Hanging out

The weather is still holding out and even though I’ve got about a million things to get done in the house, I’ve been spending time outside just checking out what needs to be done to get it ready for Spring. 

So here’s a couple of pictures that I took when I was trying to look busy 🙂

Daryl has been emptying out the bin to get it ready for the upcoming season, so hearing the auger with corn hitting it has been a common noise on our farm. 

The last amount of snow is trying to hang on even if it means staying in the shade of the fence line

And I checked out the milkweeds where I saw that Praying Mantis last year while mowing the lawn. I thought I read that they will lay their eggs on the milkweed in the fall, but I couldn’t find anything out of the ordinary. Maybe I also didn’t know what I was looking for either! But when I was looking at the milkweeds they were kinda pretty. OK, that might be a weird thing to say, but just take a look

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Sunday – Funday! 

Today we were finally able to head down to the kids to visit them at their apartment. It seems like we haven’t seen them forever, so spending some time with them was just what we needed! Even though we were only there for a couple of hours, it’ll hold us over until  they’ll be home for Easter. Yup, it was definitely a great afternoon! 




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Springing Chickens!

The weather was really nice today, the sun was shining and no wind. Yup, my kind of day! So with Spring just around the corner, the chickens were finally able to get out of jail! Whooohooo!!

See when the first really cold weather comes around in the late fall, we start corralling the chickens up to get them all in the chicken house for the winter. Of course it’s never that easy because there are some that just think that they need to stay in the machine shed or barn until we catch them. I know that they also know that they are going to be in the shed for the winter, but they just want to make it a point that they want us to work for it! And seriously we do it because we have fox, possum, bald eagles, and chicken hawks in our area and our chickens would be the prime target in the dead of winter when everyone is out hunting!

So as I opened the door this afternoon the chickens just took their time and were very leery of stepping outside. I guess that’s why they call them chickens right? 

But very slowly they made their way out and once they all got out they were some happy chickens!  

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Roamin’ Catholics

With Easter just around the corner, we’ve been having a great time this past few weeks being Roamin’ Catholics. Now if you don’t know what is a Roamin’ Catholic – well let me explain! 

A Roamin’ Catholic can be an individual or in our case Daryl and I and my brother and sister in law heading out every Friday night during Lent to see where we can find some good fish to eat for supper. 

We’ve been doing this for the past couple of years and it’s been just ton’s of fun! With our Community mostly Catholic, it gives us a lot of opportunity to go to a different place for supper each Friday. Now sometimes we stay close to our farms, and sometimes we head out for a drive. And in all the years that we’ve been doing this I don’t think we’ve ever gone to the same place twice! 

Now of course it’s also a good reason to head out for the night to see what else is going on, but that’s just a perk of being a Roamin’ Catholic during Lent 🙂

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What’s in your pocket?

I’m not sure if this is the case in everyone’s house, but when you live on a farm and it’s time to do laundry it’s anyone’s guess just what will be in the pocket of a farmer. 

Now in our house, it’s normally either a pile of paper towels, some sheet metal screws, for sure there’s going to be a vise gripe, and occasionally a fuse or two (not sure why?)

So when Daryl needed his dress shirt washed the other day I was kind of wondering just what I was going to find in those pockets. I mean I thought for sure that there shouldn’t be a vise gripe in there but just what treasures would I have to clean out of the pockets this time? 

And to my surprise it was something that you don’t normally find! It was a picture that we had taken in one of those photo booths at a wedding and we both completely forgot about it until now. To be honest I don’t think I even seen it at the wedding. Oh well, it’s no longer lingering in a pocket somewhere and is now it’s on our refrigerator. And as we head out of the house tonight with Daryl’s clean shirt, you just never know what you’ll come across in a pocket! 

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I had good intentions the other day to stay focused when I went into the grocery store. Well I had pretty good intentions anyway. 

And guess how long that lasted? Well I didn’t even get into the store when my eyes glazed over and even though there was no way that I needed the product that was displayed just as you opened the first doors to the store – I stood and with an excited reach, I grabbed as many as I could get into my greedy little hands. 

Yup, the seeds are out! Whoopppeeee!!! 

So I got some peas, flowers, tomatoes, and then some more flowers 🙂  

The greenhouse has taken a terrible beating this fall and winter, so I’m a long way from actually planting anything. But when I get it all put together, and I get some more seeds in my next town run,  I’ll be ready! 

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Iowa winter weather

Good weather and bad weather – it’s all just weather right? 

But for some reason the good weather is just so much more fun! 

Earlier this week they were forecasting the weather to start out with rain, go to sleet, get in some snow, and to top it off around 35 to 45 mph winds. Yup, would have chosen good weather instead for this week,  but I guess no one asked for my vote. 

So off to work I go knowing what this days forecast is. Daryl asked if I wanted to take the truck but honestly I drive the car more and know how it’s going to react if I get in a jam. 

Well there is a lot of times the weatherman isn’t right but of course this day they were spot on. We got rain, then while sitting in my office I could hear the sleet hitting the side of the building – so we got sleet, then about 20 minutes later after we had a good shiny coat of sleet on the ground the snow started to come. And for some reason it didn’t want to stop either! 

