Saturday was the perfect fall day in Iowa, my mom and aunt were in town and Emmett was back to giving smiles, kicking with gusto and insisting we hold him in a standing position (his current favorite activity). All signs pointed to a pumpkin patch outing.
I’d heard good things about Howell’s, and so we headed that way. Let’s just say I really wanted to be about 6 years old again. There was so much for kids to do, but pretty much all you can do with a four month old is dress him up like a pumpkin. Which we did. Oh, did we.
We stayed long enough to pose for some photos, pet a goat, have Emmett stand on a pony, shoot a corn cannon, introduce my fam to the concept of walking tacos and purchase a pumpkin. But boy, I can’t wait to make this a family tradition.
Wilbur wanted to show off his mastery of the “look pensively into the distance” pose and I wanted to try to capture fall on our street.
Good morning, final September Saturday!
Whenever I walk past this tree, it reminds me of a line of a poem I wrote in grade school about leaves falling “like God’s confetti.”
My poetic pup.
Golden canopies offer a reminder to breathe in the moment, to look around and see how nature can delight.
Stop and smell the flowers, perhaps?
Home again, home again.
All of the marathoners are getting in one last long run before the race. What a beautiful day.
In Des Moines, we feel fall in the air. Cowboy boots and sweater season for this girl. I feel like Hill Vintage might have my old outfit in my size again…
But first, a few last breaths of summer captured:
Perfect paddling weather for Gray’s Lake, almost three years to the day since we got engaged there.
Movie night at Valle Drive-In. We went on Labor Day, which I think should become a new tradition for us. We were on our way home from Iowa City and still had all of our sleeping bags and pillows in the back of the VW from being down at the farm the night before, so we just unfurled everything and got cozy.
This crisp air makes me want to go camping, to wear a puffy vest and wool socks over pajamas and ramble over rocks and trails. Last fall we had a few camping weekends – in Eastern Iowa on the way to a wedding in Dubuque, Lacey-Keosauqua State Park in southeastern Iowa, and then a long hike on an unseasonably warm winters day out by Clanton Creek in Madison County. We’re waiting for a new niece or nephew to arrive this weekend or Monday, so we’re going to stick close to town, but I’m looking forward to making a fire in the fire pit and go apple picking in our own back yard.
There are sunrises worth waking up for. Like a crisp, fall morning overlooking the Mississippi on the way to see your two dear friends say “I do.”
Sunrise at Pike's Peak, Iowa
Joe and I took the long route to Dubuque a few weeks ago, camping in Backbone State Park and Pikes Peak State Park on the way to a wedding. We got to Backbone around 5 p.m. on a Thursday and three of the four entrances were closed off to cars. I was a bit worried we’d have to set up a camp outside the gates, but luckily we were able to enter from another side.
Joe almost fell off the dock trying to take this.
Backbone had a sweet little lake (that’s me trying to balance on the swaying dock), but I’d say that it’s comparable to the much closer Lake Ahquabi for Des Moinesians. If you’re traveling to Backbone, though, you have to go into Strawberry Point and take the obligatory tourist photo:
World's largest strawberry?
Leaving Strawberry Point (where we had some morning coffee and chai at the old hotel in the center of town), Joe and I took a lovely scenic leaf-peeper kind of drive past small towns. I’m so enamored with Elkader. It seemed like the Stars Hollow* of Iowa to me. My heart stopped as we pulled into town, passing a cemetery just as a funeral honor guard of sorts pointed and shot their guns at the sky. The funeral party wore all black, in contrast to the brilliant trees and I was overwhelmed by the moment. In town, a group of red hat ladies and a motorcycle club shared space along the main strip. I didn’t really get many photos here, but you’ll have to trust me that it’s quite scenic with bridges over the Turkey River and an old-time looking movie theater, bakery and quilt shop and Opera house on the main street.
* Obligatory Gilmore Girls reference!
… Next up, lunch with a brewmaster (which was definitely one of Joe’s favorite parts.)