Baby Doves

Hi my name is Mackenzee and this is my first time blogging, and I hope you enjoy!

A few days ago, I came home from a birthday party. My sister Kalin and her friend Kaitlin saw that my cat Mittens, had knocked two baby doves out of their nest from a tree. Kalin and Kaitlin put them in a box and I carried them into our garage. I was getting worried so I texted my dad, and asked him to give them water or something like that! He put grass in it so they could stay warm.

The next day it was storming out. So when the rain stopped we opened our garage door, so they could fly out. The bigger dove, (we named it Pepper) flew out. But the smaller one, (we named it Freckles) stayed in the box. So we put it under our porch and went back inside. 20 minutes later we saw that Freckles flew out of the box. We found them snuggled together under the bush. Every once in a while I would crack open the door and check on them.

The next day we saw their mom feed them! I thought she wouldn’t come back to them. But she did. They haven’t moved from there area yet, but when they do, Mittens will get to go back outside!

Iowa’s Art Bridge on the High Trestle Trail

Iowa Miners And The High Trestle Trail?

It’s no surprise that Iowa has farmers’ daughters.  But coal miners’ daughters?  You thought they were in Kentucky, right?  Well, yes.  But also in Iowa.  Surprised?  I was.   I’ve lived on the west coast of Iowa my entire life and I had no idea central Iowa once had a robust coal mining industry.

The industrious immigrants to this area were farmers in the summer and coal miners in the winter.  Not only did they provide heat for their families, but fuel to the trains that were  beginning to criss-cross the amber fields of grain.

Jump ahead a few decades and the once busy train tracks have been replaced with another type of traffic – the two-legged and two-wheeled type — pedestrian and pedal.  Considered a rail trail because it is built on land previously used by the railroad, the 25 mile long High Trestle Trail is a paved connector from Ankeny to Woodward, Iowa.  The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation helped purchase the land, which is in the four Iowa counties of Boone, Dallas, Polk, and Story, from the Union Pacific Railroad.

High Trestle Trail — An Iowa Trail — Night and Day

The High Trestle Trail Bridge is one that should be experienced both in the daylight and at night.  During the day, the paved trail is a pleasant, tree-lined walk.  Sharing the trail with bicycles requires a little communication, but everyone we encountered was friendly and having fun.  The trail is unlit so bring a flashlight with you after dark – not only to see with, but so you can be seen by the other walkers and cyclists.

The gem of the trail, located between Woodward and Madrid, Iowa, is the 13-story high, half-mile long “art bridge.”  The High Trestle Trail bridge is built on the original railroad trestle piers and crosses the Des Moines River.  Imagined and designed by renowned Des Moines, Iowa, artist David B. Dahlquist and RDG Dahlquist Art Studio,  the goal of creating a “destination for experiencing the art, the view, and the natural environment”1 has been accomplished ten-fold.

High Trestle Trail Bridge — An Iowa Gem

Huge monoliths arise at either end of the High Trestle Trail Bridge, each with “veins” of dark, formed ceramic tiles representing the coal found in the area.   These are the start of the art!  Strategically located across the half-mile bridge, square steel frames are angled over the bridge itself.  As you stand on the bridge and look forward, it appears as though the frames are connected to one another.  The illusion is intended to represent descending into a mine shaft.  And it works!

An amazing work of art seen during the day, experiencing it at night – with the steel sections over the Des Moines River lit up in blue LED lights – is breathtaking.  If you really want to experience art and be a part of it, travel to the High Trestle Trail Bridge after dark.  If you don’t really care about art, but you want to experience something really cool, then travel to the High Trestle Trail Bridge after dark.  Discover the scenic side of life.  It is definitely worth the trip!  Ydstoti!

1RDG Planning and Design:  Website

High Trestle Trail Bridge

Iowa Machine Shed Restaurant in Des Moines, Iowa

Iowa Machine Shed Restaurant

With a name like “Iowa Machine Shed Restaurant,” you should be prepared to get good, down-home, farm-fresh cookin’.  That is just what you get at this popular restaurant destination in Des Moines, Iowa.  Technically, its in Urbandale, and technically its called “The Machine Shed” but there is nothing technical about the good food they serve.  It is simple and delicious — and true to their five-word mission:  “Dedicated to the American Farmer.” 

