Month: August 2016

The Brick House

The Brick House

Along a rural stretch of US Highway 65, north of Sheffield, lies an abandoned farm place of brick and mortar.  In my 25 plus years of cruising past its location it always beckoned to me.  During the summer months one could just see parts of the residence do to the thick overgrowth of the surrounding vegetation, consisting mainly of trees and vines.

The barn was next to impossible to view but one could get a glimpse of its roof amongst the tree canopy.  As the years past, some subtle changes could be noticed with the brick house.  A window would come up missing slipping from its rotten frame and crashing to the ground a new hole could be seen in the roof.  Then in the last two years one time was hastening its demise, one could see the porch was facing its closing stages until one day it was collapsed and detached from the rest of the house.

All That is Iowa

All That is Iowa

As I age I find that Iowa has much more to offer in beauty and scenery than I used to give her credit for.  Iowa is a land between two rivers.  Iowa is a lush prosperous plain of mile after mile of fields containing corn and soybeans.  Barns dot the country side marking the spots of the hard working souls who turn the soil and care for the livestock that feeds America and the world.

As my travels spread out, so does my preference in roads.  I would much rather elect to trek down the gravel covered paths that connect farmers to each other, than the super highways that traverse Iowa lands.  Most people race up and down these highways receiving only a brief glimpse at what makes the whole of the state and their own environment.

The mandatory slowdown of, gravel travel, as we call it here, allows one to take in the splendor of the countryside.  Take in the site of a Black Angus cow chewing on grass that she reached over a rusted barbed wire fence for.  Look at her face as she gazes back at you.  Look at the fields of soybeans blowing in the breeze, rolling their leaves likes waves on the water moving in a symbiotic dance.  Fields of corn also have their own symbiotic dance with the wind, a methodical rocking, to and fro, on their stalks with spidery roots clasping the surface of the soil.

I especially love drives in the north east part of the state.  There are steeply dissected ravines of limestone, unscathed by the scraping of meandering ancient glaciers of eons ago, today known as the driftless zone.  This is a place opened up by the slow erosion of timeless raindrops, still taking place today.  Take the time to enjoy its beauty by ducking off the hard surfaced roads and take one of those twisted turning routes through the hills and valleys.

Around each turn is a new view to capture in your mind and kindle the senses.  At the base of each valley is a fresh hill to ascend, once on top it reveals a landscape where one can observe for miles over the fertile valleys and forested hillsides.

Park on top and to the side of the road, get out and gaze upon the country that lies in front of you.  See the farm driveway that meanders crookedly up to the house.  See the livestock grazing on the lush green grasses.  You spot an old apple tree planted so many years ago, bearing crimson colored fruit to this day.  On the grasslands a multiplicity of prairie wildflowers add a splash of color to the panorama.

Want to see what the past looks like? Then venture down a Silurain Escarpment, hike through the red oaks and sugar maples, or walk upstream of a cold water creek, it is then that you will find a hidden gem, tucked away in a remote spot in Iowa.