Monday, June 25, 2012


This is not a sad tale ...........

This is a happy story of a very lucky woman that has some very incredible friends.

That woman would be me.

I've been talking (OK -- I've been telling anyone that would listen!!!) about celebrating 10 years here at Miss Eff's.

This is a big deal to me.

I know.  I know.  I know.  Its not a big deal in the business world.  Businesses last for decades ... even centuries.

But on this little farm in Iowa .... there lives a very insecure woman that listened to everyone who told her  that is a dumb idea.  And I believed it.  Sort of.  I heard the voice .... over and over and over again ... that said "No one will drive down a gravel road to pick flowers".

I planted the flowers.  And people did drive down that gravel road. But I still heard the voices that doubted me.

Finally, I walked away from the voices that didn't believe in my dream because I needed to surround myself with people that did.   I needed to believe in it.  It was hard.  And I was lonely.

But not for long.

In the last few years ... I have met women that have become my sisters.  We call ourselves "Sisters of the Soil" ..... farm women that knit, quilt, crochet, and embroider.  We have sheep, goats and chickens.  We can jam, peaches and green beans.  We are all different .... but we are so much alike. 

Some live in Iowa.  And some live in Illinois.  And some, live in Wisconsin and Arizona.  But our hearts are stitched together.

So yesterday .... as I was celebrating 10 years of flowerdom .... my sisters presented me with the most wonderful gift.  They had gotten together for weeks ... knitting and crocheting squares to join together. 

And they kept it a secret from me!!!!  I know!!!  Who knew Tamara could keep a secret that long?????  :)

Yes .... I had nothing to say.  I just cried.

This beautiful blanket was crocheted and knitted together by my friends.

And I LOVE it!!!!

Let me show you another picture ... you might be able to see it all.

Look at all the beautiful flowers!!

So thank you,  my sisters .... for your love, your faith, your friendship. You make my heart smile.

But next time you have a knitting day, can I come?????

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Slowing to a crawl .....

The calender may say Spring but the thermometer definitely says Summer!

OK -- I realize it is only Spring for another day but wow!!!  it seems like it has been Summer for a long long time.

Now ... most of you have heard my tale about not having air conditioning. 

I am fine without it.  I don't like it.  I like the breeze blowing through the windows.  I like walking outside to feel the cool air. 

In fact, I was in a/c a week ago and was miserable.  My hot flashes had no reason for being but yet ...... there they were!!!

A/C makes me lazy.  Why would I walk outside to weed when there is lovely cool breeze inside???

But today ..... I kind of want to change my tune.  Sort of. 

Well ... not really.  Not to the point that I would open my checkbook to write a check for a/c or tear up the walls of the house.  Or ruin the look of my windows with a funky box hanging out of them!!!

So today .... I am finding cool weather activities.  Like shopping greenhouses for bargain plants and making jam.  And knitting with wool.

Wait ...... that doesn't sound "cool".

Let me open a beer and I'll try to think of something else to do.

I'll talk to you later.  :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

It's my party!!!

Yep .... I am throwing a party for me!

Well ... my alter-ego.  It was 10 years ago that Miss Eff's opened to .... absolutely no fan-fare.


We just quietly tried to sell flowers on a gravel road that supposedly no one would ever drive on to pick flowers.

We sold little bouquets.... passed out lemonade and chocolate chip cookies.

And we were grateful for each and everyone that made that trip down that gravel road.


And we still are.

We had no places to sit.  No support for the flowers.  Just a little weedy patch of flowers with straw paths......

But we had hope that maybe ... just maybe .... you would like the blue sky, fluffy clouds and the noisy roosters.

Photo courtesy of Dandylion Pies

And ....... at the end of that year......... I showed a profit.


Since that time ... there have probably been far more losses than profits as we have tried to grow and grow and grow.  That little 20'x20' patch of flowers has grown to almost an acre of cut flower gardens.

Photo courtesy of Dandylion Pies

There are corn-zebos, and Summer Kitchens and patios that look like quilts.  And my dream of a garden full of pretty flowers has come true.

Photo courtesy of Dandylion Pies

So it is time for a party .......

Like the little garden I started, this will be low key.  But please come out .... cut a bouquet .... have a cupcake before the icing melts off!!!

