Jul 27, 2013

too quiet


Nice little off and on rainy afternoon here on the farm. I've been sorting photos most of the morning, my husband's been working on his antique tractor and the cats have been working hard at taking a nap. I had time to make something special for lunch and so I decided to pull up my Pinterest and find a new recipe to try.

We decided on Homemade Spaghettios from Seeded At the Table. You can find her recipe here.

Mine turned out pretty good. I did some tweaking and used a gluten free elbow pasta..


It's basically just pasta with a tomato sauce. I added a few extra red pepper flakes to give it a kick. Nothing special but nice and hearty to keep you full most of the day. It was pretty simple. Almost as easy as opening up a can.... okay, not really but simple enough!


I also did some baking for a party we are going to tonight. I love using my kitchen when I have time. It seems like most days we are constantly on the go and it's hard to find time to prepare actual meals. I am glad things are starting to slow down a little. It's just unbelievable how quickly June and July seem to fly by. 

It's been almost two years since our wedding and I am just now sorting through some of our pictures to put into digital albums to have printed. You'll have to check out the small album of pictures I temporarily put together for the blog. I still have many more pictures to sort though.


I am sort of at a loss for words today. It's just too quiet around here today. 

Until next time!










Jul 26, 2013

5 basics for perrennials


Previously I have posted about some basics I've learned the last few years on growing annuals. Now, I would like to share some basics I learned the last few years about growing perennials. First, I must start by telling you how seriously intimidated I was by perennials. I swore up and down that I would only have bushes in my landscaping. The thought of having a plant on my property that could possibly come up and regenerate and over populate scared the bejeezers out of me.

I am not sure how I got started in perennials. My friend gave me a few starts to throw into some landscaping I had out by our big boulder one summer. I started off planting annuals and a few bushes around it. Now, it's completely taken over by perennials and I love it. My friend Dayla runs an actual perennial farm and I've purchased a lot of plants from her. The more I learn from her, the less intimidated I become!

Before you go knee deep in perennials, I advise you to learn these few basics I've learned before making the commitment. Unlike annuals, these guys come back every year! Well, they're suppose to anyways. If you have all the right conditions.

1. Bloom Time

Different varieties of perennial plants bloom during different stages of the seasons and for various amounts of time depending on the plant. You want to diversify your landscape by choosing a variety of plants so you have color all summer long. Some plants may only bloom for a few days and that's it! You want to choose plants with longer bloom spans. I personally don't like some of the classics like iris and peonies because of their short amount of bloom time. However, some perennials can produce beautiful greens and look like a nice round bush all summer. My personal green favorite is sedum. It doesn't bloom until fall but looks like a beautiful succulent round bush all summer. So, don't expect to throw a plant in the ground and have it bloom all summer. I made the mistake of putting mostly spring bloomers all around my deck with a few late summer bloomers and now I have a period of where nothing is blooming in June. I'm slowly working on getting that fixed.

2. Water/Sun

Perennials will need a lot of water before they establish roots their first year after being planted. The second year, they have established roots and will not need a lot of water if there is a normal amount of rain. Obviously, you need to water everything during a drought. I have been watering some new rose bushes and lilies everyday when I water my annuals and they are looking a lot better now than when I was watering them only once a week. I currently am not watering anything I planted last summer and everything seems to be doing okay. We've had moderate rain fall this summer. We had an extreme amount this spring and I think that has helped with the soil moisture levels quite a bit.

Just like annuals, there are different varieties of perennials that thrive in the sun and some that thrive in the shade! You need to do your homework especially in your shady areas. Common shade lovers are hosta varieties, coralbells and ferns.

3. Dividing/Transplanting

The awesome thing about perennials is that you can split, divide and dig up starts to grow new plants. This not only can save you money, but it keeps the plant from becoming overgrown. You can trade starts with friends and family! It's a lot of fun to get a start of a new plant from somebody. In just a few summers, starts can take off into full size plants! The best time to split and divide perennials is the beginning of spring before anything has bloomed. Don't try to do it in the middle of summer. The plant my not thrive very well in the heat. Some plants are sensitive to division and can go into shock after being transplanted. It may take them an entire year before they start looking decent again. Don't give up on them! Just keep watering. Some perennials are extremely hardy and easy to divide. Hostas, lillies and sedum are famous for their capabilities of division and hardiness. You can split a large hosta into so many little plants. If you're unsure how to divide plants, have a friend or relative give you a quick lesson. It's actually really easy once you learn your different plant varieties and where the need split. Some perennials like iris and lilies reproduce with bulbs and those you have to dig up.

