Friday, May 31, 2013

Sew much for that.....

April showers bring May flowers.

Yea .......... not so much!

I do have to say .... the flowers look good.  They are growing nicely.  Carefully concealed in the camouflage that most people call ............ weeds.  I'm hiding them all! ;)

So my gardening anxiety is in full bloom!  When will I get this bed cleaned or when will this flat of plugs get planted?  And of course, the phone and email is in full gear .........When will you open for flower picking???

Actually, I need to stop my bitchin'.  We have been very blessed here!  We have had much less rain than many in our area.  If you travel less than an hour south of Donahue ..... it is much much worse.  So a couple of dry days will get the garden and lawn in order.  I hope! 

When the garden anxiety hits .... I need to focus on something else.  Anything else!!!

So ............ I sewed!

One of my students had made this pattern in a class and I loved it!!!!

(OK -- I liked it because I got to use the word godet in a sentence!!!)

Fortunately, this was easy enough that I could wash and straighten the fabric, layout the pattern, mark and cut it out and sew the skirt ................... in 24 hours!

Uhhhh .............'cept for the hem.  I need pinning help for that!

But a few pics ...... well, you may not see much.  It kind of looks like a full sack when it is hung from a hanger. 

Yep!!  Pretty much looks like a sack!  A pretty sack ..... but a sack nevertheless!

If you look carefully, you can see one of the godets!

(I could say that all day!!!  Now if I could ever use leg-o-mutton or peplum in a sentence ..... I would be thrilled!!!!  The most descriptive word in fashion at this time is ........... skinny jean!)

Well ........... at least I get to see flowers.

Even if they are in my closet!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

This is for Sonya!

The last two years I have had the honor and privilege of working with an amazing young woman.

Sonya is hard working, creative, funny, generous, kind, a ball of energy and a really great gal!

I knew that she wouldn't be working with me this year but I had hoped she might find time to stop by, drink a cup of tea and inspire me with her creativity.

Sonya's daughter had other plans and decided to show up ........ just a little early!  Like 12 weeks early!
So Sonya and her husband are hanging out at the neonatal unit in Iowa City ..... watching Violet grow!!

(And Violet is doing fantastic!!!  She is packing on the weight!!!)

So Sonya ............... this was yesterday!

Besides the very tall weeds and weedy saplings, there were false sunflowers, purple dome asters, white and pink coneflowers, and a few Asiatic lilies in this bed.  Once upon a time there was order.  But not anymore. Basically, it was a mess!

I weeded, dug, transplanted, tossed and mulched.

And today .......................

Yea .... we got a bit of wind going on right now!!  Welcome to Iowa!

Soon --- this will be a blaze of yellow!!  And butterflies!!!

And today ...... it is filled with 150 + yellow Inca II marigolds!

Just as you suggested!

Thank you!!!!   :)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Is my head above water yet???

It has been several wet soggy days on the East Coast of Iowa.

Honey had four days off.  Four!  Count 'em!  Four!!!

And it rained for 3 of them!

But we make progress any way we can.  And Lord knows .... we need to!!!!

We unveiled the first two of four "Gumby" chairs.  We wanted something different and fun for ourselves.  We saw similar ones online ............ but to the tune of $600 each.

And we are much too cheap for that!

Yea ... Honey made them.

So we went to work on the farm.

We created places to greet you.

We hope you will learn something new!

We created places for you to sit and relax.

We created spots of whimsey!

And we created places to play!

But I can't get too cocky yet!

Although my head may be above water ...... I am pretty certain I could drown in these weeds!!!

There is no rest .......................... well, you know the rest!  Time to get back to work!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Positive Thinking ...........

OK -- if I think a lot of happy thoughts, can I get these flowers abloomin'????

I go through this EVERY year ........ it's that agony thing.  The thrill of victory comes once everything is up and blooming their pretty little heads off!

So I will  tempt you with things to come ........  and let me make this perfectly clear....................


Soon but not yet.  :( 

I'm disappointed too!

