Trying to catch up

Because our life these last 2 months have been soap, we’ve been putting off a lot of different jobs that really needed to get done. And guess what? Today was the day to start them. 

So even though it’s Sunday, we spent the whole day working really hard. And I almost hate to admit it … but it felt really good just to get some things checked off our lists. 

I started out the day with doing laundry and hanging it out on the clothes line. We had typhoon winds again today, but that just made the laundry dry even faster. I did see a couple of times my shirts that have been ripped off the clothes line and then landing on the lawn, but I caught them before the dogs saw them. In the past they’ve added a couple of holes to my shirts if they’ve gotten to the ones that have fallen before I have.

We also wanted to get to the market location that I was at yesterday and pick up my stuff that I left. See it was pouring rain yesterday and so much easier to pick it up today instead.

So now that all the soap is home along with my display things, I had to figure out how to get our laundry room back to being a laundry room again. The only option is to move it somewhere and that would have to be in the basement (aka cellar) And if you have a farm cellar you know that it’s not a like any town basement by any means!

Well, at this point I had two options, find another spot or clean up the cellar. OK, I guess I will clean up the cellar. Yuck. But I guess it has to be done,  so I dug in and started at it. It was one of those projects when you really wish that you hadn’t started but now that you have, you just can’t turn back.

Now I can’t complain about most of the stuff that is being stored down there because it’s is kind of mine. Treasures man, treasures :)

With a good wall and floor washing with bleach to kill anything that might be growing down there, I moved some shelving down the steps to store my soap stuff. And I’m just saying that our basement hasn’t smelled so good in over 30 years!

And our laundry room looks just huge now! I took out a 4 shelving unit, a metro cart, another cart, and then all my soap. Yup, it was a good move after all.

While I was busy in the house and running some errands, Daryl was busy trying to keep in front of the every growing lawn by mowing once again this weekend. I guess we really shouldn’t complain that the lawn is growing because that also means that the hay is growing too. 

Finally after a quick meeting in town about our AWESOME town book that we’ve been working on now for 6 months, I was upstairs when something caught my eye. And guess what it was? It was Daryl on the roof. He was literally outside the window just kinda hanging out. With all the pine trees that we have in our yard, that also means tons of pine needles in our eaves troughs. So he was up there cleaning them out. Check him out. I’m just glad that he didn’t fall! 20160531_200632_resized

The night ended up a quick run around the block. We’ve got a 5k coming up in our town and to say that I’m not ready is such an understatement. To give you an idea on how bad it is, Daryl asked me when I got home if I was OK. Yea, I must have looked really bad! 

So even though we didn’t get to do anything fun today, it did feel good to get some things done around the farm. I was hoping that if we got done early enough that I would try my luck at making some bath fizzies. Oh well, maybe next week. 

 

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Just what have I been doing this week?

I thought long and hard about what I should name this post. At first I thought I should say something like ‘The weather in Hawai is great!’  because you would think that I’ve been on some wonderful exotic vacation the past days wouldn’t you? Well if that’s what you were thinking, it was wrong!

So I decided to title it ‘Just what have I been doing this week?’ OK, maybe not the most original, but it’s pretty appropriate.

OK, so what have I been doing? Well I was in a TWO day vendor show this past Friday and Saturday and even though I had all the soap made and was ready to be packaged up  – it was the packaging that took me forever to do.

Have you ever looked at a pretty big task and thought to yourself, well this is going to take a long time. And then to find out that is really did take a long time?20160531_200235_resized_1

 

20160531_200205_resizedWell I wanted the soap to all cure before I wrapped it, and since I had absolutely no idea on how much to bring, I ended up spending many, many, hours both in the daylight and through the night this week working on getting ready for this show. For me it was one of those times when you truly believe that you could take on any task if you pulled this off.  I mean go big or go home right? So like I said I spent a couple of literally sleepless nights hanging out in our kitchen wrapping, stamping, & putting on a decorative tape to each of these bars. And was it worth it? You bet! First of all just to prove to myself that I could actually get this all done was a personal accomplishment in itself! But as the weekend unfolded it was also good decision financially. 