And all you can do is just hope for the best. When it was time to go home, the windshield really didn’t have ice on it and the layers of sleet just made kind of a slushy layer instead of freezing to the windows. I thought to myself, OK this isn’t so bad.

But as I started to drive I quickly changed my mind. The roads were completely covered and I just kept thinking to myself, no big deal… just take your time, just take your time. So that’s what I did and I kept checking my mirrors to make sure that no one was behind me just swearing up a storm for me going so slow. But guess what? I didn’t meet anyone or have anyone behind me going home that night. Now I’m really not sure why, but I didn’t care! 

With a couple of white outs on my drive home, I finally made it to our yard and into the garage. This is what our yard looked like when I got home around 4 pm.

And it just kept snowing and blowing but who cares right?  I was home and was planning on making soap all night. 

Well as the night went on, my plans changed. Remember the sleet that I talked about earlier? It now coated the power lines and with our lights flickering on and off for about an hour or so, I just couldn’t take the chance to start anything in the kitchen. And I’m serious when I say that you literally could hear the wind just howling outside. 

So what did I do? Well I putzed around the house for awhile and then we skyped with the kids in New York. The dogs begged to come in, so of course they came in. You know the old saying that you can’t teach an old dog a new trick? Well I’m thinking that our dogs learned this new trick of looking kind of pathetic so they can come in by the fireplace. And guess what? It works. 

Is it too late to go back to our nice warm island again? 


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Winter escape, Curacao 2018

We’ve been lucky these past few years to pack some warm clothes in a suitcase and head to much warmer parts of the world when it’s cold here in Iowa.

So having said that – just where did we go for a week in February? Well we went to Curacao with my brother and sister in law. And if you are like me, the first question is where is Curacao and what is it? And to be totally honest I wasn’t even sure how to pronounce it when we were just starting to talk about our vacation 🙂

Daryl is standing in the C and I’m in the U in the picture below 

OK, so here’s the low down. It’s an island just North of Venezuela and the islands are so close to each other that one of the local islanders told us that you can see each others island on a clear day. Now if you really want to be impressed – Curacao is part of the ABC islands – Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. So sometime see if you can work that into a conversation not only is it impressive,  but who knows just maybe they’ll be asking you to be on the next Jeopardy show!

Our flights were from Minneapolis to Miami and then to the island of Curacao

Waiting anxiously for our flight and for our adventure to begin! And to say that the island is ‘amazingly beautiful’ is an understatement. There are over 30 beaches on the island, and our resort had a a private beach with the waters completely filled with more colorful fish that you can ever imagine! We learned a great trick this year too!  When snorkeling what you do is to take some bread and put it in a water bottle and  then you shoot out some of the bread from the bottle by you. It’s crazy but soon you’ll be surrounded by more tropical fish than you can count! I’m pretty sure we’ll be using this trick more than once again!  What I didn’t know until we got to the island was that it is considered one of the top diving locations in the world, and after seeing how many fish that were just by our cove I’m kinda guessing that it’s true.

Our week was filled with tons of stuff, some of it was being tourists in the capital of Willemstad where all the buildings are painted so colorful it was just cool to see them. I think they kind of look fake don’t they? 

There is a floating market in town where you can buy fresh fruit and fish, and tons of shopping of course! 

One of the local meat markets was even selling pig tails. Now not that this was a bad thing, but we were sticking with our food at the resort 

and a local restaurant where they literally were cleaning the fish that was just caught before they cooked them up for you

Some people ate iguanas on the island and made soup or stew out of them – but we liked our local star Charlie at the resort too much to even think about it!

Other things that we did was that we took a catamaran out to the island Klein Curacao. OK, so here’s another geography tidbit – Klein Curacao is owned by Curacao and the word Klein means small. So the trip started out pretty typical on the boat with sun shining and everyone anxious to spend the day together checking out the uninhabited island. But when the captain and his crew came around and said that you will need to put anything under deck because it’s going to get wet, well to be honest I kinda didn’t think that much of it. But we did what he said and then soon found ourselves holding on the railing as we literally rode the waves! It was such a wild ride and as you’re holding on so you didn’t go overboard it didn’t take long until my sister in law and myself, along everyone else, were completely soaked!  The ride was so crazy that your feet sometimes came off the boat deck and you just hoped that you could keep a good grip on the railing. Once we got on the island  we took a quick tour to see if we could find the turtles that are common for the area and then checked out the abandoned ship and lighthouse.

And I took this picture below of the pelican to show just how turquoise the water was. 

The ride back to Curacao was much calmer with the sail up and thank goodness! We sat on the front of the boat with the sails up gliding us through the much calmer waters. Even once in awhile we would see flying fish jumping out of the waves which was pretty cool. And with the warm sunshine on our faces and having our fill of barbecue and drinks, we knew that Life was Good!  

After we landed on shore we ended up taking the party bus back to our resort to get us ready for the nighttime fun! 

Let’s see, other things that we did was to check out the North side of the island which has much less people and is beautiful. It’s really hard to show just how wild the ocean is there! The cliffs are very steep and when the water came up into them it was really loud and awesome. Well it was awesome also because we were safe on a secure look out point! 

