Presidential Candidates - #15 Hillary Clinton

Thursday, December 24, 2015

December 4th, we traveled to Ft. Dodge, Iowa to listen to Hillary Clinton speak at Iowa Central Community College.  
Thirty-five minutes before the scheduled start, the local campaign manager took the stage to speak about why he plans to vote for Hillary Clinton.  After that we all waited till 5 minutes after the scheduled start when Labor Secretary Thomas Perez arrived with Clinton.  Perez spoke for 20 minutes, and then handed the meeting over to Secretary Clinton.

Presidential Candidates - #14 Martin O'Malley

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

My family and I had other engagements in Cedar Falls, Iowa on November 15th, so we were only able to make it over to see Martin O'Malley just as he finished his speech and started visiting with the audience.  
O'Malley was friendly.  I told him I'd watched him on the Democratic debate the night before.  "Was that fun?" he asked.  "Yes," I told him, "I'm a Republican, but I think if Democrats are smart they should vote for you because I think you'd do better in a general election than the other Democratic candidates."  O'Malley agreed.  (At the time, I thought he should have been doing much better, since Clinton has so much baggage and Sanders is polarizing.)

Moonlit Eve, Foggy Morn, & Family History

Monday, December 14, 2015

As I've mentioned before, my family and I enjoy excursions around lakes and on trails in the area.  We have three runners in training  (best time so far: one of my sisters ran a 5K in a little over 24 minutes).  Those of us--including myself--who don't run, like to ride along on bicycles.  Below you can find an assortment of photos from various trips.
The trees above are in Deer Park.  For many years the city kept a herd of real reindeer in this park; the past couple years though, Santa has had to look elsewhere to replenish his herd.  

Presidential Candidates - #13 Ben Carson

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The first time I met Dr. Ben Carson was at a book signing at Barnes & Nobles in Waterloo.  I bought a book for about $20, stood in a very long line, had the book autographed, got a picture with Dr. Carson, and left.  You can't tell very much about a person from that, so I was very happy when Dr. Carson returned to Waterloo for a townhall meeting.
The meeting was hosted by Concerned Veterans for America.  Iowa director Flora Schmidt opened the meeting at 1:30, and a retired chaplain led an invocation. Next was the presentation of the colors and the Pledge of Allegiance.  CEO Pete Hegseth spoke about the purpose of the townhall meetings and introduced notable people in attendance.  Carson's speech began at 1:45, and was followed by a question and answer session with questions from Mr. Hegseth and members of the audience.

Thanksgiving 2015

Monday, November 30, 2015

My family and I do not celebrate many holidays, but one we do look forward to every year is Thanksgiving.  Grandma brought her specialty, seven-layer salad.  My sister Charity and my mom made turkey, mashed potatoes, and bread rolls.  My youngest sister (who sells pies) made pecan, apple, pumpkin, and raisin pies, and chocolate chip cookies.
I made my super-fast homemade cranberry sauce and carrot salad, opened a can of green beans, a bag of frozen cream corn, and a can of pineapples, and set the table... This time, I adhered to tradition, resisting my e̶v̶i̶l̶  humanitarian urge to set paper plates in an effort to a̶v̶o̶i̶d̶ ̶w̶a̶s̶h̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶d̶i̶s̶h̶e̶s̶  conserve water.

Guest Post at C'est La Vie

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

I was invited by one of my favorite bloggers, Lydia of C'est La Vie, to guest post about what a lady should know about politics and government for her "Being a Lady" series.   Be sure to check out other thought-provoking posts at her blog.
Politics & Government
There are two things a lady should know about politics and government: #1 How to Stay Out of Jail, and #2 How to Vote Responsibly.  Many thanks to Lydia for inviting me to share the depths of my insights as someone who has only been to the police station a couple times, only been to jail once, and has met 14 Presidential candidates so far this election.

2015 Survey & Giveaway Results

Monday, November 23, 2015

Thank you to the 26 readers who completed my survey, and the 10 who joined the giveaway!  Congratulations to Ashley from Precious Moments!  Ashley is our randomly selected winner #1, and she will receive the 10 greeting cards.  Giveaway winner #2 is Paige from Sunday Best and All the Rest!  Paige will receive the Mini Dinner Triangle.  
Question 1: How did you find my blog?