Well once I had all the soap wrapped, I literally had about an hour before I had to leave for the first day of the show. I jumped into the shower and told myself a couple of times, and maybe even out loud come to think of it, that I wasn’t tired and it’ll be fun. Since I’m pretty much a Newbie in these shows, my plan was to fake that I knew what I was doing. 

So I packed the truck with all my soap and some other things that were needed, and Daryl came with me to help set up an area rug that I wanted to place in my booth. Now I don’t know why I thought a rug would look good, but it was coming with me anyway. I think it was one of those times when no one is allowed to ask questions. But Daryl was such a good guy, he helped me get the rug in place and then off he went. I had about 2 hours before the show to get everything ready so I was sure hoping that I could get it done. 

For my main soap display I used a chicken coop. Yup a chicken coop!  And even though I knew it was a little unconventional, I guess I didn’t care. If this was truly my gig, well then this is how I wanted to roll with it.

Well I had everything done way before the customers were let in (they had to stand in line} so I just kinda hung out. 20160603_090309_resizedSo I tried to look busy and waited nervously. Then it was almost time and I thought to myself, Holy Smokes I better hit the bathroom. I was alone for the day and I wouldn’t be able to leave my booth now for 7 hours. Well since I gave up Diet Coke (found out that this might have be a mistake for the long hours of wrapping soap this past week) I drink a lot of water! So I quickly went and got back just in time for the gate to open. 

Wow! It was crazy. There were tons of people all smiling and looking pretty serious at the same time. As the day went on, I had a lot of compliments on my old chicken coop and my display. Well I thought, even if I don’t sell much today I knew that I probably had a pretty cleaver idea after all. It turned out that I didn’t have to worry if I was going to sell anything because I had two great days of sales. Who would have thought? With the weather perfect and the rain held out until after the show both day, and with a couple of different bands playing in the hog lot during the day (just too funny!) it was a perfect couple of days to have this on their farm. 20160604_135556_resized20160604_105955_resized

Now my original thought was that once I got home on Friday night I was going to make some bath fizzies to sell on Saturday. I had all the materials shipped to me and I was prepared. The only problem was that my body wasn’t.  My hand were cramped up from wrapping so much soap the night before and honestly I was tired. So needless to say no bath fizzies got make that night. 

Well when I got home Friday night and I decided to just take a quick nap on the couch. My nap ended up with me sleeping all through the night. But when the alarm went off I was ready for the second day of my adventure. 

The second day I had my niece helping me and I don’t know how she felt, but I had a great time with her being there. I was able to step away from the table to tell some potential customers about the soap while she did the money transactions and packaged the soap up for the buying Customers. She was a Rock Star! 

There was some of the vendors talking that there might be another show this fall and that made me think to myself if I would do this again. I came up to the conclusion that if I got asked I would say that I really had to think about it and I would let them know. Now if I wasn’t working full time or on so many different committees it would be different. But I’m sure you know everything takes so much time and that you have to be a little greedy to pick what your’e going to support and not support. 

So all of a sudden here came the organizer. We were making small talk and then she asked if I would want to do it again in the fall. Well I had practicing my speech and it was just starting to come out of my mouth. And guess what I said? I said something like this instead: ‘sure I would love to come back for two days in the fall’. OK, I  may be getting at making soap but I sure stink at staying with the original plan. But honestly it’ll be fun and now that I’m not such a Rookie at this I think I’ll do just fine. 

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What Mondays are meant to be

OK I know that there is about a million things that we could be doing on a Monday afternoon, but the sun is shining and the weather is warm so guess what we did? We went kayaking. Whooohoooo!!!!

We hurried up this morning and worked really hard on getting a bunch of things done that needed to be finished and then around dinner time we were off.

With all the rain that was happening lately, I must admit I was a little nervous if the water was going to be up, and with the look on Daryl’s face I knew that he also was a little apprehensive also when he saw the river. See Daryl never really grew up around the water. And even though our farm wasn’t close to a river either, we still spent a lot of the summer down in the local swimming hole that wasn’t too far away. This was a ploy from our folks (mostly Ma) to get us to unload the hay after milking chores. She would say something like ‘kids let’s just unload these two loads of hay up in the barn and then we’ll go swimming.’ Well when your’e a kid you definitely hear the ‘unload the two loads of hay’ part first. But then you would hear the ‘then we’ll go swimming part’ and you would do it. It was a pretty good trick if you ask me!

