2 Weddings

We were lucky enough to be invited to two weddings today, so I’m thinking that this is going to be a really fun and busy Saturday! The first ceremony was going to start at 2:00 in the afternoon, so Daryl went out in the field this morning to get some more of the corn out. As for me? First thing that I had to do was to get a couple of wedding cards made and the gifts wrapped. My plan was to make two cards but with the same design. The thought is that it will save me some time. Well guess what? I messed up on the second card and had to change the whole thing. They turned out completely different from each other. Neither one if better than the other, just different. Check them out.DSCN9047DSCN9046 Now to get the gifts wrapped. I knew that I had some wedding gift wrapping paper in the craft room, and it didn’t take long for me to figure out that it wasn’t enough to wrap one gift much less two gifts! So I got my brown paper that I have a huge amount of and wrapped them in that. If you think that this roll looks big – well you’re right! DSCN9049Then I took some glitzy ribbon and stamped some dots all over the paper and just like that they were all wrapped. We grabbed something for dinner, got dressed and we were off for the day. The first wedding like I said was starting at two and in our church near the farm so we didn’t have far to go at all. Just as we walked into the church we saw our friends who were the parents of the groom. They looked a little nervous and excited at the same time. We found our seats and when the music changed you could see the parents of the groom and the groom walking up the aisle together. After they got to their seats, their son gave them a kiss and headed back to the entry of the church. There has been some medical issues in the family, and I know that I wasn’t the only one that had to wipe a tear away from my eyes. And before the ceremony even started none the less! But the wedding was beautiful and it seemed like everything went perfect! We congratulated them and told them that we’d be back later. Into the car we went and on to the next wedding.

Now the first wedding that we went to was really traditional. Big Catholic Church wedding. This next wedding was a wedding that the bride was getting married on their farm under the willow tree. As we drove down our friends long farm lane, the sun was shining and there was little or no wind at all. What a perfect day for an outside wedding. Now normally in October we can have rain or even snow, so they sure were blessed to have this weather! After we parked our car, we found our way around the big red barn (yea, pretty cool right?) and saw 250 chairs all set out in rows. And right in front of all of the chairs was this huge Willow Tree and alter table with roses on it. I guess the story goes that when this bride was little she would say that she wanted to get married under that tree sometime. Well, today was the day and the setting couldn’t have been more perfect. What little clouds there was in the sky, were the wispy ones that just kind of float. You could just catch the scent of the candles that were hung all along the aisle, and when we were waiting for the ceremony to start I could hear birds in the field nearby. The ceremony was really personal to the couple and just when you couldn’t think it could be any more awesome, her Dad and brother sang the most beautiful song. Both of them sing in different musical groups and even though I was sitting in the sunshine, I couldn’t help but shiver a little when they were singing. This wasn’t a cold shiver, but more of an overwhelming shiver. It was just perfect!

The Wedding under the Willow Tree

The Wedding under the Willow Tree

We went to this wedding’s reception and then headed back to the first wedding’s reception/dance.  A lot of our friends were still there and it was fun to see the parents of the groom just really enjoying themselves. The dance floor was packed pretty much all night and by the time we got home, we were bushed. But like I said earlier, how lucky we were to be invited to both these weddings and what a great day we all had!!

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Family Traditions

I had a chance today to snap a couple of pictures of our trees that we had planted on our farm tonight after work. I know that they won’t stay this way too long with the wind that we’re having, so I was glad that I had the chance tonight to get the pictures.  I’m not sure why all the trees are so beautiful this year, but who cares right? Now the old saying about looking in your own back yard really applies to how gorgeous these trees are. When I was taking the pictures, I started to think what they really represent to our family. See we planted these trees in memory of my Dad and of Daryl’s parents. It seems just like yesterday that they were planted and honestly it’s been years now since we actually did it. It’s a nice tradition that we have for our family and when we talk about the trees we call them by the name who they were planted for. Normally every year I ask William to stand by the trees and I take a picture of them. But this year that wasn’t going to work out, but I took the pictures anyway. Hopefully next year it’ll work that he’ll be home.

My dad's tree

My dad’s tree

Daryl's parents tree

Daryl’s parents tree

So after I thought about these memory trees, I started to look around our farm at the other trees that we’ve got planted. We have two evergreen trees that are named for each of the kids that are growing in our backyard. In the past we would take turns putting lights on either one or the other tree for Christmas, and I’m thinking that both trees just might be too tall this year.Last year I stood on the very top of the step ladder holding the broom and trying to get the lights up to the top. Come to think of it, that last strand still might be on the tree. oops! 