A Church, Barns, and Fields

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The fields have been harvested, and the traffic of combines, tractors, and grain carts has dissipated.  Early November was extraordinarily beautiful.  November 2nd I had my windows open and was outside in shirtsleeves--quite the contrast with two years ago, when it snowed in October.  It has finally cooled down, and we had our first snow yesterday.
There are at least three country churches within reasonable walking distance of my home.  This one, East Friesland Presbyterian Church, recently celebrated its 150th anniversary.  A few miles away there is another church, West Friesland Presbyterian.  West Friesland church is actually northeast of the East Friesland church: they were not named for their locations, but for the part of Friesland [Frisia], Germany each congregation immigrated from.  

Presidential Candidates - #12 John Cogswell

Monday, November 16, 2015

We arrived at the Iowa Grassroots Coalition's Candidate Honest Assessment Summit early.  First we listened to a lady speak, and then I took a seat and relaxed, lackadaisically listening as a gentleman talked about how we need to amend the Constitution.  I was rudely awakened when he announced, "that's why I'm running for President."
"What?  Running for President?!"  I thought, "Who is this man?"  John Cogswell is a Colorado attorney, running for the U.S. Presidency as a Republican, but only in Iowa.  He asks Iowans to vote for him to send a message across America.  Cogswell was very pleasant when my sister and I asked to take pictures with him afterward, and he gave me an autographed copy of his book, Fix the System: Reform the Constitution.  

Liberty or Death's 2015 Survey & Giveaway!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

It's time for the 2015 Liberty or Death reader survey.  I enjoyed receiving your feedback last year, and I appreciate the time you have taken throughout the years to visit my blog and leave comments.  
I love to learn more about you and what you like.  My five-question survey is below.  Your answers will be anonymous. 

The Wild Carrot Restaurant

Thursday, November 12, 2015

After my interview with Kathleen Franck, we all went out for lunch at the Wild Carrot, in Waverly, Iowa, at Kathleen's recommendation.  We sat in a very nice dining room in the back, and the waitress brought us our menus.  My mother remarked that the decor/aura was reminiscent of the Peppercorn Pantry in Aplington, and I would have to agree.

Interview with Kathleen Franck

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

On the campaign trail, you run into many interesting people.  You start to recognize all the news reporters and camera-people, and then there are the familiar faces you see here and there and everywhere, and yet can't seem to place.  
Photos in this post are courtesy of Kathleen Franck.
One of those faces was that of Kathleen Franck.  Eventually she came across some of my photos from events she attended on Facebook and sent me a friend request.  "I know this lady," I thought, "but who is she?!"  It turned out we had both been at the same places to see Jeb BushMarco RubioDonald Trump, and Carlee Fiorina!  We finally met after listening to Ted Cruz in Waterloo.

Dubuque Model Railroad Show 2015 - Part 2

Monday, November 9, 2015

One couple I was delighted to see again at the train show was Dave and Sandy Homan of Superior Scenics.  As I noted last year, they create lakes from resin and paint, trees from jute, and grind ballast for rocks under model track.
This past year, they have been working hard on growing their business, which as Dave pointed out, is really a niche market.  A lot of railroad people, he said, don't even have layouts of their own.  So, they market their products to people building fairy gardens, doll houses, terrariums, and aquariums as well as railroad layouts.  

Dubuque Model Railroad Show 2015 - Part 1

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sunday, November 1st, my grandparents (Harry and Colleen Carson), Charity, and I left for Dubuque at 4:00 A.M. We stopped at a convenience store on the way for a quick breakfast (as nothing else seemed open), and arrived at the fairgrounds where the railroad show was held with plenty of time to set up.
After everything was ready, we relaxed, ate donuts, and visited with fellow vendors/friends from last year until the doors opened at 10:00 A.M.

Presidential Candidates - #11 Ted Cruz

Saturday, November 7, 2015

In an earlier post, I mentioned hearing Ted Cruz' father, Rafael Cruz, speak.  We caught up with Senator Cruz himself at the Iowa Grassroots Coalition's Candidate Honest Assessment Summit in Waterloo, Iowa.
Ted Cruz arrived before his scheduled start time to allow for people to meet him.  My sister and I noticed as soon as he walked in the door, so we had just about the easiest time we've ever had getting photos with a candidate.  A line formed soon after.  (I was sure to take the Cruz sticker off when the next candidate arrived...oh the joys of being undecided!)

