Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pigs and Barn Quilts

We took a lesser used route from Des Moines to points west in order to see some of the local sights and wonders that you don’t get on the Interstate.  This house in Panora, Iowa, was one of them.  I wish I had gotten a side view as well, but our car was moving and I didn’t want to miss the charming gate. 11-05-11-07-45-47H 11-05-11-07-45-53H


11-05-11-08-09-02H 11-05-11-08-55-51H If these last 2 pictures seem familiar, it’s because we saw a lot of this.  It is NOT a duplicate of a picture you’ve already seen.  I told you, there are a lot of roads without much traffic leading up to and passing by little farm houses and barns and silos all nestled into a grove of poplars and willows (if they have a creek).  I am going to paint this truth on canvas. 

Earlier, in Oskaloosa, we went by a barn with a Texas Star on it.  I thought to myself, “Oh, there lives a quilter.”  But I didn’t take a picture.  I kicked myself about this, especially when I came across a postcard of “Barn Quilts”.  And now I kick myself for not buying that, either.  What was I thinking?

So when we drove by this I yelped and we stopped so I could snap it.  However, it’s not nearly the barn the other one was: the other one was red and in better shape generally.  But no way was I going to pass up another barn quilt.  And this one came with pigs.





Lovely big fat pigs 11-05-11-09-01-20H

While we are on the subject of pigs, I will tell you that at my new favorite restaurant, the Iowa Machine Shed Restaurant, I bought a book in their gift shop about pigs. It’s called All Pigs Are Beautiful by Dick King-Smith.  He is also the author of Babe: the Gallant Pig which was made into the movie Babe, which is a must see for everyone.  Especially if you are a farmer’s wife.

No conversation about pigs is complete without a salute to Wilbur of Charlotte’s Web. He was some pig, as Charlotte herself said.

But back to Barn Quilts: Barn quilts are large (usually 8 feet square) and brightly colored with primary and secondary colors in traditional patterns of an agricultural or natural theme. They are all over in Iowa.  [And when I got to Colorado, I found a brochure listing all the different barn quilt tours (9 of them) that you can take in one county alone!]  Did you all already know about this phenomenon sweeping the center of our country?

BarnRoute “The American barn quilt movement started in Adams County, Ohio, when Donna Sue Groves painted a quilt block on her tobacco barn to honor her mother, a master quilter.  Sac County embraced the barn quilt idea and quickly became the Iowa leader in the number of barn and community quilts painted and installed around the county.  While you can see a barn quilt in almost a third of Iowa's counties now, and in 25 different states, you'll see more quilts in Sac County than just about anywhere else!”

Somewhere before Ogallala, our destination for the night, we got into a terrible terrible rainstorm!  Made all the worse by our need for a rest area.  One was closed for repairs, one was made into a “for trucks only” stop.  We got to a stop –finally- just when the skies broke wide open with thunder and lightning and buckets of water.  We hesitated to get out of the car but as Dad said, we were going to get wet one way or the other, so we made a dash for it.  These next 2 terrible pictures are included only to remind me of how powerful the storm was.  Every car and truck pulled into the rest area after us because the visibility was so bad on the road.



The next morning at breakfast in our motel some other guests said that they had had snow all the way from Cheyenne for 350 miles the day before.  They said they’ve done this trip every year for 20 years and it was the first time they’d been in a snowstorm in mid-May.  We compared weather stories and set off for our relatively short trip to Denver.


Gilly said...

I loved that gate! And the pigs are gorgeous - and I was so pleased that they had room to move, and were not caged, like some pigs are on the European Continent (only not in the UK I am very pleased to say)

And I've never heard of Barn Quilts - surprising what you can learn in Blog Land!

Anneliese said...

You are definitely enjoying this road trip! Old houses, barns, quilts ... so much to see and learn.

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