Flying days, flowers and the greenhouse

Saturday, August 22

The day just flew by. There were a couple of things I needed to get done such as laundry and vacuuming but other than that I didn’t have any real plans for the day and I had hoped for a long day where I could browse a magazine between chores and linger on the porch. I did get the laundry and the vacuuming done and I also cleaned the cabin while CountryBoy worked on the greenhouse windows. Then I got a wild hair and decided to use the box of Salad Shell pasta I saw in the pantry which resulted in thawing out some hot and mild sausage (we use a half pound each in our spaghetti sauce) and thawing out some tomato juice I had brought home from the B&B. Once everything was thawed I spent some time in the kitchen cooking the juice down for an hour or so until it had thickened up, browning the sausage with some onions, green peppers, garlic, salt & pepper. After I poured the sauce back in I added some tomato paste, dried oregano, and snipped some fresh Thyme and Basil and added them. I left it all to simmer for about an hour then turned it off until it was time to eat. At that time I cooked the shells and added them to the sauce. Once they were mixed well I transferred it to a casserole dish, topped it with cheese and warmed it in the oven until the cheese was nicely melted. It turned out SO good! I’m thinking that if I keep bringing home the leftover tomato juice from work we won’t have to buy spaghetti sauce anymore. win-win!

While I was in the kitchen our guests arrived. We are usually in the middle of something when over half of our guests arrive and I’m sure we look a sight with paint-stained clothes and our hair a fright. Well, mine that is. During the summer it’s usually wadded up in a knot at the back of my head with the ends sticking out. Oh well. They’ll forget all about us once they get up to the cabin.

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Before I knew it the clock read 5 o’clock. What? CountryBoy had finished up the windows and had taken all his tools back to their storage spot and I was finally able to put the plants back in their place. It’s really looking good out there.

I moved the top shelf that was originally over the house window over to the right and added a second shelf that was stored in the barn. The Bee Happy flag was hanging where the shelves now are so I moved it in front of the electric meter. In order for the flag to hang straight I hung it on some plant brackets that I wasn’t using which worked perfect and the meter has disappeared. I replaced the metal shelves with the wooden tea cart because it is warmer than the metal which has more of a cold industrial look. Since I got rid of a lot of plastic pots the tea cart provided enough storage.

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Overall we are really pleased with how nice it looks and we think the improvements will help keep it above freezing during the winter. On the unusually cold nights where it dips in the twenties or below we plan on using an electric heater out there just in case. Still left to do is replacing the roof and adding insulation and a ceiling. The clear panels have dry-rotted already and are leaking in spots. We are going to replace the entire roof with all new metal then we can finish it out. If we did need to use a heat source it should help keep the heat in and not drift on out since heat rises.

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This evening we had an enormous downpour which resulted in the pond water reaching the culvert…

and overflowing…

The best part? The barn is nice and dry. Well, except for the spots where the roof is missing but hey, it’s mostly dry, yay!

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Farm news: 23 eggs

Sunday, August 23

The days are definitely getting shorter and the nights longer. I slept in until almost 7 o’clock this morning even after going to bed a few minutes earlier than usual and I slept good. I guess my busy day yesterday wore me out. It was also clean-sheet day. I always seem to sleep better when the sheets have been freshly washed and the bed is nice and smooth with no lumps and wrinkles. Anyone else?

Our guests drove off while we were having our coffee. CountryBoy was going to head up and grab the sheets and towels and any dirty dishes but we weren’t sure if they were actually gone. We thought maybe the husband ran out to get some coffee and some breakfast to bring back. We sure didn’t want to go up and discover they hadn’t actually left. That’s the trouble when they are able to drive their own vehicle up. We never know if they’re actually gone. At any rate, we gave them about 45 minutes and when he didn’t come back CountryBoy went up and they were indeed gone. He got everything ready for today’s guest and we were able to make it to church.

