Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Barn Quilt Tour --- Part One

I was looking for a three day weekend getaway vacation that wouldn't cost alot and it needed to be in a rural area away from traffic and the fast lane. A quick internet search brought up just what the Dr. ordered. The 2012 Iowa barn tour on Saturday in Central Iowa in and around Amish country. So early Friday morning we hit the road for an 8 hour drive to corn country.
My research had also shown me that in the county next to where the barn tour was to be held was also known for it's barn quilts and self guided tours to see them. We took the backroads and stopped at some garage sales and so forth and then we arrived in the town of Washington, Iowa which was to be our home the next 2 days.
The town was lovely and had a restored downtown with a courthouse square and all the stores looked full and prosperous. And with farming being the best part of our economy I would have to say most all of Iowa looked prosperous.
I soon found an old gas station near downtown that had been converted to an ice cream shoppe and Mrs. PF posed for this photo there.
We both ordered large peanut butter cup sundaes that were rich and decadent. We could have gotten by with much smaller portions but it was good.

And we stopped at the fairground office of the County Extension Office where two friendly Iowa girls gave us maps of the barn quilts so we could begin day one of our tour.
Their office was adorned by a barn quilt as well and both of them told us their own homes had barns with quilts too.

In case you didn't know, a barn quilt is simply art work made from a quilt pattern and painted on large pieces of plywood and hung on a barn or shed and they can be found all over the Mid West but more in some areas than others. In the case of this county it is a way of boosting agri-tourism. We got started on the road and it didn't take long to find them....

Most of them had a sign and a name of the quilt pattern and you were welcome to drive in and take photos. 

The county was mapped out in several areas and each area had a theme or a style of quilt pattern. We did not see them all but saw a good number of them.

It was all akin to a giant treasure hunt where you had a map that was vague and not to scale and not always entirely accurate. But that made it more of a challenge and was all part of the fun. The roads were not busy, the traffic was mostly slow, and the scenery was perfect in my book.

We were lucky to see such nice barns and art and well kept farms.

I really liked this one and was glad I took the photo in spite of a worker on a ladder who was nailing some boards down because much to my shock the very next day as I drove by the same guy was covering this barn with modern tin siding !
He had already covered the painted ear of corn. Lucky timing for me that I had preserved it in my photos.

And then I saw this corn crib a little further up the road and stopped to take several photos of it.

The owner of the farm was right next to me in his garden and I did not notice him until he spoke which scared the heck out of me. His name was John and he had just celebrated his 78th birthday and he told me he and his dad had built that corn crib in 1962. And he was born on this farm where he still lived.

He said that he had been in the Army for two years at the end of the Korean conflict and that was the only time he had lived anywhere but here.
I asked him about the Star Trek sign and he said...
"some damn fool decided that Capt. Kirk of the TV show was born in the town of Riverside, Iowa which was only two miles away from where we are standing." "But he added, he hasn't been born for 200 years in the future yet" and that the town holds a well attended festival each year in Kirk's honor. I enjoyed the story and he also told me how he and his dad had cut the logs to build this shed from timber along the river bottom on this very land and he was proud of what they had done.
John continued working on his electric fence to keep the coons out of his sweet corn as I continued to take photos of his other barn nearby.

I left my new friend with a firm handshake and a farewell and as I stopped to take a photo of this banner hanging in the village of Riverside I couldn't help but think of how handy it would be if my new friend owned a laser gun to keep the coons away from his garden much like Captain Kirk would be using some 200 years into the future.....
And with that I will wrap up part one of my summer adventure along the backroads of Iowa. Stay tuned for parts two and three soon.

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