Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

As the days wind down to the 25th, I feel the thrill of not having to be ready just yet. The Four Monkeys from California will arrive in Iowa on the 26th and our home late on the 29th.  We get three whole days with them.  Warren and I are planning to do minimum of work.  We plan to pack in a maximum of play those three days.  Having all four grand kids here and their parents will be our best gift this season!!!

A post card from my Grandmother Lucy's post card album. 
Sent to her in 1910 by a cousins Mae and Genevieve.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Seventeen Days

Our California Grandkids are hoping for this - every time we talk with them they ask if we have snow.  What little we had has come and gone.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Count Down to Our Family Christmas

Today I changed the writing on the chalk/bulletin board in the laundry room. 
(Really it was yesterday - post is going out late - what more is new.)

The CA family, affectionately known as "The Four Monkeys", will be visiting us on the 29 through the second of January.  The little monkeys are hoping for snow.  Between Stacey and my stash of used clothing saved from Kelsey and Hannah we have outfitted Samantha in winter gear.  Sage has the needed Iowa requirements too. Now to check on sleds and wish for snow.  I can not imagine I wrote that last phrase.  Snow looks lovely in pictures and when I look out of our warm snuggy home on a sunny winter day but in reality I really hate find winter to be my least favorite season.
My wish for snow has lots of parameter as I do not want it interfering with any of their travel plans and I only want enough so the kids can go sledding and make snow angels.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I Painted This

Last year we got a new stainless steel frig. It matched none of our other appliances but as the ones we saw that we could use our wood front with were way out of our price range we elected to slowly change out the appliances to stainless. About that time I read in a blog about painting with a stainless steel paint. The stove, frig and dishwasher all looked good in the blog so I ordered the paint. Well, that was over a year ago. Last week I finally got brave enough to try this. Warren took off the metal front of the dishwasher for me. It was a bit of a task but not too hard of a job. Then it was up to me to see if this would work. I figured I could always remove the paint and spray paint it black again if we did not like how it turned out. The kit came with a small small brush that fit into the paint cans.  The directions said that the bigger the foam brush the easier it would be to apply the paint.  I figured it would be just as easy to use the brush it came with and not mess with pouring the paint into something bigger.  I used the can of spray paint that came with the kit first.  Then using the brush in one direction I added three coats of the stainless steel paint before applying the top coat. The directions said to use very light coats.

We are both pleased with how it turned out. It updated our 5 year old appliance and when our 25 plus year old stove quits the kitchen will coordinate.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

We Woke up to This

We had snow last night.  I am certainly not ready for this but at 32 degrees it will not last long. 

It may be time to take down the fall decorations.

But what do I put up when I do not want to do Christmas yet??

The wet and heavy snow has caused a power outage.  With a whole farm generator we hardly know there is a problem.  When we first moved to the farm Warren had to hook up the generator to a tractor when our electrical service went out.  That was never a fun task as it was almost always bad weather when our juice went off.  He would have to check it constantly to make sure all was well and to refuel, by caring 5 gallon containers from the fuel tank to the tractor. Later we got a new generator that has an automated switching system. Nice.
One summer Sunday morning around 15 years ago lighting hit the generator shed and caused a fire and disrupted our electrical service.  We had the fire department quickly on the scene and the fire was soon out.  As our livestock buildings are fan ventilated we quickly had to remove the fans (they pop out rather easily - well if you are a guy) to get air to the hogs.  By the time the guys got to the last rooms some of the animals were showing signs of stress.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Last of the Summer Flowers

My friends, Barb & Bob gave me miniature roses for several years for my birthday. One hardy plant still gives me pleasure. 
Just before a frost a couple of weeks ago I picked the last of the roses to enjoy indoors.  It was a beautiful reminder of a beautiful friendship.  And a testament that the gifts we give others is a lasting  tribute.

From Facebook I want to share this tribute.

OK everyone ... let's turn Facebook into a sea of red until Remembrance Day ... please like and post on your wall ... Lest We Forget ...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Birthday Time for my Wonderful Guy

Today we celebrate Warren's birthday.  They got started and then quickly quit combining our soybeans today.  The beans looked dry but tested wetter than they should be for delivery.  When one farms it is often up in the air as to when an October birthday will be celebrated.  I made girlfriend plans as Warren said to go ahead because they were doing our beans today. 

He grew up with the red tractor brand of equipment but now it is green as far you can see.
As the saying goes "It is just the size of the toys."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Dessert Town

We recently took a mini vacation and spent three days in Las Vegas.  In the third week of September the temperatures were in the very high 90's.  Even with no humidity it was hot.  I can now say I have been to the dessert and Vegas.  I never did gamble any of my money.  I felt like the cabbies were enough of a money drain. 
A lot of the shopping was out of our price range. There was a whole store devoted to watches. Warren has a watch collection so we spent some time looking at watches of all sorts. I wanted to ask if they carried Timex. The well dressed clerks did not bother us as I suspect they doubted we could afford anything in the store.

