Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Today I found myself trying to eat a bit healthier. Most mornings I eat homemade granola. It is good stuff but four cups of oatmeal is surrounded with soy oil, butter, brown sugar and honey. It tastes great but it has a bit more sugar and oil than is good for me. First off I went for low calorie yogurt. I did not like the off taste so after a few bits the rest of the container went back into the frig. Next I decided to make oatmeal. Oatmeal and I have never been on a sound footing. I love it in cookies, cakes and rolls but I still recall gagging it down at a friend’s home one winter morning. Suffice to say they did not have enough brown sugar in the house. Now I am way past becoming an adult so I reconsidered that it cannot be all that bad.
Yes it is. First I tried it plain. No sugar. One bite convinced me that I could not eat it unsweetened.

Still a no go in my estimation. This is how the bowl looked before I shared it with one of our dogs. BUT the one that came ate around the oatmeal while eating the other left overs.So it is off to eat an energy bar and back to making granola tomorrow.

So it is off to eat an energy bar and back to making granola tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

This time of year the first tulips are blooming. Gosh, they are lovely. One year I planted over 100 white ones and the next spring I was greeted with this overflowing display of happiness. The white tulips are early ones. The colored ones show up later. This fall I need to plant more cutting tulips. There is a row in the garden but as I think there are 7 or 8 left out of 24 it is time to do some planting this fall. I think I will try to find some terracotta ones as I love that color in our home.
I see a few stocks of asparagus are up so I will pick some for our dinner tonight. Not enough to stand alone but they will be great in stir fry.
My parents gave me a garden shop gift certificate for my birthday gift. The past few of years I have bought some very nice pots with the gift. it is so fun to just browse around the garden center to see what is new and pick out this years flowers.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spring has come to Iowa

It was time to change the header. My front garden is finally starting to come alive. A few brave tulips are in bloom and the hyacinths are showing lovely color. Out of all of my garden spots the one out front is my favorite. When we look out of the eating area windows we enjoy the change of seasons in the garden.

I love that Pig, it is a gift from dear friends many years ago. He/she - I have never named the animal - is a steady garden feature year in and year out. It stands guard in every season. Pig resided in two or three other places before it took up residence out front. Once there Pig found its home and ceased to move about.

Monday, April 20, 2009


The Bear Hotel
Picture from The English Home Magazine

No, I am not referring to that wild Woodstock of 60’s fame but the English village located in the Oxfordshire countryside. It is a lovely little village that we discovered after we spent some time visiting Blenheim Palace. Blenheim was an interesting palace home to visit but Woodstock bowed us over with its charm. We had afternoon tea in an English pub in the front of The Bear Hotel. Warren and I felt as if we had stepped into the pages of an English novel while we enjoyed a super afternoon tea. The pastries and mini sandwiches with our tea were delicious. The local drinking his afternoon beers from a chair perched beside the bar with a view of the room intrigued us. Did he do this every day? There were others who came and went as if it was a part of their everyday lift to drop in to say hello or have a pint in mid afternoon.
After a long and drawn out tea time we wondered the streets of the village. Many were browse worthy and we would have loved to have stayed but reservations in Bath beckoned us so bid an early goodbye.
We once again visited this lovely village as we lost our way to Bath when we somehow managed to drove in a very big circle. The second time we took the less scenic route on the M5 to our destination. This trip to England was often punctuated with getting lost. On foot or by car we lost our way many times. We will be traveling with GPS if we ever visit again. There is so much to see and do in this charming country that getting lost seems such a waste.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April in Iowa

Warren is in the tractor preparing the soil for planting. Today is the beginning of another crop year, it marks the first day doing field work for another crop. It is a beautiful day. The sky is blue, the wind is ever so light, the sun is shining and spring has arrived.

Sage and Rhett in front of our corn field in the summer of 2007.

Back in 1979 I had my first real garden. With my husband in the tractor with the plow hooked behind it we started our first garden. Under my direction he plowed up a rather large spot in our side yard. Later I found out, years before the spot had been the farm dumping ground. That first year the vegetable part of the garden turned out surprisingly well. The spot I planted to wild flowers became an unrecognizable tangle of weeds and perhaps a wild flower or two. By midsummer I found myself crying over the mess I had created. I had followed the package direction of sowing the seeds randomly over the ground. Now maybe that method works for some but for this new comer to the world of gardening it was an unqualified failure. Next year I had success in starting a wild flower bed by planting the seeds in rows. With rows clearly defined, I was able to pull the weeds even if I could not differentiate between weeds and flower plants. That first year the garden was a bit structured but by the next year it was the wild flower bed I pictured in my mind. Three years to lovely.

Now, I consider myself a seasoned gardener. Not that my gardens are magazine quality. I confess that many others have much prettier gardens and I am a bit envious but never less I persist. I have plants, bulbs and seed in ready for planting this year. I once went to a garden workshop on good flowers to plant in Iowa. Out of a list of 75 or so I had planted all but two at one time or the other. That makes for gardens with lots of plant material but not with the most beautiful arrangement of plantings.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hannah and her Gifts

Yesterday we celebrated my birthday, Hannah's birthday and Easter by going out to brunch with the Martins. Hannah got to celebrate 6 days early. At twelve she is fast changing from a little girl to a young lady.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Real eggs in a basket

The beautiful crocheted place mat was done by my Aunt Marge, the bunny is one from "Martha" that Kelsey cut out years ago, the eggs are courtesy of the granddaughter's chickens, and the basket is one I made years ago. I just love the different eggs. Some of them are speckled, some light brown, some dark brown and one is white. They were the eggs left in the carton Kelsey brought over the first of the week. She marked the carton "VARIETY" "KELSEY".

Monday, April 6, 2009

April in Iowa
April snow has an advantage over winter snow. It never last long. We were the "lucky" ones in a small pocket of plus six inches yesterday. The windows were plastered with snow for part of the day. Mentally I was able to brush off the weather yesterday.

Hannah stayed after a good coop dinner yesterday. Matt made some great focaccia bread, Malissa the standard hash brown potato dish and I did the rest. Hannah and I finished one 4-H project and tried out the animal cracker cookie cutters and recipe.

In the end we were not gun ho on the animal crackers. They were more like a butter cookie in taste, were hard to bake just right and a lot of work. (These are some of the best looking ones - a lot of them were a bit too brown around the edges. I must admit the cutters did work well.)
The cookies are cute but she gave them thumbs down as a fair project.