Archive for the ‘Happenings at QWL’ Category

Springtime at QWL

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

May is always a busy time at Quiet Walker Lodge. This year some friends and I set out to plant one of the flower beds in front of the new Wakatanka House. Many friends donated slips of plants from their gardens and on a rainy day we planted the garden. Cindy and Sue, who helped me with the garden, knew a lot about the Iowa plants and where to place them for maximum effect. The ground was relatively easy to work in as it had rained the past week. The deer fencing has held and the deer seem to stay away from the area. It was fun getting all dirty and watching the garden take shape.

Besides the flower garden, I also finished getting my vegetable garden put together. With the help of my friend, Carol, we now have a multitude of vegetables growing in the sun. It will be great having fresh vegetables from the garden.

I am still fighting spider mites in my rose beds. I am trying a new natural product that guarantees the eradication of these pesky little mites. In California I never had this problem. I am not sure if it is the climate here or the fact that the roses are now housed in the greenhouse. Hopefully this spray will work and I can get the upper hand on the mites. Besides the rose issue, all the other plants are doing well. My blueberries and blackberries are thriving in the greenhouse as well as my lettuce. The persimmon tree still has not produced persimmons yet, but the tree looks healthy. All in all it has been a good planting month!

Website: Quiet Walker Lodge Bed and Breakfast

Linda Rodrigues

Lasagna Gardening

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Quiet Walker LodgeNext month a group of my friends will be coming to Quiet Walker Lodge to help plant a songbird garden. They are bringing slips of plants from their own gardens to put in the new area. I have been busy preparing the ground for planting. I did alot of research and decided to try a new method called Lasagna Gardening. It requires no tilling of the land which can sometimes cause more damage than good. In Lasagna Gardening the first step is to place newspaper down to control the weeds. The next step is to alternate between green and brown materials. I had three large mulch piles from last year that I put down for my brown material. I added some green vegetable and fruit scraps and topped it will another layer of compost and cow manure.

I was able to get birdhouses, rocks and landscape extras in place and now I am ready to wrap around the garden with deer fencing. We have alot of deer here who would love to munch on the new plants that will be placed in the garden next month. So I need to fence off the area and install a gate for guests to enter the garden. I have never installed a gate before so I am hoping the man at the hardware store can give me some tips.

When I am finished preparing the songbird garden, I will move to the vegetable garden I am setting up next to the large greenhouse. During the months of February and March I have been starting my vegetable seeds in egg cartons. I transferred them to larger paper pots and they are ready to be planted outside in May. I bought these new beds that are easy to assemble and will not rot, crack or deteriorate in Iowa weather. As soon as I get the beds in and the deer fencing and gate done for this area, I will be able to plant the vegetables. I can’t wait to get to that point and watch the garden grow!

My blubs I planted last year have made their way through the ground and are beginning to bloom. The daffodils are beautiful and surprisingly the deer do not like them. In the greenhouse, this is the first year I have had a bumper crop of blood oranges and cherries. The roses have also adapted to their new surroundings and we are getting lovely roses for the bed and breakfast guests. Spring is a wonderful season and it is so much fun to watch the garden grow.

 

Website: Quiet Walker Lodge Bed and Breakfast

The Cheerful Runner

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Dubuque HotelsMy daughter-in-law and son came to Iowa to visit me. Both of them are avid runners. Gina even has a blog on her running experiences. She calls herself the cheerful runner! I am not a cheerful runner….cheerful walker yes….cheerful runner no. Both of the kids had a workout running up and down our mile long steep driveway in the country. I think they enjoyed the scenery as they exercised for their next run.
Besides running, my son enjoyed driving the tractor and moving wood to the wood pile. He was a big help with the wood cutting. It is nice to have them come and visit. I think they should come in the winter and run through the forest with 3 feet of snow. That would give them a real workout!

 

Website: Quiet Walker Lodge Bed and Breakfast

We are on YouTube

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Our beautiful rooms here at Quiet Walker Lodge B&B are now posted on youtube and facebook. Come and experience the difference here at the lodge. We offer whirlpool tubs, an indoor Koi pond and solarium and a full breakfast. If you are looking for the perfect getaway, we have the place. Check us out!

