Saturday, February 28, 2009

Spinning plates?????




So ........ I had a fun day today. I was contacted by the University of Illinois Rock Island County Master Gardeners to teach a seminar at their annual nursery school. The canning classes were taken but could I possibly teach something else?

We-e-ell, I could teach a soup class, using home preserved products. So ...... that was the plan!

As any good interior designer, flower arranger, gardener knows.......... things are always better in odd numbers. OK -- one soup is not enough. Two is just not right. Three ...... I will do three soups. That sounded so easy in November.

In February ....... reality hits me. Hard.

Three soups??? Three soups??? I said I would do three soups in 75 minutes?? All at the same time??? Without opening a can that says Progresso???

What can I say?? I have a therapist on retainer ..... Honey knows I'm crazy ..... I came with papers!

Seriously, do you remember the plate spinners on Ed Sullivan? These jugglers would be spinning plates on 6' tall sticks and just as they finished putting all the plates on the sticks, they would run back to the beginning to keep the plates spinning. Three soups ........ all at the same time!!

Well ..... I had a ball! I'm not sure how anyone else felt about it but as long as I have a good time teaching -- I am happy.

I demo-ed homemade tomato using home-canned tomatoes, corn chowder (my personal favorite) and roasted butternut and garlic soup.

See them in the mirror? And look at that big-honkin' mirror!! I felt just like Rachel Ray-Paula Deen-Martha Stewart ........ all rolled into one! I loved the mirror!!!! And hey! For all you Quad-Citians ..... I'm on a stage at the I-Wireless Center!! OK -- its a little stage. But its still a stage!!!

After class -- I got to talk to lots of the participants. Mostly about my boots. Aren't they awesome??? Re-sale shop!! Cheap!!I was so honored to be included. Terri and all her wonderful committee made me feel so welcomed. What a great group of people!! But aren't gardeners the best people???

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Spring Fever.......

I need green!!! Luscious beautiful green. And bright fluorescent pink. And yellow. And blues that really aren't blue but purple!

But instead ....... I get this.Brown ............ Gray .................. and very dirty white.

And all I want to do -- is dig in the dirt. Ruin my nails, scratch up my hands and have filthy dirty knees on my jeans! I want to wear my polka-dotted boots and have them caked with mud. I want my hair flying everywhere and my nose cold from the chilly spring air.

Here on the hill -- I don't clean up the gardens in the fall. My excuse is that the gardens need the vegetation to protect the perennials, self-seeding annuals have the chance to seed and the praying mantis, ladybugs and other great insects have some winter protection. Reality is different.

By November, I have been opened for over 5 months. I have been showered, shampooed and dressed every morning by 8am. I have the bathroom cleaned -- the coop scooped -- and the gardens weeded. I am cheerful and happy and hopefully, friendly to all my customers. I have canned 700 jars of produce, held a hundred chickens for petting and pushed children on the swing a billion times!! But by November ............ I am tired. I need a nap and I don't want to shave my legs! I want to curl up under a blanket and let the winter pass in peace.

But NOW -- I am ready for green. I talk to anyone that will listen about my gardens. I pour over the seed catalogs and drool. I imagine new seating areas .... pretty little spaces in the gardens to hide and dream. I hear little wrens singing. And I am certain I can smell the sweet peas, blooming along the chicken yard. But my gardens are filled with brown.

So it was with great delight that I got one little garden cleaned this morning.

It went from this to this..............








Don't you think the barn needs a quilt block up in the peak?
Yep ......... me, too. Maybe this weekend.

Its still way early for spring here in Iowa. We are expecting snow again. But for a moment............. I got to dream in technicolor!

Monday, February 23, 2009

History is made!

YEA!!! It is here!!! Strike up the band!! Alert the media!! I have now entered the 21st century!

I did it .... kicking and screaming a bit. But I figured ..... I blog, I Twitter, I love Pandora.... I even Facebook. Its time to have a website.

So this is it............www.misseffiesflowers.com Bookmark it and visit it often. I can use the company.

I'll be tweaking and changing things in the next few weeks ..... but its here.

Who knows, I may get a cell phone yet!!!

Dreams dashed!


The other day, I got news that I was losing an old friend and a great source of inspiration. Meridith Corporation will no longer be publishing Country Home magazine.

