SHHHHHHH, I Would Like To Talk About Hobbies and farming.

Yes, I wish to discuss this quietly.  There is a reason for this.  I am obsessed with my hobbies, and I believe that if I discuss this quietly, like a secret, that maybe my subconscious won’t kick in and go craft-crazy.

Sounds easy, but when your “to-do” list is as huge as mine, just a thought of having a moment to myself for hobby stuff is insane.  There is always something that MUST be done now, especially on a small farm like ours.

crazy face

Don’t get me wrong; I love the rural life.  I love the space, the gardens, the critters, and even the chores (a little less weeding would be nice).  But I also love my hobbies.  When it gets right down to it, I prefer my hobbies.  I can easily do them any time of the year, day or night.  I don’t have to wait for good weather, or a certain season to get things done.  The bummer is that they are still just “hobbies” and do not pay the bills (yet).

I have been taking some online classes (all freebies-yea!) to learn all I can about running a home crafts business.  I think I have boiled it down to one major problem – TIME.  I never have enough time to do what I want to vs. what I have to do:

  1. Every morning by 5 a.m. I have to start the watering cycle.
  2. When it gets to be 90+degrees here, this must be done every day. We have some drip lines set up (in the corn & tomatoes mainly) which I can just turn on and let run for the allotted time.
  3. The rest is all hand watered. We have new, spring-planted, fruit trees which must get major watering every day right now.  I know it’s working because the “shock” part is over and new leaves have appeared (woohoo).
  4. Then, while it is still cool out, I work on weeding. EVERYTHING needs weeding this year – all the time it seems.  Normally we are not this wet so once weeded; an area would stay clear for a month, maybe the rest of the summer.  Not this year.  It was so moist and so cool this last spring, I swore I was back in upper Wisconsin.  I even have a 10’x10’ canopy that I can move around to help shade me while I weed.  It works great except that as soon as I move on to the next area, the last cleaned area starts to weed-up again – grr!

not that kind of weed (NO – not THAT kind of weed.)

If I had less weeding in the front yard,  and just concentrate on one major area each morning for about 2 hours (By then, it’s getting to be noon, and the wind dies – makes it awful to be outside because of biting black flies – hate them worse than mosquitoes. ); that would leave me time in the afternoon for my hobbies.

The only thing harder to do is decide which hobby I want to work on first:

  • Card Making
  • Beading
  • Embroidery
  • Knitting
  • Crochet
  • Sewing
  • Painting
  • Calligraphy
  • The list just goes on.

Oh well, tomorrow is another day, and another area to weed.  Perhaps a moment or several for one of my crafts?

Happy gardening – or hobbying!

You can also check me out at:  www.lifelessonslived.com for all the fun things I have learned in life.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Advertisements

HOW DID I MISS THIS SEASON?

I have discovered that there is a third season.

• First, there is planting season, which is on and off all year long.
• The second was school season, which is only from around the first of September until the end of May.
• Now I have realized that I have a third season. We are getting our first snow of the season which turned on all my crafting switches, so – IT’S CRAFTING SEASON.

DSC_0048    (This is one of many I have on Etsy.)

I truly hope that everyone who is reading this has their own crafting passion. It is something that no one should be without. It is one of the few things in life that brings me enormous amounts of pleasure, especially when I can give something I made to someone else.
I have known for decades that I am a craft-a-holic. I may slack off on it sometimes as the other seasons will take precedence. When we have to get things in the ground, or process foods, that must come first, or we will have nothing. When it is time to start school, supplies, clothes, and all other school things must take precedence. When it comes to crafting season – colder weather gives it the precedence.

il_570xN.854844369_id2v

(Hand crochet crown choker cowl with deep bronze Swarovski jewels.)

Childhood on the farm in Wisconsin as a kid was forever fun. The huge snowbanks, ice skating on the pond, sledding with family and friends down our hills (and we had come goodies), and the warmth of shedding the snow-covered exterior layers of clothes on the porch, to go in for hot chocolate by the heaters. Thank goodness we had a huge, cement floor, porch. It had a large hanging rack just inside the door where everything outside was hung to drip and dry. Since it was a cement floor, it was easy to mop up the mess as it melted.

