Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Let's make a deal!!!!

Remember that silly television show where everyone dressed up and had silly items that they traded to be contestants???  And Monte Hall made deals for what was behind door number three or the great big box???

Well ..... late last winter, I made a deal for what was behind door number one!  And I was the big winner!!!

Yep ... I agreed to trade flowers for lunch at the Mill Creek Cafe.  It was a hard decision.  Took me all of a nano-second!!!  (Exactly, what is that???  It does sound really really fast!!)

No, the hard decision..... Strawberry pie, Millionaire Pie or Butterfinger dessert!!!  OK -- I'll have the strawberry spinach salad with chicken then the Millionaire pie!

So if you want to know why we are closed on Tuesday's, I am eating ... the. best. lunch. ever.

Join me.  Soon.  You can thank me later.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Kind of newsy..........

A few weeks ago on Facebook... there was a request to post pictures of your flea market style outdoor dining.  And for some reason.... I posted a picture or two of the corn-zebo.

Well ... looky, here!!!  OK -- you have to go to page 12.  Cuz if you looky, here, you are on the cover. And Miss Eff's is not.

(Why isn't looky a word according to Spell Check??? And seriously, how many times do I have to "ignore" corn-zebo???  What is so difficult about making that a real word???)

The magazine ....... oh yea, you might want to know its name.  The magazine is Flea Market Gardening.  It is a self-published magazine by Anna Looper and is available by PDF or you can order a hard copy.

I was thrilled that they liked my style.  I am a flea market type gal..... but I think my style is a little sparse when compared to many of the photos.  It is a little vintage-meets-cottage-meets-a-very-thin-checkbook!!!!  

And much quirkier than most "flea market styling". 

You can't get much quirkier than tea cups.  I mean who would tie tea cups on to a tree?? Seriously, tea cups??????

Now .......... where am I???

The last couple of weeks have been busy!  Like bee-type busy.  There are moments that I don't know whether I am coming or going.

Last year, we had the pleasure of meeting Angela and Harry.  Angela and Harry were looking for a venue for their wedding.  They googled "Iowa flower farm" and guess who showed up???

We talked .... we showed ... we displayed what we have.  We have warts.  We are not a botanical park.  It is a farm ... runamuck!  Sometimes... you don't get the crops you want.  I want snapdragons (which are in bud .. finally!!!)  I'm getting a fine stand of fox tail grass.  (Not high on the cut flower scale!)

And despite all the things we are not ............. Harry and Angela wanted to have their wedding here.

We have had one wedding here.  Ours.  So much for all the experience. 

But how could I turn down a girl that wanted to get married in a vintage prom dress???  Nope .  Not me.  I am not turning down that wedding!!!!  Dream wedding ... yea, I'm going to be there!

So we cleaned ... we weeded... we primped... we fluffed. 

And we prayed that the rain would stay away.  Which it didn't.  But it wasn't a torrential rain.  Just that annoying mist- mist- mist-sprinkle-sprinkle- sprinkle.

Angela and her dad

But it was beautiful. 

Yea ........... You don't turn a woman like this down!

So .......... is Miss Eff's available for wedding now?  I don't know.  It would take the perfect bride and the perfect groom for me to do weddings on a regular basis.

It is a lot of work.  It is a lot of stress. 

But I had the perfect bride and the perfect groom and the perfect guest list for this one!  It was an absolute joy to help with their wedding plans.  Now -- I want to run out and buy more vintage china and tablecloths.  (Yea ... you knew I would)

To Angela and Harry ..... We wish for you much love and happiness for many many years to come.  You two are wonderful!!!!

With love.........

Miss Eff

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Beyond Basil.............

OK -- the world is flying too fast!!!!

Tomorrow! ......... as in Monday June 27th .......... the wonderful, sweet, funny and spunky Linda Tuftee from Tuftee's Garden is McCausland, Iowa  is teaching a class on herbs here at Miss Eff's.

We will be talking herbs for planting, herbs for eating, herbs in your drinks, herbs in the bath! 

We will be eating Linda's Rosemary Pine Nut cake .... yummmmm!  Miss Eff's will provide apple mint lemon soda. And there will be other goodies to try.

So if you have been a little unsure about using fresh herbs in cooking ... come talk to Linda!!! If you are uncertain about where to use borage and where to use lovage.......... come talk to Linda!!!  She will answer your questions in a clear, concise, easy to understand way ... and leave you laughing!!!!  Its what we love in a teacher!!!!