But like I said, we spent a lot of time in the local river swimming on summer nights and weekends as kids so I really enjoy being on the water any time that I can be.

With the weather so nice this afternoon, we loaded up the kayaks and had a fantastic time. We took a less traveled route on the river and we didn’t see another soul. Awesome! riverThe river was up but we didn’t have any trouble so that was good too.  

One of the best parts of the day was that the cotton wood trees that lined the river were all loosing their seeds and it literally looked like it was snowing on us on a couple parts of the river. And the water in those spots was at least 1/3 covered with white fluffy seeds. It was really pretty cool! 

We made it home before the rain came, and boy did it come! There wasn’t too much severe weather in our area, but we did get some pea sized hail. I think we got around 1 1/2 inches of rain all together tonight. Good thing the storm front didn’t come when we were on the river! I don’t think I’d ever get Daryl out again if that happened. 

Now here is our selfie that we took after we got off of the river. For some reason I look like I’ve got a flying nun hat on. Too funny! photo kayaking

 

 

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Update on the Cat Hostal

My brother said he would help with the metal panels in the small chicken coop and he picked up the one piece that he would use it for an example in the afternoon and just like that he was back with all 15 brand new pieces. BAM! 

So my nephew helped me replace them and man they are looking really good! DSC_0513

Tomorrow I definitely need to see how this whole thing is going to look. I mean I don’t want to put anymore time into it if it’s going to be something that I can’t use. The first thing is to see if putting soap into will look good or not. I know this answer is probably going to be yes, but I better double check to make sure.  

Then I need to find a table to set it on. The Vendor show doesn’t have tables available so that’s OK. I’ll see what I can find. 

Next I want to see if I can get some magnets made for the soap examples in the coop. Now I think this would work out really well, but not sure if I can get them done. I want to print copies of the pictures of the soap and then glue them on magnets for people to know what’s inside the coop. Pretty good idea right? 

After that I need to steam the soap and get it all wrapped and boxed up. 

Make a few signs and get some things organized for my display. 

Holy Smokes do I have a lot to do in 4 days!! 

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Cat Hostal

I was able to pick up an old chicken feeder at an auction that I went to last year and had it stored since then. And guess where it was stored – where else? In the brooder house. 

It was one of those times when you are at an auction and mistakenly say out loud that you are going to bid on that one item. Yea, not the smartest move. I’m sure you know why is because then everyone is supporting you no matter how much you’re going to pay for that piece. See if you don’t know by now, I don’t mind paying for something that I really like, but I’m also pretty frugal. And then to top it off when I was bidding there was a lady there that seemed that she really had to have it. OK, now it was game time. 

But I finally did get the winning bid and into the back of the truck it went and ever since then it’s been stored at the farm. 

The reason that I wanted to buy it was because I wanted to see if it would work for a soap display. It was a little bigger than I wanted, so that’s my project for this weekend. Thank goodness it’s a long weekend. 

With the upcoming Vendor show next weekend, it was time to dig it out to see just how this whole thing is going to look. DSC_0459One thing for sure is that I’m going to need a new floor in each compartment. DSC_0460 So today we went to a local town to see what is available. In the meantime, I talked to my brother and I think he’ll be able to help us get this part of the project done. Yea! 

The other part that we have to do is to put the chicken stands still on the outside. So part of our trip to town was for to look for some new wood that looks old. Which is kinda hard in a lumber yard. But luck was on our side and did you know that the cheaper the wood is the worst it looks :) 

With a bunch of storms rolling through, I realized that I had left the portable little coop out in the rain. Now I’m not saying that it’s not a bad thing to get it’s first bath of probably many, but it’s made of galvanized metal and will rust even worse if I’m not careful. So up on the porch it goes to dry off. 

And here is where the Kitty Hostal comes in. Our cats have quickly made it their home. Just too funny! Check it out. DSC_0476

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Outside work

It’s a holiday weekend!! WhooooHoooo! 

I’ve got a lot to do this weekend but I sure hope that we also fit in some fun things. So tonight I go the rest of the flowers thinned out by the old milk house. Seriously, how big do iris’s grow? I’ve given a bunch to Daryl’s niece and now I’ve got this huge tub full again. I’m trying to see if my niece will take the rest of them. I’m not sure she will, but I’m going to give it a shot at least. 

