Monday, May 27, 2013

Barn Charm, Historic Ushers Ferry Part II

Last week, I shared a photo I took at Ushers Ferry Historic Village. This week, I'm sharing the remaining two Instagram photos I'd taken of that same red barn.

"Barn Charm" is hosted by Bluff Area Daily. Please check out the rest of this week's fantastic "Barn Charm" entries by clicking the "Barn Charm" button below:

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"Living History" Farming Photo

Yesterday, I'd posted a "Barn Charm" entry from historic Ushers Ferry Historic Village in Cedar Rapids, IA, which we'd visited for a Girl Scout activity last Friday evening. Today, I thought I'd share another Instagram shot from that same visit.

I thought this was a cool color for a tractor. (I love blue.) It looks well-used. It was hooked up to a hay-rack which was used to give a group of  Girl Scouts and their adult companions a hay-rack ride.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Barn Charm - Historic Ushers Ferry

Last Friday, Livie got to participate in a Girl Scout activity at a local historic "museum" called Ushers Ferry. It's a representation of an early 20th Century town - what a small Iowa would've been like at the turn of the century.

While Livie and the other Girl Scouts were busy with their activities, I was able to walk around a little bit. Having never been to Ushers Ferry (only Living History Farms in Urbandale, IA), it was nice to see another example of "living history" in our area. And of course, while I was wandering around, I noticed the barn - a red barn, no less! - bathed in the golden light sunset casts. I was excited to have another subject for "Barn Charm"!

So, of course, I just had to snap a photo. Again, I'd used the Instagram app.

"Barn Charm" is hosted by Bluff Area Daily. Please check out the rest of this week's fantastic "Barn Charm" entries by clicking the "Barn Charm" button below:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mother's Day Adventure, 2013, at Wapsipinicon, Part II

Okay, here are the remaining photos I'd promised to share. (You can click on any of the photos to get a somewhat larger view of each photo.) And if you missed yesterday's post, you can see Part I by clicking here.

 After looking at moss and running around in an open field, we got into the car and drove a little further. When we saw that the creek had "grown" into a substantial river, we stopped again to look around. Livie's asking if we can actually see the bottom? No.

 She is so hyped up about being at a state park, she is yelling, "I need a plan, and a gorilla!!" (I don't know where she got THAT idea!)

 At this point, we saw some birds of prey flying around. It was cool! Livie had actually found some sort of hawk feather on the ground, which she was very curious about. One bird overhead looked like a bald eagle! (And some crows/ravens circling around, too.) I tried getting a photo of the eagle, but it had landed in the trees across the river, and my little camera wasn't zooming in clearly. You can see its blurry image in the center of the photo.

 I'd gotten a blurry image of the eagle as it flew away. Bird watchers, is that a bald eagle?!! So cool! (Sorry it's so blurry. Again, it was across the river and high up, so I couldn't get a good shot with my little, bitty camera.)

 And then we saw another bird swooping down to, presumably, fish in the river. Again, it was on the other side, so I didn't get a non-blurry shot. I'm assuming it's some sort of heron? (I'm hoping TexWisGirl or Nancy will stop by and be able to make an educated guess.)

 On the other side of the "access" road/driveway (whatever you want to call the road), we saw these stairs. We decided to go up to explore. It was a good cardio workout, I can tell you that! It didn't faze Livie, though. She just charged right up.

 I, on the other hand, stopped to take photos. Oh, and see that "peak" behind the trees? Livie wanted to get up there. Okay. Let's go!

 Oh, here's the view from about 3/4 of the way up.

 We finally got to the top (we had to do a kind of curly-cue up at the top to get to that "overlook.") Livie proclaimed the view to be "extraordinary!!" And, "Why haven't we come here before?!" Good question. I assured her it wouldn't be the last time.

And here's our view as we left the park.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mother's Day 2013 Adventure: Wapsipinicon State Park, Part I

On Sunday, Andrew, Livie, and I went on a special Mother's Day adventure. We went to Wapsipinicon State Park. Livie is a Girl Scout and is going to her first overnight "camping" trip this summer, so she's now excited about finding other camping opportunities. When I'd ordered sleeping bags for the two of us (it's a girl/adult overnight thing), she really, REALLY wanted to do more camping than just the one overnight trip we have planned.

So I found that there's camping at the Wapsipinicon location (either RV or tent). Before buying a tent and deciding, "Yes, we'll do some additional camping this summer," I wanted to see what this state park was like.

My plan, which I'd not told either of them, was to drive out to the State Park after church and brunch on Mother's Day. I was just going to plug the address into the Garmin and have Andrew follow the directions. The park is just about 20 miles away from us (maybe a bit less), so it wouldn't take too long to get there. It would be a nice Sunday drive, and we'd be able to get out and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air while we were there.

