Saturday, January 31, 2009

This is not our house, but it is the color I want to paint our house. Now to me the color reminds me of the color maize that used to be in the crayon box. What do you think? I spotted this house a couple of years ago and fell in love with the color, it is yellow, but not tooo yellow, or bright. To me it looks welcoming and friendly and like home. How would you describe the color, I can not seem to find a match in the stores. I went by this house last summer and they had closed in the porch, I so wanted to drive up and tell them NOOOO. They framed it in that brownish color that they have trimmed the house in. To me, it ruined the whole look. I like the white trim, but not the reddish brown, thing is I am not sure what other color to use. I know not green or black, still trying to puzzle that out. Hopefully by the end of summer our home will be transformed.

I like all our trees, have always loved trees. When I was very small we lived in upstate New York and had a small country store. In the back yard was an old apple tree which was my refuge, when I would climb up there I was safe. I had many adventures in that old tree. In Florida there are wonderful old Oak trees, with long swooping branches. Just perfect for climbing. Friday was warmer and sunny and when I took the dogs out the trees were still frosted.

I did a few things around the kitchen, trying to make it feel better. I found some of my molds in a box and decided to hang them. Hopefully over the summer this strange bump out will be gone along with the ugly ceiling and cabinets. I want to find some old glass front cabinets to replace these ugly wood things. I also am going to put in an island . I took a large box and put it where I wanted an island, this way I could try it out to see if it would work. I think it will, so now I am trying to figure out exactly what shape I want.

I had purchased this plant holder at a thrift shop sometime ago. I never found the right pots to put in it, but while browsing through Michael's I found these vases and thought, why not??? I kinda like how it looks.

I also want to mention that our Miss Renie is one of those who is without power. Thanks to her daughter we are being kept up to date and Renie is doing well. She has her crank radio so can get the news. So many of the trees are being damaged by all the ice on them. So I am sending out prayers and good wishes to all those without power, hoping that all will be restored soon. My friend Debby who lives in Tennessee was brushed by that storm, but not to the extent that Miss Renie was.

Best to all, hope everyone stays warm, dry and happy.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Another Week gone

Woke to frozen fog and every surface coated with frost, early morning was surreal. As you can see in the next photos, the fog forms ice crystals, when the sun hits them they sparkle like diamonds. Later in the day the sun came out and it was just one of those perfect days, no breeze, blue skies and sunshine. I actually had to unzip my jacket as I was to warm. In the third picture you can see the bunny tracks in the snow. By late afternoon the trees and bushes were clear of their coating, so was glad I captured them early on. Blogger is not cooperating with me, I have tried to move the pictures with no success. Maybe I am just doing it wrong.

2009 is galloping off down the road and I am just hanging on to the tail!! I had planned to be in the saddle and in control, fat chance. Just amazes me that the end of January is in sight already.
I have made some progress in trying to organize things a bit better, as mentioned in the past real decorating will have to wait. Since the weather does not permit much in the way of outside things to be done I am taking advantage of the warmer days to do things around the house. Oh, in answer to Violet Lady's question as to how it could have been 40 degrees in my kitchen, allow me to elaborate. The room off the kitchen used to be the back porch, rather then tearing it off and then building a room on they enclosed the porch. When Jim and I were attempting to put insulation in the dropped ceiling I was amazed to see the original porch roof, you know the narrow boards they use for that. I am sure when we get to the point of taking off the wall covering we will find, as in the roof that there is no insulation. This room is exposed on the North and West sides of the house. So, you take that exposure, add in shoddy construction and no insulation and basically you have a walk in freezer. They also removed the door that used to be the entrance to the kitchen, so there is no way to close this off. When the temp reaches between -5 and -20 it gets really cold, drawing the warm from the kitchen. I have my refrigerator out there so that there is more room in the kitchen, so need to have access. With the insulation we have put up, it truly is much better then in the past so we are making progress. As with all the different challenges posed by our home, all will be resolved in time. Since we love the house and have no plans to move, we make do and keep plugging away to resolve the minuses and accentuate the pluses.

I had occasion to call Wilton, the company that makes so many pans and supplies for cake making. In the course of the conversation I mentioned the lack of teachers in this area and Rose who I was speaking with said why didn't I become one? Hummm, ok what do I do to make this happen? Turns out if I take the master course from Wilton I can then become certified to be a teacher. To make a long story short, I think I am going to do it. The course will be two weeks, which will mean I have to take the motor home over to Chicago. I have discussed this with Jim and he promises me he will do the needed repairs to the home so it will be good to go. I am getting excited about this as the course will go over many of the techniques I am interested in.
I am thinking I will also begin to stock some supplies as those are also hard to come by. I feel by doing this my business will be well rounded, more ways to meet people and more avenues for business opportunities. The class will be in June which gives me time to save my pennies as the class is pricey and give Jim ample time to make repairs to the motor home.

