Jul 012015

nature center bird identification display

It is 4:37 a.m. The first bird started singing.  I really need to figure out which bird this is.  It does not really matter. I feel like we share this special time, while the rest of the world sleeps we welcome in the new day together. Though, it is an hour later than the last time I made note of my feathered  friend’s song. A reminder that the sun will start rising later everyorning from here to the Winter Equinox.

Jun 172015

This is a Librivox recording, on YouTube. Most Librivox recordings I have listened to were read by one reader, or maybe multiple ones, but always one voice at a time. This recording of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is a dramatic reading with different voices for various characters. This makes is easier to follow along with the story if there are large sections of conversation, so I greatly appreciate the effort put into this free recording.

The recording is 7 hours and 38 minutes long.

May 272015

This Librivox recording contains the full recording of A Child’s Garden of Verses by Roberty Louis Stevenson. The first minute and twenty five seconds are the introduction and dedication at the beginning of the book. All together the books takes just over an hour to listen to.

While the words are very clear in dictation, the speaker sounds on the younger side and sometimes is a bit halting in his speech.

May 132015

Having kids has been a great reminder of how much we take for granted, such as knowing that the green things growing in the garden will turn into food that we can eat. Or knowing that the roots are what take up the water and nutrients from the soil. If we do not teach the young ones, how will they learn and understand? Having them help also means they are more likely to eat the food grown.

This story is just over 11 minutes in length.

May 062015

This is a cute story for young children. While it can be used to show, in an imaginary way, how a seed grows, it can also be used to talk about other topics – change, trying new things, being yourself/different, etc.

I enjoyed the clear, steady reading that made it easy to listen to. Colorful illistrations were well done. The video is 5:21 minutes in length.

May 012015

produce auction collage

This post in part of a series about produce auctions across the USA.  While this is not a comprehensive list, I have tried to include auctions about which I can find information.  If you know of any others, feel free to leave a note in the comments section.

Cedar Valley Produce Auction – according to their brochure, the first auction this year is April 17th.  Auctions are held on Mondays at 4 PM, and Tuesdays and Fridays at 10 AM.  Cedar Valley Produce Auction is located at 18072 Addison Ave, Elma, IA 50628.  This is in the northern part of the state, near Minnesota.

From their website:

“In 2001 a group of farmers built the Cedar Valley Produce Auction by the town of Elma in northeast Iowa, and in the following years it has grown and now sells over $3 million annually! Selling flowers in the spring and then produce in the summer. All produce and flowers are grown locally and sold at the auction. … The auction also supplies local produce it wholesale prices. In the spring the Auction sells flowers in flats, and hanging baskets and mid summer changes over to sell fresh produce.”

 Sara, at Learning The Frugal Life, shares her experience going to a local produce auction in Iowa for the first time.  I love hearing other’s experiences and how other auctions are run.

Southern Iowa Produce Auctionis located in the southeast  portion of the state at 19141 Ice Avenue, Bloomfield, IA. Their first auction for the 2015 Season was Friday, April 10, followed by a second auction on April 17.  After the first two auction, they moved to twice weekly auctions through mid-July, on Tuesdays and Fridays at 10 AM.  For a market report or schedule information, call 712-432-8593.

Curving Back has a great post with lots of pictures if you are wanting to see a photo representation of this auction.

Lamoni Produce Auction/Farmsong Produce Auction, located at 16340 Farm Song Road, has produce auctions every Tuesday and Friday at 10 am.  In July they change to having three auctions – Monday at 4 PM and the Wednesday and Friday auctions at 10 AM.  In September they change  back to twice weekly, on Tuesdays and Fridays.  Located in south central  Iowa, they are right on the boarder with Missouri and would be a convenient stop for those living in either state.

Apr 292015

I was doing a search for videos to use this summer and next school year, when I came across a video about Raindrop The Builder.  These are the perfect length to add for our breakfast/morning time video routine.

All together there are 26 video about Raindrop and his adventures.  Video are in English or Spanish.

“Raindrop is a cartoon series for kids about water, planet and environment. Educational an funny cartoons. Animated serie for kids, educational and funny animation videos.
TV for kids, online family entertainment

Raindrop is a drop of water. You can find it in the forest, in the river, in the sea and even in your house. Surrounded by his friends, Nimbus, a cloud, and Frosty, an ice cube, he will live many adventures defeating Flu, the evil bactery, in his intent to destroy the environment. These cartoon adventures teach children to respect nature, the environment, and especially to assess the importance to life on the planet is the care and use of water.”

Mar 122015

Craftsy is celebrating National Craft Month with a big course sale 3/12/15 @12pm MT through 3/16/15 @11:59pm MT! 

With 50% off their online course, you will be able to do more of what you love.  It is also a great opportunity to pick up a new hobby, maybe one you have been wanting to learn for a while.

