Sunday, May 31, 2009

Friday, May 29, 2009

One Dead Rabbit....

There once lived a big fat rabbit whose diet consisted of my pansies, painted daisies, poppies, English daisies, and any other beautiful flower I'd worked hard on cultivating in our sandy, rocky ground. Forget the hundreds of dandilions (or sunflowers, as my kiddos call 'em). He (she?) went straight for my beautiful flowers.

"Kill the rascally rabbit!" I demanded of my husband. My children, knowing my frustrations of losing such beautiful flowers and fearing our growing garden would be next, echoed my sentiments (although they have no idea what "sentiments" means).

Today, I sleepily opened my eyes to see my husband donning his boots and coats....and digging thru our upper shelf under sweaters, sweatshirts, jeans, and the like, to get his shot gun. "Going after that rabbit?" I inquired. "Yep," he replied.

He walked out the door. Not even thirty seconds later I heard a BOOM! He walked back in, took off his coats and boots. "Get that rabbit?" I queried. "Yep," he replied.

He's a man of few words but big actions.

Tonight as we were tucking the kids in bed, Susanna gave him a big hug and a star sticker. "You're my hero! You got that wascally wabbit!" He grinned.

Earlier, as the kids were going downstairs, Luke asked me why Daddy has a shot gun. Before I could answer, Susanna piped up, "To hunt deer and wabbits, silly!"

Anyone for rabbit stew with a garnish of partially digested pansies?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Full Speed Ahead!

Well, our market ( has been open a week now, and things are going well! Last year, we had road construction in front of the Market almost all seaons long. Top that with the chilly start of Spring and Summer (or is that a long delay in Winter weather??), and business was NOT good! However, God has been blessing our business with customers, and I am so thankful!

Our asparagus is so plentiful right now...and so fresh and tender! I have to yell at the kids almost every time we have it for supper (pretty much every night) to "Stop eating your asparagus and start eating the rest of your food!" Luke loves to bit off "Junior's" or "Archibald's" head as well as try to eat more than Daddy does (so he gets bigger and stronger than Daddy), while Susanna will clutch an asparagus in each hand and have them "dance" around on the table.

Tomorrow is the first of probably three of our "Sample our Stuff" days at the Market. I'm whipping up a huge spread of the items we sell so customers can try things and see what they like! It's been quite successful in the past, and everyone seems to enjoy it so much. It's funny -- so many people look at the samples and think I've gone to so much work, but most of what we sell is very easy to prepare -- just heat up or add water or something along those lines. Stop by tomorrow (if you're in the neighborhood -- otherwise, just drool thinking about it and wish you were here!) to sample:
Apple Cinnamon Pancakes
Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake
Blueberry cheeseball
Black Raspberry Cheesecake
Mandarin Orange fruit dip
Zesty Orange Corn Bread
Baked Potato Soup with Carter's fresh asparagus
Chunky Garden Tomato Sauce
Garlic Parsley Noodles
Blazin' Cajun dip
Tomato Basil dip

And believe it or not, pretty much all of that will be made tomorrow morning, in the hour before we open the market!

To top that off, I whipped up a batch of cinnamon rolls that I'm going to be selling, too. In fact, I have to go put some in the oven to sell this morning...then bake up some more to sell tomorrow morning. Yum!

Yesterday, the kids and I headed to another local grower to stock up on perenniels to sell at the Market. It was the first time Susanna went to a grower's with me....and I really wish I had a video camera with me as she went into the first greenhouse and saw rows and rows and rows of flowers! The girl was off, like a little bumble bee, darting between flowers, stopping to look at just about everything, trying to load up all the different plants onto our cart! We then took everything back to the Market, and a customer bought almost $100 worth of plants just as I was unloading them!

