Friday, February 24, 2012

This rocks!!!


Well, not so much.

But considering the weather we had last year, I can actually handle this.  And it is sort of pretty.

But this really rocked my world today!!!

Yea .... look at the pictures on the poster.  One of our customers took the picture.  When I called the county to ask for a hard copy of the poster, I got to talk to Mary.  She said that Miss Eff's was quintessential Scott County Iowa. 

I don't know about that.... but that swoooopy roof is super cool!!!

Thank you, Mary and Scott County .... we are honored to be part of the 175th birthday celebration .. even in a little way!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Two Fish and a Loaf of Bread ..................

On Saturday, I am teaching a class at the University of Illinois Nursery School at the I-Wireless Center in Moline.

Yea .... its at the Mark. ;)

I am teaching a class on salads from your garden from all seasons.  And I will make 2 salads ahead of time and 3 salads on the spot.  Not a biggie.  I can handle that.  

I think.


I get the numbers today.  And realize ... I need to have enough product so everyone has a taste of every salad.

The count??

Forty One!!!!!!!

 Forty one people are taking this class!  And I am trying to figure out how to stretch salads that serve 6-8 people .... to 41!!!!!

My Grandmother had the reputation of being able to stretch a meal.  She would be cooking for six people and suddenly, there would be twelve people.  And Gran would make that meal happen and everyone would walk away happy and satisfied.

So ... if you see me and I have this extremely vague look on my face....... please be understanding. I'm just trying to channel those people that can stretch a meal a tad farther than I have ever done!


Monday, February 20, 2012

Plays in the Dirt...................

It was a balmy 48 degrees yesterday on the east coast of Iowa.

The sun was warm and welcoming.  The sky was that incredible shade of blue that they should call Midwestern Blue.  And the earth was calling my name.

I needed to play in the dirt.

I looked at the calendar and it was still February.  It doesn't matter that it feels like late March.  It is still mid-February.

I think this is why I don't clean the gardens in the fall.  OK ... this may the excuse to why I don't clean the gardens in the fall.  When the sun beats warm on my back in February ... I can find a reason to enjoy it.

So Sunday afternoon found Honey and I cleaning 3 gardens as you pull in our lane.  We cut back the perennials.  We pruned the bittersweet.  We burnt debris.  And we pulled annuals. 

As always .... it is time for a change at Miss Eff's.  We moved around some accessories.  Worked on lighting some features.

And we dreamed of new ideas................................

It is mid-February in Iowa. 

The seeds will stay in the box and wait .... until spring is truly here.  I have been fooled by the weather before.

But I have never been fooled by following my dreams..........

And dreams of the perfect garden run deep in February.

Friday, February 17, 2012

It takes a village to knit a pair of mitts...................

Lot of people talk about buying local. 

But a lot of it is just that ...  talk.  When it comes to a purchase, they seek out the faceless, lowest price of Wal-Mart. When you buy local ... you buy from faces.  People you know.  Places you have been.  Neighbors.  Friends.

This is a story of a pair of fingerless mitts......... and the four women it took to make them.

First on the list my dear friend and neighbor ... Sheepie Neighbor.  Corrine raises Shetland Sheep.  Very pretty Shetland Sheep with lots of incredibly soft fleece.  She has a wether named Rocky that has always been a favorite of mine.  An oatmeal colored yarn ... it is bouncy and has a lot of loft.  It actually doesn't matter .... Sheepie's yarn is wonderful to knit with so I always try to have some of it in my stash.

Last spring as always ....she sheared Rocky and took the fleece to Abi for processing into roving.  Abi does great color!  And now, along with washing and processing wool .... she  is spinning local fiber for her own line of yarn. 

Sheepie Neighbor gets the roving back and pays Abi.

Abi buys groceries.

Sheepie Neighbor now gives the roving to Cassie.  Cassie custom spins while producing her own fabulous yarn that she sells on Etsy and at local farmers markets.

Cassie gives the finished yarn to Sheepie Neighbor.  Sheepie pays Cassie.

Cassie buys hay for her sheep and goats.

(Notice .... Sheepie Neighbor is doing a lot of paying!!!  And up to now ... she has fed, sheared and cared for Rocky.  Its time for her to be paid!!!)

I had made a couple of hats and a cowl from Rocky's yarn and had them for sale in the Summer Kitchen.  But I had run out of the yarn.

A customer asked for a pair of fingerless mitts to match the hat and cowl she was buying.  I went right to my phone ... and called Sheepie Neighbor.

Do you have any more of Rocky's yarn?

She had one last skein. 

