Pre-Christmas Trip Day 1

Repurposed for the holidays, this “turkey” basket was a gift from my sister and was filled with cookies. Now it has pine cones from a camping trip (covered with pine scented oil)

Hello and welcome to the blog. It’s been a busy week getting ready for Christmas. The weather has again been quite warm so one more camping trip seemed like a good plan.  I’m also feeling a lot better.  The new baby aspirin regimen seemed to help with the left arm going numb.  I did forgo the planned Christmas buffet with Santa, opting to eat a little healthier and leave the heavy food for Mr. Claus.

This is the Christmas card going out to friends and family… Most of these are pics from the blog.

Wednesday is the last day of the autumn season.  Though it seemed like the previous trip would be the last one of the fall, we’re experiencing unseasonably warm weather that was not predicted a few weeks ago… Other than a cold burst around Christmas, it’s looking warm through New Year’s Eve.

Despite the somewhat nondescript building the toy muesum is a real treasure!

The first stop was the National Farm Toy Museum in Dyersville, Iowa.  (also the town where the “Field of Dreams” baseball diamond is located.)  Dyersville, located west of Dubuque on Highway 20, is the home to three of the larger farm toy manufacturers:  Ertl, SpecCast and Scale Models.  Farm toy (basically a toy of anything related to farming) collecting is a hobby enjoyed all over the world.  Manufacturers create all kinds of replicas of such famous brands as John Deere, Massey Ferguson, Case IH, Mahindra, Oliver and so forth.  There are thousands of such toys displayed in the many collections that this facility has to offer.  One will find plenty of learning opportunities, whether for adult or child.

A toy model of a 1920s style farm. The wheels on the tracter are made of metal rather than rubber. There are no electric wires or poles.


80s style farm


Early 1900s New Holland motor. The cooling water is stored in the tapered tank. In other brands, cold weather would freeze the water jacket and things was break due to expansion. Not the case with this motor!


This beautiful, hand made replica is nearly all made of wooden parts.


I spent quite a bit of time looking over all the toys and exhibits.  The museum was fascinating and well worth the $7 entrance fee.

The little toaster oven will cook an 8×8 metal pan of food. Talk about handy!

From there the next stop was at Pike’s Peak campground near MacGregor.  At this time of the year it only costs $11 for an electrical site.  I took full advantage of 20 amp service, running the space heater inside while the food was baking away.

Supper had a Mexican theme.  Instead of “Merry Christmas” it must have been “Feliz Navidad”.  The red enchiladas were made with crab and shrimp… a favorite that friend Beto taught me how to make when I was a dishwasher in a Mexican restaurant in Iowa City.  The middle enchilada was made with a gift – two fresh pheasants that a friend had recently shot.  I cooked them with green chile peppers and made a cream & cream of chicken sauce… along with a bit of habanero pepper cheese to add a little heat.

A peaceful night’s sleep.

The beans are a favorite.  They are a package mix flavored with chorizo sausage.  It’s sort of like the “Potato Buds” of refried beans.  I also used Zatarain’s mexican rice, the only mix I could find where you add tomato to it – most like the real Spanish rice.  I also added a ton of green onion and fresh garlic.

After the tasty meal it was time to relax.  From the laptop I watched an old movie dating back to 1978, the comedy “Harper Valley P.T.A.” and laughed the evening away.  If a person has never seen this classic with Barbara Eden, I’d recommend it.  It made for a fun time!

At the moment it is Tuesday afternoon and that’s all for this post.  I’m in Decorah right now and plan to visit several light shows on the way home.  It was a fun morning with some more good food and a “Bow-rito” for a canine friend.  Sadly, five lovely fish gave their lives today, too.   🙂  That will be on the next post.  For now it’s off to do a little shopping in this beautiful town.

Thanks for riding along!  Take care and have a safe Christmas holiday!

Brad (and Jenny at home)
Winneshiek County, Iowa