Monday, April 26, 2010

All Eggs Are Not Created Equal

My egg supplier, my Mom, has been busy.  Or should I say that her chickens have been busy.  My Mom has about 40 chickens, and sells free range, organic eggs.  The eggs are placed in a cooler with ice every morning, and then Mom drops them off down by the road, at a very sweet "egg stand" that my brother made for her.  It's just a little shelter that holds the cooler. Customers are on their honor to leave the $1.50 for the dozen eggs. 

It seems that more and more people are driving up the driveway now, if the cooler is empty.  It's not uncommon for my Mom to go and gather the eggs for a customer that is waiting in the yard with their car running.

I stopped out on Saturday, and there was a customer waiting.  It turns out that he runs a local restaurant, and was so pleased to have found my mom and the fresh eggs.  He was wanting to strike up a deal right then and there for first dibs on daily eggs.  Mom has way too many loyal customers for that, so she told him he'd have to take his chances, like everyone else.

  So, when I asked for a dozen eggs before I left, Mom and I laughed about what she gave me!  Seconds!  These are the unsaleable eggs:  too small, or lumpy or odd to sell.

They're all just as good on the inside though.  I used them for breakfast yesterday .Thanks, Mom!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Babies, Babies, Everywhere! What Do They Need?

It seems that these things come all at once: weddings and babies.  You know, you haven't been to a wedding in ages, and all of a sudden, you are invited to 3! In my extended family, we are having babies.  I've got cousins on all sides having new little ones.  I've got showers to attend in some cases, and gifts that I need  to send in others.
I love looking at all of this little cute stuff again.  (My baby is 5).

My question is this:  What was/is your favorite thing for your baby?  A piece of equipment, or a meaningful gift. It could be just a huge array of onsies that wore like iron.  I'm looking for ideas here.

One of my all time, can't live without (at the time) things for baby was a backpack carrier like this one:
Those front slings made my back ache, but, a properly worn backpack puts all of the weight on your hips.  I found them to be very comfortable, and the kids just loved their birds-eye view.  Plus, I liked the extra benefits of some weight training to help me lose the pregnancy pounds.  I must admit that I am a stroller hater.  They take up so much space, they are awkward and clumsy. Just try to get through a department store aisle at Christmas time and you'll know what I mean.  I'd plop my kids in the backpack and go like the wind.

I have found that not everyone is a backpack lover though.  I've even heard the words: "contraption", and "no way" uttered about my beloved backpack.

What was your favorite baby thing?  I need to buys some gifts people, and I need some good ideas!
(I have 2 boys and a girl to buy for, all from different families).

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sharing My "Finds"

I promised you that I'd share what I was able to find at the warehouse sale last week.  It was busier than ever, and Juniper and I had to wait in line just to get in.   We kept wondering why there was a limit on the number of people allowed in. We didn't think there was any kind of fire code in an open air tent.  
Crowd control must have been their goal. But, we were an orderly bunch. Although numerous. The racks were jammed in, people were carrying boxes to fill, pushing them in front of themselves.
There were women following workers trying to unload even more goods off of trucks, like they had saved the best stuff until last. My favorite part is the "dressing area" though.  It's basically the lawn of the office building.  This is where everything gets tried on, Juniper and I noticed some new signs this year though, on the Outside of the windows, they said:  "Yes, we CAN see you".  I guess they got an eye-full last year!

Here is a short list of my "finds".  The above sparkly earrings for around 18 cents.

This bag for $1.  I thought it would be a great overnight bag for my 7 year old.

Check out this cute chunky sweater. I love it with a cami underneath.

And my ALL TIME FAVORITES: These boots!  Yes, Boots!  Aren't they fun?  My daughter just absolutely hates them, and made me promise to NOT wear them if I'm around her, and it goes without saying that if her friends saw me in them, she'd keel over in embarrassment.   I think this means they're good, right?  
Somehow I think they're funny, and perfect for a rainy day.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sorry, I can't today. I've got plans to try on clothes in an Industrial Park.

Oh, and did I mention that there are no dressing rooms?  Just the great outdoors.

There is a clothing company near here that has a sample sale a few times a year.  It's usually a circus (hence the tent-Ha!)  There are racks and racks of clothes, shoes, belts, bags. Everything you can think of.  They are priced on a sliding scale.  So, maybe $5 for one item, 3 for $10.  So, you have to keep track of your item count to get the best deal.

