Construction at momma’s house

This is what we arrived to last night in Tallahassee. This footage was taken this morning. A remarkably efficient construction crew. It is all part of the road widening and holding pond project that is taking half of her two acres. I have quite a few mixed emotions of seeing half of my childhood yard ripped up and stripped of all life in order to build a dry holding pond to accomodate some federal drainage requirements that haven’t been necessary for more than 50 years. Well, anyway ….

Pictures from Florida trip

Well, it has been a long time since I posted anything on my blog, hasn’t it?! We were gone to Florida for a couple of weeks visiting my mom, and we got back last week and are just now settling back into normal. I thought I would share a few pictures from our Florida trip, cause I know some of you are in serious withdrawal. (Linda, are you listening?) Juliette started walking at mom’s house in Florida, and she is unstoppable now!


Pictures from our trip to Florida

I took so many pictures that I had to load them all on Flickr.  So here are the links you can use to see all the pictures from Florida.

From lunch at the Rendezvous in Memphis, day 2 of the trip down:

From the night we stayed over in Meridian, MS at my aunt Betty Ruth’s house.

From the day-trip drive along old highway 98 through Carabelle, Eastpoint and Apalachicola over to Fort Walton Beach, my hometown.

All the other pictures from our stay in Tallahassee.

Our quick weekend getaway

We left on Friday right after H got home from work and we had a lovely and easy drive to SE Minnesota.  Descending from Preston into the deep valley where the charming town rests was almost like driving backward into time.  You got this feeling you were going somewhere that time has forgot.  We got into Lanesboro and found our B&B, Habberstad House, a truly gorgeous 1897 Queen Anne home that has been lovingly restored down to the smallest detail.  We didn’t get in until a little after 6:30, so we were too late for the cheese and wine party, but they brought us glasses of wine to enjoy as soon as we were in our room.  The Scandinavian room was just beautiful.  We had this marvelous balcony overlooking the gardens and the water fountain.  You could smell  the sweet scent of magnolia from two trees in the garden below.  We sipped our wine on the balcony and then left for dinner.  We chose a place called The Vintage and we had the most marvelous meal we’ve had in a while.  We each had salads, and H had the paté (he said it was as good as any he had in France) while I had the spring pea bisque.  We each had the pork loin chops, and we finished with dessert.  We ordered a not-too-sweet Austrian Riesling and all that food and the bottle of wine came to $98, which just floored us.  Afterward, we headed back to the B&B and noticed there were ominous clouds to the south and lots of lightning.  We had a stormy evening from there on out, but we slept in that lovely bed with the softest cotton sheets I’ve ever felt and drifted off to the sound of rain on the rooftop, which was something delicious to hear.

We got up on Saturday and I took a long soak in the Jacuzzi whirpool tub.  We went downstairs and I took my knitting with me since breakfast wouldn’t be ready until 8:30.  We just enjoyed our coffee in the period parlors and met all the other house guests as they came down.  It was a charming and diverse group of people – three professor friends from UW/Madison, an elderly couple from Chicago also doing the art tour, and another couple from the Twin Cities, very friendly, just there to get away for a while.  We had apple dutch baby pancakes, and a fresh fruit salad with yogurt, and fresh banana bread served with a warm butter sauce, and fresh juice and coffee and it was quite the splendid set up.  And the hosts of the B&B were a really friendly, outgoing couple originally from the Twin Cities.

We took off after breakfast and started the art tour (see the brochure) in Lanesboro where several of the venues were, then made our way along the Root River (which is apparently a lot like the topography of Norway) to Houston, then on to Caledonia, Spring Grove, New Albin (Iowa), and finally ending up in Decorah at Seed Savers for our garden transplants.  We bought some pottery along the way and I hope to get some good pictures for you.  I didn’t take any pictures on the trip – to be honest, I didn’t want to do anything except take it all in.  And the weather was gray and icky, but we both really enjoy just riding through the countryside seeing new little towns, discovering places we haven’t been before.  We left Decorah about 5 on Saturday and ended up back in town by 8:00, but it felt like we had been gone much longer than that.  Beulah was so happy to see us both she just cried and cried when we got to H’s parents’ house.

