Sunday, June 30, 2013

Lessons from a Lobster Roll

Honey and I watch little television.

We have never watched Survivor, The Bachelor, 91201, Sex in the City or Lost.

But we do watch PBS.  And there is a series of documentaries that always make us smile.  They were written, narrated and directed by Rick Sebak.

He did the Lincoln Highway Documentary.  He did "An Ice Cream Story" and "The Hot Dog Story".  They are funny and real and down-to-earth.  We love them!

But the one we will never miss is "Sandwiches you will like".  

He goes to New Orleans for a Muffalata from Central Grocery. He goes to Philly for a steak sandwich. He goes to Houston for BBQ. He even goes to Marshalltown, Iowa for a Maid-Rite.  (That's a loose meat sandwich for those of you not from the Midwest!!!)

But the part that always sticks with me ......... is about a lobster shack in Maine.  Its called Red's. 

Red's is one of those old walk-up diner cars with seating outside.  They sell lobster rolls.  Steamed lobster tail and claw meat on a toasted lobster roll.  The entire Maine lobster on a piece of bread.  And dowse it with melted butter.


And the lines will wrap around the building after day.

Red's daughter takes orders.  And when she is training someone new .... she says "Never look at the end of the line.  Look straight ahead."

Just like weeding.

Just focus on the weed right in front of you.  Look at what you are accomplishing now.  Not what has to be done.

Look forward!

Not to the end of the line!!!!!

Cuz it will scare you to death!!!!!!!

Then you will end up in "A Cemetery Story" .............. another great documentary!

Friday, June 28, 2013

I dare ya ................

I double dog dare you!

After 5 inches of rain, 90 degree temperatures with humidity to match ......... my garden looked .... well, let me say ........... it was less than perfect!!!

Today it was beautiful!!  Humidity was down.  Breeze was up.  So it was time to get to work and get it done!

So try to find a weed.

I dare ya!

No weeds there!

Can't find any here!

Seven rows of absolute perfection!  No plantain, no crabgrass, purslane or lambs quarters.

Just beautiful flowers.

Just let me bask in the glory.  Let me walk and see NOTHING to pull.

Cuz tomorrow ........................there is this.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bloomin' Good News .... June 27-June 30

The Lilies are Blooming!!!!

 Weather forecast for June 27, 2013 .......... Sunny and Beautiful!  High ... 86 degrees!

Miss Eff's hours .........

Thursday -- 9 am to 8 pm
Friday -- 9 am to 5 pm
Saturday -- 9 am to 3 pm
Sunday -- 12pm to 3 pm

And look what we've got!!!!

Sweet Mix Dianthus

White Sonata Cosmos

Becky Daisies

Coronation Gold yarrow

False Sunflower

Black-eyed Susans

Mixed Snapdragons

White snapdragons

Zinnias have started.  They will grow much taller.

Purple Bouquet Dianthus

Yep ... they are waiting for you.  Buckets of flowers are $20 for all the flowers you can get in a 1 gal milk jug!

Hope to see you on the farm!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

It is never dull!!

Color me confused.

Weather ..... ya just get used to one thing and then it changes!

After last year's drought, the experts in the field told us to expect much of the same.  Kind of like drought begets drought.

Not so much!!!

We needed rain ......... and boy, did we get it!!!  And after 4" of rain ... 90 degree heat .... the weeds are popping!!  Its going to be a busy weekend with pulling and hauling and trying to convince the chickens that they need even more greens in their diets!!!

Fortunately, my little feathered composters are up for the task!

So for now .....while I'm trying to find the cutting garden again ..... let me post a few pics from the garden and Summer Kitchen.

I've been doing a lot of embroidery ... it happens early in the morning and late in the evening.  And during rain storms............ obviously, it has been raining a lot!


What is really sad, I have  THREE more new ones done!  Yea ... there has been a lot of rain!

Why go to the basement when the sirens go off ......... the lighting is better upstairs!!!

I'm still working on some changes in the garden ..... I'm happy with this but I know I can do it better.

The lilies are starting to bloom and with the rain, wind and heat .... they won't last long.  I think this weekend will be close to the peak .... get them now!

I love happy little accidents in the garden!


 And finally ......... my current favorite vignette in the garden.

I'm pretty certain that sums up Miss Eff .......... if there was a ball of yarn!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Equality for all .............

Last year, it was brought to my attention that I did not provide equal restroom facilities on the farm.

Men objected to the very feminine, very pink, flower strewn, sweetly scented port-a-potty.

Where was the urinal with the stinky, flat disc floating around??  And what's with the flowers???  And does it have to smell like "Fresh Linen"?

It's a port-a-potty and to them, it should be less pretty! And green or brown .... not PINK!