Sometimes you buy stuff just for the buttons, or the fabric, or maybe you can change something that you love.  Hey, it's pure inspiration. Lots of fun.

The tricky part is trying things on.  You are literally in the lawn of an office building in an industrial park. Plan your dress appropriately, and you'll be fine.  And, by that I mean: wear a skirt and a tank top. You can try on pants under the skirt, and tops on over the tank.  Some girls just wear swim suits, but I'm not up for that.  

Stop back to see what fabulous things I come home with!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Everyone Should Experience This Once in Your Life

 I grew up on a working farm.  It is still a working farm.  My brother and my Dad came up with a plan about when to sell the yearling calves before my Dad passed. It was time to sell. I went with my brother, sort of as a pilgrimage to a place that I really haven't been to since I was a kid. And, I went because my brother could use some help. I also went because it would have pleased my Dad.  But, selfishly, I went because it is like stepping into a different world.

The local livestock auction is north of here, only about 45 minutes. The sights and the sounds of the place are hard to forget.  

Maybe I'm a bit nostalgic, because when I was a kid, it was always a big day to take off of school, and go to market.  

First comes the loading.  This usually happens the night before.  Loading animals onto trailers and trucks that they don't want to be on can be difficult at the least, and always dangerous.  A 600 lb. pig usually gets his way vs. a 50 lb. kid.

We passed an Amish school house on the way there.  All of the children were out playing, the girls in fresh purple dresses, and the boys in straw hats.

Once you've gotten to the auction, the Amish take over.  And they make it look easy. They unload your trailer into a barn that seems to be a maze of chutes and gates, all numbered.  There are animals everywhere.  This particular auction barn specializes in pigs, cattle and the occasional goat.  Somehow there is this need to check to make sure that your animals are in the stall that the Amish told you that they'd be in. Not that you really doubt the Amish, you just want to look around, and checking on your animals is your excuse.  So, you fumble your way through the labyrinth of gates.  Here's a tip: However you found the gate, that's how you leave the gate. So, if it's open, leave it open, if it's closed, leave it closed.  There is a system that you are completely unaware of, the Amish who run this place know it like the back of their hand. 

There are lots of animals mooing, braying and whatnot.  The Amish are shouting "Hep!", and snapping whips.  I've rarely seen them hit an animal, it's mostly for the sound, to get an animal moving.  If you happen to be in a chute while a big bull is coming through, you'll completely understand the "Enter at Your Own Risk" signs that are everywhere.  The correct thing to do is scramble up the gate or stall or whatever you are near. Height is your friend.

The animals are all run through a rink like this one. They are sold by the pound, in lots, or by choice. As with all auctions, you really have to pay attention.  The guys who do this all of the time make it look like they are barely paying attention. 

I did not take the above two photos-I got them online. There are signs in the barn that warn that photos are forbidden.  The Amish do not like having their picture taken.  And that is putting it mildly.  My Dad once told me that they believed that a picture could capture their soul. I'm not sure if that's the reason or not.  I just know that they feel strongly about it.

This is the actual barn barn that I visited. This is the main entrance, and I was sure to secretly take this photo from the truck. I made sure no one was in the picture. I just had to show you what was posted on the barn door.  Not and advertisement for the next auction, not any kind of self promotion, just this:

Who would have ever guessed that an Emerson quote would be found here?  It's no wonder my Dad liked this place, and had so many friends here.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Show Juniper How To Do Stuff Today!

My great friend, Juniper, over at Hope Studios, is featuring little 'ol me today.  She hosts a linky party every Tuesday. Hop on over and teach her some stuff.  She's not picky: a sewing project, a paint re-do, or just how you got your 2 year old to lose the binky.

Oh, and there is a prize!  If you have always longed for something from my shop, here is your chance to get it for free!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Someday I Hope To Be This Rich

As some of you know, I lost my Dad two weeks ago.  He could no longer go on. His body was broken by cancer. 

He told me many times that I could go to the cemetery if I wanted, but that he would not be there.  He would be with me.  I have to believe that he is, and that he is now guiding my life, and sending me love. 