Best to you all, I am going back to snooze some more!

Monday, January 19, 2009

This and That

On Saturday it started to warm up which was a good thing, the wind started to blow which wasn't such a good thing. As you can see in the first picture twas not a good day for man nor beast. My two beasties have the right idea. It was a great relief to have the temperatures head up over zero. We spent over three days with temperatures hovering around minus 20 something and that was not with the wind chill. To give you an example it was 40 degrees in my kitchen, needless to say I did not spend much time there. The second floor is much warmer and that is where we all hung out. Sunday was positively balmy with the temperatures up to 27 degrees above. Sorry to be so fixated on the weather, but it does tend to make an impact and if you live where it is warmer you can be smug. If you have the same type or worse we can share the misery.

As it warmed I got more energetic and made a triple batch of the peanut butter treats for the pups and worked on some of my angels. I also have been trying to make my dining room table look a tad better. It is an older solid wood table that I purchased at the thrift shop several years ago. It had not lead a gentle life but I liked the looks of it. Now I am finally getting around to trying to get the wobble out of it and a bit more of a shine. I do not plan on stripping it as I feel when you do that to an older piece of furniture it loses it's character. I'll let you know how it all comes out. I tried before just using some glue but it seems to have worn off, so am trying something that seems to be especially for old joints. Wonder if it would work on mine??, of course mine are not loose, just the opposite.

I am having one of those nights where I just can't sleep, short of hitting myself over the head I'm not sure what to do. So, here I am bugging you guys. Amazing all the places your mind goes when you are trying to turn it off. Then I decided to read and thought something awful had gone wrong with my eyes. I could not get the words to focus in, checked my glasses and the lenses looked nice and clean. Still no go, rub my eyes, put in eye drops and still can't see worth a darn. Decide to clean my glasses, ah ha one of the lenses has fallen out. What a relief! Hunt around, pop the lens in and I can see. This is one of the multitude of glasses I have floating around, I buy them at Sam's 4 pair at a time. My nice tri focals Molly decided would make a nice snack so safer to use these others. I need lots of them because something is always happening. Of the last four, one pair was broken when I opened the package, one pair washed and in the process lost one of the ear pieces. Another pair was squashed in the truck and no one knows how (yeah, like I believe that one). The last pair is missing a screw, kinda like me it had several loose. The pair I am currently using I found in a coat pocket, so you see my need for back up.

Well, since it is 4:30 am I think I will give sleep another try, knowing of course that as soon as I am asleep the dogs will wake up and want to go out. Good thing I can set my own hours.

Best to you all and pleasant dreams.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Inside Today!

Ah yes, you will find me inside today, bundled up and maybe sipping hot chocolate. According to the weather site it is -17 and that is not with the wind chill. Yes, I know it is Winter and it is Iowa but I am still whining. Must be residual Florida type thing, growing up getting dressed was a case of throwing on shorts, shirt and flip flops. Now it is panty hose, long johns and fleece pants and top, wool socks and real shoes. Looking out my window is a beautiful sunrise, the dogs are happily chewing on bones, the cats are enjoying the heated bed and all is right with the world. The pluses definitely out weigh the minuses.

It has snowed on and off for the last two days, not sure how much. Not mega amounts like many parts of the country. Watching the news gives me more reasons to count my blessings, huge car pileups on expressways, flooding, power outages and of course war. Trying to imagine huddling in a corner of the house, being afraid of being bombed or shot. Something along the lines of hiding from a tornado, but worse. We are so very lucky, sometimes we forget or take what we have for granted. So many people do without the basics and we have an excess of everything.

Talking to my friend Ellen last night about ordering plants and when to start the seeds inside.
She is a florist and has a greenhouse so she has to get her ordering done early. I want some cherry trees, pear trees and more apple trees. We are also going to get some peach trees, yeah peach trees in Iowa!! I was amazed when she told me she had them, but tasting the friut soon covinced me. They were so sweet, I was in heaven, the fruit is small but is still most definelty a peach. I would also like to add some birch trees to the landscape. We were going over types of vegetables, talking about all this is exciting. A reaffirmation that Spring will be here, that there will be a cornucopia of good things to eat. I will work more on my canning skills so the harvest can be enjoyed all year. Also hopeful that this year my plans for a pumpkin patch will come to be. These things will be fun but am also hoping to bring in some more pennies to aid the home front.

