Tuesday, July 26, 2016

My Summer Job

I have had the idea in the back of my head ever since we moved to this property.
Starting my own flower farm!

When we moved here the back 3 acres were so overgrown with brush, volunteer trees and weeds!

The pipeliner spent a weekend clearing everything out!

This spring we purchased this beauty!


The perfect size for me to operate.

The pipeliner started tilling rows for me to plant.



Now these rows are filled with flowers!




Let me tell you its not as easy as the pictures look!

After planting almost 35 rows of zinnias we had a hard rain!
The soil turned to concrete!
The farmer across the road had the same problem with his cornfield.
He had the use of a rotary hoe to take the crust off his soil.
I tried with my little make shift hoe, a weed edger.
It didn't work so well, and I ended up reseeding the whole thing!

I have been selling bouquets of zinnias and sunflowers at the local farmers market.


The sunflowers are always my favorite.



Along with the flowers I sell my homemade noodles.


I call them Lizzys oodles of noodles!

To this I have added some kind of snickerdoodles.
This past week was snickerdoodle cupcakes.


So we have oodles of noodles & snickerdoodles.
( it is now a running joke with the customers and a good draw to my booth)

The biggest seller of baked goods is this crusty bread.


Asiago & Garlic, Cheddar & Jalapeno

My weeks are pretty busy!
I try to make a batch of noodles everyday.
Friday are baking day, for Saturdays market.

Then there is the upkeep of the gardens.
With all of the rain we have had lately weeding has become an issue and tiresome!

I am not sure where I am taking the whole flower farm thing.
I would like to do a u-pick section next year.
Nothing better than people coming to the farm to pick their own bouquets.
Florist have become quite interested in buying from flower farms.
I may try to market to some of them.
Locally grown flowers are becoming the new trend.

Who wouldn't want a vase full of these beauties delivered to their door?


For now though the Farmers Market keeps me busy enough!

Lots of things to think about this upcoming winter.
I do know this is something I really want to do!


Look for more posts on my new adventure.


Liz




















Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Things Don't Always Go As Planned

Sometimes the best of ideas don't always go as planned.
That would be true of the journey the pipeliner and I just came to the end of.

Last fall some late evening talks with our son-in-law to be led to the great idea of starting our own trucking business.

With absolutely no idea what we were even getting into we decided to look for a semi tractor.

It wasn't long before we found the one for us.


We signed the papers and brought it home.
Little did we know,
this was the easiest part of our journey!

The truck needed a good scrubbing to remove the old pin-striping.

We picked out our logo,
and off into the world of trucking we went.


Oh my gosh,
there were so many papers and forms to fill out!
Applications for one thing and then another.
Thankfully I was able to be-friend another local trucker who gave me a lot of important information I needed.
He hooked me up with some wonderful ladies at an insurance agency that took care of state and federal forms that I had no idea how to fill out.

We found a local company willing to hire us to haul loads for them.

But shortly after we got the truck on the road we had a falling out with our driver.
Actually he had helped himself to a cash advance from our credit card.
Now we had the jobs, but no driver.

Luckily we found another driver pretty quick. 

I was figuring out load numbers, where the load was going to, and how much the load would pay.


The book work was a whole other story.
I decided to take a class at our local college for that.
Once I started learning Quickbooks, I loved it!
My class was small and my teacher was great.


It took a lot of work trying to get our foot in the door of some existing companies.
Our main commodity we hauled was dried distillers grain.
A bi-product of ethanol.
That led us into hauling a new test product of enogen corn into the ethanol plant.

When you haul a load one way,
you want to find another load to haul back.
Nobody wants to come back with an empty trailer.
Somedays I spent hours on the computer trying to get backloads set up for the following week.


We were hauling out of state.
The paperwork that has to be done every week for this is insane!
Recording miles drove out of state, miles drove in state,
fuel used for tax purposes, and then there was billing for all of the loads.


No you know why my blogging came to an abrupt end!

Just when everything started clicking,
we had driver problems again.
It just amazes me how some people casually treat a good paying job.

Thankfully the pipeliners cousin came to the rescue.
He was laid off of his job for the winter.
That worked good until he got called back to his line of work.

The next driver wasn't  fond of having a woman as his dispatcher.
He wouldn't answer my calls.
He used J's cousin as a go between him and I.
That wasn't going to work at all!

