Hanging out at home

Daryl wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to get in the fields today, so we just planned on getting some things done around the farm just in case the weather got nice and he was able to start to take out the soybeans. We both have more than enough to do this time of the year, so it was OK to try to catch up a little bit.

While Daryl worked outside, I spent the time today washing and getting the canned apple jars from yesterday organized down in the cellar. I used to never rewash the jars until one time I had some pretty funky stuff growing on them and from then on, it’s always something that gets done. When I was putting away the jars I spotted my water bath canner and when I compared the two that I had, there is a difference in the sizes. Now how weird is that? Well for whatever the reason why this one is shorter is beyond me and it’s headed to Good Will where someone can use it only for pint jars.

Definitely two different sizes.

Definitely two different sizes.

I also had a chance to get some cards made. We needed a baby card DSC_0238and another sympathy cardDSC_0236 and finally belated birthday card. DSC_0235I took my time just hanging out in the scrapbook room today and it was GREAT!

Another thing that worked on today was to make some chicken soup. Daryl has a terrible cold and with leftover chicken in the fridge it sounded like a good plan. I was thinking as I was making it that nothing around the farm really goes to waste. Like I said the chicken was left over from yesterday dinner and when I took the meat off the bones, the parts of the chicken that I didn’t use got split up between the dogs and the kitties. Well to tell you really how it went, the kitties had it to start with and then the dogs came around. Yea, you can picture it right? Then after I cut up the carrots, celery, and onions,  the scraps from doing that went out to the chickens. It’s kind of cool not wasting anything and I really have to remind myself how important to do that really is. So below is my recipe for my soup today and even Daryl said that it was good!

Fast and easy chicken soup

Fast and easy chicken soup

Easy Chicken Soup

  1. Remove chicken from the bones and tear up into smaller pieces
  2. Add 2 boxes soup stock (I used 2 of the 32 ounce sizes)
  3. I added 2 carrots cut up, 2 stalks of celery cut up,1 small onion, and some garlic. Honestly, you can add as much or as little of these things that you like.
  4. Then it looked a little runny and I knew that Daryl hates homemade noodles, so I added a packet of the pasta mixes that you can usually get on sale for a $1. I had creamy chicken with noodles and into the pot it went. I left it simmer for about 30 minutes and just like that it was done.
  5. I almost forgot. I also added some butter to the soup :)

This time of the year I always want to have leftovers in the fridge and I’m thinking this soup isn’t going to last long. So I made a pan of lasagna just in case Daryl was going to be able to combine beans this afternoon. I thought that the lasagna would stick to your bones (as my Mom would always say). But the weather didn’t cooperate and he’s hoping that he’ll have a chance early this week to get started. Until then? Well I guess we’re eating soup and lasagna for awhile.

The photo of the day is that of our little kitties. It was still a little windy and cold today and the kitties like to cuddle together on the couch on the porch. I took the picture from inside our house looking out the window in the kitchen. I’m thinking that it was a good spot today for them. I’m just wondering where the 5th kitty was? DSC_0230

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Today is apple day!

I didn’t need an alarm clock this morning to know that I better get up and get something done with the day. I originally had plans to go on a wine tour with some of the girls, but decided that I better get work done around the house and also something done with the apples in our backyard.

Our over achieving apple trees

Our over achieving apple trees

First things first, start the laundry. OK, I confess, I really like doing laundry and when I’m in the house I try to find something to wash. Is that weird? Oh, well if it is weird,  it’s comforting to hear the washer going for me and I’m thinking I’m too old to change now.

Next – make sure that I get everything ready for canning apples. I went down to my stash in the cellar to get the water bath kettle and the other stuff. After I got everything upstairs  it looked like I was going to be set. The kettle must have been my Mother in law’s because it seemed not to be as rusty and beat up as mine. Well, score right? This is how my kitchen looked just before I got started.

All ready to go!

All ready to go!

