Sunday, November 14, 2010

November Snow

We went from having some lovely weather to snow, which is pretty and we knew it had to show up sometime. Just never quite ready for it , unlike Spring which never seems to come soon enough.

We continue to plug along, Jim has another job interview on Tuesday so we will see how that one goes. I am getting the hang of my phone job, more information is seeping into my overwhelmed head. I have had some good feedback recently which has really helped. For the most part the members are very nice and helpful, with the occasional bad egg. The kind you want to reach through the phone and smack!! The ones who think they are the only people on the planet who matter and the rest of us are only on the planet to make them happy. Thank goodness they are in the minority.

The baby chicks are growing so fast, we brought in a small size water tank to transfer them to, it has high sides so they are not able to jump out. We will be moving them to it in the next couple of days so they have a bit more room to move around. Jim has been working on getting the barn closed up for the winter, our panels were a hit last year. Jim is refurbishing them and making some improvements to them to help the critters be comfortable.. Last year I covered a couple of the windows with plastic and chicken wire but the goats were still able to tear the plastic off. We fooled them this year by putting Plexiglas pieces over the openings. We have a couple of back up heaters and heat lamps if the temps dip really low for very long. Each year we learn a bit more.

Jim continues to work at caulking and stuffing insulation where he can. He found and sealed a huge leak in the dining room. He removed some drywall and found that there was no insulation behind it. I am constantly amazed that this type of work has not been done before living in this temperate zone you would think it would be a priority. We had some pretty high winds which aided in identifying where some of the major leaks were, they also showed what a great job he had done on the windows. Not one of them rattled or leaked, great!! He is also making huge strides on his shop area, finally going through and organizing tools and parts. When he is done he will have a wonderful area to work on anything.

I have started dragging out Christmas stuff , with Jim here to help me I can do much more this year. This is one of my favorite seasons with all the decorations and good food. I have been baking lots of cookies and scones and checking out recipes. I was watching an infomercial for the Cricut cake machine and learned a few things that I am going to try. I was so depressed when I was unable to go to the Wilton School I just kinda packed everything away.

I am hopeful that in a few more weeks I will have the job down pat so that I am able to make a decent amount of money to help us out. Then when Jim gets back to work and we get everything caught up I will be able to buy things for my shop and get it open. One step at a time,lol.

Best to you all and have a wonderful Turkey Day!!


Friday, October 29, 2010

The babies are here!!

Jim picked up the babies and they are installed in the basement for the time being. They are so small and so cute!! We have the cage all closed in to keep the temps up, supposed to be 90 at first and then slowly open it up more to lower the temps. By the time they are a couple of months old they will go out to the barn. Jim has been working on a nice place for them until they are big enough to run around more. He will also begin work on the larger coop for the older ones.
All of the chickens lay the brown eggs that people really seem to like. From what I have read with the chickens being pretty much free range the eggs actually more nutritious. As I mentioned previously the brown eggs go for more, so thinking next summer will be making a bit more, yeah!!

Hard freeze last night, no more maters from the garden all froze!! With the work Jim has been doing to the windows the house seems much snugger. We have had some really high winds and not a window was rattling or curtains blowing as in the past. Temps are still modrate compared to how low they are going to get, but I am pleased. He keeps finding new places that need insulation , he finally calmed the windstorm in the dining room which is more then good. Little by little,lol.

I am off to my nest as tomorrow will be a pretty long day, will be on the phone for most of the afternoon and early evening. If you know of anyone looking for something to do from home, have them get in touch.

Best to you all,

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wild weather all around!! Thought the moon looked rather Holloweenie, wish I could get a shot that shows the face but have not figured out how to get it. Another challenge!! Lots of wind the last two days which in some ways was good, Jim found lots more leaks to fill in and stuff insulation in. The current puzzle is how to cut out the draft in the dining room. Jim finds it a real challenge to get insulation into some areas due to the construction of the house. He took some drywall down in the dining room and there is no insulation in the wall behind it, just lots of boards. All this is the upside to him being out of work, so much is getting done around the house. He has taken out and recauked all the old windows and done any repairs needed to them. When reinstalling them he is moving the molding over slightly so that the fit is tighter and hence no more rattling windows. Right now he is out putting our panels back up in the animals building to close them in and keep everyone warmer.

Tomorrow morning we go to pick up 20 more baby chicks to increase our chicken herd. Jim finished the new area for them so they will be toasty warm. At the rate the eggs are selling we figured it could not hurt to purchase some more. Buying them now gives them the winter to grow and by spring they will be laying also. As I mentioned before I plan on finding a larger farmer's market where I will be able to charge more for the eggs. Around here I only charge $1.00 per dozen which is very reasonable considering that in the stores brown eggs go for $3.00 plus a dozen. I have people showing up and buying 15 dozen at a time because they like them so much.
We went to the Fall festival and took a couple of the bigger pumpkins, didn't win but it was fun.
I really like the type that did win and want to grow some of those next year, they were so pretty. An other project,lol.

Jim went on another interview and all were impressed with his skills and all the certificates he has for different classes, that is the upside. The downside is the constant comment was "over qualified" , grrrr. He explained that we do not want to move and he is trying to find a job within driving distance so he does not have to live away from home again. They are supposed to make a decision by next week so we are keeping our fingers crossed.

We are putting up fliers all over the place for "Rent my Hubby" and Jim is picking up a few small jobs here and there. I am counting on word of mouth to spread his fame and bring in a bit more to keep us afloat. Never hurts to try.

I am trying to pick up more hours with my job to help, just so hate being in this situation, but very glad that with the help of friends and family we are surviving. Trying very hard to count all our blessings. Best to all, Barbara

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fall is in the Air, sort of.