Almost 30 years ago .... I was a newly-divorced mother of one, living off of $195 a week. Even thirty years ago, there were no extra dollars in the budget (what budget!) for decorating. But some how, Country Home reached my inner soul and I discovered my decorating muse.

As a young adult in the early 70's -- contempory, bright, almost-garish style was the norm. And I embraced it -- but didn't find my soul. Then two magazines were born ...... Country Living and Country Home.

Country Living has always sat on the coffee table but Country Home was in the bedroom. It was the magazine that dreams were made of. I would pour over every page, drooling over the springtime gardens, the sunny porches, the warm inviting kitchens and the soothing bedrooms.

It inspired me to stencil red pigs on my yellow soffitt, paint my kitchen pink with flowery chintz skirts on my sink, and rip down those ugly gold insulated pinch-pleat drapes from the 70's for soft curtains that I made from unbleached muslin. It showed me that you could hang anything on a wall ........ and I hung a 14' level from my ceiling in the family room and a hand-made broom in the laundry room. I framed silver spoons and plastic clothes pins.

It taught me to look beyond the obvious and a cast-iron flower frog became my toothbrush holder. Honey made a chandelier for the garden from old garden fencing and glass insulators. And now -- I am making a tray for the garden out of an old kitchen cabinet door.

It showed me that McCoy pottery could be art when carefully displayed. Gazebos didn't have to be made of Victorian bric-brac moldings but could be as simple as an old corncrib. I didn't have to have Longerberger baskets ..... I could make my own. Eggs didn't have to be bought at the store .... chickens in the backyard were possible.

Country Home made the life I have ......possible. What if I had only read House Beautiful or Metropolitan Home? Would I have known that flowers don't have to come from a florist and that canning could be hip and cool???

The ultimate compliment from customers here on the farm was ............ "You should be in Country Home magazine." And I would hope .......... and dream ......... that maybe, someday, some how an editor would call.

I've given a lot up during this recession ........ vacations, antiquing, dining out and new clothes. Heck -- I'm thinking about giving up artichokes and kalamata olives. But giving up Country Home was never an option!!!

I'm losing an old friend ......... I'm sure going to miss it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

YUCK!!!

This is our weather forecast. I don't like it. I don't like it one bit.

Tonight: Snow. Low around 18. North wind between 10 and 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of around 5 inches.

Saturday: Snow and areas of blowing snow before noon, then a chance of snow after noon. High near 24. Blustery, with a north wind between 15 and 25 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of around 1 inch.

Damn groundhog!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Barbie does Alfred Hitchcock????

Last night, at Retail-Hell, I sold this doll. Yep ....... the type of doll that nightmares are made of!!

A mother bought it for her 13-year-old daughter. Nothin' says lovin' like a Tippie Hedren doll getting her eyes pecked out!!! Yep -- and I thought my mother put me into therapy!!! That poor girl will have a life-time of issues!!! Maybe they didn't buy the movie to go with it!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pink--Blue. Pink--Blue. Women--Men.

I am writing a post today that I know ABSOLUTELY nothing about............ The View, The Bachelor, and men. Yep..... I am sooo out of my comfort zone.

Yesterday, I am getting ready for Retail-Hell and The View is on tv. Now -- I never watch The View but I sat there as they were reviewing the previous nights episode of The Bachelor .......... also something I have never watched. The closest thing that I watch to The Bachelor is Jane Austen and there has never been a hot-tub scene in Pride and Prejudice. No bikinis in Emma.

In those two or three brief minutes -- I experienced a flashback. Not the 1960's type flashback but an emotional flashback.

Now I have been with Honey for 13 years. Thirteen wonderful years. But I was divorced for over 19 years when we got married. In those 19 years, I had a date or two or three. And could I ever feel for those girls!!

I haven't seen this so it is totally out of context but having been there, done that, I know how the conversation goes.

First of all, he says "Tell me anything, ask me anything". So you manage the courage and the guts to spill your heart out. These poor girls were pouring their hearts out to The Bachelor, telling him their deepest inner thoughts. Suddenly, he gets The Look. Now -- this is akin to the deer-in-the-headlights-look. Total blankness.

You can hear his thought processes going......... "Shit! I didn't want to talk about this!". No -- he wanted to talk about his car, his job, his dog or his golf-handicap. Anything....... not feelings!!! Anything -- Feelings. Two different things!! Unfortunately, we as women don't get that!

