Baking good things

I went and did errands tonight and ended up by the grocery store. Now normally I’m never in town when they have the Farmer’s Market, but tonight luck was on my side. The market is set up right in the parking lot beside the grocery store so I found myself heading over to see what everyone had to sell. And of course the first booth was a food booth that a local lady was selling her kolaches. Now if you have never had a kolache from scratch – you just never have really lived before. There are a lot of different ways to make them and my favorite is from anyone who lives around the Spillville area.

Raspberry Kolache

Raspberry Kolache

Their church group or other groups always seem to be getting together for a weekend and making these sweet bread rolls. So I bought a dozen and thought that this would be good to keep in the freezer right? Yea.. I opened the bag and by the time we actually sat down for supper I had eaten 4 of them. And I’m sure that I’ll be eating more before the night is over. Now I just need to remember what days those Farmers Markets are and try to stay away!

We’re planning on visiting William tomorrow to check out his new place and I wanted to make something to bring along. I’m going to throw some caramel rolls in the oven when I get home from work so they’ll still be warm when we get there, but I knew that I couldn’t get a batch of cookies done before we left. Heaven forbid if William was hungry right? Ok, he’s only been gone one day – but he can freeze them if he wants. The only thing about these cookies is that I didn’t start to make them until after 9:30 and all I can say is ‘Thank Goodness’ for parchment paper. Now if you don’t really think that you would use this in the kitchen, tonight is a perfect example of when it works really well. I put it on a couple of cookie sheets so you never have to wait for one to cool down and when the cookies come off – so does the paper. Now I’m not sure if you are supposed to wash these pans after you take the paper off or not, but why make extra work when you don’t have to?

It's late and the cookies are all lined up just waiting to go in the oven

It’s late and the cookies are all lined up just waiting to go in the oven

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William is off to college

William gathered up the rest of his stuff that he needed for his apartment and with his car packed full, he was heading south to Ames for the next semester of college. I know that I’m not going to like having the house so quiet again, but I guess that’s just the way that this all works isn’t it. So of course I made him take pictures by his car in the yard and after about 5 hugs from me, he was pulling out of the drive way once again for the fall. He’s excited and so are we to see what this next year brings for him. I was just thinking why I always have him take pictures by his car when he leaves? I guess it’s kind of a testimony that he’s leaving and maybe this is what he’ll be driving? Not sure, but I think I do this a lot!

Below are a couple of pictures that I took. One by his car :) and the other with the dogs wanting to be petted one more time.

And William is off to college!

And William is off to college!

Reno and Kaiser saying good bye to William

Reno and Kaiser saying good bye to William

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Cats

Now who would think that the 6 little kitties would be so much work? Well for sure not me until lately. OK, I know that some (or most) of all of this is brought on by me – but someone had to take care of them right? Well to give you an idea on how much work they are, in the mornings they were getting scrambled eggs with ham and bread mixed with warm milk and then at night they’ve been getting mashed potatoes and milk. But now that they’ve got a little older they’ve finally graduated to kitty food. Yea! I take the cat food and put hot water with it to soften it up. Then when it’s cooled down enough to eat – out it goes into their pan. Dump  a little milk on it … Yup, much easier! So now all I have to worry about it giving them their eye drops a couple of times a day and they are also getting amoxicillin twice a day. This is only supposed to go on for a week and then everything will be good.

Tonight we had some trouble with the kitties and Kaiser. Kaiser has these small toys that he plays with all over the yard and for some reason he thinks that the smallest of these little kitties is an orange version of his toy. He takes her and runs through the yard and throws her up in the air. Just so not cool! She’s the size of your palm and tonight she looked really bad. The poor thing just wants to always be by the dogs and that is such a bad decision on her part. So tonight Daryl came and got me and said that this little kitty was almost dead and when I looked at her, I knew that he wasn’t exaggerating. I found a nice soft bath towel and wrapped her in it and held her while I was sitting by the camp fire with William. I would peak at her and she had her eyes closed, but then all of a sudden I could her something and thought – crap she’s dying. But after I listened a little bit closer, she wasn’t dying she was purring! Now granted it wasn’t the best sounding purr I’ve ever heard but for a cat that couldn’t even walk about an hour ago and was expected to die, I’m thinking that she’ll pull through another day. Now to just keep the dogs away from her!

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We’ve got apples!