I have bowed to the masculine pressure this year.

If I want equality for women ...... I need to step up and install a men's only restroom.

And that ... I did.

Sort of.


Still in need of mirror, chair, wreaths, tablecloths, and other pretty things!

Men's .................................

Green ... brown ... seems perfect to me!

Now ... let's see Congress do that!!!!!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

If I can ... you can!

I have had several doctors appointments in the last couple of months.

And I am always amazed how they start.

Nurse ..... When is your birthday?  What medications are you on??

And I say the name of my happy pill.

And the nurse says .......... And what else?

Then I reply ...... nothing.


Nothing else.

Zip .  Nil.  Zilch.

One pill.  Just one pill to keep me ........ well, let's say ........ balanced! :)

I had blood drawn about a month ago.  We were doing all the tests to make sure everything is ticking like it should be.

LDL cholesterol ........121
HDL cholesterol ........56

Triglycerides .......... 119

Blood pressure ....... great!

And I am one month shy of being 59.

My doctor and I had a conversation and as she said ............... its all about lifestyle and healthy eating.

Do I "exercise" like I should?  Probably not.  I work.  I get up and outside and I work.

Do I give up anything?  Nope.  I eat butter, cheese, beef and pasta.  I eat bread, ice cream, yogurt and bacon.  I drink beer and wine and try to drink less soda all the time.

But it is local ...... it is not processed.  It is made from scratch.  No boxes.  No cans.  Just jars with "Ball" on the side.

It is about ........ really cooking!

And that is what has made the difference.

You really can eat your way to health!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I am not June Cleaver...........

When I was growing up .... mothers looked like June Cleaver or Donna Reed.  Nicely dressed, hair was curled and combed, stockings on ............. and heels.  And in the case of June Cleaver,  pearls.

Most mothers I knew ........"dressed".  My grandmother wore "house dresses" but I remember my mother in skirts and sweaters.  Shoes matched the purses.  Hats were worn to "town".  And white gloves were ...........white!

Today is Tuesday.

Miss Eff's is closed on Tuesday.

I had a list of "dirty jobs" to do and a list of "household"jobs to do.  And I had a plan.

I would wear my dirty, grass stained jeans  .... the ones that had chicken poo wiped on the butt.  I would throw my gardening clogs on ... and promptly step in an offering from the one of the cats.  And I wouldn't take a shower until I got my "dirty jobs" done.

I started by working on a 50' bed of weeds.  I pulled and dug and fed the weeds to the chickens.

I mulched the 50' bed ..... one bag at a time, tossed over my shoulder.

I planted 3 hanging baskets and watered the containers.

My list was rapidly dwindling and I looked forward to shiny clean hair and less body odor!!!!

Some out of state customers pulled in the lane ..... and as I was trying to show them Midwest hospitality ..... another car pulled in.

With a logo on the side.  From the local tv station.

It was then .... the ambush interview began!

They needed an interview about backyard chickens ............ and they needed it now.

I thought about saying no.  I thought about sending them on their way.  But a sermon stuck in the back of my mind .... and although it had nothing to do with tv interviews, it had a lot to do about being "nice."

So ... I did the interview.

With dirty grass stained jeans that smelled like chicken poo and a shirt that had a lot of stinky sweat on it.  My face was dusted in dirt.  My hair do --- well, it was bed-head.  And my shoes ........ my shoes were graced with the aroma that only cat poop can share!!!

Honey has a saying ........... Sometimes you have to do something that scares the sh*t out of you.

Welcome to my morning!!!!!

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Cutified (kyoot - i- fied) verb 1. The act of making my garden look like Miss Effie really does live here.

I know I said that cutified was verb ......... but this year it has been a challenge!   I am slowly making progress.  Miss Eff is finally beginning to show up ............

Miss Eff left her hat out in the garden.

It's always nice to have an extra tea cup hanging around when you need it.

Cuz you know, they don't grow on trees! ;)

Where do you put your watering can???


We got a big help from Onion Grove Mercantile with a new hour sign for the lane!

And finally, I was going to show you a surprise.  I was going to say it was a secret.  But with the NSA nosing around Miss Eff's ...... secret is a word you don't say out loud!!!!

And besides ..... the truth in blogging rule has set in.  So I am required by law to explain that the pictures I took of the new outside bedroom are being held hostage by my camera.

You will just have to come and see it yourself!

Trust me ......... it has been cutified!

Friday, June 14, 2013

S-L-O-W-L-Y ..........

they creep.

Remember those scarey ghost stories that they always told at camp????  The bad guys always s-l-o-w-l-y crept to the scene of the crime/horror story.  And then ........ I hid!!!!

Kind of like my garden this year.

My own personal horror story.

