Christmas at the Lodge

December 21st, 2013

squirrelThis little guy knows how to have fun in the snow! The lodge is covered with a pure white blanket of snow and it looks like we will be having more during Christmas. During this time we wish to thank all of you for choosing our lodge as your destination getaway spot. We hope to see you again in 2014. May you and your family have a warm and blessed holiday season.

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Barrel Head Winery

June 14th, 2013

barrelhead
Today my friend Karen and I went to the Barrel Head Winery. The owners, John and Karen, had visited Quiet Walker Lodge last week and had invited me to stop by and visit. I learned so much about their grapes and wines that my head is still swirling with information.

One of the most important keys in producing good wine is to wait until the grapes are at their peak in sugar content before picking them. John is very serious about starting with the perfect grape. He harvests the grape when it is ripe and this produces some of the best wine I had ever tasted. His Concord wine was one of my favorites in the reds. I also liked Leggy Lisa and the champagne he produces was the best…lots of small bubbles that exploded in my mouth with every taste!

But besides enjoying the awesome wines, John also educated me in how to keep healthy vines. He told me the story about the French winemakers who always had the women of the town stealing their roses in the vineyards. So they sprayed them with sulfur to prevent the thefts and discovered that sulfur kept the bugs and mildew off the vineyards besides stopping the theft because the roses no longer had the sweet fragrances.

I also learned not to swirl champagne because you do not want to loose the bubbles and why it is important to hold the glass at the stem to prevent heating up the champagne. He told me why we swirl and sniff wine before sipping it and the importance of not spraying vineyards with systemic sprays. All of John’s wines are produced with grapes he grows personally on his land. His pride in producing quality wines is quickly noticed by anyone who takes his or her first sip. Thanks for the great visit John and Karen!

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Wine Trail Spring Event

April 24th, 2013

"Iowa Lodging at Quiet Walker Lodge Bed and Breakfast, a Country Inn and Dubuque area bed and breakfast located near Dubuque, Iowa" />wine festivalGet ready for the Iowa Wine Trail Spring Event. This year’s theme will be Before and After Desserts and Appetizers. Each winery on the list will have their specialty like Herbed Cheese Stuffed Papadew Peppers, Pork Cheek Quesadillas and Chocolate Cannoli at Daly Creek or Eagle Landing’s Norwegian Meatballs served with Dry Red Wine (Mr Sippi), RoTel Cheese Dip and Nachos served with Semi-Sweet Red Wine (Mrs Sippi), Spring Time Fruit Salad served with Semi-Sweet Muscat Canelli wine ( Lit’l Sippi) and Raspberry Flavored Brownies served with Chocolate Raspberry Dessert wine (Serenity). All of the wineries are offering awesome desserts and appetizers. This event is happening this weekend April 27-28th. So grab your partner and head out to Quiet Walker Lodge and then on to the wineries! It is an event you won’t want to miss!

Winter at Quiet Walker Lodge

January 1st, 2013

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.

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Wine Trail Event

October 28th, 2012

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.

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Gourd Art

October 6th, 2012

Agate Gourd

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!

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Morrison Brothers Tree Farm

September 22nd, 2012

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!

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Classic Car Show

July 15th, 2012

On Sunday, my husband and daughter went with me to the Classic Car Show held at the botantical gardens. The variety of classic cars was very impressive and it was obvious these owners loved their cars! My husband fell in love with the cherry red corvette. A car he would have trouble getting into and out of at his age. But it is nice to dream!

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Heritage Farms

June 20th, 2012

Today I traveled to Decorah, Iowa to check out the Heritage Farm seed saving exchange. This place has one of the largest collections of open-pollinated heirloom varieties for home gardeners like myself. It is an 890 acre farm with beautiful gardens and orchards.There are several different gardens to stroll through. The preservation gardens is where seeds are regenerated and grown to provide a refeshed seed supply. These gardens are designed to prevent cross-pollination and mantain genetic purity. The trial gardens are used to plant a sample of the seeds they receive from a grower to determine germination rate and genetic purity. These gardens serve as a system of checks and balances. Several other gardens like Diane’s Garden and the Seed Saving Garden are also open for public strolls. My favorite garden is the exchange garden. Each year, hundreds of SSE members share their seeds with others by listing them in the yearbook.
Besides the gardens, the farm also has a historic apple orchard and heritage breeds of livestock. The historic apple orchard features 550 different varieties of apples. The farm is one of two major breeding sites for Ancient White Park Cattle in the US. This breed is known for its well-marbles meat, efficient grazing and easy calving. Also, Gloucestershire Old Spots Pigs are used in the orchards to clean up windfalls and this reduces pests.
Of course one can not visit the farm without picking up some seeds. I am excited about the Heritage Farm Poppy and I look forward to having this beautiful poppy growing in my garden. I also picked up a package of historic pansies mix. Unfortunately the original pansies introduced in the 1800s by the Vilmorin Company of Paris no longer exist, but seedman Kees Sahin of the Netherlands kept a collection of 13000 violas in the Netherlands. This mix was assembled by him and closely resembles the original “Bambini Mixture” from Vilmorin. I also picked up a sweet pea perinnial called Everlasting which I plan to have growing on the fence in my songbird garden. For vegetables I picked up the Chioggia beet seeds. This is a pre-1840 Italian heirloom beet introduced in the US before 1865. It has alternating red and white concentric rings that resemble little bull’s-eyes.
Tonight I will be planting herbs and peppers of every variety you can think of as they were giving away their leftover plants. What a great day at the farm!

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Galena Balloon Races

June 17th, 2012

On Saturday, I drove to the Galena Territories to witness the Galena Balloon Races. I had never been to a balloon race so I was very excited to see how the balloons rose in the air and the multitude of colors and designs on these geometric objects. I was not disappointed. The day was beautiful and I had a lovely, shaded knoll to sit on as I watched these giants ascend into the air. I have posted a complete album of the balloons on the Quiet Walker Lodge Facebook page. It was a great event for a great cause!

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