “V”.  Over the phone, “V” can sound like “B” and that’s what they wrote down!  In the old days, they used a lot of initials for first names and that can throw a curve.

Yesterday, I finally traced Mary Frances Cooper’s family all the way back to her immigrant ancestor and my 6th great-grandfather, William Cooper, who was born in 1669 in Warwickshire, England!  He immigrated to America and arrived in Virginia with his wife Elizabeth Lawrence in 1718!  The find was so bittersweet…for I wanted to share it with Dot.  I hope she knows.  There are more branches of this family tree to complete now.

I’m rather surprised to say that THIS is my one-hundredth post!  I’m looking forward to sharing more of my Sweet Journey Home and I thank you for following along with me…


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