How to tell Fall is here, hummm let's see there are the thousands of Asian lady bugs that appear everywhere. I would love to find the people who thought they would be a good idea to import, they rank up there with the love bugs in the south. We have to resort to
spraying everywhere to try and keep them out. As companion to the lady bugs we have box elder bugs, yuck!! The goats are getting shaggy and the cats fuzzy. We had a couple of nights of frost last weekend which singed quite a few things. Jim helped me cover some of the pumpkins which helped and I had some row covers to put over the tomatoes and peppers. That was Saturday night, then we remembered we had a huge
tarp which we spread out for Sunday night. Lots of leaves died but the stems still seem ok. A lady who came to buy eggs saw the pumpkins and thinks we should take the biggest ones to the pumpkin contest. I think it would be fun, so if there is time that is on the agenda. The Maple trees we planted have grown quite well and are starting to turn color, not like in some areas, but still pretty.

Once again we had a disappointing apple crop, I believe part of it is no bees and the other the tornado. The apple trees were in line of fire when it came through and now their are sections that don't look so good. The new trees are doing well and Jim is making cages to go around them so they do not get attacked over the winter. So much to do to prepare all the plants for the sub zero weather to come. Lots of work but well worth it when you see them come back to life in the Spring.

Jim's job hunt continues, all the offers involve moving and none pay well enough to allow him to consider taking an apartment. He is getting some nibbles for work in this area doing handy man type things. We printed up some fliers and are leaving them all over the place, if he could get enough coming in that way we would be alright. I am slowly but surly mastering my job, still lots of stress but not the panic when the phone rings,lol. The basic calls go well and the emergency calls are better. I am able to be calm and remember everything the first time through. There are still challenges in trying to find some of the locations when they are out on the highway.
For me the major stress with the highway calls is time, I want to get them done as quickly as possible and feel inadequate when it takes me too long. I know how awful it feels to be broken down beside the road and how scary. Advise from the older agents is to take deep breaths and keep going and it will all fall into place.

I am so happy with all Jim is doing around here, not only did he put the new windows in the attic but has been repairing all the old wood windows. They have been neglected for years so they leak and are loose in the frames. He has been slowly recauking them
and making them weather tight. Some of them the glass was so loose it almost fell out of the frame. The majority of the windows still have the old wavy glass and we are trying to preserve them. He is also rebuilding some of the frames where the weather has damaged the wood. All kinds of new skills.

All the critters are happy and thriving, we now have a kitten room in addition to the bird room. We brought in all the barn kittens as there had been some hawks hanging around and I was worried they might get killed. It is a riot, Jim and I laugh so hard over their antics, he plays goalie when I open the door to feed them. There is an avalanche of small furry bodies pouring out the door. Each so cute in their own w
ays and funny, we will stand there with hands full of squirming , purring babies and it just makes the day so much better. They love attention and will try to climb your legs to get picked up and petted. All those precious little faces and the trust that you will take care of them.

I don't go on the phone until 5 today and it promises to be nice and warm so will pick peppers and maybe can some more. I did 12 jars of banana pepper rings and am thinking I will do some jalapeno and Hungarian hot wax rings as well. I promised a friend some jalapenos so will pack some of them up to send to her. I guess I will dry the Poblamos and not sure what to do with the Anaheim s. I have used some of my dill and will dry the rest, the basil plants are all in and have given several away. Still have not figured out how to harvest the horseradish,lol another new skill. I am already planning the garden for next year, trying to learn from what worked this time and what didn't.

Wishing much
happiness from the small things in life to all my friends,


Saturday, September 18, 2010

This and That

As usual our lives are full of adventures, can never understand the people who complain about
being bored. I don't have time to be bored!! Let's see Jim's job hunt continues, we are still
resiting moving and sending up lots of prayers for an answer. He is still working around here fixing things and winterizing. The attic is two steps closer to being weather proof, he replaced
the two smaller windows in the front. Amazing how good windows make a difference, you can raise and lower these with 2 fingers. A couple of weeks after those were installed the next set of windows arrived. Now the North side of the attic has a wonderful pair o
f crank out windows in place of the jury rigged non working windows. When Jim removed the old windows he found no insulation and lots of gaps. He also found that the solution previous owners had used was to take two old windows and screw them together. We now have one reason for the attic being so uncomfortable. The new windows are energy efficient and tinted, it is wonderful to be able to open them and get fresh air flowing through. There was a persistent musty air which made time spent up there less then lovely.

Which bring me to another development, I will be spend more time in the attic at my desk working!! I finally made it through all the classes and certification, what a stressy time all that was. I received the news yesterday that I had passed and am now officially a member of the AAA team. I even worked one half hour shift last night, now that is a whole other story!!
The very first call I took was an accident! The lady was naturally upset, but also very impatient and cursing all of which made the call a challenge. We need to gather a certain amount of information for dispatch so they know what equipment to send and to locate the member. I made it throug
h mostly intact , at 3:00 am while mentally reviewing the call there were some gaps but none major. The next 2 calls were pretty routine and then my shift was over and boy was I relieved. I work another 2 hours tonight and will spend today going over notes and trying to be more prepared.

The weather is v
ery cool, more so then usual so I am a bit worried about my garden. I am going to dig up a couple of my basil plants to bring in. I read a good article on Basil , both growing inside and ways to preserve. I also have bushels of green tomatoes which I am hoping will get to ripen. I have a nice variety of pumpkins and if we can avoid a frost I should make a few dollars selling them. One picture shows a larger specimen and the second picture shows our pumpkin tree. A few of the vines took off and climbed some of the smaller trees,lol.

Speaking of selling, we are
doing well with the eggs, the chickens are self supporting. Jim and I are discussing making a new larger coop with additional nesting boxes. The current coop would then become home for new chickens that we will purchase in the Spring. Our chickens lay only brown eggs which are in demand. For next year the plan is to take them up into MN closer to larger cities where the brown eggs sell for around $4.00 per dozen. We now gather a little over two and a half dozen a day and have calls from people buying 10 and 12 dozen at a time.

So life at the homestead continues, learning new things all the time and finding new adventures. I planted Heirloom roses last Fall and have been enjoying them all Summer, was so grateful I found a spot where they would thrive. Most of what I plant is for zone 4 but some of roses are a 5 which puts them on the edge. The first year over here I planted lots of roses and lost nearly all of them. So bit by bit I have learned the secret of protecting them over the winter.

