Saturday, December 27, 2008

Happy Holidays!!

This is a picture I took a few days before Christmas, I believe they call it a snow dog. It was sunrise and misty snow, in some ways it resembles a rainbow. I have tried to take pictures of these before without success, so was happy to capture it.

Jim left about an hour ago to return to work. We had a nice quiet Christmas, time to relax and enjoy. Jim also did a little more work on the place.

We are still trying to make the little room off the kitchen livable. I finished putting up the insulation on the wall, I believe I mentioned that we were just stapling it up for now. Over the summer we will tear out the walls and put in proper insulation and probably a new roof on it. It is much warmer, but in the basement there is a crawl space under that room. Jim has gone under there several times trying to insulate it. He put up thick slabs of insulation and taped it all and foamed around it but we still had a breeze coming from under there. You have to climb on a ladder and then through a hole in the basement wall to access this space. I had shoved all kinds of things in the hole in an effort to block the wind. So Jim, bless his heart climbed under again. This time he was able to spot some places where the dirt was frosted so he could tell where the wind was coming in. Have I mentioned that much of the "improvements" were not done with an eye toward good workmanship?? This space is so low you have to crawl or sit. So here is my poor husband,all scrunched up mixing up cement to put over these places. It was a success, as soon as he put the cement along the one side the wind stopped. Next time he is home he will put more down, covering the dirt will make me feel good as well as warm. I think he goes back to work to rest up from all he does here.

Watching the news can be very depressing, having Good Morning America and Evening News with Charlie put good stuff out there is nice. They showed so many people doing good things, made ya cry. A young girl spending time with the residents of a nursing home, and sponsoring a pajama and robe drive. She saw them in the hospital gowns and thought they should have something nice to wear. A man giving up his job so a younger colleague would not be let go. The younger man had four children and one is autistic, so the family really needs the insurance. Losing his job would have been a disaster. Each of the stories gives brings joy and hope that others will be inspired to do helpful things. It does not take that much to do something good or helpful, just a little bit of time. (Sorry about the change in script, blogger is being naughty)

We are in a heat wave, was up to almost 40 yesterday, 21 right now. What a mess, melting snow everywhere, and ice. I even turned the heat down in the house as it is nice and warm, will be a shock when the cold returns. What is even nicer is that I will be able to get more done in the attic. I am trying to organize my craft and sewing supplies as well as my office space, slow going as i keep dragging more stuff up there.

Have a great weekend, enjoying family and all the loot Santa brought.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Blizzard Warnings

Thank goodness I don't need to go out for anything. Checking the weather on Yahoo reveals that it is minus 11, -11 holy cow. More likely frozen cow. According to the little guy in the television that translates to a wind chill of -38. I know that other places are recording even lower temps so am glad for what I have, I think. Trying to take hot water out to the girls yesterday evening was a bit of a struggle. The drifts were sometimes almost up to my knees, so trying to pull the sled with the buckets of water was a real workout. I don't even want to think how hard it would have been without the sled. Their water buckets are heated so the water does not freeze in them, but I like to put fresh water in and hot. The animal shed is not heated, so just makes me feel good. Jim did help me finish stacking hay bales all along the south side of the shed so no wind can come in that way. There are only half doors which swing down from the top, so bottom half is open. The girls are all fat and sassy and have grown shaggy coats so they probably are fine. Jim also picked up a heated water dish for the outside cats, they live in the barn. I piled hay and feed bags under some stairs for them and they seem to be nice and cosy. Then we have a heated dish for the wild birds, I see quite a few coming to get drinks which is good. I had read that more wild birds die from lack of water then they do from lack of food or shelter. The suet blocks I made are also a hit so put some more of them out and bought a nut and fruit mix of seed for the feeders. The blue jays and woodpeckers especially like it, so mixed it in with regular seed and everyone should be happy.

I took some pictures yesterday afternoon to show the white out conditions. You know what they say about pictures being worth thousand words. This view is looking across the street, trust me it is out there somewhere. Driving over to pick up my share order and then to the store was an adventure. Very little traffic which is a good thing as it was hard to tell where the road was. Nothing had been plowed and I don't think I went over 35 miles an hour. Today is to be the same with higher winds, extending the blizzard alerts. We will remain nice and snuggy inside, thank you.

I had planned to bake on Friday, notice I said planned. When I went down to the kitchen I decided to move some shelves. Sounds simple right? No, I am still trying to get things the way I want them. After moving the shelves I decided to open a few boxes that I knew contained kitchen things. One crate was a jackpot, lots and lots of my cookbooks as well as two binders. One contains some of my special recipes that I used in my shop and the other one pet treat information. This of course caused disruption in my kitchen straightening as I had to browse through everything. Have I mentioned I am easily distracted?? So, hopefully today will be a baking day, the bananas are even riper which is the up side of things being delayed. It is so hard to find over ripe bananas, they toss everything out at the stores, silly!!.

Thank you for all the Christmas greetings and wishes, they make my day. For all my blogger friends I wish you days filled with laughter, love and lots of good eats. Making good memories is such fun.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow, Snow and more Snow

We have had days and days of bitter cold, finally it warmed up and now we have snow. Somewhere around 6 inches and more to come tomorrow.As you can see the dogs just hate it!! Every once and a while they would hit a really deep drift and be over their head. They were so much fun to watch. You can see just back of them where the ground is clear, gives you an idea how strong the wind was. Some areas have blizzard warnings, not sure how close that will end up being. I am prepared, food, water, back up heat, hopefully I won't have to use any of the emergency stuff. Something nice came out of this, went out to take care of the goats and found my drive was all cleared. Called around and found out one of the neighbors had done mine and the folks across from me. He would not take any money, so nice of him. Gave me lots of smiles and good feelings.