Waltz Across Texas

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Several years ago my family was invited to sing at an evening of music at the park.  One elderly gentleman was scheduled to play his accordion and sing before we took the stage.  That man is Jim Norton.

Presidential Candidates - #10 Carly Fiorina

Monday, November 2, 2015

Carly Fiorina is another candidate I was really looking forward to seeing.  I finally got to meet her at a townhall at the Waterloo Center for the Arts on October 17th.
The secretary of the Republican Women of Black Hawk County began the meeting on time, and introduced Carly Fiorina, who took the stage two minutes later. 

Presidential Candidates - #9 Rand Paul

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Rand Paul's book Government Bullies is the only book I've read so far written by a candidate.  Last election I met and supported his father, Ron Paul.  So, I was really looking forward to meeting Senator Rand Paul.  I noted that volunteers would get front-row seats and a definite opportunity to get a photo with the senator, so...we volunteered again!  
The meeting, part of the Iowa 10,000 College Tour, was held at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. We ended up holding signs on campus to let people know about the event. 

Presidential Candidates - #8 Donald Trump

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

At the Santorum meeting and later at another Huckabee townhall, we met Andy Cable of the GOP State Central Committee.  We mentioned we were planning to see Trump at the Electric Park Ballroom in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and that we were wondering how early we'd have to get there (4 AM?) to get a front row seat.   Andy asked if we'd be interested in volunteering to increase our chances of meeting The Donald.  My sister, mother, and I said yes.
Mr. Cable asked Chris Hupke of the Donald Trump campaign if he needed a few volunteers, and sure enough, next thing we knew we were at the volunteer meeting.  

Presidential Candidates - #7 Rick Santorum

Monday, October 26, 2015

My family and I were about to leave for a bike ride/run when I received a Facebook message from a friend, former state representative Annette Sweeney.  Senator Rick Santorum would be speaking at the Hardin County GOP Central Committee meeting in Eldora, Iowa that evening!
So, after our ride/run at Pine Lake State Park, we drove over to the meeting.  The county leaders discussed the caucus process, and afterward, Rick Santorum arrived and spoke.

Presidential Candidates - #6 Marco Rubio

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The next candidate we met was Marco Rubio, at a townhall meeting at Mudd Advertising in Cedar Falls, IA.  We were sure to arrive early, as that is a prerequisite to getting a seat at most candidate townhall meetings.
Soon every seat and space in the bleachers filled up with the youngest Republican audience I had seen up to this point.  Seven minutes after the scheduled start time, the state chair of the Rubio campaign walked on stage and explained that Rubio was greeting the people in the overflow room.  And then he introduced Senator Marco Rubio.

Presidential Candidates - #5 Chris Christie

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The day after listening to Sanders, we drove to Summit Ag, out in the country near Alden, Iowa, to listen to Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey.  We were very impressed by how organized the event was.  Summit Ag workers waved each car through the driveway to a parking spot.  
Inside the building, chairs were organized in a circle, with bleachers set up behind.  There were beautiful John Deere tractors and a combine on display...ah, what could make a person feel more patriotic than to breathe fresh country air and be surrounded by green tractors?! 

October Beauty

Friday, October 16, 2015

I decided it was time for an old-fashioned, non-controversial post.  Top on my list were articles about the St. Louis Zoo and the National Hot Air Balloon museum, but a  [very grumpy] person could say the election is already a zoo and the candidates are full of hot air, sooo...instead, here's a post to celebrate the beauty of an Iowan October.
"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."  --L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Presidential Candidates - #4 Bernie Sanders

Thursday, October 15, 2015

"What will it be like going to a Democratic political rally?" I wondered.  After our trip to the Bush meet-and-greet landed my sister and I in a photo on the front page a prominent local newspaper, I was worried it would be my fate to be caught on the nightly national news at the Bernie Sanders meeting!  What would people think?!  
I cast aside my fears and boldly marched into the building full of Democrats.  The lady at the registration desk asked if I wanted to sign in.  I told her, "Not really.  I'm a Republican; I'm not supposed to be here!"  She insisted, so I signed in, giving minimal information.  I picked up a Bernie Sanders sticker as a souvenir, and a kindly older man who was volunteering told me that one day I too might see the light and become a Democrat.