The class is $10 (you will eat more than that!!!) and is at Miss Effie's at 1 pm.  In the corn-zebo, mind you!
The corn-zebo is the perfect place to spend a Monday afternoon!

So come see us!  And stop by the Summer Kitchen to see what is new.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Just a tad concerned.......

In this morning's paper, I read this article.

I started to count...............................

Patches Ann
Phraphar .... which is one-year-old speak from tractor   

Yoda Jo
2/5 of the litter and Really Little George to the left

Little Face Fluffy Tail who always takes lousy pictures cuz she wants you to pet her!  


George, mother of Little George and Really Little George

Little George , mother of the new litter

Phew!!!!!  And I was worried!!!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Looking for Seven Dwarfs........... with gardening tools!

I can not count the times, people have popped out of the car and said "You are livin' my dream!"  I politely smile and say .... "Oh, really?  This is your dream?"

Well -- if you ever ever ever wanted to surround yourself with gardens full of flowers.... if you ever ever wanted to hear nothing but the birds sing .... if you ever wanted the wind in your hair, the sun on your back and the BEST farmer tan ever ...... this is your chance.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday .... you can have your opportunity to live Miss Eff's life.  Grubby knees, sun-burnt arms, sweat streaked face, dirty fingernails and all.

We are hosting a wedding here on the farm on Saturday.  And the farm has to look beautiful.  And it doesn't!!!!!  Its getting prettier every day but there is still a lot of work to do. We need to spend Thursday and Friday "fluffing" for the nuptials!

So .... here is where you come in.  If you want. If you were serious about livin' the dream!  Or if you just plain like us!!!!

Grab your gloves, sunblock, water bottle and maybe bug spray..... and spend two hours pulling weeds. 

I know ... sounds fun, doesn't it???  But we are spending between 8-10 hours a day working the gardens and its not cutting it in this wet, cool, hot, humid spring!

So for two hours of weeding ... you will receive a gift certificate for a bucket of flowers and a dozen eggs.  Yep ... an $18.50 value for two hours of sun and weight bearing exercise! 

Think of it this way ........ cheaper than a tanning bed and gym membership. And you get flowers and super fresh eggs!!!

I will warn you ..... you will be given an area to weed and grass mulch.  I will be picky.  And you will receive your gift certificate after a job well done.

Really.............. it can be fun.  After all, you can sing..... "Hi-hoe! Hi-hoe! Its off to work we go!"  :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Nothing much to say..........

OK -- I am still waiting for flowers to burst into bloom.  Yes....... I am disgusted.  Yes .... I am seriously thinking about hooking up space heaters and putting them outside to heat the world up a bit!

I am having trouble locating enough drop cords, though.

So until Mother Nature decided to let my flowers bloom ... I'll show you a few pictures from the Summer Kitchen.  If you see anything you like .... drop me a note! 

These button bouquets are from the ever talented Belinda Holbrook.  Love her stuff!  Belinda has a craft room that is to die for!!  And she did all the work herself.  And she volunteers countless hours at our favorite store.... Habitat for Humanity's ReStore Store in Davenport.

Cassie Moon from Farm Genevieve has just done some hand-painted yarn to add to her hand-dyed hand spun yarn.  Oh -- there will be socks made from this!!  If only I could remember how to knit!!! (Flower planting season and all!)

Julie has done it again with some great stuff .......... and there is some great stuff coming! 

First, I can just imagine this watering can filled with sunflowers. Now I rarely grow sunflowers (corn fields and all ... farmers really never liked the sunflowers that self-seeded in their corn fields.) but for this container... I made an exception.  Three or four different sunflowers are planted and will be available for cutting approximately mid-August.

Julie also added to the sock toys.... oh, they are cute!  We have puppies and kittens, turtles and birds ............

and frogs!!!  We have frogs!!!!!  (Kind of like my very dirty pond at the moment.  It will get cleaned when the tadpoles are grown!)

And Sherry has been busy ..... she has sewn so much lately!  And as always, they are lovely.  Her fabric selection is impeccable.  Bright .. fun .... coordinating ... and lovely.  She has done tons of washable, reusable sandwich bags.  These fabric sandwich bags are the perfect green way to pack a lunch.  Here are five of my favorites fabrics and look how they blend together!

Its one thing to pack a "green" lunch but at Miss Eff's .... we do it with style!

