Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Week of Blossoms & Bees

The 4-H family added 3 boxes to the hive.  Abby and Esther painted them.  They are so cute.  The hive is busy and doing great.

These trees have been loaded with blossoms this year and humming with busy bees.  That should mean some sweet honey and apples.  Only the fall will tell.    

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.  

Linked to:  http://mymaplehillfarm.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-maple-hill-hop-135.html

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Baby Bird

As I walked around in my garden, I saw this tiny baby bird stuck between the 2 fences we use to keep deer out.  I watched as it wiggled free and hop on the ground (whew..)  As I sat on the edge of my raised bed, I felt Pumpkin, one of our barn cats, brush my side. I quickly picked her up and carried her out of the garden.  That baby bird would be a nice snack for her.  Our trees and bird houses are full of tiny "peep, peeps" the same can be said of my chicken coop.  Smile!  Have a great weekend.

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.  

Linked to: 


Friday, May 27, 2016

5 Friday - Questions For Other Bloggers

For my 5 Friday, I have a few questions for you, fellow blogger.  

1.  Do you have problems with your blog posts not showing up in your Reading List for hours?  The post is on the blog, but not on the readings list until hours later.  Do any of you know why?

2.  Do you find it hard to understand the information and content on the Blogger Help Forum?  Sometimes, it is easy to see how to fix your own problem.  Other times, I need to google how to read the blogger help forum.

3.  Have you ever noticed, it's the simple posts that get the most likes or comments.  Sometimes I write, what I feel is a "good post" and then no one comments.  A picture of the cat, those stats are high.   

4.  Other than sharing to a blog hop, face book and twitter, how do you promote your blog?  Do you solicit for more followers or are you happy to just write?  O.k. that one was 2 questions....

5.  Why do  you blog?  

Seriously, if anyone knows the answer to 1, I would appreciate the help.  I just changed my timezone before posting this...I will see if that fixed it once I post this.  Thanks.  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.  

P.S. - no that didn't work either...

Linked to:  

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Sweet Memories

A morning breakfast panini and English tea with Justine at Sweet Tyme in Anigo and we were off to Elcho for a private estate sale pick.  What fun, the van was full, we stopped at the liquidator store and then I dropped her off at her house. 

What a fun morning.  As I drove home, I saw something that brought such joy to me...flood of memories.  As I passed a cute old farmhouse, sitting in the tall grass, full of dandelions, were two small girls - one blonde, the other a red head.  Their mama was out working in her garden as they played.  

I thought on it a moment, oh how the years flew bye.  I didn't let myself feel sad about it, instead I was happy.  Happy and blessed and overwhelming joy.  I so enjoyed that time of our life.  I said a prayer for the mama that she would too.  

Now as we enter an adult friendship with each other I can only anticipate all the new experiences we will share.   

I love this picture of them - driving around the field in their Barbie car.

Each other's maid of honor.  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.  

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Governor Scott Walker Visit to Ringle, WI

Our friends and neighbors, Scott and Mia Bayer, were the host family to a farm visit by our governor Scott Walker.  The purpose of his visit here in Ringle, was to declare May as the official Beef Month here in Wisconsin.

My friend Renee is the sister to Scott.  Her beef operation is where my girls worked for many years.   Her children along with Scott and Mia's were members of Popplewood 4-H with my girls.  

Leonard Bayer (their dad) started his angus operation, Country Lane Farms, in 1954.  While in the service, Len had a dream to one day own his own meat production plant.  This came true for him as he began Country Fresh Meats.  The legacy of the beef operation and plant are now left to his children and grandchildren.   This is truly a farm to product operation.  What they don't produce, they buy locally.  

As I have learned over all these years, this family doesn't brag about their achievements.  I will let you know that their animals hold many "best of ..." at state and national levels.  Their meat products are the same.  I think it was their braunschweiger that even competed in Germany.  

I was very excited when Mia invited Al and I to come to this special event.  It was very low key, not one t.v. camera.  The group included the Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture, Marathon County Ag Agents, some local politicians, neighbors and friends.  Because of this, we were able to get a one on one moment with the governor.   I found him to be humble, gracious and a good listener.  When I introduced myself, I told him that I was going to tweet this picture and that I often times defend him on Twitter.  If you don't know, he faced a rather heated recall election - the opposition he faced was horrendous.  It still is...even on his personal Twitter and Instagram accounts - you should see the comments - and this from the "party of tolerance."  He told me a funny story of how he was at a store and saw a car with 2 bumper stickers - one was the Coexist with all the religious signs and the other was Recall Walker.  I guess we all can coexist unless it is with Scott Walker.  (that was his punch line and a good one at that). 

