Saturday, January 28, 2012

No excuses

A whole week without a second post. Shame on me. I have no excuses other than I have been down with the mid-winter blues. It's cold and dark and I haven't been out walking.

Yesterday at dinner Dr. Hair asked "What if there was a man about 85 who had exercised all his life and was really fit?" I jumped out of my seat and fired up YouTube and found Jack Lalanne on Good Morning America.

My favorite quote is "Inactivity is the worst thing, DON'T DO IT!"

Dr. Hair and Dandylion were totally amazed!

Thank you Dr. Hair for asking "What if?" and Jack Lalanne for answering.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Archaeology Dig in the Sewing Room

Another de-cluttering, de-junking Monday and I was hard at work in the sewing room. And glory be, I found things I've been looking for since we moved here in August 2010!

I don't have everything put away, mostly because I don't have a place for everything yet. But it is all sorted out and my desk cleared off, the shelves behind the desk organized and condensed. I opened every box and combined things and got rid of other things. All of my tools are together! I can find things! It is great.

I have a laundry basket full of "projects" and mending and such. There are 22 items. My goal is to do at least one each day, except Tuesdays which are sewing days and then I'll do as many as I can endure. When these things are done I'll move on to my actual sewing projects of new clothes and quilts and items for my Etsy store (more on that later).

It is such a good feeling to get that room organized and it was so exciting to find some tools I'd been missing!

Here are the BEFORE and AFTER pictures:

First, the view from the doorway

Such lovely, organized shelves!
Second, the actual sewing desk:

Now I have a clear surface to work on:

Last, my bins of fabric:

Still a ways to go, but everything in this area now is fabric, rather than projects or orphans:

This area still needs another "sort and organize", but it's from here that I'll select some treasure for my giveaway. What are you most interested in? Wool, vintage look, silk, cool cotton? Leave a wish in my comments and see what happens.

I don't know about you other seamstresses (or whatever you liked to be called) but I can't create in chaos. I must have order and I'm so happy to finally have it. Now if I could just find some little elves to keep it that way!

Burst of Tears

Friday we received an email from Church Travel detailing our missionary son's homecoming arrival date and time. As I read it I burst into tears, joy and relief. It's been a long two years! He'll be leaving Argentina on April 3 and arriving here on April 4. Ten weeks from Wednesday!

Elder Thoelke with President and Sister Peterson

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Early Morning Beauty

Moonset at about 7:00 AM on Monday, January 9, 2012. A little tender mercy on an otherwise bleak midwinter morning.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Frugal Friday - Wear it Out

Today on Frugal Friday we'll explore the concept of wearing it out. We've become such a "throw away" people that it's time we look at how we can use things in alternative ways rather than simply tossing them.

First up is a large glass jar given to me by a friend, almost twenty years ago, who had too many of them. She bought peanut butter in these huge jars and then couldn't bear to throw them away, so she washed them and put them to other uses. She gave me three of them. I use this one as a cookie jar sitting on the built in side board of our dining room.  (The other two are used for storing brown rice, and bay leaves.)

Last of the Girl Scout Cookies

Wonderful Built-in Side Board and Cupboards

What do you use for cleaning or dusting cloths? In our house we use an assortment of old cloths, such as old dish cloths or wash cloths for scrubbing things; faded and worn cloth napkins for glass, windows and mirrors (perfect because they are lintless); cut up flannel nighties for dusting and polishing (so soft and absorbent); old, stained or worn dishtowels, hand towels or diapers for general cleaning and small mop ups; worn out bath towels for larger jobs like overflowing toilets (which happened this morning), car washing, drying off wet pets, and such.

Clockwise from center: Dust cloths, large towels, smalls towels & diapers, cloth napkins, wash cloths
I keep all these useful articles in these plastic drawers in my kitchen.

Only when the rag is finally worn out completely, do I toss it, guilt free, knowing that it has served us well for many years.

These two examples are just the tip of the iceberg. On future Frugal Fridays I'll share some other ways PFC Mom wears things out.


Hallelujah! I finally figured out how to make blog buttons and how to make them work! Check out my two buttons on the left.

