Let’s freeze some corn

It’s that time of the year ago when the sweet corn is ready and guess what that means? It means that you better be ready too! 

See there’s just a small window when you need to get the corn into the freezer otherwise you’ll have either one of two things that will happen. The first thing is that your corn will become overripe very fast and the corn won’t taste very good even if it’s the dead of winter. The second thing is that if you don’t get after it, the raccoons will soon help you out with clearing the fields and you won’t have to worry about freezing anything !

So that’s what we did this weekend. We froze corn. And it didn’t seem like that much corn when we started and honestly when you first start it’s kind of exciting. DSCN9650I mean the smell of the fresh corn as it’s being cut off the cob and then the multiple taste tasting that happens as it was boiling on the stove before you hurried up and put it on ice to cool. But then guess what? Well the fun of the day quickly fades away and all you can see is corn and more corn. Then you start to think to yourself, just how much does that bag of frozen corn cost in town at the local grocery store? But then you remember how wonderful fresh frozen corn tastes from the field and you keep pushing forward and slowly and surely you finally get done. 

Well for this year I asked Ma for her corn recipe. She says that her’s is the best one around and after taste testing the corn for over 4 hours this afternoon as I was in the kitchen, well I think she just must be right! 

Here’s the recipe she uses. She said that it’s really not her recipe and it’s originally Anatashia Kriener’s from the St. Lucas cookbook. Either way – it’s the one that I’m using this weekend! 

Recipe: 16 cups corn cut from the cob, 1 stick of butter, 3 cups of water, 4 tsp. salt, 1/2 cup of sugar. Full boil for 1 minute and then put corn on ice to cool before freezing. 

And the best tip of the day? Well my brothers use an air compressor to get the fine corn hairs off the cobs before you cut the corn off the cobs and that sure seemed to work well also for us! 

Now to the trick is to try to keep the corn until this winter!IMG_20170812_120014_481_resized

 

 

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Meet Charlie our new peacock

I finally got around to making the call to see if this one guy still had the male peacock that we’ve talked about earlier this Spring. Our girls have been screaming and I’m thinking that having a boy around will hopefully calm them down. 

And guess what? He still had a male left! Yea!! 

So I made a rendezvous date set up to pick up the newest member for our farm. The rendezvous was going to be in a local town that he was going to drive through on Saturday so it was going to work just perfect. 

Well, into the truck I go with a cat cage. I was sure hoping that the peacock who was only around 1 1/2 years old would fit, but I also had a blanket that I thought I could wrap him in and then duck tape it shut until he got home. Kinda like a swaddling method. I was hoping that he wouldn’t be too crazy – but you just never know! 

After hanging out in the gas station waiting for them to show up, I realized that I had no idea what he was driving and he didn’t know what I was driving either. So just as I was sending a text to him – I saw this guy standing by our truck. He smiled and asked if I was looking for a peacock. I knew that it wasn’t just a pickup line and followed him to this car. 

The challenge was to get the peacock from his car to ours and honestly it wasn’t too bad. He got kind of ruffled in the cage, but he’ll feel better when he’s at our farm and will be able to run around.When I asked what the peacocks name was – the owner said, I don’t know… Mr. Peacock? I’m pretty sure he just made that up so I named him Charlie.  

Now to introduce Charlie to our animals and more importantly the other peacocks. 20170812_102500_resized_1But guess what? The previous owner said that the peacock  stayed a lot with the turkeys in a shed and after we left him out at our farm and watched him for awhile I’m thinking ‘Houston we’ve got a problem’! He’s a big baby! Now maybe he’s just shy or something, but I had to literally coax him out of the chicken coop (OK I carried him!) and then the girls came to check him out. DSCN9653

Finally after 2 of the girls got frustrated with Charlie not moving, there was one peahen left to see if she could get him to go with her to check out the farm, but had no luck and eventually left also. So Charlie sat there all day… by himself. 

DSCN9655But we laughed when we saw that the girl peacocks didn’t move too far and stayed up high on the tractor that was in the yard to keep an eye on him. 