Be well my friends and enjoy life!!


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fall is coming

This is a good thing and a bad thing, and there is nothing I can do about it,lol. This morning it is
54 degrees which is a bit chilly and nice as all the windows are open and I am serenaded by both inside birds and outside birds. The bad part is that all too soon it will be downright cold and when I get up I will need to put on layers of clothes just to be somewhat comfortable. All that being said there is no perfect place, some better then others but none ideal. A benefit of the internet are all the people who share bits and pieces of their lives with you. In a single day you get live weather reports from all over the globe, my son will im me and say it is 107 in Vegas. My other son or daughter in law will mention it is in the 70's or that they are having a heat wave in Everett, WA. Someone in England will mention their weather, I really enjoy hearing it all. If for no other reason then I can feel better about what I am experiencing.

The garden is producing a great many peppers, Jalapeno, Hungarian Hot Wax and Banana. I am also seeing some Poblamo ? and Aniheim. What I need to do now is take some time and make pepper slices and can them. I do like the Banana peppers on sandwiches so I can enjoy them as to the others now way. I do not do hot, hot , hot. I have sold several dozen to the local store and people seem to like them. My plans are for a much bigger garden next year so that I will have more to sell. Maybe put a little stand down by the road or take to the Farmer's Market.

My classes continue and my brain is going to explode with all I am trying to cram into it. Lots of technology and so many things to remember to ask and ways to accomplish things. What is amazing is the amount of resources we will have at our fingertips. So one week down and 3 more to go and then hopefully all will go well and I will once again be gainfully employed. I am really enjoying the fact that to go to school I just need to walk up to the attic and my space. It will be even more wonderful to go to work the same way, especially when the snow is flying and the wind is howling. I will not even have to leave home to get paid, it just gets put in the bank via direct deposit. So wish me luck and hope the brain does not develop a leak and let all this knowledge out.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hot, Hot, Hot

One of our barn kitties, so cute!!

We have been getting some Florida type weather and have actually turned on the air conditioners. Well, Florida weather for this area,lol. I know that the temps have been much
higher in the South even Washington state had some record breaking temps.

I have made it through 3 days of class and wow what a lot of information. Lots of very great technology that will make the job much easier. We are making great progress on getting my office space workable. Jim has been so super, he
figured out why my microphone was not working. The setting in the computer were turned off! Who , knew. He lugged the portable air conditioner upstairs for me, the attic was stifling. Just need to hook up my printer and I will be
up to speed. The phone pad and special headset arrived so will be ready to take calls once I finish the class. We are setting up buddies to practice calls with so that by the time we are on the
phones with live calls we will be comfortable.

So, life goes on, we keep making progress. Best to you all, Barbara

Friday, August 13, 2010

Making Progress

I am still on my journey to being able to work from home. I passed the tests from Arise and now will be starting classes to be able to work with the client. Then I will be the friendly voice at the other end of the line when you are stranded with a non working car. I will be in training for about a month so am looking forward to being live sometime in September. This is a good deal for anyone looking for some extra income without having to leave home. Tory Johnson, who is on Good Morning America quite often, has a company called Women for Hire. If you go to that website she has lists of legitimate work from home companies. None of those stuffing envelopes or making magnet rip offs.

So the garden is doing well, I think I am going to have a kazillion tomatoes when they start to ripen. Also have lots of peppers so need to start canning some of them. My pumpkins have started to really take off and I am seeing some fruits but they will have to do some quick growing to be big by Halloween. One of them has even decided to grow up a tree so I have pumpkin trees,lol.

It has been hot for a long stretch, heat warning, severe thunderstorm warnings, tornado watches anything to be exciting. Lots of rain and humidity but we can not complain as people further South are being flooded. I know that soon it will be getting cold and then I will wish for the heat, are we ever happy!! Jim is getting ready to replace two of the attic windows so hopefully it will be an end of the leaks in our bedroom. I love our old house, but because it is old it has issues, actually far less then some of the newer homes. You hear people with all manner of problems with their homes that were built in the last 20 years. This one is closer to 100 and is still holding up well. Most of the fixes are needed do to lack of care over the years, not due to poor workmanship or sub-grade materials. I am really looking forward to the end of installing insulation and patching leaks so that I can finally paint and paper. Aside from the living room I have everything else planned out, colors, curtains etc.

So not too much else going on. I have my computer, the extra phone line is in, Jim picked up
the cable to hook the puter up. About the only thing left on my list is the phone, do you know how hard it is to find a phone without all the extra features?? I may have to resort to ebay or paying $80.00 or so for one online. It will all be worth it in the long run, I will feel useful once again and be able to bring in a fairly decent paycheck and have money to finish my catering kitchen so I can get that up and running. I hope by next Spring the kitchen will be finished and I will be able to start giving some decorating lessons and booking some parties. I plan on training several people to do things my way so that I will not have to do all the work myself. I truly believe this will all come together, I have come so close in the past but been hindered by having to move. Just being in the right place will make a huge difference.

Best to you, Barbara

Friday, August 6, 2010

Another one bites the dust!!

My gosh, another month gone before you know it we will be shoveling snow again, yikes!!

So, what has been happening , lots. The biggest was my son's wedding in Madison , WI. We were for the first time able to use the motor home for some fun. In the past it has been a rolling apartment for Jim and myself, we lived in it for different jobs.

In lieu of a wedding cake the bride Mary wanted a cupcake tower so that is what I did for her. The cupcakes were lemon poppy seed and chocolate with a butter cream frosting. Jim helped cover the tower with white fanci foil and trimmed with red ribbon. I baked the cupcakes here at home and then frosted them the day of the wedding. With my back acting up it was a real challenge. Sure wish there were a cure for these muscle spasms as they really interfere with my life. Without Jim's help I would never have been able to accomplish all this. I did find that those stick on heat packs help some. After the ceremony we rushed over to the hotel and set everything up and were able to have it finished before the majority of the guests arrive.

