Thursday, February 25, 2010

Home From Seeing Granddaughter Jaelyn

I got home this morning and miss them already! It is so much fun to have this cute little girl smiling & cooing at me. She is so alert and is always making little sounds. Last night I babysat for her while Krisitin & Tim went to the last Bradley game. She was sleeping when they left but woke up soon after. I feed her a bottle (of breast milk) and we hung out for a while. Then she fell asleep until they got home. The visit wasn't long enough, but I will fit them in whenever I can. Steve & I will be going down there in a couple weeks again.

This weekend we ARE going to the farm. With work so busy since the new year, we need the time off. We would love to go to the MOSES (Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service) Conference this weekend in LaCrosse, but feel like we NEED to be at the farm. Can't believe we have gone this long without being there. We'll be picking up more drywall on the way in case we decide to get busy on that again. It'll be good to see the neighbors and catch up with what is going on. I am hoping that Eli & Lizzie's goat hasn't been loose, grazing on all of our bushes while we are gone. Their livestock tends to be on our farm a lot. We seriously need to get some good fencing done this year. The cows & horses haven't done too much damage, but a goat eats everything I hear.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Not such a bad snow after all.

Our winter storm turned out to be so so. Not sure of the final total but I know it is nowhere near 6-8 inches that they ended up calling for last night. At least they downgraded it from the 8-12 they originally predicted.

Steve made it home around 1:30 this morning. The flight was delayed and the roads were terrible, but he made it. Had good skiing the whole time and is very tired today. He made it into work by eight. He'll probably be sleeping by eight tonight :-)

Tomorrow I'm going to see Jaelyn (and Kristin & Tim :-). So excited! She had her six week checkup today and is doing great. I'll stay over night & come back Wednesday night. Just a short visit but at least I will be abe to see that cute smile in person.

Saturday, I went over to Amy's to see her in her wedding dress. She looked beautiful. I won't describe it because Rob reads this sometimes. Her friend Lee is throwing her a shower a month from now and made some really elegant looking invitations from a kit. I thought they were professionally done. The wedding will be here before we know it.

When Steve got to work today, he noticed that the hub caps were gone on the van. Someone stole them over the weekend! I was there Saturday afternoon, so it must have been after that. We filed a report with the police and the officer said there have been car break-ins on our street. We don't keep any tools in the van so they didn't try that. We are going to start pulling the van in at night now. Hub caps like ours are around $125 a piece. Ouch!
Hope everyone survived the storm. How much did you get?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

New Pictures of Jaelyn

She is so sweet. I couldn't resist a little "bragging Grandma" pics.

Another Snow Storm On the Way

Could be one of the snowiest February's on record in Illinois, the meteorologist's say. Eight to twelve inches is expected starting late afternoon through Monday afternoon. Steve is getting home tonight from Colorado. Not real positive on that with the weather. It is snowing out there now. They have a 3 hour drive from the ski resort to the Denver airport. He is skiing this morning. One last good run for the season then off to the airport. I told him he should buy some good snacks for the airport. Could be waiting awhile if they start canceling flights. I hope not. I miss him. Yes, it's nice to have time to myself, but only for a while. I can only sleep in for so many days (not true :-), not worry about what to make for dinner, and generally do what ever I feel like for so long. But everyone needs some structure to their life & I really don't have any when he's not here. 

Yesterday, while out on a walk, I was thinking about anticipaton. The anticipation of the snow storm. I really enjoy that stage. It's exciting before it happens. I think everyone has a survival instinct (at least I hope so) stemming from the olden days when there wasn't a grocery store every couple miles or so and a Walgreen's on every corner. I remember the big ice storm we had as kids and losing power for a week. A family of six, sleeping in the basement where it was warmer, using the fireplace during the day for heat. Eating cold sandwiches, wearing our coats inside. To us kids, it was an adventure. I'm sure my parents didn't feel that way. Yesterday I went to the grocery store (which is within walking distance) and it was packed. I expected that though. Not to many people have enough stored to withstand not going to the grocery store every few days. I admit, I am there every other day. My diet of mostly fresh, living foods makes that mandatory. But, that said, I also have stores of food on hand that we could make do on for quite a while and ways to prepare it without using electricity. When we finally do move to the farm, we'll even be more prepared. I'll have more room to store canned and dried foods. At the townhouse, we are limited. Some things are here & some are at the farm. Especially since cleaning the house to get it in that "for sale & I must look like a model" phase.