So tonight I coaxed Charlie again back into the chicken coop. Daryl checked on him later tonight before he came in from chores and said that he wasn’t in there. Well it took awhile for me to actually find a flashlight that worked and he was in there after all. He was tucked in the corner with the chickens all around him. Humm, not sure how we’re going to get him used to the farm and more importantly the dogs. But for now? Well the dogs are on security watch which means they are either going to be in the barn or the house. And guess where they’ve been hanging out tonight ? Yup, the house :-) 

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Are you ready?

I’ve been trying not to get too caught up in the Solar Eclipse that is happening next week – but slowly I’ve been being sucked into it.

So here’s some history just in case you haven’t caught the bug yet

“On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights – a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun’s tenuous atmosphere – the corona – can be seen, will stretch from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. For this eclipse, the longest period when the moon completely blocks the sun from any given location along the path will be about two minutes and 40 seconds.  The last time the contiguous U.S. saw a total eclipse was in 1979.”

And if you want to see the eclipse you’ll need some special glasses and what I’ve found out is that there sure are a lot of them out there. But you’ll need to make that they follow all the requirements so you have to check out the ones that you’re going to buy to make sure that they are the right ones. But the coolest thing is that on my lunch hour on Friday I was almost going to hit the ‘purchase’ button and then realized that there are a couple of libraries handing them out for free. SHAZAM!! So after a quick call to to a library that’s not far from the farm,  I beat it there after work and picked up a couple, some for Daryl and I and also the kids. Oh yea, I also picked up some for Mom and her friend. Not sure if everyone is going to use them – but they’ll be ready if they do want them!

Now it’s next Monday, and make sure that you get your glasses so you’ll also be ready! DSCN9656

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It’s watermelon time!

I found the absolute BEST way to cut watermelon. Now if you already know this method – well then I think you are a Rock Star and can just skip down to the pictures below. But if you haven’t seen this method before, I can tell you that I can cut up a watermelon in less than 2 minutes and have literally no waste. 

Seriously, when I throw the rind out to the chickens I feel so bad now because I did such a good job, that I give them a couple of big chucks of the cut up watermelon so they won’t get so disappointed! 

Now what is this magic? Check it out below… 

First thing is to cut the bottom off the watermelon so it sits nice and pretty. You’ll want it to be stable for the next step20170810_182047_resized

Next start slicing the sides off. What I think of this method it’s kind of like peeling an orange but you are cutting off the sides of the watermelon to get to the middle

After you cut off the top, the next thing is to trim any white pieces from the watermelon that you missed20170810_182257_resized

Now just slice it like bread or in any size pieces you’d like20170810_182407_resized

And BAM! You are now an official Rock Star also!! 20170810_182651_resized

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The 3 ‘R’s

Recharge. Reconnect. Relax.

It was the girls weekend and I couldn’t be more excited! See every year for around 37 years we head up North to a cabin and just hang out. Just us girls, no kids or husbands. 

I wasn’t sure what the weather was going to be, so have you ever had one of those moments when you are trying to pack and honestly you couldn’t make a decision what you should pack to save your soul? Well that was me! So of course I think I packed way too much. OK, I KNOW that I packed way too much! 

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So 3:00 on Friday afternoon couldn’t come soon enough and then I made a bee line for home to change and pack up the food that I was bringing into a cooler and I was off to meet a friend to head North. Some of our group went up earlier today, but us two went up later this afternoon and we were sure going to miss our friend this year who couldn’t make it :-(  

Well it turned out that the weather was absolutely perfect! It was in the high 70’s with the sun really warm. By the time we got the wood stove heated up for our breakfast, and the bacon, eggs, potatoes and everything else cooked, and then the dishes done – we found ourselves out on the pontoon wondering we’re going to do with the rest of the day. Funny thing though, we never had any trouble figuring out what our plan should be! 

