Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Peanut Butter Squares

Here's a recipe that is sure to delight peanut butter lovers!  While I have taken my love of peanut butter to extremes--trying it on toast, soup, raisin bran, ice cream, oatmeal, chocolate, rhubarb cobbler, pumpkin/sweet potato pie, apple pie, and even green salad--this super peanut-buttery recipe from one of my mother's cookbooks is one of my all time favorite concoctions!

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Secret of Cleves

A grain elevator, bank, repair shop, and handful of houses are all that meet the eye of the casual passerby.  On the map, the town of Cleves, Iowa is nearly forgotten. Surrounded by cornfields, it is not the pulsating center selected by tourists. The grocery store is gone. The railroad is no more. A cursory glance reveals nothing of interest to be seen. Where is its secret?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Watson's Grocery Museum

On the same day we visited Niland's Cafe in Colo, we stopped at Watson's Grocery Museum in State Center.  It was closed, so we contented ourselves with looking intently through the windows.  Jeff Merrill, who owns Remarkable Rose, Floral & Gifts down the street, was watering flower pots at the business next-door, noticed our interest, and offered to open the museum up and give us a tour!  
Things like that don't happen every day!  Needless to say, we were delighted and very thankful!  Having grown up in State Center, Mr. Merrill was very familiar with the history of the grocery store and surrounding area and proved a very informational guide.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Tasty Freeze and Taylor's Maid-Rite

After the Bontrager concert, Papa surprised us by taking us out to Tasty Freeze where we ordered chocolate dipped ice cream cones ($2.50 each).  Considering how big our medium cones were, we had a hard time imagining large ones.  It was a challenge to eat mine before it melted!
Through the front window we could watch the cones being dipped very skillfully.  I've never tasted a bad chocolate-dipped ice-cream cone; we picked a never-fail winner.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Bontragers!

Sunday evening part of my family and I listened to the Bontrager Family Singers (from Kalona, IA) at New Hope Christian Church in Marshalltown.

I had heard them once before (last year), and earlier this month my sister heard them when she went to their annual Turning Hearts Celebration.  Unfortunately she had a seat in the far back and wasn't able to see them very well, so she talked Papa and I into coming to this concert.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hummingbirds!

 "Happiness is neither without us or within us.  It is in God both without us and within us."  --Blaise Pascal
After missing out on capturing the hummingbirds I wrote about in Staying on Focus, I kept a close eye out for another chance to photograph them.  On Thursday the 4th I was able to get one tolerably good shot.  A week later I went out to work in the garden and noticed two hummingbirds enjoying my cannas.  I ran inside and grabbed my camera.

The little birds were fun to watch as they fluttered from flower to flower, drinking the nectar, and stopping to rest occasionally on branches.  A couple times they flew right over me, and I could hear the buzzing of their wings.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Johnson County Historical Museum

After touring the antique car museum, we walked into the other part of the building, the Johnson County Historical Museum.  
One wall was decorated with old maps of Iowa counties, and there were informational boards with stories of life in Johnson county.  The photo on the left shows the last graduating class from an old two-story schoolhouse (1899).

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Antique Car Museum of Iowa: Part 2

What is a car museum without music?  Toward the back of the building we found a *working* jukebox!  The curator told us it runs on nickels, so I looked through my change until I found one. There were several songs to choose from, and someone pointed out what I thought was the Andrews Sisters' 1940s hit Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and then Auld Lang Syne. 
The Boogie Woogie (it turned out to be Tommy Dorsey's Boogie Woogie; you can listen to Myron Floren's excellent rendition here) sounded like it would be by far more exciting, so we listened to it as we browsed the rest of the museum.   
  
These convertibles were real beauties!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Antique Car Museum of Iowa: Part 1

The Antique Car Museum was only a short walk from the location of the Iowa Open.  After the first game of the day Sunday we had a few hours for our lunch break, so we strolled over to the museum for a tour.
The admission fee was only $5 per person and covered both the car museum and the adjourning Johnson County Historical Museum. A couple cars, including the Ford Model A above, were on display in the front room, which also contained a gift shop.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

I See You, Jesus

Many a man's wish may be
To sing in a grand hall,
To fill a cathedral or mall,
To serenade the rich
With the power of every pitch.

But I see you, Jesus, Lord,
Alone on Calvary,
Not in glamor this world affords,
Dying to set me free
That I, your glory may see.

I see you, Jesus,
Caring for the dying and poor.
I see you, Jesus,
With your sweet Spirit,
Knocking at their heart's living door.

I see you, Jesus,
Giving life to souls without hope.
I see you, Jesus,
Saving those vexed sore
Saying, "Follow me to Bright Shore."
© 2010 Bethany Carson

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Niland's Cafe and Reed's Gas Station

In the little town of Colo, Iowa at the intersection of the Lincoln and Jefferson Highways, is the Reed/Niland Corner.  Here stands Niland's Cafe, originally opened in 1923, and the Colo Motel--both open for business--and Reed's Gas Station, not in operation.
On our way to deliver the concrete pads for propane tanks to a co-op, we stopped here to take a look and eat lunch.  The price of gas at the restored station was 13.8 cents plus 4 cents tax for a total of 17.8 cents per gallon!  Too bad it isn't open; if we had a time machine we could certainly put it to good use!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Staying in Focus

I spotted her, a delicate moth resting on a marigold in my garden.  I crept closer, camera in hand, and tried to focus, but she was not to be captured by my shutter.  She flitted off the flower, dancing to the next and then the next with speed and grace and finally--after flirting with my lenses, too slow in my clumsily amatuer hands to capture her--flying away like a fluttering dream.