Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I feel a rant coming on!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't know how many of you have AdSense connected to your blog. I signed up for AdSense in November as a way of possibly funding the construction of "Miss Effie's Summer Kitchen".

Since then, I have made a whopping $23.33. I might be able to buy a gallon of paint. Of course, you don't get a check until you reach the threshold..... how ever much that might be.

OK -- so I'm not getting rich. That's nothing new so I can live with that. Even though, I probably could make twice as much picking up beer cans off our road.... but that discussion is for another day!

What pisses me off is this.................

How often do I complain/rant/rave/moan/bitch about high fructose corn syrup? Yea ... I'm in this personal war with Audrea Erickson and what happens? They run their ads on my blog. Yea ... the Corn Refiners Association website is posted right along the side of my blog.

Seriously.

Can you believe it???

THEN yesterday, I look over and see an ad for a local floor covering store. Hmmmm. I worked for the company for almost ten years..... was consistently one of their top producers when I lost a battle of wits with a store manager. I lost and was let go.

There really aren't any hard feelings. My life is sooooooo much better now.

But do I have to fund their Lexus????

I probably shouldn't be talking about this........I'm pretty certain Blogger and Google would not approve. But ..... I have my values too. And having the high fructose corn syrup propaganda on my blog is not one of them!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Green Gardening........

Tonight I am teaching a class on green gardening......... Hopefully, people will find this interesting.

Green gardening is different than organic gardening. Green gardening is different than sustainable agriculture but it contains parts of both.

Green gardening embraces the environmental mantra of Reuse-Reduce-Recycle. Green gardening asks us to walk on this earth with a light step. We need to take care in what we do and what we use to leave this world a better place than we found it.

Gardening can be full of expenses for fancy tools. I often think how easy some jobs would be with a new mower or a fancy trimmer. But green gardening makes me think twice about using gas-operated tools and spending money unnecessarily. I would love a Mantis tiller for one small spot in our gardens. $300 for a 50 ft row and maybe twice a year use........ not a green use of money! So can I rent a tool ..... can I borrow from a friend .... or can two or three of us jointly purchase one?

I really try to think first about what I am doing in the garden. Am I creating a space that is not natural for my property? Does my space fit the landscape? Do I have to use mega-chemicals to maintain it?

I can not create a tropical garden on my property. Tall palms and banana trees and tropical flowers don't fit the landscape of my 115 year old property. And the winter demands of storing such plants are not within my green budget.

Roses are something I never plant now and will not replace. I love roses but now, with Japanese beetles invading Iowa in mass (!!!) I will not use the chemicals necessary to have beautiful roses...... and I don't find the chewed flowers and the skeletal leaves attractive!!!!

We could use Sevin to control Japanese Beetles but it kills our lady bugs and praying mantises that we want in the gardens. So I continue to eliminate plants that are attractive to the beetles and not vital to our lifestyle. The old grapevine is gone..... the raspberries, still here. I will continue to drown the beetles and feed them to the chickens....... my perfect revenge.

Green gardening asks us to consider what we are using for fertilizer. Was it derived from oil or is it natural like chicken manure? How are we building our soil instead of depleting it of its natural components? Are we composting ...... are we using manure tea ........ do we use natural mulch?

Are we decorating our gardens with re-purposed items? Do we repair garden furniture or do we send it to the landfill and replace with new?

We as Americans spend millions every year on gardening. It is not big business...... it is HUGE business. And often, we don't think "green" when working in the greenest industry of all.

I am pleased to see more solar lighting on our garden centers..... more furniture made from recycled two-liter bottles ..... but we need to do more. Recycle your plastic pots..... take care of our tools and equipment .... compost, compost, compost.

Forgive a few holes in the leaves..... plant for diversity..... encourage wildlife throughout the garden ..... or fight against it (deer population) naturally.

We have been given this beautiful place to live and work and play. I just want my great-grandchildren to enjoy the same opportunities.

