The first half of my experiment worked, so I’ll be including photos a little bit more often from now on. The second half didn’t, but that will have to wait for another day.
Anyway, I was giving a program recently over in Audubon, Iowa and I wanted to let everyone know who much I enjoyed the trip. First, I should explain that we raise Hereford cattle (they are beef cattle, red with a white face, blaze down the back, belly, and stockings). So it’s long been a lifelong dream to see Albert the Bull, the largest Hereford in the world. This gigantic statue sits outside of Audubon in it’s own park. I thought I had seen some large cement Hereford bulls before (there is a lovely one in Minnesota on the way to Pepin), but I was wrong. They wouldn’t even look like calves next to Albert. He’s HUGE! The informational display lets you push a button and he’ll talk to you. It’s great, well worth the wait.
Another thing I crossed off my life list was the Plow in the Oak. The story goes that a farmer left for the Civil War and left his plow leaning up against the oak tree. He never came back and over the years the tree grew around it. Whether the story is true or not, generations of Iowans have trouped to see this wonder, but it was actually more interesting when the oak was smaller and you could see more of the plow. I was surprised by how few photos this pulled up in an image search since I’ve seen lots of them in various publications over the years, but you can see one at the attraction link below.
Also, down the road in Kimballton is a replica of Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid that was made in his honor in Copenhagen. I always figured I may not see the original, but I hoped one day to get to this copy honoring the town’s Danish heritage. Unfortunately I didn’t realize Kimballton was so close until after the time schedule was set.
Those I knew about before, but I was surprised how well Audubon honored its namesake John James Audubon. There is a statue of him in the town square. Many copies of his prints hang in the town library and this spring over 400 tiles showing his art will be in the sidewalks around the park. They have done a great job and I was pleasantly surprised.
You can see some of the sites of Audubon here:
I should also thank Taylor Hill Lodge where we stayed. A converted 19th century barn served as the bed and breakfast. It’s situated on a century farm about 5 miles outside of Audubon. They really did a nice job with it. There were 6 rooms with baths connecting in between. I should mention it’s probably someplace you enjoy more with a group or at least one other person. There are trophy heads from an African safari and if I was all alone I might have found it just a little creepy, in the deep, dark night. However, it was a beautiful view during the day and a nice breakfast in the morning. It was still a frozen tundra when I was there, but when the garden is in full flower in must be breathtaking. If I was looking for a good central place for a family reunion, this would be perfect.
Visit their website at: http://thlodge.com/
UPDATED February 20, 2016: I still love Albert the Bull and when I found a lovely blog post by a fellow Albert fan I just knew I had to add it to this post.
I also fixed the link to the tourist information site about the Plow in Oak in Exira, Iowa and the link to a page about Audubon attractions. I made my normal few edits for clarity and added my signature block.
Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.