Monday, March 9, 2009

Did someone mention Spring?

My friend Shelley in Wisconsin sent a message that she had seen a Robin! I went to look and this is what I saw, not fair. In all fairness the days are getting longer and somewhat warmer. We have gotten up into the 40's and there are days I can skip a layer or two. In looking at the trees and lilac bushes I can see buds on them. I just want it all now!!

Last Monday I went to my first meeting of the local garden club. A nice group of ladies, all very welcoming which is nice. I am looking forward to more meetings and helping to pretty up the town. There are also classes to go to and much information to share. Most of my past gardening experience is in Florida and the vast majority of that was flowers. Attempts at growing vegetables in Florida was not a good experience, so many pests and diseases and then the heat. Being able to put in a garden last year and have things grow was a super experience. This morning I opened another jar of my strawberry jam and last Sunday used my tomato sauce on the pizza I made for Jim. I know that many people take all this type of thing for granted, for me it is mostly new. My Grandfather always grew vegetables and when I lived with them I always had fresh salads and vegetables. We seldom had meat, only at the holidays. Grampa was very much into fresh, natural and against use of pesticides, he baked bread and did so many things for us. He was a wonderful role model, one that I appreciate so much more the older I get.

We have finally found a tractor, this will be so super as it has a scoop on the front. I can use it to dig and move things and then next winter clear the drive by myself and not have to depend on the kindness of my neighbors. I will be able to return the favor to them I hope. I am planning to use it to clear out much of the downed wood, if I can pull it out of the woods Jim will be able to cut it up. We purchased a partially made log splitter, the guy was making it and then found a newer one and never finished this. So, for $35.00 we have the basics of it and Jim will be able to finish it off. Our neighbor Mel brought over the phone number for a man selling a tractor and Jim went to check it out. He made a deal with the man, we are going to be able to make payments on it, which helps a bunch. I saw Mel and his wife Terri up at the store and he was teasing me about being able to drive a tractor. I figure if I can learn the pickup and other stuff, with practice I will be able to drive the tractor also. I will let you know how it goes.

Well, that is about all that is new and exciting here for now. I need to finish some apple butter I am making, I needed to use up the last of the apples. Really super that they lasted this long, very little waste. I made myself some vegetable beef soup yesterday, so know what I am having for lunch. The more i put my mind to it, the more I am able to make from scratch and save more. Looking in the stores and seeing a small can of soup costing over a dollar, makes ya think. For little more then a dollar I made a large pot of soup which will last me for days, I could even freeze some if I wanted. All this makes the thought of being able to grow so much of what we will need for next year so much more exciting. I feel we have gotten so lazy, well maybe it is not all lazy, just not having the knowledge. Last year being able to can something was a huge mystery to me, thanks to my friend Ellen giving me the confidence I gave it a try. Now I am hooked!! I showed her a pressure canner I had purchased several years ago at a thrift shop. I was not sure if it was any good, she assured me it should be fine. So now I will be able to expand my skills and can so much more.
I really need to stop abusing these poor animals!

Best to you my friends.


Mary said...


I'm so glad you are able to plant, grow and preserve your own food. I wish we had the room to do that.

Driving a tractor isn't all that hard. Just be careful in the beginning and you will do fine.

You're learning so many new things and you can learn to write as well. I would love for you to post a short story that you'd written. I would enjoy reading it.

Yes, Dakota is just as abused as your animals--spoiled rotten. Ha!


Joanne said...

Regarding the canned soup, not to mention all the sodium they have. Some of the percentages are ridiculously high! We grow lettuce, zucchini, tomatoes each year. Once you start, you'll never stop. There is just nothing like veggies fresh off the vine, straight to the table. So good.

Good luck with the tractor, I know you'll do fine. And I really agree with Mary's comment, would love to see a short story you'd written! I'll bet it would have lots of personality! Have a great week, to your kitty there too ...

Renie Burghardt said...

Hi Barbara,

I do hope things have warmed by more by now in Iowa. I know they have in the Ozarks, and we have been in the 70s all week. Jonquils, forsythia, and a shrub that I have no name for, are all blooming and things are getting so pretty. I have even planted a row of lettuce and spinach already.

Although I don't garden on a large scale anymore, I do put in a few things. Nothing like fresh veggies from the garden. I remember you had much success with your garden last summer, and had tomatoes well into fall, from the green tomatoes. I did as well, thanks to you.

The tractor will really come in handy, and I'm sure you will do well with it.

And hey, I spoil my animals as well!

I enjoyed catching up with your doings. I am very behind when it comes to blogging, these days.

Have a wonderful week!

Hugs and blessings,


Nancy Jo said...

That kitty looks pretty happy to me.
You have been really busy, look at you, canning and planting a garden, and flower clubs, and decorating the town, much better then Florida! So glad you found your place. Did I ever tell you I love that house. Oh yea, thats right, just everytime I'm here.
Windy windy today and in the 40's headed down to the 30's. But it won't be long before things turn around.

Karen said...

I love hearing about all you have going on. Your life sounds very productive and rewarding. I would love to have a tractor! Just to have the fun of driving it:)

I'll bet you could write a book full of short stories about your interesting life on your farm. Or a children's book about your goats!

violetlady said...

The Clark Homestead is turning into a great success. I am so happy for you -- you work very hard at it. The tractor is a great addition. Say, how are the "girls"?

Edie Marie's Attic said...

Hi Barb!

My hubby has been making soups all winter and they have been great! He always freezes some too for a quick meal later.

The tractor is going to be so wonderful to have around your place! I'm really excited you'll have something to do part of the hard labor.

Oh yes, I see how abused your pets are! About as abused as ours!!

Have a great day Barb!

Hugs, Sherry

Nancy said...

Why, yes, you should be reported for abusing your animals. LOL They have the life of Reilly, don't they? Just like mine...they sleep while I work! Something's wrong with this picture, don't you think? ha-ha Love your kitty's cute little face! I see a dog on the bed, too! Lucky, lucky animals! I think of the ones outside in the winter trying to survive in a cold doghouse. I even heat those heat disks in my mocrowave for the feral kitty outside yet that sleeps in the dog igloo I bought for them years ago.

So good that you can can foods and save that way. Nothing like homegrown veggies from the garden in the wintertime!

And you're quite the gal....driving a tractor! You go, Girl!!! I always say..."What a man can do, women can do better!" Good luck with it! It will be such a help to you in wintertime, clearing your driveway.

Have a great week!

((( HUGS )))