Last night I watched the movie "UP". Has anyone else seen it? Did you cry? I did. About four times.

I am going to stop writing and get out of bed. Yes it's noon :-). (I read past midnight) Yes I'm being totally lazy. Yes, I will probably have to have a beer to get to sleep tonight.
So give me all your good vibes and get Steve home safely tonight...

Dress I bought for Amy's wedding

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Fun Day...Just What I Needed

I started the day the way I like to start but never seem to have happen. I slept in. Yes, all the way until 9:30. What a luxury. It felt so good to lay there & know that my body was well-rested. I even made it last longer by lounging around all morning. You know, sometimes you need to do that. I felt awake all day.
 My friend Pat & I went lunch at the Moveable Feast in Geneva. It is a really cute little store/restaurant/catering business. My food was so good. I had a pesto fingerling potato dish and an apple, pear, grape with greens salad & a fruit salad. It's like gourmet deli style. Even Oprah likes it. Their brownies are on her "favorite things" list. I will be going back again soon to try more dishes in the near future.
After that I went to the shop to get the mail & check messages. All was well. So I decided to go shopping (which I rarely do, except for groceries). I found a dress for Amy's wedding. Yea!!! I have been looking online for a month or two. The one dress I really liked online seemed like it would be too long for a shorty like me but I found almost the exact same dress only shorter by the same designer. Now I just have to figure out what shoes to wear with it...
Once I got home, I called our internet provider to see what was up with our connection. Steve & I tried to install wireless  before he left & I haven't had service since on our desk top computer. I have been using the laptop with, shhhhh, someone else's wireless signal. Well, all is fixed now thanks to Amy & Rob. They came over tonight, fixed the computer & I am legal now with the laptop. Big sigh...
I talked to Steve tonight. They have great snow in Colorado & it was snowing like crazy an hour ago. Sounds like another good day tomorrow.
So Mia is curled up beside me on the couch, doing a little snore thing and I am thinking about going to
bed to read.
Tomorrow is a big day...I get to see Amy's wedding dress.
Here is another picture of Jaelyn...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Sunshine Award!

This is so nice. Two awards in a week! Thank you Pacy from Pacy Crochets. Please check out her blog. She lives in Missouri on 5 acres, likes to croquet, read & live the simple life.

The rules of accepting this award are:
Put the logo on the sidebar or within a post
Pass the award on to 12 blogger's who brighten your day
Link to the nominees within your post
Let the nominees know they received this award by commenting on their blog
Link back to the person who gave you this award, as a way of showing your appreciation for being appreciated.
So here are my twelve...
Not Now..I'm Counting
A One Acre Homestead in Ohio
All Natural Mama
Happy Days
Rainbow Rivers Journey
My Freezer is Full
Farm Tails
Homespun Simplicity
Lilacs and Cats
Living SoGaNoFla
The Blue Ridge Gal
Living Off-Grid at Maple Valley Farm

Phew! That's a lot of work!

