Getting organized

It’s that time of the year again when we gather up our bike shorts and suntan lotion and head to the west side of Iowa for an annual bike ride. Our group is pretty much the same but this year Daryl won’t be able to go :(

With the weather absolutely horrible these past few days (heat index around 113 F), it’s for sure not weather that you want to be climbing the hills with your bicycle with. I mean I am always at the end of the pack and when you throw in some heat and hills – well you might as well add some headwind! OK, I’m really not hoping for this combination. 

BUT after saying that – it’s awesome that it’s this terrible heat wave is this week and maybe it’ll get it out of it’s system by next weekend. 

So you would think that I’ve been riding my bike a lot and really prepared and organized right? Yea, not so much! I haven’t been home much because of traveling for work – so who knows how this upcoming week will turn out! But my bags are pretty much packed and just a few more things to do tonight and off to bed I go. I’ve got a busy week coming up. (now seriously is there ever a time when it’s not busy?) 

Ragbrai box

Wish me luck and I’ll catch up with you when I get back home! 

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Chicago here I come

Well I’m off to Chicago for 4 days for work so I’ll catch up with you when I get back!

Have a great weekend!

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Save the tomatoes!

I stood in front of our garden tonight and thought to myself if I really wanted to tackle the weeds that have grown like crazy these last couple of days… weeks, or not?  

Well, I really wanted to have some tomatoes this year to can and I also wanted to see how the celery and peppers were going to turn out – so I guess that answered my question and I went in. 

Now was it fun? No! I filled up a small trailer that we pull behind the lawn mower and called it a night. I rescued the tomato plants and some other things in the garden and that was about all I was going to do for now. 

With the hot weather coming this week, I’m kinda wondering how the plants are going to react to it. I mean with some of the weeds as tall as some of the plants, they kinda shaded them. Oh well, too late now! 

 

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Lavender

This post is about lavender – both my soap and the flower.

It was pretty coincidental that when I stopped in at my sisters after work tonight,  that she asked if I wanted some lavender to take home for my soap. Little did she know that I was brewing up a batch as we spoke of just that – lavender soap. 

Well I’m not that crazy to say no, so I said absolutely! With a baggie full of the fresh cut flowers, back home I went with my car smelling absolutely awesome! 

Now what should I be doing with them? I debated if I should hang them or dehydrate them. I decided on dehydrating them and so for now they’re cooking in our cellar. And guess what? Instead of our cellar smelling like beef jerky when I’ve got the dehydrator going, it’s smelling pretty floral down there! Yup, whoever said that change isn’t good :) 

Judys lavender

And for my soap? Well this was the first batch that I’ve made with my new soap containers and at first I wasn’t just sure what I was thinking about them. They are a little smaller than I was thinking they would be, but after I used them on my lavender soap and took a second look at how they came out – I’m digging the new equipment. 

Now to get on the stick and make a bunch more soap. We’ve got a busy July (surprise surprise !) but with another trade show coming up in September, I seriously don’t want to pull a couple of the all nighters that I did with the last trade show to get ready.

So for the photo of the day I’m sharing a picture of my lavender soap. With each change of color of the soap means that I added a new layer to the bar. lavender soap

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And how does your corn grow?

Check out Daryl’s corn. 

If you remember just one week ago we took this picture on the 4th of July Daryl in corn fieldand tonight when we were on the other farm I took this picture.DSC_0724 You can almost hear it growing! 

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Things you find in the yard

Late last night our dogs just starting barking like crazy and then they did what normal dogs would do. They tore off through the yard chasing something. They were peacefully laying on the porch and at first it looked like it might be a ploy not to have to get locked up for the night. But it was such a funny bark that I knew something was very wrong. 

And wrong it was! 

We still don’t know what they really were barking at, but we did find whatever they were chasing was probably doing. What we found was left of a peahen!!!!!! 

My stomach just hurt. See we know that we have fox in the area and my guess is that a fox caught this peahen and killed it. Now I don’t know how in the world he could have caught her because peacocks are very very tough! They are so strong that you better make sure you know what you’re doing if you really want to catch one. 

Now it just didn’t make sense why our peahen (Sally) would have gotten caught. But it definitely was a peahen. My only hope was that there was a strange peahen in our neighborhood a couple of weeks ago and maybe, just maybe, it was that one. Now that would be a long shot don’t you think? But it was the only thing that I could think of when I was laying awake in bed for the long hours after I should have been asleep. 

So tonight I asked Daryl if he saw the peacocks and he said that he didn’t really see them today at all. OH NO!! Maybe the bones and a few wings left from the one in our yard actually was Sally! 

Well tonight I went looking for her myself and guess what? I found her! She was hanging out with the cows in the yard and it seems like Sassy and Audrey were keeping on eye out for her. DSC_0737

I just laughed out loud tonight when I was trying to take this picture because both Scarlet and No Ears thought that I was only in the cow yard to give them treats or something. Now normally that’s a true statement, but for tonight I was just trying to snap a picture. And when I stepped back so they wouldn’t keep trying to lick the camera and my face, well Scarlet could still reach me and she started to lick my legs!

I think I’ll buy them some apples tomorrow. 

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No sun in Sunday!

I really wanted to go on a full day bike ride today because I’ve got a week long bike ride coming up and well to be honest I’ve got only around 28 miles of training in so far. And if you’re thinking to yourself  – – I wonder if that’s a good amount? The answer is NO!! So I’m hoping to cram in a lot this week because I’ll be gone for about a week for work and well then it’s time for the ride. 

