Trees are getting ready for the Summer

Like many Springs in Iowa you just never know what the weather is going to be like. Take this week for an example. We went from having our furnace kick in to today’s weather of 82 degrees. Now with it almost being June I’ll definitely take the 82 degrees and with that weather I will need to seriously get my bicycle out very soon! 

But no bike riding yet because I’m still working on getting the garden planted and decided to take some time to check out how the trees are doing. I found out that they aren’t waiting for this crazy Spring to settle down. They are moving forward and by the looks of it we’re going to have a bumper crop of pinecones and apples!  

Posted in Gardening | Leave a comment

Corn cribs

It’s no secret in our family that I like corn cribs. And some might even say that I love them! But like everything on the farm, if you don’t use it for farming or anything else, there is a really good chance that the building will eventually go downhill. 

And that’s exactly what happened to ours. I have no idea when it was actually built, but I’m sure it’s very old and if I had a gazillion dollars fixing up our corn crib would be the first thing that I would be on my list! I mean honestly how many corn cribs have you seen lately?

So these past years our corn crib was getting wood rot and literally tearing apart from the outside. We would find the shingles all over in the yard and with tiny nails still half stuck in them it was just a matter of time until they were going to get stuck in our tires. 

Well this week was the week when it had to come down and it makes me very sad.

 

Posted in Farming | Leave a comment

2 peas in a pod – Rosey and Valentino

I seriously have no idea what week of the COVID pandemic we are on and quite honestly I am kind of tired of even talking about it. So I decided to share a little bit about our new addition to the farm – Rosey and Valentino.  They were born a few months back and what a crazy night that was!

It was Valentines Day. Yup, when you try to make a little more effort when getting dressed and even might curl your hair before head out for the night for a good meal and some good company.

Well, there was no hair curling going on this Valentines Day! When Daryl was doing chores he noticed that Sassy was standing in the cow yard and there was a new little calf near by.  What? We didn’t think she was due yet, but nevertheless he called to the house and asked if I could help get them both in the barn. It was so cold that night that we were concerned that the poor little thing would freeze. So I quick got on my boots and headed to the barn yard. While Daryl was working on getting the calf into the barn I went to get Sassy. Now there is a good reason why she’s called Sassy and I knew it would be a challenge to try to get her to go somewhere if she didn’t want to! She was just kind of hanging out behind the new little calf which was really odd for a new mom but as I walked around her to get behind her, I noticed something in the shed. It was another calf! OK, now we need to work really fast because he was really cold and needed to be warmed and that needed to happen fast! So after a lot of coaxing, we finally got Sassy into the barn. The little calves were shivering bad and to be quite honest looked pretty tough! Seeing how cold the little calves were, we spent a lot of time rubbing them down to get their circulation moving. After the boy calf would toss his head back and his eyes would roll into his head, well I didn’t have much faith that we would have two calves to name in the morning. 

But guess what? I’d like to introduce Rosey and Valentino. Rosey is a very bossy little thing and is known to push poor little Valentino around quite a bit. She’s quite a bit bigger than he is for the time being, but once he grows up a little we’ll see if she still gets away with that! They go everywhere together in the yard and their favorite spot is hanging out on top of a new bale of hay that Daryl brings for the yard. 

Do you think you could find any cuter calves?

Rosey is on the right and Valetino is on the left. 

Rosey and Sassy hanging out in the barn pen with Valetino in the back of Sassy hiding.

 

Sassy scoping out the situation before they come out 

 

The twins need a little coaxing

 

Being greeted and checked out by the others. First one at the door is No Ears of course!

And now just hanging out with the big kids.

By the way, Valentino went to hide when I came into the yard to take this picture 🙂 

Posted in Farm animals | 1 Comment

Week 2 of Quarantine

It’s week 2 of  my Quarantine for the COVID-19 virus.  Everyone in our family is doing well and not showing any signs that they are sick so that’s good. With our one son and his fiancé living in New York which is a hot spot, and our other son and his wife living in an area in Iowa that’s had a lot of known cases, we are counting our blessings that our family has been healthy. 

