Gidget

Gidget is our littlest kitty of the 6 pack and I worry about her the most. She still fits in your palm of your hand while the other kitties are two or three times her size. We’ve had dwarf cats before and I’m thinking that Gidget is one of those type of cats.

But these last couple of days she’s not been feeling too well. She doesn’t want to eat the kitty food that everyone else is eating, so this morning I made her warm eggs to fill her tummy. Then tonight she still didn’t want any of the kitty food that they other kittens were eating when I got home from work, but did eat a half of a piece of bacon. OK, maybe she’s not really sick … but really smart!

I spent quite a bit of time with her tonight because she seemed like she really needed it. But when I went in for a shower, this is what she looked like when I left her. Kinda sad right?

Gidget on the porch bench

Gidget on the porch bench

Then later when I went to check on her I found this. The other kitties were keeping her not only warm but also company. DSCN8933

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Original Wisconsin Ducks

We knew that we didn’t have much time before we had to head back home from the Dell’s today, but I also knew that we really should do something since we were in the area. I’m pretty sure that I was the only one in the group that wanted to go to one of the Water Parks, so the next best thing on the list was to take a Duck ride.

Now if you’ve never been on the Wisconsin Ducks before.. we’ll you just will have to add it to your bucket list. It’s kind of like seeing the Grand Canyon or the Statue of Liberty.. OK  maybe it’s not that big of a deal. But you probably should do it if you have a chance.

The Ducks are army vehicles that go both on the land and water. They were used in Sicily, D-Day Invasion, and the Pacific Theatre before they were retired. Our trip started by getting on board the Duck in our resort parking lot and off we went. The driver said that they can get up to speeds of 55 miles an hour on the highway and I’m thinking the way the wind was blowing – it was a good thing that I didn’t spend too much time on my hair this morning. (OK, I never spend too much time on my hair any mornings!) We went to another hotel with this resort and picked up a bunch more people and then we were off on our adventure. The tour started out with driving through a small winding path and we found out later, that these paths that we were taking through the woods were the paths that were originally the roads cut by the primitive city of Newport’s streets, old stagecoach runs, and roads cut by the rivermen. In 1956 the woods that we were in was transferred from the owner to the Dells Boat Company with the stipulation that the land must be left in it’s natural state. And you know what? That’s exactly what they did and the scenery was really cool! Below is a picture to give you an idea on what the land looked like when we were driving it it. There were a lot of trees and cliffs. The temperature was a lot cooler that it was before we got into the woods and we were told that the sandstone cliffs kept the moisture in and with the trees shading the forest, it was like a natural air conditioner.

Heading through the forest with our Duck

Heading through the forest with our Duck

Then as you come around the corner all you can see is this huge river and the driver steps on the gas and goes in! DSCN8915

Duck people

Duck people

You are now driving around in the Wisconsin River. There are beautiful sandstone ridges all along the river and man they are old! It turns out that the river area started 500 million years ago as the Cambrian Sea.  But glaciers came through and the climate warmed up and now we have this beautiful and historic part of Wisconsin right in front of us. DSCN8907After reading up a little bit more on this area, it was really home to Native Americans and they moved the tribes a couple of times to other states. But our guide did mention that some of the rock formations are named after some of the Native Americans which is pretty cool. DSCN8910So we hang out of the river for awhile and then off to Lake Delton. We needed to get back on land and then inch our way through this one pass which we literally had only inches on each side of our Duck before we would hit the rocks. DSCN8923It was really fun to listen to some of the little boys on our trip and I was wondering the time that we took our boys when they were little if they asked as many questions as these kids did? I’m guessing that they probably did. Now to get into Lake Delton. The driver asked if we wanted to go fast or slow into the water. So duh…everyone said fast! Then he said that the back people were probably going to get wet and about now everyone looked a little nervous. And they did get wet when he floored it! A huge wave came over the back and came into the boat.  But we didn’t get wet, so we thought it was kind of funny. We spent some time on this man made lake and then back on land.  On the way out of the forest we came across this one reforestation project area that the owner started back in the 1940′s. It was pretty cool looking and it’s my photo of the day.

Photo of the day

Photo of the day

As we were getting close to the highway, I saw a bunch of old statues that went a long way on both sides of our road and our guide never mentioned anything about it. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I never took a picture of them either. I found out that they were gargoyle statues and columns from the Chicago Board of Trade Building when it was being demolished back in 1932. The owner bought them and had them placed on her property. It didn’t take long and we were back at our hotel and getting in our car for the drive home. What a fun thing to do on a Sunday afternoon!DSCN8899

Posted in Picture of the day, Places to visit | 1 Comment

What a beautiful day for a wedding

We were invited to an outside wedding today for one of our friend’s daughter and not only was the weather perfect for it – but the wedding was also perfect!