So as Elizabeth on The View said --- "When in doubt, just make-out!" Bachelor goes into a full steamy make-out session which they don't do on Jane Austen!!! What these poor girls don't understand is that for two out of three of them -- its Kiss-Off, Honey!!!

But what that guy doesn't understand, opening the heart is hard for anyone. It may be easier for women but that doesn't mean it was easy. And it was then, I felt those poor girls' pain. I could hear the wheels turning in the Bachelor's brain ........... "Got to go! Got to go NOW!!"

In reality, it is at this point that the poor girl grabs the phone and calls her best friend. "But ........ he asked", she cries. And the wise best friend replies ........"He's a man." (This is the problem with The Bachelor -- no best friends on the other line, telling her to run!!!)

Which leads me to pink-- blue. Our dear friends, Debbie and Jim teach a Marriage Enrichment class called "Love and Respect". Women want love, men want respect. And we are wired so differently, we have a hard time seeing the others' point of view. Its BETA vs VHS -- Edison vs Tesla (Can ya tell I'm married to someone in engineering??)

I am lucky to have a marriage that is based on love and respect. Some people say marriage is hard work. For us ....... it isn't. I married a man that became my soul-mate, my friend, my partner, my lover. Who knows how we found each other and why it works the way it does ........ but it does.

So Honey --- would ya stay healthy for me?? I need you with me. Cuz if I ever have to go through this kind of crap again.......... I'm killin' ya!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Local Yolk-el ...................


I seem to get a lot of questions about eating local ....... particularly in the winter. And yes, there are challenges. I don't find local bananas in Iowa. And I have a tendency to crave artichokes......... a lot!

But we do eat a lot totally local meals and I have decided to drop in -- give you a recipe -- and maybe inspire you to talk to your local farmers.

Last night was spinach salad with poached eggs. Awesome recipe. First of all -- I love salads. I can eat a salad for every single meal. Honey ...... not so much! Yea -- I love a good steak. Pasta is my friend. But a salad................yummmm.

I'm hearing some of you. You said this meal was going to be local. And I see spinach ... in Iowa... in February. Rushing to my rescue were my friends from Nostalgia Farms. Ed and Joe have been growing greens in their high tunnels (like many of our farmer friends) So last week, I got the call in hushed tones ............ "Clink, there is spinach. The drop will be at the Freight House Farmers Market." Ahhh......... I'm there.

Ok ... back to the recipe.

1/2 c white wine vinegar
4 large beautiful, free-range fresh eggs (OK -- those are my eggs!) --poached
6-8 strips of bacon - diced -- again LOCAL!!!
1 shallot (or 1/2 of a med red onion diced)
12 oz of spinach
salt and pepper.

Fry the bacon in the skillet over medium heat. When cooked, remove and drain and in the same skillet cook the shallot (or onion) until soft........ about 2 minutes. Add the white wine vinegar and boil on high heat until reduced by about half. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss the spinach with bacon and hot vinaigrette -- divide on to plates and top with a poached egg. Notice -- there are two eggs on the plate. I love poached eggs. I deserved two!!!

Simple easy meal ......... and its local. Check it out!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Hot Date with Chuck........

Today, I picked up Chuck. Chuck is a rare find. Chuck has well-done shoulders and a prime rump. This is someone that I am steaking a claim to!! I'm certain when we are out in the corn-zebo this summer ......... Chuck will be smokin'!! I was ooohing and aaahing and drooling as I winked and picked up Chuck.

Hey! Don't judge me! I am a happily married woman that only gets to pick up dirty socks!

No ...... all the bad puns aside........ I drove to Galesburg to pick-up our quarter of beef. Having a freezer full of quality beef is one of the true delights of our life. And all apologies to Hy-Vee ..... but your steaks just don't cut it!

Fortunately, I have a couple of great sources for beef. My favorite is from my favorite relative, cousin Marcia. Marcia raises purebred Angus beef and researches the genetics for the tastiest beef she can offer.

Another delight was that a dear college friend and pledge sister at 4-H House owns the processing plant ........ Thrushwood Farms. Kae taught me how to make grasshoppers (remember that?) and pie crusts. And I could use another lesson on pie crusts!!!!
Kae and her husband Jim have been operating this business for 30 years. All three of their sons have worked in the family business and their dedication to quality shows. They were swamped with customers when I was there but somehow, I just got a picture with no people!! Go figure that one!