So with our long awaited winter vacation cut short two weeks ago in Cancun, we came home early because of all the chaos happening in the US. I have to admit that I was disappointed that we had to leave early, but at the time it was the right decision. Schools were closing and we were worried about the border closing and not being able to get back home and into the states. Isn’t that a weird thing to hear? It is for me to write that’s for sure! I mean there is no way no one would ever believe that we would be in this situation even 2 months ago would we? 

But we are now home and seeing just how our small communities are handling the situation and I couldn’t be more proud! Everyone is pretty much staying calm and trying to help each other out. Because we are living in a small farming community a lot of our local businesses are owned by someone we know and are more than likely our friends. I saw a post of a local business tonight that their business has increased from last week to this week by 453%  Now how cool is that? This particular business just had an expansion to their business and with no opportunity to have people come and enjoy it, they really needed the community help on a financial side – and they got it! There is something to be said for small towns! When everyone knows pretty much everyone, there is definitely community support! 

OK, so what have I been doing these last two weeks? Well I’ve been working from home and have requested that I work again from home next week. I am usually on my computer pretty much most of the day so if I do it from the office or my make shift office from home, it’s really no difference. I’m happy that my boss also sees it that way! I’m not usually one who likes a lot of noise when I’m working, so my little craft room/home office has been working out great and I’ve been getting quite a bit done too. I think it’s a Win Win! 

I’m kind of surprised that I haven’t been making a lot of soap in this downtime though. I’m a little bit cautious because all the spring shows have been cancelled so I didn’t want too much soap just in case I can’t sell it. See all the shops that I sell at are closed so you can understand my concern about over producing. I’m kinda thinking about setting up a shop on line, but just not sure yet. More to come about this in the weeks to come. Just indecisive. 

But I’ve got pretty much all our laundry caught up and the dogs are completely confused when they are getting treats not only on Saturday and Sunday, but also during the week! I’ve been sanitizing the house quite often because I want to make sure that stay healthy for my Mom and being able to continue to visit her. I’ve sent a couple of care packages to the kids which I feel good about that I’ve been able to help them out. And well to be honest I haven’t felt too productive otherwise lately in the evenings so I started my daily ‘To Do List’ today to help out to get more stuff done. It really helps me stay focused and I think I need the help! 

Other things that’s happening around the farm is that we’re working on the upcoming wedding this Fall for the kids!  I CAN NOT WAIT!! And with the Bridal shower happening on the farm mid summer , I can’t say Thank you enough for all the work that our daughter in law is doing! You know when there’s going to be a get together and it’s going to be fun? Well that’s going to be this shower! 

Well that’s about all for now. As we’re all trying to figure out the new normal, the weather is expected to turn nice next week, and we’ll all be one more week closer to having this whole quarantine situation over!  Then on to summer weather and activities and of course the wedding! 

 

Posted in Community, COVID-19, Family | 1 Comment

Week 1 _ Coronavirus

Well as you all know we are all trying to stop the coronavirus that has plagued the world these past two weeks by having to leave your house and  travel only when absolutely   necessary.

OK, so what did I do with my time this weekend?

First things first. You know that I like to do laundry so that’s a no brainer. I put laundry out with all good intentions to take it in when dry. So did it get dry? Well not so much. See after I put it out and decided it needed one more day to really dry – it kinda snowed. And for some reason the snow just stayed for the whole day! So now my choice is should I bring it in with snow on it or let it outside to see if it’ll dry. Well you can pretty much guess what I did right? Yup, I’m going for that country fresh smell 🙂

Other things accomplished this weekend was going through some storage that I had in my scrapbook/home office room. I’m guessing that a planner that was dated 2010 isn’t a necessity anymore along with some old address books and just plain stuff! See I’m working from home for now and my scrapbook room is now serving a dual purpose. I’m not sure how long I’ll be working from our upstairs in our house, but for now I don’t mind at all.