So I got up early and Daryl was going to get chores done quick and then we were going to get on our bicycles and ride. 

Well, not so much! When we were in the house getting ready, all of a sudden the outside sky got really dark and it was like a huge flying saucer was hovering over our house. In reality it was a huge cloud. I tried to get a picture of it, but with it being right over our farm it wasn’t going to happen. 

So I’m posting a picture that one of my friends took of the storm that went through today. As you can see, it was pretty impressive!

My friends picture that she took this morning of the storm cloud

My friends picture that she took this morning of the storm cloud

But with only rain and a lot of lightning, the cloud and storm hung around for pretty much of the day and the day was pretty gloomy. 

Now there wasn’t going to be any bike riding today or even getting in a good run! And the only thing left to do was to do some laundry and make some soap! I really don’t want to get into the situation again when I run out of soap and I noticed that I’m getting a little low on the Lazy Lavender soap so that’s what was made in our farm kitchen today. Because it’s been awhile since I made any of my soaps lately – I’m telling you it was a lot of fun! It didn’t hurt that I got to use some new soap pour containers for the first time either. 

Lazy Lavender

Lazy Lavender

With about 4 loads of laundry done and my soap made, I decided to run and get some groceries. I’ve spent a lot of time in grocery stores in my lifetime, but I’ve never had what happened to me tonight. See I was hovering in the vegetable section and all of a sudden this terrible screeching noise started. I looked at the guys in the meat section and they were looking back at me. They seemed just as confused as I did. Then I saw the emergency lights going all over the store. OK, now we’ve either got a fire alarm going on or there is another storm brewing. Well no one was too nervous about this whole situation and they just kept calling on the PA system for Emergency to call the office. And guess what I was thinking the whole time? I was thinking – I don’t smell any smoke yet and the weather looks pretty good outside,  so I sure hope that they’ll check me out before the fire gets too bad! So I hurried and made my way to the checkout counter and they said it was a false alarm. But did that stop the firetrucks? Nope. They showed up and blocked the front entrance to the store. Next the fire chief come in looking for the Manager and all the workers got pretty focused on their work and didn’t look up. I overheard one of them say that they think that a kid pulled the alarm but they weren’t sure.  

After that, things went back to normal in the store. When I got home I got the groceries unloaded, supper made, some housework done, and then the best part of the night was skyping with the kids in New York. 

What a great weekend that we had again! I’m getting kind of used to these and I sure hope that we have many more before the summer is over! 

And who said old milkhouses can’t be pretty?  Here is my picture of the day: DSC_0719

Posted in Family, Picture of the day, Riding bikes, Soap | 1 Comment

Perfect weather today – kayaking and races were on the agenda!

I debated going kayaking today because the weather was going to be just perfect. Now I know that this doesn’t make much sense, but you know that there is always stuff that you think you should be doing. So guess what I did?

I went kayaking with a friend :)

And with the weather around 80 degrees with no clouds in the sky with a slight breeze – yea it was the right idea!feet kayaking

We ended up going to a different spot to start with and that was also fun! It was still on the Upper Iowa river but a whole different area that before. Now granted there wasn’t the hight cliffs and bluffs as what you would see around Decorah, but on this part of the river there also wasn’t all the people and just tons and tons of trees. It was beautiful!

The river was high on Saturday so we literally just had to float on the water and steer ourselves the right way once in a while. Shazam!!

Because the water was up, it also meant that we got down to our pick up spot also early. So once I got home and cleaned up, it was time to head to the stock car races. See we usually go to the races once a year and tonight was the night.

We got there with the races just starting, we laughed when we walked up to the Grandstand because with the smell of gasoline in the air and dirt flying off the track, well we knew that we were in the right spot. 

Now even though this track is part of a small town race track, but where will you go to see all different types of cars racing and going so fast that only two wheels of the four will only be on the ground. Or when there was a roll over and the car is sitting on the side, everyone knows that the driver is OK and ends up sitting on the door waving as they take him and the car off the track. races 2016

But the best part of the races? Well for me it’s when they have the beginning of the winners races (not sure what they’re actually called) Anyway right before they start these races, the whole grandstand stands up and wave as the drivers drive by on the track. And the drivers wave back at the grandstand. Now I don’t know where this tradition started, but it’s pretty cool if you ask me! 

 

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Trying out a new soap design

I am working on an experiment these past couple of days to see if I could stamp the bars with a type of an identifying mark on them. So my thought was to make a white bar of soap and then stamp the bars with a food grade colored mica and one of my scrapbooking stamps.making soapsoap loaves

So first I made a batch of lemon white soap and then stamped them with the mica. Well guess what? It worked. Well it worked so far. I learned my lesson from the bath bombs to not to get too positive too soon!

So for tonight, I’m letting them dry overnight and check them in the next couple of days to see if the mica works or not. I sure hope so, it looks kinda cool! stamped soap 

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Standing guard

Now with all the crazy weather that we’ve been having lately, over 3 inches in 2 days!, some people use the news to keep up on what to expect for the coming weather for the day. Others use the internet and watch the future radar to see what’s happening.  

And if you are on our farm we use Lucky the peacock! He keeps watch and literally screams. How funny is that!!

Can you see him sitting on top of the garage? 

Lucky on weather alert!

Lucky on weather alert!

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