First is to share my religious beliefs - that's the temple at Winter Quarters, Nebraska.

Second is a pledge I entered into over at Seamless, a wonderful blog about sewing, and fashion and such.

Many thanks to "The New Katney" and "coldhamcuddlies" for their conversation on "How to Grab a Button from another site." Their instructions were clear enough for me to understand and follow. It helps that they both are older than me and understand how us old folks communicate. Blessings to them!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Take That! It's Curtains for You

Finally! The dining room curtains are finished and up. I'm going for a farmhouse/cottage look.
How did I do?

A long time ago I decided that I'm not fancy; I'm a peasant and feel most comfortable when my home is simple, homespun, and cozy. Hence, my curtains of unbleached muslin, tab top with assorted buttons from my stash. I chose yellow because that will be the color of the walls eventually, when we have time to remove three or four layers of wallpaper and then paint them.

Next project, the living room curtains.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Happiness: Thanks to Noble

This is the first Korean Pop Music Video that my fun daughter, Noble, shared with me. This is the one that started it all.

This one, however, is my favorite:

How can I be down in the dumps after watching such cute young men singing and dancing their hearts out? Impossible.

Have a fun day!

Monday, January 16, 2012

De-Cluttering Monday

Noble introduced me to Miss Minimalist last year. Although I'm not ready to downsize to 100 items and live like a Nun, it has helped me to move in the direction of owning less.

Two other factors have come into play recently. One was helping my mother, and sisters-in-law, clean out my younger sister's room after she died. My sister was confined to a wheelchair most of her life. She had several hobbies and interests, all of them heavy on the stuff. She loved make-up and nail polish, and had tons of both, along with dozens of bottles of perfume and bath products. She was a "Stamper" and had hundreds (maybe thousands, since I'm not sure what they cost) of dollars worth of stamps, ink, paper, paper cutters, doo-dads, and such. All her life she'd been given stuffed animals and had kept most of them. She never got rid of clothes as she outgrew them. We must have had a dozen large garbage bags of clothes to go to the charity shop. Oh, one other thing she loved was jewelry, she could have opened a store!

Helping my mother sort through this and bag it up was interesting. To me it was just junk to be gotten rid of, for my mother it was all kinds of memories. What it taught me is, of course, that we leave all our stuff behind when we go home. I knew that, but had never gone through the actual clean out before. Second, that the most valuable things to leave behind are not material goods; it's the journals and photo albums (if they are well labeled) that are the most valuable, as they are a record of a specific life lived. I have often wished my grandmother's had left journals and photo albums. I don't feel I know them well enough. My father and grandfathers each have written a personal life history; those are precious volumes to me. My dad has been really good about putting together and labeling photo albums. My mom is currently working on her life story.

Clothes, dishes, jewelry, knick-knacks, toys, hobby supplies, furniture, music cd's, DVD's, and any other personal belongings usually get divvied up, sold, donated, or trashed. Unless it is an unusual piece or it has specific sentimental value to another family member, it is simply excess junk.

The other factor in moving me toward a less encumbered life has been children leaving home. I don't need so many things in the kitchen, or the linen cupboard; outgrown games, toys, and books can be donated; the fact that we live in a much smaller house than we did five years ago helps too. There just isn't room here for all my "stuff." Plus, the fact that some of it has been packed up for the past three moves means I probably can get along without it. I also want to get rid of the cost of our storage unit. Little by little I'm proceeding toward my goal of a place for everything and everything in it's place.

Today I went through my kitchen cupboard where I keep serving bowls and such. I removed duplicates and excess, reminding myself that I have enough and some things can serve in multiple ways. I rearranged what was left and it sure feels good to have more room in the cupboard.

Our town has a community-wide yard sale in the Spring so I'm preparing for a big sale. Whatever is left will be taken to my favorite thrift store.

P.S. Happy Birthday to Elder PW - He's 21 today!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Another Funny

From the Files:

After observing me take out, clean, and put back in one of my contact lenses, Dr. Hair, age 6, asked, "Do I have one of those?"

Have a fun day!

