Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cuddled Up.

A serious cold front is moving in and the cats have hunkered down accordingly, on wool blankets no less.

Thomas in the upper left hand corner and Pepper in the center.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Rhutabega and Kohlrabi

A four gallon bucket full of Rhutabega's and Kohlrabi.  Will prep them and cook them for dinner tomorrow night.


It was about the size of a large grapefruit.

Rhutabega and Kohlrabi

My garden yeilded about a half dozen of each of these, not much but considering how horribly wet our growing season was I'm just tickled to get this, and they are HUGE!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fall in Iowa

The clouds were really wild looking when I took this photo, the wind turbines were a nice contrast to the soy beans.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Basket and Vines

A shot of my compost bin, this old slat basket has been propped on the post for years, this year it had vines growing in and around it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Brown Beef Slices in Au Jus

We browned the meat slices before adding to the jars, added water to the drippings in the pan and then added the juice to the jars.  These will be processed for 75 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure (I'm below 1000 ft).  Can't wait to have a French Dip with Au Jus sandwich!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Angel in my wet studio, I was singing Ava Maria to her in latin of course.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rhutabega Blossoms

Rhutabega blossoms, my rhutabega's wintered over and are now blooming, they smell really sweet and quite similar to honeysuckle.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

North Garden Planted

John tilled the north garden for the second time in 24 hours this morning, it is now two thirds planted.  I chose to plant mainly cold/cole crops in the north garden this year, later this spring I'll plant tomatoes in the remaining area.  So far I've planted rhutabega's, beets, carrots, purple and green kolrhabi, and red kale.  Can't wait for the greens to start popping up ;-)  We put up the fence, replacing parts of it that was damaged, and are now calling it a night.

He has Risen!

He has Risen!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Image Transfer Class

I'm teaching an Image Transfer Class at the Fisher Art Center, Marshalltown Iowa, this coming Saturday.  I've been making samples for the class.  This particular book is about my garden!

Watercolors over Ink, Rives BFK Paper
6x30 inches


Went to Aldi's tonight they had pineapples on sale for $1.49 each.  I'm planning to put up another batch of pineapple sauce.

Monday, March 15, 2010


I spent 15 minutes or so outside picking up trash out of the front and side yards, it was great to be out in the sun.  Parts of my yard are still wet, as in mud hole wet, the front yard, however, is drying out nicely.  Looks like it's going to be a beautiful week, am hoping my one garden spot is dry and warm enough by the weekend to put in some cold crops.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Trying to figure out why I'm over weight, after watching the Nightline show last night - bashing fat people - I added up what I eat and drink in a day and I'm coming in right at or under 1400 calories. I just looked up on the fat caculator  and it tells me I need to consume around 1984 calories a day to lose weight and 2156 to maintain my current weight. 

So what gives?

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Winter Survival Kit for your Vehicle

RePost from 2006

This is obviously going to vary depending on the part of the country you live in. NOTE: I own a truck w/topper and I'm a military brat so I am programmed, by my dad who was insistant on teaching us winter survival skills, to be prepared for every possible situation. I also live in Iowa and my most likely winter survival situation involves being stuck in a ditch someplace, Lord willing my vehicle is not in water, upside down, and/or not on fire!

It can get dangerously cold here (Windchills of -30F to -60F are possible which can freeze you to death in minutes) in the winter. If your vehicle is trapped in snow STAY with your vehicle it makes for a much bigger target when searching in the snow! And buy a car color other than white for Pete's sake! So that being said here's my list:
TOOLS (The big Stuff for your vehicle):
Shovels - two differnt species: large scoop shovel and a flat blade shovel (Make sure the handle length is appropriate for YOU and this will make shoveling easier and faster producing the least amount of sweat).
Ice Scrapers and Snow scrapers
Tow Chain/Strap - A TOW CHAIN because someone like me might come along and can pull you out of the ditch!
Chains for your tires
Kitty Litter/Sand for those slick icy situations that don't require a tow chain/truck

Spare Tire, and tire changing tools - you know this should probably go without saying but you should ALWAYS have a spare tire in your vehicle - I carry two, for my truck, in the winter and 6 when I'm pulling
my tandem trailor!