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And at the end of the day when it’s time to get cleaned up for the night, it’s time to jump into the lake. See there’s no electricity or running water in the cabin so we bring along biodegradable soap and literally jump into the lake. But the coolest thing about this is that when you’re back floating (or trying to :-) ) you look up into the sky and all you see if the blue above you with a couple of white clouds floating by.

DSCN9581 Then as you turn your head you see the huge pine trees that surrounds the lake and the only thing that you can hear is your own breath and you find yourself just breathing a little slower and deeper and all is good in the world. 

With only the kerosene lanterns and candles lighting the cabinDSCN9625each night we tried to eat supper just a little earlier than the last night and of course it never happened. I guess some things just never change do they? 

And finally it’s time to get the cabin ready to be closed up once again and head down the road through the forest to home.DSCN9634I realize that being up here with the girls really recharges your soul. It makes you realize what’s important and what’s not, and reminds you that there is more to life than the hustle and bustle of the day. DSCN9632It also let’s you reconnect with your friends that you’ve had for so many years. Now we don’t get together that often, but it’s one of those things that when you do get together you just pick up right where you left off the last time.

And finally relax. Just being together and not worrying about much is something that is hard to put words to. See your cell phones don’t work up there and it’s just a great time to catch up with each other or do literally nothing if you want.

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Now maybe we had too much food and maybe we could have had even too many drinks, but one thing is true, you just can’t have enough time up North!

20170807_200729_resized So even though our lives continue to evolve and change as the years go by, it seems like our friendship will always stay the same. Cheer’s to another great 5 days with friends!

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Busy with soap

Well it didn’t take long to get back into business of making soap and with my brother helping me out by making me 4 new molds – well I’m cooking with gas now :-) 

I’m not too concerned that I won’t have enough done by the time the next show and I’m just finishing up some soap for an upcoming wedding too. And how does our house smell? Well it smells like Barefoot in the Grass, Sassy Come Home, Morning Sunrise, and a couple of other soaps. Just a little overwhelming!

And I’m also realizing that I’m starting to outgrow my laundry room and soon I’ll have to figure out just what I’m going to do if I’m going to keep making soap. Either I’m going to get better organized and store it in the house or possibly move by soap making and cutting outside to one of the buildings. 

But with a long weekend get away with the girls, I’m not going to be thinking about making soap at least for a couple of days.

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Annual Bike Ride

Well it’s that time of the year again when we dust off our bicycles and try to get in as much training as we can before we head out on the road with some of our 10,000 + friends. It’s RAGBRAI time! 

And with no surprise, we didn’t get very many miles in for training – I think only around 60 but with our bikes in the back of the truck and heading over to my brothers to meet the others on our team, well seriously it’s pretty much too late to be worrying about training don’t you think! 

We were lucky to be able to stay in houses again this year for this week on the ride and that just makes it so much better. Now don’t get me wrong, I really like to camp. But when it’s hot or humid outside and you have no idea where the bathrooms are – staying inside in air conditioning is just so much better! 

This is my 18th year of riding and I honestly have a blast every year. OK, maybe not the very first year one of the days. We had headwind so bad and so many hills that I had more blood blisters on my fingers than you could imagine. Yea, that day wasn’t so much fun. But one of our first years that we rode on this ride our friend told us that if you aren’t having fun well then you just need to lower your standards and I guess that’s been our motto ever since. 

So this year’s ride was another great year and with the ride coming through literally our back yard and hometown – seriously how can you get much cooler than that? It was so weird coming down the road and what you always do is you watch for the towns water tower because then you know that your’e getting close to the town. Well I was riding this past week and heading to our town and then I heard someone say that they can see the next towns water tower and they were so excited!  Now if you’ve never road this ride before I’m thinking that this sounds a little odd, but trust me a town’s water tower in the horizon can be your life safer on the ride. The tempo picks up a little bit and there’s hope that you’ll just be able to make it a little further down the road. 