My goal was to make not only apply pie/dessert filling,  but also some apple sauce. With the over abundance of apples that our trees produced this year, this shouldn’t be an issue. I have an old apple peeler that I use and I am so grateful to have it. I know that there is a challenge that people are doing on Facebook these days on what 3 things they are grateful for every day and do you know what I would say that mine would be today? First my apple peeler (it’s a given right?) The second would be my dishwasher. I think I did 4 loads of dishes today! I use it not only for dirty dishes, but also it has a sanitize on it for jars. And the last one? Well for Daryl of course. He got the tractor and bucket out for me in between doing his farming stuff and I picked some of the ‘good’ apples from the middle of the trees that I couldn’t reach with the ladder. DSCN8996OK, let’s get back to these apples that I was cooking up today. I used up 2 bags of apples for the pie/dessert filling and even though it doesn’t really look like I have much at the end, the apples are just packed in the jars and it’ll taste really good around February I bet! Now for the apple sauce. This meant another bag of apples and looking on line for a recipe. I combined two recipes that I found and I was in business. First to quarter the apples and start them cooking in my dutch oven. DSCN8997Then the one recipe calls out for brown sugar and lemon juice. Neither one of these ingredients sound bad – so in they go.DSCN8999 It called out for 3/4 of a cup of brown sugar and 3 Tbsp of lemon juice, but it didn’t say how many apples that you were supposed to use. After I put in the brown sugar, I compared it to the picture on the web and it didn’t quite look the same. So what the heck and in went more brown sugar. After it cooked for quite awhile, I put it in my food processor to get the rest of the apple chunks smooth. Now I have a confession. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten apple sauce before. I know that this seems almost impossible right? If I did eat it, I sure don’t remember it. So I thought today is a good day to start and I gave it a taste. And you know what? It wasn’t bad at all!  Maybe it was the amount of brown sugar that went into it, but it wasn’t bad. I guess you can still learn a few things when you’re in your 50′s right?  :)  Into the water bath the jars go and I realized earlier that this wasn’t my ‘normal’ kettle and it must have been my mother in laws.  How I knew for sure was because it was smaller than mine. Now this doesn’t make much sense why they all wouldn’t be the same size right? Well I had to put so much water in it to just cover the tops of the quart jars that man oh man I had a water mess by the stove when it started to boil. And with mine, I always have room to spare. No big deal, but with the apple sauce a much better plan was to use smaller jars. Now you can see why I was so grateful for the dishwasher right? After a long day of being in the kitchen, I was finally done. I was a little disappointed that I only had 20 jars sitting on the counter, but then I also always set my expectations a little too high when it comes to canning.

Here is my end resultDSCN9001

 

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Goals

I think everyone needs to set some type of  goals and at the beginning of the year I try to set a goal of ‘something’ every month. Now some of them are big goals, like running in a 10K in September. And some of them are not so big, like getting some photo books done in November. But with the weather turning so fast, I’m really concerned about my October goal. My October goal is to paint some of the buildings and fences outside. The reason that I’m a little worried is because they are actually using the four letter word today – snow! Yea, SNOW! I am so not ready for this yet. My painting outside won’t take that long, but it will take probably a week to get what I want done after work. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see how this whole thing plays out. But I’m hoping that the weather will turn again and we will have a nice and somewhat warm October.  They were right though about a cold front moving in tonight. When I went outside to lock up the chickens in just some shorts and a t shirt tonight, I made a mad dash for the house because it was pretty chilly.  My poor little cherry tomatoes are just starting to ripen so out comes the old sheet that I keep around to cover the plants up and they’re all covered up for the night.  I hope the crazy wind doesn’t blow it off of them.

This is what the sky looked like on the way to the farm tonight. Yup, winter is coming.IMG_2145

And the photo of the day is Earl. Isn’t he cute?

Earl and No Ears just hanging out tonight in the cow yard

Earl and No Ears just hanging out tonight in the cow yard.

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It’s Wednesday again – Mystery Photo 10-1-14

No extra clues this time and let’s see who can guess this one:

DSC_0219a

 

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Mystery Photo 9-24-14

I can not believe that some of you guys guessed what last weeks Mystery Photo was!

And for those who wasn’t quite sure – here is the first picture. It’s a picture taken of the underside of the mushroomDSC_0192a

And here is what the full picture looks like!

