When you come and stay with us, you are only a few short minutes away from downtown Dubuque, the location of many of these fantastic events. Check out the travel guide for a list by month of the many activities in the area, and check our blog weekly for an updated list of the local activities happening that weekend.
At this event, there were a variety of birds of prey on display. Some were even allowed to fly around inside the auditorium while the handlers told about the bird, their habitat and their habits. A really interesting experience, especially if you’ve never seen an eagle up close.
My favorite was the bald eagle. Seeing one up close allows you to better understand why it was selected as our national bird (beats the turkey as Ben Franklin wanted us to have). Unfortunately, the one featured in the picture below is not able to be released back into the wild, but was more than fascinating to just observe.
Birds of Prey Activity in Dubuque a few weeks back featured a beautiful bald eagle up close.
Dubuque was first inhabited by mound builders. They built elongated, conical mounds that can be seen at Eagle Point, Pike’s Peak and along highway 52 near John Deere Drive. No one knows fort sure the importance of these mounds. Lucius Langworthy mentioned them in several lectures at the Dubuque Literary and Scientific Institute. He believes they were some type of fortification. However, in later years there is strong evidence that they are mausoleums of the distinguished dead of the race. In 1881, the Smithsonian directed an exploration of the mounds. The most interesting excavation was in East Dubuque. One mound just off Gramercy Street contained a burial vault of 6 adults, 4 children and a baby seated in a dinning circle.
The Mesquakie Indians were known as the Red Earth people. The Sauk, a nearby kin, were called the yellow earth people and their chief was Makataimeshekiakiak known to us as Black Hawk. Both the Mesquakie and Sauk were driven out of their native lands in Montreal by the Iroquois and they landed in eastern Wisconsin on the Wolf River and then further south on the Fox River. As they continued to be pushed further west by rival tribes, by 1760 they were in Dubuque. Here they were known as the Fox Indians. They were a small nation of about 50,000. Their language was similar to the Sauk Indians who also occupied the area.
Julien Dubuque came out west with his brother in the early 1780’s. We do not know how Julien became interested in the lead mines. He had come to Praire du Chien to trade with the Indians and maybe the Mesquakie approached him about working the mines. But on September 22, 1788 the Mesquakie gathered with Julien Dubuque and drew up an agreement allowing Julien to work the mines.
As for the Fox and Sax Indians, they were pushed out of their lands to Kansas. But in recent years, they have purchased land in Tama, Iowa and set up their reservation. This year the Mesquakie will celebrate their 100th Pow Wow at their Mesquakie Casino in Iowa. For a much more detailed history of the journey of the Mesquakie Indians to Dubuque, check out the book Dubuque on the Mississippi by William Wilkie.
Winter at Quiet Walker Lodge is a unique experience. During the months of December and January we have enjoyed the beauty of the winter landscape. There is something to be said about the peacefulness of a winter day snuggled up in a blanket around the fireplace. During this time, I have caught up on some of my basket weaving. I finished my autumn corn project and I am currently working on a pine needle basket with a natural base.
This year, I had the opportunity to attend a Gourd Convention and learn how to weave gourds. So now besides my basket weaving and gardening, I am learning new techniques in gourd art.
In the Fall, we planted eleven new maple trees on the property. These trees line the small trail we are developing. It is a slow process, but it is nice to see the new trees in the meadow.
The 17th Iowa Wine Trail event is coming up November 3 and 4 from 10 am – 6 pm each day. The fall theme this year is “Around the World with Iowa Wines.” Each winery has chosen to pair their wines with food from another country. The Winneshiek Wildberry Winery near Decorah will pair their wines with Italian Cuisine. Eagles Landing Winery in Marquette will be pairing their wines with Cajun cooking. Daly Creek Winery in downtown Anamosa will serve Japanese dishes that complement their wines. Brick Arch Winery in West Branch will use a “melting pot” of recipes including barbeque, pork tenderloin and cranberries, and pineapple upside down cake to pair with their wines. The Engelbrecht Family Winery near Fredericksburg will pair their wines with German dishes including Reuben sandwiches, hot potato salad and German cheese cake. At Tabor Home Vineyards and Winery near Baldwin, they have chosen Greek cuisine and will pair their wines with a mezes – small dishes made with cheese or grilled meats, and baklava. If you are planning to participate in the event, consider staying at Quiet Walker Lodge to make your experience complete. Tickets for the event are on sale at www.iowawinetrail.com or by calling (563) 557-3727.
This weekend, I went to the Midwest Basket and Gourd Convention at Sinsinawa Mounds in Wisconsin. I am now hooked on gourd art! It was difficult to pick the class I enjoyed most, but if I had to pick, I think the Agate Gourd would be my number one choice. This is the one I made.
I learned how to use alcohol ink to produce a marbling effect on the gourd. The grass is a pygmy palm grass from Tucson, Arizona. The beads are Ox bone beads. It took me about three hours from start to finish. I think the fun part was working with the alcohol ink. I plan to make more gourds using this ink and see what kind of designs and marbling effects I can produce.
