Grundy County Heritage Museum

Thursday, December 28, 2017

In July 2016, Yai and I visited the Grundy County Museum. There are several buildings on the museum grounds. Perhaps most impressive is the old public school. But tours start in the newer museum building, so we had to walk around the grounds to the other side of the block to find it.
On the way, we had the pleasure of seeing an old caboose, farm equipment and a little log cabin.

Hardin County Farm Museum

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Hardin County Farm Museum is a little different than most museums I have visited because it holds a lot of good memories. My family and I have attended pancake breakfasts and political events there, and often went to their annual Threshing Day. The photos in this post are from August 2016, when Charity, Yai and I attended Threshing Day.
Back in the good old days, Papa would often play chess with a local man, Gary. We children enjoyed a coin scramble, and plenty of good, old-fashioned games like corn hole, a canning ring toss, and trying to drop clothespins in an apple juice jar.

The Wells Hotel

Sunday, December 24, 2017

In the little town of Wellsburg stands the Wells Hotel. If I recall correctly, it is a house that once was owned by George Wells and served as a residence for farmhands. The house was purchased by the city to serve as a historical museum in the 1990s.
Although I live nearby, I had never visited the museum until August 2016, when I decided to make the trip with Yai. The museum was pretty much what one would expect to see in a historic home in a small town.

Bremer County Museum

Friday, December 22, 2017

If you want to see everything in one place, it may be time to visit the Bremer County Historical Society Museum in Waverly. Regardless of whether you're looking for historic documents, wild African game, wedding dresses, vintage Valentine's cards, musical instruments, crime, or floral pieces made from human hair, you'll be in the right place. This bountiful and varied collection encompasses a myriad of tales from years ago in Bremer County. Charity, Kathleen and I visited the museum in October 2016.
The museum is open from May to October during limited hours throughout the week.  Musical instruments inside included several melodians and  pump organs, all equipped with plenty of sheet music.

New Providence

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Have you ever been to an old soda fountain where the community gathers for breakfast every month? If not, it may be time for a trip to New Providence (below). During the summer of 2016, I visited this charming little town with my grandma Siripon (Yai) and sister Charity.
Food selections included biscuits and gravy, pancakes, pastries and omelets. And, wow, were those omelets good. (I still remember them a year and a half later...haha! I'm on the brink of forgetting though, so I figured I should get this posted.)

2017 Survey and Giveaway Results!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Thank you to the 23 readers who answered my survey this year and the 13 who joined the giveaway! Grace H. won the 10 cards featuring Grandma Carson's art. My sister Sarah Faith Carson won the six cards featuring Charity's pencil and charcoal art. And our final winner was Abigail Morley who won the six-month subscription to the Clarksville Star.
Question 1: How did you find my blog?
Six of you found this blog browsing the blogosphere. Five don't remember life without me (or something like that). Four of my awesome readers say we've met. Two found me when I commented on their blogs, and one through a link-up. 

2017 Survey and Giveaway

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Time certainly is fleeting. Can you believe it's already time for the 2017 Survey and Giveaway?  This year I've switched up a couple of the questions. I always love learning more about my readers, and I'd like to thank you for the time you've taken throughout the year to visit, read and/or leave comments.
My six-question survey is below. Snickers candy bars won in 2014, were narrowly beaten by Kit-Kats in 2015, and regained the title in 2016. It's anyone's guess which candy bar will reign supreme this year! Your answers will be anonymous. 

Autumnal Adventures - Part 2

Thursday, November 23, 2017

On our way back from the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, Kathleen and I visited the Old Capitol in Iowa City. There were several beautiful churches between the Capitol and where we finally found a parking spot, and I tried the door at each, to see if we could get a closer look. Someone was in the office at the First United Methodist Church, and we were afforded a close-up view of the beautiful sanctuary.
Construction of the church was completed in 1908 at a cost of $75,000.

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

I finally did it. I got a photo with Donald Trump. Well...almost.