Family News

Sorry I haven't been keeping up with posting the last couple of days. It hasn't been the normal routine as of late. My mom fell & broke her hip a few days ago. My brother & I went to see her yesterday afternoon in the hospital and she was pretty confused. Her surgery was the day before so I'm not sure if it was due to the pain meds or from being under for the surgery. She lives in an assisted living facility now but will move from the hospital to either a rehab center or a nursing home for rehab until she is able to get around. She is 80 so it might take a while. Unfortunately, she is not a good patient. That is why she is in assisted living. She tends to drag all illnesses, etc. to the max. Likes all the attention. Kind of reverts to acting like a child. I've seen it all my life. I guess that's why I'm the exact opposite of her. :-) Oh well...
On the home front, Steve left for Colorado skiing yesterday with the ski club. This is the second year I've decided to stay home. I really want to save the money for the farm (and I don't ski anyway). I will miss hanging out with the people in the club though. He said they have new snow & the skiing was good today. Everyone is having some kind of effects from the high altitude though. Steve had a headache yesterday along with a lot of the others on the trip. Our friend George's fiancee' had to get a bottle of oxygen from the clinic out there. Before Steve left he started to drink a lot of water and take a ginkgo biloba supplement. Ginkgo has been proven in double blind study to reduce the severity of altitude sickness. 80mg twice a day was the doseage. This is from The Textbook of Natural Medicine (one of my school books). It's also beneficial for Raynaud's Disease (where the tips of your fingers & toes turn white in the cold).
Jaelyn and family are doing fine. I am missing them so much. I am thinking of going there next week for the day to tide me over until Steve & I go for a weekend. When I talk to Kristin on the phone, Jaelyn is cooing in the backround. Makes me miss her even more. Tim is doing great since his appendix was taken out.
Amy & Rob are busy making wedding plans. I'm going over to the house to see her wedding dress on Saturday. Can't wait :-). They got their engagement pictures taken Tuesday and they are really cute. So many good ones to choose from. The wedding is in mid-May. I still have to find a dress. I've been looking online (I'm not much of a store shopper) but haven't come across the right one yet.
Tomorrow I'm going to lunch with Pat from Not Now... I'm Counting blog. We've been friends for quite a while now. We met through ski club. Neither one of us skiis so we hang out together & shop & knit.
I have been taking daily walks & am up to two miles now. I walk fast. Usually get done in 20 minutes or so. Working my way up to 4 miles. It's nice now that the days are getting longer & the birds are chirpping. Spring is on the way.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Circle of Friends Award

Today I was given "The Circle of Friends Award" by my friend Debbie at "Happy Days" blog. I hope you will stop in to visit with her as you will find her really fun and interesting! This award is given to blogs that bring a smile to your face, or just make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I would like to award this to the following people and their Blogs that I find fun, and fuzzy and warm!
October Farm
3 Flat Acres
Hot Belly Mama
Just Another Day in Paradise...Sort Of
Not Now, I'm Counting

Have a great day!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hope everyone has had a great day!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Quiet Saturday at Home

It's a beautiful, sunny day here. Steve went in to work to do some drawings & paperwork. I am staying home to clean, take a walk & relax. Later on, we hope to see Avatar. It will be our Valentine's present to ourselves. As much as I try to eat healthly, I can't resist movie theater popcorn and my mouth is watering thinking about it! The movie starts at 6pm so that will be our dinner :-). Last night we watched the movie Food, Inc. which was really good. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. It is about how the food industry works to hide how our food is processed & produced and what we can do about it.  I still haven't seen Fresh but it is next on the list.
Yesterday I got my order of Arnica flowers & small round tins to make salves for pain & bruising. I really feel the need to fill the void of not being able to practice naturopathic medicine. I have been thinking about selling salves as a business. I really want to help people. Even though my ability to study has left me, my need to help people has not. I am going to start taking Wednesday's off to stay at home & concentrate on finding a way to fill that void. Thanks to my sister Cathy coming to work for us, I can do that.
 My sister Cathy, always there for me.
Right now it is 15 degrees with a windchill of 3 degrees. I think I'll wait a little while for that walk. I am working my way up to 4 miles a day. That is my goal. I am at 2 miles now. I found a cool site that lets you draw your route & it measures the miles. It's Google Map Pedometer. Check it out.

Friday, February 12, 2010

No Farm Trip This Weekend

We won't be going to the farm again this weekend. Steve has a ski trip next week so there is a lot to do at the shop before he goes. He needs to get away & do what he loves to do. We have been so busy lately. I miss the farm. New Years weekend was the last time we were up there. I am reading about gardening in between other books to get me through the farm withdrawal I am feeling. I just started a book called "The Seasons on Henry's Farm : A Year of Food and Life on a Sustainable Farm". It is about a farm in Illinois beteen Peoria & Bloomington. I am only into the second chapter but I'm hooked. I'll do a more complete review after I'm done with it.
Nothing is going on with the townhome as of yet. Still no showings. It would be helpful if the foreclosures & short sales would sell & get off the market & not drive the prices down. Oh well. We aren't in that much of a hurry with the shop not on the market yet. I did get the women's bathroom painted at the shop. That's a start. We still have other things to do to, but have been concentrating on the work that is coming in.

