Sunday, July 29, 2012

Blooms, Tunes and Brews.............

So ....its been a little hot.

And its been a little dry.  :(

But we have been blessed with good friends ... a good well .... and flowers.

Lots and lots of flowers.


So it seemed like a good reason to throw a party.  (If you know me .... having a party always makes sense.  I have celebrated Grace Slick's birthday ... just because White Rabbit is one awesome song!!)

Thursday August 2, we are hosting Blooms, Tunes and Brews.  Just an evening party where you can enjoy the garden, home-grown music and local beer.

Music is being provided by the uber-talented Jenn Swift and Andrew Vickers.  Acoustic music and Jenn's fabulous voice will fill the gardens.

Bent River Pale Ale is the featured beverage.  We will have water available but if you would like soda, lemonade etc .... please feel free to bring it along.

There is a $5 gate charge and we ask that you get a sitter for the kids and the dogs.

This is quiet evening for you. 

Bring your lawn chairs and a picnic lunch to enjoy. Relax and enjoy the Iowa landscape.

The gate (Whoa!! That sounds ... almost official!!)  opens at 6:30.  Music starts at 7.  And the employees and staff at Miss Eff's will turn into pumpkins at 9:30.  (OK -- that's the time my pre-bedtime nap sets in!!)

Drop us a note ... to RSVP. Love to have you join us!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bits ... Pieces .... Stuff


There is so much going on .... but I don't have a lot of say.

Maybe all those words in my brain have melted away.

For those of you that are not in the Midwest, let's just say this summer has been hell......... or at least, my idea of it.

It has been miserably hot ....... day .......after day .........after day.

There have been evenings that Honey and I run into the local farm store ... just because they have air conditioning and I can cool off for an hour or so.

Yea ... I know I could buy a window unit .... but there is a lot of work to do outside that doesn't get done if I am sitting in the a/c.

So ... I  will sweat a little more, clean out the pores of  my skin, drink lots of water and remember generations of farmers and farm women that suffered through heat like this ............. and survived.

It has been dry.  To be perfectly honest with you ... I don't remember the last time it rained.  Really rained.  Like there are mud-puddles-everywhere-rain.

Zinnias .....

The sprinklers have been running on the main cutting bed between 8-9 hours a day.  For that expenditure of water and electricity .... I have been given beds that look like this.

Rose Magic Dianthus .........

I do have beautiful flowers.

Zowie Zinnias

I am one of the lucky ones.  I am fortunate to have a good well and the ability to keep on watering .... and watering and watering.

Red Bombay celosia

The drought ... the heat ... have taken a toll on all the local farmers.  From corn to soybeans ........ to cattle and chickens ..... to flowers and tomatoes.  Its going to be a rough year.

I have done a lot of interviews in the last few weeks.  Interviews are not always easy.  The timing is not always perfect or convenient.  I have to find clean clothes and comb my hair.  But doing interviews is important to my business.

So when the Iowa Farm Bureau calls for an interview ... I do it.  When the local tv stations call for an interview ... I do it.  When a newspaper across the country calls for a statement about the heat and drought effects on specialty crops ... I give it to them.

If I want to connect consumers to the food they eat and the farmers that produce it ... I have got to share that story.  It isn't always pretty.  It isn't always the story I want to tell. 

When we as farmers won't share the good, the bad and the ugly with the people that buy our goods ... why should they care?  Why should they understand what the cost of production is?  How will they understand the lack of tomatoes .... the limited greens .... the wilting crops?

We are two generations removed from the farm.  Ninety percent of all Iowans have never been on a farm, according to the Iowa Farm Bureau.

We farmers have to tell to share the story of agriculture. Not once.  Not twice.  But over and over again. Not only in the good years ... but more importantly, in the bad. 

Prices are going up.  We don't know how high yet.  But we need to share why our $4/ dozen eggs are better than the factory farms $1.50 dozen eggs.  We need to tell why our small, mis-shaped tomatoes are tastier than those perfect red orbs from Mexico.

So I'm talking ..... because someone has to do it.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Summer time memories .................

I grew up in a tiny little town.  The kind of town you could walk from one end to the other and not be winded.

Some people may say there was nothing to do in that little town.

But my friends and I knew better.  There was  magic on Main Street.

There was a library.

