Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Crumpling the List .......

To attempt to stay on task .... I have lots and lots of lists.

I have MUST-DO now lists.

I have Wanna-Do lists.

And I have Really-Should-Do lists.

(Some people are distracted by shining things.  Me ..... I am distracted by fuzzy things.  I can be working along and suddenly spot a piece of yarn, roving, felt, ribbon, fabric or lace ...... I am off and in my happy place.  And  nothing on the list gets done!)

This week has a particularly long list.

I had a pizza class in my kitchen yesterday where we made two pizzas, the crusts, and the cheese to go on top.  Which meant cleaning my house and organizing the kitchen.

I have a bread baking class on Wednesday ... which means baking 7 bread products before class and cleaning the kitchen afterward!

I have no jam in the Summer Kitchen.  And I will need to clean the kitchen before and after!

I need to make aprons and I have the fabric.

I want another dress and I have the fabric.

I need to sew undies and camis for lingerie class.......... that may or may not start on Thursday.  I have fabric for this too!

There are tomatoes that need canning and basil that needs to become pesto. And I have to pick up the windfall pears and get them to the chickens.

Honey needs a pair of socks.

I have primer and paint for screen doors that need to be done before winter.

The sidewalk, patio areas are slowly progressing so I need to plan the decorating for them and the porch for winter.

And the garden slowly needs to be put to bed.

Then there is the stuff that life is made of ..... laundry, meals,chicken duties, bill paying, house cleaning and maintenance.

And sleep!!  I particularly  love sleep!!!


This weekend ... I tossed the list out the window for these women!!

 And these women!

And these women!!

It was my college sorority's (4-H House) 80th Anniversary celebration and these pictures were taken at the 70's luncheon.

Some of these women I have known since I was 13 years old at 4-H camp.  And they inspire and amaze me all the time!

Knowing them, makes my heart sing and seeing them ......... well, it was really truly the best!

And .... I almost stuck to that damn list ..... just to get things done!!


Yea ... really stupid.

Cuz these friendships are the stuff life is really made of!  (Roll over in your graves, grammar police!!)

Work ethic, be damned!!!!

The Summer Kitchen will be out of jam for a while.  The apron fabric will stay in the pile.  And I just might BUY socks for Honey. 

Because ... I'm doing this again with another group of girlfriends next weekend.  And the next!!!

There are enough tea towels and aprons and jam and socks in the world.

There are not enough moments like these .. that make your heart burst with joy from knowing fabulous women!!!  Friends that you have not had for days ... or weeks ... but for years and years and years.

Love ya, sistas!!!!!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Singing in the back of the bus

When you rode the big yellow school bus ......... what did you sing???


999 bricks on the pile.

999 bricks!

Take one down....

Tap it all down ..........

998 bricks on the pile!!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Autumn morn..............

There's a bright golden haze on the meadow......

September mornings in Iowa ..............

The sun rising over golden fields ...........

Mornings like this remind me how very much God loves me.  Such beauty just outside our doors .... if only I  would remember to look and appreciate.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Getting "Farmhouse Style" in my Home

Just a little rant today .........

I have been searching for ideas for my kitchen .... Pinterest is one of my go-to places.

And in my search .... I found this.

And this 

And this.

And this one!!!! 

Really???????  (Farmhouse style at Walmart????  Made exclusively in 3rd world countries by children under the age of 10!  I didn't really say that out loud, did I????)

So why do all these articles about getting "farmhouse style in your suburban home" piss me off so much???

Because I have the real-McCoy and I don't want my house to look like yours. 

More importantly ..... its beginning to look like a trend.

And trends ain't style!

You may not be old enough to remember .... but I remember geese.  Heavily ruffled curtains and lots of bows.  Bows on everything ..... but especially on geese.

I remember Southwestern style.  Terra cotta pots, seagrass baskets, Indian blankets and heavily pattern fabrics.