While The Iowa Machine Shed food is definitely worth waiting for, you won’t mind waiting a bit if needed.  Located at Iowa’s “Living History Farms” in Urbandale, the Iowa Machine Shed is the only restaurant I know where you can get a ride on a hay rack (minus the itchy hay) pulled by a tractor.   Or linger in their country-store-style waiting area, shopping through their cookbooks and other fun household necessities like beautiful towels and clever kitchen gadgets.   You just might be disappointed if you don’t have to wait!

 Iowa Machine Shed Menu

Its best to come hungry.  After placing your order, your server brings out family-style ”fixins” — cole slaw, cottage cheese, fresh bread and spice cake.   The spice cake is a welcome change from the usual dinner rolls and is on my list of favorites at the Iowa Machine Shed.  On this particular trip, Roy got the meatloaf.   It was a stack of thick, homemade meatloaf, mashed potatoes, beef gravy, and french fried onions.   He said it was delicious.  (I sure hope he doesn’t expect this kind of meatloaf at home!  Mine is delicious, but I can see I’ll have to work on my presentation.)  My creamed chicken and biscuits were tasty as well, and just what I expected.

Ever on the search for the perfect apple dumpling, we did share one for dessert — with cinnamon ice cream.  Their signature dessert, we rated it as very good. 

Iowa Machine Shed at Least Once a Year

We get to the Iowa Machine Shed Restaurant at least once a year when we’re in Des Moines for the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association “Heartland Nationals” at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.  The Iowa Machine Shed staff never have a problem putting together a table big enough for 12 to 14 of us to sit around.  They feed us like family and treat us that way, too.  That’s part of what keeps us going back.  That and the food!  Iowa Machine Shed — it’s worth the trip!


Zombie Burger + Drink Lab

Zombie? In Iowa?

On a recent visit to our attorney in Des Moines, Iowa, I asked if he could recommend a good home-grown place to grab some lunch in the nearby hip East Village. Without hesitation he replied, “Zombie Burgers.” Admittedly, I’m a bit out of the loop of all the recent fascination with vampire and werewolf lore, but visions of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video instantly came to mind.  Intriguing.  Roy and I decided we had to check it out.  Plus, we were dying of hunger.  Uh, not really…!

We didn’t get an exact address before we left, so we were counting on our technology to help us get there.  Unfortunately, the Garmin had no Zombie in it, nor did “Places” on my Droid.  So I Googled it and got the address:  300 East Grand Avenue.  Zombie on Grand!

Zombie goreMet Bashed Burgers

I love a place that knows how to carry out a theme.  And Zombie Burgers + Drink Lab does just that.  We were there just before noon on a Friday in May.  The Drink Lab side of the restaurant was already full so the very normal looking non-zombie hostess suggested we check out the “quick service Zombie Burger counter” on the opposite side of the restaurant.  We did just that.

There was a bit of a line, made up mostly of young, working professional-looking people.  Not Zombie-ish at all!   Strategically placed gray duct tape helped hold the menus on boards above the ordering counter.

We were actually glad to have a bit of time to read the menu, just to appreciate its cleverness.  Salads were labeled “soylent Greens” and “brain Freeze” — the Zombie version of milkshakes, of course!  The hand-pressed, er…bashed, burger patties come in single, double tap, or triple.  We decided to each get a single “goreMet bashed burger.”  Roy got the “Zombie Burger” which has American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and Zombie sauce.  I got “Dawn of the Dead” — a burger topped with bacon, egg, American cheese, red onion, and mayo.  We got a fry basket of house cut fries and house-made dipping sauce.  Drinks were all one size which was convenient.  Who knew a Zombie could be so sensible?

I would rate our food as very good.  And I would definitely like to go back and try more things!  Like the “Frosted Flake Shake.”  How could that not be good?  Apparently the Drink Lab is known for their spiked milk shakes.  No wonder its a popular place with the East Village crowd!

Zombie Art

Original, colorful Zombie art hanging on the walls adds to the fun and helps carry out the theme.  The Zombie in the corner of the quick-service door was ready for any photo op, all decked out in his Zombie Burger cardigan.

The next time you’re in Des Moines, check out Zombie Burger + Drink Lab.  And if you have the Frosted Flake Shake, let me know how it is!  Eat with a Zombie…!