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Z. and I took a long weekend to visit Mom, with stops along the way for hiking and such.  It was a good weekend.

The first stop was at a few acres of secluded oak forest.  There had recently been a burn there - we're not sure if it was intentional...possibly it was an attempt to kill off invasives, but it was very thorough, with many burned-hollow trees.  Still, it was quiet and enjoyable, and set a good tone for the trip.  There was a large population of variegated mayapple - very cool.

To cross into Iowa we took the Cassville ferry. 

At Mom's we were productive.  Things got off to a slow start, in part because of the limitations of small-town hardware stores.  But before we left, Z. had repaired Mom's big quilting machine, I'd replaced the ball bearings in her fancy chair, and Mom's new smaller quilting setup was set up - that involved finding a properly-sized table at the local thrift shop so Z. could bolt it down properly.  We also moved some furniture around, to make everything fit better.

Mom was pleased with the progress - she should be well-arranged for quilting and sewing for a while now.  We ate a whole apple-pecan pie while there, and Mom sent us home with cookies and strawberry freezer jam.

Somewhere in there we managed a trip to the Rockford, IA, quarry.  I'd been there once during school.  The ground is littered with Devonian fossils, which you can take home.  It's a fun place for scrabbling around:  eroded hills, prairie flowers, a lake, abandoned kilns from the old brick&tile works, and very few people that day.

On the way to the quarry we stopped at a store in Charles City that stocked a wide range of ball bearings and other nifty tools and supplies.  It did much to improve our mood after the earlier hardware store failures.

Our trip home was crammed in to one day, which was not the original plan but all our productivity did take up some time.  We did manage to fit in a stop at Governor Dodge park for a hike down to the waterfall. 

pictures of the variegated mayapple:  gardening.livejournal.com/3521880.html

some garden pictures, so I don't forget that I posted them:  gardening.livejournal.com/3522088.html
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