I remember Tuscan French Country .... with fat pigs, sunflowers and lots of wine bottles.  And grapes.  And more wine bottles.  With heavily textured walls that looked like raw plaster with straw imbedded in it.

True style develops over time .... it grows slowly like an oak tree and NEVER arrives in a box.  It is Grandma's blue canning jar, Mom's daisy cookie jar and oak chairs retrieved from the rubbish pile.

We Americans toss out "style" in search of trends.  Last year's decorating purchases go on this year's garage sale. 

My own farmhouse style will not include many things on the lists.  But it will include this..........

(No..... not the wallpaper!!!  It has got to go!!)

The light.  The light will always stay.

In 1961, my parents remodeled their house and removed this 1920's era light fixture from the dining room.

And I cried.  So they told me that I could have it when I got my own house and it was relegated to the basement to live on the shelves in my dad's wood working area.

Occasionally, the shelves would get cleaned off ....  and the topic of throwing away the light fixture would arise.

And I would cry.

Finally .... my mother told me to get it out of the house so it rode in the trunk of several different cars for a couple of decades.

Now .... it has a home.  Forever.

And that will not be found on any list.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Hanging on for dear life ...........

Today is National Suicide Prevention Day and I have just got to talk.

This is a topic that we have quietly skirted around for AGES.  And we just have to talk about it.

OK -- for those of you who don't know..... I suffer from depression. 

Deep depression. 

Chronic depression.

Now ... like the tide ... it ebbs and flows.  I will have absolutely fantastic periods of my life.  And I have moments that I really do crash and burn.

I have suffered from this for decades.  As a small child ... 9 or 10 .... I really believed that I wouldn't be missed if I was dead.  At one point, I sooooooo wanted to die but I didn't want my daughter to have that memory of me.

And somehow .... through all the planning, the thoughts ..... I survived the darkness.

And the sun shined through my day.

Oh ... if you knew me then ... you may be surprised.  I laughed.  I giggled. I partied.  I crafted.  I worked.  I succeeded.

But with every breath ..... I struggled from within.  I was hanging on for dear life.  Sometimes, by a teensy, tiny thread. 

So for the last twenty years .... I have done reasonably well with prayer, medication and a wonderful husband.

But last month ... Robin Williams lost his battle with depression.

Talent, money, the best of therapists, the love of his family, and the adoration of his fans ..... and he lost his battle.

And I was scared.  If he could lose his battle, could I?

Today is National Suicide Prevention Day.

If you feel down, talk to someone. 

You. Are. Not. Alone.

And if you have never been touched by depression ... there are things you can do.
Tell your friends you love them. 
Reach out and hug someone.
If you see someone spiraling out of control .... get them help.


In 1991 ......... I was sooooooo close to the edge.
Catie grabbed my hand ... pulled me back from edge and led me to help.

Everyday ...  in every prayer ... I thank her for that.

Please be somebody's Catie.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Putting my toe in the water

People talk about making a living.  And life on a homestead is different.  It is about a lot of little checks.

I've talked about this before ...I sell a dozen eggs, make a new tea towel, teach a cooking class.  You get the idea.  Never much at one time .... but it does add up to make the insurance payment, the utility bill, the groceries.

If only I could find a way to make sure the propane tank is always filled.

With Honey approaching retirement age ... we are thinking about more ways to add little checks to the bank account.

Yesterday, I got a phone call from New York City!!!! (As said in a salsa-selling voice!)

The voice on the phone wanted flowers delivered to his mother for her 60th birthday.

As I explained to him ..... I am not a florist, I am a flower farm.  


And that was what he wanted.  Real flowers.   Not flowers that had acquired more air miles than he had.

Local, fresh, sustainable flowers.

Yea ... that was it.  He had me.

So I made a bouquet .... put it in a blue Ball jar .... tied a piece of antique lace around it.  And I will deliver it.

We no longer have a local florist .... and I may not want to do this on a regular basis ...... but it does seem like a good thing to add to the list.

Sell eggs, make a tea towel, teach a class, deliver flowers.

