Archive for the ‘Happenings at QWL’ Category

Planting a garden in Iowa

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Iowa Accommodations | IA Bed BreakfastMay has arrived here in Eastern Iowa and this is my first experience planting a garden in Iowa. One of my greenhouses is finished and I have my roses from California growing in the enclosed room. I found that the Japanese beetle loves roses and so this will protect them from those pesky varmints!

In my sun room I am growing my orchids and plumeria from Hawaii. The orchids are thriving with the humidity in this room thanks to the  indoor Koi pond. This is my favorite room in my house. I like to sit and listen to the waterfall while enjoying homemade ice tea.

To plant outdoors, I read several mid-western garden books. But I found that the best help was talking with the locals and looking to see what other people plant. Living in the forest, I have a lot of deer, racoons and birds. I am not sure how many berries from my berry garden I will actually enjoy, but if the deer and the birds eat all of the blueberries, raspberries, cranberries and blackberries, then I will plant some inside the greenhouse for myself.

The songbird garden has a variety of plants. I chose only those that can survive up to minus 30. I planted some apple trees and Norway spruce along with a beautiful red maple at the end of the garden. On the other side where the septic system is located, I planted wildflower seeds as I am trying to create a wildflower meadow. I have placed a variety of songbird houses throughout the garden and of course bird food containers. The finches have already found the thistle and like to hang from the netting.

My herb garden is in pots on the upper deck. I figure this way I might have better control with the racoons and also it is easy access to my kitchen. This year I planted orange mint. I have chocolate mint and I enjoy orange mint tea. I plan to dry the leaves and make my own tea.

Another great plant I have this year is the Stevie plant. As a diabetic, this will provide a natural sweetener for my cooking.

It will be interesting to see what survives and what is destroyed by the elements. Many of the plants here are foreign to me. In California I never heard of hostas, but here they are a staple in any garden. The Dubuque arboretum has a phenomenal hosta garden. I would encourage any gardener in the area who has not had the pleasure of touring the gardens of the arboretum to take the time to visit. It gave me many ideas and helped me learn the types of plants that work well in this climate and some of the challenges like working with the clay in the soil here.

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Red Fox of the Little Maquoketa

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Last week, as I was driving to school, a red fox sprung out of the ravine next to the Little Maquoketa and crossed the road. I slowed down and pulled off the road to watch this majestic animal. As he got to the other side he turned and looked at me. His face reminded me of my Pomeranian at home.
Outdoor Wedding | Quiet Walker Lodge | Dubuque IA
I thought about him and wondered about his habitat and how he lives here in Iowa. The red fox is versatile and intelligent. He is a skillful, solitary hunter who preys on mice, rabbits, birds, and insects. But he will also eat fruit, vegetables, frogs and worms and even dog food! I am sure our forest area and meandering streams is a great habitat.

His thick tail helps him balance. He also uses its tail to cover him in cold weather and to communicate with other foxes. Foxes also communicate with each other by making scent posts using trees or rocks to let other foxes know they are around.

In winter, foxes meet to mate. The vixen (female) usually gives birth to a litter of 2 to 12 pups. Red foxes are brown or gray when they are born. After the first month, they grow in a new red coat. Both
parents care for their young through the summer and then the children go out on their own.

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Here comes the sun!

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Log Cabin | Country Inn |IA skiingThere is something special about seeing the change of seasons. When I was in California the weather changed a little from sunny to rainy. However, the temperature remained fairly mild and the trees rarely lost their leaves. But here in Iowa, I have been awe struck with the seasonal cycle. I have now been here for 9 months and have experienced the beautiful fall months when the trees display an array of yellows, reds and oranges. Just walking down the driveway from the lodge I felt like I was in a magical land. It gave me a sense of connection with the land and an inner peace that transcended my understanding.

As fall turned into winter, I watched mother nature spread a fluffy blanket of white snow over the rolling hills. It was as if she was bedding down for the winter and teaching me to slow down a little and enjoy a hot cup of tea. I saw the land in a new way as the winter months unfolded.

Now it is March in Dubuque and I really appreciate the sun. Yesterday I stood outside and simply allowed the sun to cast a warm glow over my face. I have never anticipated spring with such enthusiasm before this year. I am watching as the buds begin to emerge on the trees and the daffodils pop up out of the dirt.