Lawn mushrooms

Lawn mushrooms

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It is a weird night

When I got home from work tonight I was doing house stuff. You know.. laundry, cleaning the upstairs – house stuff. Then the phone rings. It was someone who was looking at a blower that we had for sale. Whoo Hoo right? Well I knew Daryl was not going to be home any time soon, so after I got this guys name and phone number,  off I went to talk face to face with him. Well I never did get to meet this guy because when I got to the other farm they were heading back to their town. So I called them and gave them my price and they of course didn’t like it. I really wasn’t going to budge and they said if I changed my mind to call them back. It was kind of an odd conversation and when Daryl came home,  I had to of course tell him about it. Let’s call the person who was looking at the blower – Dave. (not really his real name) Now Daryl had to go someplace tonight so he was just getting into the tub after I got done with my story when the dogs were going wild. With all the farmers in the fields, I just thought they were acting up again and didn’t rush to see what they were doing or what was going on. So back upstairs I went and the door bell rings. When I open the door, I see someone standing on our porch and also another person in his truck. He said he wanted to talk to Daryl about the blower that we had for sale. Well this is the second year that we had this blower for sale and so just assuming this guy was the guy that I talked to on the phone – I said ‘oh you must be Dave’. He said yup and then I thought that this guy didn’t like my answer and he came back to talk to Daryl to get a better price. OK, now that’s not cool! So I tried not to be too crabby about this and then I asked him if he made it all the way to town and back already. (the first guy lived about 20 miles from us) He looked at me like I was some crazy person and said that he didn’t live that far away. How confusing right? Well, Daryl got out of the tub and back upstairs I went. I thought if he came all the way back to talk to Daryl because he didn’t like my price – well good riddance! So here’s the weird part. We’ve had the blower for sale for two years and tonight two different people came with the same first name about 20 minutes apart and wanted to buy it. It was like fate or something. The second guy said he might just take it tomorrow and send us a check. And guess what? I’m back upstairs and now the phone has rang twice since. The first guy said he would pay what we were asking and wanted to come tomorrow to pick it up. And after the second call from this first guy,  I’m getting the impression that he really does want us to sell it to him!

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Road trip to see William

We were able to get William’s car into the shop to get his brakes fixed and today our plan was to bring it down to him. And with this weekend also being the Iowa Barn Tour weekend, the plan was to go and visit this one barn along the way. Sounds like a great plan right?

With the car ready to go and the directions to the farm in hand, we were off. Now there’s quite a few barns on this tour, but the one that I wanted to visit was a round barn. It’s no secret that I really love barns and to see a round one that was restored – how cool would that be? Well after a couple of road construction detours along the way, we finally found it without much trouble. Since I’ve never been to a barn tour before it sounded like a great adventure! The barn that we were visiting was built in 1916 and was 66 feet in diameter. The silo was in the middle and the purpose of the barn was for milking cows. I asked how many cows they milked on the farm and they weren’t quite sure, but eventually they used it for pigs up until the mid 1970′s. I’m telling you it was so cool! They had a ladder that you could climb up into the hay loft and of course up I went. With the sun light coming in the windows and hitting all the wood work of the roof, it was definitely a craftsman barn! Here are some of the photo’s that I took

The Hayward Barn, Dysart Iowa

The Hayward Barn, Dysart Iowa

Downstairs in the main part of the barn. This is where they milked their cows

Downstairs in the main part of the barn. This is where they milked their cows

Silo unloader that they used for the cows in the later years

Silo unloader that they used for the cows in the later years

Barn ladder leading to the main floor

Barn ladder leading to the main floor

Upstairs in the hay loft

Upstairs in the hay loft

Another loft picture

Another loft picture

After we checked out the barn, it didn’t take too long and we were at William’s apartment at college. It seems like forever since I saw him because I didn’t get much of a chance to visit with him the last time he was home. We hung out there for awhile, switched cars and made our way back home again. Even though it was a quick trip, it’s always nice to stop in and see him!  DSCN8988

The photo of the day is that of one of our kitties. This kitty’s name is Smooch and she is always playing. She loves for you to hold her and if you check out the photo below you’ll know that it’s  hard to say no to her! All the little kitties play on the porch all day and I took the picture from inside our house looking through the french doors to the outside porch. I was a little worried that the doors might be showing up too dusty, but I guess they weren’t too bad.