Another big job I did this week was get things planted around here. Tony probably thinks I'm nuts, but I planted a small garden here for the kids and I to dabble in. Many of the things I planted, we don't grow at the farm, too. At the start of May, I planted three mounds of red potatoes -- and there are sooooo many potato plants coming up already! I've got to find time to get more dirt on top of them! This week, we added three mounds of Yukon Golds, several rows of a Roma-like tomato, a few rows of sweet onions, two rows of snap peas, and lots and lots of flowers around the house! Oh, and I filled two big containers with herbs....and saw with delight that my mint and oregano are starting to come back nicely....along with huge clumps of chives (my kids love chives and pretty much smell like chives from sun up to sun down). I'm hoping to still get in some radishes, lettuce, and carrots...but I've got to find some large containers for those. See, we have this pesky, fat rabbit who likes to eat stuff (I believe I wrote about him last year, too) -- and I don't want him feasting on those greens! Tony's talking about getting his shot gun out....and I hope it isn't just talk!

We also had company down at the farm this week. Dad's sister Gloria and her husband Ken came and spent a couple days visiting. We had a family supper down at the farm Wednesday night, and I mentioned sending some cinnamon rolls down for breakfast the next morning. Tony forgot to take them...but Ken quickly drove down to pick 'em up! Sure hope they were worth the trouble ;).

For now, I gotta go. Cinnamon rolls into the oven. Me into the shower. Kids and me fed. Head into the market all day today then all day's one of our busiest weekends of the year -- time when all the tourists start heading in to town....and based on traffic yesterday, it's gonna be a BUSY weekend! Campers, trucks with boats hitched, and more all over town. Ugh! But...they bring in money to us local businesses, so I can't complain! Plus, as "bad" as the traffic is here now, it's still better than a slow day/night in SoCal!

Look for pictures some time soon.....

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Funny Things They Say

Luke woke up today, and the first words out of his mouth was a mumble...."It's Monday...gotta get up." Five years old and already knows Mondays aren't always fun to start.....

Decades ago when my Grandpa was working, a young lad came along and Grandpa asked him how far he could count. Came the reply, "all the way home!" Well, Luke topped that reply on Friday, when our good friend Dorothy stopped in to the market. "How far can you count, Luke?" "All the way to the next number!" "Great! But how high can you count?" "As high as this!" and pointed to the top of one of the shelves.....

He and Susanna also shared almost a full can of rootbeer last night before bed (yeah, BAD Daddy and Mama, especially when they still aren't completely night-trained....). Around 11:30, I heard feet pitter patter out of their room then make a bee-line for the basement. It was Luke heading to the bathroom, calling out "Mama!" I headed down with him and he proceeded to get rid of that can of rootbeer. He went, and went. And went some more before finally turning to me with sleepy eyes asking "When is it ever going to STOP???"

Susanna also has been coming up with her own means to keep us laughing. "Isn't it ADOWABLE?" and "It's just so CUTE!" with a little squeal at the end usually keeps us in stitches or at least gives us a big grin. And over the most hilarious things...a piece of rhubarb cake. A tiny piece of clay. A pot sticker.

She has also taken to deciding her own consequences for naughty actions (not that we necessarily follow what she decides is the appropriate action). "It was wong. I deserve a sitting in the naughty spot."

And last week, the day we headed for the Cities, Luke woke up and immediately said, "Wake up, Susi! Today is the day you go away with Mama! Aren't you EXCITED????" To which she retorted, "Aren't YOU excited?"

And now for another day of fun and laughter (I hope!).

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Reasons I'm a Mother

Without her, there wouldn't be him....

Without him, there wouldn't be him....

or her....

and, well, I'm kinda partial to them!

A Big Accomplishment

Luke had a blast Sunday afternoon riding around Uncle Mark's back yard...then off to the park with Daddy! It is HARD to keep that kid off his bike! Even when he wipes out, he just gets right back up and takes off again!

Susanna, on the other hand, realizes it's much easier to have someone else do all the work!