Lots of little checks ......

Who knows.  The propane tank may be filled yet!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Catching up .............

Every so often, I think that my life is slowing down just a bit. 

And then, I look around me and say, Oh Crap!  There is a lot of work to do!!!

Such is the way of the Summer Kitchen.

I work all winter and spring and I am certain that there is stuff hanging from the rafters.  Stuffed in every corner.  Piled in boxes.  Tea towels on top of tea towels.  Dishcloth on top of dishcloth.  So many aprons that may never catch a ray of the sun because they are behind more aprons.

And then fall comes .... and reality hits! 

Boy, is that Summer Kitchen empty!!!!!

It is time to get to work.  Weeding is left behind for sewing and knitting, spinning and embroidery.  I am trying to get caught up.

The last week or so has been dedicated to tea towels.  Yea ... I do remember how to embroider.

I love fruit based designs.

I love sweet bird designs.

Yea ..... I just love tea towels!!!!

And the needle cases were very popular this summer.  You can tell that I am in a woolie-fall mode with the penny rug look of this one.

And on this one too.

A customer brought an entire box of wool scraps.  They must have been samples, glued on to a catalog.  They are roughly 3" x 4" ...... and are in excellent condition.  They will be fun to use in penny rugs, needle cases and table runners with a folk art look.

And suddenly, there are no dishcloths!  Really?????  I feel like they are the only thing I knit!!  But I do enjoy them .... and I love this purple bunny dishcloth.

Finally, it is time to get to jammin'!  I feel like I haven't kept up at all!  OK -- it doesn't help when you burn a batch. 

I swear I was stir, stir, stirring away and then ............. SQUIRREL!!!!!!!!  Carmelized apricots .... not good.


But this batch is perfect ...........

There are more projects in the works..... more yarn on the needles..... more jam in the pot.

I'll get the Summer Kitchen stuffed again ..... and maybe my house will be less stuffed!

Or not. 


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Changing the attitude....

It is early September and I am already in "hunker down" mode.

You know -- from the moment fair season ended ..... county fairs, state fairs ..... my mind set always went to blue jeans, wool sweaters and apple cider fresh from the press.

And I am there now.

I'm thinking about spinning and knitting, teaching classes and cooking soup.  Yea ... I'm ready to turn the page on this summer.

So .... it is time to prepare for the long winter.

This weekend tomatoes took center stage.  My friend Debbie and I canned 44 quarts of tomatoes on Saturday.  Honey was right there too!  A true community effort.

Which was totally awesome ....... but we really do need to do more.  So next weekend -- we are at it again!!  We need salsa.  I am down to the last two jars..... which I must have been hoarding or they would have been gone by now!

You have all heard the tales of our storm damage ........ over and over and over again!  Well ... FINALLY! Honey has most of the downed trees cut, split and stacked.  And we would never have been close to this without the help and the log splitter of a dear friend!  :)

We've got wood!!!!

And more wood!!!!

And still more wood!!!!

Yea ... the woodstove will be going full blast this winter.

And finally, still in the warm-me-up-mode, I bought my first quilt kit.  

Yea.  Yea.  Yea.  (Insert the sarcasm font!) I bought a kit.  And what should be a simple kit at that.  

Yes.  I do know how to sew.  Yes.  I can pick out my own fabric.  But I didn't.

So a preview of warm things to come ....... my new quilt kit. It is a lap throw .... I hope to use a wool batt in it.  The flannels are so soft and the colors will warm up a cold winter night.  I think it is the perfect starter quilt.

This picture is from Fern Hill's website.   If you sew or antique or restore or eat .... you have got to go to Fern Hill in South Amana Iowa.  I have shopped there since 2002 ..... and I love it!  The nicest women ... beautiful fabrics ... antique quilts.... antiques ... architectural salvage .... and really great fudge.

Which pretty much sums up what I love about winter.  Good friends, antiques, fabrics and yarns, good wine and really great fudge.  

Sounds perfect to me!