Heading South Saturday

After getting up early this morning we got the truck loaded to bring William’s things that he needed for this semester of classes at college. All I can say is Thank Goodness for trucks! We were able to get everything loaded and packed in and soon we had a bungee cord on it and we were off!IMG_3299

We got a little bit later start than we wanted (we left around 7:30) but expected to meet up with him around 10:00 or so. Then if we had time we were going to go to the Iowa State Fair. We haven’t been to the fair for about 4 years now and that sure sounds like a good time if we could make it work.

We did get to Ames around 10:00 and it didn’t take too long to get the truck unloaded and we headed to the fair. What a perfect weather to be outside. It wasn’t too hot and even though it was breezy, it kept the air cool. First thing first – get the lay of the land. We started out with a couple of the cattle barns and to tell you the truth, I would stay in there for most of the day if I could. In the one barn we couldn’t figure out why there was such a line and what we found out later that they were waiting to milk the cows. There’s about 25 to 30 cows milked daily and they let the fairgoers help.

Here’s a picture of some of the cows in the steer barn. 20150822_130612They were getting ready to show their cattle and this one girl was standing and just smiling at her calf. I asked her if I could take a picture of her and her calf and she said sure! She first straightened her shirt and bib and then she did a once over look at her calf to make sure that it was also looking good.20150822_130515

There is tons to see and do while at the fair and I’m sure we didn’t see it all. But we did see the wood carving guy 20150822_153042and of course the Butter Cow! Now if you’ve ever been to the Iowa State Fair and didn’t go see the Butter Cow, well shame on you. (sorry!) But this is one of the main attractions for the fair. When we first got to the line to see it up close, we were a little sceptical but decided to wait anyway. 20150822_142758I ended up timing our wait and it only took 20 minutes which wasn’t bad at all! I thought for sure it would be at least twice that much. 20150822_143053Here is some facts about the Butter Cow: The first cow was made in 1911, each cow takes over 600 lbs of butter to make her, 16 hours to carve, and the lady who carved this cow has been doing the carving since 2006 after 15 years of being an apprentice. Other than the cow,  the other carving theme this was Monopoly this year and here’s a couple of pictures of what was carved20150822_14301020150822_143223

While we were waiting in line I took a couple of quick pictures of the many, many, many exhibits. And knowing that a couple of years ago there was over 14,500 people entered 9,000 +  exhibits in categories ranging from cattle to needlepoint to vegetables, I knew that we wouldn’t be bored waiting.20150822_14122720150822_14114420150822_144545

But I do have something that I would like to share. This is the the Super Bull that they have in one of their barns (picture below)20150822_125151and after taking a look at Ed  OUR  bullIMG_3301well I’m just saying that maybe Ed is the Winner!20150822_125749

Now the biggest challenge we did have is just what should we eat? With around 70 foods that is served on a stick and over 200 food stands, this really is a challenge. 20150822_121518So for dinner we decided on a breaded tenderloin which we cut in half and was more than enough for both of us, we also ate some smoked brisket and mac and cheese which was delicious20150822_161128and when it came to our unique item  –  we were looking for some breaded taco’s and guess what? With over 106, 642 people at the fair on Saturday, most of them must have thought the same thing because they were out! :(  Oh well, we weren’t that hungry anyway and decided on a root beer float for the way home.

So from checking out the old tractors 20150822_160615to riding the Sky Glider20150822_150029we saw sand sculpting 20150822_122929

a carnival 20150822_150124-1-1

an even camel rides!20150822_164153

And with the fair going on since 1854 and with the Iowa State Fairgrounds being on the National Register of Historic Places – seriously how can you go wrong?

The picture of the day is one that I took when we were walking around the fairgrounds. I think just the posting is really funny because they must have had trouble in the past to have to tell people not to do it, but take a look if the livestock actually went on the sidewalk. They would have to weave in and out of the crowd and benches. Just too funny!! 20150822_130657

Well that’s about it for us at the Iowa State Fair this year. Hopefully we’ll be able to go again real soon!

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Back to classes

William starts classes next week again and that means getting the rest of his things that didn’t fit in the Jeep organized and ready to go back to him tomorrow. Now the list isn’t too long that he had asked us to bring to him, so it’s not going to be a big deal to get things rounded up tonight and ready for tomorrow.

Of course I wanted to make a couple of things to bring down to him just in case he was hungry.  I wonder if I’ll ever get over thinking that there is no food where our kids are living? Oh well, they don’t complain and it’s fun to make something different once in awhile.