Okay, I really should be blogging about how we opened the Market today and how sales were GREAT and how the weather has been lovely during the day but dipping to below freezing at night causing my wonderful hubby to be up several hours each night watering and covering everything so our crops don't freeze. I really should be telling you about some of the hilarious things my kids have been saying and doing (singing prayers, leaving van doors open so that three THREE days in a row the battery has been dead when it's time to leave). But instead, I give you the photos of our Mother's Day brunch spread!
And yeah, it was as delicious as it looks!
Mama's cream puffs, Beth's pie, and fresh fruit, yum!
First Carter's asparagus of the season along with Becker's Bacon, double yum!
The cinnamon rolls I blogged about a few days back...oh, why are you all gone already???? (oh well, I carry the memory of them on my hips....)

The beautiful roses Beth got each of the moms

Monday, May 11, 2009


Wow, two posts in one day....don't get used to this! Especially since I'll be posting more on Mother's Day POSSIBLY today or in the next day or so...with lots of pictures! By the way, my kids brought me breakfast in bed today...yesterday we had to be at church early and Tony was there even earlier. They were so cute! Brought up a tray complete with a yellow rose, two red roses, egg casserole, cinnamon rolls, hot tea, and each added a favorite item -- a much-loved bag of dried fruit and an almond. They also came up several times to see if I needed or wanted anything else. Awwww....gotta love 'em, in spite of how bad they were yesterday morning!

Anyway! Today is my sister-in-law Beth's birthday! I don't know how old she is and wouldn't post it even if I did know....but I sure am enjoying our friendship and hope she has a very blessed day today.

Today would have been my Grandma Pavkov's birthday, too. I've lost count at this point, but I think she would have been 97 or 98. All I know is she is in eternity with Jesus where age no longer matters!

I know there are so many shared birthdays and special days out there, but I gotta share with you just a few of the shared special days in my shared side and Tony's side of the family as well as some others who share my special day....

There was a boy in my class named Jeff Evans who shared the same birthday as me. We never checked what time we were each born, although I doubt it was within minutes of each other! I used to think I had a crush on him...he had wavy brown hair and LOTS of freckles...I even tackled him in kindergarten to give him a kiss, but as we grew older, it was just the novelty of a shared birthday that was attractive to me (although I really did like his freckles!). (Side note...I recently caught up with Jeff again on Facebook...he no longer has wavy brown hair...he no longer has HAIR, and I didn't see any freckles either...). I think it is much more exciting now to also share a birthday with Lynette Butler who's husband Keith's birthday is the day after Tony's, and whose anniversary is exactly one month after ours.

I was also born on my Aunt Carole's birthday...and the day after her youngest sister Kath (who made my wedding cake). Aunt Carole's daughter Martha shares a birthday with Tony. Her oldest son Stephen was born on my brother Ron's birthday...her two youngest sons share the same birthday, but they are two years apart. (I have two other friends who have children sharing a birthday, but not the same year....Janet Thompson's children and Cheryl Sackett's children).

Andrew's (nephew) birthday is the same day as my grandparents' anniversary was...I was kind of hoping Susanna would wait until February 20 to share that same special day but was really glad when she finally was born, since I had labor so strong she sent me to the hospital on five false alarms! However, my brother Ron's youngest daughter was born on February 20 (Andrew's birthday) the year after Susanna was born. Beth Carter shared a birthday with my grandma before she (my grandma) passed away...and that's two days before Julia's (sister-in-law) birthday. Paul (brother-in-law) shared a birthday with my grandpa before he, too (grandpa, not Paul), passed away. And while Hazel (niece) was born a couple days after my birthday, she shares a birthday with another one of my cousins. Elisabeth (niece) was born on my mother's birthday...which happens to be the day before my father's birthday...which is the day before Al (brother-in-law) and Carrie's (niece) birthday...which is the day before Jonathan's (brother-in-law) birthday. Mark's (brother-in-law) birthday is the same as another of Aunt Carole's children, my cousin Dianne. Aunt Carole's son-in-law Joe shares a birthday with Clinton (nephew). Aunt Carole's husband Ralph shares a birthday with my brother Ron's wife Tammy.