4. Spacing

Something I am learning the hard way is that you need to give perennials room to grow. They are going to really go crazy once they get out of their pot and into the ground. Some plants grow quicker and bigger than others. It really all depends on the variety. If you find yourself in a situation where all your plants seem to be growing into each other in the middle of summer, give them a trim like you would a bush and divide them next spring. 

Something you also need to consider is the height of a perennials. You don't want to put something really tall like purple cone flower in front of something short like a balloon flower.

5. Marking

Not mandatory by any means, but it's a good idea to mark your plants in the fall before everything dies back. Your plant is literally going to completely disappear over the winter. Once the dead foliage is removed or blown away, you won't know what is planted where. Create stakes with the plant names or take pictures so you have an idea what will come up where the following summer. You don't want to accidentally mistake a plant for a weed! I also would like to know what did and didn't come back. I planted some daffodil bulbs practically on top of some of my plants this spring because I had no clue where anything was! This fall I am going to mark specific plants and take photos. If you're really into your landscaping and perennials, it may be a good idea to keep a diary or a photo diary so you can know what to expect each year and look for patterns. The hard part is, every year is different. A bunch of things starting coming up in March last year and this summer, some of those same plants didn't surface until May and even June!! 

These are just some 5 basic things I've learned on my own through experience. If you need help or have any questions about your perennials please leave a comment or email me! If I don't know the answers, I have some excellent resources I can turn to. I will probably need answers to the same questions you may have! Please understand that I am a beginner too and not an expert by any means. Maybe someday :)


decisions & choices/choices & decisions



Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

That's what I always think to myself as my berries are spinning around inside my salad spinner. Washing and spinning berries is a fun task. The end result of eating the berries can be even better.

 

I love fruit for breakfast. I need to do it more often. I am sure it's much healthier than my usual Reese's Puffs or processed breakfast drink mixes. There are some days where I'd much rather have Reese's Puffs over fruit even though I know Reese's Puffs are probably bad for me. It's one of the many decisions we get to make as adults. 

From the moment we wake up, we are constantly making decisions. To sleep in or work out, how we are going to dress and present ourselves, whether or not we will make the bed, what to have for breakfast, which way to drive to work, pack a lunch or go out and to put on a smile or not to put on a smile.

I think that last decision is probably the most important. Yes, we may have fallen into an argument with our spouse, dropped the gallon of milk out of the fridge or spilled coffee on a new white top. Those are all things that can cause a good start to a day to go sour very quickly. It's up to us whether we want to stay mad about those things which eventually result in us to take it out on the next person we see. Before you know it, it's lunch and you're still frowning over spilled breakfast milk. Literally. 

Is it worth it? Are things like spilled milk worth risking your performance at work or a relationship with a friend. I can recall several times walking into my office with my manager asking how I am that morning and replying back with a frown "Not good. This, this, this and this happened and it's not even 9 am yet." A response like that can instantly turn someone off and they won't want to stick around. 'Hmm, she's in a bad mood. I better stay away from her the rest of the morning. And since she's a redhead, I may even stay away this afternoon, too!'

Not all of us are going to wake up every morning and instantly get excited for the day just because the sun is shining and they were able to use their berry spinner and had fruit for breakfast. Not every morning the birds are going to chirp, crops green and tall and the sky bright and blue. Some mornings it may be raining. It may be snowing. The car won't start. Your pants don't fit. It may be a lazy Reese Puff day. Maybe that's why your pants don't fit. Who knows.

But what we have to remember is we are never dealt any cards that we can't handle. If you feel like you're constantly being dealt more bad hands than good, then maybe that's your sign that you need to find a way to overcome those bad hands. I once read a quote several years ago that I often times have to recite to myself.
If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change the way you feel about it. 
Sometimes easier said than done, right? I know. Trust me, I know.

Instead of facing my problems, I often times like to run away from them. Avoid it things all together. This falls into the category of if you don't like something, change it because I am tossing that problem out. Getting rid of it. Not going back. That doesn't always work, though. Things just don't disappear. They come back to haunt you. Every where you go, you are going to be reminded of that thing you tossed out. But remember, you have to throw out the bad to find the good. Close a door to open another, if you will.