I’ve heard it before that if there are a lot of apples on the trees that it’s going to be a hard winter. Well let me just tell you that you better buy some good snow boots because if this is true we are all in a lot of trouble! We’ve had apple trees for over 25 years on the farm and I’ve never seen so many apples on our trees in my life! Now if it’s because we’re going to have a hard winter or if it’s because we didn’t get any apples last year and they are making up for it this year who knows. But what I do know is that I’m going to be making a lot of apple crisp and apple sauce these next couple of weeks!

Just getting started to pick our apples

Just getting started to pick our apples

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It’s that time of the year again…

It’s the time of the year when kids are going back to school and in our family William is one of those kids.

I know that everyone always says ‘I just can’t believe where the time went’…. but holy smokes WHERE did this summer go? It literally seems like it just started to get warm out and now some of the stores have their winter coats out for sale. I sure hope that we have a nice lonnnngggg and warm fall! OK, back to William. For this year of college he’s going to live in an apartment with some of his friends so that involves different stuff that’s needed. He had to pack a bed, furniture, and kitchen things to name a few. But he’s been working on it for now some time and seems to have it all under control. With the truck loaded, he had some good help bringing it to his apartment and he said that it all fit in pretty good. We’re hoping to get down there soon to check it out. He doesn’t officially leave until mid week so that’ll be kind of weird and quiet not to have him around the farm.  But like I said – it’s that time of the year again and school is starting.

First truck load packed and ready to head to Ames !

First truck load packed and ready to head to Ames !

 

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Places to visit – Independence Iowa

When we were on our bike ride in July,  I saw an advertisement for an ‘Underground City Tour’. Now honestly, doesn’t that title just grab your attention? I grew up not that far from Independence and I had no idea what this tour was all about. And for me – I was sure hoping that I could get back for it.

So today was the second time of the year that they do these tours and it just so happened that it was going to work for me to get back and take it. Yea!! After some laundry and other stuff around the house, I hurried up and headed to Independence. They were only offering it today and for a limited time and with about an hour drive ahead of me to get there, I was sure glad that I made it to get a ticket!

The tour starts out with everyone getting a card with 7 business names on it. I was given the instructions on how to follow this card by one of the coordinators in the Grist Mill (now called the Wapsipinicon Mill) This is where you started. And if you remember we took a tour of it back in July. IMG_1910So with my card in my hand and the camera in the other hand.. off I go to find out just what this was all about. Well let’s just say that this is truly a town with a very colorful history! I’m sure that I won’t get all the facts down, but this is most of it.

The county seat was established in June of 1847 and called it Independence Iowa. In 1853 Independence had less than 12 people living there. So I’m thinking that this is kind of a bold move – don’t you? Well, by then end of the century they had over 1500 people,  so I guess they did know what they were doing. There was a small town called New Haven just on the other side of the river from Independence and it sounded like both towns would constantly get flooded out by the Wapsipinicon River that separated the them. But in 1854 the State Legislature combined the two towns. With the river going through the town you can just about imagine how much damage it caused when it would flood, and it flooded often. So around the 1860′s the town got together and after a couple of major fires, decided that they would rebuild the stores, but they would have to have the original first floor be their basements. They raised the town 5 to 6 feet and literally buried the first level of the city. Now even though this does make sense it is just so unreal isn’t it? The store owners left their store fronts the way they were with the glass and doors in tact and filled it in with dirt. Now with the town raised up 6 feet, this also allowed the bridge to be raised up and helped with the high waters from the river.

Below are some random pictures from my tourDSCN8828

DSCN8838

They used these types of shoots for unloading merchandise when the street was raised

They used these types of shoots for unloading merchandise when the street was raised

IMG_2022IMG_2023

Picture that was at the mill when they replaced the sidewalks in the street

Picture that was at the mill when they replaced the sidewalks on the street

Picture at the mill when they replaced the sidewalks on the street

Picture at the mill when they replaced the sidewalks on the street

I had about an hour for the tour and that was just about right for me. Then at the last stop it was a little shop with both antiques and wine. Yup, what a good store to visit last :) Even though I didn’t have any wine, I did check out the store. And for some reason this little table caught my eye. Now I had no idea what I was going to do with it and much less it really did need to get cleaned up. But it was cute and in my budget so off to the car I go with it. I had a couple of different groups of ladies comment on how cute the table was when making my way across the street – so of course it must be some type of treasure right? On the way home I came up with a plan for it and Daryl just gave one of those ‘you paid money for that?’ looks. I’m going to use it in the bathroom. And after I put the extra paper inside it, Daryl had a great idea to put a toilet paper holder on the side of it Perfect!

