Thursday, June 18, 2009

High Winds and Spotted Cows


Wow--what a couple of days. Yesterday, we visited Grundy County, where the first Iowa barn quilt trail was created. The barn owners there are still incredibly enthusiastic and proud. When we discussed the fact that about 20 counties in Iowa have barn quilts, one farmer said, "Imitation is the highest form of compliment!"

I finally got to taste the tenderloin sandwich that I have been told is a delicacy in these parts. I don't know what I was expecting, but the phrase "Never eat anything bigger than your head," quickly came to mind when I that huge slab or pork landed on the blue gingham in front of me.

Later in the day, I headed off to Northeast Iowa to visit Fayette County. All of a sudden, rolling hills . . . trees. . . a lot like Georgia! Really beautiful countryside.

I toured the barnquilts of Fayette and met with the barnquilters there. The change in scenery made for some great "round the corner and gasp" moments. Robin, who heads up the barns quilts, was kind enough to offer me a room for the night. She may have regretted it when the storms set in.

I tried. Really I did. It was loud. There was too much wind. So I changed back into my clothes and considered the question--what will I need if this place blows away?? I decided on purse, keys, cellphone. Then I found Robin, who was calmly checking the weather online, and asked, "Are we SAFE?" It seems that we were, as I am here to tell the tale. The most dangerous moment came when I headed down the road and almost hit a deer--see, just like Georgia!

Today started out nasty, with hail and thunderstorms predicted. SO--I headed for Wisconsin! Yep--3 hours over, 2 hours there, 3 hours back. But it was worth the trip. Lynn, of Green County, gave me a great tour and her stories provided the lift that I needed. The first man I spoke to had the "Doves at the Door" pattern in honor of the birds that surround his barn. So now I know that pigeons aren't exclusively urban birds. Sort of dovelike, I suppose.

Later in the day--a big event. Spotted Cows. Yep, I got to watch cows being milked. By a woman, no less! I am something of a country gal, but the largest animal my grandma owned was a goat, and he wasn't much for milking.

that romantic image that you have of the 3-legged stool--not quite. A system of gates and stalls guides the cows in; the back into place like cars in the WalMart parking lot. The work is quick and takes place from below--cleaning, hooking up to a many-armed machine, then opening the gate that lets that set of cows out and the next set in.

Spotted Cow is also New Glarus Brewing Company's delicious beer, which is great with cheese and well worth a trip to Wisconsin.


  1. Suzi-
    Thanks again for visiting Iowa's Original Barn Quilt Project in Grundy County, IA earlier this week! We all enjoyed meeting you and I believe a few barn owners really liked talking about the pride they have with their barn quilts. I also have a Barn Quilt blog -
    I will look forward to hearing from you again!

    Kelly Riskedahl
    Project Coordinator

  2. Suzi,

    Thanks for your FYI. It sounds as if you are having fun. Please be safe, and bring back lots of stories... and maybe a few spotted cows ;-)


  3. Kelly--sorry we didn't have more time to talk. Donna sends her greetings and would love an email update if you get the chance.

    Bruce--This is the ONE time I decided to fly! So no spotted cows coming home with me. SIGH