Sherry also got some great pictures of our new kitten Lulu! (Yes ... the name stuck!) so check out her blog.

And finally ..... I've been talking about these......... Nancy's Cutie Pies!!!!  Adorable infant to 12 month hats ... packaged in a pie tin and pie box.  How cute are these?!?!

I'm thinkin' baby shower gift!

OK -- I guess I had more to say than I thought!! Miss Eff's may be kind of quiet for the next week or so.  We have a special event coming up and lots of work to do.  So bear with me .... for up-to-the-minute news, follow Miss Effie's on Facebook.

I will tell you ... the lilies are beginning to bloom.  Not a lot of other things are ready yet but I don't want you to miss the lilies.  We should have a good selection of lilies by Saturday and of course, we are open from 8 to 3.

Hope to see you soon!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Quick note..........

I've heard from a couple of people that missed my interview with Zan.  The link is at the bottom of the page of the blog..... right above "Networked Blogs".  Just click on that ..... play with the volume of your speakers ... and I will lull you to sleep!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

If you are within the sound of my voice!

Yep... I'll be talking with my friend Zan Asha today, host of The Renegade Farmer radio show.

So -- just in case you are hanging around the house at 4:30 Central time ..... you can list to me here!  I am certain the topic of nearly naked canning will pop up!  I just know it!!!!!

And if you miss it.... I'll be posting a link in a couple of days so you can hear it online if you like.

Or if I do a really crappy job ...... I will never speak of this embarrassing moment again.

Me ... be quiet?????? Like that will happen!

Friday, June 10, 2011

You talk to much!

When I was growing up, I was always told that I talked too much.

Yea .... I might have been a bit of a Chatty Cathy.  OK! Make that a big bit of a Chatty Cathy!!!  :)

But now ... it's paying off!  Well ... not paying off like in money.  But people are willing to let me talk.  And trust me, that in itself is a big deal!!  Yea .... take that, high-school-history-teacher that told me to be quiet all the time!!!!!!!

So on Sunday ... at 4:30 pm Central Daylight Savings Time ......... I'll be talking to my friend Zan Asha!  (Hopefully, we will get a discussion in about the house and acreage for sale across the road. We got to get that gal to move to Iowa!)

Here's what Zan has to say about Sunday's discussion and what we will be yakking about.  You will want to listen carefully!  Our conversations turn on a dime!  And we don't use turn signals!

THIS COMING SUNDAY, June 12th, we interview farm-woman extraordinaire Cathy Linker Lafrenz of Miss Effie’s Country Flowers and Garden Stuff.

Owner of the first U-Pick Flower Farm in Iowa, she transformed her love of farming to a well respected business that showcases world class flowers, organic eggs, farm speaking, and classes in sustainability.

She is an outspoken advocate of other small farmers, and traditional farming, as well as a supporter of women's businesses. If you are interested in flower farming, successful small farm businesses, cooking, and more, Cathy is the ticket! She’s got great advice and farm-tastic tips on many of these things, and she’s a hoot, to boot!

 Don't miss this show!
This will be a fun interview.  And Zan used the word hoot.  I like that in a person!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Trying to put the pieces together..............

Today is June 9th. 

Every year, the farm opens to flower picking approximately on June 15th.  And every year, I try to push and pull it forward. I want it earlier and earlier.

And every year, God pushes it right back to June 15th.  And that is where I am at.

The flowers are coming .... they will get here when they are suppose to.  And  not before.  Regardless of how much I try, cry or bribe.

Flea market bench before

So to keep myself from crying ... and looking at the workload and seeing how much there is to do........ I'm showing some pretty pictures.  Yea.... these corners are around the garden.... you may have to look to find them.  Progress is being made..... I just don't see it. 

Flea market bench after

Besides, planting and weeding and building support systems and working on the Summer Kitchen and sewing and hauling mulch .... we have been trying to spruce things up a bit.  Make things a little brighter.

lath house bench before
Yea ... I do need to be hauling mulch.  But sometimes, the muscles can't move any more.  I can't look another weed in the face. 

lath house after

Sometimes I need to find a corner to fluff .... make a new pillow..... find a perfect throw.

the throw ... courtesy of Goodwill

Sometimes Honey needs to create..............

New old fire pit
And sometimes .... we need to look at something cute.

Meet ......... ?

