Quilts Blocks in the Country

I have always wanted to visit the next county south of me to see the Barn Quilts of Sac County, Iowa. My sister Sandy (from Pieces from My Heart) & I did just that one Sunday afternoon while she was visiting.

What are the Barn Quilts of Sac County you ask? The barn quilt blocks are constructed from 8 foot square pieces of plywood and painted mostly in bright primary colors so to be seen easily when passing by. The committee selects a barn or corn crib to place the blocks. The building must be 50 years old, in good condition & on a hard surface road. The blocks are painted by students, local 4-H members & various volunteer groups.

I came home with a new appreciation of old barns. In talking with one of the farmers who has a barn quilt, he mentioned that Iowa looses 1000 barns a year...now that was astounding! A piece of rural Americana is being lost at a rapid rate. This little trip through the Iowa countryside aroused my curiosity and I wanted to know more about the history of the barn. I did a Google search and found some very interesting sites about barns & their history.

We had a dairy barn on our farm growing up as a child. We sat in the milk house as Mom & Dad milked the cows and it was our job to make sure the Mama Kitties bowl was filled with fresh whole milk. I can still remember the smell of that milk house...funny how some things just don't escape one! Many hours were also spent in the haymow in search of Mama Kitties babies.

Of the 55 quilt barns, we visited 30 0f them and plan to take in the remainder on her next visit. With map in hand & tall glasses of ice tea off we went and had a great time. Come along and take a picture tour with me....

Click on pictures to see a larger image!

Hens & Chicks
Farm Friendliness

Corn & Beans

Andy Williams birthplace - Wall Lake, IA

Bear's Paw (my personal favorite)

Double Aster

Guiding Star

Next Door Neighbor

Wild Goose Chase

Mother's Favorite

19 smaller Community Quilts are can be found in the towns in Sac County hear historic or public sites.

Four Squares

Corner Posts

Variable Star

Starry Path

This quilt block is not an "official" Sac County barn quilt but was very eye catching. This block was at the end of the farmers driveway and the old implement & Russian sage is a beautiful backdrop for the block.

Starry Path

State Fair

The above signs are at the end of the driveways of the farms that are part of the Sac County Barn Quilt project. The sign gives the name of the block featured on the barn.

Double Wind Mill

The wild flowers in the Iowa road ditches are in full bloom...couldn't resist snapping this photo!

Hope you enjoyed the Barn Quilts of Sac County tour. If you are ever in the area be sure to visit these or visit their website for more information.

Until next time,

Brenda Gervais


Garden Tour

Nestled in amongst the corn & bean fields on a gravel road in rural Iowa is a gardeners paradise called The Prairie Pedlar. The Prairie Pedlar is owned & operated by Jack & Jane Hogue. Their gardens have been featured in many national publications & if you are ever in the area it is definitely worth seeing. I treat myself to a visit at least once a summer. Come along and take a tour....Russian Sage border beautifully greets you as you enter.
An old Sears & Roebuck barn is used for wedding receptions. Take note of the Double Aster quilt block on the barn. Prairie Pedlar is part of the Sac County Quilt Block Barn organization. Keep an eye out for more on this in a future blog.

Did you ever make Hollyhock dolls when you were a child?

This is Queen Anne's Lace and can be found growing in the ditches in Iowa in the summer. It is a beautiful, lacy white flower that works great in cut arrangements. Can you find the bee?

More Queen Anne's Lace

Don't you just love the bright green foliage next to the Bee Balm?

Flowers can be found everywhere...in an old bicycle basket...

...even in an old muffler!

Rather then cutting down this dead tree they filled it with a menagerie of birdhouses...very whimsical!

Notice the old mirror in the garden? I love how the old barn reflects in the mirror!

This is a new addition to the gardens this year and is totally breathtaking. We just sat on the bench and took it all in for several minutes. This is an old chicken coop that they rescued from being torn down and moved it onto the garden site. The children's garden club planted the flowers. The Prairie Pedlar has a wonderful gift shop & this little building houses the sale items.

The brick used for the path around the chicken coop comes from an old creamery that was being torn down.

The Prairie Pedlar also sells many annual & perennial plants. Rather then the plants being housed in a typical greenhouse theirs are placed on the ground along a walking path.

Hens & Chicks planted in an old wooden chicken nesting box.

This piece greets you at the door of the gift shop. Clay pots are strung on a steel rod...quite a conversation piece. I hope to make one of these next year.

What a great way to recycle an old sink!

I hope you have enjoyed the journey through these gardens & remember to take time to smell the roses.....