Friday, July 8, 2016

Banging my head against the Wall......

Actually, throwing my head against the wall would have been less painful than what I went through yesterday.


Here is the story.

Yesterday, two women pulled slowly up my lane.  I know them. I was shocked as I know how they feel about gravel roads.  Their cars are precious to them ..... objects that show wealth .... and gravel roads tarnish the shine that is oh-so-important.

The first thing out of their mouths was about my barn quilt and who painted it.  They were surprised when I said I had done it.  Then, they looked at another barn quilt as said, "But you didn't do that one."  But I had.

It was my Carolina Lily barn quilt.  The hardest barn quilt I painted and I. Will. Never. Ever. do one on point Again. But I learned that by doing it.  Myself.

They walked through the gardens, pointing out weeds, asking about what we didn't grow.

The Summer Kitchen was unimpressive.  My gardens ... uninspiring.

I showed them my kitchen.  No response.  Yes, it was a mess.  My floor needed sweeping. My counter still had some of my Stringtown purchases. I had freshly made pasta, drying on the towels.

"Did you cut this by hand?"  No, I ran it through my hand crank Atlas pasta machine.  "Oh. I cut my noodles by hand."  Another fail by Miss Eff.

My sewing machine was on the kitchen table, stacked with fabric, ribbon, and elastic ...... as I worked on bowl covers.  The fabric tells me what it wants to be .... a sandwich bag, a small tote,a bowl cover, or maybe an apron.  Sometimes, all the above.  But it was a jumble of color on the table.  And the color inspires me.  There was an uncompleted seam under the pressure foot .... where I had stopped to answer the door.

I had just taken two pints of canned beets out of the pressure canner.  We had thinned the beets and I diced the thinnings for the canner.  And I heard, "No onions? I put onions in mine".  Well .... these were canned beets, not pickled beets.  But again, I was wrong for not pickling them.

They saw flaws and failures instead of joy and progress.

They did not see the new well, the new roof, the new water softener, the new furnace, the custom wood windows. They didn't see the new siding that Honey has to cut to size and prime every side before it goes up.

All they saw were weeds and unpainted wood and failure to produce in the way they would. 

And I cried.

Then through my tears ..... I realized what I do have.

I have a home where people come to cuddle kittens.  I have a farm where people drive directly from Chicago to buy eggs and flowers. I teach children to make hollyhock dolls and how to hold a kitten. We sit on the ground and talk to people from all over the world!  I have a place where Japanese journalists come on a quiet Sunday morning to experience Iowa ..... and call me a quiet and gentle farm wife.  And a place .... where summer isn't complete until they have been to Miss Effie's.

I have a porch with two chairs where we sit every evening, drinking the beverage of our choice, holding hands and discussing the days' events.

I have hens that gift me breakfast ..... and a garden that provides supper.  And the ability and knowledge to keep the pantry full of homegrown goodness throughout the cold Iowa winter.

I have a swing that hangs from a tree that seems to magically erase the sorrows of the day.  And my flowers have seen joy at weddings, tears at funerals and laughter at countless dinner tables.

Wealth may be counted in many ways.  Some .... may count the bottom line on their bank account.

I will count mine in the joy and happiness and love that this little farm brings to others. My wealth is the  happiness, laughter and love that I have under my solid dry roof of my unpainted farmhouse.

I am the richest woman on earth.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Roger. Roger. Roger.

Dear dear Roger.

Now .. Roger was a gift to Honey from our friend Tamara.  Roger is a sweet wonderful cat that needed/wanted a lot of attention.  Tamara thought that Miss Eff's was the perfect place for Roger to get all that attention.  And she thought Honey needed a cat.

Honey would rather have had beer.  ;)

Roger has had his issues in the past.

He has been hit by a car ..... and purred the entire time through his convalescence.

We were certain Roger threw himself under the car so he could become a house cat instead of the working barn cat he is suppose to be.

It didn't work.