I was a wreck with all the rushing around, in looking at the wedding pictures I look like a bag lady, yucky!! I forgot my scarf and did not have time to do anything with my hair, wrong hairband etc. All my carefully planned outfit down the drain, even did not have time to put on my new shoes. The ideal thing would have been to bring my clothes and get dressed at the church, oh well so it goes!! Of course the getting old and saggy part did not help much either. How come when we look in the mirror we don't look toooo bad and then the pictures come out,lol, not a pretty sight.

The wedding was very nice, loved the ceremony and the priest was excellent. The reception and dinner went very well also. I really think everyone had a great time, we left fairly early as we were pooped. Granddaughter Freyja came with us which was great. It was so super seeing everyone and meeting Mary's family who are a wonderful group of people. Erick and Mary came to the campground the next afternoon to pick up Freyja. Erick and Jim ended up going swimming with her and had a very nice time.

While we were in Madison we were able to go to the SWAPP for U of W where they sell surplus equipment. This has been our source for computer equipment for the last few years, wonderful bargins. We almost did not make it, on the way there we took a wrong turn and as we are going down the highway Jim looks out the window and says "Oh, No". He spotted a couple of husky dogs running up th
e on ramp, they were going full out trailing leashes. I pull over and he gets out and heads back in their direction and calls them. Miricles do happen, they came to him and he grabbed their leashes and broght them to the car. Once we loaded them in it was "now what do we do??" Shortly a car pulls up and a young lady says she knows where they came from and tries to give us directions, which are useless as we have no idea where we are,lol. So, long story short she goes collects the man and the dogs are reunited. Beautiful dogs, black and white with pale blue eyes.

All of this excitement of course throws off my carefully planned schedule as there are usually long lines to get into SWAPP. When we finally arrive at our destination there are about 30 people in line already so I am worried there will be nothing left. I needed a new computer in order to do my work from home business. I was also trying to find a laptop for a friend for her business. Lo and behold once the doors open we are in luck, they are having a sale and have a mulititude of computers. We were able to get a nice HP computer and a flat screen for $175.00 an
d got my friend a HP laptop for $80.00. The laptop needed a battery but had xp loaded and she got a battery for around $100.00 so she was very happy. For another $5.00 I got a keyboard and now am ready to set it all up in the attic. Now I have most everything I need to get going.

I have passed all the basic tests and now keep checking the opportunities to find which company I want to work for. So far the choices have been a cruise line which talk says the system is very difficult and the travel agents are rude and a major phone company doing sales. The sales job has requirements of so many sales per hour which I do not feel comfortable with. I am much better with the helping end of things so am keeping my eyes open for the auto club or bookstore, even the drugstore or home improvement place would be good. The phone company also often has jobs t
hat are more customer service so will also look for that one. If anyone is looking for a work from home job check out, they act as agents for many large companies. You do not work for them but set up your own business and contract through them. Tory Johnson who often appears on Good Morning America has a company called Women for Hire and she lists many reputable work from home jobs if you are interested.

Jim is still out of work and looking but so far the pickings are slim. If we wanted to move again he could probably be back to work next week. We are just trying so hard to stay here and never move again. He is currently taking a small engine repair course online, with his mechanical background we t
hink this is a good fit. He knows quite a bit of what he is studying but is also learning quite a few new things which is great. He was saying today that some of the current lessons are fixing compressors and outboard motors so he will be able to work on a wide variety of machines. So please keep your fingers crossed that something shows up soon. When he can get this small business going he will be able to work for a bit less, while we like where we are the pay scale is the pits.

We continue to work on the yard and gardens. The giant pumpkins are making huge vines but I do not see many pumpkins so not sure how many we will have this year. The tornado damaged many that I had planted and blew away flats that I had out to plant so anything will be good. Lots and lots of jalapenos, Hungarian hot wax, banana and Anaheim peppers. Spices are so so but tomatoes are taking off like crazy, will be able to make lots of spaghetti sauce and salsa. While we d
id not get the new area plowed this year we are going to try to plow in the fall so that it will be ready for spring. I will move the strawberries out there and then make the current area all herbs. The new area will be much larger and I can do more rows further apart which will make working out there easier. The plans are to do lots more herbs with the thought in mind to sell them either fresh or online dried. We will see how well that works. I am getting a nice clientele for our fresh eggs as all 30 chickens are now laying. The new guys eggs are smaller but over time that will change. They are now completely self supporting with some extra.

So my friends hope life if treating you well, the Clark Homestead is still chugging away and hoping for the best. Lov
e to all

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Well it is finally done!!

Jim and I have been working on perfecting our Adirondack chair with hopes of selling them. So far the feedback is great!! I have several other designs in mind and Jim wants us to do one for the 4Th of July. Someone even suggested getting a booth at our local fair , so might give it a try.

We are making progress in the cleanup, Jim has cut up quite a few of the limbs. Still trying to get a handle on all the weeds, lol. The garden is nearly completed, if the weather continues nice for a few more days I should have it all done.

I seem to have passed most of what is needed to work for Arise, now hit a stumbling block in that you have to pay to get some of the certification done. Phooey!! Oh, well , will figure something out I am sure.

Best to you,


Friday, June 18, 2010

Dinner was delayed, but I have an excuse Tornado!!!

The warnings came and this time they were not a false alarm. I was upstairs using the computer when I looked out the window and saw our huge old maples trees being whipped around. We grabbed the weather radio and the dogs and ran for the basement. It was all over in a matter of minutes and I never heard a sound, even when a huge limb fell.

Going outside and checking showed that there was not damage to animals or buildings, only trees and bushes suffered. Not sure if you remember but over the last couple of years I had been working on building a wattle type fence along the drive way to help with the snow. We had cut down many volunteer trees several inches around. I thought they would work as posts for my fence. The other smaller trees I wove in and out of the posts and secured with rope, I then planted vines and hedge plants along it. This last winter showed that it was working, now it lies in pieces all over the yard. The force of the wind was such that it snapped the posts, not just tearing the fence apart. You can see some of the limbs in the grove are twisted.