Monday, March 29, 2010

One battle won ... the war continues.........

OK -- quick update for those newer readers of this little old blog.

Last summer, I was asked to do a salsa class at the Freight House Farmers Market. In preparation for the class, there was an interview by our local newspaper. I was asked why do I make my own salsa when there are so many in the marketplace.

I replied that my salsa has a fresher taste and contains no high fructose corn syrup or preservatives that add more sodium to the diet. Simply answer, don't you think?

Well .... this little old lady in Iowa got a letter from Audrae Erickson, president of the Corn Refiners Association. (Corn Refiners Association .... think ADM, Cargill, big guys.... not a little old gray-haired lady in Iowa!)

So to put it bluntly, old Audrae pissed me off!!!!! Every chance I have, in every class I teach, I talk about high-fructose corn syrup and her letter to me.

A lot of the evidence has been coincidental. There has been a lot of coincidental evidence but not a definitive study that said ...... high fructose corn syrup has made us fat. Till now.

Audrae ..... please tell me what you have to say to THIS study????

Great study but we still have a lot of work to do. Does high fructose corn syrup cause migraine headaches? Does it raise the blood pressure?

We have to get consumers to demand healthy foods from the grocers. We need to get high fructose corn syrup eliminated from yogurt, spaghetti sauce, soft drinks and soooo much more!!! And we have to get more people preserving their own food from their own gardens.

(Hmmm??? What could I do with that challenge??)

But today ..... we have a victory. And I will celebrate that!

Do you think I could sue the Corn Refiners for my Weight Watchers dues?????

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Yea .... I'll quote Joe Biden!



So ..... you all know where I stand on health care reform. I have to say ... I'm not sure if this law will do the job. I'm certain the Republicans will tweak the law in the future. And then the Democrats will tweak it again after that. And eventually, something will come out of this that works for all of us.

It is compromise ..... it is debate.... it is democracy at work. It will happen.

And Woodrow Wilson is pleased ..... something has been done. Decades and decades after he proposed a plan.

But for those of us that told our stories. For those of us that attended meeting after meeting. For those of us that called our neighbors and friends asking for their support........... We had a moment to celebrate.

And this is about my moment of celebration.

Tuesday night, we arrived home from class to find an unfamiliar phone number on our caller ID.... numerous times. And there was no message on the answering machine. Hmmmmm? Somebody really wants to get a hold of us.

Now ..... on a whim.... I signed up for the lottery to get tickets to see President Obama in Iowa City. Yea. Sure. I never win anything.

But when I called the number back...... "Cathy, you have been allotted two tickets to see the President." Many of you heard me scream. (Sheepie... I'm really sorry. I didn't mean to wake you up!)

So Thursday morning..... Honey and I took off for IC to see the Prez!

And this is what I got to see.......... (Forgive my pictures... our President moves fast!!! And I really need a different camera if I'm going to shoot pictures like this again!!!)


You will notice that I seem to be looking down at the crowd. I was!!! We were put in the VIP bleachers. Don't ask me why. We were not selected to sit behind the President.... nor were we in the Reserved section. But somehow, we were on the bleachers. So I went promptly to the top end so I could see!!!! (Short lady syndrome, ya know!!!) 300 people sat.... 3000 stood. Yea .... I liked where I ended up!

Now ........ for the main event!

Takes off his jacket and rolls up his sleeves. This is a man that is going to get to work!

Great speech! Some wonderful lines!

And surrounded by Secret Service men, a half an hour, later President Obama left Iowa.

I was proud and honored to be selected to go. Just 1 in 16,000 people that applied for tickets.

You know ..... I don't think the health care reform as passed, will do anything to help Honey and I with our expenses. But it does guarantee coverage for Addie and Sarah and Jill. And if anything I did helped our girls and made their future brighter............ I'm proud to have done it.

I told details of our life that were depressing, frightful and somewhat humiliating. It is difficult to realize that you are no longer middle class.