(Try that at Wal-Mart without pressing one for English,  hitting  two more buttons, hearing a sigh of disgust and the answer ... "No.  We're sold out.  We're not carrying that anymore.)

Now it was Sheepie Neighbor's turn to be paid.

She bought chicken feed.

And I knitted.

Four women with faces in eastern Iowa.  We all contributed to one pair of mitts.  Four women were able to pay one more bill.  Buy groceries for supper.... feed for the animals.... gas in the car.  Four women got a little farther along in their business because one woman made the decision to buy local.

Thank you, Angela.

From of all of us.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Geriatric Erotica

Warning!  Warning! Warning, Will Robinson!!!

OK -- if you are any of our prodigy, any of our elderly relatives or Carole (la-la-la-la-la!)......... walk away from the computer.  There may be visions permanently burnt into the brain cells.

This is a true email conversation between moi' and my darling Honey yesterday.

Moi'.... Can you stop at the grocery store and pick up a carton of mushrooms and a pint of heavy (whipping) cream?

Honey ... Does the whipping include black leather?

Moi' ..... I have no words.

Honey .... Moaning is good. :)

True. Seriously. True.

Talk dirty to me.

And I will show you to the chicken coop.

Monday, February 13, 2012

My Broken Thermostat.

THIS is the best time of my 57 years. 

I am happily married to my wonderful, sweet, creative Honey.

I have a lifestyle that makes me happy to crawl out of bed every morning.

I have wonderful friends that I love .... and love me back

And I found a place .... where I fit in this world.  Conformity ... be damned! 

I am older.  My hair is gray ... and I like it.  The oily skin that I cussed for years.... has left me relatively wrinkle free.  My knees work.  My back is strong.  My blood pressure is easily lowered when necessary with a short trip to the garden.

But my thermostat is broken.

My drafty old farmhouse has no heat upstairs.  Currently.... it is 23 degrees outside.  It is 45 degrees as I sit at my desk and type this post.

My bed is warm and cozy at night.  It is layered and layered with down comforters and wool blankets.  We have plush flannel sheets.  We have fleece throws at our feet.  It is a soft wonderful bed and I should sink into and be comfortable all night long.

Then the hot flash hokey pokey starts its night time routine. 

"You put your left foot out.  You put your left foot in."

I throw off the blankets. 

I blame my husband for stealing the blankets!

I sweat.

I freeze. 

And I don't sleep.

So don't be surprised that you find me napping around 3 .... its how I get through the day.

Cuz that's what its all about!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

This week in the Summer Kitchen..............

February isn't a busy time in the Summer Kitchen.

Well -- not most of the time.

But this year, I have trying to fill the Summer Kitchen with as many new and fun things as I can.  And that means that the knitting needles are smokin'!!!

New this week !  Seriously ... all of this has been knit this week by yours truly!  I can now rib in my sleep!

OK -- I will admit that all of these knits are quick and easy knits.  Easy lace patterns .. simple garter stitch mitts. But I did them all this week.  Yes ... I am patting myself on my back.  Sue me.  Its my blog. :) 

Tea cozy for Valentine's Day

And I am working on Spring items too.

Spring tea cozy ... I am loving this aqua color!

Having a few fresh items for spring always makes your feel sooooo good!

Fresh and pretty dishcloths.  There will be more to come.

 You know those little "cheer-up" gifts you want to have around?  Or "I'm thinking of you" gifts?  We have one that you might like.  Pick up a bar of My Mommy's Creations goat milk soap and one of our hand knit bath mitts.  $10 and you have a homemade local gift that will cheer up anyone!

Pretty spring bath mitts!

And since its 10 degrees!  Winter obviously isn't over yet!  I knit a new mobius this week!

Love the colors! Burgundy, sage, pink and blue.

I'm not the only one creating some great stuff for the Summer Kitchen. 

R Tree brought out some new "bugs" for your spring decorating.  These are sooooo cute.

OK -- I've got show you this one too!

The only fox I want near my farm!

Another artist brought some fun painted rocks to the Summer Kitchen.  Terry Collins does amazing work.  Most of her rocks are in the $7-$20 range and they are are beautiful!

Love this bunny!

And finally ... some new sprucing up for the Summer Kitchen!  My dear talented friend Tamara has been trying out all those new tools she has been buying.

You have GOT to read Tamara's blog!  She can use power tools!!!

And look what she made me!!!  Actually, Folk Magazine will go here.  But we are sold out!! So wait till the next shipment arrives and you can use my very pretty and so-Miss-Eff magazine rack!!