Friday, January 13, 2012

More Political Thoughts

I got an email this morning as a response to a comment I left on a news article on Yahoo. The writer informed me that I'd been brainwashed. Gosh, and I didn't even realized it. Must be all those history books I've read. (Including the Bible and Book of Mormon!)

A common theme in this, and past, election cycles is that the government should take care of everything in our lives; any problem that comes up can be solved by the government. WRONG! That is exactly what is wrong with our country today. We (speaking collectively rather than individually) have forgotten or neglected or actively rebelled against the commandments of God and then when things "go south" we want the big, all-powerful government to bail us out.

I'm currently teaching the Old Testament Seminary class and can't help but see parallels between ancient Israel and today. God gave them commandments and promised them that if they obeyed they would prosper; if they turned to idol worship they would be overrun by their enemies and destroyed. His commandments included the care of the poor, the aged, the sick and infirm, the widows and orphans. There were commandments governing health and what to eat; commandments regarding commerce and trading; commandments about working, employer/employee responsibilities; commandments covering just about every aspect of their lives. Obeying the commandments was strictly voluntary, but the consequences for disobedience was swift and sure. When the Israelites obeyed, they prospered, just as promised; and when they fell into idolatry and forgot the commandments the consequences promised came to pass.

The same can be said of today. When we obey God's commandments we individually and collectively prosper. When we don't obey, we don't prosper, especially collectively. What did Jesus say were the two great commandments? To love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves. That covers everything! Yesterday's post included a link to Ezra Taft Benson's speech, The Proper Role of Government. It is long, but so worth reading. I believe it has the power to change minds and hearts. 

Today I'll share an interesting story from an email sent to me:

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama's socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan".. All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A.... (substituting grades for dollars - something closer to home and more readily understood by all).

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.

The second test average was a D! No one was happy.
When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because 
when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

Remember, there IS a test coming up. The 2012 elections.

These are possibly the 5 best sentences you'll ever read and all applicable to this experiment:

1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.

2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!

5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

End of email.

I don't know if the story about the economics professor is true; but the same kind of thing happened in the 1620's with the Plymouth colony. Collective farming was tried as a way to take care of everyone, but it was found that able bodied men didn't work and those who did felt, rightly so, that their labors were in vain because they didn't benefit from them. No one prospered. When the families were given individual plots to work, those who didn't work went hungry, and those who did work prospered and got ahead in life. Those who couldn't work (elderly, infirm, etc) were taken care of.

The person who told me I was brainwashed also told me: 
Now, open your mind to a society that is all inclusive. Where each man, women and child goes to sleep at night without fear of hunger or health insurance. A land where all can have the possibility of a good education and family growth. 
 I like the sound of that, it sounds like a land where everyone obeys the commandments. All parents are married, one of whom works hard to provide for his family, the other is home seeing that the children are fed nutritious food and going to bed early enough to be well rested and have strength against disease. A land where parents read to their children instead of propping them in front of a TV, and through wise financial choices the family stays out of debt and prospers.  Sounds like a utopia to me! 

What it doesn't sound like is a place where there is government intervention. It sounds like place of liberty and personal responsibility.

And one more thought--Health insurance is not the same as medical care. Everyone in this nation has access to medical care--who pays for it is the great question. Some people seem to believe that health insurance is a health maintenance and service contract, so that no matter how I abuse my body, the insurance company will pay for the repair and maintenance of it. Wouldn't you like a contract like that on your car! Wow, for a monthly premium, paid out of taxes, I can have my oil changed, brakes repaired, new tires, burned out light bulbs or fuses replaced, anything at all done to make sure my car is taken care of. Or how about the same kind of thing for our homes. Need new double paned storm windows? The insurance will pay for it. Something wrong with the plumbing? The insurance will pay for it. New flooring? Call up the agent. Goodness, why hasn't anyone thought of this before? 

Before the days of medical insurance people took care of their needs at home, unless it was something that required a doctor, such as a broken bone or surgery. I have read enough depression era memoirs and histories to know what people did. Even my parents took care of all our colds, sore throats, and such at home. I only went to the doctor when it was something they couldn't take care of.  I've always wondered when insurance to pay for medical care became a right. 