I finally finished my mice, so now they are singing in the front yard. Of course, looking at them I see all kinds of things wrong, but figured I had spent enough time messing with them. I also did over a yard sign that used to belong to Jim's Mom. It was getting a little worn, so gave it new coat of paint and slightly different personality.

This was the sunrise the other morning, I am always intrigued by the patterns the frost makes on the windows.

Hope all is well for all my friends, lots of good plans for the holidays.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Baby, it's cold outside

As I write this it is 9 degrees and I am not sure what the windchill is, but I do know this, it's cold!!! I bundled up in one of those jumpsuit things that you see the guys wearing. I bought it on ebay so we would have some extra for the cold weather. Now it is back to the drawing board as this one will not work for me, it is too short in the torso, does not allow for any curves and was not all that warm. My plan was to take the dogs for a nice long walk, allowing them to use up all their excess energy. The walk was cut short as I was getting really cold. I took off my glove to click on the dogs leashes, had to hold my hand under warm water to thaw it out.

Once back inside and somewhat thawed out I decided to tackle putting film over the dining room windows. Bad idea. The windows and frames were so cold the tape would not stick, and when I finally got it somewhat stuck the flim would not stick to the tape. I brought down my hairdryer to warm tape and film up, this sort of worked but then the wind picked up more and blew the film loose from the tape. Mind you, I am inside the house doing this. I used the hair dryer to try and warm things up and it worked to some extent. Of course I burned up the silly thing, so now on my to do list is new hair dryer. I finally stapled a large sheet of the film over both windows and was done with it for now. Informed my husband that his job for the weekend was purchasing 3 more storm windows and putting them up.
Quite often I mention projects that I am starting or working on. Ususally I either forget to take pictures or get off track and do not finish. So, I am trying to be good here and show you what I am working on. I have mentioned on several occasions that I do not like the kitchen. Very near the top of my wish list is the gutting and doing over of the kitchen. The cupboards are done in this dark wood which adds to the overall cave like feeling of the room. The other day I had an urge to brighten things up, and here is my start. It is not finished yet, but as the spirit moves me I will finish my sunflower and eventually have flowers on all the doors. The door next to it has the start of some purple tulips and a butterfly, on the other side what I hope will be a branch of lilacs. You probably get the idea that I work quite often on impulse rather then having things carefully planned out. I do find with my artwork that if I force it, the end result in not to my liking.
So, on that note I leave you for now.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

This and That

I was trying to get a picture of Molly so you could see how much she has grown. The big challenge was getting her to stay still long enough. Today Molly is 6 months old, in some ways she is larger then Charlie, her head is larger and she is longer and almost as tall as he is. I wanted to get pictures to show the contrast but he was off chasing birds in the woods. Jim was talking to the man we got Molly from and mentioned how big she was getting. Andy said , "Well, you remember how big her dad was don't you?", then it dawned on Jim, the monster dog. Apparently Molly's father was about the size of a Great Dane. Good thing that we are working on manners training for her. Maybe I can make a harness for her and she can pull me around the yard.
Speaking of harnesses, my friend Carol from Minnesota was kidding me about harnessing up the goats. I went on line and found that it is a big deal. They have a wide variety of carts for the goats to pull, many kinds of harnesses and clubs to join. One site even mentioned a cultivator for the goats to pull. There were pictures from the early 1900's of children with their goat carts, then I remembered that I had seen pictures in the past of that. In the clubs the people dress up in period costume and drive around in their carts. These are not just everyday carts either, think mini carriages and covered wagons. They did show a 4 wheel garden type wagon that had been converted so that it could be pulled by the goats. I am thinking that will be a big help as I go around the yard picking up sticks or planting and hauling garden supplies. Presently I use one of the mowers, so am using gas, polluting the air and have to climb off and on the mower all the time. Having one of the goats pull the wagon will give me exercise and be green. Laura had talked about having goats pull wagons and I had wondered about it, but then it floated on out of my head. Things tend to do that, float in and out of my head.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, lots of leftovers and love. Jim was home and that was super, but then he had to leave early as one of his mechanics was ill. It was all in all a good time, lots to be thankful for. I try not to take things for granted and really appreciate all that we have and are able to do.
I leave you for now, wishing you peace, love and your hearts desire.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Almost Turkey Day!!!

This is a picture I took earlier in the year, but it shows some of what I am grateful for, the beauty I am surrounded by.
I have the turkey and the ham and all the trimmings, including my homemade cranberry sauce. Now all I need is Jim and my Thanksgiving will be complete. Well, actually it would be more complete if the kids, grand kids and great grand kids could all be here. That would be wonderful, but I will take what I can get. I also bought supplies to make Jim cheesecake, which he loves. I am thinking I will take half of it to Ellen and Scott, that way we will only be half as bad. Also planning to make cookies and pet treats, Charlie let me know he was disappointed that I was out. You know that look they give you, like OK, I was good, now where is my goodie??