We’ve got apple trees planted the summer that Kyle started to run around the farm, and we planted a whole grove of trees that my brothers & Mom/Dad helped us plant.

When I was young, I used to hear the older folks talk about I remember when this or that tree was planted and I would think to myself, ‘how in the world do they remember that’? Seriously sometimes it’s hard to remember what I had for supper the night before. But this is different isn’t it? Just ask me about any tree on OUR farm and I can tell you when we planted it and why it was planted. And guess what? I think it’s a pretty cool family tradition.

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Chickens and their moods

We ran out of dog food again, which I just can’t believe. Now I know that our dogs are eating quite a bit of it, and the barn cats get their bellies full, but I’m wondering if the chickens are sneaking in the barn in the afternoon when the dogs are out and also getting their bellies full? I guess it really doesn’t matter who’s eating it, all I know is that we need more. So after work I went to my favorite farm store and found a very nice clerk and asked him if he would help me with some dog food. Daryl always makes fun of me that I just don’t load it up on a cart – but hey if this works I say go for it right? So after this guy got the biggest dog food that they sell on this roll cart, I thought let’s treat the chickens. I usually don’t buy chicken feed very often because honestly the whole farm is kind of like a buffet to them. But I was feeling kind of nice tonight and also if they are eating the dogs food, this might also make them stop. So onto my cart goes two bags of chicken feed. Now I’m set and off I go back home. Well the chickens knew something was up when I came into the coop with my bags, and once I opened the first bag they were pretty happy! But then I went and started to check out the chicken storage that William made me a couple of years ago. I wanted to put the feed in there so nothing would get into the feed or the chickens wasted it. This is when the trouble began. I moved the wooden part of the storage container and the chickens just started to scream. Now granted they’ve really never had anything change in their lives, but really? I moved the storage to the other side of the room and they wouldn’t eat anymore while I was in there and it sounded like someone just literally was getting their head cut off. (If they didn’t settle down soon – I was going to help them with that!)  But they’re just going to have to get used to it because that’s where it’s going to stay. Here’s a picture of what William made for the chicken coopDSC_0256

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Mystery Challenge 10-15-14

Are you ready for this weeks challenge?

Here’s the photo clueDSC_0249a

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Mystery Photo 10-8-14

And the answer is…

OK, below is the picture clue from last week. I also gave another clue to say that we find them in our farm buildings in the fall.

Clue pictureDSC_0211c

And this is the answer. It’s a barn spider! Now I’ve never known that this is actually it’s name, but if you believe what you read on the web :) that’s what they’re called. I just know them as spiders that we used to catch up in the granary as kids and put in jars. Then we’d sneak up on my one sister and scare the daylight out of her! Man those were the good ole days!  DSC_0211

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Starting the dryer

Daryl and I had some errands to run after work and of course since we were in town we decided to grab some supper. So about the time that we got home tonight, it was pretty dark outside. It seems to be getting dark so early any more and I sure wish we could go back to summer again!

But that’s not going to happen and with it raining all night last night and pretty much all day today the corn that was left on the grain wagons had got pretty wet. So Daryl decided when we got home tonight to set up the auger for the dryer bin and unload the corn in it. The corn had set out last night and with over 2 1/2 inches of rain, you can say that it probably needed to be dried down some. I was upstairs tonight and all of a sudden you can hear a noise and I just knew that it’s the bin starting up. Now I’m sure that this really isn’t a good sound to any farmer (well unless you’re having trouble starting the dryer!!) But it’s the sound of money literally burning up with the fuel that’s heating the corn that’s drying in the bin. But to me? Well, it’s kind of like the washer or dryer going when you are in the house. There’s just something kind of comforting about it. Well that is until we get the fuel bill! DSC_0245

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What to do today? Osborne Park – Elkader, Iowa