They recently did a massive addition to the retail area. This is classy and smart and great eye-candy for any serious cook. The selection of marinating sauces, BBQ sauces and hot sauces was mind-boggling! Plus these wonderful Traeger grills ........... I really wish the economy was better!!! But all seriousness aside.............. hey, look at this art work!!!!The trip down took all of 14 cuts from the ABBA greatest hits CD. Very do-able from the QCA!! And a good localvore will drive about anywhere to get good healthy safe food.

So tonight -- I'll be eyeing Chuck and going ...................yummmmmmm!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sharin' your love........ part 2!!




As I said before, I was spending my Saturday morning at the Freight House Farmers Market -- collecting donations and canned goods for our local food pantry. It was a cold and somewhat snowy morning, so I armed myself with a large coffee and mainlined some caffeine. I grabbed a raspberry roll from Greenhouse Gwen and was ready to collect box after box of groceries. My friend and market president said .......... Miss Effie, you are going in the closet! And you can come out of the closet when it is full!

The goal was to raise awareness for the need that exists in the QCA and help the pantry provide healthy, fresh, local foods that aren't easily available. And boy, did you come through!!! You put me through my paces and I thank you over and over again!!

We raised over $850 in funds! $850!! That will be used to buy gift certificates to the market. The pantry will then purchase produce and meat and eggs as needed from our local vendors. If they are over-stocked with oranges but need apples ........ they will have the funds to purchase them.

What a win-win situation. The pantry gets good quality produce, meat and eggs. Our local farmers make sales and continue to farm. And the consumer gets healthy food to fight obesity, heart disease and diabetes. And you did it!!!

Some of our wonderful consumers brought box after box of goods. Some ........ bought potatoes and apples and squash from the vendors. And notice .......... there are eggs. Fresh, local eggs. A gal gave me a dozen eggs and said "Everyone should know the taste of really fresh eggs"

Well, Sister............ you are preaching to the choir!!!

So thank you for the canned goods. Thank you for the generous donations. Thank you for forwarding my emails and reading the blog. Thank you for the hugs -- the hellos --- the valentine's day greetings.

And Grace....... Miss Effie loves her valentine. It is on my refrigerator and it is soooo special to me.

Thank you, my dear market friends, for letting me be part of such a special day. We are a family market. We are community. And we are responsible for caring for those less-fortunate. You, my friends, gave me a thousand blessings today.

I thank you.
Miss Effie

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Procrastination........

Beautiful sunny day .......... perfect day to pick corn. But it is February 11th!

Yep ........... my neighbor up the hill has decided that maybe its time to get the corn out of the field! Ooops! Those 60 degree temps have made things a little muddy!!!
And just so you don't think that these are October pictures.......................
There is snow in the ditch! This is the same farmer that was chisel plowing while Honey and I were going down the hill on the sled one year! I think the biological clock must be off. Or procrastination is his middle name.

I think I'll work on my taxes!!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Share the Love

What a perfect day for this event! The Davenport Freight House Farmers Market will be hosting "Share the Love" on Feb 14th. This is a food drive for the food pantries in the Quad-Cities area.
We are hoping to replenish the dwindling supplies that all food pantries are experiencing during these troubled times.

So many people are in need. So will you help???

Come see me on Sat between 8 and 1. Bring canned goods, pasta, soup and more. Or better yet, purchase a $10 gift certificate for the market. Those gift certificates will help the pantries later in the season provide the fresh local produce and meats that they need so desperately.

All you locals......... come see me. And for my readers that are out of town and want to help .... drop me an email through my local harvest site. Or remember your local pantries when you go shopping this weekend. After all, we are our brother's keeper.

For more information ..........click here.

I hope to see you all on Saturday!!!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The scent of fresh aire............


I do not come from people that used a clothesline. My people were dryer people. Maybe, because both grandparents went to the laundromat for as long as I remember. Its not fun dragging wet clothes home from the laundromat.

But my Mom never used the outside line. We had one ......... but Skipper, the wiener dog, would run up and down our clothesline. Mom would use a line in the basement..........it made sense as the washer was there. No sense of dragging the clothes up the stairs and outside -- only to drag them back inside to put them away.

