Monday, June 15, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls, Race Cars and Rural Iowa

After catching up on some well-needed sleep, I was thrust right back into a jam-packed schedule. Last Monday, JoAnn and I met some ladies from the Iowa Corn Growers Association to discuss the Iowa Corn 250 race that I will be helping with next weekend. We ate at The Iowa Machine Shed, which is, from what I understand, a regular stop for native Iowans. Five of us shared a cinnamon roll that words truly cannot describe. My portion alone spoiled a perfectly fine order of biscuits and gravy. I honestly didn't think they could get any better than the famous cinnamon rolls at the Big Fresno Fair. But I was disproved.

We then made our way to the next meeting with Rita Ann Venner and Marilyn Poppen, a couple members of the Iowa Master Farm Homemakers Guild, to finalize plans for a meeting and tour they will be hosting this September for the Country Women's Council. I rode along to the different stops planned for the tour.

Howell's Dried Florals & Greenhouses was the first stop. The upper floor of the barn has been converted into an area designated for drying decorative plants and flowers. The sweet aroma that permeates the air as you ascend the stairs is unparalleled, and the sight breathtaking. The gift shop below is packed tightly with beautiful arrangements and gifts for sale.

We strolled through the greenhouses at both Howell's and Groth's. Having just completed an ornamental horticulture class last semester, words like "parallel venation," "pinnacle" and "succulent" raced through my mind as I observed the different species of plants. I am sure Dr. Bushoven would be proud having that kind of influence on a student with a greater animal science background!

Our next stop was at one of the famous Madison County Bridges. Cedar Bridge is the only one you can drive over. It is surrounded by lush greenery lining both sides of the river. You access it by a gravel road that when disrupted, sends gusts of dirt trailing vehicles. A cattle pasture lies at one end where the cattle roam freely and graze quietly. The sight was incredible.

The town sqaure in Winterset completed the tour. We talked to the women running the Fons and Porter quilt shop, one of which was quilting when we paid our visit. It was the first time I had seen a modern piece of machinery that is used to incorporate such detail into a multi-purpose, story-telling piece of material we call a quilt.

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