Sunday ... June 24th ... 1-3.  Its Miss Eff's  party and she would like you to be there.  :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The light at the end of the tunnel................

To be perfectly honest, I'm not seeing it.

It has been a zoo!  I've been moving faster than ever and just trying to stay one day ahead of the deadline list.  I've been cutting it waaaaaay to close for comfort... even for a procrastinator like me.

I've been jamming like crazy .... Strawberry, Strawberry-Balsamic, Creamsicle Jelly, and Sour Cherry jam.  I have gotten a lot of great local fruit .... tonight I made Raspberry-Chocolate Ice cream topping.  And yes, it smelled delicious.

But as usual, I am not the only one working around here.

Honey has gone seriously creative on me.  Now ... this is the man that built a shade house to look like a bird house.

So the words ... seriously creative .... should cause us all to pause.  This ain't your father's creative streak.  (Unless you are Jill and then you understand completely!!!)

He invented the Swoooopy roof.

One  barn quilt inspired him and he turned it into a patio.

In his mind, an old rusted wheelbarrow suddenly became a fire pit.

And now .... his latest.

This is how it looks during the day ...............................

Just a simple piece of log ..... just a little gnarley piece of wood.  Tucked under a tree in a garden.

Until night fall....................................

He really did it again, didn't he???

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fried ...............

OK ... I am so mentally and physically fried, I can not put two sentences together to form a paragraph.  So I am simply going to post some pics .. and let it go at that.

Miss Eff's will close tomorrow (Friday 6/8) at noon and will be closed on Saturday.  I am heading to Springfield to speak at the Illinois Herb Fest.  (Truth in blogging ... its  because I get to  hang with my uber-cool friend!)

 So on to some new pics from the farm........


Silos and Smokestacks official sign


My beautiful parking sign :)



The girls!


I seem to be a little distracted.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Talking buildings.......

Been a little noisy here at Miss Eff's.  Lots of noise has been coming from the Summer Kitchen and all of it has been directed to Honey.

Maybe you remember this conversation that Honey had with the Summer Kitchen this spring??

I should put that differently. 

Do you remember the conversation that the Summer Kitchen had with Honey??

Well ... the patio that she had nagged about for sooo long is finally complete.  Of course, Honey  want to surprise her with it.


So he blindfolded her to show her the great reveal.

Honey ..... No peaking!!!

SK .... OK!!!  But can you hurry all ready???  You have made me wait months!!

Honey .... Look, Summer Kitchen, I did what you wanted.  I figured out the pattern.  I made the forms.  I poured the blocks.  I searched and searched and searched for the right color of concrete stain.  I hauled stone and packed it.  I hauled more sand and packed it.  And I spent two days, making sure it looked just right!

You can show a little patience.

SK .... Now????

Honey .... Now.


SK ..... Ohhhhhh.  I love it!  It fits perfectly!!! 

And it matches my chairs.  It is perfect!!!!

Honey .... Good.  I am glad you like it.  So we are done for a while.

SK .... Well, you are.  But tell that other person that I need some flowers and some planting.  And get rid of those lilies!  They are blocking everyone's view of me!!!

Honey .... I will tell her that.  I'm glad you are happy and maybe you will leave me alone for once.

SK.... There is just one more teeny tiny thing.

Honey.... NOW what?????

SK ... Does this make me look like a barn????

Friday, June 1, 2012


In 30 days, the month of June goes from the richest shade of green to these fireworks of color.  And ... although these are not blooming at the moment.... I just had to post some of the joy to come.

These pictures were taken by my interns Ashley and  Sonya last year.  Ashley has graduated and gone on to do amazing things.  Sonya is back but not as an intern.  Sonya is my sounding board ... the out-of-the-box-thinker who pushes Honey and I to do more and be more.  She keeps me laughing ... keeps me working ... keeps me aspiring.

We all need a Sonya in our lives.

And next week, Kelly starts.  Kelly is a student at Augustana College and will be here for the summer.  Sonya and I are happy to have someone else join us on our weeding adventures!!!  


So for today,  I will be planting the Jewels of Opar that arrives yesterday.  

And I will send you this wish .................

Bee happy!