The wedding ceremony was at a Golf Club in Wisconsin Dells and with some of the crazy weather that we’ve been having lately it’s always a risk, but today’s weather was perfect! The sun was out, but it wasn’t hot. There was a slight breeze, but it wasn’t windy. And there was even some butterflies flying around the guests while we were waiting for the wedding to start. I mean you just couldn’t ask for anything better!! The chairs were set up on a retired part of the golf course and when the music started, and the wedding party started down the aisle – you knew that the bride wasn’t too far behind.  And then when the bride came around the corner where her dad by her side – she just kind of took your breath away. She was absolutely glowing and beautiful. Now I’ve known the bride since she was just a really little girl and when I looked at her standing by her future husband, I have to confess that I got a little teary eyed and realized just how fast time really goes by. The reception and the dance was also held all at the Country Club so it made it really convenient for everyone to just hang out and have a great time!

We stayed at the resort that was close by which worked out really well and it was absolutely HUGE! Below is a picture of just one part of it. There were a couple of different hotel’s that have different themes to them that aren’t even on this property. With the drive only about 3 hours from our farm, we decided that we’d like to come back and spend a little bit more time just to check out some of the stuff to do at the Dell’s.

Just one section of our resort

Just one section of our resort

And the picture of the day? When this moose came around the corner I caught Daryl just smiling. He knew that I would want a photo op with it! IMG_2074

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Catching up on the cards I made

Today’s post is pretty much on the different cards that I’ve made lately. Below are the ones that I’ve done these past days:

Wedding Card

Wedding Card

Birthday Card

Birthday Card

Thank you cards for housing at Ragbrai

Thank you cards for housing at Ragbrai

A way overdue Graduation Card

A way overdue Graduation Card

Not much else going on around the farm other than the weather has changed a lot within the last 24 hours! I mean we had over 90 degrees on Thursday and tonight it’s going to get down into the 50′s. OK, even though it’s September I’m pretty much trying to think that Fall (or winter!!) really isn’t coming. But with the forecast for the nights to get into the 4o’s, I better get in gear and get some of the outside painting that I want done — like done! You’re not supposed to paint outside if the weather is less than 40 degrees. Well anyway that’s what the paint can says and maybe it’s also that you probably should be done painting when there’s a chance of snow in the air :)

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Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!!

Tammy, Congratulations!! You guess the mystery photo from yesterday correctly!

This was the photo corn

And this was what the object was – the dried silk from an ear of field corn

Silk from a field ear of corn

Silk from a field ear of corn

Now that we’ve got a couple of the easy ones out of the way, you’re going to have to put your thinking caps on for next weeks photo. I have it already picked out and we’ll see if anyone can guess it!

Have you ever started something and then when you’re just in the thick of it, you think that maybe you shouldn’t have really started it after all? Well I started a couple of batches of tomato salsa tonight and even though I thought that it wasn’t going to take most of the night, I was wrong. But it’s a good job done and now to move onto getting some apples canned for the winter.

Salsa staying warm in the roaster and my kettle on for the water bath for the jars

Salsa staying warm in the roaster and my kettle on for the water bath for the jars

The end result of the salsa making tonight

The end result of  making salsa tonight

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Today’s Mystery Photo

I’ts Wednesday already,  so can you guess the secret photo?

corn

Posted in Pictures | 3 Comments

Stuff to do on Labor Day

Well here’s an update to my issues from yesterday. My wrist was much better today. I’m not sure if it was the bandage that I had on it overnight or if it just was going to get better anyway – but I was sure glad that it was only sore and not swollen today! The next thing is the 4 wheeler. I guess there’s some type of switch that I have to turn on if I want to pull start it William said. OK and that’s a good thing to know the next time. But I think I’ll have to find out where that switch is first.  Then the last thing is the Pacifica. William tried to start the car today and found out that the battery was dead again this morning and needs to be replaced. I’m glad that I didn’t cause the battery to go dead yesterday, but it would have been a lot cheaper if all it needed was a jump Sunday night. So he’ll just replace the battery down at college until we can get his car down to him.

Daryl ended up getting called back into work and spent most of the day (and night) there again,  so I decided to catch up on some stuff around the house. The first thing was to work on getting the cellar storage organized and throw away anything that’s outdated for my canned stuff. I needed to bring down the canned pasta sauce that I did this weekend and I wanted it organized before I added more. I know that this is probably a little odd – but once I brought down the ‘new’ canned jars I just couldn’t help but smile on how nice it looked with the filled jars lining the shelves. I just stood there and was feeling pretty proud of myself and realized that I need to get some more things canned before I am feeling over confident about all of this.