Being able to experience the change of seasons has given me more appreciation of the cycle of nature that is so evident here in Iowa. I know I am thankful for the lesson. I don’t take it for grant so much anymore because it is no longer out of sight- out of mind, but present in each day in my small town.

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Mother Nature’s frosting

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

IA Bed Breakfast | Dubuque IA HotelsOur place looks like an enchanted magical forest. A thick coat of ice crystals covers the branches of the trees and tree stumps. This is known as hoarfrost. The frost makes objects appear hoary, or white with age. It forms when there is too much moisture in the air and the water vapor changes from a gas to a solid. It then cools on the surfaces of the trees, leaves and even down the sides of poles. The dew point needs to be below 32 degrees for hoarfrost to form. It is spectacular to see the crystal gaze.

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Bald Eagle Watching Special at Quiet Walker Lodge B & B

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Bird Watching | Quiet Walker LodgeIt is that time of year for bald eagle watching in Dubuque! At one time, bald eagles nested all over the United states until lead posioning diminished their numbers. Federal and state agencies have been working to protect the bald eagle from extinction. Now there are more than 10,000 nesting pairs and you can see some of them right here in Dubuque.

The American Bald Eagle visits the Upper Mississippi River each year from mid-December through February. Dubuque is a popular wintering area for these birds because of the abundant food and open water. Our Lock and Dam #11 keeps the river from freezing thus allowing the eagles to hunt for fish.

Dubuque Audubon Society is celebrating the American Bald Eagle with the Dubuque Eagle Watch on Saturday, January 23rd at the Grand River Center. Free Trolley Rides from the Grand River Center to the Lock and Dam #11 will be given from 9AM to 3PM. Exhibitors and vendors will be at the center providing educational information and nature items for sale.

In recognition of the American Bald Eagle, Quiet Walker Lodge will be offering a 10% discount on the weekend of  January 23rd (Friday thru Sunday night). Just mention the Bald Eagle Watch Special. So grab your binoculars and come on out to Dubuque to enjoy the majesty of our American Bald Eagles.

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Quiet Walker Lodge Receives 2009 Best of Durango Award

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

WASHINGTON D.C., June 8, 2009 — Quiet Walker Lodge has been selected for the 2009 Best of Durango Award in the Bed & Breakfasts category by the U.S. Commerce Association (USCA).

The USCA “Best of Local Business” Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USCA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2009 USCA Award Program focused on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the USCA and data provided by third parties.

About U.S. Commerce Association (USCA)

U.S. Commerce Association (USCA) is a Washington D.C. based organization funded by local businesses operating in towns, large and small, across America. The purpose of USCA is to promote local business through public relations, marketing and advertising.

The USCA was established to recognize the best of local businesses in their community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations, chambers of commerce and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to be an advocate for small and medium size businesses and business entrepreneurs across America.

SOURCE: U.S. Commerce Association

CONTACT:
U.S. Commerce Association
Email: PublicRelations@us-ca.org
URL: http://www.us-ca.org

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Iowa Blizzard

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Winter at Quiet Walker Lodge
Being from California I never have experienced a true blizzard. Oh I had been to the snow in Tahoe and enjoyed a few days at Yosemite, but nothing had prepared me for minus 27 in Iowa!

Our school let us out two hours early on Tuesday and I raced home before the storm hit. I had already put cat litter in the trunk, placed a scrapper and brush on the floor in the back seat, included a blanket, flashlight and granola bar and added a lightweight shovel. So I figured I was prepared.

When the wind and snow started I just watched in amazement! Here in Iowa one really gets to see mother nature up and personal. The trees were bending and the snow was piling up. We ended up with about a foot on the ground.

Thursday morning looked like a Burl and Ives Christmas Card. The trees were outlined in snow and the ground sparkled as the sun bounced off the surface. I learned that I needed to be careful outside with a minus 27 wind chill. After ten minutes outside I raced back into the warmth of our home. I was sure glad school was canceled so I would not be required to drive in to town.

Mike plowed the driveway and Friday I drove back to school. I survived my first Iowa blizzard and was able to enjoy some of the prettiest snow I have ever seen.