  • Even as I kid, I was always making things(Fair warning – some of this you may find gross.):
    • Snowmen and snow forts.
    • During the summer it was wonderful weed and grain pies from piles of cow poo (ewe-yucky but great fun to play in when we were kids).
    • Using fallen tree branches to make horse pens way out in the woods. This may not have been the smartest idea since we were at least a mile away from home, and the horses always broke out of it. They were the smart ones. They always knew to run back to the barn where they got grained. We would have to walk back.
    • The walking back also led to crafting ideas. Picking up leaves, twigs, dead things, and occasionally live things and bringing it all back to the house to make something.

    • The frog eggs led to frogs lose all over that wonderful cement porch.
    • The turtle led to turtle eggs, which led to the pet raccoon eating the turtle eggs and us having to take the turtle back to the river – boo hoo.
    • All leaves, feathers, odds, and ends, were always transformed into mega messy glue works of art (mom loved, dad questioned and laughed).

So, in conclusion, I believe that this is my most favorite time of the year. When the crafting bug hits me this hard, I just can’t wait to see who I get to gift too next.
Happy first snowfall everyone!

DSC_0006

(Simple knit ultra-warm hat. You can also see that I have so many different yarn things now they are just piled up on the table. Oh, and can you find the cat snuggled in it all? And yes, the cat chewed off the nose of my head display – stop laughing – LOL – if you can cuz I can’t.)
All-New Fire 7 Tablet with Alexa, 7″ Display, 8 GB, Black – with Special Offers

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
You can also check me out on: www.lifelessonslived.com for things I have learned in life.

SO WHAT’S WRONG WITH A YOUNG ADDICTION?

Don’t you just love a good addiction?  My first one started when I was only seven years old, and my parents put me into 4-H.  We had cattle, horses and lots of other farming things that I could have worked on and taken to the fair – but nooo – I chose to take a shot at knitting.  YES, with yarn – now how scary is that?

I have no clue what attracted me to it.  My mother would crochet once in a while (in a very long while), but it was not one of her passions.  I still remember the very first pair of needles I picked up.  I swear there was some type of chemical on them that the moment I touched them I became obsessed!  It was (and still very much is) an addiction.  The very first thing I ever created was called “The Pixie Slipper” – I won first prize – blue ribbon.  It was the ugliest thing anyone ever suggested for a pattern.  Real easy to do for a first-timer, but still ugly.  What brought all this up?  The pattern is back – EEEKKK!

You can find tons of all types of handmade slippers (and just about everything else) on eBay or Etsy.  I have searched and used both, but this one just made me giggle:

pixie-slippers

(you can click on the pic to take you to the site for more info)

Other than the major curling in the toes, it is pretty much the same old pattern.  Funny, the whole thing is just one big square?!?  If you go here: https://www.etsy.com/market/pixie_slippers  you can find a ton of variations to this project – who would have thought?

I remember putting such effort into that project.  There was just something about the feel of the needles that hooked me (yes, pun intended).  It then became the different feel of the yarns and fibers.  When I went to the fair after judging, I spotted so many other beautiful projects that kids just like me had done, and I was instantly drugged!  I would never be the same innocent me again – yarn – the culprit!

Now that I am older (notice I did not say wiser!?), I have come to realize it was not the yarn’s fault…it was the needles!  Well, it’s not really their fault either…it’s my tiny hands and fingers and MY PIANO TEACHER!!  Dun, dun, daaaa – the plot thickens!

hands-on-piano

Her method of teaching us (yep, little sis and I both had to take piano lessons – mom insisted!) was to wack the back of our hands if we didn’t reach an octave.  (Those that are lucky and have never had to, check out a piano some time – try to reach eight keys with your thumb on one and pinky on the other – that’s an octave.)  I couldn’t because of my short little fingers.  But, if I lowered my hand I could just reach the corners and make it – NOT ALLOWED – WACK! 