I know I never post anything too political, but no matter how you feel about the president, governor, senator, any politician really, as an elected authority, one should show them respect.  I pray for those in power.  In fact, if Joe Biden, whom I detest, were to show up in Ringle, I would shake his hand as well, because that is how I was raised.   

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Congratulations Anna - UWM Graduation

 Our daughter Anna and son-in-law Jon.  They both graduated from UWM this past week.

This was a special commencement presentation of the gold cords for the high honor students.  Anna, graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee with a degree in Community Engagement and Education, sub major of Community Based Organizations with a Certificate in Youth Work.  

It amazes me how God's plan for Anna came to fruition.  A story I must share.  

I will start 4 years ago at Anna's high school graduation.  She attended a small Christian Academy and had only 10 in her graduating class.  The music began, the students walked in the gymnasium.  As they were announced, I noticed that they were not in alphabetical order.  I am so clueless, I didn't know why.  The truth of the "why" didn't come to me until 3 years later.  Her graduating class was lined up, not in alphabetical order, rather by their GPA.   This is why, Anna was near the end.  

"Have you ever heard of this?  High school graduation line up by GPA?  At a small Christian School?"  These were Anna's questions to other college classmates, professors, co workers, employers...she/we asked.  Not that we were obsessed with it, but we just found it odd.  No ONE and I mean No ONE ever heard of it.  In fact, they were appalled that a school would do this...much less a Christian School.  Well, last summer I ran into the mother of the student who was last...last in the GPA graduation lineup.   She shared a story with me that I didn't know, something that happened with her child, the "reason." Oh, now it is clear to me the "why" of the lineup and a story that would be gossip if I shared.  

The lesson in this story is one of good - good for Anna - as this single decision to line up her high school graduating class by GPA order - made her focus more on her studies in college.  She did strive to do better and as I sat at this Honors Commencement I thought of Joseph and his brothers.  This portion of scripture came to mind..."You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done"   Genesis 50:20.

 I'm so happy, Anna didn't let this experience cause her to be bitter...she became better.  A lesson that bears an honor in my book.  If I had a gold cord to give, I would.  

 Anna is working full time for Girl Scouts of South East Wisconsin.  This was the press release about her.  "Anna started as a service learner for UWM and ran a Cookie Express troop that lead to her being hired part time as a Program Specialist at Chinook while finishing her degree.  This lead to a full time opportunity where Anna was hired as Recruitment Manager in Area 4. "   

God, intended it for her good...we are thankful for it!

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.  

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Week 30 - Rhubarb & Citrus Cookie

Another original by me (smile).

Dice up 1 1/2 C rhubarb.  (could use 2 cups for more tart)
Add the zest and juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange
Stir together with 1 T honey - let sit.

Cream together:
2 sticks of soft butter
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C granulated sugar

Add 2 eggs, mix well

1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 T corn starch
1 C oatmeal

Mix well - to that add the rhubarb and juice

Blend well, then add 2 C flour

Drop by rounded scoops onto parchment lined cookie sheets.
Bake 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes.  Makes 4 dozen cookies.

After cooled, I made a glaze of powder sugar, vanilla and orange juice and drizzled on the top of the cookies.

So good!

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.  

Thursday, May 12, 2016

My Stay at Home Mom Promotion

My neighbor referred me to her 92 year old friend.  She is downsizing to an apartment and requested my services and advice on what to do with her personal property.  While visiting with her the other day, we were sharing stories of our children and she her grandchildren.  Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong generation.  This woman of 92 and I had so many common ideals of family values.  

As I went on and on about my girls, I stopped and said "well, I'll quit bragging now..."  She laughed and said, "that's not bragging, you're just proud of your accomplishments."   

I have thought about that one statement, "proud of your accomplishments??"  I wasn't talking about anything I did, I was telling her about of my girls.  But, actually, she had a very good point.  How wise of this old woman.  Let me explain what I think she meant.

I have several friends, former co-workers, class mates and such who have had very successful careers.  Promotions, accolades, awards, two window corner office stuff, that represents their 25 or so years of work.  Good for them, they worked hard for those achievements, to reach a pinnacle in their chosen profession.  I am truly happy for them.  

