On the last night of our trip to Iowa, as we were winding down for the day- getting ready to pack our suitcases and get to bed due to our very early departure the next morning, we went on a walk around the lake near my grandma’s house. My grandma’s dearest friends live only a few houses down from her, with walking trails connecting them, leading down to a beautiful lake. It’s such a lovely place for a walking trail, with so much beauty all around.
On our walk Bracken collected dried prairie grasses to make a bouquet and I spotted two bird nests. (My grandma’s friend, Margot, took those two pictures of me holding Bracken so he could get a peek inside the nest, right after pointing up the hill to show us the farm where she used to live. Her daughter’s family lives there now.)
Margot led us to a place where the beavers had chewed down some trees, because Bracken was so excited to see that after hearing her story of bringing her grand kids there. That area was also plentiful with frogs. We could hear them all around us and they were quite loud, but we didn’t spot a single one, though Bracken tried his darnedest to. I always loved fox tails growing up, but hadn’t seen one for so long I had to ask my grandma what they were called again, and then couldn’t believe I had ever forgotten that. We saw ducks, geese, and red-winged blackbirds.
When we walked back to my grandma’s house and I started packing up the last of our things, my grandma called us to the window where the largest hawk I had ever seen (with such beautiful coloring) was in her birdbath for a few moments before it flew away. Bracken had found a feather in her yard that day, and we liked to think it was from that very hawk, it sure looked like it!
Bracken and I loved staying with my grandma during our visit. No matter how busy our days, we’d return to her place and have quiet evenings with a relaxing bedtime routine to lull us into a good night’s sleep. When we first arrived from the airport, so late that first night, she had homemade chicken and vegetable soup on the stove, all warm and waiting for us. What a comforting thing to arrive to.
Bracken had fallen asleep on the way there and I thought I would probably end up bringing him right to bed, but when his great grandma asked if he would like some soup his eyelids popped open and he gobbled up two bowls (and would have kept going) until we insisted it was time to get some sleep. When we came back from a day out, my grandma had washed our laundry and had it all folded and waiting for us on our bed, bless her heart. At night we loved getting in our jammies, sitting by the fire, and reading books with Gee Gee before bed. It felt so cozy and wonderful.
P.S. My uncle made us a dinner while we were in Iowa, with trout he caught in that very lake. (That’s also where Bracken went fishing for the first time.) He warned us that it had lots of bones in it, but I thought the flavor was so good that the hassle of removing all the bones was well worth it. It was delicious!