Here is another "living foods" recipe that I've made several times & is really good . Enjoy!

Mock Salmon Pate'
A pink pate' with a hint of salmon flavor. Great on a salad, spread on crackers or rolled up in a green leaf.

2 cups walnuts
2 stalks celery
1 large red bell pepper
1 large scallion
1/2-1 teaspoon sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

As It Stands, 3.8 Magnitude

Here I sit, typing groggily from being up since 4 am this morning. Just couldn't get back to sleep after the earthquake. My "fight or flight" response kicked into high gear & sleep was impossible. I made it into work but wasn't too productive and foresee an early bedtime tonight. I do have a new product to offer though. It is an earthquake sensing device. No batteries required. Runs on moist organic cat food & daily brushings. Can also be used as a spot heater for your bed. Makes a "god-awful" noise right before an earthquake hits to warn you of the pending shaking you will feel. Some motor noise may be detected in the form of purring. Side effects may include love of cats, allergies or an occasional fur ball. Will clone to suit.

4.3 Earthquake in Northern Illinois

I just went to CNN's website & they have it on their breaking news. What a way to wake up this morning! A snowstorm & an earthquake. Steve & I (and daughter Kristin down by Peoria) have woken up a few times in the past month & thought the bed was shaking. Maybe they were pre-shocks.
Did anyone else feel the quake this morning?

Did We Just Have An Earthquake in Illinois?

About a forty-five minutes ago, we woke up to a loud noise with the bed shaking. A few minutes before that Mia (our cat) came into the room making the strangest meow. Steve jumped out of bed to see if snow had fallen off the roof but didn't see any on the driveway. Neighbors lights started coming on then. Well, now we we know it wasn't just us.
I've tried to find out what happened on the radio & the internet with no luck. Could it have been something else?
More later...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Winter is Not Over Yet

Another winter storm warning for tonight through Wednesday morning. So that feeling of spring I have been getting while out for a walk isn't true? :-) This time of year is always hard on those of us who enjoy the warmer months more than the cold. Garden catalogs only go so far in holding off spring fever.
We stayed home from the farm again to work this weekend. Hoping to get up there this coming weekend. Steve has his ski trip in a week and a half & we would like to go before that. Work keeps coming in though & we should take it while we have it, right?
Last night we went to my sister's house for the Super Bowl. It was fun talking, eating & watching the commercials.  Oh yea, & the game. We were talking about Etsy with my niece & were wondering what kind of luck people have had selling on it. I have thought about putting the dryer balls on it & my sister is making these really cute scarves. Has anyone had any experience good or bad with Etsy?
The weekends we are home, I have been enjoying the birds on our feeder. Here are a few shots from this weekend.

Even though I don't want squairrels eating all the bird seed, they sure are cute.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Cheesy Chips

Here's another  recipe for the dehydrator or a oven on low heat.
If you want to eat chips but want a healthier version, these are it. The recipe is from Alisa Cohen's book "Living on Live Food".


2 sweet potatoes
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup Bragg liquid aminos
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (not bakers yeast)

1. Peel & slice the sweet potato in a spiral slicer, mandolin or any other machine that will make thin slices
2. Combine the water & Bragg liquid aminos in a large bowl
3. Marinate the sweet potatoes in the water & Bragg amino mixture for at least 5 minutes.
4. Drain the chips, and then lay them flat on a dehydrator screen.
5. Dust the sweet potatoes with the yeast. The heavier the coating, the cheesier the taste.
6. Dehydrate at 105 degrees for 8-10 hours or until crispy.

If you choose to use a regular oven instead of a dehydrator, set in on it's lowest setting. When preparing raw foods, low tempeatures are used to avoid killing off the enzymes. Enzymes = living food. Living food makes you feel more energized.  As we age, or bodies natural source of enzymes are depleted. Add to your supply by eating raw or live foods and feel the energy. Cooking destroys the enzymes. I never had more energy than when I was eating a totally raw food diet and juicing. As most of you know, I cured my asthma & allergies by eating this way. When we move to the farm, I hope to have a hoop house so I can grow fresh greens almost year round and enjoy those enzymes (and the energy). I'll try to post more recipes (both live food & regular) that we enjoy. Heres to your health!