The second piece I created this weekend was a gourd with natural embellishments. I used a devil’s claw for my centerpiece. I plan to grow this annual to get more devil claws for more projects. The claw can even be used for earrings! The devil claw is also from Arizona and the seeds are inside the top part. On this gourd, I sewed a beautiful red bean that is toxic to animals. So I need to keep this basket high up to stop the cats from eating it and getting high! For this gourd, I used a beautiful red palm grass. I liked the texture and the little nubbles on the grass. Next time I am going to also marble the gourd (possibly in greens).
The next project was learning how to faux a gourd. The gourd was spray-painted black. The first step was to take a glue/sand mixture and put it on the gourd to produce a rough texture. After that was dry, the paint went on and then the seal. I did not like the way this one turned out and plan to experiment more with this technique.
In April, the Wisconsin Gourd Festival will be held in Madison. I hope to make Spirit dolls out of gourds and learn how to burn designs in them. I think I can really get into gourd art and incorporate some of my basket weaving skills for the rims. This is cool!
Today I went to the tree farm with Jeff Stecklin of Stecklins Tree Service to choose the trees I want to plant along our trail. I chose some beautiful maples that provide color in the Fall. The Autumn Blaze Maple is known for its brillant red-orange fall color. It grows pretty fast and was the 1997 Iowa Tree of the Year. The Deborah Norway Maple is another fast growing maple. It has more upright branches but provides a brillant red leave in spring that turns to a dark bronze-green in the summer. I like the Emerald Luster Norway for its round canopy and pretty color. The Red Sunset Maple is a dense rounded form tree that has orange-red foilage in the Fall.
In the meadow I am planting a Bloodgood London Planttree that has a beautiful cream, olive and brown exfoliating bark. This will be a focal point tree with a picnic table and benches under it for guests to sit and have picnics. The lkast trees oin my list to plant this Fall arte the Northern Red Oak trees. This is the fastest growing Oak around and it won the 1999 Iowa Tree of the Year. What I like about this tree is that the leaves hang on the tree into winter.
So in the next several weeks the trees will be planted along the trail. Each will have their own water holding bag and hopefully next year they will look beautiful!
Recently I traveled to Sinsinawa Mound to tour the Mother House of the Sinsinawa Dominican sisters. This exquisite site is the world headquarters for the sisters and the retirement home for those who are aging. It was a fantastic place to visit. I had heard about their famous breads and I was not disappointed when I tried several of their specialties. The “Mound Bread” became famous for its homemade flavor in the 1960s and ’70s. People who visited Sinsinawa Mound wanted more of the bread to take home and share with family and friends. As word spread about the bread, the demand continued to grow. Today, close to 70,000 baked goods are sold to friends and guests every year. The money from the bread helps support the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters as they continue their mission of preaching and teaching the Gospel.
“Iowa Lodging at Quiet Walker Lodge Bed and Breakfast, a Country Inn and Dubuque area bed and breakfast located near Dubuque, Iowa. This past week I have been working on some new basket weaving techniques. I have finished two new baskets! I enjoy relaxing here at Quiet Walker Lodge and weaving new designs. I am looking forward to 2012. I will be learning how to weave and use gourds to create some unusual designs. My willow patch produced some great willow. I hope to make a basket using the beautiful orange willow that I have harvested this year.
“Iowa Lodging at Quiet Walker Lodge Bed and Breakfast, a Country Inn and Dubuque area bed and breakfast located near Dubuque, Iowa” /> Although there is no snow yet on the ground, I am still wishing for a white Christmas. The surrounding area is all aglow with lights and moving reindeer. It is beautiful to drive around and see the various displays on neighbors front lawns. One of my favorite displays is on Asbury Road in Dubuque. A farmer has a huge star glowing on his silo. It is breathtaking!
There are many plays, musicals and choirs entertaining tourists at this time of year. The festival of trees event was awesome and the Senior High Choir gave us all a glimpse of the festive spirit. Vendors lined Main Street with delicious food, warm drinks and one-of-a-kind holiday goodies. Buddy the Elf, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolf, and the Grinch also were there! The Dubuque Senior High School Choir performed and the tree lighting ceremony signaled the official start of the 2011 Festival of Trees. It was a great event to participate in.
We have already had a few parties at the lodge. It is always nice to share a meal with friends and family for the holidays. We here at Quiet Walker Lodge hope you have a blessed holiday and a great New Year.
This Saturday, members of the Quad Cities Guild were treated to an all day weaving workshop by the Midwest Basket Guild. Members enjoyed wine tasting at Quiet Walker Lodge and the beautiful weather! After weaving, the ladies were treated to a tour of the lodge and grounds. I enjoy basket weaving and meeting other weavers. Right now I am working on two willow baskets and planning a trip to the Make it- Take it workshop in Davenport.
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My latest baskets
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.
Quiet Walker Lodge Bed and Breakfast near Galena
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!
Next month a group of my friends will be coming to Quiet Walker Lodge Bed and Breakfast 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.
My 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!
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!