Presidential Candidates - #3 Jeb Bush

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

September 22nd we went to Gravy's Diner in Cedar Falls, Iowa for a Meet 'n Greet with Governor Jeb Bush.  We arrived just as the last booth was being filled, and soon the entire front room of the restaurant was crowded with chairs down the aisles.  After all the chairs were filled, more people stood.  
I had the opportunity of seeing President George W. Bush at a campaign rally in 2003 (from a distance--binoculars would have helped), so I was excited to meet his brother.  Governor Jeb Bush arrived exactly 10 minutes late, and was greeted with cheering and enthusiasm.  After he was introduced by a campaign worker, he began his speech.

Presidential Candidates - #2 Mike Huckabee

Monday, October 12, 2015

The next candidate we met was Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas.  Governor Huckabee swept the Iowa Republican caucus in the 2008 election after jokingly telling supporters to come out and caucus for him no matter how deep the snow was...and to shovel snow into the driveways of any of their neighbors who wouldn't vote for him, let the air out of their tires, and disconnect their battery cables.
 Besides being governor of Arkansas, this colorful candidate is also a Baptist pastor, an author, former radio and television talk show host, and former member of the rock-band Capitol Offense.  

Presidential Candidates - #1 Bobby Jindal

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The first Presidential candidate we met this year was Bobby Jindal.  His townhall meeting at the Fischer Community Center in Marshalltown, Iowa was packed.  We arrived only a few minutes before the scheduled start time, and ended up standing in the back as all the seats were taken. 
A campaign worker started the meeting on time (if I recall correctly), told us about Bobby Jindal and his book, and finally introduced him.  

Presidential Candidates - #0 Yours Truly

Monday, October 5, 2015

"Who will be the next President of the United States?" is a question the whole world is asking.  With the 2016 caucus approaching, and candidates canvassing Iowa for support, my youngest sister and I have made a goal of trying to see all the candidates, Republicans and Democrats, in person.  So far we've seen six.  We are planning to see our 7th candidate, "The Donald," later this week.
I have been taking notes and photos (as well as collecting autographs), so I'm now starting a series of posts on the candidates we've met.  Once I've seen and posted about as many candidates as possible, I'll make my final decision on whom to vote for.

It's only fair though, before I give my impartial, unbiased reports on each candidate, that I tell you a little about what my own agenda would be if I were running for President.  (Don't you wish every news reporter would do that?!)

Austinville Public School

Sunday, October 4, 2015

I've always enjoyed looking through photos of abandoned buildings.  Unfortunately (or rather fortunately)  since I'm not a detective, secret agent, [or bad guy], I don't end up in old empty warehouses or houses with squeaking doors, falling axes, secret tunnels underneath, and wind blowing through broken window panes very often.

Christ Died

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Jesus walked carrying a cross Through crowds of lost and dying;
Men who knew not their souls’ great loss, Throngs of poor men repining.

Holliwell and Hogback Covered Bridges

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

We visited the Holliwell Bridge (built 1880) and the Hogback Bridge (1884) in Madison County, Iowa in May on our Winterset trip.  Both bridges were built by Benton Jones.  Of the six covered bridges still standing in the county, Holliwell is the longest, and Hogback was the last to be built.  Hogback is named after a nearby limestone ridge.

Always There for Me

Monday, September 28, 2015

As long as the mountains stand,
As the sun for ages has brilliantly shined,
I’ll go with you as to the end this trail does wind
I’ll always be there to hold your hand.

Butler County Fair

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A couple years ago, I wrote about visiting the Grundy County Fair.  This year, I went to the Butler County Fair in Allison, Iowa.  I probably missed the most interesting events (There are rumors of concerts, rodeos, races, and demolition derbies), but I'll give you a glimpse of what I did see.
One of the best parts of visiting the fair this year in June was seeing one of my sisters, Charity, win a blue ribbon, plus a grand champion ribbon, on her pencil drawing of a neighbor boy. 


Saturday, September 26, 2015

The book of Second Kings tells us the prophet Elisha was visited on his deathbed by Joash, king of Israel. Elisha told Joash to smite the ground with his arrows to represent the Lord's upcoming deliverance of the Israelites from Syria.  Joash did as he was told three times and then stopped.  Elisha was very disappointed and told him he should have smitten five or six times.