It's up to us decide which doors we want to close and which ones we want to keep open and that's where our decisions and feelings come in. Sometimes you have to get rid of or change something in order to change the way you feel about it. Some things are harder to throw out than others but as adults we are blessed with the option of making our own decisions and if you have children, your decisions often times reflect the types of decisions they make too. Or, if you're lucky, maybe they will learn from your bad decisions. I really don't know how all that works. I don't have kids.

We need to stop mulling over 'the little' things. You can't let the little things drag you down or else you won't know how to face the big things. All these little things are practice for how we handle the big things. Fell into an argument? Apologize. Spilled the milk? Clean it up. Stained your white shirt? Pick out a different one. If there's a curve in the road, we still drive through it. We follow the path. If life throws us a curve, we must do the same thing. Follow the path.



I know, I am confusing. Berry spinning and life lessons. You never know what you may find here at Old Blue Silo.

Happy Friday!

Jul 24, 2013

Basics for Annuals


One of the biggest thing that excited me about having my own place was putting out potted annual flowers in the summer. The fun thing about annuals is you can put out as many as you'd like and if you find yourself overwhelmed, you can always cut back the following summer. You can also experiment with many different colors and variety of plants. 

Annual flowers only live for one growing season. Their goal is to bring themselves to a seed and then they eventually die around fall. If you're lucky, some will re-seed themselves in their pots and come back the following year.

Taking care of annual flowers can be very simple but there are some very basics that you need to know. These are basics I learned through trial and error. Upon learning some of these the hard way, I definitely had moments where I smacked my palm on my forehead. A lot of my friends ask me questions about annuals, perennials, bushes and landscaping in general. I have taken a great interest more so than others, but I am still at a very beginning level with lots and lots to learn. I do, however, have some amazing resources for when I need help.

What I like about these basics is they cost absolutely nothing but your time and energy!

1. Water Daily

Annuals need watered absolutely every single day. I cannot stress this enough. I can tell easily after a day of skipping. During the hottest days, it's best to water them twice. Once in the morning and once at night. The best time to water tends to be in the morning but often times, that rarely fits into one's schedule. I try so hard to get my watering done in the morning but it doesn't always happen.

2. Use Fresh Water

Use only fresh, hard water. Most of us have soft water conditioned by salt and chemicals in our house. The salt is dangerous to plants and could kill them off early. This may came across as common sense but I learned this the absolute hard way. All of my annuals have looked awful the last two summers around this time. I consulted Miss Dayla, my flower expert and she said soft water is a huge no no. My outdoor watering s pickets are tied into our water softener. I now run the bypass before watering. Learning this tidbit of information actually inspired this post because I wondered how many others have made this mistake.

3. Drainage

When containerizing annuals, you MUST have a source for water to drain through. Most flower pots and containers made for annuals come with a hole in them. If they come with a plug, make sure it is pulled. If you're re purposing an item like my favorite, an old galvanized bucket, to hold annuals, you must drill a hole in it first. If you do not do this, the soil will hold too much water, drowning your plant and it will eventually die. A good indicator that your container is not draining enough is if the green of your annual starts to turn yellow. At this stage, you can still save the plant. More holes must be drilled and you will need to hold off watering for a couple of days until it looks healthy again.

4. Sun/Shade

Most annuals do not do very well in the shade. You must choose specific types that thrive in the shade for areas under trees and porches. My begonias and potato vine container are doing amazing under my porch. My petunias, not so much. Most greenhouses have their plants very well labeled. You can still grow any annual you'd like in the shade; it just won't reach it's potential color and fullness. Read your plant's labels carefully when selecting plants at the beginning of summer.

5. Dead head

To 'dead head' means to remove the dead flower heads from the plant. By doing this, you will help the plant generate more flowers which means more colorful, longer lasting plants. An annual's goal is to produce seed so by removing the head before it seeds, the plant find a need to produce more. It's a good habit to get into doing this while watering your plant. You may not have time to do it daily, but it takes a lot longer if you wait and do it weekly. I am not very good at keeping up with my dead heading. Sometimes it's a good idea to use a pair of scissors or garden sheers. It's extremely hard to keep up with petunias since their blooms are very plentiful. You'll find that varieties of daisies look terrible if you don't remove the dead heads; especially my favorite, Gerber daisies.




