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Winter in Iowa

We have had a fairly mild winter here in N.W. Iowa, but today it is proving to be much more like winter. We started out with really cold temps in the low single digits and around 11:00 am the snow was lightly starting to fall here. At 1:30 pm the snowflakes had grown in size and the wind had come up. I saw our mailman arrive and so I got myself bundled up and walked out to the mailbox. I had to walk into the wind and snow. I went and started my car in the garage and let it run for 15 minutes until it was warmed up. It was only a high yesterday of lower single digits and so I wanted to make sure when I need it in a couple of days it will start for me. When I walked back to the house from the garage it had snowed in my foot prints. It is really blowing hard now and the snow is mounting. I took some photos of my view out my office window and have included them here. It is difficult to see the flying snow, but it is bad enough we cannot see the neighbors that live half a mile from us here. Winter 1 2015

Winter 2 2015

Winter 3 2015

Winter 4 2015

Weather in the Midwest…

We are so water logged here in the Midwest! We got more rain this weekend and a number of showers today. I was coming home from a town about 20 miles from my home and it was questionable if I was going to make it to town – there was quite a lot of lightening and one bolt struck a few feet in front of my car and also one time behind my car on the highway I was traveling on. It was basically on all sides of the vehicle. Some were a distance from me and others were too close for comfort. Needless to say, I prayed all the way to town and thankfully God got me there safely.

Early this spring our river had sandbars showing to the point where people could drive a vehicle out onto them and fish from them. With all the rain we have been getting, our flooding here in town has gone down, but the river is running high just slightly inside of its banks (Little Sioux River). If we get many more days of showers like this it will be back out of its banks. Places in Minnesota are having a tough time with flooding and northeast Nebraska suffered another tornado this morning in Pierce county, a few miles from where the last few have hit. Many of our gravel roads have been washed away and the county has been working overtime repairing them. A few smaller bridges have been washed out and are being repaired as well. Many of us are praying God sends some rain to California and other states in dire need of rain. If only one could ship some where it is needed!

The mosquitos are bad this year and not much on the market for bug repellant works. I did create my own a couple of years ago (Bug-Off Cologne) and it works pretty good, but I need to apply it often, especially on a hot day. I have been using that a lot this year with mowing, gardening, and tending to other outdoor chores. I have sold a few at my sister’s store this summer – some people have come back for more so it must be working for them as well.

We are in for some cooler days for the next week and many of us are looking forward to that, but another round of storms comes in tomorrow and then the weekend there is another round of showers from Friday evening through Sunday morning. They are reporting that in the last 2 months we have had well over our usual rainfall for this time of the year and that is obvious as you drive around the area.

They are repaving the main highway a mile from us to town – Hwy 59 and so they have a portion of that road blocked off as they get part of it completed. Then another contractor is working on another road just a mile from Hwy 59 where there was a bridge that needed to be replaced, so one cannot get into town from that direction, and then there is another main highway (Hwy 3) that comes into the other end of our town that is closed off and being repaved, so when the river was over its banks at crest we had no way to get into town from where we live without having to drive many miles out of the way to get there. Once they have the bridge on the road that is a mile from Hwy 59 fixed, then the last 4 miles of the road work will be completed on Hwy 59 in September. It has been a challenge this year between the weather and road work getting around to where you need to go. Certainly has made life interesting and not dull! 🙂

Gardening and lawn work…

I finally got the lawn mowed for the first time. I took extra time to work on it because the grass had gotten so long. I first went out on the coldest day of spring dressed in more winter like wear and only got half of it done because it was too cold to finish it, as it takes about 3 hours to mow all of the grass. Then 2 days later after rain showers passed I was able to complete the other half on Saturday after getting home from work. Looks like a hay field in spots, but I hope to get back out there earlier from now on. I enjoy mowing on a riding mower – the time you have to think, meditate, and pray is great and it is relaxing also.

I love to get my hands in the dirt and dig. There is just something about working in dirt that is very therapeutic and also relaxing. I ran to town to get the last of the plants I needed to get the garden put in. There is such a short window before we get rain again, so I needed to get it done this past Sunday afternoon. We have had such a late start this year with the weather being so cold. We did have frost a little over a week ago, so I pray that is past us now and I will not have to cover these plants.

