Just a couple of photo’s today – it’s raining again

Here are a couple of photo’s that I took today, well because it’s raining again. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that we’ll be literally praying for rain in July, but for now? Well we’re going to start to pray that it would stop pretty soon!

So my first photo is what it looks like outside this afternoon. Pretty yucky! But the grass is loving it. DSCN8879

The second photo is that of our chickens. They don’t even want to go outside with the weather like this! It’s around 43 degrees outside and inside it has to be warmer for them. DSCN8877

And the third photo? Well it’s a picture of my Lazy Lavender soap. Now I’m not saying that I’m an expert or anything like that with the soap making – but I’m kinda thinking that I’m rocking this look! Each color layer is a layer of soap (makes sense) And in these bars I poured 26 layers! And you thought it was just a matter of dumping together some oil and lye….. DSCN8876

 

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Spaghetti Squash

On my quest to try to eat better I have decided to give spaghetti squash a try. 

Before I go any further I need to confess something. I love pasta. I don’t just like it or think it’s OK, I truly LOVE pasta! 

So for me to think that maybe I should change it up a little bit is kind of a big thing! And that’s just exactly what I did. I decided to give it a try. 

First thing first. How do you make it? Do you know that there is a ton of different ways to prepare this squash? Trust me on this one. So below is the recipe that I used to get the squash ready and then what I put on top of it. 

Preheat oven to 350 degree, drizzle some olive oil on a pan, and cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. As you can tell I used my computer to help with this one! DSCN8867

Place the squash in the pan upside down and bake for 30 minutes or until the knife goes into it and it’s softDSCN8868

While that was cooking, I melted a little coconut oil and shelled some raw shrimp and cooked them until they were done. I removed them from the pan and added a bunch of different vegetables and cherry tomatoes and cooked all of this until it was hot inside.DSCN8871Then I added the shrimp back to the pan and BAM! That was the topping. 

Now for the squash – I scrapped out the inside of them, added some salt and pepper to the squash and then topped it off with my vegetable/shrimp mixture. The final touch was to drizzle some olive oil on top of it all. It was really good! Kind of a lot of work – but still pretty good.  DSCN8873

And for the seeds? I cleaned the gunk off of them. Which by the way is pretty gross if you ask me,DSCN8869and drizzled some olive oil on top with salt and pepper. I tossed them into a 250 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Not bad. Not caramel popcorn by any means- but not bad. DSCN8874

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Crazy weather going on

It’s been really weird weather lately and I sure hope it’s just a phase and not something that is going to be a theme or anything for the summer. 

We got around 3/4 of an inch of rain last night which wasn’t that uncommon for April, but today the wind blew and then blew some more. There was no one in the fields today and hopefully the wind is bringing up some warmer weather. 

When I got home today from work, I knew the front porch looked a little odd but I just couldn’t place it what was different. And then I realized that the dogs beds, the front rug, and yes – the Christmas tree holder and wreath it was sitting in was gone. Yup, gone. After looking around the one dog bed was in the south lawn with the tree holder, the rug was on the side of the house, and the other dog bed was north of the house. 

But the Christmas wreath? Just not sure right now. But with the wind blowing like it’s nuts outside, I’m thinking wreaths are pretty cheap anyway if I have to buy a new one. 

So what am I doing in the house tonight with the wind howling outside? Well making soap of course. I ran out of olive oil last night so I ended up not make any. Yup, none at all last night. It kinda felt good and bad at the same time. So for now I’m trying to make up for me slacking last night. Whew!

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Update on the babies

With literally tractors and farm equipment going back and forth on all the roads, and in every field you can see someone working up the ground, on our farm it’s no different. Daryl has been busy and I’m not sure what he’s doing most of the time but every once in awhile he gives me updates. 

I did catch that he had all our corn in which is a great thing! So now he’s working on getting ready to put in the soybeans. I’ve been busy after work these past few days and haven’t had a chance to catch up to take a picture of the fields lately, so hopefully I’ll get out there tomorrow night.

So with Daryl in the fields that brings me to making sure that all our animals are happy and fed. I grabbed my camera tonight to give you some quite pictures of some of them. 

First off is Charles with his dirty knees. (do calves have knees?)DSCN8853He is so stinking cute but a little shy. I’m working on trying to get him calmer so I can pet him but he’s hanging out too much with Sunny and well Sunny is wild! He runs through the cattle yard with both his back feet kicking up as high as he can. I’m not sure why he does this, but for some reason he really likes to! Daryl and I are going to have to try to catch both Sunny and Charles this coming week to castorate them. Then we’ll see how high Sunny kicks the next day. 