Then I worked on getting the refrigerator cleaned out. I think it might have been a mistake buying so much stuff at the vegetable stand on Friday, so I decided to try my luck on freezing whole corn on the cobs this year. I found a recipe on the internet that had the most stars rated on it and gave it a try. Here’s what I did – after cleaning the corn, I put it in boiling water with a couple of tablespoons of sugar and brought it back up to a boil.

Waiting for the water to boil

Waiting for the water to boil

I let it boil for about 5 minutes and then cooled it down fast in ice water. Once the cobs were cool, they were put on a towel to dry and then I vacuum packed them with a little butter on top.

Drying the cobs after they were cooled in ice water

Drying the cobs after they were cooled in ice water

Butter goes well with sweet corn

Ready for a Sunday dinner in winter

OK, I improvised and added the butter part myself. I thought to reheat them I would just leave them in the bags and warm them up either in the microwave or on the stove in water. I’m thinking either way would work and I guess I’ll find out just how well it does taste this winter. I think that this would work pretty good if you were camping. You wouldn’t have the mess of having to clean the corn and it would sure taste good around a camp fire.

Another reason why I wanted to clean out the fridge was because we were out of dog food and I wanted to see if there was anything in there that could tide the dogs over for a couple of hours. Having Kaiser around is like having a teenager and he just eats and eats! I already gave them the rest of the cat’s food and they ate all the food that was bought for them at our local gas station yesterday. You really pay for the convenience part of this store and that’s OK in a pinch. So let’s just say our dogs ate well this afternoon out of our fridge while I was working in the kitchen.  After the corn was in the freezer I did end up getting to town to shop at a discount store and honestly I think I would have been better off just buying the dog food at the convenience store! I went into the store just thinking that I need a bag of dog food and cat food and came out with about $200 less money in my wallet. I guess we needed more things than these two things after all. I have to confess though about something that I bought today that I’ve never bought in my life. I bought a couple cans of kitty food. And man oh man is this slick. I got home and the 6 pack of little kitties came running. So I grabbed a can of kitty food and opened it up and that was that! I laughed when the little kitties were done, the chickens came over to see what they were eating and then the dogs came and licked the bowls clean. I guess nothing goes to waste on the farm.

And the night ended up with me getting in a good 4 mile run. Now I’m not fast or good at this, but I do think that I might be getting better. The only problem is that I’ve got a long way to go to be good.

 

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Really Bad Karma

Today we had really bad luck or how I like to put it ‘really bad karma’.  This was not a fun day. Sounds kind of bad doesn’t it? Well let’s do a recap of what happened.

The morning started out with a phone call from Daryl’s work and he had to go in for awhile. He wasn’t sure at this time how long he was going to have to stay, so I decided to get some stuff done around the house, do chores, and then start mowing. I put the rest of the gas that we had on the farm for the riding lawn mower and Daryl stopped back home just in time for him to run into town to pick up some more. Then he didn’t have to go back to work for a couple of hours so he grabbed a some pieces of tin for an example that he still needed for the shed and he was off to town. The town that he needed to go to for this tin was an hour away and I figured that I could have quite a bit of the lawn mowed by the time that he got back. Yea… well that didn’t happen. I swear that he didn’t even hit the highway when the front tires of the riding lawn mower slid into a wet spot in the ditch. OK, this couldn’t be that bad now could it? Well the more that I tried to get it out – the worse it was getting. Soon I found myself in something (not sure what I should call it) and this whole situation was looking bad! I told myself, think logically. So after trying to push it out without any success, I went to get some lumber to put under the wheels to give it some more umph. It worked, but then I slid off of it and got even more stuck. You can just about imagine how mad this would make someone, and I found out that I was definitely one of those ‘someones’!! By now I was really pretty frustrated, mad, and hot so I thought I’d go in the house and try to come up with a plan. The next thing that I did was to get some really fine corn cobs to soak up the wet gunk in the ditch. Pretty smart huh? Well, it didn’t work. The only thing that it did was to make corn cob dust stick to the gunk on my legs and feet.  Then I remembered the 4 wheeler. That should work. I would hook it up to the mower and pull the dumb thing out. Well, I couldn’t get the 4 wheeler started, so I went into the house. I have no idea how hot it was outside, but I was sweating and decided to get a drink before I got too hot! OK, so I was going to try getting the riding lawn mower out one more time and I told myself that it was going to work. I mean it only needed to move just a couple of inches and I’d be free again!  Well, as I stepped in front of the lawn mower my most favorite flip flops in the world snapped. I had these flip flops for 3 years and have been through just about everything and today they decided to die?  By now I was just praying that no one was going to drive by because I’m thinking that I looked just a little bit scary. I threw the flip flops to the side, stepped back into the gunk, cleaned out the junk from underneath it which gave my arms a new layer of black mud on them, and pushed and pushed. And guess what? It was still stuck. That’s it and I was done. So I thought I’d fine some more chore shoes and do some push mowing. It didn’t take long to find the shoes and I thought at least I could be productive. Well, I couldn’t get the push mower started so I went back into the house. I was so crabby and hot, along with a massive headach that I tried to watch TV but couldn’t even do that. With the lawn mower was stuck, my flip flops broke, I couldn’t get the push mower or the 4 wheeler started, today was not going well.

