Just Nice Folks

tow truck

We had an experience that no one wants- a broken down truck in the middle of no where, in the pouring down rain, early in the morning before church.  What started as a panicked “what are we going to do?” turned into a testament to the niceness of people.

After sitting with the truck for several minutes, it was obvious it wasn’t going to start. AND we did not have a clue what was wrong with it; after all we had just had it serviced from hood to tail.

We decided to call AAA.  We have a membership and towing is free within 3 miles. That’s all well and good, but in small towns nothing is open on Sunday. When asked “where are we towing you to?” we answered “we have no idea.” We hoped that in the 90 minute wait we could find a place open on a Sunday. Our church is 60 minutes from us, so towing us home was not really an option–that would be one expensive tow!

We are pretty new here and we don’t know many folks yet at church, but hubby had been to a men’s retreat and met some nice men, so he hunted in his cell phone for a number to call.  He came upon one and called their home. It was early and his wife answered. Hubby explained our predicament and our objective. We didn’t need them to come and get us or anything but we wondered if ANYTHING was open that we could tow our car into for a look.

She was the first highlight and testament to niceness.  She hung up and started hunting. She called and called around to places she knew of.  How nice is that? Unfortunately no one was.

closed

We thanked her sincerely for her time and trying and looked at each other. Hummmm…what’s plan b?

About that time our tow came.  Big ol’ dude came walking up to the car in the rain and said “what’s up and where are you getting towed to?” We must have looked like we just fell off the turnip truck as we said “we don’t know and we don’t know.”

He took pity on us and said “try to start your car.”. Hubby did and he said “you got air in a line, open the hood.” We did as instructed and he pushed on something and air released. Truck still a no go however. He said “you need starter fluid; you got some?”. To which we answered, “no you don’t use that on a diesel.” He grinned and said “oh yeah you can.” I’ll go up the road to the gas station and find you some.”

Wow, OK! We will wait here… (where would we go?) We had hope.

But when he returned, he couldn’t find anything open either. He said “let’s go to Walmart-get in the tow truck.” We hopped in, he connected up our truck for the tow and off the three of us went to Walmart to buy the starter fluid. We were still concerned about using it on a diesel, but we had to put our trust in him. We had nothing else at the moment!

The dude let off our truck, waited around while we made the purchase and then used it himself on our truck to get it going! WOW again.  And the charge was “zero.” He had towed us within the three miles, and wasn’t going to charge us for us other efforts.  We gave him a nice tip and told him to go get a good breakfast somewhere. We did the same and then went to late church mass.  We found ourselves in disbelief over our misfortune in the early hours but our fortune in such nice folks.

I know there are nice people everywhere, but it seems to me that in a small town you just run into it more. There is more of a “help your neighbor” feel. Like the man that stopped by our house one day to help get our tractor out of a ditch. Or another time when our tractor was stuck up to it’s belly in mud and a farmer down the way brought by heavy tow straps for us to use and said he’d pick them up on another day when he drove by.  We did not know any of these folks, but they saw a need and stopped to lend a hand.

I love it here in small town USA. I love all the niceties that I encounter in seemingly hopeless situations. How about you? What’s something that someone, you did not know, did you for you lately? How did it make you feel?

Happy Unleashing!

FGU

 

Musings: Identifying Passions

passion2

Many of us “love” many things. We love this, we love that–sometimes we overuse that “L” word don’t you think?  I really like a lot of things, but LOVE is strong.  It is the for better for worse stuff right? It is loving this thing when all is well  but also loving it when it is not.

I spent the day in my veggie gardens on Friday.  I had taken a day off of the “day job” and asked myself what do I really want to do… my answer was quickly “play in the yard.” As I was out there for 7 hours all by myself (with an occasional visit from hubby and Jasmine) it gave lots of time for thinking and pondering and yes, musing.

I am in school studying Organic Agriculture. I have many ideas from supplying a CSA, to renting garden plots for community folks, to teaching organic gardening, to teaching growing your own food to lower income, single moms, to hosting farm to table dinners and on and on and on.

As I was outside on Friday, I wondered to myself if I could spend all day, everyday outside, growing things, helping others grow things, being dependent upon the weather, sweating, getting totally dirty, and yes, being by myself for much of my day.

I think that answering that when you are picking the red ripe tomato, cutting bloomed flowers, smelling strawberries as you put them in your basket is pretty easy.  Yes, I could do that everyday. I also feel like the days that I am planting is an easy yes. I love a freshly planted garden and the following days that you are waiting for the little guys to start popping through the soil. When the work is “glamorous” it is easy to say “yes” isn’t it?

But Friday was a great day for me to pose this question to myself.  Friday, for 7 hours, I weeded a 43 ft x 33 ft garden, raked mowed grass into a wheelbarrow (a bunch of times) and then filled the 80+ tomato cages with the grass to mulch the tomatoes. There was no planting, no picking.  It was what I would call “grunt” work.