Long-time readers will remember that last election my sister and I tried to get a photo with and autograph from each candidate. We got Hillary Clinton, Mike Pence, Martin O'Malley, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Ben Carson, John Cogswell (did you know he was running?), Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal. We got autographs from Trump and my sister got a photo with Trump, but I gave up on a photo--until my recent trip with my friend Kathleen Franck to see the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum!
Visiting the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum had been on my bucket list for years. Once in a while it's nice to just take a day off work and get something done. And I was thrilled that Kathleen had the day to spare to come with me. Exploring is funner if you have someone with whom to share your adventures. She and I both love sightseeing and photography, and any of these photos that I couldn't have taken are courtesy of Kathleen.

Autumnal Adventures - Part 1

Thursday, October 26, 2017

This fall I have taken a little time for some fun. My siblings and I took a road trip to Prairie du Chien, and my friend Kathleen and I took a road trip to West Branch. While covering a Pheasants Forever Youth Hunt for the paper, I also got to learn how to use a shot gun for the first time--which was a different and interesting experience! Let's start this with a recap of our adventures near the banks of the Mississippi.
On our way to Prairie du Chien, we stopped at Pike's Peak to enjoy some fresh air and beautiful scenery. The trees seemed a little past their peak, as some were on the bare side; but that just meant we had plenty of leaves crackling under our feet as we hiked. I thought the view was gorgeous.

Dubuque & Final Answers

Monday, September 25, 2017

Here are the rest of my answers, interspersed with photos from a recent trip to Dubuque and other adventures. I had the pleasure of visiting Eagle Point Park, St. Raphael's Cathedral, the Dubuque Botanical Gardens & Arboretum and the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. 
The botanical gardens were beautiful. The Johnson Strings filmed one of their music videos here, so visiting was a bit of a pilgrimage for me...

Ashley asked: What do you plan on doing in the future? 
In the somewhat immediate future I'd like to:

Answers: Favorites

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Thanks to all who asked so many interesting questions! I've had lots of fun answering them.  Here's my first batch of answers--on my favorite things.
Linda asked: What is your favourite season...and why?
My favorite seasons are spring, summer and fall. Basically I'm happy as long as I'm warm and there are clear roads, blooming flowers, singing birds and green grass.

Your Turn - 2017

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Liberty or Death annual survey is coming up in only a few months with my queries for you, so like last year, the floor is yours first. I've decided to again have a little fun with an Ask Me Anything post (Since I enjoyed answering your questions last year, and always love Martha's Q & A series.)

So, feel free to ask any questions you wish, either in a comment or (if you prefer to ask anonymously) in the form below. I will attempt to answer in upcoming blog posts. Ask anything that comes to mind...serious or trivial. Have fun!

Snapshot of Summer

Saturday, August 5, 2017

"All in all, it was a never to be forgotten summer — one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going — one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doing, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world." --L.M. Montgomery (Anne's House of Dreams)
It hardly seems possible that it is already August. I'm hoping we have several more months of summer, but the last couple days I've had to wear a sweater, with lows reaching into the 50s. Maybe summer is taking a quick vacation. But before I forget, it's time for some mid-summer reflections!  I recently went out to lunch with my friend Kathleen, whom I met while blogging on the campaign trail. She is very much a living reminder of why I love blogging, so it's about time for a new post!  This summer has been a fun one, packed with happy memories I don't want to forget.

The Last Day

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Some time ago, I had a routine interview scheduled at a nursing home for my Savvy Seniors column. The day before the interview, a major storm hit the area, leaving over a thousand without power in Butler County, damaging trees, homes and businesses and claiming one life. Storm coverage forced me to reschedule the interview for an hour later. I had seriously considered rescheduling for another day, considering the nursing home was without power, but decided to press on, and I'm glad I did.
The man's advice to young people was poignant: "They better enjoy life while they can. It seems like it goes so fast. The older you get, the quicker [the years] go." He died later that day.

A Week at the Newspaper - Part 2

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Another paper is out, and I have a whole week to get the next edition's batch of stories ready! On top of that, the weather here is gorgeous and our trees are in full bloom, so I'm a particularly happy person. Here's the rest of my week at the newspaper.
Saturday, April 22
Saturday was a beautiful day. I read the whole gospel of Mark in the morning (it only took about one hour).