Hummingbirds - 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015

" I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee."  --Jeremiah 31:3
"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.  The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands."  --Psalm 138:7-8

Random Summer Highlights + A Blogger Meetup!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

I had the pleasure of meeting the Happy Elf Mom, Christine, from Homeschool and Etc. at the Iowa Open!  We compared notes and discovered we actually were both at the tournament last year, but had not met each other.  Christine is a lovely lady with an awesome sense of humor.

14th Annual Turning Hearts Celebration

Saturday, September 19, 2015

My family and I spent Labor day at the Turning Hearts Celebration at the Bontrager's farm near Kalona, Iowa.  I had never attended this event before, but a few friends and family members went last year.  A couple of them must have really enjoyed it, because they twisted my arm pleasantly encouraged me to go this year. (Ahem, the guilty parties know who they are.) 


Monday, September 14, 2015

On our way to Wisconsin this June to meet with Cryslyn, we stopped at Montauk, the mansion of Iowa's 13th governor, William Larrabee.  The mansion, near Clermont, Iowa, was built in 1874 and cost about $20,000 to construct.
In front of the house are four bronze statues portraying Generals Grant, Dodge, and Sherman, and Admiral Farragut.  There are outbuildings for stables and cattle.  The governor had peacocks, chickens, turkeys, and the first Swiss cattle imported to Iowa.   

Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery

Saturday, August 29, 2015

St. Louis Trip, Day 2 - Saturday, July 25, 2015
The site I most wanted to see in St. Louis was my great great great uncle Philander Lockard's grave.  Philander and his brother John both volunteered for the Union army during the Civil War.  Philander died at age 24 of typhoid in St. Louis on December 8th, 1861.  John, 25 years old, was wounded April 6th, 1862 during the Battle of Shiloh, and died on May 25th in Waterloo, Iowa on his way back home. 
The gravestone where John is buried at one of our local family cemeteries commemorates both him and his brother Philander, and I had always thought they were both buried there.  But upon further research, I found that Philander was actually buried at Jefferson Barracks.

Battle of Athens State Historic Site

Thursday, August 27, 2015

St. Louis Trip, Day 1 - Friday, July 24, 2015
Just over the border in Missouri, we stopped at the Battle of Athens State Historic Site.  A storm caught up with us here with tremendous claps of thunder.  It was almost as if we could hear cannons roaring.  It started raining, so our visit was a comparatively short one.  We didn't want to do much walking in the rain.
The Battle of Athens was the northernmost battle west of the Mississippi in the Civil War.  It was fought between the Missouri Home Guard (Union) and Missouri State Guard (Confederates).  Athens was a town of over 500 people.  The building above is a very nice picnic shelter, modeled after the Athens General Store, one of 6 grocery stores open in Athens prior to the war.

The Pearson House, Morality, and Legality

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

St. Louis Trip, Day 1 - Friday, July 24, 2015
Driving through Keosauqua, Iowa, we noticed a sign pointing out the Pearson House which was built between 1845 and 1847.  We hadn't planned on stopping, and it was not open while we were there, so we admired the buildings and the grounds, but didn't get to see the inside of the house.  Also on the property are the Ellis Schoolhouse and a log cabin.
Originally, the second floor of the house was used for Methodist church services.  But, what the Pearson House is most noted for is its place as a stop on the Underground Railroad, which helped fugitive slaves on their way to freedom in Canada before the Civil War.

Van Buren County Courthouse

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Van Buren County courthouse in Keosauqua, completed in 1843, is the oldest courthouse in Iowa and the second oldest courthouse in continuous use since its completion in the United States.  
It currently appears to be undergoing renovation, so although the two brick buildings with offices on either side appeared to be open, we didn't make it into the courthouse.  We only admired it from the outside. 

Lunch Box Cafe

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

St. Louis Trip, Day 1 - Friday, July 24, 2015
After leaving the American Gothic House, we stopped at about noon at the Lunch Box Cafe in Douds, Iowa.  There were an impressive number of cars parked in front of the cafe, especially considering Douds is a town of only 165 people.  
As we walked in we noticed Acts 16:13 on the front window, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved."  Inside, the place was bustling with locals.  