However, my chosen profession was a stay-at-home mom.  I am so thankful, the Lord provided a way for me to do it.  I did work part time for several years when the girls were little.  I will never forget the first day I stayed home ALL day with them - like heaven.  

As I look back at my "career" - no two window corner office, no promotion, no raise, really, not even a pat on the back.  Now, I wasn't looking for one either.  But, that one statement from this kind old lady, had me thinking...what are my accomplishment, the fruits of my labor?  

(light bulb moment)...Silly me, it's my girls and all of their accomplishments.  Oh, this made me so happy to think that the time, sweat, tears and prayers I put into them and what they make of themselves IS my accolade, award and reward.  

I never thought of it like that.  I don't want this to sound like I am claiming any of their achievements - I could never do what they have done to achieve them.  They both are such dedicated,  hard-working women.  However, I will take claim to the time and effort I put in them to mold them that way.  

Now that I've been promoted to an empty nester, let me share some advice.  If you are at home with littles, in the middle of a messy house, sink full of dishes, baskets of laundry -  go grab those children, kiss em and get outside and play.  Those chores will still be there, even after they are gone.

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.   

Linked to:  http://strangersandpilgrimsonearth.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-art-of-home-making-mondays-please_23.html

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Keep You Full Longer Breakfast

I'm back on "program" - I currently don't attend, but sticking with an older Weight Watcher plan.   It's really not a "program" but a lifestyle.  Once you understand how food works, what a portion is and a point value on each bite...you never really get off the program, it just becomes a habit.  

I have lost and gained myself at least 3 times in my life.  I know what to eat, I just don't always do it.  However, with the 5K quickly approaching, I need to work at it.  

I love Breakfast.  My hens keep me supplied with fresh eggs and I have boiled eggs on hand.  So, I have been enjoying a breakfast like this for the past several days.

The apple and cinnamon oatmeal is easy to make.  Just put 1/4 C rolled oats in bowl, dice up 1/4 - 1/2 small apple, drizzle with honey, add a small shake of salt and cover with hot water.  Put in microwave for 30 seconds, stir, cook another 30 seconds.  Simple, but so good!

Fact is, protein keeps you full longer.  I love carbs, but would rather eat a carb that works for me - oats, grains - over a bread.  I am not hungry for hours.   

A homemade, healthy breakfast like this, takes only minutes to prepare and eat.  You could even prepare steel cut oats like this before bed and let soak in the refrigerator all night.  Cuts the cooking time.  It is "nifty to be fitty."

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Happy Bees

In only a week, we have some happy, busy bees.  Robert came out to check on the hive.  We even saw the Queen.  He will add another box of empty trays in about 2 weeks.

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.  

Monday, May 9, 2016

The "World is My Oyster" - Tips for Self-Employment

Recently, I was approached to share some of my "tips" on self-employment.  I didn't really know what to share, that might help others.  However, when I woke today, I immediately thought of writing this blog post.  Here goes...

As I opened my eyes, from a sweet dream of my Grandma Kincaid, my mind quickly ran through my day.  One would think,  when you no longer have the responsibility of children or a "real" job, you would wake every day like a vacation day.   False, most days I fall asleep thinking and planning and I wake to lists of "to dos."  

Today, however, I woke to one simple thought: "today my world is my oyster."  When someone says that it means:  "the ability and freedom to do whatever you want."  I agree, but to me it also means that I woke to a whole new day of opportunity.  Oh, this made me excited.  As I skipped down the stairs, I was thinking of all the "fun" things I wanted to do today.   Work in my pole building, finding and digging for fun inventory, maybe paint a piece of furniture, plant some seeds in the garden, be with the horses, research tends, build my blog...oh, the day was "my oyster."  

When you are self-employed, having this attitude is crucial.  Look at each day as an opportunity.  Yes, some days will be more productive than others.  Do not compare your efforts with others.  Work on what you do best, to the best, of your abilities - daily.  Find your niche in whatever market you are in and "just keep swimming...(Dori quote from 'Finding Nemo'").  I do say that to myself a lot..."just keep swimming...just keep swimming" to remind myself that I only need to worry about me and what I'm doing.   Building your business will be the same.  

Outwardly, others may see you and your business as a success.  You, however, might see all the mistakes you make or time wasted - stop it.  Any decision you make, mistake made, materials wasted....is better than....not making any.  It's really that simple.  Put your blinders on, keep yourself busy, doing what you do...let others do what they do..."just keep swimming."  