What are some of your favorite annuals you look forward to potting every year?

Jul 23, 2013

electronic clutter


I think one of the hardest things about owning a home is finding pieces of furniture that not only reflect your style but also are function able and inviting as well. I am always looking for a certain piece that usually doesn't seem to exist in the real world. Sometimes I get lucky and stumble upon exactly what I am looking for.  I have always despised your typical TV console. You know what I am talking about. The $99 special from Wal-mart that we always regret two years later. That ranks right up there with a boob light in my book. I've had many growing up and they got me through my college apartment years as well.

Really, though. If you think about it, a TV console makes up the biggest piece of furniture in your living room besides your chairs and sofas. It should ease the reflection of style in your room, not take away from it. Just because we need an object to function in our daily lives doesn't mean it can't look pretty too...

When I was searching for a TV console, I really wanted to go with something rustic and different like this piece:

Photo courtesy of ebay.com
 As much as  I love it, I struggle with spending a lot of money I something I may hate in two years. Something that may grow out of style. Something you can't typically pass on. This would have worked, for now. In fact, I wanted all of my furniture to look like re-purposed items made from old junk but as much as I like classic wood furniture, that was not going to happen. That was a lot of money to spend on something that cannot morph with your style 10-20 years from now.

Then I decided to look for more something like this piece. Function able, country, traditional but yet different.

Photo courtesy of potterybarn.com
The problem with a solid wood piece made for a specific function like this is they can get awfully pricey! Pottery barn wanted $1099 for this piece. No. Way. In. Hell. Is it even solid wood? I think the frame might be but that's it.

My search and research continued.

When I least expected it, I stumbled upon our piece from Weaver's Furniture Barn in Nappanee, Indiana. It was ridiculously on sale for $150. You can't beat that price for a piece made out of solid reclaimed wood. Heck, I don't think you can go to Wal-Mart and get something for that cheap anymore. The problem with this piece is that it isn't made to be a TV stand. Technically, you could take the doors off but I think that would ruin the piece. I liked it because it was the right height for our wall mounted TV and if for some reason I wanted a different console, I could use it as a side or buffet table somewhere else. And for $150, I was going to make it work!


We found this piece was pretty but not necessarily function-able. Unfortunately, with the luxury of electronics comes stuff and components. And lots of it. Our DVD player is pretty small so we wind the cord and the HDMI cable up around it and store it in the cabinet when we aren't using it. We don't watch a ton of movies so it's not too much of a bother to get the player out when we want to watch a movie. We do however, argue over who is going to do it. Usually I win and the husband has to hook up the DVD player. Only because I found the bargain.

The main problem was our cable box component. It had to be on the outside at all times in order to access it with a remote. I didn't want it on top of the console because I don't like the whole electronic clutter look. I wanted the top reserved for my nick-knacks.


 My husband actually came up with a pretty awesome solution all on his own.




Just mount the sucker to the bottom! That way it's out of the way and clutter free but can still function on a daily basis.


This way, we made our piece function able and we were still able to avoid the dreaded electronic clutter. Luckily, we don't have a lot of devices to keep around. Just the cable box and our DVD player. We keep our Wii upstairs in the landing room. The other cabinet and the drawers are actually left empty in case we will need them for something else someday. It works for now!

In case you're wondering how I have so much space left over in our new TV console, I keep our dreaded [I say dreaded because I really want to convert it all to digital] DVD collection in this matching milk cupboard on the other side of the wall. No, I do not keep our milk in it! The shelves inside were absolutely, perfectly the right size for holding DVDs. This cabinet was also ridiculously on sale for $75 at Weaver's as well. Again, solid reclaimed wood. Can't beat it!


I think the two pieces set a warm atmosphere in the room. A lot of people that come over tell me how everything seems to flow so nicely like a magazine picture. I think it's because I try to avoid electronic clutter when I can. I don't even like our outlets but we have to have them. You know, for that thing we call electricity. I like electricity. A lot. I just hate the way it looks.




So what pieces have you re-purposed to function as something other than what they were intended for?


Jul 19, 2013

abandon




Abandon buildings these days are all the rage. Everyone loves the rustic, mysterious vibe. There's something so ugly but yet so beautiful about them. My favorite thing about an abandon building is admiring all the textures, designs and materials that went into each piece. Modern designs are so simple. Less is more. More is just too expensive. I found when building our simple pole barn house, that any extra detail like a cupola or door with cross bucks immediately padded the bill more than we wanted. When it came to detail, financially we had to decide what we could and couldn't live without. At what point did detail and design become expensive? At what point did we become a society of less is more when it comes to design?