The spool this large branch is resting on is about 6 ft tall when on it's side, it is the kind used for large cable. I cannot reach all the way around the limb, under it is my clothes line. There is a path from the south/south west showing the direction the storm came. In the corn field the corn stalks are snapped off and crushed in random spots as if the storm skipped across the field. It is a good thing the animal fence is of the string type as the branches from one of the huge cottonwoods hit and uprooted it. Even the heavy metal gate was blown open.
These are heavy feeders that were tossed around as were some of the other large wooden spools.

My arbor was also hit by a branch and bent and it is made of metal, Jim says it can't be straightened. I was so pleased that the rose I planted two years ago was doing well climbing it. Guess I will move it around back and let the wisteria grow up it. In the back ground is my garden cart I pull behind the mower, it is over turned but not damaged. The debris go all across the property and on down the road, again we are just so lucky.
The last picture is of the wreath I made this spring, not a flower was disturbed. I am pleased with this as it uses living plants and so far is thriving.

God is good and so are my friends, Barbara

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rain and other things

We have had rain for days, we really need it for the water table but as far as the crops go we have had enough. We are lucky in that we are not having all the horrible floods like some parts of the country. So sad all the campers who lost their lives, out to have fun with friends and family and such a tragic end.

The wet weather is wrecking havoc with my strawberries as they are getting moldy before they can ripen. We did pick about 5 pounds which I will make into jam so all is not lost. The rain is also slowing down my working in the gardens and yard, our soil has a lot of clay in it and when wet is like glue. You try to dig and your shovel is coated with dirt as are your shoes and gloves. I still have many pumpkins to put in so they will be ready by October and Halloween. Our temperatures have also been very low only in the 60's which also hinders growth. We were actually warmer in May. My good friend Ellen is cleaning out her greenhouse and I have been the recipient of her bounty. I help her as much as I can and she pays me in plants which works wonderfully for me, especially now when finances are strained to the maximum. Now I have about 50 or so more vegetable plants to find homes for, so really need to be able to dig.

The upside of all this is that my roses are all blooming, as you walk around the yard you catch the fragrance of them. I only lost one rose bush this year which is a big plus, just have to make sure to do all the extra work in the fall.
The first picture are a couple of the shrub roses the first to grow and bloom. The one in the back is so fragrant, the pink one looks like porcelain. This next on is called Maria Stern and is so striking in the garden. It reminds me of one I lost called Tahitian Sunset, Sunrise?, one of those,lol. The final picture is of one of the peonies which also has a wonderful fragrance, this one was given to me over 10 years ago as a pup from an 80 year old bush. I have dug it up and carted it with us for several moves.

I am not sure what is up with blogger or is it me, it keeps underlining things like it was a web address, strange. It also keeps changing my type face, never a dull moment.

We are moving closer and closer to oldest son's wedding and I am starting to stress. I tend to do that as I want everything to be perfect. I have started putting things in the motor home to make sure I do not forget anything. I have double checked to make sure I have enough boxes for all 300 cupcakes. I need to take out the stand and make sure all parts are present and accounted for and to decorate the edges. I am going to trim the edges with red ribbon as the wedding is Badger colors of red and white. I will also check with Ellen to make sure she can get me the flowers for decorating the stand. I do not want to let them down so please keep your fingers crossed, lately few of my plans have worked.

I am still working on the chair, the flowers I want on it are giving me fits but I am determined to get them done to my satisfaction. If worse comes to worse I will sand them off and start over. I already have the next chair planned so need to get this one done, as it was our prototype it has taken forever. Now that we know how it works the next ones should be a breeze.

I am still trying to find some sort of employment to help out, Jim's unemployment just does not stretch far enough. He did have one good interview and we are waiting to see if he will advance to the next level. I thought I had a summer job through Manpower, but turned out they had enough people so I am back looking. Trying again with Arise to see if there is any work from home jobs that just might be in this area. In the past all the jobs were around us, but none in our state, just so annoying.

Wishing everyone a wonderful day, week, month!!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Enjoy Memorial Day

I hope that everyone is enjoying their Memorial Day holiday. I also hope that each and everyone of us is remembering why it is that we have this day to celebrate. I think that we tend to take our freedoms and opportunities too much for granted. If we look around the world and see how citizens are treated in other parts of the world it might open a few eyes. We need to carefully guard our freedoms and not allow them to be taken away or watered down. Many hundreds of people have died so that we might have opportunities and freedoms. So honor the ones who have died and been injured so that you and I might be able to enjoy our lives.

On another note, for the last two posts I have obsessed abo
ut weeds and spraying, with that in mind a present pictures to give you a better prespective on the problem. This is what I refer to as the side yard, any areas you see that are not green are dying weeds, Yea!! I have other pictures which blogger is not letting me access my pictures so will have to post later. I am feeling very good about the yard. With Jim here to help so much more is being done, I am so proud of all he has accomplished.

I may add more later but for the moment that is all folks!!

Enjoy you day, Barbara

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunny, Windy pretty day!!

Things are starting to bloom which is wonderful, I think I am about my happiest when I am out working in my flowers. With all the beauty there is the ugly as in thistles, an over abundance of dandelions , creeping charlie and some sort of new creeping, sticky, green stuff. We have finally given in and started spraying to knock down all the bad things including burdock. I really am not a fan of poisons but there is a point where you need to throw in the towel. Please bear in mind that the "yard" I am dealing with is several acres. The plan is to eliminate the weeds this year and hope that they will be manageable next year.

I really like these Iris, they were given to me several years ago and I have dragged them with me each time we have moved. They have the most lovely fragrance, you can smell it all over the yard. In my plans for the yard are several areas that will be only iris and maybe day-lilies. The colors now available are just breathtaking. In the lily department more and more of them are every blooming.

Jim has been hard at work, he finished the wall for my garden shed and I now have a window which allows more light and some air circulation. He also built one door for the machine shed/shop/male playroom. Well, at least the frame for the door he still needs to buy the metal skin to cover it. He has the frame mounted on the rail so it rolls and when finished will really be nice and look super.