With 24/7 online access, you will be able to take classes at whatever time fits your schedule. Sign into your class on Craftsy’s website, pick back up right where you left off with you HD video lesson, or move directly ahead to the next class if you feel ready.  This has been a great feature lately, as my only ‘free’ time seems to be after 8 p.m. and then I can not leave the house.  I can watch a lesson while the kids sleep, even if my husband is not at home.

Not only will you save BIG with this sale, but their 100% money-back Craftsy Guarantee applies to all the course.  If you are not satisfied, let them know within 30 days of  your purchase.

Here is a sampling of the 25 Home & Gardening classes available:

Vegetable Gardening: Smart Techniques for Plentiful Results


Gorgeous Garden Design

Vegetable Gardening: Innovative Small-Space Solutions


The Extended Harvest


Here are some easy links to search all the classes.  Remember they are 50% off till Monday, so do not wait too long to sign up or you will miss the savings.

Home & Garden Classes on Sale at Craftsy
Classes on Sale at Craftsy
Art & Photography Classes on Sale at Craftsy
Cake Decorating & Cooking Classes on Sale at Craftsy
Paper Crafts & Jewelry Classes on Sale at Craftsy
Sewing, Quilting & Embroidery Classes on Sale at Craftsy
Fiber Arts Classes on Sale at Craftsy

Quilting is something I found that I love to do.  It has been put to the side since kids have been added to our home, but is something I definitely have not given up on doing (just check out my fabric stash that I refuse to get rid of).  Knowing that I will not be investing in any fancy machines in the near future, this particular class really appeals to my creative side:

Creative Quilting with Your Walking Foot

Free Motion Quilting a Sampler

I have tried various patterns and methods on my own, as those I knew who quilted lived hours away from me when I was doing my first several quilts.  Actually having someone with more experience than me be able to give tips and ideas and just all around knowledge on how to do what I have been trying to do, sometimes failing more than succeeding, would have made a huge difference.

Or maybe you are looking for something to prepare for the upcoming season of grilling. Craftsy offers more than just crafts:

Cooking the Perfect Steak

Which class would you choose to take?

Nov 222014

This week has been fairly quiet in the garden, if you look at just what I, personally, was up to.

The strawberry beds finally were covered for the winter.  I removed the bird netting and broke up a bale of straw to cover them.  (After looking it up, I now understand that hay is what animals eat and straw is what you use for bedding.  Seems I’ve been getting it backwards.)  I may cover this with old fencing.  Well, it will be ‘old’ once I pull up the broken stakes and remove them.  Next year I need to find fencing with smaller  holes and am going to invest in metal stakes.

I had bought two bales of straw for this, not realizing just how big the bales were.  The other bale will be used to cover the ground for next year’s potato patch, once I am able to turn over the soil and cover it with mulched leaves.  We are having a weekend of non-freezing temps that will hopefully aid in this activity.

Strawberry bed covered in straw

I also strained the apples peels from the jars sitting on the counter.  This was a first for me this year, making apple cider vinegar.  Once I get to the end result I will tell you all more about it.  It has been a learning experience and may be one I try again, after implementing the lessons learned.  🙂

Apple Peels In A JarSo that is what I, personally, have been up to.  Now begins the not so quiet part, and that would be the cue for the construction workers to enter.

digging for garage foundation collage

It began with the arrival of the jackhammer, used to break up the concrete in front of the garage.  This will be the first winter, since we were married, that my husband will have to park outside and potentially deal with snow.  It should not last long though, as they are moving along fairly quickly. Maybe a month, or less, and the garage will be usable for vehicles again.

After the jackhammer came the bobcat.  This was the Day Of Little Boys.  Olaf was first to watch them work.  Then he left, to be replaced by George and Jack after school.  The kids were so excited they wanted to share the thrill, so invited some neighbor boys to come watch. Four boys, grade K – 3, running around asking questions and just over all excited to have a bobcat digging up the yard was fun. The one neighbor boy stood by a tree and watched.  And watched.  And watched.  I am pretty sure he was in love.  🙂

Then came the COLD spell and all work stopped.  A broken hydrolic hose may have also helped with the break.  They covered the trench with tarps and let it sit for a few days.

Once work started again, the trench was dug all the way in front of the garage.  Now for sure we were not going to be parking in there.

Thursday rebars and other supports were added to the trench, followed by concrete on Friday.  Not sure how I thought concrete would be added, but a big yellow truck was NOT what I was thinking.

I contemplated bringing Jack home for lunch to watch the action, went so far as to call the school, but then realized I would never get him to go back to school afterwards.  Instead I took videos and a few pictures, which they watched on the way home from school.  Their greeting after school is no long, “Hi, Mom.  How was your day?”  It is now, “So, Mom, what did you do with the house today?”  Just a bit telling isn’t it?

Hope your week has been a good one.  ~Rosie