Midday when I pondered over my question of if I could do this everyday, it was a resounding yes! I don’t need glamour to love my gardens. All my green babies don’t have to be magazine perfect (they are not). I love the grunt work of gardening as much as the glamour. That tells me, with a resounding “yes” that my gardens are a passion. I love them in glamour and grunt. I love them in seeing the fruits of my labor and the days that I really don’t see it immediately.

How about you? How do you know what your passion is? What do you love the GRUNT work in? Identify that and you will be on the road to knowing what your passion is.

Happy Unleashing your Passion!

FGU

 

Playing in the Dirt!

sprinkler garden 3There are few things I love more than a freshly tilled and planted garden.  I know it is exciting and oh so pretty when stuff starts coming up, but that moment I look at a newly planted area gives me a thrill. I love the smell, the look, the crud under my fingernails and the sweat I feel dripping down my back which all says in chorus “Good Job!”

Over the last few days we have planted two new beds.  One is actually a combo of Garden 2 and Garden 5 from last year.  We put them together to make one biggie plot-43 ft x26 ft. Hubby tilled it up with our Kubota and then we marked off rows and we planted using my handy dandy Earthway Seeder. We planted a variety of beans, peas, beets, cucumbers and flowers. I know you can’t see anything yet, but isn’t it pretty??

butterfly1

garden 2 planted

A little butterfly enjoyed hovering over it while I was finishing up.

butterfly2

butterfly3

The second one was more challenging. We had a mini hill that was nothing but hard dirt, glass, trash, weeds and more.  Mostly stuff we didn’t want. Hubby took to it with a hand held hoe, our rototiller and a bunch of man power and got it to the point of workable soil.

Hubby potato hill3

Hubby potato hill2

Hubby potato hill1

Since it is a hill (not real noticeable here, but it is elevated) we decided to put potatoes in here.  I know potatoes are risky right now as it is July. BUT I had bought them and was out of town during much of May and most of June so they did not get planted.  It was either give them a shot now or toss them. We chose to let them see what they could do and we are optimistic they will return something to us for the opportunity. :-)

We added some eggplant in here as I understand that is a good companion for potatoes.  I sprinkled some bee friendly seeds in as well. I sprinkle a bit of those in all the gardens.

By noon yesterday we were watering our newly planted areas. Looking at them soaking in the water makes you feel so hopeful doesn’t it? I imagine the little seeds are happy to be in the soil, getting water and nutrients and are planning their grand entrance.

garden 3

 

I can’t wait until I see them popping up and I get to meet all of my new green babies. Are you still planting? What’s your favorite part?

Happy Unleashing in your garden!

FGU

Green Baby Nurturing–Feed and Prevent

tomato and weedsWe all know that our green babies need nutrition and a bit of help with the pests.  My first year of gardening (last year), I was surprised to learn of so many things that are good for the plants, but are still acceptable (and encouraged) in organic gardening.

I like to treat for pests once a week. I fell short last year on this one, so I am using my reminder program on my smart phone to harass me when I am due to do this weekly. It is not that I don’t enjoy doing it–I just loose track of when I last did it and when it is time to do it again.

A few favorites of mine have  become Neem Oil. I buy this in concentrate and mix it in my sprayer. I have found it to be really helpful on the pest control. Personally I like the smell of this when I spray it. I am not sure if I am odd that way or if you find it pleasant also.

I really love to make Red Pepper Garlic Spray also. I grow Habenero Peppers for this purpose. Google this and you will find lots of recipes!  Pick one that suits you. It is lovely as it makes your garden smell like salsa, but the insects (and some furry friends) don’t care for it at all.

I feed my plants weekly also. I rotate between fish emulsion (I buy Fertrell concentrate).  This stuff smells hideous, but the plants always look perky the day after they get a dose of this, so I tolerate the smell.  I also shower right after or I feel like I smell like a dead fish all day. :-)

The other on my rotation is Compost Tea. It is a fav for feeding my plants and I first heard of this last year.  I am mixing up a batch this morning in a Homer bucket to use later in the week.  It is easy and the plants LOVE it! Read directions on a post I did last year. It is easy and it satisfies my “momminess”, as I feel like I am cooking for my green babies.  I love doing this.

tiethebag.jpg

 

What do you mix up for your plants?  What are some of your favorites? Do you have a favorite that you can’t imagine gardening without?

Happy Unleashing today!

FGU

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #166 (and flowers!)

apron

Happy Farmgirl Friday!  What a great Friday it has been at Big Sky Acres this morning. First we fed our siding crew some yummy grub at 7 a.m. It was much appreciated, eaten up and we enjoyed the company at breakfast.