The second part of my day was going to check out the Osborne Park. It wasn’t too far away from the first stop that I made, and I got directions on how to get there without going the long way around. So I thanked my tour guide at the Motor Mill and off I went. Now I was supposed to take 3 right turns if I wanted to get back into town and 2 right turns and one left turn if I wanted to go to Osborne Park. And knowing that at Osborne they were celebrating their 40th Anniversary of Heritage Days, I knew which way I was going to turn. Well I’m driving and thinking this is just so beautiful. I’m not really a fall kind of person, and don’t normally get too excited about the leaves turning colors, but holy smokes it was pretty! So I turn my first right and life is good. I even stop and take a picture of the road.DSC_0265 Then I go further and take another right. Yup, the next one if my left turn. And you guessed it, I came up to the next  T intersection and I turned left. You know when you’re doing something and it just doesn’t feel right? Well, that’s how I felt. But it was two rights and a left so I should be good. So I’m driving and driving and I start to think.. was the first right I turned really a right turn or was it a corner? Crap! I was going the wrong way. So instead of turning around and coming back which would be the logical thing to do, I get out my phone and Google Map the way back. There just has to be a shorter way to get to this park! Well the clock was also ticking and what should have taken me maybe 10 minutes is going to take me way longer than that! But I decided not to freak out about it and just enjoy the scenery. Here’s the another photo that I took. DSC_0267I soon realized that I had absolutely no idea where I was driving,  and that the roads in this county are about the most crooked roads ever! I remember one thing that the tour guide told me. She said that this county does not have any stop lights in it at all. It’s one of the few in the Nation that can say that. And after driving on some of these roads, I’m thinking that maybe they should get a couple so you knew where you were going if you got lost! So out comes my phone again and now I’m thinking that I shouldn’t have drank all that water either. I thought maybe I could find some place along the road to stop - but that didn’t happen. It seemed like someone would just be driving behind me at the most inconvenient time. OK, finally after driving around on the back roads and getting back literally to where I turned left instead of right, I was back on track. It started to rain and I hesitated to even go at this point. The festival was only going to be going for about 1 1/2 hours more. But I still had to go to the bathroom and was getting kind of hungry, so I decided that I was going to find this park no matter what! And guess what? It was so easy to find once you’re on the right road. Yea, who would have thought. So I pulled into the area and parked the car. I grabbed some money and found myself at the festival. I know that it was getting to the end of the weekend for them, but it looked kind of fun!  So after checking it out, I went to find something to eat. I saw a sign that said Buffalo Stew and grabbed myself a bowl. It was really good! Here is where they made it and these are the guys that served it.

Stew cooking literally over an open fire!

Stew cooking literally over an open fire!

How could you say no to these guys?

How could you say no to these guys?

So after getting some stew in my belly, I found a local dairy that sells ice cream and a cup of butter brickle ice cream was next on my list. I watched an auction for awhile and also this Medicine Man entertaining some kids and then I was ready to head back home.

Medicine Man show

Medicine Man show

But I came across another stand selling some kind of sweet bread taco’s. Yum. After devouring that, I decided I better start back home. I asked some local girls which way was town and headed that way. This time I’m not planning on getting lost! Below is the history of the town and a couple of pictures that I took. Now that I know how to get here, I’d like to come back again to check it out even more. And my big purchases of the day? Two bars of homemade soap. I can hardly resist buying any homemade soap when I find it.

HISTORY : “The name of the center comes from the gentleman that first occupied this site in 1865 and named it after himself- Thomas Osborne.  In 1878 Mr. Osborne began selling plots of land in order to form the town of Osborne.  By 1880 Osborne had grown to include 50 full time residents, a 2 ½ story hotel, blacksmith shop, general store, grain elevator and railroad depot. However, due to low food prices the town began to fade until the town quickly shrank to less than 10 people.  Today there is still one person and two dogs who boast that they live in the town of Osborne.”


Pumpkin winner!

Pumpkin winner!

Things were winding down when I finally got there

Things were winding down when I finally got there

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What to do today? Motor Mill- Elkader, Iowa

Daryl had to get up early this morning to meet the other guys also going to the football game, so he said good-bye and off he went.

I was still in bed when he left and was trying to think just what I should do today. I wanted to go kayaking, but everyone was busy doing other stuff. So that wasn’t going to work. I could work on getting the house cleaned, but that was a lame idea! I just didn’t know what the day was going to bring. So after I got the cows fed and the other chores done I still wasn’t any closer to my answer. I did some housework and decided that I might just want to go to this one Mill that someone at work was talking about. It wasn’t that far away, only about 1 1/2 hours and it was pretty nice outside. Yup, that’s what I was going to do. I pulled it up quick on the internet and found that this is the only day that they were going to be open this year. It was like it was fate or something! Then I saw that not too far from the Mill was an annual festival that was celebrating it’s 40th year. SCORE!! I’m in business. I quick changed clothes and I was off. Now I wasn’t sure where either of these places were, but I wrote down some basic directions before I left and honestly how hard could it be right?

