Trip to the local fruit/vegetable stand

Because we live in more a a rural area and having a large farmers market doesn’t really happen too often, I found myself heading over to a building that some local Mennonites own. 

Now I’ve never been there before and quite honestly I wasn’t sure where it actually was, but I knew the highway that it was supposed to be one so it couldn’t be that hard to find. 

And that’s exactly right! I found the spot right away and in no time found myself eye spying the fresh produce inside. 

Now my goal was to buy some canning tomatoes. I have got some tomatoes out of my garden, but honestly it’s so weedy that I knew that I wouldn’t get all the tomatoes that I would like for canning some tomato juice. 

So I immediately headed over to the boxes of tomatoes and said that I’d take a box. Well of course I said ‘oh heck make it two boxes’. I didn’t know how much juice one box would make and if I had extras, well I’d quarter them and then can them for the winter. 

And of course while I was in there I picked up some other vegetables and fruit – onions, zucchini, watermelon, sweetcorn, peaches, and when I was checking out I caught a whiff of some oil that smelled like donuts. Yea, donuts. Now because I’ve never been to this place before, I had no idea that they also have a bakery and was in the process of making fresh donuts. OMG! Yea, definitely my kind of vegetable stand! So I went and picked up a box of fresh donut holes that was smothered in white frosting and packed everything into the back of the car for the ride home. 20160827_130155_resized

But I decided to take one thing out of the back and put it up front before I shut the door. Can you guess what I grabbed? Yup, I grabbed the donut holes. I ate so many so fast that I swear that I must have looked like a chipmunk if someone met me driving home.  And if you are ever on a quiz show that asks how many donut holes does the average person eat in 25 miles, a very good guess would be around 22. Just saying. 

And I’m not really a watermelon connoisseur, but when we cut the watermelon up it was probably the best watermelon that I’ve had in years! DSCN9115

Posted in Gardening | Leave a comment

Homemade Lotion

I tried to mow the lawn tonight after work but it was still pretty wet and man was the lawn looking ugly where I mowed with clumps of wet grass all over. 

So I decided to make some lotion instead. I’ve been wanted to have a chance to get some lotion made for myself for quite some time now and tonight seemed like the perfect night to do it. 

I haven’t made myself lotion forever and I don’t know why? It’s so easy and not very hard to clean up after it’s made, so there’s no reason to ever put it off. Well I guess other than finding the time to do it :)

But I did get a quick batch made and it’s cooling on kitchen window before I store it away for the fall.20160827_095717_resized This time I made a couple of different scents to the containers. The first one I left unscented just in case this adding essential oils to the batch thing didn’t work. For the others I used my essential oils and made on an Orange scent, one oil that I use quite a bit as perfume is called ‘Joy’ so I made one bottle of that, and the last one was a lavender scent. I just really like how the lotion feels and it’s so much less expensive than buying it in the store.

It’s also kind of like soap. Once you’ve used some that’s homemade, it’s hard to use anything else.

So if feel adventurous and want to make some for yourself, you can find the recipe that I used on this website – Soapqueen.com. I usually make the one that is ‘Make lotion from scratch’. It has almond oil, shea butter, avocado oil, and some other good things to make it smooth and creamy. DSCN9109

Posted in Projects completed | Leave a comment

Flooding in Iowa!

It’s been raining almost every day here in Northeast Iowa these past few weeks and even after saying that it’s been one of the wettest summers that I can ever remember. 

So needless to say our ground is wet! 

With up to 10 inches that fell during the night on Tuesday in some of our local towns, well there was no place for all that water to go other than out of the banks and into local businesses, homes, and farms. 

It’s amazing how fast water can accumulate isn’t it? Even in our town with a little creek running through it, we had more water than we knew what to do it. 

So everyone pitched together and started to help out sandbagging. I even heard of a local town where the kids were left out of their classes from school to help sandbag. And after seeing some pictures of those kids working beside fireman and local business owners, I’m thinking that they really did learn a lot today. Maybe nothing that you can find in a text book, but something that will help them as they go through life.

I saw some of my friends who lived ‘downstream’ helping to empty out a grocery store and was ready to brace themselves before the water came. 