OK, she looks  a little tough....

OK, she looks a little tough….

I got the spider webs and dirt all cleaned off of it and it looks pretty good

I got the spider webs and dirt all cleaned off of it and it looks pretty good

Now I just need to get the paper holder on the side and it'll be perfect!

Now I just need to get the paper holder on the side and it’ll be perfect!

And to end the night we headed to the races in Decorah. My one brother always says that when the sweat starts to run in places that you shouldn’t talk about, then it’s time to go the races! Well it was hot today and we went to the races for the night.

Fun night at the races. Perfect weather for them!

Fun night at the races. Perfect weather for them!

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Outside stuff

After work tonight, Daryl went to the lumber yard to get some wood for the cattle shed roof. He has to put these pieces on the existing roof so that the tin has something to be nailed to. It looks like a lot of hammering nails to me! After he put the first ones on, I’m sure the rest will go up easier. He wants to get the wood on the shed done this weekend and with only a small chance of rain in the forecast, he should have good luck with the weather.

Daryl just starting the cattle shed roof

Daryl just starting the cattle shed roof

As for me? Well I checked out my garden. And if you are wondering just how is that vegetable masterpiece and a little piece of heaven going? Yea…. bad. Really bad! I took this picture to show a flowering weed that seems to be making a home in my garden. Now if you look close you’ll notice that it’s a bull thistle! That is not good. So I’m going to see if I can rescue my onions maybe this weekend and then start with Round Up on most of the rest of the garden. I’m not a huge fan of chemicals , but I’m thinking maybe I should start!

Bull Thistles in my garden

Bull Thistles in my garden

 

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Cattle shed and our dogs

Well to start the morning off,  just as I pulled out of the drive way I looked to the grove and guess what? I saw that we completely missed this one whole section that has more of those vines on. The only good thing about it is that the vines look like they are close to the ground. Man, I’m beginning to really not like those vines!

Daryl has been working on our cattle shed roof to get the roof straight so he can tin it yet this fall. It’s one of the last buildings that needs to have the roof done and it’ll look really nice when it’s done. It’s kind of funny around our farm because you just never know who you’re going to see on the roof of any building. Here Daryl is measuring it so he can order the tin from the lumber yard.

Daryl measuring the cattle shed roof for tin

Daryl measuring the cattle shed roof for tin

And now our dogs. They are really funny, but then they are also really naughty sometimes. Today at work I checked my phone at lunch and saw that our neighbor posted that she just loves our dogs because they sit by the road and kind of cheer her on when she’s out for a run. OK, so that is pretty nice with the exception .. WHY are the dogs sitting by the road during the day? So I went home at lunch to find them just hanging out on the porch. Now honestly, it’s not the end of the world if they are out. But they’ve played with 2 of the little barn kitties too hard already and the kitties ended up being cremated after they got done playing with them because they died. I didn’t want them to kill any of our little 6 pack of kitties. So when I pulled into the yard Reno just kind of looked like ‘Yea, we’re out”… and Kaiser? He wouldn’t make any eye contact with me and just kind of kept walking around not sure what to do. I thought to myself they kind of looked like they were wondering who ratted them out. Too funny! What I found out is that they push the one barn door until the latch unhooks and then they just walk out. Now you have to give them an ‘A’ for being smart. But I put them both in again and back to work I went.

The photo of the day is from Kaiser. It’s two things that were in the yard that he was playing with. The first one used to be a pop can and the second one is a light bulb that he found somewhere on the farm and started to chew on it. Now just when is the puppy stage over?

This used to be a pop can. Now it's a danger item in our yard!

This used to be a pop can. Now it’s a danger item in our yard!