Then Daryl came home and he looked like something didn’t go well in town for him. What happened was that they had all the tin that he needed to finish the shed and after he paid for it and went to get it from the lumber yard – they didn’t have any. So he spent 3 hours and couldn’t buy the stuff he needed. OK, this whole day is bad and we just need to get it over with. He helped me get the lawn mower out of the ditch which literally took 3o seconds with 2 people,  and then he started the push mower with one pull. I wanted to get some trimming done now that it was started and he said it only had about 10 minutes of gas in it. No problem – I can mow a lot in ten minutes! He grabbed a pop and back to work he went. So now with only 10 minutes to use the push mower – I was off. I have no idea how long I was mowing but I got the grass around the house and clothes lines mowed, the garden fence mowed, the steel bins mowed, trees in our front lawn mowed, and the rest of the ditch mowed. I must have looked like Wile E Coyote or something just running around with the push mower. And guess what? I had to shut it off because I didn’t run out of gas :)

So now I’m mowing and mowing on the rider and notice that it’s starting to sprinkle. There were a lot of dark clouds over head and I thought .. Bring it On! The day that I was having wasn’t nothing compared to what a little rain could do. Well, I guess I shouldn’t have thought that because I was finishing up the last 45 minutes in the rain.

Whew ! What a day huh? Well, William called and they were just coming home from Wisconsin and he was going to stop in to pick up a few things. Sounds good right? Well, then he mentioned that his side window of his car was falling down into to the door. Oh ohhh. He was going to see if he could take the door panel off when he got home and then try to temporarily fix it for now. It ended up being too dark when he got home so he decided that it would be OK for now because he got it stopped before it fell into the door. The weather report for our area at this time was calling for storms with heavy winds and hail so they ended up waiting for about 2 hours to let it blow over. In the mean time my wrist was just killing me. Somewhere in the course of the day I must have strained it or something because it was really starting to hurt and swell up. Great! William got out the ACE bandage and wrapped my wrist up and then a bag of frozen peas were on it to try to take the swelling down. He thought that maybe I sprained it or something. NO WAY!  I’m sure it’s just really sore. Finally the wind and rain calmed down and they were off. Then the phone rang. And it was William. His brake line on his car broke and he didn’t have any breaks. He was only about 10 miles away and he said that he could just use the hand break to get back home and then switch cars and use the Pacifica. I was scared to death that something was going to happen but they were soon pulling into the yard. Now the second batch of bad weather was coming around and they waited another hour until that blew over. They had everything packed into the Pacifica and now with the weather was looking better they were going to go. I said goodbye again and gave the Mom discussion on being safe and they went outside to leave. Well, I couldn’t figure out why they weren’t going and then I saw William running through the yard in the rain carrying something from the shed. He needed to jump the car because the battery was dead. I just used it on Friday and I’m thinking that the back hatch wasn’t closed tight and the light was on which drained the battery. By now I’m trying to convince them to just call it a day and leave in the morning. I mean it was already about midnight. But William said he had hours invested in  just trying to get back and he wasn’t going to give up now! (hummm…. I’m pretty sure that I saw this look earlier in the mirror) So finally he got the car jumped and they were pulling out of the driveway. I made them promise to let me know when they got there safe. So I laid back on the couch with my pack of peas on my wrist and finally Daryl comes home around 2 am. What a day we all had and I sure hope tomorrow is much better! These holidays are way too stressful!

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We worked hard today!

You know when you wake up and you just know that you’re going to get a lot done today? Well that’s how I felt this morning. I knew that I wanted to can the tomatoes and also help Daryl with the shed that he’s been working on.