And that is the Week in Review at the Summer Kitchen!  Stop out and see us.  Drop me a note or check out our hours on Facebook for the latest information.

See you soon.

Friday, February 10, 2012


OK -- Ya all know that I spend most of my time teaching cooking classes.

I enjoy that.  I have a good time.  But occasionally,  I'd just like to teach something else!

And I am getting a chance! Maybe.  But I might just need your help.

On Wednesday, February 22 ....... I am teaching a Farm Marketing class.

Yep.  How to market your farm and small rural business on a shoestring.  And since I wear clogs most of the time.... there is no shoestring. 

So ... its how to market your farm for free!

I've taken a lot of classes.  I have read a lot.  I have studied and tried to learn from others.  I am not an expert ... but I do have some experience and knowledge and I really want to share it.

So from websites ... to blogs ... to social networking, I will be talking the ins and outs of getting your farm's name and message into cyber space.

And remember .... I have really gray hair!  And if I can do it ... so can you!  But you might need some adult beverages!  I know I did!

So register for class number 106623.  The class is $14 and is from 7-9 at the Urban Center in downtown Davenport.  Call 441-4100 for more details.

Hope to see you.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sisters of the Soil

In the last year or so ... I have met some amazing women.

They don't wear heels.

They don't "lunch".

The designer duds they wear are Carrharts.

Their hair flies ... and whether its gray, dyed or blue ...... they don't care.

They love their chickens.

They play in the dirt.

They are my friends.

They are Sisters of the Soil.

And since this fall ... we have met to knit, crochet, embroider and laugh.

We have tried to go to knitting shops .... and we do well when there are one or two of us.  We have tried to go to guilds..... but at times, with little acceptance.  

We are noisy.  Outrageous.  Outspoken.  Outcasts.

But we are  fun!!!!

So yesterday ... while making a lot of racket in a Mexican restaurant in Tipton..... we decided to start our own fiber guild.   Nobody is going to tell us we can't.  We just are doing it.  

No dues.  Pay as we go.  No president.  Just a general consensuses will make a project fly!  

If you want a quiet peaceful place to spin ..... we are not your group.

If you want to travel the highlands of Scotland for weeks, looking at fleece  .... we are not your group.

But if you want to meet the women that raise the fiber you spin .... we are here.  If you want to knit your way... we are here.  If you want to laugh, cry, or just be with like-minded women .... we are here.

Just visit us on Facebook to join our little group.  

It only sounds like there are a lot of us!!!!

Oh -- and you might catch a glimpse of a few of us today (Feb 9) on the 4 o'clock news on KWQC.  (They made us sit quietly!  Was that hard!!!!!!)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ruffling feathers...................

You always should worry when the month starts out with some ruffled feathers.

Saturday, Honey and I volunteered to show off the girls at Bettendorf Middle School's Science Fair.

They had asked me to do something Something that would be interesting to kids.  Actually, I'm not sure if anything I do is interesting to kids.

So I thought.

And I struggled. 

And I thought some more.


Chickens are interesting.

I put a call out for chicks.  I gave a chicken a bath.  We loaded up the car.  And we were on our way.

A note about the call for chicks.  It is February in Iowa.  My coops are fairly tight .... they stay sort of dry. But they will never reach the sauna point that newly hatched chicks need to survive in February.  I'm kind of an April/May ... bring the chicks in ... type of girl girl.

So I called Tamara.  Tamara and I were raised in the same home town.  We drank of the same Kool-Aid.  We understand each other. (and that in itself, is scary!)  She says that I sat behind her in math class.  In reality, I am more than a decade older than her...... so I'm good with that!!!  Tamara is one of my heroes.  But I will leave that for another time and just say .... she let me borrow a dozen chicks and a turken.

I took three of my girls.  I took a nice Barred Rock hen

 I took Liz Taylor.

And I took Josephine ... my little blue silky hen.  Who spent the day hating me after her bath. Not sort of mad .... but that madder-than-an-old-wet-hen mad. 

She stayed in the box most of the day.  (I'll teach her..... no pictures of Josephine on the blog today!)

And for three hours...... kids found my chickens interesting.

They were surprised at the softness of the feathers.  They didn't realize that eggs came in different colors.  And new chicks .... well, that was just cool!

And they laughed when I described Liz Taylor ... a silver laced Polish .... as being the Kim Kardashian of the chicken world.  Pretty .. fluffy ... doesn't really do anything.  And as one student said .... kind of worthless.


I did learn something .... I have got to name my chickens more contemporary names.  Liz Taylor and Zsa Zsa just don't cut it!!!!