The latest project are the Adirondack chairs, the prototype is nearly finished and I am so proud of him. It took a bit but once he got going he is doing a really professional looking job of it. As soon as he has it finished I will paint and decorate it. I have several ideas as I want them to look different, not run of the mill. They are such a popular item and I am hoping that with my embellishments they will sell well. Jim's job hunt still has not produced any solid leads, the headhunters show up with jobs in CA, NY, WI. We just do not want to move again, we finally have all our possessions in one place and just want to settle here. I have leads on several big craft and art shows coming up so hope to have enough finished to be able to take them. If we are able to create a market for the chairs it will give us a bit more income. With this as a side line and my shop then he can aim a little lower on the job chain. The pay scale here is stuck in the 60's, we keep hoping that a job will show up in MN. Let me clarify that, in MN within daily driving distance.

Yesterday and today were the hottest days of the month, also very windy. I did manage to get a fair amount of mowing done, but still have down back and the large area the other side of drive way. So those will account for 3 or 4 more hours of mowing. It is nice to have all the windows open, little hot but bearable. I dare not complain about the heat as I just spent the last 7 months complaining about the cold!! When I was out mowing I looked over at the goats and had a good laugh. We have a large water tank for them, I had dumped it over to empty out the old water.
They now think it is a wonderful place to play king of the mountain or take a snooze on. This time when I looked one of the girls was on the top all nice and comfy and inside it was another girl. Kinda like bunk beds. The new chickens are almost as large as the big ones , so now able to hold their own. We have started letting them out during the day, well we try to let them out. They are still not quite sure how to navigate the door, so funny watching half out and half in squawking at each other. Then at night some make it in and the others make a pile in a corner so we have to herd them in. We are currently getting 10 eggs per day and end of July first of August the other 22 will start laying. I have a few regular customers for the eggs so more will be good, at this point they are paying for their feed.

The rest of the family are fine, everyone is getting along much better. Gretel has put on 20 pounds and nary a rib to be felt. I hope this finds everyone well and enjoying their lives.

Best to you, Barbara

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Another windy day, we are not talking breeze here but wind and lots of it. The sun is shining and looking out the window things look so pretty. Step outside and the picture changes, the temperatures are in the 50's so the wind makes it very cool. I have been trying to mow and have broken down and decided to do some spraying but the wind is making both impossible.
The dandelions have taken over large chunks of the yard and
while I think they look cheerful they are hard to mow. I am not one of those people who demand a flawless lawn, more important things out there. I do however believe in getting rid of things like creeping Charlie which in our case is running Charlie. This stuff is like a wave washing over lawn and flower beds and choking out what ever is in it's path. When I was out in the yard earlier in the week I had to admit that the yellow of the dandelion and the purple of the Charlie was pretty, but that was a fleeting thought. We also wage a war with "Quack" grass and burdock and other unknown weeds. I have tried smothering them and digging them and pulling them but they are winning so now will spray. Hopefully by killing them off en-mass I will be able to control them in the future with more natural means.

Violet Lady asked where I was going, well the answer is "no where". I feel like a broken record here, all hyped about going to Chicago for master classes at Wilton and then saying no not now. This time it was a financial emergency that put the kabosh on things, Jim is still out of work and things just got too tight. The upside is that the motor home has new tires and Jim and done lots of little things. There was also a leak which he has managed to finally find and fix. I found a new spread for the bed at the thrift shop, brand new!! The people at Wilton have been so wonderful and helpful and understanding, I really appreciate it. I will make it out there, maybe in shorter increments but one way or another it is going to happen!!!

I may have found another silver lining, while doing a Google search for some type of class closer I found a work from home site. So I am checking into that and will let you know later on the details if all works out. This morning I received an email from the Women for Hire site, this is the one from Torry Johnson who appears on Good Morning America. This may be another opportunity , a work from home answering phones for a large clothing company. I loved my job a
t Lands' End and this seems as if it might be very similar, so keep your fingers crossed for me. At 25 hours a week it will be very doable and I can pretty much set my own hours.

I have started planting some things in the garden, broccoli, cauliflower and spinach so far. I also found the garlic I planted last year, apparently you plant it one year and harvest the next,lol. The strawberries are looking good, I have onions also coming up from last year as well as oregano and chives. In the basement I have pumpkins, jalapenos, Hungarian hot wax peppers, Ancho and several other types of peppers. I have planted Lemon Grass and Basil and am going to put dill and others outside. If I have a good enough crop I will be able to take some of the things up to the local farmer's market.

Jim is at work on my garden/craft shop, he replaced the screen on the door so wildlife will not longer be able to just stroll in. The raccoons? would go in and scatter pots and supplies every which way and in general make a huge mess. Now he is in the process of replacing bad boards on the side and go
ing to put a window in. It has two windows high up in the ends which do not open. Eventually I want those replaced also with windows that can be opened.
This is a place for me to keep my garden supplies, pots and tools as well as work on projects like planters and bird baths. I love it and there is electric so is a great place to work, later we will insulate it and put some sort of paneling on the walls so I can use it also in the winter.

Best to you my friends and thank you for your visit,


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tis the season of dirty fingernails

We have had a few spells of warm weather and rain and now things are really popping out of the ground, especially the weeds.
I can never seem to resist trying to pull them all up, and never seem to have my gloves handy. I am very pleased to see that most of my roses are coming back. Especially pleased about the 3 heirloom ones I bought in the fall, buying late and them being zone 5's it was a gamble. Seems that all my winterizing worked and they all are covered with leaves, yea!!

A few short weeks and I will be off on my journey, I am thinking all positive thoughts that nothing will go wrong. I really want this to happen for so many different reasons, my own satisfaction and knowledge and the old monetary reasons also. I already have people who want me to teach them so am thinking that might not be a bad thing. Mostly, am excited about all the new things I will learn and sharpening up the skills I already have.

