Results for Mystery Photo 7-15-15

The closest to the correct answer was Judy! But it wasn’t a picture taken while kayaking with cliffs it’s the rock quarry in the area where I grew up. But it was a bunch of birds!!

Daryl and I were driving with my brother and sister in law the other week when we saw all these birds flying around the quarry in and out of these holes. Almost at the same time they said that I suppose we should stop because Bonnie will want to take a picture. Yup, they were right!

So here is the clue pictureIMG_3191

And here is the picture of the quarry with all the bird holes. IMG_3191

Posted in Wednesday's Challenge Photo | 1 Comment


I have to be honest. I have been struggling to think of how I should write this post since Saturday.

See what happened is that we got a call late Saturday afternoon that Daryl’s brother unexpectedly passed away. What a shock it was to the whole family and it’s left everyone so sad and heartbroken.

Since there’s so many things to be sad about I decided to write about the good things that I remember him by.

How I will always remember Daryl’s brother is that he is a family man. Having his family around him (and not just his kids and grandkids) was probably the most important thing that I can think of to him. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen him without a smile on his face and always asking if you needed help with something or another. He never thought twice about lending a hand and many people benefited from this wonderful trait that he had. Not once had I ever heard him complain or get mad or even raise his voice. It’s kind of amazing isn’t it? I mean he was just the kind of guy.

But now that he’s gone and his family is missing him terribly and the outpour of the community is amazing. One of the many things that has happened since Saturday is that his brother was the caretaker of the church and when the news got around that he had passed away on Saturday, a group of men from town went to the church on Sunday afternoon with their lawn mowers and mowed all the church grounds to make it nice for the funeral. Seriously how cool is that? If that doesn’t make you smile and be grateful for small midwest towns, well I’m thinking not much will.

So I titled this post as family. Even though his brother is gone his family will always remember him. They more than likely will continue the Sunday night family meals when everyone would get together around the kitchen table for a good Sunday meal and the topic of Rodeos and Country Music might switch to memories of days gone by. But nevertheless the family conversations will go on and soon, maybe not this week or next week, but soon some of the smiles and familiar laughter will be heard again in the kitchen. And everyone is just a little more blessed being able to have shared part of the past 66 years with this great guy.

We’ll miss you



Your Family


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Our bike ride

We made it back from our bike ride and it was a great time! I mean how often can you leave for a week and don’t have to think about a thing other than what should we eat supper and well honestly that’s about it! And not to brag or anything but I didn’t even check my work emails once! Granted I’ll probably pay for it on Monday, but for this week that was my rules and I was happy that I followed them!

So what did we all do on our bike ride? Well the first day for me is always the most nervous. There are some riders that we know that actually have rode over 1000 miles before they went on the ride. Yea, that wasn’t us. Daryl and I got around 65 miles in and I was sure hoping that I wouldn’t keel over the first couple of days. The first days were supposed to have the most hills and you guessed it, they were right! But I just kept plugging along and made it through. I was riding with all guys from our group and they can ride a lot faster than I can. But they were all nice and let me tag along which is cool.

I tried to keep track all the things that we saw that was unique or I haven’t seen before and here is my list:

Jolly Time factory – Sioux City Iowa. This company is over 100 years old and is still owned and operated by the same family that started it. It is the oldest popcorn company in the United States. Now I didn’t take a picture of the factory but I did get a good look at it as we drove by with our bikes. When I was checking on the details of the company after we got home and I read that the average person eats 51 quarts of popcorn a year. Now that’s a lot of popcorn! I sure know that our family does it’s share to keep the average up.

Gypsum mine – Fort Dodge Iowa. The gypsum deposits have first been reported in this area around 1850’s and with Iowa ranking third in the nation for gypsum production, 2/3 of the production comes from the Ford Dodge area. The mine looked really big from the road and one of our group stopped and went through the ditch to get a better look at it and he said that it was HUGE! It sounded like they use this material for wall board and plaster.

Wilton Candy Kitchen – Wilton Iowa. This store is located in Wilton, IA, and listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Founded by R.A. McIntyre in 1860, The Candy Kitchen is the oldest ongoing Ice Cream Parlor / Soda Fountain in the world and has been serving ice cream, lunches, and candy for over 150 years. Under the ownership of the Nopoulos family since 1910, it is currently run by George and Thelma Nopoulos. And let me just tell you that it is pretty cool! Now this time I did get a picture of the inside and it is definitely  some place that I’d like to stop in sometime when I wasn’t wearing spandex!IMG_3242