But to know that my little actions helped in a very small way....... meant the world.

Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

So...... what am I up to????

For some silly reason, life gets a tad crazy this time of year. Ok -- reality check ..... its not life, it is me! I'm pretty certain I am over-worked, over-booked and under stress!

For all of you people that think I am wasting my education by planting flowers (yes, that would be my mother) .... this is my schedule for the next 6 weeks or so!

Tonight .... I am teaching Healthy Start for Infants and Preschoolers at Pleasant Valley High School. This is basically a make-your-own-baby-food class. We will be doing simple teething biscuits, granola bars .... snacks for preschoolers. But more importantly, we will be discussing the importance of organic foods, the elimination of high-fructose corn syrup in the diet and how to keep your child healthy.

March 30 .... I am part of the Horticulture Classes again this year that are offered through University of Illinois Extension and Rock Island County Master Gardeners. I am doing a class on Green Gardening...... water conservation, composting, natural pest control, and decorating your garden with thrift store finds (aka..... other people's junk!)

March 31 .... Luncheon series for Generations on healthy in-season salads. This will be at the Fairmount Street Library at noon.

April 6 ..... Chickens in the Backyard. I am so excited about this class!! I get to talk chickens for THREE hours!! Piece of cake! Should be a great time...... to sign up contact Scott Community College. The class will be held at the stone building at Vander Veer Botanical Park. And I am bringing some of my "girls". They will love the outing!

April 13.... Pickling Class through Scott Community College. No cucumbers will be harmed in this class. We will be putting other veggies in a pickle! Pickled asparagus, rosemary carrots and dilly beans will be canned, sealed and sent home for future tasting!

April 17 ... I will be at the 2010 QC Earth Week Fair at the QCCA Expo Center. At 2:00 pm I will be facilitating a discussion on The Carbon Footprint of a Cheeseburger: How to Green your Dinner Plate with Local Foods. Yea ... I know.... you are wondering what in the heck do I know about carbon footprints? When I heard the topic ...... I cringed too. Seriously, I hated chem!! All three classes. But I do know local foods..... and this is why I want to do a discussion, rather than a speech. We need to know how to buy our food .... not just why.

April 20.... Another class through Scott Community College. Spring Tea will focus on using herbs and edible flowers that you can grow in your backyard. I'll be making mint teas.... talk about blending and drying the herbs.... and then use edible flowers to make some yummy tea breads and muffins.

And finally...........

April 24........ YEA!!!! I will be at Prairieland Herbs in Woodward Iowa, teaching cheesemaking!!! You can not believe how honored I am to be asked to teach there!!! I will be assisted by the very talented and awesomely dressed .. Jill Beebout!! (she promised to wear her chicken hat!) I am absolutely certain this class will be so much fun ..... your sides will hurt from laughing so much! I'm trying to get Sheepie Neighbor to ride a long with me -- Sheepie, Maggie, Jill and I in the same room at the same time. Mayhem will break out at anytime!!! Particularly if Maggie has her hula hoop handy! A good time will be had by all!!!!

So .... that's my life for the next few weeks. That .... and some green therapy at Allens Grove Greenhouse. And the arrival of 8000 plugs. And an initial inspection of the farm by Silos and Smokestacks.

It is good to be busy..... this way I won't realize how tired I am!!!!!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Check that one off the list!!!

As you all know, I am huge supporter and member of Buy Fresh-Buy Local. But you may not know that I serve as a local board member and membership chairman.

In the past ... we have struggled with reaching our members and really connecting them to our consumers that want to eat healthy. In the last year, with Facebook, a re-designed website and a monthly newsletter, we have made a lot of progress.

It has been my goal to get our yearly directory out to consumers on the very first day of market. We have always struggled to get it out in mid-June! And as membership chairman, I have said every year..... we are going to get the membership letters mailed in January.

And I don't!!