“You must pretend you have a golf ball stuck under your palm – this is how you must play!”  Wack – again…never did get that setup – BUT – I still tried.  Then on I was always sticking something in my hands, between my fingers (ok, sometimes up the nose – hee hee), working and trying to make them longer.  Didn’t work.  So, instead, I learned how to be more creative.  My favorite reading is “how-to’s” and love learning new things and techniques.  I love to write, draw, paint and all the other fun things you do with fingers…but the best, and most favorite, is still the original – KNITTING!

 

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

IS THERE ANYTHING BETTER THAN A RAINY DAY?

There is just something about a rainy day that I just love.  I can’t quite pin it down to one single thing.  Maybe it is because I hold so many great reasons:

  • Rainwater is best for all the plants.  Veg, flower, bush and tree all look and act so much better with rain water.  Even more so than our well-water.
  • A steady rain (like what is going on now) makes me feel major creative!  Writing, sewing, knitting, crocheting, even cooking (SHOCKER – for me anyway, I normally do not do the cooking here, and it is not one of my passions – love the eating part, but my Sis does the awesome cooking in our household).
  • Something calming for me in the sound of the rain falling, especially on a tin roof (our outbuildings all have tin roofs).
  • The sound of the wind whipping up, rain pouring down, throw in some lightning and thunder and I can fall right to sleep (hee hee- I know, it keeps most people up but not me – so weird).
  • Then there is the childhood part of it.  When I was young, we couldn’t wait for the rain to come.  It meant fresh fruits and veggies to pick and eat, mud puddles to stomp around in, and the added benefit of hot cocoa when we finally came into the house soaking wet and cold.  It meant something warm and comforting for me.  Snow does the same thing.

I am much older now; I also have osteoarthritis (in all my joints) which can mean some painful moments on these types of days.  I believe my contentment overrides the pain.  Maybe it is also seeing something accomplished.  I used to work in offices and factories.  At the end of the day, I always felt like I didn’t accomplish anything.  There was still a pile of work left to be done on the next day, and it all looked the same.  Now I can work on a project and actually see that it is complete.  The next day will bring a new project.  Sure, I have some projects that take more time than others, but the overall feeling is of accomplishment.

So, this morning is time to finish a sewing project for a friend’s horses:

8-25 sew proj

Then vacuum seal some meat:

8-25 vac sealer

Maybe work some more on knitting projects:

8-25 knit work

Then later I have to fry up some chicken and cook some rice to put on zucchini boats to be grilled this weekend (notice, the least fav thing to do is last – hee hee).

Then I usually end my days by sitting in my recliner and working on the yarn projects again.  I never have just one going at a time.  Right now I am working on 5.  A couple of these are birthday gifts; a couple are going to be sold in my Etsy shop, and the other is one that I am actually doing just for me – woo hoo!

Tomorrow is supposed to be warmer and sunny (boo hoo), so I guess it’s time to do the “real work” – PROCESSING HARVEST  yum!

 

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN, ARE YOU LOSING IT?

I find it funny how sometimes I don’t even have to look at a calendar to know what time of the year it is.  It’s not the flowers or the trees; it’s our peacock.  I know, peacock?  Time of year?  This farm gal has gone off the deep end of a shallow pool – ha ha, not!

When it is very warm or very cold the peacock looks like this:

DSC_0022  DSC_0020

Full, beautiful bunch of tail feathers – definitely something to be proud of (and he is).  F.Y.I., they are very vain birds.  We catch him constantly sitting, staring at his reflection in our windows.  So wrong!

They also make great guard dogs.  Nothing gets close to or in our yards without this monster spouting out (if you have never heard one, go to the Denver Zoo -it’s loaded with them, and they are noisy).  The downside to that is we live next to an interstate highway, and on/off ramp for it, and a railroad track.  If any one of those makes an unusual sound (huge bang from train starting up, jake-brake from a semi trying to slow down, etc.), he squawks off.  During the day I don’t mind, but one a.m., I’m looking for a shoe to throw at him (he perches up in the tree outside my window at night – jerk!)!