Well our town put on a great show and for around 400 people and never hosting around 15,000 people before at once – let’s just say that they Rocked It! Everyone in our town has been working very hard for this one day since January and with most of the people having to be on more than one group or committee – it’s been a very busy time for our little town. All I can say is that I couldn’t been more proud to be a part of our town and even know when I think about how great everyone did it just makes me smile. 

The rest of the week there was concerts to go to and a lot of good food to eat. It’s hard to describe the ride but when I am on my bike the one word that comes to my mind is ‘happy’. I love to ride my bike and even though I’m not the fastest or the best hill climber, that’s OK with me. I mean after riding around 9,000 miles over the years on this ride in good weather and in rain storms, we have rode in hail before and tornado warnings. We’ve had some days where we’ve had a tail wind pushing us (not very often though) and beautiful weather like we saw this last week. We’ve met many new people that over the years that have become some of our closest friends. So how can you not have a good time? But now that the week is over it’s time to put our bikes away for awhile again. Life just keeps moving on and we’ll have to see what our next adventure will be. 

Here are a few pictures that I took along the way. 

This first one is a quick picture that I took of the storm heading our way in one of the first towns. We wasn’t sure if we were going to wait it out or try to outrun it. Well we ‘tried’ to get in front of  it but that didn’t work so well. It always seems to storm on Ragbrai and all we got was wet and some pretty good wind. No big deal and I was just glad it didn’t blow up a big storm. IMG_20170726_091650_097_resized

Our host houses are always so nice. This year in one of the houses we were treated to a brick oven on their patio  making homemade pizzas. They were Fantastic! With the temperature as hot as 1000 degrees, I think the first ones took 80 seconds to cook. IMG_0027

We usually have a couple nights of fireworks along the way in the towns which is always fun. 20170725_225317_resized

And seriously loosing your bike is what Ragbrai riders have nightmares on. You HAVE to remember where you put your bike along the ride! Especially if you’ve been in the town for a few hours hanging out with your friends :-) 20170723_115757_resized

It’s probably better not to ask about these next couple of pictures …IMG_20170728_182936_387_resized20170725_105057

Just by coincidence our bikes were lined up as Red White and Blue at the end of one of the days.  Pretty cool! IMG_20170729_140329_793_resized_2

And check it off my ‘Bucket List’ I made it to the Hobo Museum in Britt Iowa. Now the one thing that I learned is that the Hobo’s had their own symbol language for the towns. (see the symbols in the second picture)

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Finally just chilling after the last day and finishing the ride. Congratulations to another year of our team riding the week out!! 20170729_123626_resized

 

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And then there was storms

This has got to be the weirdest year for weather in our area! In the past we’d get around an inch maybe of rain at a time and guess how much we’ve gotten just in the last 24 hours? We got 5 1/2 inches of rain. Yup, wayyyyy too much!

Now we are not complaining because just about 10 miles south from here they got around 6 inches of rain just during the day yesterday and who knows how much they got from last night. I also know that there is a lot of towns that are flooded this morning in our area. I think if someone isn’t saying that the weather is changing lately – well they just are not looking out their window.

Not only have we been getting a lot of rain – we’ve also been getting storms that literally have been blowing through. And what a storm we got on Wednesday!! They said that there was a chance it might blow up something and within 10 minutes the sky turned from a normal brightness at 5:15 … to a black that I heard people had to turn on their lights to see while driving! CRAZY!

I just got home from work when I saw it brewing in the west so I literally went running to try to get as much stuff that was in the yard tucked away. I knew it was going to be bad because the temperature was around 87 degrees the last time that I looked and the sky was just churning in circles overhead. Well I got most of the things put away and then the wind came up. And boy did we have wind!  

The next thing that I knew I could hear the rustling of something outside and I thought it might be hailing. Nope, no hail But what I saw next was one of our huge trees laying beside the house. Thank goodness it wasn’t IN the house!

I wasn’t sure where Daryl was and when I called him he said he was on the way home. He was just 1/2 a mile from our house and was trying to keep the truck on the road. 

