Saturday, July 30, 2011

The dew of little things.........

I have been remiss.  I have been so busy being a businesswoman..... weeding, cutting, cleaning, selling flowers, making jam......... I forgot why I do this.  And one evening, after a day of heat, humidity, work and sweat..... I was through.  I questioned why I worked so hard.  And then ...... I was reminded.  Subtly and softly, the garden spoke.

I started this garden to share.  Share  flowers.  Share time.  Share love.

This is not about a business.  It is about the soul of our land.  Our heart that beats deep in the ground.  It is the friendship that no time, no distance, no one......... can destroy.

So this morning...... I walked through the garden and felt the soul of the garden.  Really felt.  Really looked.  And in the midst of the dew and the weeds, I heard the words of Khalil Gibran.

Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.


And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.

When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the "nay" in your own mind, nor do you withhold the "ay."
And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.

When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.

And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.

And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.

For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.

And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.

For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Just a quick note to let you know how we did at the ice cream social.

We were able to raise $535 for our local food pantry!  Yes!!! $535 in local farmers market gift certificates!  It will be awesome!

All that fresh, local food is getting into the hands of people that really need it!!!!  No more blue boxes for a couple of weeks! (Notice how nicely I worded that!  No one will yell at me for degrading heavily processed foods!)

So thank you!  Thank you! Thank you! for all your kindness and support! And hopefully, we can do more next year.  Yea ........... there will definitely be a next year!!!!!! My new ice cream maker is smokin'!

And now .... its time for me to get to work!  My own pantry needs some replenishing! :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Checking the list................

Isn't this cute???  Yea ..... it can be yours!

German Chocolate Cake ............. check!

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake ........check!

Angel Food Cake ............. check!

Bonnie Butter Cake with French Silk Icing ........... Double check!

Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes ..... check!

Brownies ............... check!

And Carrot Cake (!)  Yea .......... that has been checked!

Quality control has been checked on 6 quarts of  Chocolate French Silk Ice Cream and 15 quarts of Vanilla Ice Cream.  And all I have to say ............. I have worked my new baby really hard!

The ice cream social is tomorrow from 1-4 pm.

We have the Scott County Pork Producers, grilling their super delicious pork chop sandwiches.  The Mens' A Capella group from Augustana College will be singing for their ice cream!

Tamara Houseman from Zen Goaties will have lots of little goats for lovin'!

And then ........... there are my good friends that have so reluctantly agreed graciously offered to spend their Sunday afternoon selling their wares!

Corinne from Crosswinds Farm will have her cookies and dare I say it, nut rolls!

Cassie Moon of Farm Genevieve fame will be selling her colorful and luscious hand spun yarn.

Amanda Wilson from My Mommy's Creations makes wonderful goat milk soap that you will want to try!

Brendia Kempf from Triple Creek Dairy will be selling award winning feta and chevre.

And finally, my dear friend and Miss Eff's resident artist Julie Wall will fill your garden with fabulous garden art!

It will be a great day ... come rain or shine.  Come enjoy the flowers, the breeze, the music,  my good friends and the ice cream! 

Remember that donations from the cake and ice cream will our local food pantry in the trying times.  Currently the North Scott Food Pantry serves 65 families a month.  Help us get fresh local food to those families. 

I know you will do it!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I have a dream......................

Yea ... we all have dreams. 

But I think this could be a good one.

I want to buy this house.

Yea ... I know.  I have one old house.  And I wouldn't live in this old house.

This house started its life as a school house.  It is on a 1905 township plat map that I own.  So it is well over 110 years old.  It is approximately 1/2 mile from home.  Straight catty-corner across the corn field from us.  I can see every thing that happens there..... and vice versa.

The yard is filled with ox-eyed daisies.  They make me smile. I could see add wild flower mix after wild flower mix.

Or an edible landscape.  Paths of grass ........ but little maintenance.

But  the key thing .......... is the house.

I would take the house and convert the kitchen instantly into a community commercial kitchen.  I could teach classes in it.  We could rent it out so other women could start their own businesses.

The living room could be a perfect meeting place for bridge clubs, social groups and youth organizations.

And the four bedrooms upstairs could be rented out as a guest house.  A guest house stocked with local meats, cheeses and veggies so they could cook their own meals.

And the best part. 

Its for sale. 

And its been for sale. 

For two years.

Good roof, sided, new septic.  Needs decorating ........ I can see past that.

