Sunday, June 29, 2014

Once upon a time ...........

Once a upon a time ... when I started Miss Eff's ..... I dreamed of quiet, peaceful Sunday afternoons in the country.

I would wear flouncy summery dresses ..............

or long floral skirts that barely brushed the thyme growing through the gardens.

I would wear vintage straw hats that protected my nose from sunburn.

My sparkling clean gardening gloves would quickly pull the only weed in the garden as I would stroll through with you ..........

ice cold lemonade in our hands.

Like all fairy tales .... it ended.

And this is my reality ...........

3 hours and I already look like this.  Time for a shower ... I hope I can stay relatively clean before our customers come.

Want my life now??????

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Today will be perfect!

It doesn't matter what happens today.

I could drive to the grocery store ... spend $100 .... and forget what I went for.

I could break a basket full of eggs.

I could pull weeds .... and pull out the ageratum I just planted.

I could drop my grandmother's glass bowl.

I could spill bleach the only stain-free shirt I own .... and by the way .... it is NOT white.
It doesn't matter.

Today will be perfect.

For tonight .... I will sleep on line-dried sheets.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Rain vs Drought

Every so often, someone will comment on last year's drought.

They will say .......... You must be happy with all the rain we have gotten this year.

And I am.

And I'm not.

(Typical farmer .... weather never makes them happy!!!)

So today ... I will show you the results of too much rain.

These are Rose Magic Dianthus ......... they will look like this when they bloom.

Except for that tall round red thing ........ that is Strawberry Fields Gomphrena.  We don't always weed out what God plants!  :)

This is a healthy dianthus.

Dark green ... straight and tall and budding out.  There is also a very healthy lamb's quarters behind it.  :(

This is an over-watered (too much rain) dianthus.

The leaves are a lighter green .... they appear wilted.  And there is a strong possibility, if we don't dry out, this plant will die.

The center stem also becomes very fragile and breaks when it is barely touched.

Think of giving a toddler a sippy cup made out of Waterford crystal ......... same results.

Which is why weeding is not a job for toddlers!!!!! 

(That is also why I may ask you to cut flowers .... not your children.  When plants are strong and healthy ... they can take a little rough play.  When they are stressed and fragile .... they need lots of TLC! )

The plant will survive without the center stem but the tallest and largest bloom of the season is gone.

Just like that!

As a small farmer, I can control watering during a drought year but the sub-soil needs that deep moisture.  I have absolutely no control over too much rain ..... unless I build a giant umbrella.

Rain vs. Drought???

Tough call ............

Can I ask for perfect weather??????

Monday, June 23, 2014

It's the Midwest, Sista!!!

At this very moment, I am feeling a tad overwhelmed by Mother Nature.

I keep repeating the mantra .... it's the Midwest, sista!!!

We have gotten a lot of rain. 

Not Minnesota-like rain.  You know ... The Land of a Million Lakes!

But I weed .... and the row looks beautiful ... and I mulch .... and the weeds grow through the mulch at eye-popping speed. 

Seriously .... faster than corn in July in Iowa!!

And that is fast!!!

So I weed.  And I weed.  And I weed. 

And that section of the garden looks .......... beautiful.

Then .... I look and see the section that looked beautiful last week ........ is overwhelmed with grass, pigweed and lamb's quarters! 


My jeans are muddy and torn.  My feet look like they were in a mud bath.  And my nails ..... I can't even describe my fingernails. 

We still have piles of branches from the storm damage. 

The willow tree .............. it will have to go.  I am getting bids on removing it.  I'm afraid if we do it ... we will lose the cutting garden, the corn-zebo or the little gazebo.

Or all three.

More willow damage.

This wood is way too soft to burn in our woodstove.  So hopefully, any tree trimmer will grind it into mulch for me.

We do have a nice pile of ash and apricot for the woodstove next year.  A little seasoning will do it good!

And this is "branches-we-found-around-the-yard" pile.  It has dropped by half due to the kindness and big trailer that my BIL owns.

So with all this debris .... I have to search for the beauty.

It is there with the shimmering rain drops on this beautiful pink lily.

It is there with the crisp contrast of the pure white and the deep green foliage

And it is there with the delicate curve of this dusty lilac verbascum.

It is the Midwest, Sista!!!

And beauty surrounds us.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

It was a dark and stormy night....

It is June in the Midwest.

And as long as I can remember it has meant thunderstorms, storm warnings and tornadoes.

I am frightened by high winds, yet totally in awe.  I love the moment when we sit on the hill and watch as the storms come in from the west.  I sit on the porch and listen to rain .... watch the clouds rush in and hear the sirens from miles away.

But early Tuesday morning was a bit of a rough ride ... I guess.  OK ... I pretty much slept through the WHOLE thing! 


Crash!  Crash! Boom! Boom!

Trees and branches falling all around us ............. and I'm asleep. 

Yea .... I slept through that.

And that! 

And large branches from 4 more trees!  And part of the neighbors' fence and a huge branch from their tree.

Yea .... a 20+ foot branch had the nerve to fall on the tea cup tree!

I know!!!!!!

If I had been awake .... there would have been hell to pay for that!! 

We lost ONE tea cup .... and that was because it took a direct hit from the branch.

But we got even ...............

That branch will burn in hell!!

