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.

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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!

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

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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!

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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!

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Blue skies & a perfect Summer day…

Blue skies & a perfect Summer day…

If you could paint a picture of the perfect Summer day, today would have been it. 82 degrees. Blue skies – the absolutely perfect shade of blue. Snow white cotton clouds scattered here and about across the blue. Bright sunshine. Vivid green trees and grass. A constant breeze. It was going to be a fun day and I was up at 6:30 a.m. looking forward to it.

I met my daughter and her four children (ages 15 – 4) at the YMCA at 9:00 a.m. They had been there since before 7:00 a.m. for my grandchildren who swim competitively to practice for two hours.  They do this each weekday morning.  They all get up at the crack of dawn!  I got into my daughter’s van and we headed to a small nearby town where she has “rented” a 40′ x 40′ garden space from a nursery there.

I know I have mentioned my daughter’s drive and energy in previous posts, but sometimes I am amazed.  She takes care of their large (5 bedroom – 5 bathroom) home, does laundry for their family of six, cooks totally from scratch and mostly organic (think even grinding her own flour), homeschools my grandchildren (although they have taken a few classes at the local school),  maintains large flower beds all around their home, puts up homemade jams, takes care of a garden in their backyard which includes vegetables, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries AND now has a large garden space she is renting out from a nursery!  She hopes to “feed their family for a year” with all the produce.  She has purchased organic beef and pork for their freezer as well.  (I remember my Mama commenting on my energy when I was about my daughter’s age.  I confess it isn’t there anymore!)

My daughter had spent a few days over the last couple of weeks getting the garden in shape and it looks great!  Some of the surrounding plots belonging to others – not so much!  Today, she harvested some tender ripe squash and fresh spinach to go along with their dinner tonight.

Roses in my daughter’s flower beds…

Flowers in the front yard…just barely past their prime.

Raspberries in the backyard…

Above and below:  at the 40′ x 40′ garden plot.

All the plants were thriving and looked very healthy. 

Part of it is that my daughter grew all of these plants from

HEIRLOOM seeds in the basement under grow lights! 

Part of it is this rich Midwest soil.  

Below:  Come Autumn, there will be PUMPKINS!

 

 

Afterwards, we drove around the small town and dropped by a few garage sales.  My 4 year old grandson scored his first bike – a bright blue and lime green bicycle that looked new for $10!  Then we stopped by the local Fareway grocery where my daughter picked up her order of organic milk. She buys something like 18 half-gallons at the time and they give her a great price!  They drink a lot of milk.  We stopped by the YMCA for me to pick up my car and then I met them at their house for a pizza lunch.

Last stop before heading home – and by that time I was tired – was the library to pick up the books that I had on hold there.  All in all, it was the perfect Summer morning…complete with blue skies.

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