At this point I was afraid the pipeliner would want me to go and take a driving class for my CDL license.

Then there were all of the little things that needed repaired on the truck and trailer.

A truck fully loaded with corn missing the driveway and getting stuck in the ditch.


That one was almost a $500.00 tow bill!
(the driver got it unstuck before the tow truck got dispatched, whew!)

When we received our insurance renewal
(almost fell over when I opened that bill!)
it was time for the pipeliner and I to sit down and have a serious talk about the business.
We were making just enough to pay all of the bills, 
but if something seriously went wrong with the truck
we going to have to pay out of pocket to have it fixed.
Was it worth it?

The decision was made,
time to put the truck up for sale!

Our days of trucking were over.

It took a month or so but both the truck and trailer are gone.

The pipeliner feels disappointed that we some how failed.
I think we did pretty good for walking into the whole adventure blindly.

You never know if you can succeed if you don't try.
 Somethings you try,
and you don't succeed.

But you always come away with a lesson learned,
and that is not a failure!

Liz

















Thursday, June 23, 2016

It is berry pickin season!

One of my favorite times of the year is upon us now!

Strawberry pickin season!

It is a short season thats for sure!

We are very lucky to have a u-pick berry patch close to our house.


This is actually a picture from last year.
The day we went to pick this year was quite different.
We had a huge amount of rain over the weekend and things were quite soggy.
Actually when I called to see if we could come to pick,
they said yes but bring your mudders.

We even had to be driven out to the patch in a gator.
To many deep puddles to walk through.

Some rows the water was so deep it above the grandsons rainboots.
But like I said the season is so short,
and lots of rain makes the berries mushy fast.

We did come home with two big flats full of juicy,ripe berries!


I got busy and made 20 jelly jars of jam.


A few jars a gave away to family and friends,
A few got sold at the Farmers Market.
The rest will go down in the cellar to save for our toast on weekend mornings.

I did save out a few berries to combine with rhubarb for a delicious strawberry rhubarb pie!





Our rhubarb had a very short season this year too!
I was lucky enough to find a neighbor that had extra and was willing to share.

Someday I hope to have a big enough strawberry patch to keep my berry stash full all winter long!

Liz







Sunday, May 1, 2016

May Day

April showers bring May flowers!

To celebrate the first day of May it was always a tradition to hang a May Day basket on your beloveds door.



I remember back in grade school hanging a May Day basket on the door of a boy who was my latest school girl crush.

I would ring the door bell and run!
 The boy then was supposed to run out the door and catch you for a quick kiss on the cheek.

Oh the innocence of childhood!

My grandmas house was the meeting place where my girlfriends and I planned out our May Day basket hangings.

She had big bowls of popcorn to fill our homemade baskets with.


Grandma always made sure we had a May Day basket to take home to our mothers.
Those were filled with sprigs of fragrant, purple lilacs snipped from grandmas backyard.
Sometimes if her tulips were in bloom she would let us add a few of those into the bouquet.

I just wonder if children today still know about this special day.



Twenty five years ago today I had an extra special 
May Day.

The birth of my daughter.


She is the mom to my favorite little guy.

My grandma had a May Day basket sent to the hospital to 
mark the special occasion.

I always loved May Day,
but now it has even more meaning to it.

On this special day I am sending you all
May Day basket!


Happy May Day!

Liz









Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Is Mud a Sign of Spring?

We have enjoyed a couple of days filled with sunshine and mild temperatures.
Well mid 40's is mild for February in our area.

The snow is almost all melted except for a few spots left in the ditches.

The landscape is covered in that dull, dead brown.




With a mix of black mud!


The farm truck is surrounded by it!


Lots of muddy tracks in the drive way.



Even the path to the chicken coop is a challenge.
I am running out of spots to tip toe on trying to stay out of the muck.


Now I know why the room coming in the back door is called the
mudroom!


A never ending job of scrubbing puppy prints!


I did manage to scrub some of the boots off today.

But as I took a walk around the yard yesterday, 
I did find a little happiness mixed in with the mud.

  
The first signs of spring!

As a girl that has grown up in the mid west I have learned to just deal with the mud.

It comes every year!
And right before spring.
So maybe just maybe it could be a sign of spring.


Yep,
That is what I am choosing to believe!

Liz