On our trip home we were able to see the Hoover Dam from the air and miles after miles of canyons, dessert and desolate country.  I would love to go back and see the Dam and the Grand Canyon....... someday.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Queen For a Day

I saw this picture and was reminded that when I was young there was a television program titled, I think, Queen for a Day.  I recall one woman crying when she was presented with a new washer and dryer.  Something I take for granted day in and day out.  There are days when I still say a little thank you that even if the washer and dryer reside in what is the back entry to our home it is on the main floor.  Just off the kitchen, where it is easy to use, sits my working pair.  More times that I like to admit, the dryer is piled high with a load or two to be folded.  When we remodeled and brought the laundry to the main floor we also turned an upstairs bedroom into a bath.  It took one carpenter a couple of days to put the cloth shot in place from the bath to the laundry room.  It takes a right angle to get the clothes to their destination.  I still call it my $500 clothes shoot.  Well worth it in my opinion.  Time to fold laundry and be thankful I am not a pauper.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Cats and Buterflies

The other day when I went out to capture a picture or two of the monarch butterflies two of the cats were sunning themselves in our back yard.  Seldom do cats pose.  They are really Kelsey and Hannah's cats.  I can not even pet them as they are not the friendliest cats.  The gray one is Bud and the other is Oreo.  They either share the same mother or are cousins.  The other cat is the black one that the girls named Midnight. 

Joe Pye Weed and a monarch.

Friday, August 19, 2011

School Days

Because Kelsey and Hannah live next door we get to often enjoy their company.  They have been coming over for breakfast since they started going to school.  At first it was to help Malissa get to work on time.  I like to think that now it is because the girls want to spend a bit of time with their Grandma and Grandpa.  Either that or they like our food better. 
Yesterday was their first day back.  Kelsey is a senior and Hannah a freshman.  Finally they will attend the same school again.  Hannah has been a 20 + minute drive away.  Kelsey has been here in town for the past three years.

Friday, August 12, 2011


This is my first picking of cucumber.  The onions are ready to pull and dry also.

One easy summer cucumber salad is to peel and slice them along with some onion and then add a bit of mayo. 
After they are refrigerated for a few hours the water in the cucumbers along with the mayo will form a delicious dressing.   Salt and pepper to taste. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I went out this morning to harvest the first of my blackberries.

I have one bush.  Some years twice this is about all I have
harvested.  This year it looks to be my best crop ever. 
Sweet, juicy, berries from our own back yard.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

More about Fair

Fair is over for this year. But there are still pictures to share. 

Kelsey took a pen of three chickens and another pen of one.  All her chickens got blue ribbons.

Hannah took her black blue ribbon bunny by the name of Herbert Ninninger.

 Kelsey is taking her bee project writeup to state fair.  Hannah has her Anzac Biscuits going.  Both girls had several projects that were considered.  They consistently do wonderful projects.  A lot of work goes into each exhibit.  Most of the items that go on to the Iowa State Fair have excellent write ups included with the project.  Unlike at the county fair where the kids talk with a judge, the only communication with the judges is done with the project folder at state fair.  Hannah also has a poster that was a state fair alternate.  For some reason this is going too.  The poster has to be redone as she had used chewing gum on it and because of the heat it melted and ruined part of the poster. 

The friends they stayed with in Australia introduced them to this Assie/New Zealand cookie.

Kelsey did the art work for this poster and made it a fun presentation.

I wanted some original art for one of our guest bedrooms.  This should be fun to frame and hang.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fair Week

Monday was check in day.  Main morning activities were the judging of the non livestock entries.  Each girl had 10-12 items they had made.  They took food projects, posters, a place setting, home improvement items, and art projects.

This was someone's project.  I loved that it said Drew's little sister.
A pink paint job is not authentic but it is cute!! :)

Hannah being judged on her orange muffins.
 Kelsey with her poster on uses for vinegar.

 The waiting area.
 Both girls made baskets.  Kelsey's was an harder one to do called an egg basket.

Kelsey did this water color for me.

Did I say that this building is rather hot????
Did I say that the temperature was in the 90's??

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Wisconsin Dells

As I sit with my iPad in a dark hotel room, Kelsey and Hannah are in the next beds sleeping. Warren is off to meetings at an ag conference. Teenage girls know how to sleep in. I on the other hand have been awake for some time. They spent most on yesterday at the water park here at the resort we are staying at here in the Wisconsin Dells. It has been fun having them along.
Certainly this place is like several (all) others in the area, everything is over priced. The frig and microwave in our room has been handy and a money saver. Warren is gaining from the sessions. With a free afternoon today we my go out on the river in a thing called a duck. Last night was a water show. The tickets were part of the resort stay. At the show I suddenly was not thirsty when presented with paying out three fifty for a small bottled water.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bee Happy

Kelsey was selected to be part of a bee keeping program through Iowa State Extension 4-H.  This spring she got her hive and bees.  The program comes with a mentor.  Kelsey is off to a good start as her bees are multiplying and making honey.  We may not harvest honey this year but just knowing that bees are important for the pollination of most plants and we are a part of this is rather fulfilling.
Apprehension could describe my feelings about having bees in our yard.  To date there have been no issues with them.  Bees do best with morning sun and afternoon shade.  Best location was deemed next to the grove on the west side of our yard.