Throughout the whole drive to the park, Livie was trying to guess where we were going. She kept asking, "Daddy, am I right?" but of course he didn't know. I kept giving her hints, and that kept her entertained. I think that once we were close, though, and finally arrived at the exit off U.S. 151, Andrew saw the "State Park" sign and arrow, and figured out where we were going.

Anyway, I'll let the photos do the "talking," so here they are. (Upon looking at some of them, a few look slightly blurry, so my apologies.) There are a LOT of them, so sit back and get comfy!

Here's the view from the car as we're driving into the park.

Livie's posing in front of one of many rock formations. She LOVED seeing cool geology in person!

 We pulled over to explore a bit, and walk around, because we'd seen a couple signs pointing to "Ice Cave" and "Horse Thief Cave." This photo is in front of the entrance to the "Ice Cave." As you can imagine, it's probably very cool in there. 

We didn't have flashlights, so we only went in a short distance, because it was dark. It was cool, what little we did see, though. We vowed that next time, we'd bring flashlights.

It's dark! See? You can just see to the curve in the rock and it's pitch black from there. That's about as far as we went. 

We've turned around and are looking at the cave entrance. 

Livie wanted to take one more peek in there with Daddy. They'd only gone a couple steps into the entrance when Livie decided she wanted to turn around and come back out.

 We're taking a bit of a stroll near the creek. Livie is telling us she loves nature and she wishes we could've brought a canoe. 

There's a little hole/cave type of area up towards the top of the rock formation in the distance. Andrew was sure he saw an animal (he thinks it was an owl, maybe?) peaking out momentarily before turning around and going back to sleep (or whatever it was doing). He and Livie are trying to see if they can spot it again. (No such luck.)

After investigating the moss on this rock here, Livie told me very seriously, "Moose eat moss."

And this is where I've decided to stop for the day. There are a TON of photos - too many to share in one post.  While I've chosen only about 20 photos to share (in two posts) out of the scores of photos I took, I think this is enough for now. So I think I'll go ahead and split this Mother's Day Adventure post into two, and share the rest in a second post tomorrow.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Barn Charm - Mother's Day Adventure

Hi everyone. I know my posts have been few and far between lately. I always come back, though.I'll get back into a more regular writing "groove" this fall, when I'm not taking a semester off.

Like today, as I've got a "Barn Charm" post to share.

Yesterday (Mother's Day), Andrew, Livie and I went out on a special Mother's Day adventure. After going to church and to Mother's Day brunch, we headed to the Wapsipinicon State Park, near Anamosa, IA; it was about a 20-25 minute drive from our house. (Be on the lookout within the next couple days for a post about this adventure.)

Today's "Barn Charm" entry is (yet another) drive-by shot, (again) using the Instagram app on my iPhone, taken around 2 PM on our way to Wapsipinicon State Park.

(You can click on the photo to see a somewhat enlarged version.)

As you can see, I didn't quite time it just right (at 50-55 MPH) to get the whole barn in the shot. Ah, well. There'll be other barns to shoot on other days, so I'll get another chance to get a whole barn in the shot one of these days.

(I was in the front passenger seat (Andrew was driving), by the way, so we were completely safe.)

"Barn Charm" is hosted by Bluff Area Daily. Please click on the "Barn Charm" button below to see the rest of this week's fantastic barn shots:

Thursday, May 2, 2013

New Mexico Dream

Last night, I dreamed of New Mexico. I can't remember the exact details, other than I was driving somewhere sort of wooded - as though I were in the Ruidoso/Mescalero/Cloudcroft areas, up in the mountains where it's quite a bit cooler, getting a brief respite from the hot, arid desert near Alamogordo.

When I woke up, I was a bit surprised, almost unsure of where I was - just momentarily - as I found myself in my bedroom in eastern Iowa, instead of in Alamogordo. This dream left such a visceral impression of New Mexico upon me, that I guess I expected to wake up there, as though I still lived there.

Anyway, I've been kinda thinking of New Mexico all morning, which has probably been prompted by the overcast, rainy skies (as we rarely got overcast dreariness in New Mexico that lasted for any noticeable length of time), as well as the dream . Plus, while I was clearing the morning's dishes, I'd heard a song on my iPod that I actually first heard on the radio in my office (and numerous times afterward) while I was stationed in New Mexico.

So I thought I'd share a couple photos of New Mexico taken in and around Mescalero and Ruidoso. These represent the scenery I dreamed about last night.

They were both taken in 2007, when Andrew and I had spent the weekend at the Inn of the Mountain Gods, while Livie spent the weekend with her grandmother and great-grandparents in El Paso.

It had been threatening rain for a couple hours before the rain clouds had actually moved into our area; it had thunder-stormed just prior to my taking the photo of the lake.

From our room's balcony, Inn of the Mountain Gods, Mescalero, NM

On the road, somewhere between Mescalero and Ruidoso, NM

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