There was even others who opened their homes and made meals for those who couldn’t get to their houses. When you think of a small town community and culture, I think you really see how everyone truly does help everyone here in the midwest! 

Basements were collapsed, houses have more debris in their backyard that they could ever imagine, and I have no idea on how some of the crops will turn out.  

But what makes me the most sad? Well the flooding in Spillville Iowa. This town had been hit hard with a flood back in 2008 and the Inwood Ballroom at that time also took a beating. They finally got the ball room all fixed up and now I heard that there is 2 feet of water above their bar which is higher than the 2008 flood. This is what the ballroom looks like now with the high waters14054021_10154413534361838_1007018831002492474_n And before where all the water is was grass, a ball diamond, and a campground. 0d1063_12e466aa1933e72b4e471fc634301c80See this is one of the last remaining ballrooms in Iowa. The Inwood opened in 1922 as a way to raise money to build a memorial to World War 1 veterans. In those days it hosted entertainers like Glenn Miller, Lawrence Welk, and Louis Armstrong. Now it’s a popular place for concerts, events, and weddings.  It has a ten-sided maple dance floor with two fireplaces, lattice ceilings, a 50 ft. bar, and a kitchen.

I know that my folks have spent many nights at wedding dances there and I’ve been to quite a few myself! So when I heard they were flooded again, it just made my belly hurt! They have been raising money for a new roof and with their Centennial coming up in a few years, let’s hope that it can be repaired again to it’s glory!

Now sometimes we have masses in the summer to pray for rain for our crops, with the forecast for rain this weekend – maybe we should have masses to pray for the rain to slow down for awhile!

Here is a couple more pictures from the floodingAR-160829760.jpg&MaxH=500&MaxW=75220160824_181525_resized_120160824_181607_resized

11532553_G

Getting ready for the water

Posted in Community | 1 Comment

Sunday = Funday!

Daryl and I decided to take the day off on Sunday and go for a ride in the Chevelle. As Daryl puts it “stretch the old girls legs” Well at first I thought he was talking about me and I thought What?   But then I realized that he was talking about his car and I understood that he wanted to get the car out and drive it. We haven’t had much of a chance this summer to do that,  so that was a great idea. Now I never heard ‘to stretch her legs’ before and it’s such a funny way to put it isn’t it?

So we were out and about Saturday night and happened to run into my brother and sister-in-law. Daryl mentioned that we were going to head out somewhere for dinner on Sunday because the weather actually was supposed to be nice, which in itself was a shock, so why not? They said that they were thinking of doing the same thing and next thing you knew we had a plan to meet up with them in the morning.

Well after Daryl quick raked the hay on Sunday that’s been down since .. well I don’t know how long, the Chevelle was backing out of the Roadhouse and we were heading south.

We met up and after putting together a plan, we decided that we would park our car and ride with them.

And what a great day we had! We took the scenic route to this one restaurant for dinner and with a view like this, seriously how can you go wrong?20160821_141414_resized

Then we actually made it on the Cassville ferry. Daryl and I have been trying to catch the ferry now for a couple of years and just never was able to make it. See the Cassville is Wisconsin’s oldest ferry service dating back to 1833 and if you’re interested here is more information on it. Just pretty darn cool if you ask me! 20160821_151914_resized

This is what it looks like when you’re on the ferry while on the river. Everyone just kind of hangs out with music jamming on the ferry speaker. 20160821_152236_resizedAnd you just never know what you’ll see on the river on a Sunday. This kinda looks like something that you’d see in China doesn’t it? Not like I’ve been to China before, but it definitely looks out of place!20160821_152412_resized

Once we crossed over to the Wisconsin side of the river we found a lot of little towns to check out that I’ve never known to exist before. This was definitely a great way to spend a Sunday if you ask me! 

Finally we made it home and was able to skype with the kids and catch up with them to find out what everyone did since the last time we had talked. 

Finally it was time for bed and with thoughts of the upcoming week in my head as I laid there trying to get to sleep, I thought to myself about today and that it truly was a Sunday Funday! 20160821_152939_resized

 

Posted in Places to visit | Leave a comment

In the 4 week zone

Now normally I’m sure that you don’t plan your weeks around a 4 week timeframe – well that is unless you are a soaper! 