With getting quite a bit of rain these past few days it made digging them up not a problem at all. I kind of made a mess with it using my sand shovel, but if they are as hardy as they seem to be  – well shoot I won’t have a problem at all bringing them back to a nice border soon. 

After that, a pan of lasagna in the oven and because we’ve been taken over by eggs from our chickens, I put a pan of experimental breakfast bake into the oven after the lasagna was done. It was a recipe that uses a dozen eggs at a time, and honestly it wasn’t too bad.

Now it’s getting late and I want to work a little bit more in the scrap book room. But before I leave you for the night – check out this frog. Have you ever in your life seen such a black frog? And even though he seems like he might be a happy little thing, well I’ve never had a frog pee on me so much in my life! I brought him in to show Daryl and I’m guessing that this frog doesn’t like to be in our house at all.DSC_0443

 

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What I should have been doing..

Now normally my flowers are not always the show stoppers, and honestly I’m OK with that. But for some reason these past few years the iris’s really took off and I know that I have to do something about it. 

I’ve got a home for them after they are thinned out, but I just need to dig them up and deliver them first. I’ve never had to thin out any flowers of mine, so it’s going to be a new experience. Honestly how hard can it be? I guess I’ll find out tomorrow. DSCN8888

So if I didn’t thin out the flowers tonight what actually did I do after work? Well I had big plans … yes very big plans until I sat down on the couch. Yup, not the smartest thing to do if you ask me. And then shamefully I took a little nap. 

When I finally got the ambition to get off the couch, it was time to make a decision. Should I actually do something productive? Or should I go back on the couch? Now my first choice was to go back on the couch (duh!) but I knew that this probably wasn’t the best choice to make. So I got up and tried to catch up on a couple of things. 

So what did I do?  Well I did some house cleaning, ran 3 miles (OK, TRIED to run 3 miles), did a little research on some supplies needed for bath bombs that I want to make, placed orders on 3 different web sites for the bath bomb stuff, and worked on some stuff in my scrap book room. Not bad, but should have got more done. Darn that couch! 

 I’ve got a couple of meetings tomorrow night in the early evening, so my plan is to NOT sit down on that couch no matter what after work! If I don’t get much done, I really want to get the flowers dug up and delivered before the meeting. 

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Chores first!

We knew that we wanted to try to get some bicycle riding done today, but there was a lot of projects that had to happen before that. You know, the old rule of thumb that you have to do your chores before you can play outside :)

So what did we have to do? Well I wanted to get some of the flowers planted that were making a home on our porch and Daryl had a bunch of farm chores to do. Time to get started so we could have also some fun today. 

Well everything was going well, I made some homemade flower planters out of burlap that I bought yesterday when I was with Ma. What you do is to line the pot with the burlap so it holds in the dirt DSCN8883and it really works well. It’s kind of a thrifty answer to a flower pot. But I soon found out that I ran out of flowers and potting soil so I had to stop with any new projects after this. I honestly couldn’t believe that I ran out of flowers. Next year I so need to get them planted in William’s greenhouse so I can have my own supply! DSCN8884

But it didn’t stop me from working on the small flowers spot in front of our house. And man oh man did I get into some trouble! I’ve never dug up an ant farm and granted it was only a little brown ‘normal’ ant farm – but they were mad! Saying that they were mad is such an understatement! By the time I realized what was going on, I literally had them crawling inside my gloves and up my arms. Before the whole thing was done, I was smacking the gloves on the porch to see if I could get them out of it, I was stomping on the ones on the ground, and I swear they got inside my clothing because I felt that they were crawling in my shirt and shorts! Now that was it!! Because I was at the end of what I could do with the flowers, and those ants were making me so mad, I went inside the house  to see what I could find to get back at them. Yea, I’ve never claimed to be nice now did I? So what did I find? Well I had some Citronella essential oil. With a smirk on my face, out I go back to the ants and sprinkled the oil on top of the ants. Now I’m sure that these ants are not vicious ants, but if you ever put citronella essential oil on an ant hill (well anyway this one) they get mad. They get REALLY mad and started to bite me. So what did I do? I grabbed my bottle and kept putting it on them while stirring the dirt around. Yup, one victory for the farm girl!! WhooHooo! Now after I didn’t see any of the ants anymore, I put a layer of dried egg shells over the whole thing to help deter the bugs.DSCN8886 After that I put a layer of potting soil over the whole thing and put rocks down so the dogs and chickens don’t dig it all back up again. Whew! I’m sure glad that was done! DSCN8887

Now it was time to have some fun! Daryl and I found all our bike stuff and went on a bike ride on the Decorah Trout Run Trail 20160522_124337_resizedand to say that it’s beautiful, is an understatement.