I'd be OK with the "creeping" part if I had planted a lot of perennials last year.  There is a very old saying about perennials (flowers that come back year after year).

First, they sleep.
Then, they creep.
Finally, they leap.

But I grow annuals (flowers that have a one-year life cycle).  Which means -- I want them to grow/bloom/look beautiful ......... NOW!

It is reality check time.  When I started in the business ... most flower farmers did not arrive to the farmer's markets till the first of July.  Most would have a flush of early spring blooms and then a void while waiting for the annuals to bloom.

Now with the use of high tunnels and greenhouses, more vendors arrive to the markets earlier and earlier every year.

I field grow my flowers so my beds are less protected from the ravages of Mother Nature.  Year after year, we have opened for the season around June 15th.  Last year, we were early.  The year before ... we were late.

And this year, we will be about a week late.  But can I show a peak of things to come???

Calendula is budded nicely and ready to burst into its sunny blooms.

My favorite white Sonota cosmos are starting their pretty show.

Love this clematis and its brilliant blue bell-shaped blooms.

And this is Spring Pastel yarrow ........... the pink tones always bloom first.

Dianthus and snaps have been budded.  Lilies are up and looking fantastic.

So it won't be long.

And I won't be cowering under my blankets!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A green door ..........

My life was changed by a green door.

At the ripe old age of 17, I walked up to a large brick building with a dark green door and pressed the doorbell.

The doorbell that played the Westminster chimes  that went on  

F O R E V E R.

Like the moment you pushed that doorbell ...... you wanted to take it back!!!!!  OMG!!  How long can this go on????????????  Can I hide in these bushes????

I walked into a house of 50 + women.  50+ women that would become my sisters.

Yes .... I was lucky enough to become one of the Women of 4-H House.

So what was so special about 4-H House??  And what difference did a green door make in my life??

I have been struggling with those questions ... trying to pinpoint the answers for years.

Maybe it was the house duties .... every pledge polishing the brass table until it shined. Or buffing the dining room floor with a buffer that had a mind of its own! 

Maybe it was the cook crews ... cooking every morning, noon and night to feed 50 hungry women.  And when we went home on break .... we still cooked for 50!  (What do you mean that we only need 1 package of peas, Mom?)

Maybe it was the house meetings where the word "Ditto" would be used over and over again. Ditto.

Maybe it was candlelight engagement ceremonies, singing after dinner, phone duties (those are long gone!) or choking through spinach sausage casserole.  (Which I now LOVE!!!!!)

Maybe it was 3 young women sharing a 14' by 14' room together.  Maybe a lavender room that suddenly and magically appeared white!  ;)

Maybe it was a dining room filled with sewing machines or class projects.  Or pinning up a hem an hour before a big event for the gal that lived down the hall.

Maybe it was U.J's for pancakes on Monday ... and Wit's End for beer on Friday. Maybe it was water balloon fights, walking to Mc Brides, tee-peeing Illi-Dell, or making fun of the Delts.  Maybe it was watching "The Big Valley" at midnight or dancing to "In the Mood" before supper.

It was 50 women that didn't merely exist in the same spot .... they lived, worked, laughed and cried together.

Because it wasn't about roommates ..... it was about sisters.

Sisters that had strengths.  And weaknesses.  None were perfect ..... but all were amazing!

And forty two years later .............. they still are!!!!

Sisterly love,

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

10 things you will NEVER hear Miss Eff say ..............

10.  I need to purge yarn.

9. I feel like Hamburger Helper for supper.  What do you think, Honey?

8. I only concentrate on one project at a time.

7. The quiet in the country is too much for me.  I want to move to town.

6. I don't see what the big deal is about farm fresh eggs.

5. Let's spend the day at the mall.

4. I want brand new furniture!!!!!

3. More flowers????  What would I do with more flowers???

2. Taupe.  Let's make the house taupe vinyl.

And the number one thing that Miss Eff will never ever say ..........

No.  I don't want to go out for a beer with friends.  I want to stay home and clean house!!!!

Monday, June 3, 2013


Searching.  Searching.  Searching.

Searching for flowers.

When people ask me, "When do you open for the season?" ..... my stock answer has been, "When God tells me to."

This year has been harder than ever.  We have had the wettest May on record in the state of Iowa.  The drought of last year is definitely over (for the time being!)  We had the latest frost since I started growing flowers.  And the frost was well past our average frost-free date.

When will you have flowers for cutting?

I. don't. know.

I'm not seeing anything!!!!

Yes ..... there is a lovely shade of green!

But no color!!!


No color there!!!!!!

Thank goodness for the yellow chairs in the background!


A little color here.  Very little.  :(


Well, at least there is hope!!!

Trust me ................... I will tell you as soon as I get the word!!!!!