The weather has been warm? in the 30's. I still have problems associating warm with temps below 50. With the sun and the calm air it really is pleasant outside, brisk would be a good description. It is nice walking the dogs around, except when Charlie spots or sniffs a bird. Then I have to hold on as quail explode around me, or a rabbit takes off. Charlie would have been a great field dog. I have been toying with the idea of seeing how he would do with agility training. Right now he is so hyper but I am thinking by the Spring he might be calm enough to work with.

I had mentioned perfecting my pizza making and Violet Lady asked for the recipe, so here it is. One important thing, make sure to use Bread Flour, it is high gluten and gives the dough elasticity.

I package of yeast= 2 1/4 teaspoon 1 Cup warm water 1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt 2 Tablespoons oil 2 1/2 cups bread flour

Combine water and yeast then add sugar. Have flour in mixing bowl and whisk salt into it, then add oil and liquid. Mix slowly, I use a spatula to fully incorporate the ingredients. If you have a heavy duty mixer at this point I attach the dough hook and mix until a ball forms. Mix for 2-3 min. You can also knead on flour covered surface if you do not have the heavy duty mixer.

Lightly grease a bowl, put dough into bowl and turn dough until all sides are coated with oil. Cover and let rise for approximately 20 minutes. This needs to be a warm area.

Roll out on flour covered surface using only enough flour to keep dough from sticking. I have also discovered that I can put the dough on my cookie sheet and kind of press it into place. Very important, using a fork poke holes all over your dough, other wise you end up with all kinds of bubbles in your crust. There is actually a tool you can buy, a roller with tines you can roll over the crust. Pre-bake crust for about 5 min.
Add sauce and toppings , return to oven and bake for about 10-15 additional minutes at 450 degrees.

I mention the warm area as the last time Jim was home it was chilly in the kitchen and the dough was not rising. I ended up putting the bowl in hot water, as I was in a hurry it still did not rise as much as usual and I ended up with a thick crust. It was still OK, but usually we have a thinner crisper crust. I have tried all types of toppings and like being able to monitor the amounts that go on. I was surprised at how easy all this is. The dough is the kind that is nice and stretchy just like the kind in the pizza parlors that they toss around.

I bake this on a cookie sheet and cut it into 9 pieces. Good luck and enjoy. I hope I have included everything.

I wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving, remembering what the day is about. No meltdowns over trivial things. Being glad for all we have and not worrying about what we do not have.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tis Tuesday once again

Trying to catch up on my blog reading, our blog world is so great and varied. Some make me really think hard, others make me laugh. Some of them make me wish I could teleport and go visit, or that they lived next door. I keep thinking we would have so much fun. It is also a great way to let us know we are not alone. We are not the only off the wall person, or someone going through crisis. Sort of a reaffirmation of our sanity or self. There are so many very talented people out there. One is over at Edie Marie's Attic and she has some of her hand painted plaques for sale. at this time of year when we are looking for something a little different these are perfect. I bet she might even do some custom ones if need be.

Speaking of different, I have a new type of pizza for my repertoire. I make my own dough and it is much easier to make then I had thought. So now I treat Jim to fresh home made pizza when he is home. This past weekend I made bacon cheeseburger pizza! Cool, huh. I took a jar of the cheese dip, medium heat. I spread that over the crust. Now, I make my crust and then bake it for about 5 min, then I put my toppings on. So, first cheese sauce, then browned burger, crumbled bacon and shredded cheese. He loved it, so something else to do special for him. I like making my own, this way I can control the quality of the ingredients, the amounts, etc. From reading the different sites when looking for a dough recipe I learned some other things. I remove the pizza from the pan and onto a wire rack so it can rest for a moment before I cut it. For the most part it will slide right off the cookie sheet, if not I just use a spatula for any places that stick This allows the steam to dissipate and the crust will stay crispy rather then soggy. I also found that it is best to warm left over pizza in a fry pan rather then a microwave, again you have crisp rather then soggy. I bake mine on a cookie sheet and then cut into nine slices. Always fun to learn something new.

Must stir my bones and make a start on getting ready for work, have a great day.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Another Friday, come and gone

I was looking at the pictures I have taken of the girls and Charlie outside. While they look good, I also see how much work needs doing. I think next year is going to be designated "The year of Painting". The plan is to buy the paint over the winter and by Spring I should have enough to get a good start. The buildings are sound, but have been neglected over the years and it shows. I am hoping by this time next year we will have a beautiful maize colored home, with nice white outbuildings. I really do have a plan, honest.

I continue to try to weather proof the girls home, and they continue to thwart me. The idea was that I would stack hay bales and this would block the wind. Their idea is that I stack the hay bales and they play on them and knock them down. At this junction we are at an impasse. I have one layer of bales topped with several broken up bales. Rather then a wall I have more of a mound. I suppose it will help somewhat, but I really want to cover up most of the opening. When the wind is from the South it blows straight into their house. The rug we tacked over the opening last year is now thread bare, they found it amusing to chew on it. So we continue, I get my exercise lugging the hay bales around, and they have fun. I guess it is a good trade off.

I am watching TV and Charley Gibson is on with a story about DJ Gregory. This young man has cerebral palsy, his gait is halting and uncertain. He had a goal, to walk all the PGA tournament courses this year and he did it. He has had operations on his legs, but walking is still a chore. His Dad was saying that his toes overlap and so the pressure on them when he walks is painful. Yet, this amazing young man kept on walking until he met his goal, over 900 miles. We complain and then someone amazing comes along and makes us look like whine babies. His spirit is beautiful and I wish him all wonderful things.