Website: Quiet Walker Lodge Bed and Breakfast

Linda Rodrigues

Videos compiled by Jim Rodrigues

The Blizzard of 2011

Friday, February 4th, 2011

When I lived in California I remember watching the news and seeing the snow storms in the middle of the country. I thought at the time how could anyone survive that cold. Well now I live in Durango, Iowa and I have survived the big blizzard of 2011. I have learned many new things. First and formost is that I appreciate my friend Jeff who plows my driveway at Quiet Walker Lodge B & B (www.QuietWalkerLodge.com) so I can get my car down the hill. It is amazing to watch him spin the tires on his pick up truck and slide the vehicle only to catch some traction and move the snow over the bank. The men and women who clear the roads so that people can get to work and the store are heroes in my book.
I also learned the best thing to do when the wind is causing eight foot snow drifts is to stay home in front of the fire and enjoy the falling snow from inside the house. I have learnjed to respect mother nature and not try to drive in weather that is deangerous.
Yes it is a pain to shovel pathways to get into and out of the house. And I must be more aware of things like making sure the exhaust pipes are not plugged with snow so that carbon monoxide does not come into the house. However there is still nothing as beautiful as a forest blanketed with virgin snow and a herd of deer meandering through the drifts. Spring is around the corner!

Website: Quiet Walker Lodge Bed and Breakfast

Ice Dams

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Dubuque Iowa B&BI have learned something new living here where ice can be a person’s worst enemy. This past week, we had a lot of snow and freezing weather. My home has two dorms where there are valleys between them. When I started having leaks on the ceiling of the enclosed porch, I learned about the dreaded ice dams.

An ice dam is an accumulation of ice that forms at the end of a roof. It prevents melting snow from draining off the roof. The water then backs up behind the dam and causes leaks. I researched ice dams to learn how they form. Apparently the way it works is the higher parts of the roof that are above 32 degrees melt the snow and the water travels to the lower surfaces that are still below 32 degrees. In my case, the valley formed by the dorm does not get much sun and so the snow does not melt like the roof above it. When this water reaches this lower portion of the roof, it freezes and, as the water backs up, an ice dam is formed! As the melting snow above continues to run down to the lower portion of the roof that does not get the sun rays, the water backs up behind the ice dam and remains a liquid. The water then has no where to go and finds cracks and openings to relieve the pressure forming leaks.

Since I can not climb up on the roof every time it snowed heavily, I began looking for information about how to prevent ice dams. I learned about heat tape. These are electric heating cables that reduce ice formation along roof edges, in gutters, drains and downspouts to provide a path for meltwater, allowing it to flow off the structure. Apparently you put the cables in the area where the ice dam forms and then plug the cables into an outlet to provide enough heat to keep the ice dam from forming.

Another lesson learned about living in snow country!

 

Website: Quiet Walker Lodge Bed and Breakfast

Winter is Here!

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Quiet Walker Lodge B&B
Yesterday we had the big blizzard that dumped heavy snow throughout the region. I like snow as long as I do not have to drive in it. It was beautiful to watch snowflakes drift down and attach to the trees. In the late afternoon it looked like a winter fairyland. The trees were blanketed with snow and, on the ground, I could only see the hoof prints of deer who were traveling through looking for food.
In the winter I make bird food out of leftover fruit, vegetables, bread and gravy that I store in my freezer during the summer months. I blend it all together and make a bird loaf to put on my bird feeder. The birds really appreciate the extra fat and nutrients during the harsh cold. I also spread corn out for the deer to give them an extra boost during the winter. I am surprised at how many birds travel through the area and come to the bird feeder.
I am learning how to fix internet and the tv on my own. I have a large pole with a brush attached to it so, during the heavy snow fall, I can sweep the snow off the satellite dishes. This works extremely well and so far I have been successful. I also bought some children’s ski poles at our local goodwill store and I use those to walk up and down the driveway to get the mail.
I am so glad I spilt as many logs last fall as I did. I heat the house, as much as I can, using the wood burning fireplace. When it gets down to minus 1, I turn on the heater. But when it is in the thirties, the fireplacer does a good job of heating the house and saving me energy.
I am also fortunate that one of the sheriff officer’s for the county does snowplowing on the side and he makes sure my driveway is plowed and any trees that have fallen are moved out of the way. He is a great guy.
I know most people hate the winter, but I find it very relaxing. It is a time for me to hiberate and reflex on the past year, looking forward to the challenges of the new year. There is beauty to be found in the peacefulness of the land.

Website: Quiet Walker Lodge Bed and Breakfast

My favorite season

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Dubuqe Bed Breakfast | Dubuque hotels

I like all of the seasons here in Iowa, but Fall is my favorite. It is not too hot or too cold and the leaves are just beginning the color change before they curl up and fall off the trees. This is the season for harvest festivals, pumpkin bread and hot apple cider. A time to begin preparing for the winter that is coming. The time when my little dog puts on his sweater.