Yes ... Roger is suppose to be a barn cat.  Prowling the coops, the barn and the house foundation for those horrible gray mice that I hate so much.

He is not good at it, judging from the need for so many traps in my house!!!

But he does love the chickens and the ducks.

In the morning .... I go out to the coop and Roger climbs to fence to watch the hens scurry out of the coop.  He sleeps on the top of the coop ... just watching over the hens, ducks and roos.

And this .... is how he got himself into trouble.

You see .... on Friday morning .... I was in the garden, working.  Roger was no where to be found which was unusual because he is normally making a pest out of himself.

I asked Honey if he had seen Roger.  No, was the reply.

A little bit later, Roger was located.  Twenty feet in the air ...... in a tree..... above the duck run.


We called ..... we begged and Roger would try to come out to the edge of a branch and back up to safety of a crotch of the tree.

He will come down when he is hungry.

And throughout the day ...... we would walk over and talk to Roger about leaving his perch.

Honey got a ladder and tried to rescue him.  But ladders are not our favorite and Honey could only get about 16' up in the air safely.

And I wasn't going up that far!!!!

Honey could pet him but stubborn Roger would dig his claws into the branch when Honey tried to get him.

It rained and stormed on Friday night...... and Roger remained in the tree.

We tried on Saturday to coax him down again ..... but the same thing happened.  He would dig his claws into the bark of the tree ...... and refuse to let go so we could rescue him.

Saturday night ..... it was cold .............and Roger remained in the tree.

We could give him a bit a food ......but I was getting worried. Roger had spent three nights in the tree.  And even though, a wise friend noted that she had never seen cat skeletons in trees, I was still worried.

There was nothing else to do.  We would have to call a tree service to get him down.

But Sunday morning, Honey tried one last time.  Some how, Roger turned his back to Honey and Honey was able to grab him by the back of the neck and hold on to the ladder at the same time!!

Thinner ..... thirsty and very hungry, Roger was happy to see us!  And happy to be on solid ground.

So ..... at the age of one, Roger has seemed to have used up two of his nine lives.

But he still isn't going to be a house cat!!!!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Aches and pains and garden gains.....


Suddenly, I feel much older than my 61 years.

It is spring .... and that always brings so much work.  We do most of it by hand.  On my knees, planting one plant, plug or seed at a time.  Digging the weeds out.  Dividing the daylilies.  It is relatively easy work .... until I have to stand up.

Or bend over again.

In a few weeks, I will sprint from one area of the garden to another ..... quickly moving and lifting and pulling and bending.  But until then, it is lots of ibuprofen and hot showers to loosen up the muscles and relieve the stiff knees and shoulders.

I love spring on the farm.  From new kittens and baby chicks to blossoming trees, spring never ceases to make me smile.

We are currently edging gardens ..... one at a time.

Yea .... this was a Pinterest steal.  Well, when you are in business, we call it "research", don't we???

These are tumbled Belgium pavers .... one stands up and the other lies flat in front of it. 

We will be able to keep a nice edge with the gardens.  I loved my plate border edge .... but I would crush them at times. 

OK ... often. 

Really often.

So I would have broken plates every where.

Last year, I went to double loop wire garden fence in an 18" height.

It was messing ..... not tidy ..... and no one cut the flowers in the area.  :(

So hopefully, we can keep this looking nice .... and you will cut the flowers in the border.

One of the new roses went here ... along with lavender, delphiniums, daisies and bachelor buttons.  They are still so tiny ..... but it won't be long before they will fill this garden.

I have this little bed filled with baby's breath, roses, delphiniums along with some stock.  The bunny needs a clematis filling it as does the head board in front of the kitchen.  It too, could use some paint!

I love fresh paint in the spring!

The rusty look is charming ...... but after a while, too much rust makes everything look unkept.  So I am trying to brighten our world.

One can of paint at a time!!!

Well ...... until these beauties start to bloom!!!

Yea ..... I am super impatient this year!!!!!

I may go through a LOT of paint!!!!