Sunday, May 27, 2012

Back To The Beginning...

A bucolic scene, and baby goosies, at Prarieland Herbs

People, if you are to know the truth about this whole two-year-boomerang-love-story between the Midwest and I, know this: the whole thing was the work of two strange-haired girls conspiring amongst themselves.

Oddly, Maggie was only a friend online, and a writer for our other site, The Renegade Farmer. There, I was not only impressed with her writing, but with it's content--which chronicled her farm life, but with a totally different spin. Besides mixing up farm skills in a new and totally different way, she hooped, danced in long striped socks, changed her hair color on a whim, and also happened to have a humble but successful herbal product business on acreage she and her mother owned. The products were excellent, her unapologetic yet kind and joyous spirit was infectious.

I wouldn't have guessed all of this would manifest itself into on long ride out into corn-and-bean country. I casually mentioned my plans to her and immediately, she suggested I come out and stay with her. No hotels, no worries. She even advertised the class at the farm's onsite classroom. And she didn't want anything in return. At the time, I thought this was some sort of fluke of spirit, an overgenerous offer. I later learned she was practicing a near universal principle amongst those good people in Iowa....and Illinois, and I will never forget such lovely gestures.

And so began the journey, a year ago, and nearly a year later, I stepped on that same sweet little patch of soil called Prairieland Herbs. It is a little oasis where Maggie and her mother, Donna, grow herbs, teach classes, and prepare some seriously fine beauty and health products. And while you think it's biased, I will say that I find their products exceptional, a favorite. But darn it if Donna STILL doesn't let me pay for things I WANT to buy from there when I go to stock up! This spirit of generosity is felt all around this peaceful little green spot, surrounded by so much big agriculture all around them.

My visit coincided staying with my newest host, Dawn, who lived a few towns over in Winterset, Iowa. With enough prodding, I managed to drive Dawn's rollercoaster SUV over to Woodward, where I would be watching Maggie spinning wool in a demonstration.

However, there was a detour to see the latest addition to Prairieland Herbs. There were already  several cats and dogs at the farm, as Maggie and Donna were avid animal lovers. There was even a wily rabbit or two amongst the lot.

But these munchkins...were a whole 'nother ball of trouble altogether!

                                                                Sebastapol goslings!

Two three month olds and a smaller one month old. Adult Sebastapols have "curly" or "frizzy" feathers that make them look like giant puff-balls. They are very unique geese. These young babies are here for, I assume, bug control and "unofficial greeter" status!

They were very friendly and sweet. The oldest ones seem to like snacking on my shiny ringed fingers...

Afterwards, it was off to see Maggie and her sweetie, John, who were at an event hosted by another Iowa friend, author A.R. Miller, who created  the event at Woodward Library: "Authors, Artists, and Artisans."  Maggie was there showing off her wares, and using a spinning wheel. John is a talented photographer...he's way in the back of the next photo, learning Gaelic. Yes, folks, this is Iowa, for sure.

No idea why the following photos are a blur, except that the camera, I believe, is trying to focus on the spinning wool and sort of went haywire.

Maggie and her dyed wool

The lady on the other side of Maggie, selling spice blends. I believe her company is called the Spice Shed, and their "gimmick" is selling mild and hot spices, named "Tickle" and "Slap," respectively. It was funny to be asked to be "Slapped and Tickled" when asking for samples. Again, just your average day in Iowa..

And the day wasn't over, yet....

TOMORROW....The Introverted Farmgirl

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