MOTOR MILL – Clayton County, Iowa

This was going to be my first stop of the day. I wasn’t sure where I was actually going, but I knew the general idea. Well I found out, that maybe I didn’t have a clue where it actually was! I knew that I was on the right highway from my notes, but I kept watching for one of those brown signs that say “turn here”. Finally after driving up and down this one highway and hoping that no one was watching, I finally found the sign that I was looking for. It said that it was 7 miles from the turn. OK, this shouldn’t be too hard right? It was all gravel travel, but growing up on a gravel road and now living on a gravel road,this should be a piece of cake. OMG!! Yea… not so much!! I was driving, driving, driving, and finally found another brown sign that pointed to the right. Well at least I was on the right road and took a deep breath and turned right. Now I don’t know about you, but I have honestly have never been on any road like this in my life!! I took this picture, but it doesn’t do it any justice.

It was steeper than this picture can ever show!

It was steeper than this picture can ever show!

And when I got on top of the next hill, I literally stopped the car because I couldn’t see the road in front of me. It was like you were on the top of the roller coaster and just got to the top. Yup, just like that! Crazy stuff! And then I literally laughed out loud when I came across this sign around the next corner.



Really? Now it’s going to get worse? I just couldn’t imagine that! The good thing about it was that the scenery was absolutely beautiful and a road like I’ve never driven on before. When I finally got to the Mill I was telling the tour guide about my adventure and she just smiled and said that when she drives on it she can’t believe the road either! There is a better way to get back to the highway, and she’d give me directions when I left.

Now for the Mill.

Motor Mill, Elkader Iowa

Motor Mill, Elkader Iowa

It was absolutely so cool! It’s located on the Little Turkey River and the time of the year couldn’t have been better. There was a total of 5 buildings on the property, the Mill, the Cooperage (where they made the flour barrels), the Stable (for the people who stayed at the Inn), the Inn (farmers stayed here while their grain was ground), and the Ice House (ice cut from the river and kept inside for the Inn). But the one that I really wanted to check out was the Mill. I’ve never even heard about this mill until a couple of weeks ago. When this 6 story Mill was built back in the late 1860′s, it cost $50,000 to build the mill. $50,000 in our time would be almost $3,000,000. And then they spent another $40,000 on equipment and out buildings. I guess you can say that the 3 partners who built this mill had a lot of money back in those days!  There are so many facts about this mill that it’s going to be too hard to put them all in this post. But some of the cool things that I learned today is that when the mill was running, no one was allowed to be in the building who didn’t work there. That way, no one could see how they milled the product and take away any trade secrets. The other thing that I learned it that all the wood and limestone has small holes in them. The reason is because in order to get the 5 foot slabs of limestone in place or the huge boulders of wood,  they hooked it with a large hook and rope and then used a pulley system to put it in place. The mill was powered by a dam that was built that supplied at least 250 hp even at low water. They used the water to power turbines that moved the big mill stones. The building is built with a limestone base sitting on bed rock. And after all these years and multiple floods, it hasn’t moved a bit.

So here are some pictures that I took today and if you ever get a chance to check out this Motor Mill, I would definitely suggest doing it!

I like this picture, so I added it to show the water and the tree colors

I like this picture, so I added it to show the water and the tree colors

I had absolutely no idea that there was this many mills in the area!

I had absolutely no idea that there was this many mills in the area!

Limestone bluffs used to make the Mill. This is across the river from the Mill

Limestone bluffs used to make the Mill. This is across the river from the Mill

Limestone is all around you when you're driving to the Mill

Limestone is all around you when you’re driving to the Mill

People have carved their names into the limestone inside the buildings for over 90 years!

People have carved their names into the limestone inside the buildings for over 90 years! All the walls are full of people who have come and gone through out the years.


And the photo of the day is a pretty simple one. It’s the bridge that is by the Mill that goes over the Little Turkey River. It sounds like a lot of people kayak this river and I’m telling you that I sure hope that I’m on that list next year!