Photo from Park Seed

This is Scabiosa or pincushion flower.  This is a perennial variety .... rather short-lived ..... that I am super excited about!  It has larger flowers than the Butterfly Blue variety .... stronger stems than most of the annuals.  It is called Fama Blue.

This is a new-to-me variety of snapdragons called Twinny Appleblossom.  It is shorter than most of the snaps that I use.  It grows 12-16" tall.  But I love the ruffled petals.  And look at that color!!!  If you know me at all, you know that I couldn't resist!!!!

I wasn't going to grow Green Trick dianthus this year.  I was disappointed in its performance last year .. and decided it wasn't worth the investment.  (Yea!  Like a major drought didn't have something to do with that!!!!)

But I ran into some fabulous finished plants ..... and I was all over it!!!!

I also tripled the number of glads I planted.  So hopefully, you will enjoy them as much as I do!!!

And finally, our lily beds need a serious re-do.  They have been picked hard ... they are growing in too much shade.  And I am totally unhappy with their performance the past couple of years.  As we all know, I can not live with out my lilies .........  I planted a brand new bed in the main cutting garden.  We will have to be careful cutting them this year.  Hopefully, we will be moving some of the bulbs and figuring out our needs later this summer.

I have wasted enough time!  The annoying drizzle seems to be ending and I can at least get some containers planted.

And yes ............. we will be opening for the season soon.

Hopefully, I haven't gone completely crazy by then!!!!!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A little housekeeping ...........

Oh.  Nooooo!  You didn't!!!!

You thought I meant I was cleaning my house????  Oh surely, you jest!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nope ... just a few notes about changes on the farm.


We have changed our hours for this year.  We are now closed Monday through Wednesday.  Yep ... we are closed on Wednesday.

Do not hesitate to call, email, Facebook message me if you need/want flowers on a day that we are closed.  I will do all that I can to accommodate you but we decided that our family life needed the extra day.

But  ............... from June 15 through August 15 th .... we will be open on Thursday evening until 8 pm. 

Yep!!!  Grab your family and a picnic lunch and spend the evening at Miss Eff's!  The farm becomes magical in the evening!

So here are the hours .......

Monday through Wednesday ..... closed
Thursday -- 9am to 8 pm (June 15 -August 15)
Thursday -- Friday -- 9 am to 5 pm
Saturday -- 9 am to 3 pm
Sunday -- 12 pm to 3 pm.   (Please note the change in opening time on Sunday!)


Like many business, our costs have continued to rise.  And this year, we finally had to bite the bullet and increase our prices.

A one gallon bucket of flowers is now $20.

This is as many flowers as you can squeeze in ......

Yep!!  That is one of our very dearest customers .... Heather.

Now ... the first time Heather came to the farm, I sent her back to the garden to get more flowers.  She learned quickly and I have never-ever had to send her back to the garden again!

Yes .... that is one bucket of flowers.  And you can do that too.  All for only $20.

We also will have a supply of pre-made bouquets that will be ready to go!!!  Those will be available daily for only $10.

Respect and Rules

Currently, Iowa farms, agricultural tourism and the liability laws governing them are in a time of transition.  We must carry liability insurance to protect our home and business which we have since day one.

I understand that as parents .... you want your child to get the "full farm experience".  And we want that for you also.  But I see dangers that sometimes, you might miss or not understand.

So -- when I ask your child to not climb over fences, or climb on trees, or to stay away from the garden tractors --- I would appreciate your (the parent's) respect.  Too many times I have been told, "Oh no, they are fine!" and the parent and the child continue to climb the tree!!!!  :(

I don't like being the crabby old lady at Miss Effie's!!!!!

It is your child's safety that I am concerned with ........ and I hope you will understand and respect my feelings as I would if I was at your home.

So that is enough scrubbing and sweeping for today!!

It is back to the garden to plant and weed and smile.

And hopefully, we can get some of these to bloom soon!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My shame..................

I have taught several classes on Homestead Businesses.