IMG_20140718_071824436[1]

Then I tossed aside the apron for my jeans, boots and cowgirl hat to head to the garden at 8 a.m. That too is a real treat! It was cool and damp and just perfect.  Jasmine and I headed back and saw beautiful flowers on our trip up.

Look what is blooming so beautifully in my garden that I cleaned up a couple of weeks ago.

Hydrangeas were my sisters favorite flower, so I always have to have them. This spot is full sun so Limelight was the answer for us when we planted them last year.  So happy to see them blooming; they make me smile and think of my sister.

IMG_20140718_082255626

IMG_20140718_082322630

And our hibiscus that we bought really late last year and “knew” it wouldn’t make it, is making a spectacular showing.

IMG_20140718_082301287

Pops of other colors filled my eyes and I was just so happy to be out there. I was headed to the tomatoes, but had to pause and enjoy this for a short  bit.

IMG_20140718_082337866

IMG_20140718_082322630

IMG_20140718_082309016

IMG_20140718_082305670

And my pictures would not be complete without adding something from my garden and this little Cinnamon basil was screaming for his picture to be taken.

IMG_20140718_102319542

It seems we have flowers blooming all over on our Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop!  Be sure to see what is blooming over at Deb’s of Dandelion House (our blog hop founder and hostess primo) too!

What is bloomin’ your way today in your yard or in your house?

Put down your roots and BLOOM!

 

Musings: Night Sounds

No pictures today, because this post is on sounds–night sounds specifically.  I remember years ago visiting my sister in NY city. She lived smack dab in the middle of the city and it is noisy there.  All night long I would hear sirens and I would get up and look out the window to see what was happening. The next morning when I shared all that I had seen, she said “oh I didn’t even hear them.”  I could not believe my ears!  Maybe she was going deaf, maybe she had some illness that knocked her into a coma like state when she slept.  I mean how could you not hear that!? She said she was “used to it.” For her it was just the sounds of the night.

Hummmm…I recall living near a train track years ago and at first the train whistle at 2 a.m. would wake me up and I would complain about it.  It did not take long though for me to “get used to it.” My mom and dad would visit and my mom would say “how can you sleep with that train going all night?” And I would say, I did not really hear it; I guess I was “used to it.”

I would go away and sleep elsewhere and I would miss it.  That had become the night sound that I could count on; it told me all was right with the world out there in the darkness.

Now we live on a State Road.  Our house is set way back, but we can see the traffic and hear the traffic when it passes. The road is a byway for cars, trucks, tractors, and motorcycles when the weather permits.  I love sitting on the porch watching them all pass by.  I imagine that they all envy me for living here in the openness of BSA. They probably don’t even notice me or the house, but in my imagination they do. :-)

Last night while sleeping, I turned over and as I was in that in between state, I heard a truck go by.  I realized I was snuggled down and smiling to that sound.  That sound tells me so much.  In the winter the lack of that sound all night tells me it is icy outside and impassible.  Last night in the quietness, that little hum of the passerby truck, told me all was well.  I love the hum that I hear while sleeping here.  It is my lullaby and eases me back to sleep when I turn over to fluff the pillow or pull up the blankets.  Some folks that visit think that is disturbing.  I just say that I don’t really notice it; I guess I am “used to it.”

What is your favorite night sound?

Happy Unleashing,

FGU

Bye Bye Red Door!

IMG_20140711_065217911

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE red.  Our house, after the remodel will have red shutters, a red metal roof and our pole barn is covered in red on the top. I have more red clothes than any other color.  All my small appliances in my kitchen are red. I LOVE RED…but we have (had) this rickety red door for our office entrance that had to go.

The paint that was used was the wrong type so the frame peels and peels and peels.  The wasps and other various critters had eaten through the frame and these would then infiltrate our office.

IMG_20140711_065230905_HDR

The doorknob was 1/2 in but was not aligned properly from the moment we moved in so it does not really shut.  It became impossible to shut the door; when there was a storm, we would often find that that door had blown open. Just what you want when you have all your electronics and papers in that room!

IMG_20140711_065223778

On a positive note, Jasmine could let herself in by simple body weight and a paw push.  She loved that.  She will miss that!

So, I was time to get a new door.  So off we went to get our new door (with more windows in it) and we loaded her up to take her home. She’s a beauty!

IMG_20140710_201324355

Then we said our condolences to the old door and out she went. Bye, bye red door… it’s not you it’s me (not really it is you).

IMG_20140711_072528663_HDR

IMG_20140711_072716441_HDR

IMG_20140711_072528663_HDR

Our builders told us that the door was only held in by Great Stuff Door foam; no nails, no screws–easy removal for them!

Putting the new door in was an exciting moment for us to see!