Luke was born on my cousin Traci's anniversary, and Ron's oldest son Nathanael was born on another uncle's anniversary. My cousin Richard was born on his parents' anniversary (what a present!). David and Rita (sister-in-law) have their anniversary on one of my favorite aunts' birthday...and my cousin Adriel (Aunt Kath's son...his wife helped make our wedding cake) was born on Dad and Mama Carter's anniversary...which is a week before my parents' anniversary. Adriel and his wife Belen have their anniversary on Tessa's birthday.

Did you follow all that?

Regardless...HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BETH!!! (and Chester, another friend from church...any other's today??)

Cinnamon Rolls

Yesterday, we had a Mother's Day Brunch at Mark and Beth's (pictures to follow in a day or so). It was a BEAUTIFUL day in so many ways, and the weather was gorgeous.

I tried a new recipe, Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls, with two small adaptations -- and they were a hit! Already had requests for the recipe. I'm copying this one on here, not just giving you the link. Try 'em. They're super easy to make, incredibly delicious, and they make ALOT (next time, I'm cutting the recipe in half...even with brunch and giving many away, there were still quite a few).


Cinnamon Rolls

Mix 1 quart of whole milk (4 cups), 1 cup of vegetable oil, and 1 cup of sugar in a pan. "Scald" the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point.) Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour. (note from Linda – I also added 1 tsp Watkins butter extract at this point -- it added great flavor without the added fat.)

When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in 2 packages Active Dry Yeast. Then add 8 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let sit for at least an hour.
Now add 1 more cup of flour…1 heaping teaspoon baking powder…And 1 "scant" (less than a full) teaspoon baking soda and 1 heaping tablespoon of salt.

Stir mixture together. At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it—overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Or, of course, you can just go ahead and make the rolls.

Take half the dough and form a rough rectangle. Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Rectangle should increase in both width and length as you roll it out. Now drizzle 1 1/2 to 2 cups melted butter over the dough (I used less than half this amount and it was plenty). Don’t be shy; lay it on thick, baby. You know you want it. Now sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the butter……followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon. Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Some of the butter/sugar/cinnamon mixture may ooze out toward the end, but that’s no big deal. Next, pinch the seam to the roll to seal it.

Spread 1 tablespoon of melted butter in seven round, foil cake or pie pans. Then begin cutting rolls approximately 3/4 to 1 inch thick and laying them in the buttered pans. Repeat this process with the other half of the dough. This recipe makes approximately seven pans of rolls.
Let the rolls sit for 20 to 30 minutes to rise, then bake at 400 degrees until light golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes. While the rolls are in the oven, make the deliciously sinful maple frosting.

To a mixing bowl, add 1 bag of powdered sugar. To this, add about 2 teaspoons maple flavoring…1/2 cup milk.... 1/4 cup melted butter……and 1/4 cup of brewed coffee. Also add 1/8 teaspoon (a generous pinch) salt. Generously drizzle frosting over warm rolls after you pull them out of the oven. And take a walk on the wild side. Don’t be afraid to drown them puppies. Be sure to get frosting around the perimeter of the pan, too, so the icing will coat the outside of the rolls.

And if you want seriously good rolls...don't mess around with store-bought stuff -- use the Watkins cinnamon, baking powder, butter extract, and maple extract. You won't be sorry!

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there as well as all who will one day become moms!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

What I've Been Up To

Well, my trip to the Cities was good...tiring and busy, but good. Part of what made it so good was that Susanna came with me -- we had a girls' trip and both ended up missing our guys pretty badly! But we stayed in a hotel we'd stayed at as a family last fall, and that was a high light for Susi. Toddler swimming pool with a frog slide -- yeah, she loved it! They also upgraded me to a suite...then gave me the jacuzzi suite! Sadly, the jacuzzi didn't work, but it was still nice and relaxing. So much so that Susanna, enjoying a bath after a morning swim before we left, informed me that I could just leave her there forever. We had some great girl time together... it was really special for us both (I think!).