But I married in to a clothesline family. Of course, I did bring my own clothesline. I discovered the joys of really freshly scented sheets. And I like the effort it takes to lug the basket of wet clothes outside -- to stretch and hang them on the line. And I do not hide my orthopedic underwear between two towels........ for privacy.

So it was with great delight today ........... that I hung clothes out again. I like the hand-knit socks, dancing in the spring air and the sheets and towels, flapping in the breeze. Yes -- it was still somewhat cool. And yes, some things didn't dry by nightfall.

Spring came to Iowa today. Next to melting snow, the white campanula showed its green tinged leaves. And the lady bugs (real ladybugs.......... not those Asian soybean beetles) emerged from their warm beds.

I flung open the windows and let the fresh breeze rush into the house. I stripped the beds of winter bedding and washed it ........... and hung it in the warm sunshine. It went back on the beds ... too early to pack away the flannel sheets and wool blankets.

It is mid-February. We are not done with winter. But for a few days, we see the hope and dreams of a Spring to come. And I am ready.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Oh Dung!

I'm reading the morning paper and I run across this story. First thing I think---"Boy, I am glad that professor isn't Honey!" I would have been in court many a time!

Have you ever noticed that husbands collect a lot of dung?

When I first moved in with Honey (yes, we lived together 3 years. We have been married almost 10. Get over it!) he had a sleeping bag for a bedspread. First thing I think about is how to get rid of that dung-y bedspread! Now it took almost a gallon of bleach .... but I did destroy it in the wash! First time through, too.

Men save all kinds of dung. I went through "the drawer" ...... the sacred place where all things important live. I find dung every where! Losing lottery tickets. Receipts for nuts and bolts. Old - old - old bank statements. The bank has been sold 4 times --- they are 20+ years old. And all I want to know is why do men keep this dung????

Women have dung .... but it is good dung. Sentimental dung. Tickets stubs from movies. Old dresses from prom. Knitters keep lots of fiber-y dung.

But there are times that husbands' dung does become useful. Honey filled a coffee can with popsicle sticks. 534 popsicle sticks. I say, "What is this dung?" He informs me that those popsicle sticks can be useful........ and they have been. But its still dung!

So there is the lesson of life. There is good dung and junk dung. It is all in the eyes of the beholder. And some may be worth more than $750!!!!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A duck's tale...........



I know, you have heard my stories about Walter many times. But Walter was (as our friend David said) a very special duck.

I knew he was special to us. His funny way of bending down so I could pick him up and hug him. The way he would follow me around the garden, waiting for a grub to be tossed his way. The fact that he insisted on laying eggs!!! Who knew a duck named Walter would lay eggs????

But I love it when I find out that Walter made an impression on others.

Last night, I was working at Retail-Hell. (For the record, I really do like my job ...... I just wish I could sell enough flowers, veggies, jams and eggs so I could quit.) A woman walked up to the windows of the store, saw me and waved. She quickly turned back to her car, grabbed a package and came into the store.

She had been to the farm this summer. Walter was in fine form -- following me around -- being the "star" that he was. When I called him -- he came running and quacking as quickly as he could.

She told me about the Pembroke Ducks of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis. Every morning, the ducks march into the lobby -- hop in the fountain and spend the day, splashing and diving and swimming. In the evening, they hop out and march their way out of the lobby.

I had never heard the story. And she told me about a children's book that she uses in school.....John Philip Duck by Patricia Polacco. It sounded delightful and I re-told the conversation to Honey but never got around to buying the book.

Last night -- she gifted the book to me. How absolutely delightful! Addie and I will have a wonderful time reading it. Of course, I may just wear it out on my own!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I can see clearly now............


OK -- After months of taking off my glasses to read, to sew, to knit, to look at dollar bills at work........ I finally broke down and went to the eye doctor. I couldn't get the book closer than my nose!!!

Such a struggle! First of all, the vision insurance that we have is a joke. It is fine if you can quickly run into a one-hour vision clinic and get a pair of glasses. Unfortunately, I can't.....

So .... it takes an hour exam. Better or worse? First one or second one? This one or that one? At this point, the astigmatism in my eyes is bouncing around everywhere! I am so confused! I just don't know!!!!

Ahh!! I can read the bottom line. A E J V B 7 Z Victory at last!!