Friday, February 5, 2010

More CAFO (Factory Farm) News in Wisconsin

I hope Matt Johnson from the Vernon County Broadcaster doesn't mind me reprinting his editorial piece from this weeks paper. It is so important for everyone who opposes factory farms to make a comment or show up for the listening sessions in Wisconsin. Here is the article...

Public Has Its Chance to Address State’s Flawed Livestock Siting Law

by Matt Johnson, Managing Editor.

Anyone who has had a disagreement with the state’s Livestock Facility Siting rule (ATCP 51) will have a opportunity to tell the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection about it.

DATCP is holding four listening sessions on ATCP 51 -- in Dodgeville, Feb. 18; in Eau Claire on Feb. 23; in Oshkosh on March 2 and in Wausau on March 3. If you can’t make it to one of those sessions, you can e-mail comments to, fax them to (608) 224-4615 or mail them to DATCP, Attention: Mike Murray, P.O. Box 8911, Madison WI 53708-8911.
There isn’t a listening session within two hours of Vernon County. That’s good for folks from DATCP who are staffing the meetings. Because if there were a hearing on this matter in this county, DATCP would have to listen to a firestorm of negative comments about this law, which allows large-scale livestock operations to operate with virtually no oversight.

How do we know this? The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources explained it in detail to the Vernon County Board of Supervisors in May of last year.
If you will recall, the Vernon County Board was in the midst of discussing whether or not it should go on record as formally requesting an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) seeking a permit to operate in the county.

To get input on the EIS, the board invited Thomas A. Lovejoy, of the Department of Natural Resources Environmental Analysis and Enforcement Supervisor out of Eau Claire, and Robert Rohland, the DNR’s Environmental Specialist for Watershed Management out of Black River Falls to speak.

What did they tell the county board? In a nutshell, that requesting an EIS or attempting to get the state to even recognize that the county’s karst geology might not make for a good place to site CAFOs was futile.

Lovejoy said that any entity applying for an ATCP 51 permit to run a CAFO simply had to meet the application standards. If that happens, they get a permit. There’s nothing any local government can do or say about it.

“If standards are met, the permit gets issued,” Lovejoy said.

Now, about those standards... They do not adequately address differences in Wisconsin’s geological make-up and there’s virtually nobody in the state of Wisconsin inspecting CAFO sites.

Rohland said a CAFO should be inspected by state officials twice a year. However, he said that "problems" have led to CAFOs being inspected by state personnel just once in a four-year period.

"It’s an area we’re trying to improve on, but everyone has had to make concessions in tough economic times," Rohland said. "The DNR isn’t immune to state cutbacks."

So, anybody who applies for a permit and meets the criteria gets one. Then unless the place explodes or leaks enough manure to kill fish or poison people, basically nobody is checking on them.

As we reported in May, after the county board meeting, Rohland specifically asked people interested in ATCP 51 to attend legislative sessions about the law and explain to state officials the problems with it.

Here’s a problem... The watershed of Jersey Valley Lake has been flooded with manure at least three times since 2005. The DNR knows this. How many citations has the DNR issued regarding these manure runoff events? Zero.

In March of 2009, after a manure runoff event was reported at Jersey Valley, the Broadcaster interviewed DNR water quality biologist Cindy Koperski, who works out of La Crosse. Koperski said that eliminating the manure runoff was something that needed to be controlled by farmers or by DNR enforcement.

When asked about greater enforcement or adding manure spreading rules, Koperski said the state had limited resources. About improving enforcement, Koperski said, “That’s not going to happen.”

Agriculture is big business in Wisconsin. It’s the lifeblood of Vernon County. We’re an agricultural community. Not every CAFO owner or operator is a bad actor. There is a place for big ag in Wisconsin. What ATCP 51 doesn’t do is allow people to make a case that the place for a CAFO isn’t here on our fragile karst geology. DATCP has no business continuing or expanding a livestock siting law that takes local control out of the equation. This is especially true when the Department of Natural Resources has so exhaustively explained it doesn’t have the ability to enforce the law.

