Friday, August 30, 2013

Key, Peaches, and Lunchbox

As of today we are the proud owners of our 20 acres in Madison County. The adventure begins! Ryan went and got the key to the gate today, and I am loving this key.
It is so delightfully retro. Here is the gate this goes to, although you can't see the padlock in this picture. 
So now we get to hit reset on the whole farm thing and start over with a blank slate. I'm terrified, excited, anxious, and a host of other things about it. So far the thing we're leaving that I'm going to miss most is our orchard, which will take at least another five years to get anything established again. On that note:

Peaches!! We have them! Huzzah! Finally we had a winter mild enough and more importantly without major temperature swings to yield peaches. Small, beautiful, white fleshed peaches. I was never a huge fan of peaches growing up, canned peaches have always just been slimy and overly squishy to me. Then we moved here to this tree. We will be planting as many of these pits as we possibly can. 
In this picture I grilled some after we had some brats the other night. A mildly successful experiment, but really not the best way to eat them. I didn't get the nice caramelization that would make this worthwhile. I'll be canning this weekend, and I will try to put up as many as I can while I can!

The turkeys are day ranging now, which is where we just put them in a net area for a few days and then move the net later. They look pretty good, and as usual we had more losses than we would like. However, it was nothing like last year so I think we will be OK for turkey sales this year. 

Miss H started preschool this week! I'm not sure which family member is most excited about this, but I know it is great to have her intellectually occupied. She really was bored at home, and Ryan just couldn't keep up with her the way preschool can. I'm already seeing more imagination from her when she is home as well as better language skills in only a week. Her preschool is also fairly diverse culturally, with families from Turkey and the Middle East. I love that, and I love that she will grow up with multiple cultures around her as "normal" from day one. That is often difficult and unusual in Central Iowa. 
I also dug into my fabric stash to make her a lunchbox, and I purchased some Insul-brite to line it with so it's insulated.
I had always intended this fabric for a jar quilt (a quilt with lots of jars full of various things, usually depicted on shelves), but I've recently decided to stop protecting my fabric stash so fiercely. I don't even have much of a stash by most standards, but it's full of fat quarters that will be happier being used than sitting in my plastic organizer boxes. 

My biggest problem now is finding a tiny bit of time and space to run a sewing machine without kidlets literally underfoot! Little Z's fave thing to do right now is put his weight on my sewing machine foot pedal as I'm trying to work, so I have to guard that pedal carefully and often turn the machine off while I pin seams. 

Just keep swimming!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

August Catch Up Post

I don't have an excuse for not posting, other than I just don't have the bandwidth for it lately. Life is too crazy around here. New job, two young children, moving a farm, buying land, working on my MBA, contracting for a new 30' x 50' farm building, crazy. But those are excuses. Sorry! So I'll kind of do a catch-up post here.

It looks like we will close on our new land on Sept 3rd or so. We're trying to find a tractor for sale that we like before that happens because we can qualify for a loan program if it's before we buy the land, but so far we're not finding what we want. 
Here's a picture of part of our new land, in the middle of a small locust tree grove. It was quite lovely in June, although we're going to have to cut and bulldoze a driveway out of that bad boy. 
Here's a picture of the pasture ground, with a little of that grove showing in the background.
In preparation for selling our place, we've been doing various things including staining the deck and replacing the living room carpet. The stain was a bunch of mistints all mixed together, and at first I thought it was too RED. But it has grown on me and I like it.
Before (basically no stain left, since we hadn't stained since we moved in):
And here's a wider shot with the red deck:
The red has faded a bit already since it's not so fresh, and it's softer now in a good way.

I've been doing a little bit of crafting, mostly small projects. H is in a kind of summer preschool program put on by a friend of mine, and I was supposed to embroider a napkin for her to use at mealtimes. H asked for "yellow elephants" on her napkin, so that's what I embroidered for her.
I also made a small charity quilt out of scraps I found when cleaning up my quilting supplies. I used the opportunity to practice quilting feathers, which I think I improved through the practice.

H loves to "help" do various tasks and chores, which really is good. She is, of course, not good at them yet, but her willingness lets us teach her.
Tearing up bread for a topping for a casserole (boy, was this a GREAT task for a toddler! Tear it up, it doesn't matter how, and the food processor blades can't run with the lid off):
Watering plants:
And washing windows:

Before starting my job, I took a very quick trip with Little Z up to my childhood camp in Northern Wisconsin. My feelings about going there were well summed up by this sign that they've added recently:
If I have one spot in the world that I consider to be "mine," it is this rock:
I don't know why, but that rock is just the perfect place at camp. It is a little secluded from the cabins, but you can still see what's going on with the sailboats and everything else. I can almost smell the pine trees just looking at this picture. 
On the way up there, Z and I stopped at one of the Grottos, this one in Wisconsin somewhere. Wow. World class ugly, that thing is. Can't believe someone spent his life cementing pieces of junk together as an homage to his faith and America ('Merica?).

We also did our annual outing to the Iowa State Fair about a week ago, where we spent eight hours there and succeeded in finding a company to build a building on our new land. We're really looking forward to building what we need and not cobbling together functionality from buildings that don't really suit us. 
At the end of a long day, H is a little tired:
And with that, the kiddos need me. Sigh. Keep on swimming!