And that's enough of my ranting today. I firmly believe that the answers to all of societies ills are contained in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thursday Thoughts

With so much talk about politics swirling around these days I wanted to put in my two bits.

First bit: Ezra Taft Benson, former Secretary of Agriculture, under President Eisenhower, gave a speech to the Utah Forum for the American Ideal, 29 February 1968, in Salt Lake City, Utah, titled The Proper Role of Government. I don't remember when I first read it, probably thirty years ago, but it is as relevant today as it was the day it was given. All members of the Federal, State and Local governments should read it! Voters should read it or watch it so we can be on the same page, so to speak, about what government is and should be. After we're all on the same page then we can have some meaningful and intelligent discussions.

Second bit: Candidates for president get away with promising a whole lot of changes over which they have little to no control. For example, Ron Paul, a member of Congress, has had only ONE of his proposed bills passed in all the years that he has been in Congress.  What makes him think that when he is president he will be able to affect all sorts of change, including getting the Congress to vote on a pay decrease, and a part-time schedule? Wrongo, Ranger Rick! The men and women aren't about to give up the gravy train they are on. However, Congress is now and always has been the place where appropriations, budgets and taxes are handled. Charley Reese, a former columnist for the Orlando Sentinel, wrote an interesting essay on this very subject. (In the link it says publication date unknown-It was originally published in 1985, updated in about 1995, and republished again in about 2011). Congress is the place where changes involving money take place.

And one more little bit: The President is the Head of State. He should love this country and think that it is the greatest on earth. He should believe that this is a choice land above all other lands and that it has a divine destiny to fulfill (which does not include becoming a socialist state!).

This is the land of opportunity where millions of people have come to make their fortune and live a better life, millions still want to come here for the same reason. And there is enough for them and to spare! It is only through greed that some have lots and some have none; but it is not up to the government to redistribute the wealth. That is Satan's way of dealing with the problems, through force. The Lord's way of dealing with the problems is to change people's hearts and then they will solve the problems themselves.

Less government, not more, is the answer. "I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves," Joseph Smith said. Liberty and opportunity are such precious gifts. We will be held accountable for what we do with them.

Read, study, get informed, pray about the choices to be made. Then get out and vote!

For the truths which inform my political beliefs go here to

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Keeper of a Recipe

I tried a new recipe the other night and it was a real hit at our house so I'm sharing it here.

Easy Baked Beef, Bean and Corn Quesadillas

1 pound ground beef
1 cup prepared (home or bought) salsa
1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed & drained
1/2 cup frozen corn, defrosted & drained well (I used canned successfully)
8 small flour tortillas 6-7" diameter (I used corn tortillas, which I like better)
3/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend or Cheddar cheese (I think I used more than this, I didn't measure)

1. Heat oven to 400 F. Heat large nonstick skillet (I used my cast iron) over medium heat until hot. Add ground beef; cook 8 to 10 minutes, breaking into 3/4 inch crumbles and stirring occasionally. Pour off drippings; season with salt and pepper as desired.
2. Stir in salsa, beans, and corn; cook and stir 4 to 5 minutes or until thickened and heated through.
3. Spray baking sheet (I used my biggest which measures about 12x17) with cooking spray. Arrange 4 tortillas (6 fit on mine) on baking sheet. Sprinkle 1/2 of cheese evenly over tortillas. (Here I just used my hands to grab some from the bag and sprinkle it.) Spoon beef mixture evenly over cheese (this made enough for six, plus left overs, probably enough for 2 or 3 more); top with remaining cheese and cover with another tortilla. Spray top tortillas with cooking spray.
4. Bake in 400 oven 11-13 minutes or until quesadillas are lightly browned and edges are crisp. Cut into wedges and serve. We had them with sour cream.

I've had enough cooking experience to read a recipe and adapt it to what I have on hand, hence all the parenthetical instructions. Everybody liked this; and with a green salad or a veggie tray this makes a great supper. Next time I make them I'm going to reduce the meat, increase the beans, and add some onions.