It was an eventful experience planting the garden this year because of the strong wind we had that day. Some of the seeds I was trying to plant went flying because of wind gusts – I may end up finding carrots and radishes in other parts of the garden – it should be interesting! I had to plant onions by seed this year because no one had the small onion bulbs, so this is a new experience for me and I am praying they bloom with ease!

My whole family loves Tomatoes – we love to have BLT’s in the summer months. I know some people use tomato cages around the plants, but I was thinking of staking them and somehow having them wrap around a pole, as I am using a limited space in the container I am planting them in. If anyone has any suggestions on how to do this, please send me a message!

I planted green beans for the first time in a container this year and so we will see how they fair. I also got some flowers planted in some cute pots I picked up at my sister’s consignment store. I watered everything thoroughly with Miracle Grow mixture. I went and picked asparagus for my folks who are not able to bend down and get them anymore. I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon and got dirty between the wind blowing water and dirt onto my clothes to my dog having taken a dip in her large water bowl and then wanting my attention by jumping up on me with her muddy paws. I wish the day had not ended – I could have kept going. I love seeing the things you plant bloom and produce what they are meant to. The fact a small seed can grow into what it does is a miracle sent by God!!

Here is a picture of my dog, she is a pure bred miniature American Eskimo and she loves attention. She would have been helping me if I had let her! Her name is Zoi (zoey). She has a very heavy, beautiful coat that we have shaved off of her in the hot summer months and by fall she is getting her thick coat back. She is a sweet dog!
American_Eskimo_Dog_happy face

What are you growing in your gardens this year?

What is your favorite garden produce in the summer time?

Please feel free to share!

Pig Licking Cake

I know – a strange name for a cake, not my idea, but wanted to share it because it is a refreshing cake to make for summer time eating.

Ingredients:
2 large cans of mandarin oranges
1 Yellow Cake mix
1 egg
1/4 c. of oil
1 tub of Cool Whip
1 box of Vanilla pudding
1 can of crushed pineapple, drained

Dump 2 large cans (regular size not mini ones) of mandarin oranges into a yellow cake mix with one egg and 1/4 cup of oil.

Bake per temperature on the cake mix box. Let it cool.

Then mix Cool Whip mixed with one box of vanilla pudding and one can of crushed pineapple drained… Mix together.. Spread on cooled cake and keep refrigerated.

Very yummy!

Marinated Cucumbers, Onions, and Tomatoes

Ingredients:
3 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings
… 3 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh coarse ground black pepper
1/4 cup oil

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Toss well to mix.
3. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Great for summer gatherings or picnics!

Cucumbers, Onions, and Tomatoes salad

Winter drags on…

I helped my sister out at her store today and when I left the house it was a balmy 65 degrees and some of the customers who were shopping stated it had gotten up near 70 degrees. But about late afternoon it started to become overcast and started to cool down quickly. The biggest complaint from everyone today was the wind though – we had gusts up near 50 MPH and it was unrelenting. Driving to town this morning was not too bad, but it had become stronger when I drive home making it difficult to keep the vehicle on the road. One gal said she got home from work and their flag pole was broken in half from the strong winds. She was thankful she had not put out her bird feeders, as she figured they might be into the next county by now.

With the wind today a lot of people were crabby. I know the weather has a lot to do with it. It seems winter will be going right into summer with no spring to enjoy. Yesterday was a beautiful day near 70 degrees, but once again the wind was very strong and it was difficult to stay out for long to enjoy the lovely temps.

We are going to get some much needed rain this week it sounds like, but it is to be breezy all week long with no end to that for now. This winter I could count on my fingers the days we had no wind, so is it any wonder why people are crabby when the wind blows this hard. Most of our winter has been raw, strong windy days. It was first thought that we would have milder temps this week with just rain showers, but tonight they are predicting the temps are to drop further, there is a wind chill now of the teens, we are to have snow by Friday and it could be the accumulating kind.

I am headed back into town to attend my nieces music concert tonight and I certainly hope I make it home with no mishaps or wind issues. I always worry about passing semi’s when the wind is this bad – if they have an empty load, I have seen where the winds can topple them on their side and the wind today could do that.

Spring might officially be here on the calendar, but Mother Nature is not done with the snowy, cold, blustery weather yet, despite my attempts at pleading with God for some spring-like days. I keep telling myself…this too shall pass.