Yea ......... she doesn't have a name yet.  She fat, adorable and very very sweet.  And holding her, makes a hard days work worth it!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

KIP - KIP - KIP-ing Away!!

I came from a long line of knitters.

I have my great-aunt Kate's wooden knitting needles.

I have a baby sweater that my grandmother knit for me as an infant.

Safe, neutral baby color ... mint green

I have skating socks that my mother knit for me when I was 10 or 11.

Yes.... I still wear these.

And I have the sweater I knitted for a 4-H project when I was 13.  That sweater is almost 44 years old!  Almost! Damn!  It almost qualifies for an AARP card!!!!

This sweater actually won lots of honors and awards.  Loved this sweater!

So KIP-ing  (knitting in public) comes waaaay too natural!  In fact -- I have no shame!  I will knit almost any and everywhere.  But not in church.  Can't go that far!

When a couple of friends asked me to host an event on World Wide Knit in Public Day ..... I was sooooo there!!!!

Saturday June 11th -- we will be knitting and crocheting and spinning in public here at Miss Eff's.  Grab your needles, your hooks or your wheels.  Park yourself and purl in the corn-zebo. Do yarn-overs in the orchard.  Sit and spin in a corner of the lath house. 

We are starting at 2 ... and will quit when we run out of yarn!!!! (OK -- I may have to take a break and make supper for Honey around 7-7:30)

Miss Eff's will provide sangria ... cuz the laughter is louder with wine!! We will also have lemonade.

If you stroll into the Summer Kitchen and buy any hand-spun yarn ... you will receive a gift certificate for Half-Off a bucket of flowers.  Yea .... Miss Eff 's attempt to be Groupon!

So grab a chair ... head out to the glorious countryside, we call Miss Eff's  and we will hand you a wine glass.  Oh ... you might want to RSVP so there is one for you!!!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

They never forget their first Love...........

He says he is pushing the pile of mulch up .... to give me more room to drive out of the lane.

He says he is getting the hang of the tractor.  No clutch.  Little different than the John Deere A he drove as a kid.

He says he would look good on it!  (We are borrowing it!)

I say .... that's an awful lot of buckets of flowers!!!!!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Miss Eff's through new eyes.........................

When new people come to the farm, I worry about its "shabbiness".

Its old. 

We're old. 

There is nothing new or slick here.

The house needs a paint job.  The barn needs a new roof.  There are trees to cut down and chicken coops to mend.

We have no 52" big screen television.  No dishwasher.  No air conditioning.  Lots of books.  Lots of old doilies and embroidered tea towels.  Just old things cuz they work well in our lives!

I don't worry as much as I used to.  This is who I am.  Pretenses are for social-climbers and the insecure.  I am a 56-year old woman with gray hair, sun-damaged skin and residual effects of too many of Sheepie  Neighbor's chocolate chip shortbread cookies! (Damn!  Those things are good!!!!!!!)

So it was with great joy and pleasure ...... that I discovered that a city girl from New York even, got Miss Eff's!!!!   'Cept I am certain that Zan was born in a barn with the rest of us farm girls!!!!!

Zan --- you are welcome here any day, any time! 

Love ya, sista!!!!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Waiting to breath..................

It comes once a year.

The moment that one thought and one thought alone, grips the depths of your being.

You push it deep down and try to ignore it.  But its there.  And in the quiet of a spring day or under the darkness night .... it haunts you with its What ifs.

You are the spouse of a cancer survivor.

And for that week ....... the week between the blood tests, the Cat-scans, the PET-scans and the X-ray  and the all-important annual check-up ......... you try not to go to that quiet place of What ifs.

Eight years ago .... Honey received the diagnosis of lung cancer. 

I immediately went into to "fighter-mode".  I searched the Internet for knowledge. 

And I walked away frightened, scared and scarred with the statistics that existed.

Fortunately, a wise oncologist told me to "Get off the Internet!"  Honey's cancer was found very very early and for us, surgery was all he needed.  Few are that lucky.  We had been blessed.

But every year .......... we go back for a check-up.  And every year, I hold my breath.  Because .... he didn't have cancer ... we had cancer together. 

As time progresses, the chance of a recurrence becomes slimmer and slimmer. 

I know that.  I can put all of the facts down on paper and look at them.  I can count the years. I can see his healthy glow and his energy. But the What-ifs are never erased.

We went to the annual check-up on Tuesday.

I can breath again.  All is good.

Until ... next year. 

All because I am spouse of a cancer survivor.