We may not share the same opinion of how to measure success.  But, that's the beauty of self-employment, one will be as successful as they see themselves being.  Keep a positive attitude - after all, "today, your world is your oyster."

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.  

Linked to:  http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2016/05/clever-chicks-blog-hop-190-featuring.html

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Couch to 5K

One of my 50 things to do is a 5K.  My daughter, Justine, told me about an app called "From Couch to 5K" - in my case, it literally will be.  

I recently listened to a message from Dr. James Dobson where he shared a story of his running in a race.  He didn't do any training and as you would guess, the story wasn't one of success.  I surly, don't want that to happen to me.  I want to do this, even if I only walk.  

So, this week I finished week 1 of training with the Couch to 5K app.  Much to my surprise, I actually like it.  I am able to keep up with pace so far.  The voice tells you when to walk, when to run (I trot...lol) and walk again.  It goes by so fast.  

After you complete a session, you can share it on social media.  I tweeted one and another tweet about doing my first 5K at 50 (#first5Kat50).  I could not believe all the favorites and retweets I received from others training, the app itself and Dove..the soap..they have a #SpeakBeautiful about yourself campaign.  So encouraging.  

I will keep you all posted with my progress.  If I can do this, anyone can.  The From Couch to 5K app is free and I would encourage you to give it a try.  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.  

Saturday, May 7, 2016

What a Mama Will Do

This Killdeer, is setting on a nest of now 4 eggs.  I almost stepped on them the other day as I closed the gate to the pasture.  I still can't believe the horses didn't.  

Why would she lay her eggs right out in the open?  I can think of all kinds of "bad" that could happen.  She does set on them as I've seen her little head peek up as I happen to walk near.  

Killdeer will act like they are injured to draw predators away from their nest.  I have been careful not to bother her, but she is very close to our manure/compost pile.   Yesterday, as I pushed the wheel barrow by, she jumped off her nest and ran forward and did the craziest thing.  She flopped down on the ground and was flipping around on her back - shaking all over.  She not only pretended she was injured...she took it a step too the extreme and was acting like she was dying.  What a silly bird.

This had me thinking about extremes mamas go to, to protect their children.  I know, I was one of those...just ask a few people who I felt "threatened" my children in some way.   I won't shame myself with all the crazy stories - there are too many.  I don't regret any of them and that's the truth.  At those times I did get crazy - going to the extremes was necessary.   

I remember being at a "mother's lunch" at our small Christian School.  A mom of 6 was sitting at our table.  She was the image of self-control, patience, temperance - all the things I lack.  The topic of "mama bear crazy" came up....one of the other mothers pointed to me and said "Jacky is that."  To which the mom of 6 asked me "why" I was that way.  At the time I felt she was judging me and my conduct...so, I said "Why?  Why would I go to extremes to protect my children?"  "Listen, you might not chose to protect your children, but I will tell you what my mama told me...if you, don't protect your children, no one will"  She just stared at me - all wide eyed  - "and sometimes, going mama bear crazy works"  I said.  

Is this Dicky Bird proud of the "flopping on the ground acting like I'm a dying bird crazy" - you bet!  And, just wait till the grands show up.  

On this mother's day, I am thankful for the long line of mama bears I come from and the love and protection I never questioned.   I was blessed to be raised by such a loving mom.

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin. 

Linked to:  http://strangersandpilgrimsonearth.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-art-of-home-making-mondays-please_9.html

Friday, May 6, 2016

5 Fun Facts about Bees

We have some free help here at our farm for the summer - Bees.  You can read about it here:  http://dickybirdsnest.blogspot.com/2016/05/free-workers-arrived-bees.html

I thought it would be appropriate to share some facts about bees for my 5 fun facts Friday.

1.  Did you know that bees are the only insect that produces food eaten by man.  

2.  The average worker bee produces 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey during their lifetime.  

3.  A honey bee visits 50 - 100 flowers during one collection trip.

4.  Only worker bees sting and only if they feel threatened.  Once they sting, they will die.  

5.  Honey bees communicate to each other by dancing.  Here is a you tube video about the dance:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7ijI-g4jHg

The bees seem content here, however we really don't have too much blooming yet.  While checking on the hive I did see several bees come back with their back legs full of yellow pollen.  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Linked to:  http://lovemademyhome.blogspot.com/2016/05/five-on-friday.html


Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Story of an Egg

Spring...a time for birth.  While walking in our woods, we came across this egg.  It was on the path, maybe it fell from a tree.  There was no evidence of any bird near, so I decided to take it home and put it under one of my broody hens.  I don't think it will hatch, but I couldn't resist the temptation to see what is in that egg.  