But this year .... I tackled it early. Got the letter composed. Had a ton of mailing support from our local director Phil. (OK -- he is a computer guru .... he understands this stuff. And his office is above the post office!)

And ..... this week.......... the directories will be done!!! Done!! They go to print today!!

I am so excited and so proud of the job we have done.

Last year...... we had 19 vendors and 1 Farmers' Market as members.

This year ....... (you can put a drum roll in here......... its that good!!)

We have .............. 28 vendors, 3 Farmers' Market and 1 restaurant!!!!

Hopefully, they will be as excited and thrilled about the new directory as I am.

We still have a lot of work to do. We easily should have 7 to 8 markets. And I really need to work on restaurants this coming year. We need their support. And that doesn't begin to talk about the farmers and how many more we should have.

Next year..... we are going for another page!!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Inspiration is creating perspiration!

Some people pour over magazines looking for inspiration. I do that........ I have stacks and stacks of tear sheets. Some neatly filed under categories. Some just stacked in a pile.

Some people study books looking for inspiration........ I do that too. I go over every picture .... looking for a hint of an idea. Maybe its a color, a plant, just a corner of a garden or a glimpse of a weather vane.

But this year ...... my inspiration is coming from a 70 year old photograph.



I want to create a farm that gives you this feeling. A place that you just want to sit and read a book or the Sunday paper. A place that you could relax......... kick back.......... sit in a rocking chair. Be dwarfed by the towering sunflowers and enjoy the zinnias blooming at your feet.

This photo is my great-grandfather. I never met him. He was a doctor in a small town (OK -- its really just a wide spot in the road!!!) in Stark County, IL.

But I love this photo........ this is what we mean when we talk about "Garden Rooms".

So I have been trying to re-work, re-do, re-create areas that you will sit .......... and relax ............ and maybe, doze off for a few minutes. I want paradise in my backyard!

(Note to self ..... Self, Do not put that much pressure on yourself! It does not have to be paradise! Just a comfortable old farmstead!!)

So ............ I stained this porch swing.

I stained this chair........... won't it look great when the yellow clematis starts to bloom on the
tutor?


But these will be my biggest challenge yet!!! Did I really see potential in these chairs??? Exactly how rosy were those rose colored glasses?????



Yea ..... those chairs.


This photo.

Funny ................ I think I hear music. "In fifteen seconds, this tape with self-destruct."


I'm thinking it should be these chairs will self-destruct!

Wish me luck. This may be Mission, Impossible!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Finding my way home..............


So .... I had a great day Monday. I had lunch with a dear friend. I gave a speech on Buy Fresh-Buy Local to a garden club. And I had a few minutes so I stopped at a little antique shop.

Evil, evil place. It made me part with money. My money.

But ......... it was soooooo worth it.

Ok .... a little about me that you may not know. I like maps. I like antique maps. But the maps have to have meaning to me.

I am browsing through the shop. I went back to look at a charming apron made from feed sacks. And a rack of magazine and sheet music caught my eye. And there ..... was a page from an old plat book. Advertisements for New Dixon Iowa. Hmmmmmm? That is just down the road a piece. Then there were advertisements and pictures from Long Grove. More hmmmm.

Then tucked behind the $175 colorful map of Scott County was this township map.


Hey!! That's where we live!


Yep ..... its a 1905 map of Winfield township in Scott County Iowa. And its ours. And look .... there is our little old house.



So, if anyone ever tells me where to go ............. I will know how to get home!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Justification.............

Yesterday, I happen to catch this article in the New York Times. I love this story on so many levels. Let me count the ways........................

Right off the bat, is the simple act of raising chickens in the backyard. Eight years ago, I was that woman starting out with "Only a dozen or so hens, Honey. That's all!" Eighty chickens later (Yes --- 80!) my loving husband spent this weekend scooping poop out of two coops.

(Look at that alliteration, Minnie Leigh! A sound to behold! But I digress!)