Best to you my friends

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Just a little more

At work they put out a lunch for the veterans and their wives, I thought that was a very nice thing to do. As I have mentioned before I am proud to be from a family that has fought for this country ever since the Revolutionary war. It gives me a great sense of belonging and feeling as if we have helped to make America as great as it is. So, to all those brave people who have served and continue to serve, Thank You so much.

I tried to get some pictures this afternoon of the snow. It was those great big fluffy flakes. If you double click on the photo you can see streaks, well those are the flakes. The wind was blowing and I could not capture a good shot. Of course in hindsight I should probably have switched it to a fast action setting, duh! Oh, well, will have to try again for another day, I am sure we will have much more snow in the coming months. If you click on Charlie's picture you can see the big flake on his face. He and Molly were having a ball racing around. The cold weather seems to energize them, just what I need! I keep reminding myself that in about another 6 months they will be much more calm.
Well, off to bed so ready for another day of work. Best to you all.

Rain and Sleet, Oh My!!

Sitting here I can hear the sleet hitting the windows, yuck. Hope I can get the car doors open to go to work. The nice thing about all this mess is that I am sitting here in a tee shirt. I am not wearing 4 layers of clothes to stay warm!! Jim had a long weekend and we tried the blown in insulation, went fine. So now the front room, entry hall and part of the stairway have insulation in the walls. The next time he is home for a few days we will rent the machine again and do some more. Jim bought 12 bales of insulation, it is cellulose and uses recycled ingredients, we only used 5 and 1/2 so have some left. He had to enlarge the holes he had first drilled, the hose fit in, but he could not angle it down the wall. It was also very messy, but we think the next time will not be so bad as we have practice. Insulation and the machine rental was less then $100.00, much less then if we had someone do it. He also put in 4 new storm windows, one he got on sale for I believe $35.00 and the others ran around $50.00. The windows have made a huge difference in the front room, before when the wind blew the curtains would blow out like the window was open. This would happen even after I put plastic up and anything else I could think of. So we are making progress for sure. Still do not have wood stove hooked up, need to line the chimney and then we found out we need to insulate the lining before we install it. This will make using the stove safer, will not have to worry about carbon monoxide or overheating. Even with the temps in the 20's the furnace does not run all the time, hooray!!

I thought this sunset was pretty, we get so many beautiful colors in the skies around here. I had always associated that range of colors with the ocean. Just another part of why I love our home here so much.
The girls heard us out in the yard and had to come see what we were doing. This picture shows just how much they have cleared. Not much left for them to eat, but they go out and nibble on the little trees. You can see where they have stripped the bark off. Trees are one of their favorite things. By next year we hope to have all the woods enclosed, they will clear all the underbrush and weeds so we will be able to get in and neaten things up. Lots of downed trees and limbs that need to come out, with the girls help we will be able to do a good job. There is also lots of old farm equipment out there.

Have a wonderful day my friends, I need to go get ready for work.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

What a difference a day makes.

This morning started off sunny, then clouded up and we had a white

Seemed to clear up for a while and then back it came. So now we have frosting on everything. Jim started the furnace and the house has been warm and cosy all day, even with the wind blowing. I think the new storm windows on the front have made a difference, not more breeze blowing in. The animals all found spots on the floor and stretched out. With the radiant heating under the floor they love it. We found out more about putting in the wood stove, we have to insulate the pipe that we are putting in the chimney. Jim found a place on line to buy the parts so soon we will have that as a way to heat and use the gas boiler to supplement. Another good thing will be that is the power goes off we will still be warm. I was unable to sign up for the budget plan for the gas, it would have locked a certain price in. Now it looks as if it was a lucky break as the price right now is lower then the bargain price. I do want to use the gas as little as possible, we will see how it goes.

I think Charlie is looking so handsome, this picture does not do him justice too late in the day. Miss Molly is growing by leaps and bounds. She is a little stinker,lol. For the most part she is doing well, she now sits and downs on command and pretty much comes when calls. I do need to do some leash work, the heel stuff , etc. Hopefully this bit of snow is a fluke and we will have some more clear days. I am still trying to cover plants and get my mind in the winter mode. I picked the last of the broccoli this afternoon and made it for Jim's lunch. I roasted some chicken breasts and seasoned them with herbs from the garden. I know for sure I am going to plant much more broccoli next year. I will try the two plantings so we can have lots to freeze. The flavor is so wonderful when the vegs come right from the garden. I have baskets of apples and tomatoes in the basement and was able to send some with Jim.

Best to you, Barbara

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Harvesting Time

The soybeans have already been picked and now they are harvesting the corn. The machines they use amaze me for the size and also how they work. This tractor goes along side the combine and the hopper is filled. Then the tractor loads the semi and off the corn goes to become feed or ethanol. Don't they look like some sort of space equipment?? The combine cuts the stalk, removes the corn, takes off the husk and the kernels leaving onlybits and pieces in the field.

The girls were curious but the machines scared them and off they would run. They had to come back and see what I was doing out there. This is the new area we closed in, you can see how they have cleared most of the weeds. If it were earlier in the year and the weeds were still green I imagaine they would have cleared that also. They are busy working on the small trees in the background. Those are all volunteers and need to be cleared so we get two birds with one stone. We figure by next year we should have the fencing all around the back part of the property and the girls will clear out all the underbrush and weeds. Not only will things look better but it will give me access to clear out and plan how and where I want to plant things.