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It was a fairly quick day at the B&B. I was able to get every last sheet in the hamper washed, dried, ironed, folded into sheet sets and put on the shelves in 4.5 hours. I did quite a bit of sweating too. I came home to a rain shower but immediately hopped in the shower to get the sticky off me. I’m going to be working longer days on Wednesday’s to help out with dinner so that the regular gal can have a night off. I don’t mind since I’m already there. I also got a rather nice raise which was a nice surprise.

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Farm news: 20 eggs

Monday, August 24

From sunup to sundown it was a busy day. I’m thankful for those quiet moments during coffee which help me gear up for the day ahead.

Work was pretty uneventful compared to the previous Monday’s last minute addition to my Classified pages. I was able to get the ads on the pages for both papers and lay out my usual pages all before 3 o’clock. There was not much else I could do so I left at 3:30 to run some errands.

One of those errands was going to the Health Department to pick up an instruction sheet on how to obtain my Food Handlers certificate online. Now that I was going to be officially preparing and handling food at the B&B I needed to take the online course and become certified. I guess now I can get a job in a restaurant if I so desired. No thanks! Anyway, it took less than an hour and I printed out my certificate which I will take to work for their files.

As soon as I had printed the certificate CountryBoy was finishing up supper. We sat down and enjoyed his yummy ‘Ron-tadas’ – layers of fried corn tortillas, chili, cheese, onions and tomatoes topped with shredded lettuce and taco sauce. The only thing missing were the black olives because we didn’t have any. I can’t even tell you the last time we went grocery shopping. The list is getting longer!

After the dishes were done I started shredding another massive zucchini that was given to us. I filled a gallon bag…

… with ONE zucchini. I mean it was HUGE! Thank goodness for the food processor.

While I was cleaning up a neighbor stopped by for some eggs. We have not been able to keep up with the eggs. No sooner do we get a couple dozen in the egg fridge then someone stops by and they disappear. I should say we are barely keeping up. So far we have always had a dozen or two for our customers even if we have to pluck them out from under a chicken. Talk about farm fresh!

After chatting a bit with the neighbor we headed up to the cabin to get it ready for tomorrow’s guest. It was nice to not have to rush yesterday as we didn’t have anyone booked. The neighbor had come over via his new lawn mower and he did a bit of mowing on his way out. Even along the roadside!

When we came down from the cabin we just kept going to see what all he had mowed and we ended up across the street to check out the progress on another neighbor’s house renovation. We stayed and chatted with them for a bit. By the time we came back home it was time to lock the chickens up and say goodnight to Mabel. It was almost nine o’clock. We spent a few minutes playing games on our iPads then went to bed. It was a full day.

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Farm news: I have no idea!

Tuesday, August 25

I have to say I really enjoy living in a small town. This morning CountryBoy and our preacher headed off to play some golf bright and early. We had loaded our tiller and the propane tank from the cabin in the back of the truck the night before so on my way to work I stopped by one of our local hardware stores and dropped off the tiller and filled the tank with propane. I had allowed myself an extra twenty minutes to get it all done and still get to work on time. On my way in I was stopped by a tractor-trailer in the middle of the road and some guys loading a dozer onto it. I didn’t have to wait long as the dozer was already on the trailer and they were strapping it down. I knew them and as they finished up and went on by we honked and went on about our way. Once I made it to the hardware store the small engine repair man was with another customer. They chatted for a bit, I’m assuming about the problem with the equipment and about family, work, etc. as that’s what is common for ’round here. I love it! They finished up and I was next. The man came over and after asking what was wrong with the tiller got some help from a co-worker and they unloaded it. Meanwhile, the gal at the register was filling the propane tank and then the repair man loaded it back in the truck and strapped it down for me while I paid. LOVE that kind of service!!! And… I was ten minutes early to work.