IMG_20140711_072744189

We now have our new door and the light in the office is incredible.  We can no longer enter the office with our hands full by kicking it, but we will adjust. :-) Jasmine now has to look in and give a bark for us to open the door for her, but she’s already trained on that since the other doors in our house work that way.  The bug population in our office is nil which is an added bonus!

IMG_20140716_082230657

So I love red and I will love all the red that will don our house, but this red door will not be missed (except for when my hands are full)…

Happy Unleashing today!

FGU

Green Goddess Dressing

Green Goddess Dressing

Green Goddess Dressing…Oh I know you are picturing that stuff from the 70′s that was actually green and creamy and came in a bottle.  This is not your mama’s Green Goddess Dressing!   So yummy and creamy full of cucumber and dill flavor AND it is easy!

Ready? Here we go…

3/4 C Greek Yogurt  - I use Fage 2% but you can use non fat or the full deal if you’d like.  Maybe you are really a “rockstar” and make your own…. that is awesome, use that.

1/4 C – 1/2 C dill– this is strickly a taste call.  Mine was fresh and I used about 1/4 C and it was quite flavorful.

2 Tbs. Olive Oil

1 Tbs. White Wine Vinegar-you can also use rice vinegar or white balsamic

1 inch (or so) piece of cucumber

Grab your blender.  Put the peeled piece of cucumber in there along with the dill, oil, vinegar and 1/4 C of yogurt. (note: do not be tempted to add all the yogurt here; just use 1/4 C on this step).

Add some S & P and puree together.

You will now add this mixture to the rest of your yogurt.  I used a whisk. Dependent upon how thick your yogurt is, you may need to add just a drizzle more of olive oil or vinegar.  This dressing is meant to be luxuriously thicker so don’t thin too much.

Serve on your favorite salad!

Musings: Country Byways

After traveling so much lately it is refreshing to be out of traffic.  This “hit me like a brick” yesterday while running some errands and driving home. I realized that although I was driving–the same task that I have been doing weeks on end, my posture and feeling about it were 180 degrees totally opposite from what I had previously been experiencing.

I don’t care for traffic at all.  I get impatient, I get nervous, I get worried, I stress over being late, I fear that I will get hurt or killed, I watch the clock and listen to traffic reports.

Yesterday while driving on the very open road and listening to “Desperado” (singing  along  very loudly I might add), I realized that I was so content and happy and just in shear enjoyment of my surroundings.  It was as close to a spiritual experience as one could have while driving a car.

I raised my phone and using my touchscreen I just started snapping pictures. Since I was driving and could not look at my phone to focus, many of the pictures were trash, but some captured the beauty, serenity and majesty of what was before me.

Isn’t this lovely?

IMG_20140710_130618409

IMG_20140710_130349901

IMG_20140710_130551491

IMG_20140710_130202741

IMG_20140710_130417135

IMG_20140710_130100398

 

Just me and the open road. Some would have find this drive “boring”; I find it delightful and peaceful. When I arrived home, I was in the best mood and just totally happy and relaxed.  What a different feeling from driving (sitting) in traffic.

I just love it here!  Again, I say “there’s no place like home.”

Happy Unleashing (on the open road)

FGU

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #165

apronHappy Friday and welcome to the blog hop!  This has been my first full week home in a very long time and I have LOVED it!

We have been outside alot this week cleaning up neglected gardens.  You can read about my first clean up in my flower garden.  Have any of you ever gotten so far behind you thought you’d never “catch up” and then simply had lots of fun trying!?!

IMG_20140703_084031423_HDR

That brings me to my new mantra of I am not behind, I am just starting.  I adopted this last week when I came home and I started fretting over all the gardening stuff I had missed.  I opened up my Indiana book and saw there were still lots and lots of things I could do starting now, so my planting season kicked off this past weekend.

That is why I loved the blog last week from Back to Basics! She shared the 2014 Planting Guide by zone and I have lots and lots and lots of things I can still do!  So rather than focus on “what could have been”, I will look to “what is now and gonna be.”

I have tons of fun stuff going on with the gardens, bees and our remodel which is underway, but are we farmgirls ever “done”?  Do we want to be? We thrive on what’s happening next. I don’t think any of us can imagine being “done” and not having anything else to do!  We have too many interests and things we love.

Let’s come along and blog hop and share all that groovy stuff you are up to this week. Visit over at Deb of Dandelion House (our blog hop founder and hostess primo) and see what she’s been up to.  She has been finding all kinds of bargains lately that are adorable!!!!

So, do a little bragging on yourself, your homestead and your doin’s!  We are so excited you are here.

Please include the Farmgirl Friday button ( or link back here ) in your post and remember to share this hop with all of your blogging friends!
You don’t have to live on a farm to join this hop!

 Farmgirl is a Condition of the Heart~ MaryJaneButters