I feel like there is a lot of waste from all the old churches, school houses and barns that stand dilapidated, wasting away in weeds. I understand sometimes buildings become inefficient and it would cost more to renovate and keep them than it would to just get rid of them. My husband and I know that first hand. We had to knock the old family farm house down. It was only appraised at $15 grand. You can only imagine the amount of materials and money it would have cost us to bring it back to life and make it safely livable. It wasn't pretty though. It's from the era of when people started to keep things simple. There wasn't one thing worth keeping. I look at an old building like this school house and I see hundreds of items I'd love to pull off of it.


Think of all the history. It's hard to believe that not even a hundred years ago, our great and great great grand parents went to a school like this. It makes you sit back and think about how much things have changed. You couldn't even fit one elementary school class in there. Let alone a couple of computer desks. Little school houses like these were once everywhere in the country. They are slowly disappearing. I find it ironic that country Amish school houses are starting to pop up all over. Similar in size.


You're starting to see a lot of old, abandon barns like these around as well. Prior to when I was a kid, small plots of land were starting to be divided and sold to bigger farmers. Often times, these plots came with an old farm house and a barn or two. There wasn't a whole lot you could do with them unless you sunk a bunch of money into them. After all, the land was purchased for the farm ground, not the house or the barns. The barns were still able to be used for storing farm machinery. You might have a farmer with a 1000 acres and 5 different old barns like this scattered across the county that he owned. He may store his combine in one, the hay rake in another and maybe a few gravity wagons in the next. Now, you see less and less of this as these old barns are starting to fall apart. The roofs are caving in and it's not safe to store machinery in them any more. Not to mention, machinery is just getting bigger. And bigger. And bigger.



Gone is the day where everyone had a barn on their property. Gone is the day where everyone had a cow to milk, chickens to gather eggs from and a horse that took them into town. Most people don't know what a corn crib is like the one below. People no longer need these types of barns anymore. They are no longer functional to us.


It makes you wonder what things will no longer be of use to us 100 years from now. What will we see falling apart? Will there even be any of these old barns left?


I just adore these old barns. I always have. I grew up playing in an old barn my whole life. Every time we'd jump in the car and go somewhere, I'd always notice the old buildings along the way. They've always caught my eye. I loved exploring them when I had a chance. I don't know if mom knows this or not, but quite often my brother and I would sneak down the side road from our house and explore the abandon barn and house on the property. I couldn't imagine how dangerous it probably was!


They all seem to be in the same condition. They all seem to have been abandon around the same time. Pole barns became easily accessible and technology brought more advance set ups. Our current farm shop has so many lights, outlets, radiant floor heating and is sealed up so tightly, a spider can barely get in. The technology blows these old barns out of the water. No one wants to pay taxes or pay for a new roof on something that can't be used for much anymore.


I was dying to take a picture of this barn for the longest time. There's nothing around it for miles except rolling ground. When the wheat was up, it was simply gorgeous. I didn't catch a photo in time. The wheat has been harvested prior to this picture. The barn was land locked in the middle of a wheat field. I imagine there once was a house and several buildings surrounding it and even a drive way up to it.


I have been doing a photography study on these old barns and capturing the ghost of rural America. They're good models. They're very artistic. You just have to find the right light and the right angle. They're helping me learn to use my camera. They're also helping me to appreciate our roots. Some of these barns are practically impossible to get to. Weeds and trees can be so overgrown you can barely tell there is a barn amongst the mess.


My husband has been chauffeuring me around the area scoping out abandon barns. I think he secretly likes it. Or else he wouldn't go. It's kind of like a new mission of ours. Searching for our heritage. It's a lot harder to find something when you're specifically looking for it. Where did all the old barns go? They're slowly fading away.


Support small family farms. Don't let them fade away too.


Jul 17, 2013

food for thought

     

Every morning on a typical week day I make a breakfast shake or smoothie of some sort.

This morning, I had some extra time and decided I wanted to sit down and enjoy a nice breakfast with my coffee. But what to have?