Work was OK. I didn’t have much to do but finish the Obituary page and wait for the other pages to be finished so I could export them and print them out for proofing. While I waited I got a jump start on next weeks Classifieds and my Ad Schedule; created weekly folders on the computer for the rest of the year and populated them with the folders we use each week to store the articles we might use; created some new ads for next week; and created the pages for next week. By that time the pages I was waiting on were finished so I exported them, printed them out and then I laid out the last page of the paper while the editor proof-read. We got the A-OK from the printer that all was good around 12:45. I stayed until 1:30 working on ads and then went home.

Once home, we took the propane tank and snacks up to the cabin and swept inside and out. It was ready for today’s guests.

This afternoon I repotted some Coleus I had recently purchased into a container for some color in the greenhouse. I gathered the eggs, fed Mabel and poured the last 50 lb. bag of feed into the container in the chicken coop and gave the girls a bit more to eat. The rest of the evening was spent playing a game on my iPad and chatting with my Dad on the telephone.

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Farm news: 27 eggs and we still can’t keep up with the egg demand

Wednesday, August 26

Today was an odd sort of day. We have been in a routine for quite a while now but today I didn’t have to go into work at the B&B until 12 noon and CountryBoy was playing another round of golf with the preacher. A little before 8 o’clock the preacher came and picked him up and they were off. Then they were back. He had forgotten his little cooler packed with Gatorade’s and snacks. I decided to wash some eggs while drinking my second cuppa coffee and after that I scrubbed the sink and washed the dishes. I filled one of the bird feeders and then decided to do a little weeding in my flower garden. Whew, did it need weeding! Luckily, I had taken my camera because, lo and behold, I was able to get this little fella enjoying the Zinnias…

I’ve tried to find out what kind it is and the best I can come up with is it’s a “Comstock’s” Calliope Fritillary.

And for a more artistic shot…

We’ve not had near the amount of butterflies this year as we have in the past so I was very happy to have had my camera in hand!

I was also thrilled to discover that I finally had a few Cosmos flowers on one of the plants I started from seed…

CountryBoy says I’ve got flowers growing on my carrot tops! I have been watching them and anxiously waiting for the flowers. It seemed to take forever but then all of a sudden there were flowers. Only one plant has them so now I’m anxiously waiting to see what other colors I’ll have.

They are such dainty, whimsical flowers and they look great in an arrangement. My first flowers from seeds, yay! I take that back, the Zinnias were my first flowers from seeds. This Zinnia is the only one that took…

… and it’s a beauty! I will definitely dry the flower heads and save the seeds for next year.

We’ve had a good amount of rain so the part of the garden that I weeded, papered and mulched is doing really well…

My poor Coreopsis (the yellow and orange flowers) had been run over by a dozer during the pond digging but they have come back with a vengeance.

After weeding for about 45 minutes I had sweat running in my eyes and I decided it was time to stop. I made quite a bit of progress hand-weeding since the ground was still nice and damp. Weeds pull out so much easier. I quickly showered and got ready for work.

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Work was good. There weren’t a lot of sheets to iron so I did a little computer work waiting for the girl that works dinners to show me the ropes. I’ve worked dinners before but since we deliver the meals to the cabins things are a little different. At 4 o’clock we realized she wasn’t coming so I was thrown into the fire. It was all good though. As I mentioned, I’ve worked dinners before so I knew enough to be of some help with just a little instruction. Like how to make frozen Watermelon Soup. Yum! Perfect for these hot days. After that I made the salads, poured the tea in the carafes, and a ton of other stuff. We delivered meals to three cabins then more sweat rolling in the eyes while washing dishes in the hot water with a mask on. No fun. I showered again when I got home.

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CountryBoy enjoyed his golf outing. He shot a 94. He was glad to be back in the nineties after a tough putting game yesterday. After he rested up he tackled the water barrel project. We had two rain barrels that were connected – one outside that collected the rain water and overflowed to the one inside the greenhouse. If you’ll recall, we removed the one inside the greenhouse and opted to not put it back in. That meant we needed to put the lid with the hand pump on the outside barrel and cut a hole in it to collect the rain water from the downspout. After emptying and cleaning the outside barrel he water sealed the top and bottom of the wood. Now we can water our greenhouse plants again with nourishing rain water. Well, that is, after it rains again!