Coralville Dam – Coralville Iowa. This dam was started in 1949 but with the Korean war going on, it was delayed and finished in 1958. Even though there is no unique facts about this lake, the  dam and the lake is amazing and fun to ride your bike over. The lake can hold over 137 billion gallons of water. Now that’s a lot of water! Heres a quick snapshot of Daryl and I after climbing up the hill after the dam.20150724_171057_resized

Best thing I heard someone say on Ragbrai – “Move beside me and break wind” Bwaaahaaa  that just makes me laugh when I think of it. Not normally do you want someone to break wind by you :)

My personal challenge of the trip – I was going up this HUGE hill (well it was huge for me) and I couldn’t get to bike to shift into the lower gears. Now when this happens you have two options. Option number one is to keep trying and Option number two is to give up and pray to God that you don’t bust your chain. Well once I tried the option number one and it didn’t work, I had to leave it in the higher gears and just hope that I wouldn’t bust my chain. Now in this whole ordeal I found also a personal lowest record for mph on my bike. I was cranking away at around 2 mph. If you think this is slow – you’re right! But I didn’t break my chain but I did make some deals that if I made it OK to the top I would be nice the next day to everyone. It was one of those deals like you make when you were young and playing Little League. If the ball wasn’t hit to you then you would have to be nice the next day to your brothers and sisters. Can you tell that I probably wasn’t the star ball player for our team? Well maybe you never made those deals but I sure did! The good part of my deal is that over the years I finally got smarter and  didn’t commit to how long I had to be nice! 

We were really grateful to have just awesome houses to stay at once again and here is a picture of hot air balloons flying over the water right by us on the lake. IMG_3210And one house had over 70 people staying there!IMG_3213

Tons of concerts to go to and honestly just a good time hanging out with good friends all week long.IMG_3215

Now I know that this ride means something different to everyone and that’s cool. But for me it’s a time to get away from all the ‘stuff’ that goes on from day to day and ride your bike on the oldest, largest and longest bicycle touring event in the world with about 15,000 of your closest fellow bicyclers. IMG_3233

So from giant bicycles IMG_3237and ice cream conesIMG_3231 to hay tossing 20150724_154453_resizedand Little League gamesIMG_3245here’s to what was another fun week on our bicycles.

And I’ve saved the best picture for last. It’s my ‘Hanging with the Pope picture” IMG_3230And to top it off, after I asked this guy to take my picture he stuck his hand out. I thought he wanted money or something and when I asked him how much I owed him he said “I’m glad to meet you, I’m Father (?)” Yikes, little did I know that I was going to be making deals with God later on in the week or I would have given him some money! 20150725_133617_resized

Posted in Places to visit, Riding bikes | 2 Comments

Random Flower Pictures

Daryl and I are heading out for a couple of days of bike riding and when I was showing Kyle the flowers to keep watered this week, I thought to myself that they are looking pretty darn good! I know that he’s going to give it his best to keep them watered, but the weather this week is supposed to be HOT! So we’ll see. It’s not the end of the world if they look a little different when we come back.

So here are my random flower pictures that I took this morning. And as for the rest of the week it’ll be pretty quiet on the blog because I don’t think I’ll be able to update it daily, but when we get back I’ll for sure give an overview of everything , well most everything :) that we came across on our adventure.

Happy Trails to you!DSCN0197DSCN0205DSCN0198DSCN0199DSCN0201DSCN0203DSCN0204DSCN0207


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Sleepless nights

I’ve had a couple of late nights these past few days and for some reason it’s got me all messed up.

I should really be tired. By the time I finally crawled into bed last night it was around 3 am and the alarm goes off around 5:30. The reason for the crazy hours is because I worked really late at work and by the time I got home and took a hot bath I had to make the decision if I was going to stay up or go to bed. I opted for bed and for some reason I wasn’t too tired today. Go figure! When I get hours and hours of sleep I’m dog tired so there’s just no logic to it at all.

So after a couple of really late nights this week, tonight is looking like the same thing. It’s after 1 am and I should either get up and get some things done or call it a day.

I think I’m going to call it a day.

Oh yea one more thing. I’ll have to post a picture of my latest soap ingredients that just came in. Yea, it soap making time baby !! I’ve got literally buckets of coconut oil and palm oil that’s just waiting to be turned into some magical soap. Hopefully soon. I’ll try to snap a quick picture tomorrow.

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Mystery Photo 7-15-15

OK I double dog dare you to guess this one!

Here is the clueIMG_3191

Posted in Wednesday's Challenge Photo | 7 Comments

Results for Mystery Photo 7-8-15

OK everyone was pretty close and below is the answer

Here was the clueDSCN0101 - Version 2

and here is what it was taken from. It’s the water lines to a dairy wash tank that was used for washing milk buckets in the milk house. We use it now for a wash sink in the Roadhouse. DSCN0101

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House guests

How fun it is to have house guests! OK, sure it’s a little work getting ready for them. I mean you want everything to look nice in the house and out on the farm right? But once you get all that yucky stuff done (which should have been done anyway!) I’m ready to have a good time.