The same old cereal gets old after a while. I have pretty limited choices. It narrows down to Rice Chex, Fruity Pebbles and so far I have done well with Reese's Puffs believe it or not. I don't keep those little oatmeal packets, frozen waffles or muffins around. 

I was craving an omelette. I felt like I wasn't deserving of an omelette, though. I like to reserve those with the husband on Sunday mornings.

Ooooo, I know. Let's try a fresh bowl of strawberries.

Nope.  My package of strawberries was [gasp] moldy so they were tossed. No big deal. They were from the 4th anyways.

I know, let's have some toast! With grape jelly! 

Boring right? Not for this girl.

I pulled out my beloved and treasured $7 teeny loaf of bread from the freezer. Ah yes, there it was. Bread. Not something I have very often. 

Not very many restaurants or stores carry gluten free bread and it's expensive. I try to save it for a treat or when I may be craving bread. Toast among other things is one of the many foods I took for granted most of my life. 3.5 years ago I had to go on a gluten free diet because of celiac disease which is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine. People with this disease are gluten intolerant and the only way to save yourself from the damage that can be caused to your body is to eat a %100 gluten free diet. Gluten is found in barley, malt, wheat and rye. It's hidden everywhere in things you wouldn't think of like soy sauce, real vanilla extract (luckily we are a world of imitation these days), condensed soups, gummy snacks, gravies and even some chocolate drink powders. It's unreal what all goes into the processed foods we buy.

I have learned a lot about what I can and can't have over last three years but I still have my moments where I open fridge, open cupboard, open fridge, open cuppboard. I struggle when the Schwan's man comes. Oh to be able to order those little cheese stuffed pretzel things. Fairs are nearly impossible. Elephant ears, corn dogs, funnel cakes, breaded everything, oh my! 

I try to do without a lot of processed foods because gluten free goods can be expensive. By the time you buy a couple of frozen dinners, few bags of pasta, bag of pretzels, some granola bars, a loaf of bread, Boxed mac and cheese, muffins and cookies, you're looking at a $100 grocery bill easily. That's without all the essentials like milk, sour cream, lunch meat, produce etc. A typical bag of gluten free pretzels can range from $6-9 around here. I'll stick with potato chips.

I'm not writing this for anyone to sit back and feel sorry for me. I don't feel sorry for myself. Or anyone with celiac disease. We've got this. It's just a matter of self control and a life style change. It's no different then smoking, drinking or eating junk food everyday. We choose what we put into our bodies. We teach our friends and family to be respectful and supportive. That helps the most. Mine and my husband's family have gone above and beyond to include me at get togethers. I am pretty sure my mother and mother in law have mastered more gluten free recipes than I have. I think they see it as a fun, new challenge. 

The struggle is when you have the ones who say "oh come on, just eat the donut. It's all in your head. It won't kill you" .... No it may not kill me, but I surely don't want to deal with intestinal inflammation, psoriasis, blood shot eyes, anxiety, ulcers, fatigue, numbness/tingling, canker sores, joint pain, arthritis and even infertility the rest of my life either. 

I actually had a coworker tell me one time that it was all in my head. All in my head. Really? 

I encourage you, if you have a friend, relative or coworker you spend a lot of time with who has a disorder like celiac disease, do some research and enable yourself to understand their lifestyle and eating habits a little better. Especially if you spend a lot of time with and care sbout them. It always warms my heart when someone will tell me about a friend or relative of theirs' with celiac or a similar disorder and they are seemingly very educated on the subject. I don't have to explain it one bit because they already know. Three years ago it was almost unheard of. Now, going gluten free almost seems to be an epidemic and it is getting a lot easier.

I have a few friends who are finding their children have to eat gluten free and it breaks my heart but at the same time I am happy that these babies and toddlers can learn at a young age how to eat and take care of themselves. They will go through life never eating an elephant ear at the fair (well I shouldn't say never.... gluten free elephant ear may be an option at the fair some day) but they also won't know what they're missing, either.

Growing up with frequent Olive Garden trips, Wooden Peel Pizza and yes, elephant ears, I know what I am missing and that's what makes it tough sometimes. I went to 17 weddings the year I got married. Yes, 17. Insanely crazy but we had a good time. I never got to experience the cake my friends ooed and ahhhed over for months after their tastings. However, I did sneak back to the kitchen a time or two and scrape up all the frosting I could. Hey, we will take what we can get! 

