Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Great Day at the Farm

This is how the day started. A beautiful bald eagle in one of the trees by the woods. I saw him out the window & rushed to get on long underwear, shoes & snowshoes. I was so afraid he would fly away by the time I got close enough for a good shot. He was a patient bird. Let me get a few good shots & then off he flew. The way he was looking at me, I am lucky he didn't pick me up as a tasty morsel :-). After I took a few more pictures of everything that was ice coated, I started to chip away at the ice on my car. I've never seen so thick of ice. It rained/sleeted & snowed yesterday too. That is why I am still at the farm today. The road conditions were iffy this morning.
That is a thick layer of icy snow.
The snow was sparkling like diamonds

Neighbor Jim came over & plowed the driveway right after that. They had a great time on their trip & Brutus was very happy to see them. Mid-day, I walked over to see Lizzie & the kids & to get some eggs. She is doing much better keeping track of her sugar now. She is due in April. I told her I will probably be here when she has the baby this time. She mentioned having fast labors (gee, after 11 kids, you think? :-) & hoped that Nancy (our nurse neighbor) would be home when she goes into labor. She said she wouldn't want to have the baby at home though. They don't even tell the kids that a new baby is on the way. I guess all the sudden, one just shows up. No sex education for the Amish. Anyway, if she does go into labor and things move really fast, I told her she could use our house. Yep. That's right. I offered up our house. Hopefully, she makes it to the midwife on time. She is about 45 minutes away though. That would be exciting! I'd rather that she have the baby here than in my Subaru though :-)
Shep was around this morning, so I fed him. He came in the house again (barely). After I got back from Lizzie's, he was waiting for me on the step. I decided to see if he would "sit" some more for me, so I got out the cheese. He ended up coming in the house (workshop area) and was checking it out. He is starting to trust me. We did a lot of "sits" which he is very good at & then I started the "come' command with him. He would go outside & I would say "come" & he would come in & walk to me. I hope he is around tomorrow before I leave. I want to see if he is that receptive again.
Such a handsome boy.
Other things I did in the last couple days...went through all the potatoes in storage & made hash browns to freeze, made tomato soup from some puree I had frozen, mopped down the living area floor and almost finished the afghan.
Should get up & get going tomorrow. I miss Steve & Mia & we are going out to eat with Amy & Rob tomorrow night for Rob's birthday. We'll be back on Friday afternoon...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Flickering Lights and More Winter Weather

It only February, so I know winter isn't done with us yet. Today certainly proved that! We have had all kinds of weather such as rain, sleet, freezing rain, snow with thunder & lightening. As I sit here typing, the lights are flickering. We had two episodes of driving sleet/freezing rain about 5:30 so I'm sure the power lines are coated with ice. I'm all set though. A roaring fire in the wood stove, candles sitting on the kitchen table ready to light along with the farmer's matches. My stomach is full, the afghan I'm crocheting is waiting to be finished and I have a book to read. An interesting book, so far, called Possum Living, How to Live Well Without a Job and With Almost No Money by Dolly Freed. Great concept if you can pull it off :-). I'm just a couple chapters into it. I'll let you know if I learn anything that other books similar to this didn't cover.
This weekend we are dog sitting Brutus. Such a good boy. He is lying in front of the wood stove dreaming away, his paws twitching and small moans escaping from him. We weren't sure how he & Mia would get along, but they tolerate each other fine.
Mia is up in the chair ignoring Brutus.
Mia makes a wide berth around him but he doesn't pay any attention to her anyway. Makes me happy that Mia isn't upset by him. Maybe she'll accept Shep after all. That is, if I ever get him in the house. Shep had a busy day yesterday running back & forth on the driveway while the Amish cut up trees that had fallen from the tornado. They had a couple of teams of horses over there which he tried to herd as they went up the driveway. It makes me so nervous to see him do that since his sight is so bad. He gets right between them. Scary.
The Amish cutting up trees for firewood.
On Friday, our son Shane decided to come up with Steve when his plans for ice fishing fell through. Since we had an appointment with Harry for body work on Saturday, I let him take my appointment. He really enjoyed it. We asked Harry what he calls what he does, if it is considered myofacial, and he said it isn't. He has been doing this for 30 years and has his own technique. Whatever it is called, it works and feels great. After a relaxing afternoon & a hike around the property, we went out to The Driftless Cafe. When we got home, Shane & I played checkers, Rummy & War while listening to the local radio station.
Walking with Brutus...our barn in the distance
Earlier today, Steve & Shane put up some drywall in the workshop area before they left for home. I just heard from Steve and the roads were terrible all the way to Janesville and it is pouring rain back home. So glad they made it alright! Well, the sleet is still coming down, hitting the north and east windows, but the wind appears to have died down a bit. No more flickering lights for about a half hour now so maybe we won't lose power. I filled up 5 gallon jugs just in case. Wouldn't want to run out of water again :-). If this keeps up all me night, the trees should be beautiful in the morning with a thick layer of ice. A good photo opportunity. Well, time to crochet & get into that book before bed. Hope you all have a wonderful week!
Shane & Steve drywalling the workshop.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Surprise This Morning