And because I’ve got meetings and other things that I do after my ‘regular’ job, I didn’t get to chores until later tonight. I’m thinking if Sassy could talk, I think she would ask just what in the world have I been doing! She looks kinda crabby if you ask me. DSCN8861

Here is a picture of Audrey. The cows have a pecking order when they eat and the younger cows eat when the elders say they can. And for Audrey that means she either has to sneak in and get some food or she’ll have to wait until they’re done. DSCN8859

And finally here’s a picture of our little chickens and our huge smiling ducks! DSCN8865They have grown a lot and seems to continue to grow. I tried to pick one of those ducks up and hold it but holy smokes! It screamed and then screamed some more. It got the little chickens so worked up that they almost flew to the top of the tank. And that’s pretty high! I knew that they were causing a big ruckus because when I gave up trying to pet the duck and was leaving the coop, two big cats were by the front door along with the dogs. They were looking at me like, ‘if we can’t eat them , than just what are YOU doing?’

 

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Weekend Chores

Well I knew it was going to be a busy week and weekend, and boy was I right! The week consisted of Daryl working in the field most of the time and for me?  I spent a lot of it catching up with laundry, paperwork, and some committee things that I’m involved in. 

And of course – making soap

I’m still working on building up my inventory and this weekend I made the soap that’s one of William’s favorites. It’s called Morning Sunshine and it’s named after one morning when I was on the porch looking east at our windmill and saw the sun coming up with just a blaze of colors. 

So I decided to show you what all goes into it when you’re making it. 

First you have to get out your supplies. Check out how I changed this process. It works really well for me but takes up some serious space in our house. DSCN8847After you have the ingredients mixed and are cooling to the temperature of around 110 degrees,  you have to get the molds ready. I like to use my wooden ones and you have to line them with freezer paper so the soap can come out easy. OK, note to self – be very very careful of the cutting bar of the box of freezer paper. I cut my thumb tonight on that cutting bar and you would have sworn that I cut my finger off or something. Well after I gave myself some first aide I went back to lining my molds. And guess what? I couldn’t tear that paper to save my soul using the cutting bar on the box! Maybe it went dull after it cut MY finger! 

Then after all that excitement, and the temperature was right, the soap is divided into 4 containers and colored and scented. There’s one small squeeze bottle with white in it also for the top.  Because I don’t want the colors to mix and I’m on a tighter budget than probably the most, I used cardboard as my divider and put it in really snug so the soap colors stay where it should be. DSCN8850Then you pour both colors at once, let it set for a minute or two and then lift out the cardboard. DSCN8851And Shazam! Now let it sit for 4 to 6 weeks you can sell it.

Here’s two loafs that I made yesterday that will need to be cut tomorrow. I didn’t do too bad with my old cardboard dividers now did I?DSCN8849

And what’s on the agenda for next week? A couple of meetings after work, tilling the garden, trying to keep up with the lawn mowing, and of course making soap :)

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Regret

I seriously don’t think anyone should hold a regret – well until now. And do you know why I’m saying that? It’s because I regret never seeing Prince in concert. 

With Prince dying today I just honestly couldn’t believe it! Seriously! I mean Daryl and I were just watching Purple Rain on the TV this week for about the hundredth time (OK that’s an exaggeration)  And I said it earlier this week, as I’ve said it a million times, that I REALLY would love to see him in concert.

Now where does the regret come in? Well quite a few years ago I was in Milwaukee for work and Prince was in concert at a Summer Fest in town. Yea, awesome right? Well I was trying to convince some of the others at work to go but no one was interested at all. So I went back to my hotel pretty crabby and mad that I wasn’t going to go. This was a very poor decision and I even knew it at the time. Yup! That’s right. I should have gone alone and I’ve been regretting that decision ever since.

So now with Prince passing away I will never have a chance to see him in concert. Ever.

Well, just like the song that he sings – “All good things, they say, never last” But for some reason I’m betting my regret feeling is going to last a very long time!

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Who is screaming?

Well if you are visiting us on our farm this past week and you hear a scream, it might just stop you in your tracks. I know that Mom was visiting us tonight and when she came in the house she said just what in the world was going on outside! 

And I knew it could just be one thing. It was one of our peacocks. See this time of the year they’re looking for friend and no one is safe. Just see who was checking out Daryl when he came home tonight! Yup, Sam who is one of our peacocks. DSC_0408

I even have to wait to put out our St.Francis statue in front of our house because we’ve had situations where the peacock for some very strange reason would stand in front of it and shake his feathers and then scream as loud as they could! Now this is bad enough but because we live so close to the highway it can be just darn right embarrassing. Maybe they’re kinda blind or something who knows, but poor St. Francis.  I’m just saying.

