Friend Faye (https://thechickengrandma.wordpress.com/) in northwest Iowa is the fourth blogging friend John and I have visited. It is the most marvelous thing to meet someone you’ve known only through the computer. Maybe this time I’ll call it instant bonding. Faye and Larry came out to greet us, and there was not a moment of silence after that.
Because of Faye’s blog name, I wanted a photo of her chicken coop. She did a post on the building of it, using reclaimed materials. Farmers are resourceful, and I’m convinced Faye and Lar can fix or recycle almost anything.
As one of her girls wandered by, I asked Faye if she touched them. I should have asked if she petted them. She scooped up a black one and let me pet it. The answer is, she picks them up from time to time to keep them used to human contact. Their grandchildren would be disappointed if they couldn’t get near them.
Faye offered us peach iced tea and pie. When setting up a meeting with a blogger, I suggest we just sit and talk. I don’t want people diverted from conversation, because there is never enough time to say and hear everything. She asked in such a way that I knew the treat had been prepared. Additionally, I had seen photos of some of her creations in a post. Only a fool or someone on a restricted diet would have refused. Both the tea and the pie were superb.
We didn’t talk with our mouths full, but the conversation never flagged. We found out Larry likes motorcycles as much as John likes trains. Faye had photos of some trains on her camera and shared them with us. I wanted to know what crops they grow, and the answer was corn and beans. I thought that’s a little different from where I grew up in Tennessee, where we grew cotton and beans. They live way out in the country, so I asked where they bought groceries. Ten miles in any direction was the reply.
The land in northwest Iowa is beautiful – fairly flat and very green at this time of year. Before we left home, John showed me a Google map of the area. Everything, and I mean everything, is square. The land was laid out in squares when it was settled, so all the roads run in straight lines. What a contrast to the roads in the mountains of NC that go in endless circles!
We laughed a lot as we talked. I can’t remember all that we found amusing, but the conversation was most enjoyable. I wanted a quick refresher on their three sons. One lives nearby, but the other two are further away, meaning they don’t see their children and grandchildren as often as they’d like.
Faye knows birds and mentioned pigeons. I remembered pigeons from the three areas I’ve lived in. When a black and white bird flew over us, I asked her what it was. A pigeon. It’s coloring was not familiar to me, but the flight pattern was. When I described a bird I’d seen on a bridge, she thought it might have been a red-tailed hawk.
Larry and Faye talked about cracklins, if I have the name correct. It’s something he loves and she could happily live without. Pigs are raised in the area, and sometimes they are given one. After the good cuts are taken, they render the lard. It’s a messy job they do in the barn. They heat the bits and pieces. Faye likes to use the lard (fat) for pie crusts, and the meaty bits get crunchy and are frozen for later use.
I loved the story about French toast. When the boys were growing up, Lar occasionally cooked breakfast for them. They were active, always running about the farm, and they were bottomless pits. Four pieces of bread fit in the skillet he used. The boys could eat much faster than he could cook. His solution was brilliant. After every two pieces of toast, they had to drink a glass of milk or water. That no only slowed them down, it filled them up.
This was just a taste of our time together. Faye and Lar are warm and caring, the kind of folks you are instantly drawn to. As we were leaving, I took a quick picture of them with John. This was an event to remember and to share with others. When we were back on the road. I just sat and savored our visit. How blessed we were to have that marvelous time with Faye and Larry!
Faye wrote a lovely post about our visit. Read it here and get a bonus — the recipe for her pie shown above.