The newest dog is settling in and getting along well with the other two. She is beautiful and apparently not well treated in her previous home. If you raise you hand she hits the floor, raise your voice, same thing. The newest chickens are growing fast and I am looking forward to being able to allow them out. I want them to be pretty good size as I have cats in the barn and do not want a catastrophe.

Just wanted to check in and let everyone know I am still around and thinking of you. My special thoughts go out to our beloved Violet Lady and her husband on the loss of their much loved Beau. He was so special to them, a valiant little poodle. Good luck wishes go Edie Marie's Attic and hope their move is going smoothly and that their new home is just perfect for them.

My oldest son Erick is getting married in July, seems like yesterday he was a little curly headed imp. Oh, well time marches on as they say and we all get older and hopefully wiser.
Jim still has had no luck in finding a job, going on 5 months now. I am sure something will turn up, but sure makes things tight. Glad we will have our garden to help and of course not having to use as much electric or gas for heat. Our older chickens are giving us 10 eggs a day so that is a good thing.

Best to you all,

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday, I think

The day started off sunny but is now overcast with chance of rain tonight. As it is fairly calm I have made several forays out into the yard. The grass is getting green, especially in the flower beds bummer. If anyone Add Imagehas a surefire cure for creeping charlie please let me know, I hate that stuff and it is every where. Easter Sunday brought something nice, some of my Daffydills are blooming. The moles had made their presence known in the middle of the bed so I was concerned that I would not have any flowers this year. Now I am on the lookout for tulips. My shrub roses are coming to life putting out leaves, will have to wait to see how the other bushes fared.

Jim had a productive couple of days, he moved the fence for the goats, now they have more room in the woods. They will eat underbrush and l
ow lying branches and as they walk around they will help breakdown the fallen trees and limbs. He was able to make a path using the bucket on the tractor so it is easier to get around at least part of the woods. Little by little we make some progress. Moving the fence also allowed him to get the tractor further out in the field so he could work on digging out a piece of equipment. After using the chain saw to cut through a big root that had grown through one of the wheels he was able to free it. Other then the bent wheel it is all in one piece. Jim thinks he will be able to straighten it out and then we will have a plow, or at least I think that is what it is.

Our new dog is fitting in pretty well, at some point in her life she was trained which is wonderful. Unlike Charlie I will not have to spend months working with her, she just needs some refreshing.
We took everyone to the vets for their shots and he thinks as do I that she is about 2/3 years old. She has filled out some from when she first showed up, the bones and ribs are less predominate, her heavy coat hides just how thin she is. The tips of her ears have been frost bitten so there is no telling how long she was on her own. Upon weighing them , well exce
pt for Molly, Charlie tipped the scales at 80 pounds of muscle and Gretel only weighs 55 pounds. The trip was very traumatic for Molly, she does not like riding in the car, going strange places or meeting strange people,lol. I am able to take Molly and Gretel out at the same time which is nice, they both mind very well so all I have to do is call and they come right back. Charlie, well Charlie is the rocket he is getting better but at this point I do not trust all 3 out and loose.

I had a conversation via instant message with an old friend last night and she gave me some very bad news. I had know she was having breathing issues and was on oxygen, but the latest news was that she is diagnosed with lung cancer . She started off as my boss but became a dear friend so I am asking for prayers for her to help beat this. With all the wonderful people out there, if we join our prayers we can help her. Thank you so much. Best to you all, Barbara

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

There is sun!!!

Nice to wake up and see the sun shining in certainly starts the day off on a good note.
We reached nearly 70 yesterday but with the high winds seemed much cooler, and supposed to be warmer then that today.

Did I mention we have a new dog, or rather she has us?? She is fitting in pretty well, still a few issues between the girls. It has been about a week and to see her perk up and have more energy is wonderful. Amazing what some regular feedings can do for a girl!! This is not a good picture of her, will get some better ones.

I am fighting some sort of bug or cold and I am not happy! I am such a baby, I seldom get sick so when I do it is very annoying, just want it over with. Yucky eyes, stuffy nose, cough and just feel off. Ok, I am finished whining. Being very aware that there are so many people in the world who wish all they had to deal with were a cold, I am mostly kidding. Just needed some pity vibes here.

When I had the dogs out this morning I saw that my daffidills are making good progress. I was worried as there were new mounds from moles , they can sure mess up a flower bed. If the warm weather continues I am going to go out and try to do some serious weeding. The grass around here is very invasive and just does not want to give up.

Think I am going to call it a day , just wanted to check in and say hi. Wishing everyone a wonderful day, week, month. Sherri and Wes, good luck with the moving!!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Has Sprung!!!

Spring is here and so am I , finally!! Hope this finds all well , enjoying their lives and pursuing their dreams. Life continues on here, highs and lows but all in all good. Jim is home full time and has been since December. His job hunt continues and we hope for something close to home. We still seem to like each other considering we have not done the 24/7 thing for many years.

Jim is being super working like crazy to catch up on all that needs doing. The snow is melting at a good rate there have been sunny days which do wonderful things for my moods. I can see the tips of tulips and daffodils poking up so there are signs of life, buds on the trees and lots of birds including Robins. On a down note we did not get wire around the new fruit trees and either rabbits or deer snacked on them over the winter. One or two might make it but I am afraid the new plum, cherry and apple trees are pretty much history. Another lesson in country living!

Critter wise we lost one of the goats to unknown illness. The vet came out several times and times numerous things none of which worked. I have made two new online friends who have goats and are very knowledgeable about the raising and care of them. In their opinion sometimes goats just decide to die and so they do! We put in heaters for her and hand fed her but she still went down hill. As soon as the ground thaws enough we will put her to rest with our other pets. The plus side of the Internet are all the wonderful people you meet, how else would I have met two people with the same likes in life who live so far away. One, Torry lives in Virginia and the other, Mary lives in the UK.