DATCP has no idea the lengths people in Vernon County have gone in an effort to get the state to notice that ATCP 51 is flawed. Grassroots groups have formed, people have protested, community meetings have been held and the local government has been redressed. We’ve been told there’s nothing that can be done about it.

Well, now the time has come for DATCP to listen up, but you have to tell them. Nobody will do it for you.

—Matt Johnson

Perfectly stated Matt. Thank you.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Feel Better Tim!

This morning my daughter Kristin called to let me know her husband Tim was in the hospital recovering from an emergency appendectomy. It was all so sudden. Yesterday  the day before he was experiencing pain and when he went to urgent care they admitted him to the hospital for surgery. The doctor said it was a good thing he didn't wait any longer to come in. The surgery was done laparoscopically so hopefully he won't have as long of a recovery time. Kristin felt pretty helpless though with Jaelyn being a few weeks old and the surgery being done in the middle of the night. Tim (the good daddy that he is) didn't want her to come to the hospital with Jaelyn. The good news is he is doing fine. He's home recooperating now and in some pain, but it could've been worse. Here's to a speedy recovery Tim!

A Great Dehydrator Recipe

The other day Chris at "A One Acre Homestead in Ohio" wrote about wanting to upgrade his dehydrator. That got me thinking about a really good recipe that I haven't made for a while. It's from the book "Living on Live Food"  by Alisa Cohen. Here it is...


Served warm out of the dehydrator, these are heavenly. They taste like soft, breaded, cooked, stuffed mushrooms.

18-22 button mushrooms, washed & stemmed

1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 cups basil
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1. Place mushroom caps top side down on a plate
2. Blend all stuffing ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
3. Scoop a small amount of suffing into each mushroom cap
4. Dehydrate at 105 degrees for 5-6 hours, or until soft.

I know, you are thinking 5-6 hours? I don't have time for that! So prepare them the night before and stick them in the fridge and get yourself a timer & set it to start 5-6 hours before you get home from work or where ever. Believe me, it's worth it. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. :-)

Monday, February 1, 2010

What a day!

So, my day was going along pretty good, then I needed to go run an errand for work. Since Steve & one of the other employees were on a job, I went back to tell Keith (yes, that's the same guy who lost his wife then bragged about the money he was getting), and he was intently studying his sexy girl calendar instead of working, UGH! He had it off the wall flipping through the pages. He didn't hear me open the door to the shop because his radio was on. Busted! I hope I embarrassed the heck out of him. He didn't go in the break room for his break this afternoon, so he must have been afraid I'd say something. I'll let Steve handle that one if he wants to. At least I didn't catch him doing something else, if you know what I mean.
The good news I have is that my sister is going to work one day a week at the shop. This will give me some down time, which I really need. My brain is on fast mode all the time. I feel scattered, not grounded. I am a creative person but can't get my thoughts together long enough to be creative. So one day a week, she will come in & I will stay home. This helps us both out. The pharmacy she worked for closed last year when Walgreens came to town and we all know how hard it is to find a job these days. So she will get some extra money & time out of the house & I will get...we'll see. I hope to get some peaceful meditation, my creative juices flowing, help my memory problems by not being so busy...and on & on.
I have been thinking a lot lately about our plans. We worked again at home in Illinois so didn't make it to the farm. The way the economy is right now, I'm not sure we'll be able to sell our townhome or the business building. That puts a holds on the big plan for now. I guess I am starting to accept that this might not work out as we planned. A big delay anyway. It is great that we are busy workwise. A very fortunate problem to have. So I feel guilty when I get sad about the farm. So many are out of work & here I am feeling bad about a dream that many people cannot even fathom. I think I just need to get my mind around a new plan & go with it. It's not like we will never live there. So we have been talking about it lately. I just hope we are not to old to enjoy it once we get there. We will still keep working on it, but might not live there anytime soon. Maybe it will give us more children & grandchild time which is a great thing. See, I am already out of my "funk"!