Friday, June 19, 2009

Go West, Middle-Aged Woman!

To see more photos, look for americanquilttrail on flickr.

OK so it doesn't quite have the same ring to it. But I did make the move from Eastern to Western Iowa today.

I met a woman earlier in the week who owns a greenhouse and orchard (yep--Iowa apples--who knew?) and has begun painting barn quilts. Above left is the one on her barn; she is quite talented. I saw a photo of a butterfly patterned quilt she had painted for a man in a neighboring county. Today I went out to find it.

After a nice visit to the orchard, I set out. Traveling in Iowa is great because the roads run either north-south or east-west. But when your road deadends and the destination is straight ahead--you have to drive in a square! Oh, but it was worth it. No sneak peeks at this beauty--it is exquisite.

Today made me glad that I am out here in Iowa instead of doing this from home.

Finding that one square involved over 100 miles and about three hours, but I still had time to visit Butler County, where I had met with some of the barn owners on Wednesday. The meeting was late, so I didn't get to see many of the barns there.

I passed this house along the way and thought, "OK, these people know what safe is all about!" I remember seeing bank barns--so named because they are built into a bank of earth. And I saw some older sod houses in Nebraska. But this is my first bank house.

Finally--the task for the day, driving westward to the other big barn quilt counties of Iowa--Humboldt, Pocahontas, Plymouth, and Sac.

Humboldt is--I hate to use the word--quaint. Acutally, so many of the small towns in this area are beautifully maintained--no boarded up downtowns like we see in the South! Lovely old brick buildings line the main street in every city center. No litter, no graffiti. And just off Main Street--a Drivein!

At the Back Seat Diner, Friday night is hot rod cruisin'. About 20 or so classic cars--everything from El Caminos (who knew?) to T-Birds filled the parking lot. The owners sit near their cars and one can "cruise" by to check out the car. When it's time to eat, take your seat, read the menu, then pick up the phone on the wall next to your table and order.

Gosh I wish I could make a living doing this.

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