In fact, I missed out on my own wedding cake. Sure there was the gluten free alternative cupcake but it just wasn't the same. 

Sometimes I am upset because there are different forms of celiac and it effects everyone differently. Some people go through their whole lives with no symptoms not realizing they have it and have no idea of the damage being done to their body. I happen to have the kind that caused me to have other symptoms that made me aware something was wrong and gain weight rather than lose weight. Most people with celiac have a growth stunt and aren't getting the right nutrients absorbed into their bodies. If only I could be that skinny I would think to myself. How silly it was for me to wish that upon myself not knowing what that skinny girl was going through. Not knowing she would have given anything to be my size. Now after being educated, I am so thankful that my body was not emaciated and lacking nutrients. I am very thankful to be strong and healthy. Curves and all! 

So yes, it could be worse. Far worse. 

Things like toast and jelly are still taken for granted but l thank God everyday for my gluten intolerance and the fact that I am no longer damaging my body. I could have been stuck with so much worse. I know some people who are allergic to it and can't have a trace of it or even be in the same room with it. I know some traces get through every now and then but I do the best I can for now. That's all you can do. 

And pray that some day Olive Garden will have gluten free breadsticks. :)


Jul 9, 2013

reason for the season


I grew up around a couple of small towns with various small town summer traditions like festivals, little league, parades, garage and sidewalk sales, fund raisers, tractor pulls, 4-H fairs, bon fires and cook outs. Everyone hibernates in the winter and we slowly creep out from the woodwork come spring and it seems like life and fun instantly begins. What is it about summer that makes us all seem like we are alive? Is it the warm weather? All the activities? It just always feels so different than the rest of the other three seasons. It's not necessarily my favorite season weather wise but I do enjoy all the traditional activities mentioned above.

Winter drags on and spring trickles in while summer starts and ends with the blink of an eye with it's seemingly stereotypical timeline. April comes along with the rain and farmers in the fields. May brings us planting our annual flowers, graduation parties (and my birthday - WOO HOO!) and the beginning of wedding season. June. June is pretty much the calm before the storm of summer but we always wonder where it goes. You never know if it's going to be cool, warm or hot and we never really know what it really should be. The first cutting of hay has passed and the 2nd cut is on it's way. Corn is usually knee high (despite the old saying) with wheat harvest in full gear and before we know, it the 4th of July has come and gone with corn practically over our knees and above our heads. Well, at least above my head anyways. We fly through July by the seat of our pants with all the county fairs, weddings and sunburns. I have no idea how we do it all sometimes. August arrives and kids are getting ready for going back to school and farmers are getting equipment ready for harvest. Before we know it, it's September. The end of summer. That moment where you don't know whether to put on a t-shirt or a hooded sweatshirt.

It's crazy to think about how much of our lives are ran by the seasons. I am sure it gets worse when you have children, too. Just as we are starting to recover from the hustle bustle and heat of summer, we find ourselves knee deep in harvest and once harvest slows down we are back to hustle and bustle getting around for the holidays and out come the ugly Christmas sweaters. Sometimes I wish we could just do seasons every other year. Maybe take a break. Then I think about how boring life may be without seasons and holidays. From sweet corn, to autumn wreaths to Christmas trees we are constantly influenced by seasons and holidays. We work our months away just to get to that next holiday that will allow us a long weekend of time off with family and friends.

Walmart and Hobby Lobby are the worse when it comes to pushing seasons and holidays. Seasons are their big money maker. Halloween stuff starts showing up after the 4th of July and then we find ourselves Christmas shopping on Halloween. I barely had all my annuals out and Hobby Lobby already had some of their autumn displays out. I love mums but I don't know if I am ready for fall just quite yet. We haven't even been to a tractor pull this year! We are constantly asking ourselves where all the time has gone?

Where has it gone? We focus so much on loss time that we don't focus on the present. Time wasn't loss. It was just overlooked. So what if you don't make it to that festival you always go to or missed the big parade. Heck, there's always next year. Literally.

I feel like we as a society are causing ourselves to be more busy and overwhelmed than what we should be. I know it's not Christmas where the famous saying "The reason for the season" always comes out but lately I have been trying to remind myself the reason for the season no matter what time of year it is. The seasons are here for a reason. Sort of as a life guide if you will. Everyone always asks God for the instruction manual to life. I think he gave it to us. We just need to slow down and read it.

And not listen to Walmart.