Field Fare & Family Fun Abound in Franklin County

We began with star gazing at Maynes Grove on Friday night.  (Editorial Comment: If you’ve never before seen the moon through a telescope, add it to your Bucket List. It’s a must see! From the “oohs and ahhs” I overheard Friday night, I believe several others share my opinion.)

Saturday began with an 8 a.m. tour of Machinery Hall, followed by boutique shopping on Main Street in Hampton before a feast of field fare at Roy & Jeanie Arends’ farm in Alexander.  Their soybean field was just a stone’s throw away from Latham Hi-Tech Seeds, where our scales were busy with growers bringing in varieties of Latham® brand soybeans.

Sunday brunch at Country Touch B&B with bloggers Jocelyn Wallace, Nathan J. Taylor, Claire Celsi, Jody Halsted, Laura Gaulke, Sara Broers, Heather Lilienthal , Nancy and Jon Swanson.

Carrying on Grandma Evelyn Latham’s tradition of hospitality, we offered our guests coffee and homemade apple cider plus apple crisp and pumpkin bars.  Since I received so many compliments on my baking, today I’m sharing both recipes on

One of my favorite comments made on Saturday came from Jocelyn Wallace.  You can see her quote, as well as comments posted by other bloggers, below.  Click on the links and see photos they’ve posted, as well.  Click here to read a related blog, “All In An Iowa Mom’s Day.”


jocelynwallace_ Jocelyn Wallace
In the cleaning room – does that thing do laundry too? @LathamSeeds [pic]:

allauremkt Laura Gaulke
I have to say, I’m pleasantly surprised at how interesting the #ag conversations have been since I don’t know about farming! #harvesttour

naswanson Nancy Swanson
corn, soybeans, combines, trucks, wind turbines, stars, Jupiter, Old Stone House, Maynes Grove, friendly people. #harvesttour

saramomof2 Sara Broers
Hampton, Iowa is the place to be~ Check out this awesome crew on the #Harvesttour 2011~ going on this weekend

deb works Deb Works
I posted 24 photos on Facebook in the album “Harvest Tour for Bloggers 3rd day”


Serves 6


  • 4 cups peeled, cored, sliced apples
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup softened butter


  1. Place apples in a lightly buttered baking dish, about 9 1/2 x 6 or 9-inch square.
  2. Add water.
  3. Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
  4. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  5. Sprinkle crumb mixture over the apples.
  6. Bake apple crunch at 350° for 35 to 45 minutes, or until apples are tender.
  7. Serve apple crunch warm with ice cream, if desired.

Pumpkin Bars


Bar Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 15 -ounce can pumpkin
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Bar Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy.
  3. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth.
  5. Spread the batter into a greased 13 by 10-inch baking pan.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Let cool completely before frosting.
  8. Cut into bars.


Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

  • 8 -ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting Directions:

  1. Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth.
  2. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined.
  3. Stir in the vanilla and mix again.
  4. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.


Photo from Sweet Pea's Kitchen
Recipe adapted from Paula Deen

Total Time: 45 min
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Yield: 48 small bars or 24 larger bars
Level: Easy