Well, all I have to do is look for the tell-tale signs in the yard:

DSC_0003

DSC_0002

DSC_0001

 

 

 

 

 

And I will know EXACTLY what time of year it is…

It’s peacock humiliation time – WOOO HOOO!!

DSC_0006

Notice how even he does not want to show his face when his tail looks like this – LMAO!  All of the feathers will drop off before the temps get much lower.  Then he will start to put on new ones before winter.  In the spring we go through the same process – PEACOCK FEATHERS EVERYWHERE!

We had hundreds of them before the fire (boo hoo, all gone), and I was worried.  Silly me!

p feathers 1-yr 8-16-16

This is what we have collected just this year.  The last two years we just let them fly.  This is the feathers of two molting’s sitting there.  Going to have to get a bigger pot to put them in soon – eeek!

 

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I AM NOT A BIG FLOWER LOVER – BUT…

I am not a big flower lover, but I do love to look at them – when they are alive.  Never been too thrilled with getting cut flowers.  You want to get my attention, give me a potted plant!  Having said that, these crazy things have really caught my attention:

20160712_185525

The picture only shows their vibrant colors.  I just love how Mother Nature kicks our butts naturally when it comes to color.  AND – whatever did she think when she came up with these wild things?  I wish I could pass on a “touch here” pic so you could see how funky (yes, I said funky) they feel.  They feel just like stiff paper – but they are alive and thriving – what’s up with that?

They are a beautiful bright pinkish/purple but when those open up there is a striking yellow center to them?

pink w yell paper flowers

Who would have thought?  In the above pic, you can see how well the center is hidden.  I was actually very surprised to see this center.  Then to touch them – WOW – just does not seem real, but it is!

So, I said I am not a big flower lover, and this is true.  But these beauties have won me over to the cut flower idea.  They are meant to be cut.  This is why my sister grew them.  I do a ton of crafting and this fall I want to try some wreath designs.  These will make an excellent addition to the scheme. 

I also get to learn something new – how to dry flowers.  I have pressed flowers and herbs before – for my record keeping (yes I am OCD on organizing EVERYTHING!).  I like to press then draw them in my plant journal, so I not only see, but understand the plant better.  I am a very physical learner.  LOVE to read and see pics, but I have to touch it physically or do it to get it to sink in (whatever “it” is).

This is my birth month flower:

20160712_185500

It’s a Sweet Pea.  They come in a variety of colors, run like a vine (but do not appear to be strangling the peppers next to them), and would never make a good pressed or dried flower.  They are way too delicate.  HOWEVER, I do have ideas for paper copying their beauty.  Ahhh, another crafting thought to float around in my already stuffed brain of endless thoughts – eeek!  LOL

I swear, some days (or better most nights) I would love just to turn it all OFF!  Easier said than done.  I have journals, notepads, recording devices up the wazoo to try to help with these endless ideas, just no quick way to turn it all off.  Even worse, once I dive into an idea, it always leads to more ideas.  I think the ones I love best are the ones that are late bloomers.  We do or build something, then a couple of years later I get this “great idea”…this is inevitably followed up with the self-bashing “why didn’t you think of this X years ago Dumb Shit?”  (remember my Dad’s fav nickname for me? Still, fits this day! LMAO)

So, bottom line, I could use a bit of help here people…got any ideas, tricks, tips, techniques on how to dry these beauties so they will work in my wreath making?  All help/input is greatly appreciated!

<img class=" wp-image-1456 aligncenter" src="https://helbergfarmstories.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/dream-of-a-flower-wreath.jpg&quot; alt="dream of a flower wreath" width="256" height="256" Ahh, if only! Lol)

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

ARE YOU FAILING ENOUGH? – REALLY??