I think the worst thing that ever happened with our peacocks was that Sam headed up to one of our neighbors to watch some TV. See our peacocks love to watch TV. They will stand on our porch and watch the TV from the french doors and I guess we’ve just gotten used to it. But this one night Sam the peacock went to the neighbors and I don’t know if she turned the channel or what, be he started to scream. And then he screamed some more right under her window where she was sitting! Well we had no idea that any of this was going on until the phone rang and the neighbor asked us if we would come get our animal away from their house. (kinda funny if you ask me!) So Daryl went and got some boots on and thought he field he went to find our peacocks. Yup, there Sam was in our farm neighbors back yard. Now if you have never seen a peacock being herded through a field before – well let’s just say you are definitely missing some entertainment. With a lot of coaxing and arm waving, finally everyone was home for the night.

I love our peacocks and well Daryl just kinda puts up with them. With our anniversary coming up I wonder if a couple of new baby peacocks would be a good anniversary gift? I’ll have to look it up when it’s appropriate to give animals as a gift. I’m betting a 33 year anniversary year don’t you? 

So here is a picture of Sam finding Sally our peahen finally showing a little bit of interest in him later on tonight. DSC_0411

And here is Sam in all his glory! DSC_0409

 

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It’s official – I’m taking over the house

I don’t know how this happened, but I think our house has been slowly being taken over by  no one else but ME! So I don’t even have anyone else to blame for all the clutter. I really don’t like clutter at all so this is really a challenge for me to say the least.

Well with my next show coming up in June, I have to have all the soap made that I want to take by the first week of May. Yup, I’ve been busy! With almost all of my work needing to take place in the kitchen, I’ve even had to move the kitchen table in a spot that we’ve never ever in our life sat before. Honestly it isn’t too bad, but after skyping with the kids on Sunday and when they saw the room – well I don’t think they are in favor of it. But for me? Well I need to be able to get my cart around the house and especially in the kitchen and this new layout sure helps with that! DSCN8844

So with all my soap making lately,  our house tonight has the smell of chocolate espresso in the kitchen, pomegranate, black current and cranberry fig soap along with an almond biscotti soap in the laundry room. DSCN8845I’ve got some lemon verbena yankee soap drying beside a lavender soap that’s also drying. And in the back room it has an aroma of fresh cut grass and red apples.DSCN8846

And you know what? Our house (even though cluttered) has never smelt so good!

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Happy Birthday Daryl!

Today is Daryl’s birthday and what a fun weekend we had! 

We had a wedding on Saturday in Des Moines, so after all the animals were fed really well and had gotten checked twice before we left, we headed south to get to the hotel where the wedding was being held.

We did get there a little early with the hope that we could check into the hotel also early, and with luck on our side and were able to get into our room and settled in before the wedding.

This wedding was a son of some good friends of ours and with the service, reception, and dance all at the hotel that we are staying it, we knew that the day was going to be fun and we were right!

Then on Sunday – Daryl’s birthday, we headed home to get a couple of things done around the farm and house before we talked to the kids.  Daryl checked out the field that he wanted to plant this week to see if there were any more rocks in there and then decided to wait until tomorrow to get serious about planting corn. But he spent many trips back and forth to the farm to have all the equipment lined up and ready to go! 

Well with that plan in mind, we took the Cheville out for a drive and supper at a local hangout. We laughed because we weren’t sure if we should order a medium pizza or large an to give you and idea on how much we had leftover, this is our ‘To Go’ box AFTER we had eaten! Maybe we should have ordered a small instead?20160417_185841_resized

On the way back from supper we could see more neighbors in the fields than we were expecting.  So when we got home Daryl decided to change clothes again and see what the fields actually look like. I didn’t see him again until it was time to talk to the kids. Not sure what he was doing, but I’m sure it had something to do with planting corn. 

Now with our kids not always able to be together for family birthday’s we do what we need to for everyone to get together to celebrate.20160417_210615_resized So usually Skyping is on our agenda and let me just say that it works really well for our family when we can’t get together in person. 20160417_201648_resized

With Daryl blowing out the candles while the boys sang Happy Birthday, and presents were unwrapped, it’s time to cut off a piece of birthday cake before we head to bed and start the next week that’s ahead of us. 

I’m thinking that it’s going to be busy :)

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In the zone man!

Well I think I’ve done it again. I’ve made a commitment to do another show and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to pull it off. 

See I looked at the invitation really fast and it looked like a good fit for me and my soap so I jumped in. Makes sense right? 

Yea, well I looked at the details the other day and realized that I signed up for a two day show. Now not to downer debbie here, but HOLY SMOKES! How much soap will I need for that? 

Well after the show that I just did and filling orders for a couple of the stores that are carrying my soap – I think I have literally around 20 bars of soap left. And the one store has contacted me since last Saturday and asked for more again. AWESOME!!! But that also means I better get cooking don’t you think?

So my quest started two nights ago. I ordered around 25 items from the soap supply company that I usually order from and then last night I ordered again. Just to give you an idea on what I’m ordering, I’ve got a couple of 35 gallon pails coming. The motto is:  Go big or go home.

With the show in the first week of June and with having to have the soap sit at least 4 weeks before you can use it… yup I’m cutting it close … again!!

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