I also opened up one of the pastures for the horses yesterday.  They were out there for several hours and when it was time to close the gate this is what I almost stepped on - 

I nest of Killdeer eggs.  How the horses didn't step on them is beyond me...as it is pretty close to the water tank.  This little mama must know what she is doing...I hope...

Oh she was a nervous little mama, she ran off doing what all Killdeer do, pretending she was injured.   I won't let the horses out in that pasture until I see they are gone.  I sure hope they hatch.  What cute little birds.

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.  

Linked to:  http://www.mittenstatesheepandwool.com/2016/05/our-simple-homestead-blog-hop-50.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ClearwaterFarmJournal+%28Clearwater+Farm+Journal%29

Good Fences - Lebanon, Missouri

We stopped to eat in Lebanon, Missouri and this fence was across from the parking lot.  I had to share this week in honor of Mother's Day.  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.

Linked to:  http://run-a-roundranch.blogspot.com/2016/05/good-fences-111.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheRunaroundRanchReport+%28The+Run*A*Round+Ranch+Report%29

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

50 Things to Do Before I'm 50

I  haven't posted to the list lately, so here goes.  You can also read 1-17 here:  http://dickybirdsnest.blogspot.com/2016/01/50-things-to-do-before-im-50.html

18.  "Thelma & Louise Trip" (girls adventure):  We drove to Waco, Texas.  We  had a blast!  Most nights we fell asleep laughing.  I discovered some new things about my friends.  Jackie is the calmest person I know that doesn't take meds.  She is cool as a cucumber.  She drove home through Dallas and surrounding areas...I had my eyes closed.  Lisa, doesn't travel much, so it was fun to watch her excitement and taking pictures.   She exercised some independence and I'm proud of her.  I would highly recommend going on a trip like this with your friends - even if it is just for a weekend.  

19.  Drive to Texas:  I am not the best driver.  I actually get anxiety while driving in stressful situations.  I can now say that I drove over a large bridge, through a large city (Little Rock, AR) learned to trust the GPS and mastered some mad speeding skills in Texas.  

20.  Visit Magnolia Market at the Silos - the reason for our trip.  

21.  Stop at a weird roadside attraction in each state:  I actually planned our whole trip down based on these roadside attractions.  Chester, IL - the home of Popeye, was our first night.  They have cement statutes of each character.  The lady at the hotel told us that the writer of this comic grew up there and each one of those characters were based on a member of the community.  I asked..."who was the old sea hag?"  Yikes.  In Arkansas we stopped for lunch - in a plane.    Our second night was in Paris, TX - where they have their own Eiffel tower.  On the way home we stopped at the location of 3 states.  It was fun!

22.  Blog Recognition:  My blog post was read on the radio.  The Jerry Bader show is based out of Green Bay and his listenership covers most of Wisconsin.  You can read about it here:  http://dickybirdsnest.blogspot.com/2016/03/my-post-was-read-on-air.html

23.  Teach a Seminar:  I was excited when Jackie from the UW Extension office approached me to teach a seminar for a fundraiser for the HCE club.  You can read about it here:  http://dickybirdsnest.blogspot.com/2016/04/what-to-keep-what-to-sell-what-to-donate.html

24.  Start a New Business:  My friends Lisa, Jackie and I decided to start an estate sale business.  All of us have years of experience.  It has been fun.  To date, we have conducted 3 sales, have 2 for June and possibly 2 in July.  So, we have been busy.  Here is our face book page:  https://www.facebook.com/EstatelyYoursCW/

25.  THEME:  I wanted to be open to new opportunities this year regardless of my reservations.  In order to do so, you need to take risks.  I was asked to be a part of a periodical shop called THEME.  We rented an old brick building and I hosted one of my pop up sales there in April.  Each month, one of us will be brainstorming an idea or "theme" sale.  This month it is "Sweet Spring Time."  Here is link to face book page:  https://www.facebook.com/THEME-120979434964827/

I'm half way there, with less than a month to go.  I decided to give myself though my birthday month of June to complete these.  Some of my hardest ones are left.  I might not be able to complete them, but at least I tried.  I decided to take off a few...too risky...like skydiving...Al said "we might break something when we land."  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.