Smooch hanging  out on the table on our porch this morning

Smooch hanging out on the table on our porch this morning just watching what was going on in the  house

 

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Today is the day. It’s RACE time!

Here we go right? It was the race day. Now in the past when I would talk with Daryl about sports people being superstitious about what they do before a big game I would say things like ‘that’s so dumb… or how could people think that this would make a difference….’ and most of it was just me razzing him, but some of it was me actually thinking that way. Well, up until this morning. I had my blue running shirt that I always wear – check. My regular head band – check. The running shoes that I like – check. New socks. Hum, new socks. Should I wear them or should I wear the old ones that I normally wear? Would this change the course of how I’m going to run? OK, this was stupid and I put the socks on and loaded up the truck. Of course I was early because they said that the race was timed by some kind of chip thing and when I asked a friend at work, he said that the chip goes on your shoes. But after checking in my packet like 6 times, I didn’t see any chip. Could it have fallen out of my packet or maybe they forgot it? So off I went to find out just what I was supposed to do. I parked the truck with my kayak sticking out in the back of it and then tried to find someone to answer my question on this chip thing. Honestly even for a little while I thought that maybe it was OK that I didn’t get one. That way I wasn’t going to be timed. But sooner or later I’d have to be in a race that was timed – so just get it over with right? I found some workers that I could ask and they said that it’s on your number bib. Pretty cool. Since I was in the building I thought that I’d hit the bathroom before the race started. I didn’t want to be thirsty during the race so I drank 4 glasses of water before I left home and 2 glasses on the way to town.  Next thing, blend in. I was hanging out just stretching once in awhile, and with me being at the race about 40 minutes early I had a lot of time to stretch. Now the first race was getting ready to leave. It was the 1/2 marathon people and after the Star Spangled Banner was sung, they were off. There was a music group playing the Rocky song in the background and it was really cool. OK, our race was now next. And I for sure didn’t want to have to go to the bathroom when we were racing, so back I went just in case. The announcer got on the system and said it was time for us to get ready. I got my IPod ready and started up Johnny Cash and set the time. Well the announcer talked and then talked some more and I kept having my timer reset on my IPod. I started to panic because I was messing it up with resetting it so many times and I was nervous, but he did eventually finish and then…. we were off. Now I’m thinking that the same group was playing Rocky in the background – but I had no clue. I was just trying to think to myself, don’t panic and run. The race was a 10k and even though I’ve run 6 1/2 miles more than once this past week, it sure felt different. I could feel myself worrying about getting lost or not being able to finish. I think that this running stuff is a lot like riding a bike. You just have to tell yourself that you can do it. So listening to ‘Ring of Fire’ by Johnny and telling myself that I could do this, I was able to get the race done. They said that it was a flat course, but there was still a couple of good hills in it I thought. The one thing that is really cool about the race was that the runners encouraged each other. If someone was getting tired or wanting to walk, the others would talk them through it. I set my IPod to a time goal for myself and even though I wasn’t over the finish line when it went off, I still felt proud when I did cross the line.  I’m not 20 anymore and I would never had guessed that at my age that I’d be running 6 miles in a race with Decorah people. After the race I saw a bunch of tables that the Physical Therapy group was sponsoring. I had no idea what it was and found out that they would do some post race stretching for you. SCORE! What you do is that you climb up on a padded massage table and they stretch out your muscles. The guy who was working on me said that this is a common thing after bigger races. He also said that the first race that you run like this is always the hardest and once I had today’s over, the next one will be easier. I don’t know if he went to class and learned to say things like that, but I liked him!  After the stretches, I asked someone to take my picture and when I looked at the picture it looks pretty bad. I was looking straight into the sun and it seems like I don’t have any eye balls at all! But guess how I did? I came in second in my age group. Oh yea….