I had mentioned before about my attempts to be economical and it came to mind when I was filling the bird feeders. I, like most of us, buy the big bags of bird seed and trying to put it into smaller, more managible containers can be a challange. I have cats who let me live in the house with them, so need kitty litter. I buy the litter that comes in the buckets or plastic jugs. These containers are put to use for a variety of jobs. They are used to take the hot water out to the goats, outdoor cats and bird baths. I put my different types of birdseed in the jugs making it easy to fill the feeders with a minimum of spillage. Transfering the seed from the large bags to the jugs proved to be somewhat messy. I tried using a funnel but it kept getting clogged, and then the light bulb went off. I cut the bottom off a milk jug and ta da perfect funnel, soon the jugs were filled and nary a seed spilled. Throw the "funnel" into the recycling and all is good. I have also used the milk jug as a clothes pin holder, cut a hole in the jug opposite the handle, then slice at the bottom of the handle. Then just put the jug over the clothes line and it will slide right along with you as you hang your clothes. In the warmer weather I try to hang as much out as possible. I do put the towles in the dryer just to fluff, but the majority of the drying is on the line. I also found that using less soap in the washer helps with the stiff factor of the clothes. When you think about it, most of what we wash is not all that "dirty", it is more in the line of needing to be refreshed.

Today I am hoping to get several batches of pet treats done, one calls for fresh parsley which I grow on the window sill. This particular parsley plant is nearly two years old, I just keep snipping off what I need and it keeps growing. While looking for different ideas for home made solar ideas I found plans for a year round greenhouse. It is a bit labor intensive, but I believe doable. The man dug a pit about 9 feet deep, 15 feet long and 6 feet wide, lined it with panels of insulation then started filling it back layering dirt and PVC pipes. The greenhouse is then built on a cement floor, covered with plastic and has panels that fold out during the day. The unit faces south so is collecting what ever sun there is. He built his against the south facing wall of his work shop. There are thermostats and fans to bring the warm air from the pipes, then when the air in the green house reaches a certain temperature another fan blows heat into the workshop. My plan is to build this off the side of the animal shed with the hopes that the temperature for the girls will be raised. Mr. Orr stated that the temperature in the greenhouse never went below 58 degrees and they had vegetables all year round. The clincher was finding out that Mr. Orr and his family lived in Wyoming. I found all this and more in Mother Earth News, I get their newsletter in my email with so many wonderful tips.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Alright, I am not quite sure what is going on. Where the x is was supposed to be the lurker. It goes with the comment about this being delurker week, and we are to remind lurkers to please leave a comment. After that is the neat award from Violet Lady.
Violet Lady gave me this really nice award!! Thank you so much. I am to pass it on to others whose blogs I like, so here goes. Edie Marie's Attic
,Pea at,
Miss Renie at
Nancy at
Mary at Enjoy my friends.

Happy 2009

Charlie was helping me take pictures, he is curious and my shadow. He is very handsome and tries so hard to figure out what I want from him. Miss Molly is coming along well also, she is more determined and takes a bit firmer tone of voice. Then she comes back so I can rub her ears and she can give me kisses, sort of make nice type of thing. I think she has about outgrown this bed, what do you thinkI'm still getting used to it being 2000 and now here it is 2009. Time is flying by, faster and faster. Remember when we were kids and everything seemed to take so much time. Was talking to someone the other day and mentioned the old saying " Too soon old, too late smart". The older I get the truer that is, looking back it is a bit of a miracle I made it this far in one piece.
I guess what got me on this track was looking at pictures of my oldest Granddaughter, she is so pretty and full of life. She also has 3 beautiful children and is a good Mother to them, but I worry about her. I can vividly remember being her age, and on my own with 2 children, I felt so old and thought I knew what I was doing. In retrospect I wish I had been more in control of the direction my life took. I pretty much got along by reacting to situations, we survived by my working all the time. I seldom had a full day off and tried to structure my jobs around my children. I made sure we went fun places, being in Boston made that easy so much to do. I also dressed them in beautiful clothes and they had all the newest toys. Now I wish I had gone to school and spent more time with them, ah well. Not much to do now. I try when I talk to my children to get them to think more about their future, make plans etc. I don't think I am getting the point across , worries me.

We had a nice New Year, Jim was able to come home Wednesday morning and did not have to leave until Sunday afternoon. The weather was not too bad, which was a blessing. He put more insulation up in the attic, did some more cement work under the back room. Just having him home is so nice, knowing there is another human being sharing my space. I enjoy cooking nice meals for him and making sure he has nice clean clothes to take back with him. This time I tried making sticky Cinnamon buns from scratch. Other then setting the oven on fire, I did pretty well. They do take a lot of time, the ones I have made in the past were the frozen dough kind. The whole process took about 3 hours, but was well worth it. He and his staff are enjoying my experiment. I have a request from my son, he wants apple butter and has put in a request for more Strawberry jam. His girlfriend also wants some more pickles. Having people enjoy what I have grown and preserved is a very satisfying feeling.
The house has been comfortable, not too much wind so the place stays warm. This gives me more incentive to do more things around the house. Feels good to be making some progress, feelings of accomplishment and all that.
I hope that everyone is starting the new year off in good spirits and health. I wish us all answers to dreams and prayers, that we may prosper not only financially but also spiritually.