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History of Durango

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

Miner's cabin | Dubuque IowaI enjoy exploring. I find it always interesting to learn about the place I live. Well here in Durango, population 24, I found it more than a challenge to find out about the history of this little place. I wondered why it was even designated a town when it has no post office and no school.

I searched the internet, but found nothing about the history of Durango. Even the abstracts on the QWL property had no tantalizing tidbits about the area. So I went to the library in Dubuque and looked in the local Iowa history section. There was one small book on Durango.

Durango became a settlement sometime around 1833, when the land west of the Mississippi was opened for settlement. People called it Timber Diggings at that time probably because of the lead miners who settled in the area. The largest mine in the area was owned by Ralph Mollart and was right here on Paradise Valley Road. I am curious to explore this large cave on the property that only can be seen in the winter months. It is at the base of a huge bluff where I walk to enjoy the view at the end. I have not gotten brave enough to check out the cave, but maybe one day I will walk down that bluff to check it out.

At the end of the bluff on the side of the roadway is an old miner’s cabin. It is slowly dissolving into the side of the bluff, but it is a good example of the type of cabins built by the miner’s. The red coloring on the cabin was made from ocher that was dug out of the hill tops. It is a powdery substance that is mixed with linseed oil to make the red paint.

The downfall of the town of Durango came with the failure of the area mines. In 1835 discoveries of minerals, like lead, attracted miners. Large numbers flocked to the area and cabins were erected. Goods and groceries were sold and Durango was thriving. But when the mineral was exhausted, the miners left the place.

Although many miners left the Durango digs, some stayed and began farming. The town became known as Durango and a post office was established in 1837. Preseley Samuel was the first postmaster. He was the brother of Rueben Samuels who was married to Jesse and Frank James mother Zeralda. Jesse James visited Durango in 1863 and stayed at the home of Preseley Samuel. Who knows he might even have been down Paradise Valley Road!

Jesse James was not the only desperado that stayed in Durango. Kaintuk Anderson came to Durango in 1834. He was notorious for his hard drinking and total disrespect for the law. He died on the streets of Durango after threatening one of the Sherrill boys and publicly proclaiming that he would shoot Adam Sherrill on sight. One day when Adam saw Anderson, he shot him dead. He was acquitted by the Justice of the Peace.

When the railroad decided to build tracks from Dubuque to Farley, Durango citizens were ready. A one story depot was built in Durango in 1892. Within a short time, the railroad also built a siding on which farmers could load their animals for market and loggers could load flat cars for shipment throughout the midwest.

Many men were employed in the operation of the railroad and soon stores and other establishments opened for business in Durango. A building on Hwy 52 near the west end of Durango once housed a tavern and a dance hall. It was owned by Jacob and Minne Breitbach. The tavern was on the first floor and the dance hall was on the second. The building is the present home of the Wold’s and has 826 as its address. At the rear of the tavern the Richardsville baseball team cleared the land and built a baseball diamond.

In 1947 the tavern building was bought by Cletus Jameson and he expanded it to include a first floor dance hall. It was known as the Durango Dells. Old timers still talk about the prohibition years when people from Dubuque would come and hide their cars in the local caves to avoid detection from law enforcement as they partied at the local taverns.

Jameson later closed the dance hall and it became a boat dealership and chainsaw business. It later became known as Vacationland.  A cafe was located at Burtons Furnance Road and later changed to a tavern. The Handle Bar is still in existence and is located at the Heritage Trail entrance in Durango.

After a flood wiped out the railroad depot in 1896,  a second depot was built.  But in 1968 the Durango line was no longer needed. The railroad removed the tracks in 1981 and a bike trail was erected which is now called Heritage Trail and is a favorite among our guests. The trail is 26 miles long and goes from Sageville to Dyersville.

Today, few people reside in Durango. But the rich history of this small town can still be seen in the structures left behind. So when you come and visit QWL, stop at the bottom of the hill and look at the old miner’s cabin.

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Welcome

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Winter after a light snowfall

Welcome to our new Quiet Walker Lodge Bed and Breakfast blog! Quiet Walker Lodge is located in Durango, Iowa – 8 miles from Dubuque. Our blog will feature historical articles, local attractions and events, great recipes and other interesting information about our area. So grab a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy the posts.