And just like that the wind stopped. Now the rain didn’t stop and seriously it’s been raining ever since then. Pretty sure that a tornado was in the area and close by! 

We went out to check out the damage and we ended up having to remove 5 of the farm trees but none of them damaged any building or our house. I used to really like our trees that we had on the farm but honestly they just scare me to death now! 20170719_181759_resized20170719_182213_resized20170719_180004_resized

Clean up started that night with Daryl and I and we were able to get one of the trees cut up before the night was over. Without electricity, there wasn’t much of anything else to do. But do you know the nice thing about living in a small town? Not only our family called to see how they can help, but one by one the neighbors stopped in to see what they can help with. Very cool! 

Well the cleanup went into full swing on Thursday afternoon with Daryl and my brothers and nephew.  Words can’t explain how grateful we were that they came over.  And by the end of the night our junk tree pile has grown to a very large monument in the pasture and the yard was just a little bit brighter. 20170720_161143_resized

Wd ended up scoping out the rest of the back yard and decided that this summer we are going to take down 3 more of the huge trees. We need to get them down before the weather of 2017 takes them down! 

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Trying to get in some saddle time

We’ve got our annual bike ride coming up and we seriously have not had much time to get out on the roads and have much saddle time on the seats. I’m not so worried about us being able to do the ride, but you have to ‘condition’ your body to sit on those tiny little seats for many hours a day and then for 7 days! 

So of course we had about 10 million things to do this morning, anything from going to meetings and setting up displays to hauling hay into the sheds and doing chores. But once that was all done and we got some food in our bellies – well there was no more excuses that we could think of so we loaded up the bikes and went to a local town to get started. 

It was very hot out and I guess it’s kind of like cramming for a big test when you were younger. You just get it all done at once and well that’s kind of what we were doing. We wanted to do a longer ride and we picked the hottest part of the day to do it. Some call it conditioning.. but others call it crazy :-)

We had a great time just hanging out together even though it was pretty hot out! We started the ride in Fort Atkinson and took the back roads to the nearby town of Spillville. I just had to take picture of their town’s square because it seemed like something out of a Norman Rockwell picture. The town was quiet with the exception of a couple of ladies who were out working in their flower gardens. And the gazebo in the middle of town was decorated beautifully with flags and flowers. How cool is that? I think it just waits quietly until someone like us comes by to check out. 20170716_140744_resized

We then headed north to the next town to get some fast fried food that probably isn’t the best training food for us, and then to also refill our water bottles. We weaved around town and soon found ourselves on the bike trail that connects all these towns together. It’s a very cool trail and even literally when it’s hot out it’s a ‘cool’ trail. The trees seem to block a lot of the sun’s mean rays during the hot days. Now normally we don’t ride on trails that often, but it seemed like a good idea today. IMG_20170718_063353_473_resized

Then we hopped back on the county road and headed to the town that we started the day in. I didn’t realize just how hot it was until we stopped. Yikes! So once we got home I got out the ice from the fridge and filled up the bird bath in front of our house for the dogs. See our dogs normally like to drink water from the bird baths for some reason and when it’s got ice in it – well it just kicks it up a notch! 20170718_181446_resized

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Perfect Day!

Did you ever have one of those days when you wake up and just know that it’s going to be a great day? I mean you can almost feel it in your bones that you are just going to have fun!

Well that’s just how I felt on Saturday morning when I got up. See I was meeting some of my friends for breakfast in town and then we were going to spend the day on the water. YEA!! I’ve been wanting to go kayaking now for about a million years now and I just knew it was going to be the best day to do this.

And I was right! One of my friends husband helped haul us and our gear to the river and once we got on the water we seriously couldn’t have asked for better weather. There was a breeze that seemed to blow down the river and come to think of it I’m not sure if we even paddled much this day. And with the temperatures in the high 80’s to low 90’s, we would never had guessed that it was that hot out.

Just check out the picture that I took of our group. It was a Perfect Day if I must say so myself!!20170715_142110_resized_1

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