And raising a few chickens is so hip, so in-- that Scott Community College is offering a class in it. Not that I would know when or where it will be offered. (Tuesday April 6th at the Stone Building at VanderVeer Park) And I wouldn't know anything about an interview and an article in next Sunday's Quad City Times. But I do know .... there will be chickens there. Fluffy chickens, fancy chickens, heavy chickens.... old hens and little chicks. All sorts of girls. And maybe a roo or two!

But far more importantly, was the mention of emotional healing that comes from the lifestyle.

Miss Eff is normally described as bouncy, perky, bubbly and occasionally, effervescent! But there is a dark side.

I suffer from severe depression. I was diagnosed almost twenty years ago but I had suffered with it for decades. I seriously, can not remember a time in my life that I didn't want to die. I was lonely. I was lost. I was empty.

For a good ten years ... I dealt with it through medication. And it worked well.

Sometimes.

I felt better............ I still felt unfulfilled. I didn't belong ..... I didn't fit ........ I didn't know who I was.

I entered the workforce in the mid-70's. Jane Pauly and Diane Sawyer were hitting the airwaves. Dress for Success was a best seller. And I remember a wardrobe of hundreds of pairs of shoes and purses and suit jackets. I lunched at Velie's. I shopped through the weekend. I decorated my home in the latest colors and I did it over again! It was, for me, a shallow materialistic life.

And I was miserable.

I started my healing when I met Honey..... we would sit on the hill, drink a beer and picture where the people in the planes above us were going. The absolute darkness of a summer night ..... the sound of the birds.... the butterflies........ all made me feel alive.

Honey accepted me for who I was and who I was becoming. He created pantries. He dug 25 plus gardens. He built 2 chicken coops. He bought me books and fed me ideas.

And slowly....... Miss Effie emerged like a daffodil in spring. I canned more than I ever had. I planted 70 plus tomatoes. I gathered eggs.... I dried herbs ... I spun yarn. I baked bread and I made cheese. My hair turned gray ... my face is brown and wrinkled. I sag in spots I didn't know could sag!!!!

I saw people drive down a gravel road to pick flowers on a tiny farm.

I re-connected with Jesus. It was difficult for me to know the Lord when I was scrambling for a commission check, dealing with unhappy customers and bosses that wanted the next payment on their Lexus. But when you farm, the Lord is with you in every seed, every plant, every chick, every step of the way. You know .... deep in your heart.... He is the farmer in your garden.

And my soul was whole and healthy and very, very happy for the first time in my life.

As the article says......... this is not a panacea for every woman. But it is a lifestyle that gave me a life worth living and I hope I can share that with others.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A little Spring cleaning ...........

Hello!

Lately, I noticed we have a few new followers here at ol' Miss Eff's! So I only think it is right to get ya up to speed. Seriously, what in the heck does Miss Eff do???? And what is a Miss Eff?

Like the robins in spring..... Miss Eff just seems to emerge from a chicken coop sometime in April.

Looking a lot like that.

Yea ...... scary, isn't it? She has a full wardrobe of those aprons and is always on the search for more. And under that apron is a t-shirt that reads ......... A farmer's wife. A better breed of women.

But Miss Eff's real job is flowers. You thought it was food, didn't you? Or campaigning for some political action stuff? Or knitting. Or remodeling. Or antiquing. Nope. Its flowers.

Actually, it should be magic.

She needs to turn this ..........................................


Into this....................................



And this ....................................


Into this ....................................


And this ....................

Into this ........................


But wait ......... what is that???


Becky daisies ..... emerging green and beautiful!!


And there..... behind the last of the melting snow......... are daffodils, popping their little yellow green leaves out of the cool damp soil.



I think Miss Eff can wait a bit. God seems to have a good handle on it at the moment!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Performing CPR on our food systems..................


Have you ever noticed ..... you will be reading an article about home preservation and SUDDENLY the following words always appear ......... the dieing art of canning?