Except ........ now it is time to pick out glasses. Which wouldn't be so bad but I have to take off my glasses to try the new ones one........... and I can't see. How close can I hold the mirror???

Fortunately, this time, a very nice gal helped. "No, not those". "Those are pretty good" "That's it!" So I trusted her and ordered the glasses.

Then we get into the issue of my current glasses. They are scratched. Extremely scratched. And they had the "scratch-resistant" coating on them. Now, I appear to be a very sedate little old lady. Why would my glasses be so scratched? And I try to explain to her what I do.

Well, I wrangle chickens so little kids can hold them ........daily. Several times a day. And many different chickens (cuz you know, that wasn't the right hen!) And I can't count the number of times my glasses have gone flying! Then there is mowing and hitting branches as I go under trees. And then there is the sweat in my eyes from weeding .......... and I grab the tail of my t-shirt and wipe the dirt and grime off the lens. And that doesn't count -- my natural ability to be clumsy!!!

She looks at me and says ...........oh.

So we write the paperwork up and order the glasses.

Until I fainted with the price. Whoa! See or eat? See or eat?? First one or second one? Well, I need to lose my winter hibernation weight anyway. Carrots are cheap. Honey won't mind oatmeal every night for supper.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Photo challenge!

Maggie tagged me with this one. 6th picture in the 6th folder. Well -- folder number 6 only had 4 pictures. (Trying to clean the junk out!!! I know -- its a rare event!) So I moved on to folder 7 with this picture at spot number 6.
Walter (!!!!!) and Whosit by the pond. Yea ................ that's a little tear. I miss my Walter.

I will tell you how great my friends are ............. for Christmas, we got TWO framed photos of Walter from TWO different people.

So thanks Maggie --- You brought a smile to my face today.

I'll tag a blog or two later!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Tree of Happiness award.............


Hey! I won a blog award! I know........ it came as a shock to me too! I'm not too "blog-savvy" so I'm not sure where to put it or what to do.................. but here we go!

Jill at Beyond the Blue Gate tagged me with this award. Why?? Because and I quote---"Miss Effie's Diary because Cathy is one crazy, creative woman who knows her own mind." Hmmmm? I met Jill once and she has got me pegged!!! Hey Jill, wanna be my therapist????? Anyone that gets my personality that fast should have the job!!! As far as knowing my own mind -- I think that comes with my AARP card!

So with this prestigious award, I am to list 6 things that make me happy. Six ..... only 6??? Ok -- Here I go..............

1) Honey. Honey always makes me happy.

2) My friends. New friends, old friends. Just friends that make me laugh. Friends that accept my outrageous behavior and still love me.

3) I am happy starting my day by walking through the gardens, coffee in hand, looking at the flowers. People ask me if my house is filled with cutflowers. No ........... I enjoy each and everyone of them at 6 a.m. After that -- they don't need to fill my house. They have already filled my soul.

4) My pantry. I know its silly -- but I am happy looking at the sparkling jars of peaches, plums, green beans, cherries and most of all, tomatoes. I organize them all so the colors look nice on the shelf.......... and I stand back and smile.

5) Sharing my "pretty eggs from pretty chickens". I love it when someone tells me how good the eggs are! I love it when someone comments on the beauty of the eggs. Yea -- they really are the "incredible edible eggs".

6) Ending my day on the hill. On the hill, just north of the house, Honey and I will sit with a beer in hand and let the end of the day go by. We will see the lights of the ball field --14 miles away. We will hear the whistle of the train and sometimes -- if it is still enough -- feel the rumble of the freights cars through the soil ......... and its 8 miles away. We will over look the soybeans and watch the fireflies light up the darkness. At that very moment -- you know exactly how very blessed you are.

Ok -- I need to tag a couple of blogs that make me happy.

First, I have to tag Sheepie Neighbor. She always always makes me laugh! Besides, she introduced me to the world of bloggin'

Then a wonderful food-family blog. Leslie is funny and sweet and very "green" and a fantastic mother. And a wonderful citizen in the world.

And finally, for a look somewhere outside of Iowa, lets go to Hungary and Carol. What courage! Pack up your live and move to a totally new culture to serve others.

There are others .............. but some, like Girlwithasword has already been tagged. But Maggie is who I wish I had the courage to have been --30 years ago! You go, Girl!!!! You are such an inspiration!

So ..... tag! You are it.