Just for those of you who don't know, quesadillas is a combination of the Spanish words queso (cheese) and tortilla (flat corn or flour bread product). When I was growing up I made quesadillas with just corn tortillas and cheese melted in a skillet--I called them cheese tacos. Then sometime in my twenties restaurants began serving a product called quesadillas, large flour tortillas with melted cheese; from there chefs got creative and added all sorts of ingredients. They are sort of like sandwiches, you can put whatever you want in them.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I Believe in Evolution

No, not THAT kind of evolution, sheesh, what kind of a woman do you think I am?

I'm talking about the kind that happens when I set a goal, begin to pursue it and realize that there are obstacles to reaching that goal that must be removed before I can move forward.

In December I wrote down a wonderful schedule that I wanted to pursue in the new year. Every day of the week would be devoted to a specific activity, such as sewing, photo albumming (I know that's not a real word but humor me), etc. Last week I thought I got everything ready to begin following the schedule this week. Am I making sense? Yesterday I did a big thing on my Monday=de-junking, de-cluttering, and de-filing day. Today I'm supposed to be sewing, but my sewing room is still a mess, and I've been reading blogs about de-junking and minimalist living and the like. This morning as I made my bed and folded a basketful of undies, I evolved a bit and decided that I am really motivated to de-junk and de-clutter and de-file (it has to rhyme and be alliterative so humor me some more here) right now. So will anyone be upset if I work on all the de's while I have the motivation?

Thank you.

Monday, January 9, 2012

De-Junking on a Large Scale

We live in a 90 year old house. The little old lady (and just as an aside, when I was working in Salt Lake City a long time ago in 1981, the receptionist called them LOL's), anyway the little old lady who lived here before us had carpet in every room, put in probably in the sixties. I've slowly been ripping it out to reveal the wood floors beneath.

Interestingly there are oak floors on the main level and pine upstairs. Today I worked in the room vacated by JET. It was the only room where the carpet and wallpaper actually coordinated and looked decent together.

This room is top floor, front of the house, facing south west.

 I really like the old doors in this house, with their original hardware.

I began pulling up the carpet and most of the petrified foam pad stayed on the floor:

This is the trail left by me dragging the rolled up carpet out of the room:

I swept up the crunchy debris, using a wide putty knife to pry it from the floor in some spots:

Then scooped it up into large trash bags:

After a thorough sweep and wash the golden pine floors look wonderful:

When Dandylion leaves, this will become my sewing room.

Ah, a job well done.  Isn't the sunshine pretty on the floor and door?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Chuns Say the Funniest Things

"Chuns" is our family's word for children, which came about when JET was learning to talk and couldn't pronounce the word children. He would ask things like "Can the chuns go out to play?" It stuck and we've always thought it a much better word than "kids" which are baby goats. Anyway. . .

From the file marked "Children's Funnies"

8 January 2005
Tonight at dinner I noticed that JET's fingers were stained pink. I asked, "What's that on your hands?" He replied sheepishly, "I don't know." I said, "That's the most bogus answer I've ever heard. You didn't come running up the stairs screaming about the color appearing on your hands. What is it?"

He said, "Red food coloring."
I asked, "How did it get there?"
"Well I was in the pantry looking around and I opened the box and saw the bottle and I picked it up and it popped open and exploded in my hands."

Uh-huh! This incident did not stop him from snooping around in the pantry, and over the years I have devised many different hiding places for secrets. They have yet to find my favorite and I'm not about to divulge it until everyone is gone from home and have chuns of their own. So there!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Use It Up!

Welcome to Frugal Friday at PFCMom's.

My aversion to not leaving home to work is stronger than my aversion to doing oddball things to not spend money. I've been reading about and practicing frugality since I first read about Amy Dacyczyn and her Tightwad Gazette Newsletter in Parade Magazine in about March 1991 (I don't remember the exact date). We'd just had our second child and were attempting to join the ranks of homeowners. Our first yard sale brought in over $400 and I was hooked. We moved to Mount Vernon, Washington in May and I made friends with several other mothers of young children who were avid thrifters, savers and tightwads. We had lots of fun going yard saling, thrifting in the bigger cities south of us and exchanging tips and ideas.

