Monday, November 30, 2015

World's Smallest Church... At Least in Iowa

We had another 'turn around and go look' stop on our trip home from Minnesota.

We passed a road saying pointing west that said "World's Smallest Church".  Well you know us... we could pass that by!  After a rainy drive two mile drive we arrived.

It is absolutely lovely.  The chapel was built in 1885.

The Hubers are the descendants of Johann's daughter.

The chapel is 14' X 20', and the belfry is 40' tall.  On the rainy day we visited it was almost impossible to see inside as there seems to be no electric lights (at least none that we could find).  It took the camera flash to see the interior.

 Each year, on the Sunday closest to June 13, the feast of St. Anthony of Padua mass is offered on the chapel's miniature altar.

The stained glass windows were installed in 1904.

So small.

This seems to be all the ledgers visitors have signed over the years.  If the light had been better I would have looked through them.

There is a small cemetery near the back of the church.  It was too cold-rainy to have a look.

The wee church is definitely worth a visit if you happen by.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Tea Time Treats: Lamb and Lentil Soup

Here's one of our favorite 'cold day' soup recipes.

Lentil and Lamb Soup 

  2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  2 pounds lamb shoulder, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  1 large onion -- finely chopped
  2 garlic cloves -- minced
  1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  2 cups brown lentils -- rinsed and picked over (I used what I had: red and green)
  14 1/2 ounces canned chop tomatoes with juice
  8 cups chicken broth
  1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  Freshly ground black pepper -- (optional)

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the lamb with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Brown the lamb, a few pieces at a time, transferring the browned meat to the insert of a 5 to 7-quart slow cooker.

When all the lamb has been browned, add the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes to the skillet, and cook for 3 minutes, until the onion begins to soften. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker and stir in the lentils, tomatoes, and broth. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 6 hours. The lamb will be tender.

Skim any excess fat from the surface of the soup and add the parsley.
Taste for seasoning and add more salt and some black pepper, if you like, before serving.

Serves 6 to 8

Monday, November 23, 2015

Seriously? Affordable For Who?

Had to laugh when we pulled up behind this auto... someone driving a Hummer and offering 'affordable" lawn care.

Seems a bit of an oxymoron to me.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Western Lights

We had a rain front yesterday, bringing us more November-like temperatures.  As the sun was setting the front passed by... creating some of the more beautiful sunset moments.

These photos were taken over a 10 minute time frame.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Get Organized! Cards

As I go through the piles of boxes I stuffed in the garage when I started my studio makeover, I am finding cards... and cards... and cards...

Note cards.

Birthday cards.

Thank you cards.

Even boxes of Christmas cards (I can check that item off my December list!)

Yesterday was a lazy morning, so I grabbed a cup of hot tea, all the cards I have been finding, and two organizing boxes.  It was time to deal with this mess!

Box One.

A nice wooden box picked up at Goodwill.

Then I sorted through the blank/note cards.  Some were matching sets, some were sets with different covers.

And a whole bunch of them were miscellaneous cards picked up over the years just because I liked them.

Got them all organized and all the note cards went into the front of the box.  Those Christmas cards went in the back.

Box Two.

A box for greeting cards.  I think I got it at Hallmark years ago.

There are tabbed dividers for type of cards...

... and tabbed dividers for each month.

More sorting as 'type' cards went into their own area.  The 'month' dividers are for holidays or cards for specific events/birthdays.

Filled up and ready to go.  Now there is no excuse for not having a card when it's needed!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Gold Grows on Trees

While most of the trees in our area have dumped their leaves for the season, these beautiful Ginkgo trees are just getting going.  Some are in full blazing gold, others have a touch of green in their glow.  And a few are a lovely two tone with just an edging of gold.

I'm starting to think that maybe there should be a few Ginkgo trees out here at The Sticks...

Monday, November 16, 2015

Singing Toucan - An Ocarina

Next stop on our Panama Canal cruise was Costa Rica.  My highlight was seeing my first ever toucan.  They are so cool!

So my travel trinket just had to be a toucan something.

This little ocarina was just perfect.

An ocarina is a type of flute.  You can see the fingering holes in the back.

It's a fun little reminder of watching a toucan in its native habitat. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Creamery in Hart, MN

As we drove along a country road on our way home from Minnesota, we passed by this awesome abandoned building...

Himself turned around so we could see better.  Look at all those beautiful details!

We drove up next to it so I could take some photos.

It was the Hart, MN creamery.  As you can see, it was built in 1918.

The front door.  The half circle window is an elegant touch.

And look at the light fixtures!  Oh my!  I can't believe they are still there.

Look up at the weather vane.  There were three on the building.  I really like the decorative pieces at the tops of the columns too.

Even the brick is unusual.

But I think one of my favorite things about this old building are the little window panes in the dormers.  I've never seen such.

It must have been a really incredible building in its working days.  Such a shame the way it is now.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Night of Comedy: Jeanne Robertson

Himself's birthday was in late October but he had to wait until Monday to get his present.

I got tickets to a Jeanne Robertson performance, one of our favorite comedians (or humorist as she prefers to be called).   

My camera was battery dead, so I didn't get a single photo.  However, there's always YouTube!

I hope you enjoy her as much as we do!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Trip to 'Minnesota's Largest Candy Store'

Recently we dropped in to do a bit of shopping at "Minnesota's Largest Candy Store".   It more likely should read - Largest Junk Food Store-!

The Tardis landed right where we wanted to... 

but I should have aimed for a drier day!

You begin and end your shopping daze at this huge display of sodas.  This is NOT all of them, more like about 25% of them.  You truly cannot imagine all the different flavors.  For example, I picked up two bottle of "Mint Julep" soda for next May.  

Want to try bacon soda?  You're at the right place.

Soon you're down in the old fashioned candy area.  There were probably 50 different types of taffy.

Care for a 5 pound Gummi Bear?

Licorice of every type, kind, and flavor.

One aisle had only candy in tins.  Picked up a couple of cute ones for the kids Christmas.

Are you a bacon fiend?  There's bacon candy...

... and bacon everything else.  

Bacon mustard anyone?

Or maybe your tastes are more for the hotter things in life.

THAT is just mean!

For some reason, they also have hundreds of puzzles for sale.

Towards the back of the store, things got a bit bad...


Then Himself found these.

I thought it was bad enough until I hit this area...

... and bad rolled right over into disgusting.

As I stood there looking in amazement, a lady next to me kept muttering, "That is just so wrong!  What are they thinking?  It's so WRONG!"

Yes, you are seeing it right.

Salt and Vinegar Crickets

Cheddar Cheese Meal Worms

Ant candy glass.

And a honey bee sucker.

At that point I took my slightly nauseous self over to the check out.

I'll drop in again sometime!