Not a good surprise, either. No water coming out of the faucet. Ugh! I got up to the farm yesterday afternoon, flipped the breaker for the water pump & went back upstairs to start the fire (and play with Shep, who ran down to see me as soon as I pulled in :-). I had water all night to flush & wash up & fill up the tea kettle. Well, I guess that was just the water left in the tank. This morning, not a drop. I called Steve so we could both panic together :-). He ended up finding the name of the company who did the well work & I called him. He was here in a half an hour. Nice! He tested the connections at the water tank & then at the breaker box. It is a faulty breaker. Big sigh! Now I am waiting for the electrician to come over & change the breaker. Of course when something goes wrong like that it is easy for the mind to go to the worse case scenario. Picturing the big well truck pulling the pump was what Steve & I both thought of. Thousands of dollars...instead the well guy charged me $10 for gas money. I would think that the electrician won't charge me, since they were the ones to put it in in the first place. Maybe this day will be a good one after all.

Yesterday when I got here, I fed Shep right away. He scarfed down half a can of dog food. A little while later I fed him the other half and he came all the way into the barn. Yea! First time! After he was done though he went right back out. I decided to see if I could teach him to sit. So I got out some cheese & we worked on it a little while. He was sitting on command at the end but I think it will work much better to train him when he is not starving for food. He was so anxious for the next bite of cheese. I was scratching him on his neck & got under his collar and he whimpered like he was hurt. I think he thought I was going to hurt him. Not sure what has gone on with him as far as abuse, but I hope he will trust me in time. I am getting so attached to him. It is hard to let him run back home. He was soaking wet (from the thaw we've been having) and I know he sleeps in the barn. I hope he found a warm spot to lay last night.
Shep eating his food inside.

The fog lifted at sunset and it was a beautiful night. 
As I was wring, the electrician showed up & we are all fixed. Now I will go & play with Shep for a while then get busy priming & painting the inside of the bathroom door and organizing more things that I brought up with me.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Shep waiting patiently for me.

Another good weekend at the farm. Friday’s trip started with lunch with Steve’s dad. We went to Shawn‘s in Sycamore. They have great sandwiches, cookies (like seven different kinds) & always a different yummy flavor of coffee . We try to have lunch with his dad whenever we are on the way to the farm. My dad died in 1985 and I consider Joe (Steve’s dad), my dad too. After our lunch, he was heading to the nursing home to volunteer with his dog Angie.  He goes at least once a week since Hilda died.

