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September 5, 2012

The Reward for Your Labors? Camping!

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In between the start of a new school year (for Joel and Adelaide) and the busy activity schedule that routinely follows the first day of school, our family breathed deeply and inhaled summer's last choking heat and ragweed pollen by camping in Decorah, that time-honored, familiar stomping ground. We sneezed, we spilled, we skipped our showers, and had a sensational time.

We set up our home away from home beneath a grove of cottonwood trees next to the Upper Iowa River at the Hutchinson Family Farm. After pitching our tent, we drove off to Seed Savers and spent a delicious afternoon strolling around the gardens, feeding the ducks, ogling the Ancient White Park cattle, and sampling the fruits of summer.

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Seed Savers hosted a Tomato Tasting during our visit. We tasted probably 80 varieties of tomatoes. Delicious. The children played for hours in a friendly sand pit with other little visitors, but they did break away long enough to attend a mini-lecture on seed saving and folded a little origami packet of seeds to take home

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My favorite of the tomato tasting was the charming, novel Igleheart's German Cocktail. I hope to host a cocktail hour in the future that features this little beauty, perhaps in the bottom of martini glass?

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The sun set on the Tomato Tasting as Molly and Doug drove up to Seed Savers, our prearranged rendezvous spot. We had not seen Molly and Doug since Christmas and loved every minute of our campout together (except for maybe the time when we had to call a locksmith to get their Scamp trailer door unstuck). We had good campfire suppers, a cart-and-pony ride from our campsite hosts, a sticky trip to the Whippy Dip, a trek up steep hills to see Effigy Mounds, a picnic by the mighty Mississip, meeting new friends, and a lot of fun.

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