Well .... my goal in life is to eliminate that phrase from the AP Handbook! (I just know its a mandatory phrase for journalists!)

And I made a little progress last night. Six women took a Basic Canning class that I taught. We discussed equipment and terms. We talked about freezing and dehydrating. But most of all, we talked canning and learning to preserve what you grow.

Freedom is looking on your shelves and finding all of the ingredients for supper. Freedom is knowing what pesticides were used on your tomatoes. Freedom is having green beans with a low sodium content. Freedom is eating organically for pennies. Freedom is knowing that your salsa (and MINE!!) does not contain High Fructose Corn Syrup. (yea ..... I'm missing Audrea Erickson's emails! I need to laugh at something!)

Here are three of the gals (and one very short instructor!) making freezer jam.

So I am excited when people want to learn about saving the food they grow and the food they buy locally.

And .......... I'm thinking we have some converts!

We all need to feel like we have control of our lives. And when we live in a world where jobs are uncertain, incomes are quickly reduced and savings disappear......... knowing where your food comes from is a start. And having the knowledge and the ability to save that food for the winter is a key point.

Or ....... have a crazy friend that cans 700 jars a year! Canning isn't taking its last breath as long as I have breath in me!!!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Local Food Systems .........

We hear a lot of talk about Local Food systems. And the cultural elite will state that only the rich can afford to eat healthy, locally-grown foods. Poppycock!!!! (Actually, the earthiness of my language would normally spout another word but in honor of Earth Day, I am trying to clean up my part of the blogosphere!)

On Now, I heard an interview with Robert Kenner (director of Food, Inc) Great interview. But what made the most impact was an interview with a family that was shopping a convenient store for groceries and comparing the price of milk to the price of soda.

We are not wealthy. (OK -- you knew that!) If the truth be known, we have fallen below the middle class line. But I am ignoring that minor little fact. Besides, that is some arbitrary line that some economist drew. I'm very rich in the things that really count!!!!!

We eat pretty simply and pretty well. It takes some work -- it takes some planning. But I don't slave over the stove 10 hours a day. I still work ..... a few different jobs.... at the moment, it is three, not counting the farm. There are moments that I don't know whether I am coming or going ..... but we can always come up with a good meal -- quickly and inexpensively.

And that was last night's supper. But I have to admit, I get by with a little help from my friends!

This is Breakfast Pizza, courtesy of ABin5. I used the Boule recipe (master recipe) but I changed it up a bit. This time, I ground two cups of Hard White Spring Wheat from Oak Hill Acres.

Now -- I don't have a grain mill. And for the moment, I am not going to buy one. I don't have a blender. IF I can find one at a thrift store that's good and cheap, I may pick one up. But until then, I will grind it in my little old coffee grinder. Worked fine and one less appliance to find a place to store it.

Then I fried up two slices of beef bacon. OK -- this is my new foodie obsession. Bacon made out of beef. Its been cured..... less fat, more meat. Very tender. Really good. And local from Sawyer Beef. A little more expensive than bacon but I use it smaller amounts which too, is really good for us.

I scrambled four eggs from the coop .... added a little salt and pepper.

Then some cheddar cheese from Milton Creamery.

Literally, supper was pennies. Oh -- I topped it off with homemade sour cream. (Oh -- we will talk about this again!!!!! YUM!!!)



I don't want to hear about local food being too expensive! It is only too expensive if you have to have the sodas, the chips, the pre-cut veggies and the pre-cut fruit. If you eliminate convenience and learn to cook ........ you can not believe how much money you will save!!

But you do need a little help from your friends!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Free-Running Chickens................

With the nicer weather, the hens get a break from the run and can forage to their hearts content in the garden. Its good for them and it takes some of the poop-pressure off the coops! If you have chickens

This really is a short-lived opportunity for them this year. Normally, they get two-three months in the spring and two-three months in the fall to forage. But this long and early winter really cut into their "free-range" time! They have a large run ..... 30x50 ... two coops..... and all the weeds, kitchen scraps, grass clippings they can eat. So they are definitely "free-range" chickens...... maybe not as "free" as they would like to be!!!!