 The first thing that had to be done was the building of the hive and painting the outside of the hive.  Matt and Kelsey did that this winter and early spring.  There are lots of  brood frames inside the hive.  My guess if that it came as a kit.   A couple of weeks ago they added another box.

Bees need water so I moved a butterfly water dish to a spot by the gazebo for the bees.  I have seen some there so it must be working.  Our yard has a bird bath and another butterfly water dish that I attempt to keep filled.  On hot days this means it needs to be filled two or three times. Today it is raining so I am relieved of that duty.

So now we have added bees to the menagerie of chickens, dogs, rabbit, and cats. Life on the farm can be fun and interesting!!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

In Flander's Field by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Arlington National Cemetery
Between my junior and senior year of high school I was selected to go to Hawkeye Girl’s State.   Several of the girls in my class were chosen to interview for the chance to attend.  We were asked that day to write a short speech to present to the American Legion committee.  Mine must have been decently put together as I got the honor.  As part of my duties I sold poppies before Memorial Day on the main street of town.  This was definitely out of my comfort zone.  There were lots of nice people who bought from me and for that I was grateful.   Since then I always buy a poppy when I see them for sale.  I attach it to my purse for a few days.  Some years I end up with several of them.
My scrap book is full of clippings of Girl's State from the Cedar Falls/Waterloo Courier.  Alas my picture never once made the paper as I was not nominated for any of the positions of high government.   I recall having a good time but I suspect I spent more time socializing than politicking.  There is a group photo of my ward.  It is interesting to see that my hair style is much the same today.   My hairdresser calls it a classic style- I call it what works

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spring means Tulips and Gardening

Summer is just around the corner.  Actually I thought it had arrived last week.  After a, mostly, very cool spring it warmed up.  So much so, that we put a few screens on some not too clean windows. In a perfect world windows would not need cleaning.  In this imperfect world I clean my windows
the least possible. I have already done the downstairs windows once this spring.  The plan is to do them again before the screens go on but after the corn comes up.  This way the dirt does not blow as much and they stay a bit cleaner.  The corn in front of our home has just popped out of the ground.  It was planted a few days later than the corn that is up behind our homestead.  This puts windowing washing a couple of weeks away. The Iowa saying that "If you do not like the weather, just wait a day and it will change" adage proved true.   By the end of the week it was cold and windy.  The last two nights I have covered plants and brought some into the garage. The frost forecast have not materialized but it was better to be safe than sorry. I planted my tomatoes and egg plants this morning.  Our garden has five variates of tomatoes.  Among the ones I am growing is a yellow tomato.  A few years ago we grew one that we found was lacking in flavor.  But since it looks to pretty mixed with the red ones I am trying a different yellow plant variety.

Tulips are such lovely sign of spring.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Bonnet

Growing up I always had a new Easter hat and wore white gloves to church. 
Mom had a green satin glove box that contained her good dresss gloves and our assorted white ones too.
My hat is this picture has little flowers on the ribbon. 
The picture was taken when I was around seven years of age.

I put together this arrangement over two weeks ago for a meeting and dessert I was having here.
It has held up very well and has been well received. This week when I hosted a special pot luck meeting of my book club the flowers were still looking great.   

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hannah is 14

This morning Hannah got to pick her breakfast.  We presented her with bacon and rainbow sherbet. 
She also got another gift as her Grandpa has been joking with her that she needs spenders.   

I had a rather nice write up about this lovely young lady but by accident I deleted some files today and it is gone along with spending too much time trying to find where it went.  I think it is time to call in an expert.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Samantha turns Nine

Our Samantha has two middle names.  Her initials form the word sass.  She is seldom a sassy girl unless you want to refer to her style of dressing.  In a day when girls outgrow putting on dresses at an early age she still enjoys dressing up.  Her closet is filled with party dresses.  Kelsey and Hannah have handed down their out grown dresses.  And with two grandmothers and one great grandmother who like to buy pretty things Samantha has a closet filled with lovely frocks.  She is a gal who when issued an invitation to a restaurant will pick out a dress to wear when the rest of the family wears slacks or jeans. 


Before Samantha was born, while everyone was wondering what date the babe would arrive, Hannah announced that she would give up her April 18th birth date to the new born.  In exchange Hannah would just take a different date. It still makes me chuckle that she would give up the date but she did not want to share the date. This all made for perfect logic in the mind of a soon to be five year old.

Samantha’s birthday this year will be her last in the single digits.    When Stacey and Rhett announced they were going to have a baby we were happy to know that we would have another grandkid to spoil and love.  I recall making a vague promise to not do too much spoiling.  The truth be told I do not think we have done too badly………...   I confess I think that spoiling is in the job description of grand parenting.