We have just returned from a relaxing tour of the midwest riviera....Eau Claire, Wi/ Chippewa Falls Wi, and then on through southern Minnesota to that great destination spot...Decorah, IA!! Oh be still my heart...Decorah, land of my dreams, land of promise, land of opportunity...just like the immigrant looking to the USA for the fulfillment of the good and prosperous life, I look to Decorah for the fulfillment of my soul's yearning for a peaceful, quiet, safe and friendly, lifestyle in my (ahem) later years....The scenery was unparalleled as was the company and hospitality of our friends, Peggy and Dave, proud owners of a paradise high above the lovely city of Eau Claire, WI. They work their forested acres like modern day settlers....clearing, digging, pruning, planting, weeding, plowing..you name it..they do it! Unfortunately my little digital camera could not capture the awesome beauty that awaits them each day and night. Peggy and I stayed up Saturday night to witness a thunderstorm up close. The front of their home has 2 double paned glass rooms, one with hot tub!!! (I'll be back in the Fall for that!) the ceilings are glass as well! What a magical hour that was!!
This is the view from the front of Peg and Dave's house the "valley of the tree tops"! I can only imagine what it must look like in the Fall! The side view is farmland, rolling green hills that rival Ireland's!
These are scenes from a tour of the forest!
The birdwatching is fabulous...we were treated to a constant parade of finches, cardinals, woodpeckers, blue jays, hummingbirds, wrens and in the distance eagles and hawks!
A red breasted grosbeak
This paradise includes bears, gnats, and snakes....not my cup of tea...so I'll set my sights on small town living..next stop Decorah, IA!!
Yep, my little slice of heaven is wedged between busy Kedzie Ave. and St. Mary's cemetery. Mixed with traffic fumes, the aroma of Harold's Chicken gently wafts across the track where I try hard to burn up those pesky extra calories my body doesn't really need.... Today was an ideal hiking day...deep blue skies with wispy clouds skimming along...and low low low humidity. This is what we refer to in our family as a "Wisconsin day". In other words..perfect.
Perfect for any summer outdoor activity... fishing, picnic-ing, lying on a beach listening to the waves lap the shore....I went to all of those places during the course of my walk 4x around the .8 mi track today...in my head...
Walking a track is BORING! I will not wear an i-pod... want to be hyper-aware at all times of my surroundings....call me a city-girl...it's true..you have to be aware of folks around you. Truthfully, that's why I'm not over pounding the pavement in oh so beautiful St. Mary's where it's shady...oh-so quiet....green..... virtually empty...it's lovely. It's also isolated...big NO NO! I wouldn't do that even in a small town. Ladies..we gotsta be careful...
So what's the wild side to all of this?....I'm at a boring track....
check out the scenery, friends...heaven on earth in all it's glory is here, there, and everywhere!
Here's a wild bunch!
Quick! What's my favorite color??
Some beetles were napping in the late morning warmth..ssshhhhhh!
A bitty basking turtle...I think that's mom watching just to the right...
If you haven't been paying attention OR you just don't know me, I am obsessed with the country....not the nation....I'm talking about wide open spaces, the long and winding road......take me home country road...cowboy take me away...okay..you get my drift. Basically my mantra is "get me the he*l out of this city!" I long for sweet smelling air, birds chirping, the sounds of breezes and wind....and that's all. No trucks, trains (a lonesome train whistle in the distance is fine), cars with booming bass speakers and honking horns, jets taking off and landing......Picture a simple farmhouse with long tall windows, a porch for "settin a spell", mature shade trees and wild flowers blooming.
A few days ago my friend Karen and I headed west to Galena. Highway 20 in NW Illlinois is a pretty drive, especially the closer you get to the Mississippi.
It all started with a chance trip several years ago to Cave of the Blue Mound in SW Wisconsin. I saw those verdant rolling hills and my heart was captured...
Later, I learned of Decorah IA (see earlier post)...now I'm on a mission to find my country retirement spot...and yes, I will have to convince Chaz, his heart is right here on the rugby pitch at UIC.....yikes!
But as usual I digress.....
Back to Galena......
The main street of Galena is long and narrow with wonderful shops, coffee houses, and restaurants.
The European Chocolat shop is a MUST!! I chose a dark chocolate morsel with jalapeno!! Fabuloso!
A big shout out to Embe's.....this was a most incredibly delicious spinach salad..the dressing included vanilla bean...YUM! If you get the chance, go say hello and dine with owners Charlie and his mom Mary Beth, a wonderful chef!
Our dinner at Fried Green Tomatoes was superb, as well...excellent food, wines, and service!
Olive flowers! Not really..but don't they look like olives???
The Phat 1/4 Shop was a hit in my book! Have I ever met a fabric store I didn't like??? NO! These are 1/2 yds. I'm adding to my stash at 8050......mmmmmm.
Happy Birthday to me!!!!
If you're not up for walking and climbing the steps, check out the trolleys..
This is the Belle Aire Mansion, just west of town on Hwy 20. Owner, Lorraine, was a very friendly and hospitable Innkeeper......fresh delicious chocolate chip cookies in every room!
Of course I couldn't help imagining a N. Illinois quilt shop hop with an overnight stay here.....and a visit to Galena the next day.....great idea!! I got a million of 'em!
Oh, what a delightful part of bacashun 2011....more to come!
A day of treats! I visited my friends Holly and Baxter today at their lovely Wilson Ave. apt. Holly was stash busting and I was more than happy to assist!
Quilters look around their sewing areas a few time each year and are surprised at the piles of fabric encroaching on needed sewing space....and it's often necessary to make room for ....MORE fabric...NEW fabric.....OTHER fabric...
Thank you Holly..I will make good use of these!
Feast your eyes on these lush summer North Side gardens....oh so beautiful...
I am getting CLOSE!!! I finally made a mug rug that is me... and I like it!! It's a bit too big though, so tomorrow I'll work on that correction!! Yay! All because of the chicken potholder!...... Still NOT square....I'll work on it!
How do you spell relief? Q-U-I-L-T! Today the quilt mojo is happenin'!
I spent the day in Brookfield at my dear friend Linda's house...she is a newbie quilter...ooooh a newbie..excited about the whole process of cutting, sewing, and arranging fabrics into marvelous designs! She is working with yellow and teal fabrics and chose the card trick block, which is a tricky little block, but what a nice result!
She will make 3 more blocks for a sunny wallhanging for her sewing room!
When I arrived home there were two packages in my mailbox!!
Gifts from two Chicago Modern Quilt Guild friends!
A black, red, and white mug rug from Jan. Love that sweet little bird!
Donna knows about my fish dreams and made me two tiles with koi!!
I know it's the Independence Day holiday weekend, but these Stars and Stripes are a COOL mug rug from Sarah S. another CMQG member!