And no business is perfect.  There is always room for improvement. 

But I have always said ....... Neat and clean and a little charm can cover a multitude of sins.

So if your barn needs a paint job ...... or trees need to be pruned ...... or you have a crop failure ........ if your farm is neat and clean, people can look past a wart or two.

This really hit home a couple of weeks ago.

Two women had driven 30-40 miles to shop at a local business.  They had seen the business at another venue and decided that they would make the drive.

The outside appearance was such that they pulled in the driveway and pulled out.

Dreary, un-kept, weedy ......... it immediately changed their mind about the business.

They stopped by my farm ... and told me of their experience.  They shopped and we chatted and enjoyed the visit.

And then I thought .......................

Wow.  This is what is greeting my customers!

Yes ......... there is beautiful, creative, charming sign.

But there is also a bed of weeds!!!!!!!

And a bush that may not be completely dead ......... but needs to be completely gone!!!!!!
So I have weeding and weeding and weeding.  It is a big project so I work 3 hours a day at it.

And I have made good progress.

But after this morning ........... I need to really work hard on this NOW!!!

Because I don't want people just driving by!

Thank God there are places that look like this!!!!

Wait ............ after I finishing planting the impatiens, and three or four containers and move the partially used bag of mulch and re-do the lighting.

Will my work ever be done?????????

Pictures to follow!!!!!

Friday, May 17, 2013

I'm waaaaayyyy too busy to talk right now. 

I'm prepping for teaching a cheese class in my kitchen tomorrow.  And I've got to make ice cream for a party. 

But it is a beautiful day ......... and I want to be outside, making my little world pretty.

 I have a long way to go.  But I love seeing this out my kitchen window every morning.

Surrounding the bench is a garden full of herbs, pink zinnias, white cosmos and hot pink and purple dianthus.

If only I had time to sit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Good ... The Bad ... The Bosch ............

OK -- I am stating it right here and now.

I need to be nominated for sainthood.

Yep ....... Saint Eff.  Has a nice ring to it, don't you think???

On December 30, 2012 ... my $1000+ , 4-1/2 year old Bosch washer decided not to run.

Fast forward to May 9th, 2013 ........... the washer is still not running.

Three different repairmen.

Two control panels ..... a door latch sensor ..... $195 labor bill ....and soon, a new motor ......... I may have a running washer later today.

Or a nervous breakdown.

I'm not really sure.

I have hand-washed clothes in the sink.

I have toted clothes to the laundromat.

And for the last three months ........ the 1946 Voss wringer washer and I have had an intimate relationship.  It gets that way when you fill the washer with buckets of water, empty buckets of dirty water from the washer and try to avoid getting your body parts caught in the wringer.  :)

I've also have spent a lot of time dancing around her in the middle of the kitchen.  Kind of breaks up the magic kitchen triangle when there is a washer there!

So ....... why haven't I just chucked that Bosch out of the laundry room and replaced it with some new and shiny or old and working?

Because I inherited a bull-headed gene that refuses to let me just give up!

I am nice.  I am polite.  I am respectful.  But I have called the company EVERY day for the past 6 weeks.

And today ...... the motor that I finally talked them into shipping overnight is being installed today.

At no cost to me.

Washers should last more than 4.5 years.  Factory Authorized repairmen should have a clue.  And if we as consumers don't demand that companies take responsibility for their poorly designed product, we will be stuck replacing washers and dryers and refrigerators every two to three years.

It may not be easy ... it may not be convenient.... but as long as we give up and buy another new appliance ... we will be sold inferior products.

I actually had a company customer service rep say to me, "You know, that washer is over 4 years old."

Please don't let the 67 year old WORKING Voss hear that!!!!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

You know .................

that you are a market farmer in Iowa when you trade cut-offs and a tank top for Carhartts and a stocking cap less than 24 hours.

Will spring ever really come to the Midwest?????

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dreaming of things to come................

How many more days till I see this?????

Happy May Day!!!

........from your local flower farmer