Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spring Flower Dilemmas and Deliveries

So how's the cut flower business, Earth Girl?

It's been a tough spring. Comparing this year's deliveries to last year's deliveries, I lost several weeks of flowers due to the early blooms. For example, the pussywillows are usually good for several weeks of delivery, but this year they opened and matured within days! Another example is that the early, mid and late season tulips bloomed at the same time.

Now I'm trying to figure out when to plant the summer annuals, with the early warm weather but still a chance of frost.

Forsythia and daffodils made a cheerful first delivery of the season of my field-grown cut flowers.

The next delivery was tulips. These are especially lovely cut flowers as they open wide and then close at night. Usually when tulips open wide in a vase, they are at the end of their vase life.

These are pictures of peony-flowering tulips. They have become one of my favorite tulips for cutting and create quite a bit of feedback from the restaurant's customers.

This week's delivery included more tulips and lots of grape hyacinths for the smaller vases. The grape hyacinths come with a little story that I posted earlier on Facebook:
Sunday evening as I was picking grape hyacinths, I walked into a redbud limb and it scratched my eye. The doctor put a patch over it yesterday and, reaching for my purse on the floor, I said, "This is going to affect my depth perception." Then I banged by nose on the arm of the chair, which I thought was much further away.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Visual representation of homestead

We are meeting with contractors this week and one asked me to bring pictures of what the house will look like inside. Yikes! It's all in my brain. So I'm scouring Pinterest and Google Images, but am having a lot of trouble with the kitchen. Most of today's kitchens are white with black, brown or grey accents. I want something warmer, something that invites you to come in and see what's simmering in the pot or baking in the oven. I want my whole house to be inviting and calming.

Friday, February 24, 2012

First Impressions

We've had good times at The Highlands during the last 17 years, planting trees, camping, star-gazing, and skiing, and we've met our neighbors and some of the community. However, last weekend, I think I made an interesting impression on them.

Monday evening, we were staking out the house and I dressed for the chilly wind and muddy ground. On the way, I decided to pick up picnic supplies at Grabill Country Sales, a bulk food store with bakery and deli. As I browsed the cheeses near the deli tables, I sensed that someone was looking at me. As happens in small towns across the Midwest, a group of local farmers had pulled together the tables to drink coffee and talk. They were all looking at me and so I smiled and they grinned back at me.

It wasn't until I was leaving the store that I realized why they may have been staring at me. They saw a gray-haired lady wearing raspberry pink knee high mud boots, a hoody sweatshirt with dragons on it (inherited from my son) and a hot pink trappers hat with fur ear flaps.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Stakes in the ground

Sunday afternoon and Monday evening, Steve and I staked out the driveway at The Highlands. We put a drive from the road to the barn 15 years ago. Over time, people started to cut corners so the location of the base layer was not visible, but the ruts where cars were driven were getting deeper. Without getting more stones, construction traffic would wreck havoc on our land.

So with a couple of spades, a stack of stakes and a hand sledge, we set out to find our old driveway and stake our new drive in preparation of ordering gravel. I took the soundings and Steve pounded stakes. Now to order base gravel (#2s) for the new turnaround and garage drive and top gravel (#73s) for everything.

That done, we decided to rough stake the new house. We didn't have a compass, so it isn't exactly right, but we had fun standing on the future porch, opening the front door, walking through the living room into the kitchen and then the dining nook. Our bedroom seemed small, but that may have been our staking since it looks fine on the drawing.

On Monday, we warmed up by the campfire that heated our supper soup and ate it to the sound of the hooty owl in the pines. This is really happening!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

You have to churn somewhat when the roof covering your head is at stake, since to sell is to walk away from a cluster of memories and to buy is to choose where the future will take place.
Under the Tuscan Sun

Sunday, January 08, 2012

House Plans

We reviewed the third set of plans tonight and are ready to give comments to the designer. We like it and think it is falling into place, but the scary thing is that every time we look at it, we come up with another good idea. At what point do we say "Go"?

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Decluttering Discoveries

Every day I try to tackle one small thing to get the house decluttered before it goes on the market. It's amazing what I find.

Today I found three thank you notes written by Rick in 2008 for graduation presents. Somehow, these notes sans addresses ended up in my kitchen desk along with note pads and coupons. So Rick thanked Mrs. Sigmon, Nick Staker and the Stanley family for their gifts, but I threw the notes away almost four years later.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012


I knew there was something I didn't like about New Year's Resolutions. The focus is on what is wrong in my life and not on sustaining what is right. So I'm starting to think of some non-goals for myself.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

How can I be behind already?

I function best with lists, but have fallen away from that habit recently. In 2012, I determined (OK, resolved) to improve my productivity. The first step was to find the list organizer I purchased several years ago. (Does anyone else love office supplies?)

So I crossed one thing off Sunday's list and one thing off Monday's list. I'm working now on Sunday's list (invitations to a baby shower), with Monday's list (paperwork) panting for attention and Tuesday's list (errands) growling in the background. Is this how it is suppose to work?

Monday, January 02, 2012

New Year, New Granddaughter, New Home

Do you think I can write more than 7 posts in 2012? That was the number I wrote in 2011. It's not for a shortage of topics, thoughts, adventures, joys and heartbreak. 2011 was full of them. It's that I tend to post on Facebook instead of my blog.

I don't know what 2012 will bring, but I do know two things are pending: a new granddaughter and a new home. Pretty big news, eh? And rather bloggable too.

Madelyn Mae
Madelyn Mae is due to come into the world mid-February, but she is pushing things a bit. Her mom is on bedrest, trying to eke out three more weeks. Madelyn has a two-year old sister. Sister is not too happy with Mom on bedrest, so I can't imagine how she will react to the intrusion of an infant who can't even play with her yet.

The Highlands
In 1995, we bought several acres of farm land on a high bank of the river in DeKalb County and dubbed it The Highlands. Then two months later, we adopted the twins and decided to stay put. Over the years, we built a barn and planted thousands of trees on the land. Last fall, we decided to build a house and move there. We are now deciding how to site house, outbuildings, drives, gardens, orchard, septic and well. We are on round three of a house design and the land has been surveyed and platted.

So with these events, and whatever else 2012 sends out way, perhaps you will see me here more often.