Our house guests this week were friends of Kyle’s. He had a chance to meet one of them when he was in the United Emirates and just by chance she was coming through Iowa and stopped in. Now just because he met her in an other country doesn’t necessarily mean that she was from there. Nope she was originally from Ireland and her travel friend was from London.

OK, flashback time. When I was a kid when we went to Oelwein Iowa for school clothes shopping once a year .. I mean… well it was a BIG day! We got to eat at a lunch counter at Woolworths and we were thinking that this was pretty big stuff. We were walking at least an inch or two taller because we were so cool! And what were the other kids that we knew other than the brothers and sisters? Well your cousins of course. I did have a pen pal from England when I was a kid but I think she lost interest in me. That’s a whole nother story. Where I’m going with this rambling on is that life sure has changed a lot in just one generation! And is it bad? Heck no! I think it’s about the coolest thing.

Now to get back to our house guests. I wanted to make sure that everyone had plenty to eat and even I knew that I had over done it. Check out the food as it was cooking,

Garlic smashed potatoes and sweet corn

Garlic smashed potatoes and sweet corn

There was 5 at our table for supper and we had enough for about 15. No lie! And this doesn’t even include watermelon and warm brownies with ice cream. Yup I made too much.

Steak kabobs and chicken kabobs

Steak kabobs and chicken kabobs

But it’s always better to have enough than not have enough right? Well we’ve got warm ups in our fridge for awhile.

The rest of their visit was hanging out on the farm feeding chickens, having campfires and s’mores, feeding apples to No Ears, playing with the dogs, and riding tractors. When Daryl and the girls were driving away for a ride tonight and they were sitting on both sides of him,  it sure made me smile that even though our farm doesn’t have much fancy stuff, it’s still pretty cool!DSCN0192

So here’s my photo of the day of the girls and Kyle. The girls were headed out west for a couple of weeks after our farm and how fun would that be?DSCN0195

So it’s got me thinking and I wonder if I need anything from Oelwein?

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Scaredy Chickens

Well we bit the bullet and put the little chickens in with the big girls. Yup it was about time.

How are they getting along?

Well here are the little girls in the chicken coop tonight

I had to bring in their favorite water tank so they all can stick togethe

I had to bring in their favorite water tank so they all can stick togethe

and here are the big girls watching themIMG_3208

As you can see they are not friends yet and are not commingling. So I sure hope they put on their big girl panties and start hanging out together soon. They’ve been in jail (chicken house) all of yesterday and today, so I’m thinking that they will get out tomorrow. They are kind of funny because when you go into the chicken coop the little girls just sit there and not really moving too much. And they seem to be saying, ‘are you sure that we should be in here’? To me they look like they are the freshman class in the PE locker room on the first day of school. No one is making eye contact and would give just about anything to leave! But I’ll let them all out tomorrow night and I sure hope the dogs play nice or I’m just saying that they’ll be in jail and not liking it at all!

The picture of the day is Daryl cutting hay Sunday afternoon. And now of course there’s a stray rain shower going by and it’s raining. Good for the corn but not so good for the hay :(IMG_3196

Posted in Farm animals, Farming | Leave a comment


Have you ever met someone for the first time and you just knew that you would have a good time hanging out with them? Well that’s what happened when we were on our winter vacation this past February in Jamaica and we met up with a group of  people also from Iowa when we were all checking into the hotel.

And that’s how this story starts. We started talking to them and found out that they only lived about 2 hours from us and from then on we got to know this group of about 10 people pretty well before the week was over. And when our vacation finally came to a close,  we all said that we were going to get together in July.

Well it’s July and with their annual pond party in full swing, we got there later in the afternoon to join the fun. The location couldn’t have been more awesome! The one couple has about 10 acres of land with about half of it a pond. There is so many cool buildings that they built around this pond that every time that you turned around there was another thing to look at. So like I said, when we got there the party was in full swing and we laughed because we were being introduced as the friends from Jamaica. I guess we didn’t look the part of who they were expecting. Too funny!

But at the end of a fun night of hanging out and getting our share of dancing in, it was time to find a bed for the night. A couple of years ago they also built a cabin with a loft at the pond and with a bunch of beds in it  that they said we could use – well that’s where we landed for the night.

So the next time your’e out and about and find some people that you think you could get to be friends with, who knows? You just might be spending a weekend with them in July!

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