See the whole thing about making soap is that you can’t just say that I’ll make you some soap and then give it to them.You have to make the soap, and let it sit for at least 4 weeks to cure and to get to be a harder bar of soap. And even though I’m not the most patient person in the world, I seem to have gotten much better at this waiting game. I don’t like it mind you, but I’ve adjusted. 

With the 4 week timeframe up on Saturday for my next vendor show, you can bet I’ve been making soap like crazy!  I wanted to bring some new types of soap ‘flavors’ along with me. So I’m bringing a new Christmas soap that smells like you’re at a tree farm in winterDSCN9077 a soap that smells like Gingersnaps and I seriously thought it smelled good enough to eat!DSCN9081 I even made a lilac soap that has soap hearts inside of it! Getting pretty brave don’t you think? DSCN9084 DSCN9107I’ve got more of the soap on a rope made also. They didn’t seem to sell that fast, but I think it took people by surprise when they saw it the first time. Who knows maybe it’ll become more popular. I mean I finally figured out who to make them so I hope someone wants one or maybe thirty :)

I’ve even tried out some soap molds. 20160819_200842_resizedYup, living on the edge! I was a little hesitant because even though I liked them, maybe no one else would. Or maybe they liked how the soap looks and wouldn’t use it! OK, I’m not going to freak out just yet. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. 

So now that the soap is all done and up on my drying rack in the laundry room, maybe I’ll get some time to do some canning. I went out tonight to pick eggs and when I stopped by the garden I decided that I’d better come back with a bowl. Who said that tomatoes and peppers can’t grow in tall weeds? Well mine do this year! DSCN9104

Posted in Gardening, Soap | Leave a comment

We’ve got trouble!

This afternoon I could hear Sally just honking and honking. See the peacocks scream and peahens honk. I knew it’s kinda weird but that’s what they do. 

But Sally was off the eggs and was honking and honking. I know she was looking for the others, and was wondering I’m sure just where in the world they are. 

I felt so bad for her and I sure don’t want her to run away either! 

So I’ve been in contact with someone who has 1 1/2 year old peacocks for sale and was hoping to get over there to get them this weekend. But first things first. 

I wanted to see if I could catch her. I mean she was sitting on eggs, how hard could this be? 

Well I found out that it is hard let me just tell you that! 

I grabbed the John Deere blanket and a ladder and headed to the machine shed. After I finagled my way around the tractors with the ladder (hindsight dropping the blanket would have been a much better idea when setting up the ladder) then I set the ladder up by the mill. 

I slowly climbed up the ladder and was eye to eye with Sally. Awesome! This is for sure going to work. I’ll just grab her and then put her in the brooder house and move her eggs too! Yup, what a great plan. 

So I slowly moved my John Deere blanket by her to cover her up and she took one look at me and started to honk and flew off the mill. OK, so I go down the ladder with my blanket and when she see’s me she then flies back up on top of the mill again. Yea, I see where this is going. 

My next move was to forget about the blanket even though Peahens are very strong, and just grab her. Well she was watching me pretty close and as I slowly moved my hands toward her she tilted her head, let out a very harsh honk and flew down again. Now the dogs were by us just wondering what was going on, so I had to yell at them to get them out of  there so they wouldn’t scare her. I mean, I was doing a pretty good job by myself! 

So off both Sally and I went into the farm yard. She was honking like she was in the State Fair contest or something and I was waving the John Deere blanket saying something like ‘come here Sally’. Yea, it was completely unsuccessful. I had some hope to catch her only once during our race when she was by the brooder house with the chickens. She looked inside the brooder house, turned and seemed to be looking at me,  and then tore off to the shed again.   

I decided to let it go for tonight. Maybe there’s a better way to do this that I’ll think of. 

To be honest I was just glad that the helicopter that flew over the other day wasn’t around. I’m thinking they would have gotten a pretty good laugh if they saw me running around with my blanket chasing a peacock! 

DSCN9103

 

Posted in Farm animals | Leave a comment

Random day after work with my camera

I went out to the cow yard after work to check on both Lucy and No Ears. I knew that they’ve both been doing well because I’ve been bringing apples out to the pasture most every day now. But tonight instead of just giving them apples, I spent some time seeing if I can get Lucy a little tamer. 