And this weekend there was also some soap making going on. Surprised? I’ve been trying out a couple of new techniques and to be honest they haven’t been too successful so far. The YouTube videos made it look so easy!  Yea whatever! But the soaps smell wonderful and unless you’re out scoping out soap videos on the web – I’m guessing you wouldn’t know that they don’t turn out just exactly how I had planned it.

I’ve also started to plant some seeds inside to get ready for my summer garden today.  I haven’t stared plants from seeds forever so I’m kinda excited to do it again! I’ve got quite a few more packets to plant but I think I’ll see how these first ones go!

We also had our first meeting on Sunday for creating a non-profit organization for a Historical Society for our town. At first we were going to get together at the Community Center in town to have our meeting, but our group members are located in South Dakota, New York, New Hampton Iowa, Ames Iowa, and then me in Lawler Iowa. Just a little challenging with what’s going on for now for traveling. But guess what? We had a conference call and it went great! Got tons done and the paperwork is headed to the lawyer tomorrow for the final review. Shazam! There’s a lot of work to do with the group but it’s like the old saying that if you don’t start it’ll never get done! I’m super excited to be a part of it!

And lastly I’ve been in the kitchen cooking quite a bit. For the weekend I checked out what was in the freezer and made fried chicken in the oven, I had some ham broth frozen so I made ham & potato soup, and took some Christmas turkey that was also frozen and made some creamed turkey sandwiches. I also took some frozen bananas out of the freezer to make some banana bars. I made them in a smaller pan to have more of a cake and it turned out pretty good! I had all intentions to have them frosted, but as you can see it’s just way too late for that! I’m guessing that in Week # 2 I’m going to hide the weight scale just in case I continue to clean out the freezer! 

 

Posted in Baking, Community, Gardening, In the kitchen | Leave a comment

Christmas 2019!

Christmas. It’s a brief period in time when it feels to me that everything stands still. Now don’t get me wrong – there is a lot of preparing, buying, budgeting, and organization into each and every Christmas, but when the actual day comes when everyone gets together, it’s just down right awesome! So for this year I feel so lucky that not only did our kids all make it all home to the farm, but almost everyone was able to make it for Ma’s Christmas. I think there was around 59 people who were there and we were missing around 8. Now that in itself should be recognized as a major success!

Planning stage: You know when you’re planning on having people travel and come to your house you don’t just worry about ‘will I have enough food’ but you also worry about ‘does my house look clean enough’ ‘will anyone show up’.  Now I’m sure I over think this a little bit too much and I’m also sure that no will care if they find some dust on a window sill. Well I hope they don’t anyway!  But there are so many things to think about and to top off my worry list is the weather. Because by this point you’ve somewhat got your house organized, you’ve bought enough food so that if there is someone who is remotely hungry for the next month or so – you’ll be ready to feed them! And the only thing that could stop this from not going as planned would be a winter storm.

So of course I started to watch the weather as soon as it was available for the 10 days forecast. With the weather looking good in the forecast and the kid’s flight from New York is on schedule, I can relax a little bit more and go to the grocery store one more time just in case 🙂 But for now the Roadhouse was ready and now so am I!

It’s a Party! : The day of Ma’s party couldn’t have been any better! The sun was shining and little kids were running around outside on the lawn playing football and a close game of basketball was being played all without coats. Who would have thought?!

The kids were flying into a local airport around noon so it was up to me to get everyone starting to eat. So I took my roaster of the 4 turkeys that I made earlier and added it to the overflowing table of food. Honestly if someone left hungry – well it was definitely their fault!

After the prayer it was time to eat! And let’s just say that I’m sure no one was disappointed! Soon Kyle, Kelcie, and Daryl showed up, and with William and Jude home already it was a really good feeling and I was happy.

