Summer Time Fun

July 11th, 2011

My latest baskets

Dubuque Bed Breakfast

This summer I have been busy making baskets. These are three of my new additions and I am learning more techinques to make the baskets personal. The cherokee circles on my bean pot basket were fun to do and I enjoyed the progressive basket where we had one person weave the base, another the sides and the thrird person finished the basket. I was amazed at the ways different weavers applied personal techinques to make unique and fun baskets. Now we are getting ready for the Quad Cities Basket Weaving Guild coming to the lodge to weave the latest basket by teacher Jeanne Dudley. We will be weaving Mom’s Santa Fe Tote and the weavers will be visitng the lodge to weave part of the basket here before moving on to Park Farm Winery. It will be fun to be weaving with all these great weavers from Iowa.

Besides weaving, working in the greenhouses and finishing my flower beds and two songbird garden beds, I have been helping Carol with the innkeeping at the lodge. More and more people are finding us on the net and reserving dates to stay at the lodge. One of the highlights of June was a garden wedding held on a cool summer evening here at the lodge. It was awesome and beautiful to see the bride and groom walk down the rolling hill towards the willow tree to say their vows. After the service, the wedding party and their 50 guests enjoyed dinner, catered by Hy-Vee. It was a great day.

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Linda Rodrigues

Lightening Bugs light up the night

July 3rd, 2011

In the warm summer nights here at Quiet Walker Lodge, I enjoy how nature displays her own July 4th fireworks show. The lightening bugs hover above the forest floor and flash thousands of little lights to help them find each other for mating.

Whether you call them lightening bugs or fireflies, these little guys are part of the beetle family called Lampyridae. They have four stages of a life cycle: egg, larva, pupa and adult. The adults live for one to two weeks and feed on nectar, pollen or other insects. Their main focus though is on mating. After mating, the females lay their eggs in tall grass or under mulch. The eggs hatch this summer and the larva live until next summer when they transform into adults.

The light produced by the lightening bug is a cold light meaning that the chemical reaction to produce the light is nearly all light and very little heat. Each species of lightening bug has a distinctive pattern of flashes so that the males and females can recognize their own species by the flashing.

The light show will not last for long so come on out to the lodge and see this spectacular show!

Website: Quiet Walker Lodge Bed and Breakfast

 

Linda Rodrigues

Springtime at QWL

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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

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