This is a new one on me. I am signed up with AARP-Life Reimagined (yep, I’m over 50 – eeeekkk!!! Hee hee), and I get regular emails from them…come buy this, come play this game, come take this quiz for fun…well, this recent quiz is titled: ARE YOU FAILING ENOUGH? (click here, have some fun)

REALLY?? That was my first knee-jerk reaction when I saw the title – failing enough?? ENOUGH?? They had me, I had to go take the quiz. It was quick, easy, relatively painless, and did give a polite and helpful answer at the end. Then it got me remembering.

I recalled how everyone thought we were crazy buying a farm. Looking back at it all now, I think they either thought of us as really brave or really stupid (most the latter I think). A farm – in this day and age – what were we gonna do on it AND the one we picked was out in the middle of nothing (almost)? Pretty sure they all thought we were going to fail.

DSCF4878

The big thing they all didn’t know is something that I had learned earlier in my life – anything worth having, I’m going to have to fight to get it. The farm, like every other good thing in my life, took a huge amount of effort and struggle (still does). It wasn’t easy, but we are here! In fact, I have found that If something did happen easy, it inevitably failed and rightly so.

Are you failing enough” – made me think about my/our life here on the farm.

Farming is a never ending process of failure. Growing, crafting, baking, canning, fixing, building, creation – it is all a series of failures. The trick is knowing that all these failures are an excellent teaching apparatus.

We tried several methods of irrigation – still do – most have failed, but we learned something new on EVERY failure! We now know that we can’t have just one system, we use several depending upon the location, in or out of the greenhouse, shaded or full sun areas and, of course, the crop grown.

We both craft various things, both work in the gardens, both love to see things bloom and grow. I can knit – she hates it, but she loves the results I create. I will start to follow directions, decide that there may be another method to my madness. I get really far into it and decide it stinks. So, I rip it all out and try again – DRIVES HER CRAZY! She sees me working so hard at the creation, then suddenly, without warning, I pull out the needles and start re-balling the yarn – EEEKKK!!! At this point I usually start laughing because she thinks I have destroyed something wonderful, but I know different. I tried – it failed – so I will try again a different way.

DSC_0048

(several of my latest creations)

She is just as bad only in a different format. She has the patience of a saint – drives me nuts! But if something needs to be done with a slow, steady and precise hand – she’s got it – hands down! A few years ago we bought several boxes of peaches from the 4-H kids and the bulk of it became peach jam. That same year she found a recipe for peach cookies. Now, being the good obsessed baker that she is, with a bit of narcissism thrown in, she had to make it her own.

She took a regular sugar cookie dough, somehow baked it into little cup shapes. When cooled, filled the cups with the peach jam, stuck 2 halves together and formed a ball. She then colored and painted them to look exactly like tiny peaches. Rolled them in sugar and to top it off, added little fondant stems – UNBELIEVABLE!

We had to taste test a couple for ourselves, but the majority went into our annual Christmas goodie boxes for friends and family. Everyone told us the same thing – “Didn’t want to eat the peach ones – Too pretty to eat – Still have it – can’t eat something so amazing.” She made them to be savored, and the shear wonder of them all came from her and her perfection obsessive passion. Now, the funny part was, not a single person asked how many time she failed, got it wrong, thought about packing the whole thing in – because that was not the point of doing them. The point was to see if she could, so – BRING ON THE FAILURE – it helps to do outstanding things!

(At times like this I really wish we hadn’t had the house fire. I had some beautiful pictures of those cookies. They looked like miniature peaches, or sparkly Christmas ornaments. About the size of an apricot, and way too pretty to eat.)

peach

I FOUND THE MEANNING OF LIFE!

So – it’s been about 18 months since our grandson/fire loss. There are still some hard days, but I am exceedingly tickled to announce that my sister is baking again! THIS IS A MILESTONE!! It is her passion and, in the terms of therapy for our family, a sign that things are getting better. This has made me come to realize what the meaning of life is…passion!

Now don’t get your nickers in a twist – I consider things like “caring for your fellow man/woman” to be a given! There are just some things in life that should not need a reason for being. It should be a subconscious action (I know it is not for many of us, but I like to believe we are trying?!) to look out for one another. The meaning of life though, should be an individual thing. It should be your reason for getting up in the morning and wanting to greet another day. To me that is –passion!