But I make my living by selling flowers and the girls like their floral greens! So they are banished from the yard once I start planting. Hens ... like my cats ... can not be trained to stay out of the cutting beds. Fortunately, the cats do less damage!

We do have a few free-range birds..........



This is Max ..... he is an Easter-egger roo ....... supposedly. I have never had that coloration before and I'm lovin' it! He is one handsome boy!

Roosters, for some reason, do not tear and dig in the gardens the way that hens do. So Max and a couple of other roos are being sent to do Japanese Beetle duty in the raspberries this year. We will see how that goes!

The ducks have free range all the time. Ducks are great buggers....... can be very sociable and just are a joy to have around. Most of the time. This group has been great. But not very sociable .... oh, they will talk to me. And most of the time, they will come when I call but not "Walter-friendly". Of course, they also don't stand on my porch and poop. Aloofness has its advantages!

Unfortunately, free-ranging poultry has its disadvantages. If you are sharp -- you will notice that my blue crested duck is missing. Cindy Loo Who met her Grinch in the way of a fox. She put up quite the fight ...... but she lost.

So that is all from the farm today..... I am off to make buttermilk and then make sour cream from that. I am teaching a breakfast class at Scott on Monday night ..... so a good farm breakfast it will be! Tuesday night -- I am teaching a canning basics class. So if you have never preserved anything before..... lets get you started. Its all about equipment, safety, and where to begin. And we will be making an instant freezer jam or two.

Life on the farm is good.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Can you tell I have spring fever??

In the spring .... a young girl's fancy turns toward thoughts of ...................... redecorating!


Yep!!! It's time to tackle those garden projects. This is project Numero Uno!

Little old flea market chair. Never painted. Has been without a finish for over the decade I have had it. It sat in the corner of the porch. No seat .......... just waiting for its number to come up.

So a coat of primer........... a coat a paint...... and a ball of twine from the hardware store.



And voila'!!!! A new chair shows up for the garden. This will live on the porch of the yet-to-be-built Miss Effie's Summer Kitchen. If you haven't heard the story ..... the Summer Kitchen is Miss Eff's new retail shop.

It will be tiny ....... like a true summer kitchen. But it will feature our Pretty Eggs from Pretty Chickens and fresh herbs from the garden. Our jams and jellies along with dried flowers will be available. And who knows, maybe some biscotti or a loaf of bread.

But it will have a cute little chair ..... sitting on its porch...... probably with a cat on its seat!


Do I? Don't I? Do I? Don't I?

Do I tell you about this place? Or do I leave it as my best kept secret? Do I show you the treasures behind the doors? Or do I gobble them up myself?

Have I ever told you that I LOVE antiques??? I love fine antiques. I love mediocre antiques. I love junk!


And actually, junk fits my budget better! Love the lead glass window panes!


I only allow myself to use egg money to junk or thrift with. I think I need to raise my prices or squeeze more eggs out of those chickens!!!! That floral tablecloth belongs at Miss Eff's!

I just realized that I missed seeing the little lamb. I was taken by the wicker and the watering cans.

This is sooooo my style. Scratched, dented and little fluffy!!!! A touch of faded torn lace. A painted cabinet. Tarnished silver. Yea ............. I love it.

I know its hard to see the lines. But that daybed sitting behind the little stool. That now belongs to Miss Eff. Iron with metal cane panels........ you will find it under a tree with a quilt and a pretty pillow. Perfect place for a summer's afternoon nap. Well .......... once the snow is gone.

Since you are my friends -- I will tell you the details. The Junk Asylum is north of Davenport in Park View, Iowa. Park View is between Davenport and DeWitt on old Highway 61. Its in the old North Scott Foods Grocery store.

Tell Laurie that the flower farmer sent you. And don't buy all the good stuff!!!!