Unfortunately, I can't see past the money thing.  And Honey .... well, Honey thinks that retirement prior to the age of 85 would be nice!  (Silly Honey!!!!!)

Yep.  It is a great idea and a wonderful dream.  sigh

So until I run into my fairy godmother (and how would I know her???  I have never met her!  But I did find the perfect Honey for me!!!!!  Oh, Jill....................................) or win the lottery, my second old house has got to wait.

I will continue to dream and believe that dreams can come true. 

After all, I did meet Honey!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

This is all my fault..................

It is 8:30 pm and it is still 90 degrees outside. 

It is 8:30 pm and it is 93 degrees inside.

Yes ... you can blame me.  I've got broad shoulders.  This is all my fault. The midsection of the country is baking with 90+ degree temperatures and heat indexes over 110 degrees.  And I did it.

I bought 30 pounds of apricots to can.

Seriously .... do you think I would possibly can when it was 60 degrees outside?

Oh no ..... that would be much too comfortable!

Canning needs steam.  And boy, did I have it!!!!

Twenty six jars of jam today .... I'm no BGF Jill but not bad for a Sunday afternoon! 

(Truth in canning .......we did take the much needed weekly ice cream break!  I lost the time it takes to make a batch ... but I did gain a new wicker settee and a new garden set that we found at an antique shop!  Its the balance in life that counts!)

So ... when you are cussing the fact that you are sticking to your Corinthian leather interior of your car .... blame me.

After all .... it is no fun to can if you aren't nearly naked!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Come to Mama!!!!


White Mountain ..... electric .... 6 quart.

I think I am in love!

I'm trying this recipe out on Sunday.

I know.  You want to try it out with me.  

You can.  


Here are the details.  Besides .... I needed an excuse to buy this toy! ;)

Sunday, July 24 · 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Miss Effie's Country Flowers and Garden Stuff

27387 130th Ave,
Donahue IA 52746

It's our Third annual ice cream social to benefit local food pantries. Join us in enjoying homemade ice cream and cake made by Miss Eff and her friends! Yea ..... there will be more french silk chocolate ice cream this year!!!! (Can I ever make enough??)

The gardens will be full of flowers.... the Summer Kitchen will be full of locally- made goodies. And hopefully, the yard will be full with you and your friends!

This year ... we will also have the Scott County Pork Producers selling their yummy pork chop sandwiches!

We have antique tractors of all colors to view.  We have goats to cuddle and pet. Some of our very favorite local vendors will be there with goodies. (I heard if you get there early there may be cashew salted nut rolls.  But you will have to beat this gal to get them!)  And some of the guys from the Men's choir at Augustana College will be providing music!
Yea ... its a party!

Enjoy Iowa at its best as we share the bounty of our land with those less-fortunate. Come and help us make a difference!

 Leave me a note if you are thinking about coming ... or rsvp to our Facebook page.  I just want to make sure there is enough ice cream!  I am certain that you will have a great time!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The streets to heaven are paved with gold..........

I love this very time of year.

Yea ... I love the sunshine.  I love the heat.  I love the veggies from the garden and the flowers from field.

But most of all ......... I love this.

Oh -- you think I mean my gravel road?  No.

My pretty golden orange ditches.

Ditch lilies.  Simple orange daylilies that put on their 24-hour show, leaving tomorrow for the many buds on the stalks.  For roughly two weeks, the ditch lilies welcome guests to my farm.  Cheerfully nodding their blossoms in the breeze.

Just over the hill .... in the grove of trees.... lies Miss Effie's and her attempt at manicured beds of flowers.

No matter how much I plan or plant or how long I garden ............ I will never do it better than this!

It is the season of garden walks and tours.  This, designed by God, is one of the best!

Don't miss it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cream of the Crop tour............

We are hosting the Cream of the Crop tour on Saturday 7/9 from 10 am to 11:30 am.

This is a tour of our farm, from the flowers to tomatoes to the Summer Kitchen.  We will be discussing the green practices that we use on the farm.  And you can get face to face with some of our feathery friends!

Slowly stroll through the farm ... relax in our Grant Wood  landscape.  And escape to the peacefulness that is Miss Effie's.

Enjoy homemade snacks  and lemonade while sitting the only corn-zebo that I know about!!!!  

We will be doing a drawing for a free bucket of flowers and a free dozen eggs.

Come join us for all the fun.  Hope to see you on Saturday..