For the longest time, after the loss, I have been worried about my sister. Granted, we have had a lot on our plates that needed to be accomplished first; and putting our lives back together has been (still is) quite a task. It took me several months to find my passions again (you can check out my Pinterest page – GardenGlows  or my Etsy page.), but I am very glad to say they came back. Hers’ did not appear until just this last weekend.

DSC_0016  (one of my fav passions in life – knitting!)

I didn’t want to push her, since she was trying to handle the losses in her own way; however, there comes a time when a little shove can go a long way – as long as no one can tell you are doing it!?! I have to admit, I have the same basic problem – don’t rush me – and – leave me alone, I will do it when I am ready. Then there is a time when someone has to step in and let you know you are overdue for a bit of happiness.

I have been dropping hints for months! I bought her 2 fantastic magazine subscriptions on cooking. A couple of outstanding huge cook books (only a fraction of the ones she lost in the fire). Tons of cooking supplies/appliances/stuffs to help nudge her a bit. All this only seemed to be put on a shelf. Then, totally on her own, this last weekend she found her passion again!

Corned beef and potatoes, pecan bars (all from scratch even sat and cracked the nuts so they were fresh), homemade tomato soup from our own tomatoes (yep – prepped, processed, cooked and seasoned – yummy!), and one of my all-time favorites – homemade, from scratch, Italian Bread!

DSC_0018 DSC_0019

Now there are 2 things in life that automatically say home to me: 1) The smell of fresh baking/baked bread and 2) The smell of fresh baking/baked desserts – of any kind!  When you walk into someone’s home and they are in the middle of cooking something, it immediately brings on a warm, welcoming feeling. It makes me remember get-togethers with friends and family, where we three girls could be found helping dad cook everything up days ahead of time (yes – DAD – not mom, she was a terrible cook – melted a metal pot of water on the stove trying to make noodles? True story – LOL).

I hope that everyone reading this has a passion in their life and, more than that, I hope you are following it.  May it bring you excitement, comfort, joy, and a major reason to get up every morning filled with the desire to share it with the world!

DOES ANY OF THIS MAKE YOU SMILE UNCONTROLABLY?

Halloween, Christmas, babies and animals playing together, Murphy’s Law phrases (or the kind)…yep, can’t help myself – I have to smile at these types of things. Any baby animals doing anything usually does it too.

When things are at their worst, what do you find to pull you out of it? I have found many quick and simple things to do or see that help me change a feeling or attitude. My grandson and I worked on making a mess – oh wait, I mean making papier Mache’ pumpkins (ok – it was a mess too!) – WHAT FUN!! We (mostly him) had glue all over us, bits of sticky newspaper stuck on us, and it ended up on places I didn’t know of until I showered (turns very white in the shower). My sister got pics of us so I could see the mess!

nathan making pumpkins 2015

I am getting a ton of helpful emails from my fav DIY and crafting sites to help inspire me into amazing things. Unfortunately, with all of my replacement parts I am only able to do some of the fun ideas – but I also have help! My sister is a Godsend when it comes to me and my ideas! She is very helpful and supportive (even if I have to beat it into her – not!! LOL) with most of the ideas I come up with.

If any of you watch any TV, you may be a DIY/Homemade/Crafty fanatic like me? I can’t get enough of the stuff and this year is already starting out with a bang! Home and Family TV on the Hallmark Channel has started doing up their home for the Halloween holiday. They built a type of “crypt” (they called it that, looked like a mini castle tunnel to me?) and I thought, why not take just the front part of it and rig it to our new porch? They used simple enough supplies, just may work. I mentioned this to my sister and she shot me the evil eye look. That’s usually passed to me when she thinks I’m out of my gourd – oh well!

So, my task is to gather a list of materials together (oh, oh, another trip to Home Depot – dun, dun, daaa!) get stuff cut and painted, then see if I can coax her up on the ladder to complete my idea.

See now, I have not even started this project yet, but I got myself to smile just thinking about it! Hee hee – hope you did too!