Mr. & Mrs. St. Nicolas were the honored guests for the day and with tons of laughter and joking around we were excited to hear what the little kids had on their lists this year. Now some were a little shy and then there were some that were not scared at all! I seriously remember having St. Nicolas Day as a kid and being pulled out from under a bed by my feet at my cousins house and then drug downstairs to sit on St. Nicolas’s lap. I guess I must have been one of the scared kids! 

The day ended way before anyone of us wanted it to and before everyone left we (OK maybe I was pushing it the most) was to take a group picture. Now this seems like an impossible task right? Well guess what? We got everyone in the picture and it turned out fantastic! A couple of weeks later for Mom’s birthday party I made a huge enlargement of the group and it’s still hanging in her living room on the wall just as you walk into the room. Yup, the picture was the icing on the cake and I absolutely loved it!

So as you know this post has been way overdue. I’m not sure what I’ve been doing but obviously I know not keeping up with the blog. But in this uncertainty of the world today with the coronavirus I thought it was fitting to put together a post about a great time for our family and something that just makes me smile. I hope it made you a little happier today too 🙂

From Ma and our family – be well and be safe!

 

Posted in Family, Roadhouse | 4 Comments

Like herding cats!

I gave up to the thought that we might still have some nice weather coming our way this fall and started to look outside what was needed to be done. I mean with this being our 3rd or 4th snowfall this year, I guess it’s time to face reality.

Driving home tonight it looked like this

So with winter coming, it’s time to move our ‘little’ chickens into the main part of the chicken coop condo. They’ve been locked up since spring and now will need to be mixed with the other chickens for the winter and hopefully by spring when they get left out in the yard that they’ll know not to freak out and fly away.

I like to try to set a timeline for any projects that I do, so this should only take maybe 20 minutes right? Yeah I know that there is over 30 chickens to catch and move, but with my handy dandy chicken catcher – I just might get this done sooner!

When I was walking over to the chicken coop, I had both dogs by my side just wondering what in the world was going on now! But as the chickens were literally screaming and flying past my head from one side of the coop to the other side as I was trying to catch the first chickens (who knew it was so big in there!) the dogs who were patiently sitting outside the door were starting to look a little worried.

Finally, the first one caught. I’m not an expert in setting accurate timeline goals, but after about 5 minutes and only one chicken now screaming on the top of her lungs as she was upside down and moving to the other shed, I’m guessing that 20 minutes is an unrealistic goal 🙂

So out the door, step outside and close the door, past the dogs, open the other side door, and let the chicken in. Yup, this is definitely going to take longer than I had expected.

Back to the other side of the coop and let’s start this over again.

By this time the chickens were totally FREAKED out. I think they remember the whole Cornish chickens episode when those chickens were only there for 8 weeks and then were caught and disappeared for life!

So I thought let’s try to slow everyone down and pick out an easy one. And guess who it was? Bernie the duck! Bernie was tucked away in the corner and was totally exhausted. Ducks have pretty short legs and Bernie is a little weight challenged too, so he’s got a double whammy on any plans of trying to escape. Well Bernie went over to the other side without any issues.

Even though it was taking me forever to catch the chickens, I was able to get a few of them with the chicken catcher hook. But holy cow did they scream! If you were our neighbors I’m guessing that you could hear them across the fields!

When one of the chickens escaped I thought that we’ll just have to be one less. I mean the temperature was going to be <10 degrees tonight and it was dark by now so our friendly fox who lives in field behind us was sure to find her.

Finally with everyone almost exhausted I tried catching the chickens by hand and it went so much better. They weren’t screaming as much either so I guess it was a win/win for both of us.

With everyone tucked away in the coop for the night, I’m guessing it’ll take awhile until they start being nice to each other. For tonight they’re staying on their own perch. As for Bernie? I just hope he comes out of the corner once in awhile!