Dad wanted his children, his wife, and people who cared about him to speak at his service.  It was a difficult thing to write, trying to sum up a man's whole life and influence in a few pages.  It was even harder to read. 

I Want to Share With You the Vast Amount of Wealth that My Dad has Accumulated Over His Lifetime:

Now anyone who knew my Dad would know that I'm not talking about a traditional form of wealth.  In terms of money, that never mattered to my Dad.  As long as he had enough, that was plenty.  In fact, when I think about it, my Dad would have enjoyed it if everyone in this world did a job that they were good at and enjoyed, and everyone just helped each other out. 

If you could see past the grease on his hands, and the manure on his boots, then you could begin to see what my Dad thought was important

My Dad was Rich in His Wife, my Mom:

I truly think he was always tickled pink that he found an adventurous girl.  And adventure in my Dad's world took lots of forms.  Sometimes it was taking a trip, sometimes it was taking the slate roof off of a barn, sometimes it was just watching him work, and worrying about his safe return.

My Dad was Rich in His Family:

He always took great pride in his family's history. He liked to talk about his ancestors, and their lives and accomplishments.  He was happy to be a part of a place that has such deep roots. 

He spoke highly of his brother Sam, whom he shared the farm with, and was a brother that took care of him when he was a boy.

He also seemed a bit proud of the 4 of us, in our own ways.  His gift to us was his strong support in whatever we chose to do.  He talked recently about how important it is to love your kids, and let them choose what makes them happy; To choose their own path. He knew that when you liked your work, you were sure to be good at it.  

And Speaking of Work, my Dad was Rich in that too:

He always had more work than he could do.  My Dad never advertised once for his backhoe business.  Word of mouth and reputation spread quickly about the hard working guy who would get it done, and charge a "reasonable" amount. 

The farm work was really a joy to my Dad.  He spoke about how he enjoyed riding the tractor and raking the hay.  He loved his animals and truly cared for them.  He also said that there is no one that enjoys fixing a broken manure spreader. 

My Dad was Also Rich in Knowledge:

Many of you may not know that my Dad read nearly every book in his school's library when he was a student.  He also graduated at the top of his high school class.  He was a straight A student. 

Dad also had the kind of knowledge that can only be gained by figuring things out for yourself.  If something broke, then he fixed it.  As a result, he became handy with a torch, he could weld, and I think he could change a tire in his sleep.  So many broken axles, engine replacements, and flat tires.  I came to know the local roads simply as references for places that my Dad broke something, and had to walk home, or someone gave him a ride.

I was always amazed that my Dad could barely look at a wrench or a bolt, and know exactly what size it was.  As a kid, you couldn't hand him tools fast enough. 

Dad had a good friend, Sammy Davis.  Sammy taught him how to work on transmissions, which were a mystery to him at the time. Sammy would say:" If anyone can do it, then YOU can do it." That really stuck with my Dad, and became something that he would say often. 

And Speaking of Sammy, My Dad was Rich in Friends:

I think my Dad worked at 3 out of 5 houses in Gibsonia, and the surrounding communities.  He sometimes couldn't recall his customer's names, but he could tell you what kind of dirt they had.  Dad be-friended so many of his customers by doing an honest day's work, and charging an honest amount.  He met many people that have meant so much to him.  Some of his friends knew him as "Corn Flakes", and some as "Big Al", but mostly just "Al, the guy with the backhoe, just call him, he'll get it done". 

His lifelong friends provided support to him in a way that only a lifelong friend can.  Bob has been there from the beginning. He was a great friend to the shy kid that my Dad was in High School, and then he introduced his cousin, my Mom, to Dad, and the rest is history. 

Ron Weibel has been a rock through my Dad's working career.  He and his family have supported my Dad, and taken care of him as a true friend. My Mom took comfort when Dad was working with Weibel.  She knew that they'd take care of one another, and that the two of them probably wouldn't get into any kind of trouble that they couldn't get themselves out of. And that was a great relief, because Dad, by himself, couldn't be trusted in that way.

I'll conclude by saying: My Dad embodied the phrase "It is better to give than to receive".  Anyone who has ever received something from my Dad knew that it held value to him, and anyone who ever tried to give my Dad anything can tell you how difficult it was.

I ask you to go forth and give of yourself, that would be an honor to my Dad.