American Gothic House

Monday, August 17, 2015

St. Louis Trip, Day 1 - Friday, July 24, 2015
On our way through southern Iowa, we stopped in Eldon at the American Gothic House, made famous by artist Grant Wood.  American Gothic is a 1930 oil painting of a farmer and his daughter. Wood's models were his sister, Nan Wood Graham, and his dentist, Dr. Byron McKeeby.
The house still stands in its original location; a pathway lined with beautiful wildflowers leads to it.  A welcome center is nearby, filled with information about the house, the painting, and the artist.  Many parodies of American Gothic are displayed.  We saw humorous parodies, political parodies, quilted parodies, and even a parody made of rebar.

Wapello County Courthouse

Saturday, August 15, 2015

St. Louis Trip, Day 1 - Friday, July 24, 2015
In Ottumwa, Iowa, we stopped to see the Wapello County Courthouse, which was built in 1894.  The first county courthouse was a log cabin.  That was followed by a brick building, which cost $1000 to build.  This was sold to a church in 1855.  From 1855 to 1891 another courthouse served; construction costs for that building were $13,000.  Voters then approved $100,000 in bonds to build the courthouse currently in use today.
Wapello County was named for Fox Indian Chief Wapello.  The Fox Indian tribe is also known as the Meskwaki.  Chief Wapello had a friendly relationship with the European settlers, and moved his tribe west of the Mississippi to Iowa.  Wapello died in 1842.  After his death, the U.S. persuaded the Sac and Fox to sell their lands and move west of the Red Rock Line.  In 1845, they were forced to move to Kansas.  

Airpower Museum near Blakesburg

Thursday, August 13, 2015

St. Louis Trip, Day 1 - Friday, July 24, 2015
After leaving the courthouse, we drove to the Airpower Museum just outside of Blakesburg, Iowa.  The museum wasn't open yet (it opens at 9 A.M. on weekdays), so we played Frisbee beside the airfield.  Then we read our Bibles together on a picnic table.  At 9:00, one of the trustees, Brent Taylor, son of Robert Taylor (founder and chairman), drove up and opened the museum for us.
The museum and office building are shown above, along with a couple hangars in the background.  There is no admission fee, but freewill donations are accepted.  After opening the museum, the Mr. Taylor told us to go ahead and browse, as long as we didn't sit or stand on any of the aircraft.  His son would be in the office if we had any questions. 

Mahaska County Courthouse

Thursday, August 6, 2015

St. Louis Trip, Day 1 - Friday, July 24, 2015
We left home Friday at about 4:30 A.M.  I had done my packing the evening before, so I placed everything in the van, bid farewell to my mother and brother, and settled into the back seat to try to get some more sleep.  
One of our first stops of the day (after breakfast) was the Mahaska County courthouse in Oskaloosa, Iowa.  It is a beautiful building, overlooking a park with a very nice gazebo, and a statue to commemorate Mahaska, a chief of the Ioway Indians.

Questions, Questions... (3)

Monday, August 3, 2015

"Time waits for no man," it is said.  Time definitely has not waited for me.  I still have places I want to write about that I visited back in May.  Most recently, however, I went on a trip to St. Louis with my sisters and father.  I will be posting about those eight days, next.

 But while I compose those posts, I'd like to take a moment to thank Laura from Gazing Wonders for nominating me for the Sisterhood of the World Blogging Award back in June.  Laura asked a few questions, which I have answered below.   
Since I have done so many award posts, it is beginning to become difficult to find answers my readers have not heard before.  Consequently, this may be the last award post you will see for a while.  Many thanks to all those who have tagged me!  It has been very fun.

The Keystone Arch Bridge

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A couple months ago we gave a concert at a senior citizens' condo.  While visiting over cookies afterward, I asked a few people about their favorites places to visit in Iowa.  One man told me about the Keystone Arch Bridge in Elkader and showed me a beautiful painting he had purchased depicting it.

Pete's Hamburger Stand

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Pete's Hamburgers, a family-owned business in Prairie du Chien, claims to make the world's best hamburgers.  For decades, my family has agreed.  After listening to my papa and grandparents talk about these hamburgers, I first gave them a try in 2006.  When we visited Wisconsin for Cryslyn's reception, we had to stop at Pete's again.  

The only thing Pete's makes is hamburgers ($4.25), though they do sell water, pop, and chips, as well as souvenirs.  The hamburgers are simmered in water with onions, which moisten the bun around the burger.  The meat is good quality, moist, and tender.