Saturday morning Steve went out cross country skiing for a while and then we both had a session with Harry getting myofacial release work done. This was my second time and Steve’s first. He loved it. It was like all his stress was gone when he was done. We made an appointment for next weekend, too.
After Harry left, Steve went to our neighbors and helped stack some firewood while I went to visit Eli & Lizzie. They just got back from Indiana for a wedding and were pretty tired. They met some pretty interesting people on the bus. Not ones they cared to meet either. A few drunks, a few that had pot. I really think that they feel that most of the "English" are a bit crazy. :-)
At sunset, I went out snowshoeing. It was so beautiful. And the temps were very mild. Shep met me on the hill of the driveway after I got the mail. I can’t wait until he is ours. The first thing I will do is take him to the holistic vet in town. I would like to know his age and if there is anything we can do without surgery to help the cataracts. I have heard of drops that might work to dissolve them, so that might be an option.

Saturday's sunset.

Saturday night we watched a few programs on Hulu and went to bed early. We even slept in today.  While I made a breakfast of hash browns, eggs & toast, Steve went out skiing again. We knew the temps were creeping up into the 40’s today, and in the 50’s by the end of the week so he wanted to get out while the snow was still good.

Some good news about his Utah ski trip. He was able to reschedule for the first week in March. He is thrilled and so am I. I’ll be heading back to see my daughter’s family again. Let’s hope the weather cooperates this time. No more blizzards, please.

We did get something done as far as work goes this weekend. Steve put up two ceiling lights and I went through all the potatoes we have stored and made hash browns out of some of them and then froze them. The rest (two burlap bags full) look great. We should have potatoes to eat until the new potatoes are ready this spring.We did have to compost several winter squash that were stored in the basement. Temps went down to -15 last week & it must have gotten below freezing down there. The stored onions look fine though. We also went over the kitchen plans and re-measured for the counter top.  Things are coming together, falling into place. I am so looking forward to unpacking the kitchen stuff that is in the attic and putting it away. It'll be like Christmas, seeing all of it again. :-)
I never get tired of the view.

I think I'm wound down enough to fall asleep now. It always takes a while after our drive home. Good night & have a great week!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Fun Week & a Johnny's Order

Tomorrow I leave my daughter's house after a week of fun (and a blizzard). I will really miss being here. Jaelyn is growing up fast. Such a cute personality! The expressions that she makes are priceless. She has also been learning some new words like gama (yea!), Elmo and nana (banana).
The paparazzi has been following her around all week :-)

Playing with Mommy
 As much as I hate to leave, I really miss Steve. He was supposed to go to Utah skiing but his flight was canceled due to the blizzard. So I have been here having fun and he has been stuck at work. (am excited that he is working on our farm kitchen though :-) We hope he can reschedule soon.
Tomorrow is also Super Bowl Sunday. It will be exciting since the Packers are playing. My niece is having a party and has shared a recipe she is making on her blog here.

I am babysitting tonight while Kristin & Tim are out to eat with friends. Jaelyn is in bed, so I decided to place my order with Johnny's Selected Seeds. For a couple years, I have wanted to use floating row covers for the garden, but it hasn't been practical to do so considering we have been traveling back & forth between the farm in Wisconsin & our Illinois home. Since I will be at the farm this spring on a steadier basis, I will be able to tend to the garden and try new things. Here is what I ordered...
Agribon+ AG-19 Floating Row Cover - 83" x 50'
Anchoring Pins Fabric Staples
Hoop Loops 
Agribon+ AG-15 Insect Barrier - 118" x 50'
Pea, Lentil, and Vetch Inoculant (OG)

I anticipate a busy spring at the farm and am excited to dig into the many projects waiting to get started. There are so many things we have wanted to do but just haven't had the time. Rain barrels are on the list. We bought the barrels a couple years ago but haven't used them yet. I take that back. Two of them have scrap wood stored in them & one has gardening tools in it :-). I looked at a site tonight called Aqua Barrels and found this http://www.aquabarrel.com/learn_how_to_paint_barrel.php. For those of you that are looking for a way to camouflage your water barrel, this is a technique that uses tree branches & plants as templates for spray painting.

Enough for now...gotta get a good night's sleep for the drive tomorrow.   Go Packers!