First things first. Get the kitchen set up. I put out all the tomatoes on the table and sorted them out. I’m kind of weird about canning stuff and don’t want to risk anything going bad by having used something that I shouldn’t have. So if the tomatoes even look like they might be bad – it was chicken buffet time. I was glad that there wasn’t too many that fit this category because I bought them and then the next thing is to decide what I want to make with them. I decided to make some canned whole tomatoes, some boring pasta sauce (nothing else added to it) and some garden pasta sauce. Can you tell that I like the garden pasta sauce better? The first thing is to see what I needed for the canned whole tomatoes. Jars – check. They were in the dishwasher just getting done on the sanitize setting. Which by the way is such a good thing on a dishwasher!! The next thing is to get my big white enamel wash pan and bucket. Check. Now for the canning salt. hummm. I thought I had some in the cupboard. OK, so not cool! So I put on some ‘town clothes’, tried to do something with my hair, brushed my teeth and headed to town. I thought I was better at being organized than this! But I figured that I won’t run into anyone at the farm store and as long as I’m there I’ll also pick up some canning lids. Well for a Holiday weekend, the store was packed. And of course I knew about half of them which usually how it goes for me. With the salt and the jar lids in my bag, I was back home in about 35 minutes. Not bad since it takes me about 15 minutes just to drive to town. Finally I was in the zone. I had the whole tomatoes in the water bath and a roaster full of pasta sauce just ready to go. So if you do any canning, you know that there is some ‘down time’. What I mean by that is in between when the jars are in the water bath and you have to put the next ones in, you can do other things. And with Daryl working on the shed it really worked out good. I would put the jars in the water bath and then run out for 40 minutes to help him.

Work continues on the cattle shed

Work continues on the cattle shed

Then I’d run back into the house, take those jars out and put the next ones in. Pretty slick huh? Now according to the recipe, the jars are supposed to be in the water bath for 40 minutes. And depending on what I was helping Daryl with, I’m thinking that some of them could have exceeded that time! Yup, pretty sure that they did. But more is better in this situation right? I was even able to get a run in later when Daryl was working on cutting some steel, so I was really happy how the day was turning out.

At the end of the day (12:30 am on Sunday) I finally took the last jars out to cool and got the kitchen cleaned up.

This is what I started with

My tomato stash this morning

My tomato stash this morning

and this is what I ended up with. Not a bad days work.

What I used the tomatoes for

What I used the tomatoes for

Now we’ve got all our work done that we wanted to get done today which is Great! I was asked to go kayaking with a group of girls on Sunday but with working this hard today,  Daryl and I decided that we’re going to do something fun ourselves tomorrow! I’m excited to see what we come up!!

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Tomatoes

I’ve come to the realize that my garden is junk again this year. Yup, I’m not very successful with raising any type of vegetable this year at all!! So instead of sitting around and getting mad about it, my plan is to just go and buy them. I found out about this one person who sells garden things and after a quick call – I was down for a couple of boxes of tomatoes. The family that I’m going to see if a Mennonite family that is living in a group of families that recently moved into the area. Almost everyone in this group either sells vegetables, flowers, or does woodworking. It’s a great place to go and check out just what is for sale this week. But for me? Well, I’m going to get some tomatoes today. The weather is a little goofy and I’m hoping that it doesn’t rain too hard before I get home. I did run into some patchy rain on the way but it was really only a drizzle. When I got to the stand they had my tomatoes all boxed and ready to go. IMG_2068But you know how it is, I saw some sweet corn that I just had to have and also some kohlrabi, green beans, and peppers. Maybe not having a garden isn’t such a bad idea. It sure would cut down on the stress level!! With my car loaded up with fresh vegetables I started to head back home. I was thinking that I should get some more canning salt and lids, but I was sure that I had enough. On the way home I looked in my rear view mirror and thought that my window was dirty or something. It was pretty dark and it just looked wrong. Well come to find out that there was some bad weather moving into the area and I kicked it in gear to get home before it hailed on the car. I think I got home just in time because when I just pulled into the yard and grabbed my camera when I saw this.

Not a picture of a pretty sunset this time!

Not a picture of a pretty sunset this time!

Yikes! It didn’t take long until the wind picked up and even though we really had the potential to get a storm – the wind just blew and we didn’t get much rain. But it did get dark for 5:00 in the afternoon!!DSCN8871

With the car full from the vegetable stand, you can just about imagine what my night was going to be. I wanted to get organized for canning tomorrow and I was glad that Daryl wanted to go our schools football game. For some reason when I want to work in the kitchen.. I need the whole kitchen :)

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