Before we left home, though, Susanna ran upstairs and brought down the "spanking stick" to take with us. I told her, "I don't think we'll need to take that. I have a feeling you're going to be a very good girl." She then informed me, "Mama, you'd better take it. I have a feeling I'm going to be pretty naughty!" She did start getting a bit mouthy at one time, and when I asked her if I'd have to pull over and get out the spanking stick that SHE packed, she looked a bit panicked and asked "did you really bring it???" We didn't need it though!

We had a great time visiting with my niece Tessa, too, who rode down with us to spend a day with another niece, Carrie, who attends Bethel University. It was great seeing Carrie, as well!

I had some pretty successful stops while there, and hopefully those leads will become good business deals for me.

While we were gone, some pretty exciting things happened here, too. Daddy took the training wheels off Luke's little boy is riding a 2-wheel bike by himself! Well, from what I understand, he falls off the bike as often as he rides it...but he keeps getting back on!

I look at my kids lately and am amazed at how quickly they are growing up. Where did the time go? Luke has lost all the baby fat from his face and is starting to really look like a "big kid" now. And lately, he's been pretty free to let us know when a female looks good to him...or when one doesn't! He was fascinated with a powerpoint show at our AWANA awards, seeing some of the older girls on there -- Mama, they look really good to me! it starting already???? He's only five!!!

Susanna loves helping me with anything in the kitchen. I love how much she imitates me (usually), and get a kick out of watching her attempt things on her own.

One of the things I love most, though, is how much my children love each other. Susanna cried several times when we were gone because she missed Luke so much. Her biggest smile the whole time (outside of things involving water) was when she talked with Luke on the telephone. She also picked out a stuffed dinosaur to bring back to him...and spent more than five minutes picking out just the right one!

I spent today stocking quite a bit at the market with one of our employees, Barb. We got alot done, but not quite everything. We're opening on Friday, so if you're in the area...stop by! And check out our website. We have everything updated (except the opening date) -- == let me know what you think!

Well, I'm ready to head for bed. Just got done making a breakfast casserole and some home made cinnamon rolls for a family brunch tomorrow at Mark and Beth's in honor of Mother's Day. And as I was making them, I wondered how in the world I ended up making MY Mother's Day meal??? Isn't that Tony and the kids' job??? Hm, maybe we'll have Mother's Day on Monday, too! But...I know that Tony will do something special for me :) Luke has already informed me he's going to tell everyone tomorrow that I'm the best Mama ever and that I really, really love flowers.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Busy Times are Here Again!

I've not had some serious blogs in awhile...well, I mean meaty blogs. Things have been getting busy...we're getting ready to open the market. It's spring time on the farm! We've had 10 calves born already with about 6 more to go (I think)...along with two deaths :(. Tony has been busy between calving, planting, transplanting, repairing, plowing, and more. He is such a gem!

My schedule was knocked thru a loop when the flu flattened me for about a week. On top of that, I had pink eye, which meant antibiotic drops and no contact lens for a week. It wouldn't have been too bad...except my lens prescription hasn't been updated in literally 20 years or glasses stems are on their last legs...and the lens themselves are also pretty scratched up. A week with blurred vision (which also involved some driving and other stuff, yikes!).

By this time, I usually have orders placed for the market, an employee schedule penciled in for the summer, all employees lined up (of course!) and a babysitter for when I'm working, accounting things up to date (since nothing will be touched again until November or December, other than payroll and bills!), the market cleaned and stocked -- ready for when we open, and at least one trip to a greenhouse, stocking up some flowers for when the Market opens. By this time this year...well, I placed some orders today, and our biggest order came in yesterday...more about that in a minute..... Did I mention we're opening the market next week? Tony's aiming for Thursday or Friday.

I've been up pretty late each night trying to do some catch up. Yesterday I worked some on a general schedule for the market...but I still need to find one more adult to help on Saturdays. And I need to find a babysitter, because I'll be at the market quite a bit this year. I think I have one lined up, but I need to touch base with her again :)

Last Saturday, I had a training session/open house for my local Watkins associates. It went pretty well; I'm satisfied with what my associates came away with -- hopefully, it got them geared up to continue on their own and to build their own businesses. But....because I'd been out of commission for about a week before, it put me behind in some other things. Like laundry. Poor Luke has been going thru clothes baskets to find clean underwear and pants each morning. I should be folding clothes right now. I will in a minute.