We spent yesterday just laying around.  The knitting muse hit me over the head a little after breakfast, and I spent a good part of the afternoon adding some Scandinavian color work patterns into the front of the sweater I am making for Harald.  Oh, it did come out looking a treat.  I can’t wait to finish the front.  Maybe this week.  And it rained off and on all day yesterday, water our gardens and lawns desperately needed, so we just stayed in and didn’t do anything.  I did make a chicken and mushroom risotto recipe with a nice salad for dinner, and that was just right on a cold and wet day.

When I got on the elevator at the office this morning, it felt like I hadn’t been at work for a very long time, even though it was just a normal weekend.  I guess that means we had a really good time getting away.  All in all, I would say it was just what the doctor ordered.  And we love Lanesboro.  We plan to go back, maybe as early as June for a shorter day trip.  It’s only 30 minutes south of Rochester, so it’s completely doable.  And we are definitely going back in the fall when the leaves are changing.  And we are also planning to go back to Spring Grove, which we discovered on Saturday.  Ironically, there was a story in the Sunday travel section of the newspaper all about Spring Grove and how it was the first Norwegian settlement in what is now Minnesota.  And we got great plants at Seed Savers.  And Mom is getting better and has really seemed to turn the corner and has started eating again and sounding much more like her old self.  So, today it’s all good ….

Seed Savers

Two weekends ago we paid a visit to Seed Savers in Decorah, Iowa to purchase some transplants that we couldn’t get shipped to us.  It was a lovely trip through rural America and I thought I would share just two photos from that day.

This is the lovely, and functional, barn at Heritage Farm, the site of the great work that Seed Savers does.

And this is one of the ancient White Park cattle which originally came from the British Isles. She had just given birth and the little calf was right out of camera shot and that’s why she’s looking at me so seriously.  Isn’t she just beautiful?

What a great weekend!

A group of quilting friends and I headed to Lake City over the weekend. We made our home for two days the Dragonfly Dreams Retreat Center, recently opened by a friend of ours who used to belong to our local guild before she moved out of town. It was a glorious weekend getaway, and a time of real creative energy for me. I knew I would have the time, so I took Harald’s 40th birthday quilt (only a few years overdue at this point) and finally got all the piecing done.

Harald’s quilt top finally pieced together! Isn’t it lovely?

Once I got that done, I felt like a huge breakthrough had been made, and I could almost feel the flow return to my previously flowless creativity. One of the projects I turned to (after getting the binding put on a baby quilt I am making) was a French Braid quilt. I had bought the book and the fabric a year or so ago from Crystal’s Log Cabin Quilts in Grand Marais, a favorite quilt store of mine. I bought all these fabrics that reminded me of one thing or another about being on the north shore, figuring it would be a great tribute to have even the fabric come from there. I wasn’t sure I had done a very good job picking out the colors, but once I saw it going together, I knew I didn’t have anything to worry about.

A close up of one whole color run from my French Braid quilt. You can get some better idea of the color and pattern in this one.

This is what two of the four braids will look like, with the separator bands lined up on the design wall between them.

So I ended up getting more than half of the French Braid quilt done. I can hardly wait to finish it to see what it will look like!

I’m blessed to have wonderful quilt friends who are great to spend time with!

Country Threads, Garner, Iowa

Country Threads, Garner, Iowa

(Click on the photo to see the slideshow of our trip!) On Saturday I headed down to Iowa with three of my quilt buddies, Joan, Karen and Dawn. It was a perfect fall day for a car trip. We were off for Garner, Iowa, about 145 miles from my house, and a fabulous quilt store on a little town west of Clear Lake. On our way back, we stopped in Northfield. We were going to go to a yarn store called Cottage Industry, which we discovered had closed over a year ago. So we went to Digs instead. They took over the yarn stock of the place that closed. What a fun little store. Actually, all of downtown Northfield is fun – great little shops along Division Street. If you haven’t been, you should make a day trip of it. Just don’t show up at the Indian restaurant expecting to eat between 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm. They won’t be waiting on you.