Dairy cows just hanging out by the stream

Dairy cows just hanging out by the stream

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There are a lot of rolling hills on the trail. Just beautiful!

There are a lot of fish at the Trout Hatchery!

There are a lot of fish at the Trout Hatchery!

Fish at the Trout Hatchery in Decorah along the bike trail

Fish at the Trout Hatchery in Decorah along the bike trail

After the bike ride, it was time to head over to some friends farm for a graduation party 20160520_182253_resized_1and then back home for a meeting at our house was in store for the upcoming Irish Fest book committee .

And now? Well it’s time to start next week! 

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May is my month!

Mother’s Day has been now a couple of weeks ago and now that the flowers were all planted and hopefully didn’t freeze too bad last week, it’s time for Mom to enjoy her other part of her gift. 

The gift is a ‘Mom’ book that has the upcoming months until the end of the year and with each month each of us kids book a month. Now what am I talking about? Well we’ve done this before and it’s a cool thing to do. To try to explain it better, May is my month to do a road trip, dinner, just about anything that you would want to do. So what did we do? Check it out! 

We started around 10:00 on Saturday and headed North to Decorah to our first stop at Seed Savers.20160521_112340_resized If you’ve never heard of Seed Savers out of Decorah Iowa you really need to check it out! What they do there is to preserve heirloom seeds for future generations. Now until I actually started to read up on this, I thought well there are a lot of people who sell seeds. But these people go to extreme lengths to ensure that the seed that you are buying is  truly that seed and is not mixed with anything else. 

So like I said we headed North to find the place and I realized that I took the long way there. But the scenery was beautiful and how can you go wrong on such a great day like today?20160521_112243_resized

We finally got the business and after we checked it out 20160521_111753_resizedit was time to keep moving and see what was up next. And if you live around Decorah you probably know that there is a winery almost right next door. SCORE!20160521_113942_resized

Now I could hear my stomach growling and I’m sure Ma could hear it too, so we went back into town and headed down the gravel road to McCaffery’s Dolce Vita & Twin Springs Bakery. It’s a great place to eat and if you like pizza from a stone oven – it can’t be beat!20160521_124819_resized

While we were having dinner, we were talking about a cousin of mine that lives in town, so a quick call to her and after dinner we went to her house for a nice visit and to see all her projects that she’s been working on.

And you can’t hardly be in Decorah without stopping at Walmart now can you? I didn’t know what Ma needed there, but I found out that she wanted MORE flowers to plant. I’m not sure where these are going but I guess she has a spot picked out for them.

While we were in a shopping mode, we then headed uptown to check into what some of the local stores had for sales. We had pretty good luck if I say so myself, and with our bags in our hands we decided that we should start back home.

But first we wanted to check out a country locker that we weren’t sure where it was. So off to the gravel roads we go and when we found it – it was closed :(

At the end of the day, and all of Ma’s new flowers were brought up to the house along with her shopping bags, it was a full and really fun day! 

Next month will be one of my brother’s turn and it’ll be fun to see what they end up doing for June’s Special day with Ma! 

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Rock Star!

I know this might sound pretty weird, but now that my garden is in, I just can’t help walking by it and taking a look at it! It looks so good and clean that I catch myself even stopping and staring. I don’t know if I think it’s going to change or what, but I sure seem to be finding excuses to hang out in the back yard lately.And if you haven’t seen it yet, don’t worry. I took a picture tonight to show you that my garden is awesome and that I am a Rock Star! Bam!! 20160518_171804_resized-2

Now I’m not promising that it’ll stay like this, but for now I’m pretty pleased with myself. And to make me even happier, Daryl came home tonight with a new water can.  It’s kinda sad on the simple things that can make me happy, but for tonight I’m thinking Life is pretty good! 

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