We have new additions in the form of 22 baby chickens!! The first ones are now laying on a regular basis and providing us with about 10 eggs a day. I have several people to share with who like the brown eggs and the fact that the chickens have a good natural diet, drug free. The new ones are still in the basement but Jim is going to partition off part of the coop for them and they will be moved out next week. We will take the heat lights out for the nights but they should be big enough to thrive. They have grown so fast and we will have more eggs in about July or August.

Jim is working on the basement. After our big flood we really have not done much down there. He is taking apart a large shelf unit, he sawed off one 6 foot section which I am going to use for my plants. I am running a bit behind on getting my seeds started but do not think it will be too terrible. Once I can get some space ready in the garden I can put out spinach and cauliflower and broccoli as they are ok with the cold. Other things will have to wait until any danger of frost is past. It will be wonderful to have more organization in the basement.

He has also worked on the tractor rebuilt the carburetor,,disc brakes and did tuning up. The tractor now starts up on the first try, runs smoothly and best of all stops. Now we need to find a plow so one of us can plow the new garden area. Since things did so well in the last couple of years I decided to move the garden and expand. Through trial and error I now know that many things need much more room. I will get the hang of this eventually,lol I placed an order for a variety of peppers which I cannot find around here.

Wonderful to be back and I will try to be more consistent with my postings, I do enjoy visiting with you and think about you often. My problem is getting if from my brain onto the blog!!

Best to you all

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Amazing what the wind can do with the snow, can you see where it is up the wall of my garden shed? Of course with all those drifts the driveway was impassible. I was out walking the dog and saw our neighbor at the end of the drive, next thing I know he comes plowing through. I want one of his little machines, it is a front end loader with caterpillar treads and he seems to be able to get through anything. Are you able to see how high the drifts are behind him?

I showed you pictures of the wonderful and creative purse Sherry made me. I had painted a shirt for her husband Wes. Well they sent me thanks via email and Sherry wrote about it in her blog and posted a picture of the shirt. To top all of this off Wes wrote me the nicest note with more thanks. All of this means so much to me, I tend to doubt my talents and while I enjoy painting I worry that I am not "getting" the soul of the subject. To have these wonderful people so enjoy what I have done means the world.

In my time in blog world I have been blessed with meeting some very special people. My thanks to all of you, in our world we get so overwhelmed with the bad, the evil, Mother Nature trying to wipe us off the face of her earth we tend to lose track of the good. We are surrounded with good, sometimes we need to look a little harder, try a little harder, put out there a good thing to make things better.

Jim went to Jeff and Stasia's farm and was able to salvage quite a bit of woodwork and some doors which will help to make our home a bit more homelike. Again some more nice people met in blog land, Stasia's blog is Yarn and a Barn. Hopefully they are moved into their new home and nice and snug.
They are both talented people Stasia is a fiber artist and Jeff a chef. Hopefully we will be able to spend some time with them once the weather warms up. I had to stay here while Jim drove to Wisconsin to do the work. Due to the cold we could not take the dogs with and they are too much of a handful for others to handle in this bad weather.

We are having a heat wave, up to low 30's today and the wind was not too high which is a good thing. Jim fixed the front brakes on the truck and changed one rear strut on the Pontiac, he will do the other tomorrow. So nice for him to be home, he is making lots of progress on things that have needed to be done. He is also helping me with the animals also. I have mentioned that with the cold weather water needs to be taken out to the animals. When the goats big water pail needs to be changed that takes 16 gallons, the chickens have a 2 gallon water dispenser and then there is a bowl for the cats and the birdbath. So, all in all it is a pretty heavy load even using the sled. Jim helps me pull it out there and empty and refill every one's water.

One of the goats is having a hard time with the cold this year, not quite sure why but we are doing all we can to keep her going. We put the heater in their little house with a piece of rug over part of the entrance to keep the heat in. She sleeps beside it, or stands with her head over it. We have not had any more episodes of shivering so think that is a good sign. She is eating and when we were picking up feed I also bought some electrolytes which I am giving her using a syringe. I tried to get her to drink out of a bowl, but no go remembered that I had some larger syringes and ta da got it down her. It has only been a couple of days so not sure if it is helping or not but I feel better having tried.

The chickens are doing well, we are up to 5 or 6 eggs a day so have not had to buy any eggs and have some to share. Jim said when he went out this afternoon to take care of everyone all the chickens were out. After he had finished with everyone else he went to the chicken coop and stood by the door. He said it was so funny, all he did was say "ok, time to go in" and they all lined up and went in. He said they were clucking all the way and a couple stopped and talked to him and then went on in. I wish I had a picture.

Best to you all,

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!!!

I wish everyone the best new year possible, may the problems from 09 vanish.
We now have a fresh start, new energy to right wrongs and start new projects.

I am hoping we can finish old projects, and put some of our plans into place. If

nothing else we will keep plugging away.

Look what the mailman brought!! Isn't it great. Sherry from Edie Marie's Attic made it for me, she does really nice work. If you would like one I can have

her contact you. She will also use material from any garment you might have that has sentimental value. You would be able to carry something from your loved one with you always or memories of a special event.

You meet the nicest people from our blogs.

I have mentioned on several occasions that a great deal of the trim in our old home was stolen before we purchased her. Now we may be able to spiff her up some. Stasia and her husband at Yarn and a Barn have built a new home and their old one is to be used as practice for the local firemen. Before that happens they are going to let us go in and salvage what we can use. I am so excited about this, with our home in not real pretty shape it is a bit depressing.

The liner and insulation for our wood stove was delivered yesterday so Jim will be busy for the next couple of days. He has to enlarge the hole in the chimney in the dining room where the stove will be hooked up. I choose to put it in the dining room as that room is larger then the front room. So the stove will heat the kitchen, dining room and front room areas. A bonus will be that the heat will also travel up the back stairs and help heat the upstairs. I read that the old homes were built to act as a chimney so the heat would travel up through the house all the way to the attic. This was a good thing in winter and summer, those old builders were so clever. This is why when I cook something you can smell it in the attic. When I run the dryer in the basement you can smell the fresh scent all through the house.

I have come up with a new crop, I will let you know when it is ripe.

Best to all, Barbara