Kaiser chewing on a light bulb

Kaiser chewing on a light bulb

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Our grove

I noticed the other day that we were getting some kind of vine growing up in our grove and even though it looked kind of pretty – I’m sure that it wasn’t good for the trees at all. So I started to pull down the ones off the trees that I could reach and of course the majority of the vines were much higher than I could jump. So I went and got the rake to see if that would help. Now I never imagined that a garden rake could get heavy, but take my word on this – they do if you are holding it and jumping in the air to try to get these dumb vines off of tall trees! Finally I got down as much as I could and went to see if Daryl could bring the tractor around and then we could climb in the bucket to get the ones off the top. The reason I wanted these off is because I read that if you get a lot of vines on your trees, that they can be so thick that the tree can’t get any light to the leaves and it kills them. Not a good thing right? So Daryl started up the tractor and it didn’t take long until he got it back to the grove. He climbed in the bucket first to see if we could reach the vines and then we switched spots.DSCN8811 DSCN8812It worked pretty good and if you grabbed the vines just right you could get most of them down. So there is a trick to riding in a tractor bucket when your driving around. If you’ve never done it, I’ll try to explain it. Rule # 1 (and really it’s the only rule) : you have to have total confidence in the tractor driver. The reason that I say that is because they have to tip the bucket up and then up once again while you’re in it and you better hang on and you just hope that they don’t tip it too much. Then in this case, you are driving around in the grove so they have to be watching for branches and so do you! If you don’t  - the branches will either put some major scratches on places you never dreamed about getting scratched or in my case, I’m afraid that I’ll get knocked out. But guess what? Daryl is really good at this and no issues. We did a quick check of the grove and couldn’t see any more of these vines on the trees so our work was done for the night. Now it was time to make supper. It was kind of a good meal if I say so myself. I know that William is going to be leaving for college next week and for some reason I feel that I have to make a lot of food for him for the long trip. (I never said it made any sense now did I?) Anyway, we had grilled T-Bone steak, homemade mash potatoes, I found some sweet corn in the patch by the grove that was good so we had fresh sweet corn, tomatoes from the garden, sauteed some fresh onions for the steak, fried up a lb of bacon to put also on the steak, cut up a watermelon, fresh peas, and had some salads. Pretty good huh? And to top it off I had caramel brownies with ice cream if anyone was still hungry. And what will we have next week for supper when William is gone? Probably cereal :)

Supper tonight

Supper tonight

The photo of the day is that of our 6 pack of kitties. I have no idea why this one kitty has to always lay in the food.. And she wonders why the other kitties are always licking her!

Supper time!

Supper time!

Posted in Farm animals, Farming | 1 Comment

Pictures from our Road Trip

I’m finally getting around to getting some of the pictures that I took from our Road Trip to Colorado last weekend onto a post. I have no idea just exactly what I did with all my time these past days, but I decided I better get this done tonight.

Our Trip

So first things first. I wasn’t sure just exactly what I was going to bring along to wear because I’ve never been to Colorado before and had no clue what the weather was. So it was way past midnight on Thursday night when I was still rummaging around the house. I knew that 4:00 am was going to come pretty fast, but I also knew that there was no way that I was going to get it done in the morning. I got a wedding card made and I decided to wrap the gift with ‘pretty town paper’. IMG_1959I was debating if I should wrap it in some brown paper that I had at home and put a really pretty bow on it. Well I decided to go with the town paper and man oh man was I glad! When I saw how pretty some of the wedding gifts were at the wedding-I think the brown paper would have not fit in so well. Good decision on my part! So I finally got my stuff packed and I’m sure it was going to be way too many clothes – but at least it was done. The morning did come fast and it was 5:00 when my brother and sister in law pulled into the yard. I couldn’t believe how dark it was yet and I’m usually getting up at 5:30. Maybe my eye balls weren’t ready for the morning yet. So we were off. Once it started to get a little lighter outside and we were getting more into Nebraska, it seemed that every field had oil drilling machines in it. I snapped a quick picture of one that also had some oil storage.IMG_1975We didn’t have to stop too many times to put gas in the car, but this one stop that we made we all just laughed! When someone in our group asked just where are we? It was like a sitcom because the answer was  ‘No Where’. 

Gas station in Nebraska

Gas station in Nebraska

The weather started to get a little goofy and you could literally see rain come across the prairie.

Rain clouds out in the distance

Rain clouds out in the distance

But these clouds didn’t get over by us and I spent a lot of time just checking out all the trains that we saw along the way. A lot of them had coal in their cars and I wished that we would have kept track on just how many trains that we saw on our trip. It would have been a lot!