Over the years I've done many things to not spend; some I still do, others were abandoned as children grew and needs changed. Long ago I made a sign for my fridge to remind and encourage me to keep going.

My Pioneer Motto

Today I'll share a few ways that I "use it up".

First in the bathroom: My husband and children were not disciplined (read lazy) about squeezing the last bits out of a tube of toothpaste so when I found these squeezy things, either at a dollar store or Walmart, I bought a couple of them to help them.

Of course you don't need to buy anything, the flat of a comb is what I used for many years. A once a week smoothing up of the tube works wonders for using every little bit.

Another trick is to turn things upside down when it gets to the end. All the liquid will pool at the end with the opening and be readily available for use. I do this with my contact lens solution, shampoo, body wash, conditioner, bath oil, and any other fluid I use. 

This also works in the fridge for condiments, see the katsup and dressing on the right?
I even serve them upside down, sitting in small glasses, saved from cheese spreads.

Something else I do to use it up is to cut open containers, especially hand and body lotion. Below are two I've been saving for a few weeks. The lotion gets down to a level below the suction of the pump and nothing comes up, but there's lots left down there. I refuse to throw it away.

What you'll need is a sharp knife (serrated work best for me), a spatula, and a container with a lid.

Remove the pump, then carefully cut the container in half.

See how much is left? Amazing!

Pour and scoop with the spatula into your container.

This is how much I got out of two bottles; different flavors, but that never bothers me and the resulting mix has always been a nice new one.

Stir it up until well blended.

Put the lid on it and voila! I can go another month without buying more lotion.

Recycle the old containers: (the sign is for husband and children who aren't as committed to recycling as I am.)

Wash the pump and save for another use, which I'll show in another post. (Stay tuned.)

In the fabric and fiber arts area I have two examples. First up is this collection of my worn and well-used hot pads. I crocheted them using the leftover cotton yarn from my knitting dish cloths for gifts. They aren't the prettiest or most decorative, but they're not for sale or gifts so I don't mind. (I make really pretty ones for gifts.)

Lastly these placemats I made from some gorgeous quilted material my mother bought for me. Notice that they each have a different colored binding. That's because I just used what I had in my stash. I didn't spend a penny on these, (Thank you Mom for the fabric!) and used up a lot of leftover bias binding.

What do you have to use up? Before you buy, think hard, look around and see if there's something lurking that could be put to good use or with a little effort you could get the last drop before buying more. Let me know what you do to "Use it up."

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I Walked to the Airport Today

This morning I checked the temperature, which at 37 degrees was deemed warmed enough to go for a walk. I headed out the door and walked through town, close a mile, to the T-Bone Trail. On the way there I said hello to my friend Albert, still wearing his Christmas wreath.

From Albert, it's just a hop, skip and a jump to the starting point of the trail. See the big zero in the lower right corner? 

It's a beautiful day and before I know it I'm at the first bridge:

Which overlooks a drainage ditch:

And just beyond that is the 1/4 mile mark:

Which is just before I get to the north end of the runway:

Continuing on I come to the BIG tree which is right across from the 1/2 mile marker:

Finally I get to the buildings of the Airport which lets me know where I am:

And of course the Airport Terminal:

Before I get the southern end of the runway I come to the second bridge:

Which overlooks a little creek, still frozen this morning:

And here at about the 3/4 mile mark I can look across the field and see the southern end of the runway:

Runway is the flat area underneath the green and red tractors

Next on my left are some quonset huts and an old brick building:

And finally, just before the 1 mile marker is the big steel building with the Ace Hardware sign:

On the way back I look across the fields and remember why I love living in Iowa:

Open spaces and big blue sky
On the south side of the bridges are benches for resting:

Today's walk was about 4 miles; one mile to the trail, one mile out, one mile back and one mile home.
I'm so grateful for this beautiful weather, the temp when I got home was 47! and the high is supposed to reach 59. Amazing for the first week of January, but perfect for jump starting my weight loss program.