And of course one of the things that I’m working on tonight is a couple of pounds of beef jerky to bring along. I swear that I could make this in my sleep. Once I get William’s done, I’ll start on a batch for Kyle. It’ll go in his birthday box that I’ll be sending next week. I wonder what else I can make for his box? :)


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How does your garden grow?

Not to brag or anything – but my garden this year was pretty good. Sure I had a couple of weeks when it was completely out of control, but for the most part it looked almost like everyone else’s. SCORE!

When I would hear that people would say that gardening was so relaxing I just couldn’t get it in my brain cells that this could even be possible. Seriously, even walking past the garden in the years past would make my belly hurt. I would do the ‘I’m not looking’ thing and just keep walking. The reason that I would have a garden was to just get fresh food. And that was it.

But since I’ve been able to keep up this year I was almost at that relaxing stage that people talk about. Yea, who would have thought right? When you can actually walk into your garden and be walking on dirt instead of a carpet of weeds – well let’s just say it makes you feel so much better. I had a chance to clean it up really well the 4th of July weekend, and it has stayed pretty much in control since then.

So what did I all get out of the garden this year so far? Well I had snap peas, onions, a couple of different peppers, lettuce, parsley, chives, cherry tomatoes, and regular tomatoes. Now the peas, onions, and lettuce are gone but the rest is still in the garden.

And if you’re wondering if I learned something this year I’m here to tell you that I sure did! Do you know if you take a huge pile of lettuce that you want to clean and soak it in water, lets say for about a day and a half, that it turns to slime? Yea, literally slime! I was so excited because I cleaned out the remaining lettuce out of the garden and I had a lot! I also just couldn’t find the time to get it cleaned and so I had a great idea to soak it until I could get to it. Well to my defense it was pretty dirty and this was a great way to get it cleaned. When I finally got back to cleaning it and pulled it from a glass container, it was like a huge slime ball that was about 1/3 the original size. It was gross! So the take away on this is to not cut your lettuce UNTIL you have time to actually clean it. I pulled it all out of the soaking container and threw the wad of lettuce into the chicken coop to see if they would like to eat it. I haven’t checked back with them since :)

This is the before picture of the rest of my lettuce. Now it's chicken feed!

This is the before picture of the rest of my lettuce. Now it’s chicken feed!

OK, so here is some pictures that I took of the garden. The first one is some pictures of some of the harvest so far.

Some snap peas and lettuce

Some snap peas and lettuce

First tomatoes of the season

First tomatoes of the season

The picture below is an awesome picture if I say so myself. It’s a picture of a tomato plant that I started in the greenhouse by seed. It’s literally one plant that was getting so big that I had to reinforce the plant with a second extra sturdy cage. So where I’m standing is literally in the middle of the two cages holding up the plant. And to top it off it’s not only a show plant but it actually has tons of tomatoes on it. Superstar!!

This is one tomato plant!

This is one tomato plant!

And the photo of the day is this frog (or toad?) that I couldn’t get away from. He kept hanging out wherever I went. I was just trying to keep track of him so he wouldn’t become garden fertilizer! I don’t think my Niece would forgive me if she found out that I stepped on him.

My garden helper

My garden helper

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Mystery Photo 8-19-15

Any idea what this is?


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The weather is changing

You know when you can feel that the weather is changing and it’s switching from summer to fall? Well I think that is what is going on and I’m pretty sure that I do not like it! I mean the forecast for the next couple of days is for us to get into the 50’s for a low. WHAT? I’m not ready to give up the warm summer days at all! Now don’t get me wrong I do know that it’s coming and it’s all part of this changing of the seasons – but no one said that I had to like it right. I mean I’ve got the kayak out only once this year and that sure doesn’t seem like enough now does it? But I guess I better get used to it, I mean it’s going to be September in a week or so and that is probably considered Fall on the calendar. And then soon it’ll be snowing again! Oh my :(

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Welcome rain!

We’ve been so dry these past couple of days that we sure are welcoming the rain that has just started. Some of the crops were getting to a critical point that if we didn’t get rain there was also a chance that we wouldn’t get much of a crop! You can sure tell the spots in the fields that are more sandy because they are the areas that react to the heat first. But with the rain that has just moved into the area it should help the soy beans fill out it sure will also help the corn.

I thought for sure with the wet weather that the little kitties would be moved by Checkers but after checking on them I saw that they were all tucked in together and seemed like they were doing OK. I’ll have to take a quick picture of them this week – they are so cute!!

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The Fishing Trip comes to an end Sunday

My fun weekend with the girls has come to an end. It’s crazy how fast times goes sometimes isn’t it?