A Week at the Newspaper - Part 1

Saturday, April 29, 2017

What is life like as a small-town newspaper editor? In this post and the next, I'd like to invite you to join me for a week!  While, for most people, the week starts on Sunday, for me the week really start on Wednesday, the day my papers are printed, and I start work on the next edition of the paper.
At the Clarksville Star office: this is where the receptionist, Mary, now desk is one table back.
(This was a convenient place to pose when I showed my family the office shortly after I started working here.)
I'm always learning something new! 
  • Holes/eyes in Swiss cheese are formed by carbon dioxide gas created by the bacteria that flavors the cheese. Micro particles of plant origin serve as nuclei for the bubbles of carbon dioxide. In Switzerland, the cheese suffered from blindness as sealed milking machines largely precluded the presence of microscopic hay particles in milk until scientists figured this out. 
  • Chickens used to wear glasses (see here for an explanation).
  • Cows at a local dairy wear pedometers much like runners wear FitBits or Garmins to count their steps.

Marshall County Courthouse and Clocktower

Friday, April 21, 2017

Some time ago, I posted about the Marshall County Courthouse in Marshalltown, Iowa.  We visited during the winter, and the clock tower was closed for the season.  So, during the summer of 2015, we called the county Board of Supervisors, and Lisa Gassman kindly agreed to give us a tour.
Courthouses that allow visitors to climb the stairs up to the clock tower are few and far between, so we were especially grateful for this opportunity.

Mai Pho & Cedar Rapids Leatherjackets Part 2

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

After completing the first day of the Cedar Rapids Leatherjackets tournament, we spent the night at the DoubleTree. In the morning, we did some running on the sidewalks in town. We returned to the hotel and took the stairs up to our room on the 9th floor. But...we didn't stop there. The hotel has 16 floors, so we headed up to the top! Before long, I was thinking of A Stairway Chase on Studio C! I started out running, but by the last floor I was slowly walking. The view from the 16th floor was beautiful.
For lunch, we stopped at Mai Pho in Cedar Rapids, which is a favorite with my family because of their bubble teas and other sweet beverages. 

Cedar Rapids Leatherjackets 2017 - Part 1

Sunday, March 12, 2017

With my new job keeping me hopping, I seriously considered not attending the Cedar Rapids Leatherjackets March 4th-5th.  However, it's one of my favorite chess tournaments.  The accommodations are always top-notch, and I have an attendance record to keep.  This year was my 7th in a row participating. The FIDE-rated tournament was held at the Physician's Clinic of Iowa, directed by Jim Hodina, and hosted by Robert Keating.
My parents and youngest sister had a 10K to run in Garrison, so they dropped me off at the clinic early.  I helped set up boards, and then played some blitz games against Richard Rector to warm up, as my chess skills have gotten a little rusty.  My sister took a half-point bye in round 1 in the Reserve section, and joined me after she finished running the 10K.

Such is Life

Thursday, March 9, 2017

I suppose it only fair to mention (as otherwise I may confuse you, my dear readers, in future posts): a little over two weeks ago, I started working as news editor for two local newspapers, the Clarksville Star and Butler County Tribune-Journal.  It's a dream come true.  Everything I've always loved doing--interviewing people, visiting neat places, and exploring small-town Iowa--I now do every working day.
Not only am I doing something I love, it seems I'm working for a great company.  My co-workers have all been pleasant and very helpful as I've worked on learning my new duties.  I remember at an interview for another company I applied with, I was asked what kind of people I liked to work with.  "Nice people?!" I replied.  They told me my coworkers would be grumpy.  In retrospect, I am so glad I did not get that job.

Mines of Spain

Monday, February 20, 2017

Last October while we were in the Dubuque area, we stopped at the Mines of Spain State Recreation Area and E.B. Lyons Nature Center.  The nature center was a sort of small museum with a gift shop and a conference room.   A field trip for an elementary school class seemed to be in progress; there were a lot of children.
We started our hike on the very short Pine Chapel Trail.  The roof of the chapel was being fixed, and a local historian happened to be there.  She told us about the chapel, built in the 1860s by Otto Junkermann to resemble a church he remembered in Germany.  It seems this chapel, though, was never really used as a church.  

Goodness and Mercy

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Recently, I was reflecting on the challenge of maintaining a positive attitude in light of difficulties.   Sometimes all the struggles--and evil--of the world can wear on even the most devoted optimists. And sometimes, simple determination to be happy in itself cannot dispel the tenebrous foes of peace in one's soul.
Romans 12:21 came to mind, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."  Generally, I have categorized this verse with verses about loving enemies and doing good to those who hate you--rather reactionary, defensive advice to avoid being overtaken by the attrition of evil.