There was a family joke that you could set me down on a sofa ... hand me a stack of books, magazine or cereal boxes and I would sit quietly and read.  I read my father's veterinarian journals and my mother's Ladies Home Journal.  I read Cheerio boxes and Grape-Nuts boxes.  I read the U.S Constitution. I read junk mail.  I read anything I could get my hands on.

I read Bobbsey Twins books .... I read Nancy Drew.  I read Cherry Ames when I wanted to be a nurse.  I read Donna Parker and had no desire to be a detective.

I read how to keep my gloves white (in my case, never ever wear them!!) and how to walk in high heels (left, right, left, right)

I read books about cats and historical novels.  I swear I must have worn out the copy of Gone with the Wind ... I read it soooo many time!  And I made my first home-made pizza from a recipe I found at the library.

Clarence doesn't have a real library.  They have a small cottage where books are shuffled around because there isn't enough space to display all the books.  There is no meeting room.  And handicapped accessibility is limited.

State and Federal funds are limited in this tight economy.  So it is up to us to step up and help with this project.

Miss Effie's Annual Ice Cream Social is the perfect opportunity for you to help.  Home-made ice cream ... home -made cake.  And yes, French Silk Chocolate ice cream and the all time favorite, carrot cake will be there!  Your donations will make a difference!

Stop by the farm on Sunday 7/22 from 12-4. Visit with Cynthia and look over her yarns and fiber.  Tamara will have 10 of her little cute goats for your cuddling fix and fantastic fudge for your chocolate fix.  Julie is filling her booth with art pieces, antique finds and garage sale goodies.  Connie will be selling fresh blackberries and home-grown tomatoes.  And Kathy will be selling her home-grown, hand milled flour and freshly baked breads .... along with her jams,  jellies and yarn.

So ....... stop by and meet the library board as you enjoy some ice cream.  Let them tell you about a small town's hopes and dreams and how you can help make it happen.

And if you can't make it .... you can send a check made out to the Clarence Library Fundraiser. 
Mail it to:

Miss Effie's
27387 130th Ave
Donahue IA 52746

A child and his imagination thanks you for your generosity.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

I got nothin'

Sometimes ... blogging is just tough. 

There are things to say .... but there are no words.  Like when it comes to describing this corn in the neighborhood.

Love Love Love Lisianthus!

Fortunately, the flowers in my garden look better than the corn does ................. for now. 

We have watered and watered and watered.  The side beds look ................. well, crunchy.  But the main cutting bed has been hanging in there.

You can see ............ I really don't have much to say.

So I will let Betsy talk for me today .... check out the latest issue of "Living the Country Life".

And I will go back to watering, watering and watering.

Monday, July 2, 2012

She doesn't stop ....................

Yes .... it is another look at Honey's mental health.

Look .... I'm not questioning the fact that the Summer Kitchen talks to him.  I had imaginary friends as a child.  Who knows ... I might still.  I may only think that Tamara and Julie are real.  And who really has friends named Sheepie????

But I digress......................

The other day ... Honey was moving mulch when he heard something.

Ahemmmmmm.  Someone.  You. Over here.

"Yes, Summer Kitchen.  You need something?"

SK... Those lilies.  They are done. Done. Done. Stick a fork in me .. DONE!!!  I thought you said they were getting out of here.  They are blocking the view of my beautiful patio.

Honey... Hey!  That's Miss Eff's job.  She is in charge of plant relocation services.  I've got a union card. She might get mad.  After all, she's management.

SK ... Oh her????? She's sitting on her butt in the kitchen, probably doing a crossword puzzle while sipping margaritas and eating bon-bons.

Honey ... OK, what do you want?  Just the lilies moved, right?  I might be able to sneak that by without her knowing it.

SK .... Now that you mentioned it..... a little dash of color would be nice.

Honey ... And you would call the patio ... subdued???

SK .... Well, no.  But it blends so beautifully .... I just need a POP of color.  I heard them talk about it on HGTV.  

And while I am on the topic, why don't they have a show about elegant Summer Kitchens?  I could be the star.... and be famous ... and have a billion dollar contract ... and get out of this place!

Honey ....  (Sigh...............) Let me see what I can do.

Honey ... So what do you think??

SK... I love it!!!  I promise I won't ask for anything ........................ for a while.  

wink. wink.