I am finally having to breakdown and have Jim turn on the heat. It has been pretty chilly, the last several days have had high winds, rain and cold, yuck!!! Until we get all the insulation in the wind just cuts right through the house. I have a space heater in the birds room so they are warm. Finding the dogs were shivering convinced me I needed to turn on the heat. I put their coats and sweaters on them and covered their houses at night so they were happier. I have a heated matress pad on the bed so you know where the cats were. The installation of the wood stove is turning out to be more complicated then we thought. We found we need to put a liner in the chimney to protect from carbon monoxide poisioning. The chimney is in great shape but after all these years it is possible the fumes will leak into the house. They you start checking out prices and find it can run into the thousands. Again we have a break that we can do it our selves. Jim found online a kit for around $1,400.00. I do not even want to try and imagine what we would be charged if we had someone do the work.

I need to leave soon to go help with parceling up the share packages. Share is a wonderful program that allows people on fixed incomes, large families or unemployed people to supplement their food supplies. For a small sum they receive a variety of food stuffs, it works out that it is half price over what they would pay in the stores. I have been part of similar programs in other states where I lived, some times they were called co-ops but the goal was the same. Getting people in need some help. What amazes me is the amount of resistance in this area to this program. We have small grocers who look at it and say it will cost them money. My argument is that by helping these people with the basics it will allow them to spend money on extras that they could not afford other wise. Why? I have so many ways to finish that question, it just boggles my mind. Why are we selfish, narrow minded, short sighted, etc!!!

Best to you my friends, Barbara

Friday, October 17, 2008

Yesterday was beautiful, the perfect fall day. The sky was blue, very little wind and the sun shining. Unfortunately I spent most of it inside at my job, the upside there is that I was earning a tad.

We had a freeze so now I must shift into overdrive getting my plants covered and protected. I still have about 2/3 of the hay wagon to unload, I have been lazy. I need to stack those bales around the girls stall and at the openings to try and keep as much of the wind out as possible. It will also act as insulation as I plan on stacking all over the place as well as putting all the tarps back up. My friend Carol in MN said that they always stacked hay around the foundation of their old farm house and that it helped. So I guess I will try that also, looks like I won't have to worry about going to the gym!! Being here is keeping me active which is so good, and I read that weight lifting is good so I've got it all.

My friend Debby, who I have known since the late 70's, is going through a rough patch so if we could send her some positive energy that would be great. She is a strong woman and I know that she will come through this with flying colors. My feeling is that she will be in a better place once this is put behind her. She and I have been through a lot over the years and have always managed to come through the fire.

I so hope that each and everyone of you are either in a good place or on your way there. I know that with all the things going on in the world it sometimes feels as if we will never get there. I worry about our retirement and the fact that what we have been through has wiped out all that Jim had acquired over the years. I am pinning my hopes on having a home business that will generate income over the years. Our plans for solar and wind power and being able to heat with wood are all part of the future so we won't have to worry so much about utility bills. The new skills I am acquiring with the vegetable garden and canning will also help with the food bills. I have also been toying with the idea of growing herbs to sell to restaurants. From what I can see you do not need very much space and if I can get a deal on a small greenhouse I should be able to grown them year round. Since they can be dried I could also sell them over the Internet.

Time will tell how well these things work. I just know that we will need supplemental income as SS will not cover it all. Jim's mechanical skills keep our cars going so we do not have car payments, which I hate. My feeling is that the amount you have to pay is not worth that small rush you get from having a new car. Once you drive off the lot it is a used car and you have years of payments ahead of you. You also have a car that looks like everyone else's, when I drive one of my old cars around it gets lots of attention. I need to invest about $3,000.00 in my 85 BMW, she needs paint and an engine rebuild as she is now at 250,000 miles. If you check the price of a new BMW you will see that what I will spend will be equal to a few months payments. I love driving her, she still is full of spunk and purrs right along, lots of fun.

I also have a 75 Torino Elite, you remember those cars with the hood the length of a football field? We already have the engine rebuilt but now she needs lots of body work. Where she was stored kids vandalized her so a complete repaint is needed, plus a couple of windows and all the lights. I am hoping the upholstery will clean up or else that will need replacing also. This is also a fun car to drive and when it is finished I want to take her to car shows for fun weekends. Jim has his 75? Bronco that he loves, he had it started the other day and the grin on his face was priceless. My daily driver is a 92 Nissan Pathfinder that Jim found for $500.00. It has some electrical issues which Jim is working on fixing, but it starts each day and gets me where I want to go.

I feel blessed with all we have, still being able to function. Blogging has turned out to be a joy, so many super people out there. Some times it seems the world is only populated with bad things, greedy, selfish people. Being able to reach out and be touched with so many great people, meeting challenges just as I am and conquering them and moving on. I think we can inspire each other, boost flagging spirits and cheer each other on. Thank you for being my blogger buddies!!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Oh, my gosh, it's October!!