*Update on the MIA chicken. Daryl caught him the next day when he found him hiding out in the now empty coop.

Posted in Farm animals | Leave a comment

Hallelujah!

I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m so excited – especially with the snow and freezing cold temperatures that we’ve been having.

Well the reason that I’m so excited around 11:30 pm on this Sunday night is that we are finally done shelling corn! I seems to have been not only a rough start this Spring with all the rain that we had gotten, but now we’ve been having a lot of trouble trying to get propane to dry the corn! Crazy right? They say that there’s a shortage because literally everyone in the Midwest is trying to get their corn out all at once. Yup, including Daryl!

But tonight we are relieved that all the corn is out of the field. We’ve been getting snow off and on these past few days which brings it’s own challenges to having any corn stalk bales made. But tonight- tonight we are happy that it’s done for the year. We’ll worry about getting those stalks done next week.

And how are we going to celebrate? Well first I’m sure that Daryl is now looking at his ‘to do’ list that he has been put on the back burner while working on getting the crops out. But for me? Well I’m planning a night out for maybe a nice meal and movie. Whatever we end up doing, I know we’ll be both glad and tired that this year’s crops are in and will be hoping that next year’s weather will cooperate better!

The picture below is the last night that the combine is out before it gets tucked away in the machine shed. Our combine isn’t the newest that you’ll see in the fields, but for now it has done another good job for us and is ready to be stored until next harvest.

Posted in Farming, Projects completed | Leave a comment

Noisy Fall

It’s that time of the year again when the fields are starting to look a little more bare. And when that happens you know that you’ll find Daryl heading over to the bin to turn on the fan! Now I’ve been around the block a couple of times to know that when you start to hear the fan running in the bin that it means that money will soon be leaving your wallet paying for all that fuel that it’s using. But guess what? I really don’t mind! For me to hear this fan heating up the corn is kind of comforting. OK weird right? But because you don’t start the fan up until the bin is full, it means that the fieldwork for combining is almost done and that things will hopefully slow down a little bit soon.
And with all that noise going outside, for some crazy reason sleep so much better. Maybe it’s because I don’t hear the dogs barking at whoever is teasing them at night, or maybe I’m just more tired in the Fall. But for whatever reason, I look forward this time of the year when you hear the switch being turned on and just for that instant it seems that the whole farm knows that it’s officially Fall!

Posted in Farming | Leave a comment

Field work in full swing!

Like all the farmers this year, we’ve been challenged to work on getting our crops out. So when we’re having this great weather and (keep your fingers crossed) all through the weekend, well it makes everyone in a much better mood!

After fixing a minor repair on the combine, it was full throttle ahead! There is some discussion that the weather is going to turn for the worse early next week along with the terrible four letter word – SNOW! So no one is wasting any time!

So when I gave Daryl a ride to pick up his combine and take it in the field tonight, he said he needed a couple of things and asked if I’d bring them out in a little bit. You bet! I haven’t rode in the combine yet this year, and call me weird but it’s kinda fun. Well at least if I’m not driving it or nothing breaks.

After checking on the chickens and doing some chores, I put on some sweat pants over my pants and grabbed a hooded jacket and I’m ready! Now it wasn’t the best look for me, but it was warmer than what I had on.

Now to ride along in our combine you have to get cozy. I mean real cozy. See we don’t have the equipment with the buddy seat beside the driver, so you have to kind of fit your backside behind the driver’s seat and stay there. It’s really not too bad and honestly I was just happy that I can still fit! Well I only rode one round and then I had to get back home to make some soap. Someday, yup someday, I’m going to spend more than one round with Daryl out in the field, and maybe even in the daylight! My only concern when that day actually does come, there’s no way that I’ll be able to get up the steps of the combine much less squeeze my butt behind the drivers seat!

Oh well, for now – Happy Harvesting!

Posted in Farming | Leave a comment