OK --- it will burn in the woodstove. 

Close enough!

Monday, June 16, 2014

They are here! They are here!!!


Can I hear an Amen????

Seriously ..... they are right on time!  Over the last 13 seasons .... opening day for cutting has been around June 15th.  And we are 4 days late.

Not bad considering we had a frost warning less than a month ago!!!

We will be open for cutting on Thursday morning at 9 am.

Flowers will still be limited ... but we should have the following .......


Fama blue and white scabiosa

Yarrow ... in shades of pink, purple, pale yellow and white


We do have fat buds on snapdragons .... that weren't there yesterday.

And lilies .... are beginning to show some color.

This week's selection will still be somewhat limited.  Next week .... the show will really begin!

So for those weddings that are this week ..................


Oh .... that means I can exhale!


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Mine! Mine! Mine!

All mine!

Yes .... you just witnessed a two-year-old's tantrum and rant coming out of this AARP card-carrying woman.

For the last several years .... there have been some gardens that have gone to hell.  Seriously. 

It is simple .... we run out of money and we run out of steam.  Not enough mulch.  Not enough energy to make them look pretty.

So several flower areas are going away.

Just going away. 



One of those gardens under debate was this one.

But this is my view as I drink my coffee in the morning.

And this is my view as I work on the computer.

But this was what I was seeing......................

And this ..............

And still more ............

Wait ... all these pictures look alike!  Did I post this one????

Well ............ you get the idea ... Wavy grass .... hidden gems.

:(        BIG frowny face!

So my ever wonderful Honey and I set a goal of making the view of my world a prettier place.

And we worked and we worked and we worked.  I planted daisies, and lilies and more lilies.  We moved plants and we moved benches. 

Now ........... we have this view.

And this view .............

And this view.................

I still have some work to do ...........

We need birdhouses and lighting.  Stepping stones and pillows.  It needs some sparklingly white caladiums planted.  And it needs a few more containers.

But I planted a lot of lilies for their scent that will drift into the house in the evenings.  And I hope to find some jasmine to hang from tree branches.

But it is clean ..... weeded ..... planted and mulched.

And it is mine.

All mine.


Friday, June 6, 2014

Making it pretty ...............

So much of Miss Eff's is about ........... pretty.

Pretty, cute, unusual ..... find your own adjective.

But every year, I have to change things up a bit.  This year, I have a few new cute spaces and a few different spaces.

Tuesday, I hit my favorite thrift (which will remain nameless!) and found this fabulous bench.  I didn't hesitate one bit when I saw it!

Ok ... it had me at through tenons.

The Barbie Dream House Porta Potty hasn't arrived yet.  We currently have the "boy-toy" version.  (It has a urinal)  But I did fluff the lounge area up a bit! 

I wanted to sell this table ..... then I realized it would make the perfect vanity on the farm.  And if I sold it .... I was going to have to buy something new!  I need to find a pillow ... and do some soft-scaping with fabric.

But it is soooo getting there!

I used this piano bench as an end table in the office/sewing room.  It had to go .... it was in the way.  So again, I thought about selling it.  But it works perfect under the lilacs.

Walking through the garden to the little gazebo, I noticed this ...........

Delphiniums are beginning to bloom!!!!  Now ... to get everything else blooming!!!

The little gazebo needed a lift.

I saw this idea and quickly copied it!  It is now my idea!  ;)

An old wreath frame + lots of left over ribbon = fun!

It just dances in the breeze.

And finally .....

Even my chippy worn old house can look good with a fresh, pretty hanging basket!

Yep .... pretty flowers and little chippy china can make anything look good!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Tough time to be a chicken .........

We have had a rough week in the chicken coop.

The gnats have struck with full force .... swarming, and swarming and swarming around the chickens.

About 10 days ago .... we lost 2 hens.  The gnats swarm around the hens, attacking their nostrils, eyes, and faces.  The hens will bunch together to protect themselves .... and simply smother each other.

It is awful.

We put a fan in the coop.

We put gnat traps in the coop.

I cleaned the gutters and eaves and sprayed Sevin under the eaves to kill any gnats.

And then we lost 5 hens in one day.

I was devastated.

In all, we have lost 11 hens, a rooster and a pullet.

Financial anxiety sets in.  Let me count .... I lost 11 hens.  If  those 11 hens .... lay 7 eggs a day, that's 4 dozen eggs a week.  That $14.00 a week. 

In a year, it is $728.

And that's new curtains in the living room.  New tires for the car.  Insurance for the business.  The list goes on and on about what that could represent.

So I was down.

Then Honey ... in his wisdom .... told a story about his dad.

Honey's Dad LOVED raising hogs.  They were his pride and joy.

One day, he went to the barn and found several bred sows ... dead for no apparent reason.  With four small children, farm payments and the hopes of good future income ..... it was awful.

He was obviously upset when he went to the house and told everyone what had happened.

But then ..... he said, "I'm just glad that what ever killed them .... stayed outside".

Yea .... wise words.

So --- it has been a tough week in the coop.  We have found a non-toxic spray that seems to be helping and the girls are looking better.  Egg production is wayyyy down and they are stressed.  But in the circle of life ...... losing 11 chickens is little stuff.

The big stuff is this .....

It stayed outside.