I also did something on this vacation that was both fun and terrifying at the same time. What I did was to do a cliff jump. Now seriously no big deal I thought. I mean I’m not afraid of heights and was so excited to do it…. well until I got to the edge of the cliff. There wasn’t anyone else that was jumping so I had no idea what it was supposed to look like and the part that put the fear in the pit of my stomach was that there were rocks where you were jumping. OK, seriously ROCKS? But the local island guy who was helping me said that it’s no big deal, just don’t jump where the rocks are. It totally freaked me out. There were rocks all over. Now after the fact, I’m sure that they were probably pretty deep right? But when I asked what I can do so I don’t jump on the rocks he told me to just make sure that I pick up my legs when I hit the water. Well I was nervous but thought what the heck, so I curled my toes over the edge of the rocks and pushed off. Did I do a good job? Well I didn’t hit the rocks so that was good,  but I also leaned too far with the front part of my body and as my feet hit the water so did my upper body. I know it wasn’t pretty at all and I’m sure that I’m not Olympic ready – but I gave myself 5 points for the guts to do it and then maybe around 2 points for not dying 🙂

Like I said earlier that the island is known for it’s incredible waters and fish, they also have flamingo’s migrating there and fly in during the afternoon and then fly out somewhere (?) during the day and come back again. Pretty cool to see them in their natural habitat and not just in a zoo or something.

What did we do with the rest of our time? Well vegging out on the beach, contests during the day at the pool, eating too much, having cold refreshments, spending time at the spa, checking out a local distillery, and just having a great time! 

What a good sport Daryl is to do these pictures with me at the distillery! 

But all good things must come to an end and this is what it looked like from our pool when we left our resort- 85 to 90 degrees and sunny

and this is how it looked like when we landed – snow and blowing! 

Even our driver who picked us up at the airport to bring us to our car suggested we not travel back home until tomorrow. But we did thanks to some careful driving from my brother, and we made it home just in time to grab a quick shower and head to work for the day. 

Hum.. I wonder where we’ll go next year? 

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Bad luck?

If you are superstitious you for sure don’t want to continue reading this post. 

See what happened is that about a good week ago, just right before we were leaving on our winter vacation, I was messing around in the closet to finalize my wardrobe for the trip. No big deal right? 

Well I was trying on clothes for about the 3rd time to just ‘try’ to downsize the amount that I was bringing on our vacation and hoping that when I was looking in the mirror I would have a miracle happen and look 25 lbs lighter  – but that’s not what happened. 

What did happen is that we have 2 mirror doors on our closet and the one was just a little funky lately and wouldn’t open very well. Well it wasn’t working the best again so as I was trying to move the door open it came completely off the track and as if in slow motion it fell. Now as it was going down I thought that maybe I’d be in luck because it was falling on the extra bed pillows that I had thrown on the floor. But nope! When it hit the pillows it kind of twisted and as I started to hear a crunch I knew that it wasn’t going to be good. The door mirror broke into small pieces of mirrors and then the other side of the door then broke. 

Seriously? I didn’t really plan on vacuuming the again – much less try to figure out just what I was going to do with this mess! So with all the pillows now in the wash and the floor vacuumed up again, I figured I was done with the packing and called it good. 

But then I thought about the two breaking mirror doors  – if breaking a mirror is bad luck then how much bad luck is breaking two huge door mirrors? I sure hope I don’t find out! 

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Soap and more soap

I’ve been really pretty busy making soap these past couple of weeks and finally I was able to start wrapping them up for a show coming up. Now I’m sure I’ve mentioned it about a once or maybe 30 times that when you make soap it has to sit for 4 weeks to cure and to harden. So with a show coming up in a couple of days, I was able to get a jump start on getting it wrapped. 

Now I’ve gotten so much smarter  (now if you’re rolling your eyes – just hear me out!) The reason that I said that I’ve gotten so much smarter is because I’ve got the local print shop making copies of my soap labels so I don’t have to. It saves me about a billion hours of not having to do it myself. OK, maybe a billion is a little over dramatic, but it really does help.

See once I start wrapping the soap I used to work on it for around 12 hours straight. And I’m just telling you that if you are working on anything, much less wrapping soap for 12 hours  straight.. well it’s a long night and a very early morning! The worst that I had ever gotten was that my right arm and shoulder went completely numb after a 12 hour wrapping session. And if you think that this isn’t a good look for just about anyone – well you are right! But the worst thing was that after I got all done wrapping the soap, I jumped in and out of the shower and headed out for a show. Now have you ever tried to be polite and helpful when only half of your body worked? Yup, back to the ‘not so good look’. So I just kind of did everything with my left arm and side and would hit my right arm once in awhile to wake it up and to try to bring it back to life. And if you’re ever trying this method at home  I’m just saying that it doesn’t work so well. But I didn’t die or anything and I got a good night sleep that night and all was good in the world and my arms the next day. 

So now I have the labels preprinted and it saves me about 1/2 of the time to get the bars wrapped. See I told you that I’m so much smarter now 🙂

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