Monday, July 4, 2011


OK -- Ya know that I love me a flea market!!!! 

There is nothing better than to wake up super early ... drive an hour .... guzzle coffee and drool over some fantastic finds!  Yep ... its what I consider livin' good!

So we took off to Mt. Vernon Iowa to the July 4th Antique Spectacular!  First of all, I love this little town.  Wonderful old homes... porch swings, wicker furniture.... lots of charm.  There is a great coffee shop named Fuel and a wonderful cafe named Skillet.  There is the Lincoln Cafe ... and a yarn shop named after her cats!!!!!!

OK -- I told the owners of this booth that it was dangerous.

I wanted this rug repair kit.  Look at all the wonderful colors!  I could just touch and coo and caress the wool and look at all the pretty colors.  Yummmmmmmmmmmmm.

I walked away from it!  Of course, I walked away with this basket!

I love hand made rugs.  But a wool braided or hooked rug would not survive being in front of the shower. This is was made by a 1970's polyester fester!  Seriously.... I thought we destroyed all these ugly fabrics ... so they may never surface again.  Some how ......... Some where........ this one survived.

And I love it!!!!

It looks awesome in my bath!! (forgive the lack of permanent flooring... I can't decide what I want.  Yes.. I know its been four years.  Maybe five.  I'll come up with something ....... sometime!)

This is Barb's booth.  Barb owns Cross Creek Antiques in Fairfax.  She has always been one of my style icons!  I've been drooling over her stuff for years!

See that white crown like stuff in the back ... Victorian garden fencing.  And the Victorian wire plant stand in front!  Be still my beating heart!

So I came home with ................... this!  Another darning egg.... Don't you love the end of the handle??  Chewed and chewed.  I've been collecting darning eggs for over 30 years.  I love it when I find something just a little different than what I already have!

Honey and I were falling in love ......... with tables.  OMG!!  Table after table after table!

I wanted this table for my office.  Original mustard yellow paint on the legs.  AWESOME!  Drawer in front.  I told Honey I would keep this table top cleaned.  He didn't believe me.

Hell!  I couldn't even say it with a straight face!!!

Then there was this very simple table. The top was made out of one solid piece of old-growth pine.  Double drool!

Oh ... and this one!  All in the same booth!  The pain of it all!

I bought a new piece of McCoy pottery.  Great vase.  Some Mcpops.... but no chips or cracks.  And it is in that all important color ... aqua.

So do I put it here ........

Or here????

Well -- I do know where to put this!!!! 

Lots of grungy paint!  There is more paint on this bench than there is on my house!!  There are a couple of layers of red, one yellow and who knows how many coats of white paint!  And I love it!!

But this is the style of bench I want for the farm!  Now to find many many more!!!!!

The hunt begins!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

The draw of a barn quilt.................

A little over two years ago, I decided that I wanted something on the peak of our barn.

Did I want a rusty red star?  Did I want a Pennsylvania Dutch Hex sign?

Goose tracks

No -- I decided that I wanted a barn quilt.  And wow! the experiences and opportunities that opened up for me because of that decision.

First of all, I have a quirky set of requirements for my barn quilts.  The name of the quilt must have something to do with flowers or poultry.  And the colors are within my very narrow set of color choices for the farm..... light yellow, sage green and barn red.  All sorts of different tints are used ... but basically three colors and some neutrals.

Carolina Lily

Some sit square.  This one sits on point.  It is the only one that will sit on point!!!!  OK -- maybe other patterns would have been easier.  There were a lot of nasty words said ...... Fortunately, Miss Eff was not in the room or she would have washed my mouth out with a wonderful locally made soap!!!!!!  And it would have been a waste of good soap... cuz I think I kept cussing!

Dogtooth Violet

I have been surprised by the number of people that have stopped by to see the barn quilts.  It amazes me.

I know we have been in some articles and on a barn quilt site.  But to have people drive from all over the countryside to see the barn quilts never ceases to amaze me.  And I enjoy having them ... pop in ... take pictures ... walk through the gardens.

But now .... barn quilts are becoming more and more popular in the area.  They are popping up every where.

And ya know me.  I do not follow trends!  I hate trends!  I don't want to be like everyone else!  I want to be different.

So now ... I got this side of the Summer Kitchen that was prepped and ready for a barn quilt..... and I have changed my mind.

Time to put my thinking cap on..................