The trouble that I found was that even though No Ears is comfortable around me, she’s still not sure that she wants to share Lucy with anyone. Even me. If I would get close to her, No Ears wouldn’t be far from my side nudging me away. OK, I got the hint! 

So while I was in the cow yard, I decided to take a few pictures of our animals. I know that maybe not everyone likes them as much as I do (which is just so hard to believe!) but I snapped a couple of pictures anyway. 

First things first, everyone in the cow yard has to have their own pile of corn when they get fed. Now our cows do get along, but for some odd reason they all like their own corn in front of them. DSCN9091And usually No Ears would go from pile to pile to see which one she likes the best and then settle for that one. She’s push everyone away in the meantime while she was looking and once she settled, then they could find the ones that they liked. But now that she has Lucy, she stays pretty much on the outskirts of the gang.DSCN9093 And what do our chickens do when they see me in the cow yard? Well  they all come running because they know that they’ll also get fed. They don’t normally get a corn pile to pick out for themselves, and usually have to share with one of the younger calves. For some reason tonight they had their own pile? DSCN9094Our chickens run around the farm during the day and then get locked up at night. Daryl usually opens the door in the morning and between the both of us we lock them up before we go to bed. We’ve always tried to lock them up at night but  because we do have fox dens in our farm section and we still haven’t found Sam’s killer yet ! 

Then off to check on Sally. And Daryl said that she’s been sitting on top of the feed mill these past few days and I finally found out why. DSCN9097I crawled on top of the tractor to get a better look and found this! She’s got 4 eggs up there with her. Maybe not the best spot if they hatch, but the best spot to keep away from things that are running around after dark! DSCN9098Awesome right? Well we do have a problem. See we are very close to having to mill some more feed for the cows,  and well… how is that going to work? So I told Daryl to be very careful when feeding the cows and if they have to share piles of corn – well so be it! I’ve got to check on how long it takes for peacock eggs to hatch but I’m guessing it’s more than just a couple of weeks :( 

After the cows are done with the corn and hay, the next stop for them is to wash it down with some cold water. This waterer is used by the cows, dogs, and even cats. It may have been bought a few years ago, but it still keeps the water cold and when it’s time for a drink .. who cares if it’s used by the community ! 

DSCN9099

And finally, while I was walking around in the yard with my camera I heard a loud noise coming from above me. At first I thought it was a helicopter that’s used as a crop sprayer, but it was way too big for that. Lately we’ve been having a few of these larger helicopters going over our farm, I’m not sure why we’ve seen them so often lately but as long as they stay on the side of our farm and not over the middle of it like they used to fly over, well I guess I’m OK with that. But I must admit that while I was standing there watching it I was thinking about when I grew up on my folk’s farm. I mean if I would have been outside and a helicopter flew over, let me just say that would have been a pretty big deal! And I’m guessing I would have ran to either find someone else to look at it, or maybe I would have just ran! :)

DSCN9087

Posted in Farm animals | Leave a comment

Feeling grounded

You’re probably wondering just what in the world is this post going to be about right? I mean with a title of feeling grounded it could be anything. 

Well I’m sure at the same time you’ve been wondering just what in the world have I been doing! 

Life has been very busy these past few weeks, or should I say months? But as someone told me many many years ago, if you are not busy – well you’re probably dead. Now even though this is a different way to say that everyone is busy, I still remember Jake telling me it about 26 years ago and where I was when he told me it. So it must be an important saying to me and I wish he was still alive so I could tell him that I’ve used his saying many times in those 26 years! 

OK getting back to the subject about being grounded. I just got back from our annual ‘fishing’ trip with the girls and it was once again awesome! We’ve been going up North to the cabin for around 35 (?) years and with only girls allowed, we have just the best of times! 

And this year didn’t disappoint anyone. Now hanging out for the weekend the stories might have changed some,  but they are basically the same as they were 35 years ago, just with a different twist to them. 