After the race today.

After the race today.

Now to find someplace to change into my swimming suit and meet my friends for dinner. There was a total of 7 of us today kayaking and the water and scenery was perfect.

Life is Good!

Life is Good!

We didn’t have to do much paddling and we spent about 5 hours on the water.

So here is my photo of the day. I stayed back to get the picture of some of our group on the water this afternoon. Now I had to really paddle to catch up with them! IMG_2116

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Getting my packet

Off to town I went again to pick up my runners packet. First things first though. I stopped of at my nieces house on the way and dropped off the two boxes of apples that we picked for my sister and also 15 dozen eggs. I’m glad that her coworkers want our eggs because it’s so much better than the couple of times last year that we just threw them away! So after I got that errand done, I went to pick up my packet. I have never been in a race that is so ‘official’ and it was all pretty new to me. So I was trying to act cool and everything, but I’m guessing it was obvious that I was new to this. I checked out the map for the course tomorrow and really I didn’t know any of the roads that we were going to be on, but I looked anyway. I thought it would make me look like I knew what I was doing. But honestly, I think it made me look like I was pretty nervous. Oh well, it was too late to turn back now. I mean I had my runners shirt from the race and everything! I had a couple of other things that I wanted to do since I was in town and now to head back home. I wanted to get a lot of things done yet in both our house and the Roadhouse. Daryl’s brother and sister’s were all coming over tomorrow and even though I’m sure that they wouldn’t care if it wasn’t just perfect,I sure wanted it to be nice. After spending the rest of the night cleaning, now it was time to get my stuff in order before I went to bed. I had to pick my clothes what I was going to wear for the run. I wasn’t sure what was the normal stuff people wear, so I grabbed a short sleeved sports t shirt and some running shorts. I also had to get some clothes and stuff lined up because after the run, I was meeting a group of girls for dinner and then off to the river for kayaking. The weather was supposed to be in the low 80′s and in the end of September in Iowa, that is just perfect! Now to get some good sleep and be ready for the morning. Man I sure hope I do OK.

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Tonight’s activities

Tonight we had to grind feed for the cattle and it’s always funny when Daryl gets the mill out. The cows just kind of hang around by the cattle fence because they know that they’re going to get fresh corn for supper. IMG_2100The bin is getting close to being empty,  so Daryl has to scoop it out with a shovel to get the corn in the mill. IMG_2103Now I would go in there, but there’s not enough room for both of us doing this. OK, I really didn’t offer, but honestly he was almost done when I got home from town. As I was hanging out taking a couple of pictures, I’m not sure if the dogs thought I had treats or what. But Kaiser just came a running and then sat and looked at me. It was either that he was hungry or maybe that he’s just used to getting his picture taken. Which ever one is right, I thought I’d post the picture that I took and it is the photo of the day.

Just looking at this dog, how can he be so naughty?

Just looking at this dog, how can he be so naughty?

It was one of the few times the dog wasn’t getting yelled at for something around the farm! When the corn was being unloaded into the barn, I couldn’t figure out what this slurping noise was. And when I looked around I found No Ears just going to town on a salt/mineral block. They don’t get these too often and Daryl must have picked it up from town tonight.  No Ears was claiming it as hers I guess and poor Sassy in the background was just waiting her turn. I laughed later because No Ears later spent a lot of the night by the cow water. I bet Sassy was also grinning. :) IMG_2109

I’m getting ready to do my first 10k run in town on Saturday and wanted to get one more run in before it. So after the cows were fed and we picked a couple of boxes of apples for my sister, off I went. Now I knew that it was going to be a little dark when I got home, but holy smokes! It was pitch black by the time I got back.  I was worried that I’d see some skunks or bad things on the road and honestly if they were there, it was too dark to see them. Which is probably a good thing right? At the end of the run, it was so dark that I could only see the road and that was about it. But when I first started it was still light and I did see was a couple of different sets of deer with their fawns just hanging out. I wonder why they go out at that time of the night? You know what? They were probably thinking the same thing about me. Anyway, I made it home and I’m as ready as I will ever be for the race!

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