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I had every intention of publishing this post tonight but it’s just not going to happen. By the time I cooled off and relaxed for a bit the evening hours were already dwindling and it’s now too late to spend the necessary time proofreading. Hopefully tomorrow.

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Farm news: 21 eggs

Thursday, August 27

My work week has finally come to an end. yay. It’s been a busy week and today was no exception. As I mentioned earlier in the week I had emptied the last bag of chicken feed into the feed can inside the coop so a trip to Rural King was quickly becoming a high priority. We decided today was the best day out of the upcoming few days for us to go. So, CountryBoy dropped me off at work, came home and cleaned the cabin, popped the last of his popcorn (yikes!) and ate it, painted some trim, then he came back and picked me up and we headed for Rural King. LizzieBelle got to go ‘byes in the truck’ which is a very exciting day for her – ‘best day ever’! She left her mark outside in the mulch this time. Thank goodness! Anyhow, we stocked up on chicken feed, chicken scratch, cat food, canned dog food and a couple bags of dog treats plus a bunch of other stuff – a floor mat for the cabin, power steering fluid & power steering repair, two cases of Ale 8, a diffuser (one of mine quit working), and I found a pair of short (just below the calf) muck boots for working in the garden. I tell ya’ that store has everything. Oh, and probably the most important thing that found its way into the shopping cart were two giant bags of popping corn. whew! CountryBoy is a happy man once again. wink.

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After we unloaded the truck we drove over to meet the new neighbors. There was a camper there with a bunch of people hanging out under the awning. They are family of another neighbor who was also there. Looks like we’ll have another egg customer as they’ve already inquired about the egg sign by the road. The place needs a lot of work but it sounds like they have some good ideas. I can’t wait to see what they do.

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I had hoped again today that I would be able to take the time to publish this post but it’s already getting late and I think I need to just sit on the couch and relax for a few minutes before going to bed.

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Farm news: 28 eggs. Good thing!

Friday, August 28

I woke up not really not really knowing what I wanted to do today since I didn’t have anything pressing to do yet here I am finally sitting down behind the computer at a quarter till seven in the evening. What started out as a slow day picking lavender buds off the stems while CountryBoy picked and snapped green beens ended up with an impromptu, but necessary, trip to the grocery store. The cupboards were bare! It was mid-afternoon by the time we got back and put everything away. Since CountryBoy’s banana and my peanut butter toast with honey breakfasts were long digested he started up the grill while I made some watermelon soup and stuck it in the freezer. (It’s one of the things I learned to make the other night at the B&B. SO good!) We sat on the front porch while the potatoes and corn were cooking on the grill. I tell ya, August has been a SUPER month weather-wise. We’ve had a hot & humid day here and there but otherwise the days have been quite pleasant. And in August! I’m blown away because it’s usually a very long and miserable month because of the heat and drought at times. It makes me kinda curious as to what our winter is going to be like. Guess we’ll find out soon enough.

I no sooner came back from the barn and it started raining. We sat in the greenhouse enjoying the rain and occasionally moving a bucket to catch the leaks. CountryBoy checked the rain barrel to make sure the downspout was in the right spot. He also ended up going out in the rain because he had left the spigot open after emptying and cleaning it. Good thing he thought about it!

I’m now sitting on the front porch journaling and waiting for our guests to arrive. The rain cooled it off and lowered the humidity making it quite comfy out here with the ever-so-slight breeze.

Speaking of guests, we have one night available for the rest of the month. If it gets filled we will have had only seven nights without a guest and if it doesn’t get filled then eight nights. It’s unbelievable! September and October are beginning to fill up now.

The guests have arrived. We can now relax for the rest of the evening. And, I am going to proofread this and get it published before it becomes a novel. wink.

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Farm news: 24 eggs

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