I had planned on placing Market orders yesterday as well as finishing washing and folding laundry...but then I got a call that they were delivering our large order at the market between 10:00 and 1:00. I got the call at 9:45. ARGGG!!!!! So, I gulped down my cup of tea, threw on some clothes, loaded the back of the van with some Watkins things to stock at the Market, tried to find some toys to keep the kids occupied...oh yeah! The kids! Make sure they have clothes on, socks on, and look half way decent. And out the door I was at 10:20, calling to make sure that if the delivery guy got there before I did, he'd put the stuff on the front stoop. Nope, he wasn't expected quite yet. I got to the market, started unloading and stocking, and finally called at 2:00, wondering where the delivery guy was -- a few phone calls later, I got a call saying he'd be there by 6:30. My reaction? Oh no he won't! He'll be here MUCH earlier! I still had to pick up half a pig (already processed into sausage, ham, chops, roasts, and bacon) at the butcher, deposit some money into our account so our automatic debit for our health insurance wouldn't drain our checking, and make a Watkins delivery to my good friend Chuck. And I hadn't planned anything for supper yet! I found out I'd have enough time to do some of the errands, and they promised the driver would be there between 4:30 and 5:00. I got the kids loaded in the van, went to do my errands....but there was a horrid clicking sound. Dead battery. Ugh! Tony was in the field, so he couldn't come and jump the van. No answer at Mark & Beth's or on either cell I called AAA. While on hold with them, my wonderful BIL, Mark, called....and came to jump the van! Off to the bank...then the butcher...then back to the market. Got things swept out good while waiting -- the driver ignored the delivery address and WENT TO THE FARM!!! Mama sent him to the market. We got everything now, it's after 5:30. Supper? Hello, Pizza Hut? our Pizza Hut has a drive-thru pick up window. I LOVE IT!!!

Last night I was up until 1:00 figuring some product costs for the market, the drafted schedule, and making some arrangements for a trip to the Cities...more on that in a minute! Susanna woke up at about 5:30...and woke me up, too. I think the most sleep I've gotten in one night since my bout with flu has been about 5 hours. Yeah...I'm trying to catch up! Our neighbors cranked their music up Friday night -- I finally called about 2:00 and left a message to please turn it down some. They did...around 3:00 a.m. Susanna and Luke were awake (and woke me up) by 6:00. Sigh.

I am planning a trip to the Cities Thursday and Friday -- making several Greenstar customer stops -- see some current customers, talk with several potential customers. Also picking up some things for our Market and Farm while down there, too. I think Susi is coming with, so we'll have a girls' time! Luke is very sad and doesn't stop crying when he realizes he won't be with us. Poor kid!

And Saturday, I'll be stocking more things at the Market. Monday, I'm meeting with the owner and chef of a new local restaurant who wants to use our produce as much as possible. I'm also headed to one of the greenhouses -- Luke's turn to spend the day with Mama....and he's thrilled.

Today I tried to upload our new information on our farm website....have to go to my BIL's house for that since we only have slow dial up. But...I forgot to "publish as web pages" before saving everything on disk, so our good friend Paul is doing that for me....and getting everything uploaded, bless him!

Okay, has this blog been as disjointed and hard to follow as I think it is? If so, you kinda understand my life right now! But the highlight in all this, besides my wonderful hubby and kids is that my summer ladies' Bible Study starts again tonight, yippee! I have REALLY been looking forward to this! We're finishing (maybe) the Harmony of the Gospels this summer. It's an AWESOME group of ladies....and a breath of fresh air and anchor to reality for me during the craziness of summer....

And I gotta go fold me, post comments, I love ya all!!!!

And an update on Michaela -- she was due to be released from Children's Hospital to come home on Sunday. To the best of my knowledge, she is home now. Please continue to keep her and her family in your prayers....