Hammer, Screw Drivers, Ratchet Set, Wrenches, Channel locks, Vise grips (all in a small tool bag) -whats that you don't know how to work on your vehicle - well someone may come along and can fix it for your if you have tools!
Jumper cables - Make sure you have a new battery for your vehicle every few years.
Flashlights with fresh batteries
Flares/Emergency placards you put on the ground
Oil - 6 quarts and this one comes from personal experience
Antifreeze and if I'm really going to be in the middle of nowhere I take extra hoses and clamps
Gas - If I'm going on a really long trip and I'm not sure about the area, better safe than frozen to death!
NOTE: Most folks end up stranded because they have run out of gas - so fuel up before you head out.
Thin wool Hat and Gloves
Insulated wool Mittens that fit over thin wool gloves
Sheepskin bomber style hat that fits over wool hat
Down Parka with hood
Thin wool sweater
Down vest
Thin winter coat that fits over sweater and under the vest and under the parka
Carhart overalls - the insulated variety
wool long johns - I prefer duofold brand because they are cotton lined.
wool scarf
Wool Socks a thin pair and a thick pair to go over the thin ones
Boots rated to -40F
Cleats (boot cleats) for walking on ice - you'll have to go to the bathroom eventually

Wool removes moisture from your body and doesn't allow it to freeze on your skin. Cotton and other fibers promote hypothermia!!! Wet and cold equals a quick death if one is not careful. In extreme colds a lot of the fashion fibers will actually break and they can catch on fire easily - nylon being one of those fibers that burns easily. Wool doesn't burn so easily.
Peanut butter crackers - well if you are allergic to peanunts then substitute accordingly - can be bought in bulk at Wal Mart for very little money
Snickers Bars
Beef Jerkey or those sausage rolls
Extreme cold means you burn a LOT of calories protien is the way to go!
If I'm traveling with my dog I put a bit of kibble in the truck for her as well.
TP (Ok not food but I'm including it here anyway)
Handwipes - well you know, do I really have to explain???
Charger for cell phone - might be wishful thinking here but it can't hurt.
TOOLS: The necssary stuff!!!
Gerber multi tool (tis what I have)
Big knife (not sure what the brand name is)
Trowel/small hand shovel - for bathroom breaks (see TP above)
water proof and wind proof matches
instant light mini logs - if you need to make a fire
Those pocket/glove/boot heaters in the sporting goods section
Down Sleeping Bag rated to a minimum of 0F -40F would be better and is attainable with a down insert (Mine is Mountain Hardware)
4 Season Tent designed to withstand high winds (Mine is a Mountain Hardware)
the tent is in case you have to leave the vehicle!
2 wool blankets
Other TOOLS/SURVIVAL GEAR if your going out into the middle of no where:
MSR Stove and Fuel Bottle
Water purifier (I think mine is a MSR) & tablets - btw ditch water isn't all that yummy
small pot for melting or boiling water
Head Lamp (Flashlight on a strap that you can put on your head) these are great when you need to change that flat tire in the middle of the night.
Fishing pole and small tackle box, small hand net
Edible plant book (small pocket variety)
Walking Stick with pointy end - gives you extra balance on the ice
plenty of band aids & butterfly bandages.
Kotex (heavy duty pads) - can be used to absorb blood from major wounds (lets say your hunting and get hurt and then end up stranded due to an injury) each heavy pad holds approximately a half pint of blood and this lets emergency personnel know how badly you are bleeding!
Styptic pen (men use those for shaving) stops bleeding on small wounds.
Small mirror

NOTE depending on where I'm heading I have all or most of tihs in my vehicle at any given time. Everything fits nicely in one of those truck boxes that looks like a small foot locker, and my quantities is for one person not a family of six.