Good morning my friends. Apparently I have been in a bit of a funk, I realized this morning I have not taken any pictures or written in my blog. Maybe it is fall when so much is ending that got me. Could be that so much is left to do on the house, we have accomplished quite a bit but none of it the "pretty" stuff. So this morning I had a talk with myself and said "get over it". In the big scheme of things that I like to talk about we are good. We have each other, the house has more insulation and we are still moving forward. We were able to find a good used wood stove that should be great for heating the house. We have our own wood and the health to cut it. Jim has most of the attic insulated and the holes drilled for the blown in insulation on the front of the downstairs. He found a storm window on sale for $35.00 and put that up on one of the living room windows. One was missing and it was amazing the amount of air that came in. I can not say enough how lucky we are that Jim can do so much by himself. On Good Morning America they showed two ladies who shared hints for saving money. One lady paid her mortgage off in 5 years, then did all sorts of home improvements by herself. She goes on line and finds the directions of how to do things and then jumps in. She had never used a lawnmower or power tool before, just shows what we can do when we try.
My friend Ellen spotted an ad for a free kitchen stove, so we went and picked it up. Needed a heating element which we got for $35.00, Jim took the cord off the old one and we ordered the front glass on line. So we have a glass top stove with lots of bells and whistles for about $150.00, how cool to have a stove where all the burners work and the oven keeps an even temp!!! Ellen is such a blessing, always ready with some information I need or finding bargains. How we met was such a fluke, makes ya know someone is looking out for us. Just sometimes we don't get the hint!
My little part time job is in the same spot she is working on weekends and we kind of cheer each other on. It is a bit of a challange sometimes, so much negative energy. Kinda sad when the only thing people have to talk about is each other or the customers that come in, and 90% of it seems to be bad. I refuse to join in and try to change the subject or make it something good, kind of like using a teaspoon to bail the ocean. Seems such a waste of energy and human spirit, guess I have a habit of trying to look at things through rose colored glasses. I just figure that none of us had a choice as to our parents, our birthplace, our social standing so to look down on each other is a waste. What we had when young was due to our parents hard work and their luck, nothing we did. What we have now is due to the choices we have made, luck and drive. Some have more some less, but I don't believe that makes us better or worse, just lucky.

Well must go to work, I have missed you and will do better at writing as I do enjoy it. Barbara

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wednesday, half way there

This is Tonka, my son's cat that has been with me for the last couple of years. He is such a lover and so funny, he gets into the strangest positions and gives you such looks. Another friend who helps me cope, a good guy.

We have been having such wonderful weather. There was a small interruption for a rain storm, I am not complaining about the rain, so needed. I was not real happy about the high wind, it even knocked over one of my big clay pots with the cherry tomatoes in it. The temps have been in the 70's cooling off at night, blue skies, the kind of weather you just wish would last all year round. check out our Miss Edie Marie, she is celebrating her 100Th post with a giveaway. Very nice person, funny, creative and just the type of person you wish lived next door.

My new part time job is going along OK, not great. So much to learn and remember and everyone giving you slightly different information. I can feel the rust flaking off the brain cells as I require them to function at a higher level. There are gas pumps to keep an eye on, registers with all kinds of functions to cope with and food to be put out. Being an octopus would be great. I just keep reminding myself that it is not forever and that I have goals, grit my teeth and keep plugging. Be glad I am able to work and learn new things and that someone actually hired me. Once I have the garage turned into my bakery I can say bye, bye.

My friend from Minnesota is leaving for France tomorrow, I wonder if I will ever get to travel and if I really want to. I so hope she has a wonderful time, she is such a nice, nice person and I am so blessed to have her for a friend. Be safe Carol and come home soon.

Best to you all, Barbara

Monday, September 22, 2008

Very early morning

I'm up and can't sleep, had this problem all week. Not sure why but I am getting lots of reading done. I had managed to doze off and then about 4am Elvira was yodeling at my door wanting out. She does not bark that much and has this wierd whiny yodel. So out the herd and I went and back Elvira, Molly and I came. Charlie went who knows where, so while I waited for him to make an appearance I made a cup of tea. After about 10 min. he showed back up, by now of course I am wide awake so started catching up on my blog reading. I am really enjoying this blog stuff. Such a wide range of people makes it facinating.

I started a part time job at the store in town, I guess it will be alright. I have certainly worked worse places in my life and right now a few extra dollars will come in handy. I made a birthday cake last Friday for a friends husband, then got a call on Saturday with an order. Word of mouth is great!! I am hoping this will be a real start to getting my business rolling. We need to get to work on organizing my equipment in the garage and removing all the extra stuff that is out there. Oh, here is a photo of the wedding cake I did at the first of the month. One thing making this did was to make me realize I do not have the faintest idea where most of my stuff is. Also, not doing this for a while it takes a bit to remember all the steps. In the end all was well and the grooms Mother and Dad assured me that everyone loved it, which is always a good thing. I am looking forward to setting things up so everything has a place and making my cakes will not be quite so stressy.
On Good Morning America they did a piece on how many people were going back to having a garden in their yard or community gardens. They mentioned that having your own garden can save you in the area of $400.00 a year. I know I am loving going out and coming back in with 4 or 5 pounds of wonderful tasting tomatoes. I almost have enough to try making some tomato sauce to can. When the rest of them ripen I will really be busy.
Jim went back to his apartment last night, seems so strange with him gone. This past week was the longest he has been home in one stretch and I really liked having him here. As always we try to keep in mind that him having a job is a blessing. There is of course that corner of the mind that wishes a super job would open up around here, or one of the lottery tickets would come in with a few million. Hey, we can dream!! Just not count on it and enjoy what we have.
Think I will try going back to bed and catching a few zzzzzzzzzzzs. Best to you my friends, Barbara

Friday, September 19, 2008

I'm Baccckkkkk!

Well, the first thing I have to say is thank you. Reading the comments this morning and reading that you missed me made me tear up. I tend to be pretty independent, had to be due the hand life delt, so having people notice I was not around touched me. Thank you again.