Trains and more trains hauling coal

Trains and more trains hauling coal

IMG_1968We had decided to go to Ole’s Big Game Steakhouse in Paxton, Nebraska for dinner. Now I guess it’s a famous spot and the waitress said that they could serve around 400 for a dinner just in the middle of the week. There isn’t much in town and I really think the owner of this restaurant/bar could try out for that one commercial where this one guy said that he was the most interesting man in the world. Ole had gotten over 200 big game trophies displayed in this steakhouse and a lot of other stuff from his worldwide safari’s. See I told you he was really an interesting guy.

Inside Ole's Steakhouse. This is just a small part of what was in there

Inside Ole’s Steakhouse. This is just a small part of what was in there

Then we were on the road again. We were making pretty good time and I forgot that we’d loose an hour because of the time change. Seriously, yea for us!! We also noticed that there was a lot of irrigator systems in the fields. The land looked pretty dry and brown so I can see why they would need them.

Irrigation systems were all over both Nebraska and Wyoming

Irrigation systems were all over both Nebraska and Wyoming

Finally as we were getting closer we could see the mountain range and we were within about a half hour from our hotel. DSCN8799

We met up with our friends for the evening and was ready for the wedding the next afternoon. The weather was a little overcast and then it started to rain just as the wedding was over. Someone said that in Colorado it can be really nice for the morning and then it’ll rain in the afternoon, and to finish off the day it’ll be nice for the night. Maybe it has something to do with the mountains – not sure. But I do know that the wedding was really nice and very special to not only the bride and groom, but also our friends who were the brides parents. I think they never stopped smiling all day and night! After the wedding and dance we hit the hay because we knew that the next morning was going to come way too soon. I was right. But we did manage to check out of the hotel as early as 7:30 and headed East to go home. I snapped a quick picture of how the fields looked with cows in them. They just roam on the prairie and when you need them back at your ranch the cowboys go out and scout for your cattle. What a totally different way of farming than we do in our area.

Water break for the cattle

Water break for the cattle

Cows just roam in the fields

Cows just roam in the fields

Now the next stop that we did was really cool! We found our way to the Union Pacific’s Bailey Yard. Now I’m sure your’e thinking… what? But we read about it on the way out to Colorado and was lucky enough to have time to stop on the way back. It’s in North Platte, Nebraska and let me just tell you that it’s cool. We stopped at the Golden Spike Tower to get a good look at this train yard. The Guinness Book of World Records certifies Bailey Yard as the world’s largest railroad yard. There are more than 315 miles of tracks and can handle more than 150 trains a day or over 10,000 train cars. Since I really Love trains, this was a great stop for me. I mean not only is it some place that is really something to see, but it’s also in the Guinness Book of World Records. Double Score! So I obviously took quite a few pictures when we were there and check them out below:IMG_2017IMG_2010IMG_2008 IMG_2009I also added what you saw on the one side of the tower when you looked out. You saw all these trains and activities on the three sides and then just quiet farm land on the other.IMG_2013 Well we were almost home and I tried to get a good picture of the York water tower. You know when you’re looking for your camera and just can’t find it? Well I had a couple of cameras along and I still couldn’t snap the picture when I wanted. But I did include it in this posting because it’s definitely eye catching. IMG_2019I guess 15 years ago this water tower was supposed to be painted beige and blue but the people in town said they wanted something with a little bit more color. I’m thinking they succeeded. I laughed because when we are on our bike rides we always look for the towns water tower and once you see it you know that you’re close. Now sometimes the water towers are hard to see so I think that maybe there should be more colorful ones like this one around. It’s getting towards the end of our trip and we got one final bonus when we stopped for supper. We stopped in Mason City, Iowa and we just couldn’t figure out why they were having such awesome fireworks? Well it turned out that this town was hosting the  National Pyrotechnics Guild International 2014 Convention starting that night and was going on for all week. It was too bad that we really needed to get home because it would have been something cool to sit down and watch more of. Maybe we can plan to go the next time they are in Mason City.  Finally we pull into our driveway and are greeted with the 6 crazy kitties. William really helped us out again when we were gone taking care of the farm animals and kitties and we appreciated all his help. But it was time to get ready for a full week of work and it was hard to believe that that morning we were in Colorado. Crazy! But even though it was a long way to go to a wedding, it definitely was worth it in my books. Life’s too short to sit around and wait for the day to go by. Isn’t doing the unexpected sometimes what makes life interesting?

OK, so here is my photo not only of the day but also of the trip. Just too funny!! IMG_1963 

 

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