What did we all do with our time? Well we ended up doing something this trip that we’ve never done before. Now over 35 years of heading north you would think we’ve seen it all right? Yea, not so much.

The opportunity for us to try something new came as we were driving down the lane to the cabin and with knowing that we were getting  pretty close we were feeling pretty good about everything.  Well that feeling only lasted for lets say about a minute. When we came around the corner we saw a tree across the road. Not so cool. But we soon found out that it was a rotten log and didn’t give us much trouble. Whew! A couple of hefty throws as a team sport and we got it off the path.IMG_3279 So we were off again and feeling pretty smug as we were getting closer to the final destination. But around the next corner was another tree down and this one was definitely not going anywhere. OK now we were not feeling so tough and with the time late in the night we had to figure out just what we were we going to do. We couldn’t really carry all our stuff up the lane and to the cabin so our only choice was to cut the tree apart. So through the woods us girls go and I was glad that we also had one of the girls dog with us. Now not like anything was going to get us but it kind of felt like the Wizard of Oz and going through the scary forest. I was happy that we only had pine trees and not apple trees like in the movie that grab people. Oh yea, and no flying monkeys either :) But we had to get our hands on some tree cutting saws so down the path we go. Once we get our saws and our trusty flashlight on it was time to go back and tackle the tree. And guess what? With a lot of perseverance and teamwork we finally get it cut down and just like that we are Rock Stars!! Whoo Hoo  The most trouble we had was trying to see what we were doing because the lights that we used to light up the area on the car kept timing out. But did I tell you yet that we are Rock Stars !! (just in case you missed it the first time)IMG_3278

Another challenge that we’ve had to do was to get the pontoon out on the lake and let me tell you that this is not an easy task. Honestly getting the tree cut down might have been easier than getting that pontoon into the water. But we’ve done this before in previous years and we knew that we were in for a challenge. We really worked on it a long time and when we finally got it almost into the water the choice of one of us jumping on the edge of it to try to rock it off the log in the lake while the others tried to push it over the hump turned out to be a good choice.  And our very last try it actually went into the water. Thank Goodness! The reason that I say that is because we tie it up on the end of the dock so we don’t have to walk into the front water that has a lot of mud and silt in it. And I’m kind weird about the mud and silt stuff just to let you know.

We spent many hours floating on the lake

We spent many hours floating on the lake

With those two big things done and the cabin ready for a fun couple of days we spent a lot of time on the warm lake soaking up the awesome sunshine. DSCN8181


We found a good spot to hang our towels at the end of the day

One of the coolest things that we saw this weekend was there was a meteor shower in the sky.When you’re up north the stars seem just within reach of you and then add a ton of shooting stars that seemed so much brighter this weekend – well to say it was cool is an understatement.

Here are a couple of other pictures that I took over the weekend. The first one if the trusty Pacifica that not only took us girls up to the cabin safely, but also the dog and all our gear and food.

The trusty Pacifica

What a great car – Pacifica


Not sure what this is but it caught my eye on the outside of the cabin


One of the rooms in the cabin

And now that our ‘Fishing Trip’ is over and we once again forgot to fish :) but  it was great to stop everything and just eat a lot of good food, soak up a lot of sunshine, and have a very nice weekend with some great friends. Until next time…

A typical night sky at the cabin

A typical night sky at the cabin

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Gone Fishing

I’m off to go ‘fishing’ with the girls for a couple of days so I’ll catch up with you when I get back. There’s a group of girls that have been going to a cabin up North the last 36 years and this is the weekend that we scheduled to be together again. Now the group does change some from year to year, but the cabin and the area does not. Very cool! And because this is a girls trip, Daryl will be home on the farm and hopefully watching out for the new little kitties and giving apples as treats to the cows. OK, maybe not the treat thing, but he’ll be home watching over everyone when I’m gone.

I’ll take tons of pictures and share them with you when I get back.

Stay groovy!

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Results from Mystery Photo 8-5-15

You guys are good!

Here is the clue DSCN8144

And here is the answer. It was our old kitchen scale! Great Job!DSCN8146

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Guess what I did tonight?

Well if you guessed that I took every koozie that we own (which is about 10 million) and washed them you would have guessed right. The reason for doing this is because the other day I grabbed a koozie with a Diet Coke and when I was drinking it there was kind of had a funky smell in the room. You know that smell I’m sure. It’s the ‘could this smell be coming from me’ smell and you give yourself a once over sniff. But it didn’t take long to find out that the koozie had the musty smell and I decided that all they all were going to get a bath tonight!

Now I don’t know if you can wash them or not and with the washing machine almost done I guess I’ll find out pretty soon!

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