Ok, part of being MIA was being busy. I had a wedding cake to do and deliver. This was a fairly large reception so am hoping to garner more business from this. This time of year is hectic I have actually been canning!! I am pretty proud of myself with this new skill. I have salsa, applesauce and pickles. As soon as I purchase a pressure canner I will expand my skills. I love the idea I can put up meals to send with Jim for his apartment and also have back up here. I love cooking large batches of things so this will work well. Soon potatoes will be ready and I can buy 50 pound bags for less then $10.00, my friend Ellen tells me they can beautifully. So I am going to put some of those up also. I am also going to make lots of tomato sauce as that can be used in so many meals. My gourds are growing huge! I do not have many, but am thrilled with the ones I have. I now know I can grow them and make cool things with them.Last week was stressy as Jim was in the hospital, he had food poisoning. He had purchased some fried chicken at a store deli and about 1 am woke up very sick. That afternoon he went to the ER and the admitted him. He was there until Sunday, very scary as I was here and could not go hold his hand. All is well now, they gave him a week off from work so he has been at home where I can fuss over him.

I need to get ready to go out now, so will check in with you all later. On a closing note here is a picture of a neat plant my friend Caroll in MN shared with me. I believe it is call Dragon's Tears.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


How many times have I told you to stay off the furniture??

It wasn't my fault, he made me do it. No, she was up here first, it's her fault! You know I would not do anything to upset you Mom. I love you!

Hide me Elvira, Mom's mad!

I keep telling people that having Charlie and Molly around is like having a couple of two year olds. I rest my case.

While out in the yard earlier Charlie found a box he would not leave alone. Turns out there was an opossum in it, great. So we go in and I hope the creature will go away. No such luck, we go out again and he manages to shake it out of the box. I run over to drag him away and there lies the possum, first time I have seen one play dead. Later on go out again and it is gone, Charlie wanted to go and hunt it up, I nixed that idea real fast.

This is a new morning glory I planted this year, they called it a double? I was hoping it would open up a little more but this seems to be as good as it gets.
It has been downright chilly in the mornings here, was 46 yesterday. It is only up to 73 so far today and it is 2:30. I like Fall but it is the thought of Winter following close on it's heels that does not make me real thrilled. It seems about the time you get the garden looking good, Mother Nature freezes it. Well, at least you have Spring to look forward too,lol.

The best to you, Barbara

Monday, August 25, 2008

A request

Happy Monday, today is another beautiful day cool, sunny and little breeze. I was disconcerting to realize it was on 46 this morning, fall is on the way. This weather is great for working in the yard, but bad for the crops as we could sure use some rain.

I recieved an email today with a request for a little help, nothing bad. My husband's nephew Paul has a band megaphone and he and his band are in a contest. The contest is being run like American Idol so all the votes count and the band that wins gets some nice prizes. So, my friends if you have the time they would appreciate your help in the form of a vote. You need to go to this site, go to the bottom of the page and sign up as a fan. The site will send you an email showing you have registered, you follow the link back to makerockhistory and in the search area type in megaphone. You will then see a vido of the boys playing one of their songs, Paul is the one with the Abe Lincoln beard and his brother Scott is on the drums. I really appreciate your taking the time to do this for the guys, they are a nice group and I hope we can help them out.

That is my good deed for the day, so thank you for helping.
The best to you, Barbara

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Happy Saturday

About 6:30 stumbled down the stair to take the dogs out, opened the door and had to dash back upstairs to get my camera. I thought the sky looked so cool, the sun is still below the horizon but the sky was so blue. The dogs milled around on the front porch wondering what the heck I was up to now!! As I wandered around taking pictures they were happy, they got to stay out longer and chase bugs and eat grass. They found the scent of someone who had wandered through the flower bed. My tallest sunflowers are starting to open finally. Sunflowers seem so happy and friendly, I am so lucky to have enough space to plant as many as I want. I think by next year I should have enough space cleared to plant many more.Blogger is just not being nice to me lately, will not let me move my pictures around like I want. Oh, well, minor glitch. The white flowers are cleones or spider flowers and they are doing great, hopefully more will come up next year. Can you see how dry it is, I water the flowers but not the grass, what passes for grass is now brown.

Then we checked out the gourds which have spread all over and now there are lots and lots of baby gourds. There are still many flowers on the vines, this gives me hope that if I get them planted earlier next year I should have a bumper crop. Found that the morning glories are blooming now also. I made a rustic entry to the garden area and planted morning glory and moon flower vine seeds. The morning glories have been slow to bloom this year, along with so much else.

The dogs carefully explored all the nooks and crannies and flushed out lots of frogs. I am hoping that all these frogs mean they are eating lots of bugs and my plants will be bug free.
By now the sun was coming up and time for us to head inside and get ready for the day. Lots to do and hopefully I can get a decent amount done. Have a wonderful weekend, thank you so much for stopping by. As I have mentioned in the past, reading your comments brings smiles to my day. Best to you, Barbara

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mother Nature fooled me again!