On our fishing weekend, the weather for the first day was pretty rainy but that didn’t stop us from playing some good games around table on the screened in porch. I mean how can you beat an afternoon filled with fun and tons of laughter even if it was raining outside. DSCN8961

And I have to say why we call it our fishing trip. When we were younger, OK much younger, we had gotten quite a bit of grief that we were heading up North. Well guys did it all the time so why in the world was it such a big deal if girls did it? So we knew that guys got together and called it a fishing trip or hunting trip, and that’ s how the whole thing got started to be called our annual fishing trip. And guess what? We never got grief about it again. Well maybe they just knew better :)

So when I was thinking about how to title my post about the days at the cabin up North,  I decided to title it ‘feeling grounded’ because that’s  just what going up to the cabin really means to me.

When you’re laying on your back on a lake and the water is like silk on your skin because it’s so soft (it’s all spring fed) and you’re swimming just looking up at the blue sky and then at the lake that is outlined with tall green pine trees. I mean you physically can hear yourself breathing as you are swimming across the top of the water. Your breath sounds so loud because it kind of echoes in the water and while you’re hearing yourself breathing and not thinking about anything else,  I just know that this is when I feel the most grounded.

It’s a good feeling.

And even though I’ll worry about things that will keep me up during the night when I get home – this moment in time is what I think life is all about. Hanging out with your girlfriends, having too much to eat, drinking a few refreshments, and taking time to hear yourself breathe. 

DSCN9057

Oh yea, I almost forgot! We saw a BEAR!! 35 years in the making and we didn’t even get a picture of it. The only picture we got was that of us all screaming in the car!! Too funny. But we did see the bear and it was huge. It was standing on the left side of the road on it’s back legs and then ran as fast as it could across the road. And it was huge and really a lot faster than anyone of us was expecting it to be! 

So here is a couple more pictures from the long weekend up North  

The ROAD that we take :)

The road that we take to the Cabin

My favorite stove in the world! We cook with a wood stove everyday

My favorite stove in the world! We cook with a wood stove everyday

We eat A Lot when we're at the cabin! And these pans come in handy!

We eat a lot when we’re at the cabin and these pans come in handy!

There are normally a pair of Loons on each lake

One of the Loons on the lake

Morning Sunrise

Morning Sunrise

A small bridge on one of the roads nearby

Looking over a small bridge on one of the roads nearby

Boats just waiting for the weather to clear up

Boats just waiting for the weather to clear up

Posted in Places to visit | Leave a comment

Poor Sam is dead.

Have you ever knew something was wrong but just couldn’t put your finger on what it was? 

Well I know what it is now. 

See every morning Sam the peacock comes to the house before I leave for work and gets a treat. Now the treat could be a sugar cookie, some bread, or some muffins. But lately I haven’t seen him. Until a couple of days ago. 

I found out that we have a murderer on the farm and he killed Sam! It was the oddest thing because whatever it was that took down Sam, it pulled all his feathers out. Just so not cool! 20160809_190145_resized

So I asked at work what kind of an animal could possible kill a peacock? The guys who hunt all the time are figuring it to be a fox. And my task was to see if I could see any paw prints. Now not like I’m Daniel Boone or anything, but with all the rain we’ve had lately it could have been a possibility. But no such luck.  

I’m sad that he’s gone and it’s so quiet on the farm without Sam screaming in the morning when I’m late with his treats or when someone drives by the farm. Or honestly just about every time you turn around. 

So here is a nice picture of Sam. He’ll be missed! 

Sam just checking out what the guys were doing tonight

Sam just checking out what the guys were doing tonight

Posted in Farm animals | Leave a comment

Keeping their eyes on you

I had to laugh when I was out checking the cows out today I could hear this banging noise coming from the barn and when I turned to look what it was – well I saw this 20160806_083728_resized_1

It’s Reno standing on her back feet just watching me in the cow yard with the new calf. I’m thinking that the dogs are feeling a little left out or something with the new baby calf in the yard.  Whatever the case is, this dog is looking a little pathetic and needing some love. 

Then when I was walking through the yard, these two little kitties caught my eye. They’re just hanging out in the hay loft just watching what was going on in the farm yard today. DSC_0738

 

DSC_0739

You would think that living on the farm it’s kind of boring, but there’s always something going on and there is always someone watching you :)

Posted in Farm animals | Leave a comment