The farmer in the valley below has been harvesting the corn. I find it interesting to watch the method of taking the corn out of the fields and the wagons filled to the rim chugging along the country roads. Corn must be at the greatest ripeness possible. If the corn is not ripe enough, the product will be of high quality. Farmers must determine the ripeness in testing the kernel moisture content. The farmer hand picks several ears of corn, shells them and tests the mositure content. Harvesting of corn should take place at 15 to 18 percent moisture content. When it is ready, the farmer uses a combine that harvests the grain. The corn is threshed by the combine, and the corn husks are discarded onto the ground. Then the grain is temporarily stored in a chamber inside the combine. Once the chamber is full, the grain is dumped into a truck bed or silo until it’s sold. When ready to sell the corn. the farmer takes it to an elevator, where grain is communally stored. At the elevator, the truck is weighed prior to and following dumping the grain into the silo in order to determine the weight of the grain. From the elevator, the corn is sold to feed companies, corn syrup manufacturers and others. This year many fields were damaged because of the rain during the summer causing some fields to be destroyed.

Last weekend I was invited to a sawmill party on Mudd Lake road. Behind the farmhouse was a old sawmill mill where my friend’s husband sawed wood the old fashion way. The engine of the massive saw was an old engine from the Dubuque airport. With 200 horsepower it sawed the wood from the tree trunks as if it was butter. It was interesting to watch how Mark moved the heavy log into position so that the saw would cut it with perfection. As we all sat drinking hot apple cider and watching the wood planks cut I thought it doesn’t get much better than this!

Next week a willow convention will be held here at the lodge. Those registered for the weekend will learn how to collect wild willow, sort and store it. Of course we will also be making rims and learning some new basket techniques. It will be a lot of fun. I have already taken a class using pine needles and this will be my second willow class. In all I have made four baskets for Christmas presents.

Website: Quiet Walker Lodge Bed and Breakfast

Willow Weaving

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Quiet Walker Lodge | Dubuque Bed Breakfast | Dubuque hotelsThere is a book out that talks about the 100 things you want to accomplish before you die. I always have had trouble with that book because I love to learn new things and I can’t seem to narrow it down to 100. I enjoy experiencing life and new things.

This week I explored the art of willow weaving. I love baskets and have always wanted to learn how to do natural baskets. In Dubuque I met some wonderful people and joined the Basket Weaving Guild. There was a teaching seminar being held at Jo Campbell’s place in Monticello and I joined up with Regina and Sandy to spend two days learning willow weaving.

I was a little nervous because I am a green horn and all the other ladies have been making baskets for many years. Jo was the best teacher and the other ladies encouraged me on. My first willow basket turned out ugly and I was not pleased with it. I am realizing how very important it is to get the ribs equal distance and secure. I also learned that I need to get the willow very warm and bendable.

My second basket is the one pictured. I am still working on it, but I am happy with it so far. I am making some of these baskets for Christmas gifts for my children.

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I am also going to grow my own little willow patch so I have my materials right here. I am learning from Jo how to harvest willow and trying to absorb as much as I can. I find it so fascinating that after you cut the willow, you place it in the freezer so it does not dry out. Otherwise you need to soak it and can only do that two times before the willow is not at its best for weaving.

I have made some new friends and have learned much this week. I even appreciate my bought basketsĀ  more and realize the work and art that has gone into them.

The Wakatanka House

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Dubuque hotels | Country InnIt has been a year and a half that I have been building the Wakatanka House and the work has been challenging, but well worth it. Wakatanka is Great Spirit in the native tongue. As part of Quiet Walker Lodge B&B, we have designed four suites with a Native American theme. On the third floor are the Sedona and Manitou suites. I am partial to the Manitou suite because I love the Pacific Northwest Native arts. This room even has a totem pole!

The other room is designed in the Southwest tradition and has a flavor of the Sedona red rocks. It, like Manitou, has a kitchenette and massive bathroom with a whirlpool tub overlooking the forest. The loft has a gift shop and overlooks the expansive cathedral windows of the great room.

The second floor includes a solarium with an indoor koi pond. The koi are from Nagata, Japan and love to play under the waterfall. Guests will like the Japanese flair and the lovely orchids. Also the massive deck that faces the forest.

The first floor includes a wine tasting/conference area and two suites; the Santa Fe and Lakota suites. The Lakota suite is ADA accessible and includes a roll in shower for people in wheelchairs.

We hope to open the Wakatanka House up to guests in mid-August. I have learned so much with the building of this home. I appreciate the work done to put it all together. There is so much more to building a house than just putting up walls and a roof. I must have made over a thousand decisions with the construction of it. At times I grew exhausted at the amount of details I needed to balance, but in the end the final project came out as I had hoped. And now we can enjoy the happiness it will bring our guests as they come to unwind and enjoy nature in a unique way.

Visit our website: Quiet Walker Lodge Bed and Breakfast