Looking down the bridge

Looking down the bridge

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Girls day out

Daryl got done with beans and had them hauled into the Co-op late last night, so today he was going to ‘open the field’ and take the first rounds of corn out. This way he can see if the combine with the corn head is working OK and he can check out the corn field. This isn’t something that he needed my help with,  so I picked up my Mom this morning and we were off to town. The weather was just perfect for a drive and so we took the long way there. It’s normally about an hour drive and I think it took us about 1 1/2 hours. First thing is to get something to eat. I know… that doesn’t really sound like shopping, but we were both hungry so we found a restaurant that we both liked and got our bellies wayyyyy too full! Next stop – the mall. Mom had some shoes that she needed to return, so I took them to return and left her to see if she could find a couple of things for herself while I was gone. She had great luck and I was happy that she found some stuff. After hanging out in the mall for awhile, off to the new craft store that just opened up in town. I didn’t need anything in the mall, but I was anxious to check out this store.  I had a coupon (no surprises here right?) and I was in business. When we walked in, Ma asked if I needed a cart. I told her that there was no way that I needed a cart and grabbed one of those plastic baskets. Yea, it didn’t take long and I knew that this was a mistake. Do you know that those baskets really don’t hold that much? I found tons of stuff that was 1/2 price in the scrap booking aisle that I just had to have! By the time I got to the check out line, the blood was almost totally gone from my right arm because of how heavy my basket had gotten. But it was some treasures and it was TONS of fun just checking out the store! Now when we got back in the car we talked about a couple of family weddings coming up next year and decided to drive back across town to see what this one department store had for dress clothes. We were going to just look and laughed on the way home when we looked in the back seat at the purchase that Ma made from that store. I swear that you have better luck finding something when you say to yourself that you don’t need it for quite awhile! But she had great luck and found the most beautiful dress top for the next wedding. After a strawberry ice cream malt, we found ourselves back home again. What a successful day we both had.

Mom and I

Mom and I

And for Daryl? Well he was able to get a couple of loads of corn out and is anxious to get back in the fields more next week. He said everything was working pretty good and hoped that it stayed that way.

Full loads of corn that will go into the dryer at our farm

Full loads of corn that will go into the dryer at our farm

And tonight he’s getting his winter coats lined up for the Viking’s football game he’s heading to tomorrow. I wonder what  I should do while he’s gone?

The photo of the day is that of our neighbors bean field. They were done combining the corn, so the past couple of days they’ve been working on the round bales that they made from the leftover corn stalks. Now I know that larger farmers need the round bales and we’ve had someone make us some also every year. But I sure am a small square bale girl myself. :) DSC_0244

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When I’m looking in the refrigerator I notice that the soup and lasagna is all gone that I made a couple of days ago. That’s a bad thing. What that means is that there’s nothing in the fridge that Daryl can quick grab and warm up when he’s done in the field for the day. So it’s time to make a couple more things. He’s working on the soybeans tonight, and I want to have whatever I make done when he comes in.

The first thing that I want to make is a Chicken Casserole. Now I know that Daryl doesn’t really like casseroles, but he does like the one that my sister makes so I’m going to give this recipe a try. It’s easy & fast.. and even more important it’s forgiving. It’s kind of like my sister’s recipe so it should be OK.

I put everything in my dutch oven but you can use a 9 x 13 pan. Spray your baking dish with an oil spray. I forgot this part and it didn’t stick, but you’re supposed to do it. See, here’s where the forgiving part started.

  • You need 2 cups of cut up chicken. It can be what you have in the fridge, deli, or just boil a couple of pieces quick. And if you have more or less than 2 cups? Well that’s OK. Into your baking container that goes.
  • Then add 1 lb of broken up spaghetti that has been cooked
  • 1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup green pepper diced, 1/2 cup red pepper diced. If you want more or less then just do that.
  • 1 medium onion diced. Same rule as the peppers, more/less?
  • 2 cans of condensed chicken soup
  • 2 cups of hot water
  • salt & pepper
  • Mix everything together & top with cheddar cheese

    I put everything in one pan and then mixed it together

    I put everything in one pan and then mixed it together

  • Bake 350 for 4 to 50 minutes.
Into the oven it goes

Into the oven it goes

Now I confess it didn’t taste as good as when my sister makes her recipe, but it wasn’t a bad dish that you can make really fast!

And just like that it's done!

And just like that it’s done!


I also make some potato soup and have that in the fridge for the upcoming days. Our house is smelling pretty good about now!

The photo of the day is that of our chickens. They hate wind (Smart chickens!!) but they like the sunshine. So they all meet under our hay wagon for the afternoon.


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