Well, she got me again. I mentioned before that I did not think there would be any gourds, or watermelons as they got a late start. When I went into the garden on the weekend, lo and behold I have a gourd almost full size. Later in the day I found 3 baby watermelons plus a cucumber. She is an amazing lady and I need to have more faith. I may not get a huge crop but there will some gourds and other goodies. I also found some almost ripe tomatoes which I picked and they are now sitting on the window sill getting ready to be my BLT. Miss blog here is giving me fits and won't let me put my pictures or words where I want. So today's will be short.
Catch ya later.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Be on the look out for

I'm not sure where it is headed, but the summer squash is on the move again. Last seen heading over the fence into the strawberry patch. Approach with caution as we are not sure of it's powers, we think it may be trying to link up with the zucchini. The zucchini seems to have tapped into a secret source of nutrition as they are reaching monstrous proportions. The tomatoes seem to be sharing the same source as they are also exceeding all expectations. I know it is hard to tell from the pictures but the zucchini is about the length of my forearm. With the tomatoes think the largest beefeater type and that is where they are. I tried lifting the branches and gave up as the weight is so much I thought the branch would probably break. My mouth is watering for a good BLT. The zucchini amaze me with the speed with which they grow. The gourd plants are spreading like mad and covered with flowers, but I am afraid it is too late in the year for me to expect any gourds. I talked to a lady in the hardware store and she said hers do not even have flowers yet. The cold wet spring coupled with low temps over the summer has slowed the growth in many plants. I am just going to have to plan more carefully next year and start everything much earlier inside. I need to make lists and timetables so I can keep myself on track with all these projects.
I guess now would also be a time to start on Christmas projects, I have not made my Angels for a few years. With all the upsets and changes my creative juices were at a trickle. Time to open the floodgates and get back at it. I also need to twink Jim's Santa suit, actually I think I may make a whole new one. We went with a soft fabric thinking the kids would like it, but I think it is too soft. I am thinking a stiffer fabric that will hold it's shape.
It was very misty this morning and I thought my roses looked so pretty like they were gem encrusted. I also finished a new project on Monday, an arch. When in Mankato for the dentist my friend Ellen spotted the arches on sale at Michael's. On Sunday I had finally decided where I wanted to put it and went to work. I was moving right along and feeling pleased with my efforts when it came to a screeching halt. There were not enough screws!! bummer!
Being Sunday nothing close was open so had to wait until Monday and then success. I was rather pleased with myself, not having to take it back apart because I had put something in the wrong place. I am the person who in home Ec had to take her shirt apart 3 times due to putting sleeve inside blouse, putting it on upside down and inside out. Takes me a bit to get it all together. So, wadda ya think?? I have a whole scenario planed with paths and lots of plants , then it will not look so lonely. I want to have climbing roses and clematis growing over it. I plan on making lots of stepping stones in different patterns and will use those. My goal is a cottage garden with little lawn and tons of perennials. Was pleased so many of the plants came up this Spring. The white flowers are Cleones or Spider flowers and the original plants were pink and white. The ones that came up are 99% white, hummm. Mother Nature likes to give me puzzles.
I have yammered on far too long here, thank you for coming to visit. Looking through and seeing who shared their time with me, I get joy and smiles from your visits. Best to all, Barbara

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Is your hut on fire?

I was sent this in an email and thought how true. Some times what seems the worst opens a door to something better. Enjoy!

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him. Every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions. One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky. He felt the worst had happened, and everything was lost. He was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger. He cried out, 'God! How could you do this to me?' Early the next day, he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching the island! It had come to rescue him! 'How did you know I was here? ' asked the weary man of his rescuers.
'We saw your smoke signal,' they replied.
The Moral of This Story
It's easy to get discouraged when things are going bad, but we shouldn't lose heart,
because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of our pain and suffering.
Remember that the next time your little hut seems to be burning to the ground.
It just may be a smoke signal that summons the Grace of God.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Warmish Sunday

Jim is on his way back to work, he was supposed to be home for 4 days but something broke at work . So, now he is on the way back and it will be two weeks before he is home again. This is always the part that bugs me the most and I have all the selfish whiny thoughts of I wish he were here. Yuck, do not like to be like that, should be sending lots of prayers up being thankful he has a job. He had a project this weekend that went well, got the item made and shipped. I am so proud of all his talents, just wish they would come together a little better for him.

Had to brag about one of my roses, I think it is so lovely the different hues. The bud it starts out with is perfect in shape and takes several days to open. In all we get to enjoy the rose for almost a week. The other roses are growing so fast, lots of buds so will have beauty and great scent for weeks. As I mentioned before the garden is going wild, so fun. In the foreground on the right is the ONE zucchini plant, on the left are the strawberries. Back right are tomato plants, middle are the monster yellow squash plants, left we have broccoli and cauliflower. Taking over the fence in the back are my gourd plants, this is a 5 foot fence to give you some prospective. Now you see why I am revising my garden plans for next year, much more room. So lucky to have so much space to spread out and plant to my hearts content.
Wanted to show of the terrible twosome, Molly is really growing fast. She gives Charlie a work out, fearless little thing. Charlie is changing color, my theory is that since he was always tied out he got bleached. Now that new hair is growing in he is a wonderful shade of chocolate. I am also showing off several more of our projects as in painting house a better color, putting down a real porch floor rather then sheets of plywood. I have a new storm door picked out. The current one is bent on the left side where it was pried open when they broke in and stole our woodwork and appliances, plus it is uuugly. The upside is that we can't sit around and moan we are bored or have nothing to do. It will be fun to post pictures showing the afters as we get them done.

Going and reading others blogs is a pleasant way to spend a few hours, so much diversity, but so much the same. We all have joys, sorrows, challenges and successes. How we meet the hurdles and clear them gives us different slants on life. I learn so much from you all and enjoy your visits and comments. Thank you for sharing, Barbara