Dubuque County Courthouse

Sunday, February 12, 2017

After visiting the Delaware County Courthouse this fall, I headed over to the Dubuque County Courthouse.  Its exterior one of the most impressive in the state, this building (built 1891-93) features Beaux Arts architecture, and was designed by Fridolin Heer and Son.  A 14-foot bronze statue of Justice adorns the pinnacle of the courthouse tower.  Originally, 12 statues were on the roof.  Today, there are six pewter statues.  Four of the statues--large winged angels with trumpets--are said to have been taken down during World War I, and melted for the war effort.
The courthouse is constructed of Indiana limestone, brick, and molded terracotta.  One man, a bricklayer named John Kuntz, died during the construction when a wall gave way and he fell.  Many renovations have been done over the years.  Notably, the dome was plated with gold leaf.  

Interview with Micah Versemann

Sunday, January 29, 2017

A couple years ago, my friend Kathleen Franck told me about a local filmmaker, Micah Versemann, of Brothers in Christ Productions, who would make a great topic for an interview. I had the privilege of meeting Micah recently, and he agreed to share about his work in a phone interview.
Bethany Carson: Can you tell about yourself and how you became interested in film-making?
Micah Versemann: My name is Micah Versemann, and I currently live in Waverly, Iowa.  Everyone always asks me how I got into film-making, but I still don't have an exact answer.  The first time I got to use a video camera was back when I was about eight years old.  That was one of the most cool things ever, because I'd always seen my dad or my mom running around with it--and they finally let me do it.  From there, it kept growing.  Soon I was making fun videos in my backyard with friends.  And next thing I knew, I was writing a script for a film and producing it.

Benton County Courthouse

Saturday, January 21, 2017

December 4th, I found myself in Vinton, Iowa with my family for the annual Tour de Lights 5K.  The course started at the fire station, and continued right past the Benton County Courthouse!  Before the run, I walked over to get a few photos.  It was a Sunday, so I wasn't able to venture inside.
I do, however, love the Beaux Arts style architecture of the exterior.  This Courthouse was built 1905-1906 of Buckeye gray sandstone, and cost $150,000.  Inside, reportedly there are three murals painted by an unknown artist.  The 1,500-lb. bell (donated by Paul Correll) and the clock were recently completely restored and re-installed.

Pho All Seasons

Friday, January 13, 2017

We stopped at Pho All Seasons in Des Moines in November after I ran the Hungry Turkey 5K, and my parents and sister had run the Hungry Turkey half marathon.  The place had a pleasant family atmosphere.  
I ordered a medium bowl of chicken pho for $6.95.  It was ok, but I missed the lime slices I could squeeze into the soup at Pho 515.  Without a little citrus, it seemed rather bland, but then that's just my tastes.  My mother ordered beef pho and thought it was delicious.

Book Review: The Art of the Deal

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Around the time I read Hillary Clinton's It Takes a Village, I also purchased a copy of Trump: The Art of the Deal, by Donald J. Trump with Tony Schwartz.  This year, I finally got around to reading it--and was surprised how quickly I finished.  This book has a very easy-to-read style.
Published in 1987,  the first chapter details a week in Trump's life.  The book then goes on to tell Trump's story, with a special focus on each of his big deals.  The stories are revealing.  Love or hate him, Trump is Trump.  He's well educated, but a bit rough around the edges.  And that's exactly what his book is like.  The type of language he uses in his speeches is what you'll read in his book.

7 Stars Family Restaurant in Hampton

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

In late October, we stopped at the 7 Stars Family Restaurant in Hampton, Iowa for a family dinner after setting up for the train show.  The restaurant had a pleasant environment, and the waitresses were very nice and provided excellent service.
I ordered grilled chicken, which came with a potato and a choice of soup or salad with a roll.  If I recall correctly, you could also choose from a variety of ways to have your potato fixed.  I chose mashed potatoes with gravy, and salad.  I would have preferred a slightly larger portion size, but the whole meal only cost $6.95.  Everything was very good.  Afterward, I tried their pecan pie with ice cream ($3.25).