Saturday, February 23, 2013

Weather whiplash

Earlier this week, Kansas experienced a huge snow storm. No one really wants to complain because we need the moisture, however we all felt a little put out. Everyone had plans postponed, canceled or scheduled. We were digging out cars, sidewalks and driveways.

It just so happened that I was scheduled to leave for a conference at work in Orlando, Florida. Our group planned to leave on Friday and thank goodness the snow stopped and our travel plans fell into place. We were able to fly out, but had delays at every stop. Our 7 p.m. arrival time turned into 1 a.m.

But, today, it is nearly 90 degrees here (87 degrees to be exact). I must have packed in a daze. I brought sweaters, people! My defense - there is little time to actually be outside - we will mostly be in the airport and conference hotel. Still, who packs sweaters for Florida?

I also lost wife of the year honors. It was something like 9 degrees at home this morning and I sent my husband a picture of sunshine, palm trees and the hotel pool.

I did say, "Wish you were here."

And, I did get my car stuck in a snowdrift in the airport parking lot. I am not totally unscathed by the Kansas winter weather.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Winter weather at Prairie School Farm

Today was a snow day.  One of those snow days where you know in advance that work and school are canceled and there is no need to wake up early and shovel the drive and allow extra drive time.  Everyone had made the call to keep people home, if they could, to avoid the blizzard like conditions and mammoth snowfall expected.

We went to bed with no snow.  We woke up and we were surprised to see a little snow.  At one point, the meteorologist said that we could have more than 20 inches of snow.  Where was all of the snow?
  And, then the snow started.  It snowed and then it stopped.  Then, it iced.
Then, it snowed again.
Once the snow stopped, we talked about going outside.  By the time we got bundled up, it was snowing again.  But, we still ventured out to check on the animals and to see if we could dig out the cars.  My husband hadn't been feeling well, so despite my objections, he said he needed the fresh air.
The snow started falling again and it was a really beautiful scene.
The alpacas were nestled in the barn with their coats frosty with snow.  They seemed to be content to enjoy the hay we tossed to them.
Everywhere we looked, the snow made everything look just a little more beautiful.
The garden gate...
The butterfly I forgot to put in storage for winter was still standing guard in the garden.
And, the poor rooster that was left out, too - up to his neck in snow.
Snow on our chicken coop door.
Our containers all looked like they were frosted.
Seriously frosted with a lot of snow.
It is fun to think that in a few weeks, we will have all of these planters filled with flowers.  Spring will be here soon.
Joey was good company.  He loves the snow.
My husband wanted to get the snow blower out.  After he cleared the driveway, he took to the yard.  I think if he was feeling better, he might have cleared the whole yard.  Paths to the alpaca barn and dog kennel would have to be enough for tonight.

As of now, it is still snowing.  I can't wait to see our farm in the morning.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Move over Valentine's Day!

Today is Valentine's Day and it seems like everyone is in one of three camps - excited for cards, chocolate, and flowers, full of angst because of the pressure of buying the perfect gift or feeling sad that no one is their valentine, or completely indifferent.

There is a movement to reclaim Valentine's Day and remake it as Generosity Day.

Brene' Brown blogs about it. The Generosity Day website provides details. This short video give you the main idea.

"A generosity revolution that comes from the heart."

Image source:

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mama Rita's - a rural Kansas find

Saturday was a bit of a whirlwind.  Both my husband and I had a long list of things we wanted to accomplish and we had had a busy and stressful week, so we were a little irritable.  We took off early in the morning to make a few stops on our way to watch my niece play basketball.  My brother is the coach of her team, my dad the scorekeeper and my mom is the number one fan.  We knew that we could see most of my family with one stop.

My niece's game happened to be in Osage City.  My family has a long history in this town.  My mom grew up here and my dad worked in the community for many, many years.  As a kid, my brother and I would spend time with our grandparents over the summer months.  Trips to the swimming pool on hot summer days and to the drug store for cherry phosphates were something I always enjoyed.

Even with all of this history, it is a rare occasion that I actually make it to Osage.  But, Saturday was the chance to reminisce and discover some new finds.

Market Street is the main street in town and there are some cute little places to eat and shop.  My new find is Mama Rita's.  The family that owns and operates the restaurant know my parents and have been in the community for generations.  After the game, my mom, my husband and I went to grab a bite to eat.

We had a great meal - homemade tortillas, generous portions, and great flavors.  The menu was really extensive and many of the dishes are named after the owners' family members.  The prices were phenominal! 

I also loved some of the decor, including the Day of the Dead table covering (shown above) and the lovely historic building.
Check out the pressed tin ceiling and the really cool wall color.
 While it has been ages since I have seen anyone from Mama Rita's family, I was recognized as my parent's daughter right away.  It feels really good to go "home" and to have such a warm reception.  Small town Kansas is the best.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Farewell to Cy

We endured another tough loss this week.  Our sweet dog, Cy passed away.

He had been with us for many, many years and was simply the best dog I have ever owned.  He was sweet and gentle and would play fetch for hours.  He was a dog that actually brought the ball back to you and would only hedge when he thought another dog would steal the ball during the transfer.

To be fair, he was also a tomato thief.  He loved to sneak into the garden and take the tomatoes right off the vine.  He also was very sneaky and would wait until his dog friends dropped their rawhide treat.  He would steal the other rawhide and walk around with both, much to the frustration of the dog that was caught snoozing.  This usually equaled some kind of scuffle between the dogs.

He will really be missed around our farm.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Spring inspired gift

A colleague and friend sent me a beautiful thank you gift a couple of weeks ago.  It was a lovely surprise and really unique.

I have blogged before about my love of spring flowers.  Tulips are that classic spring flower that always give me a lot of joy.  And since we are still a few weeks away from having spring flowers in the yard, and since we are still in winter with some cold temperatures, having a little spring on my desk helped brighten my mood.

Plus, you have to love the purple!

So, check out this great gift.  I love it because it was like a little science experiment on my desk, though I knew the outcome - the flowers would bloom if I kept a little water in the vase.
The flowers arrived in this vase with a little water in the bottom, the bulbs held above the water by a plastic frog, and the buds ready to bloom.  In just a day or so, the flowers blossomed and they showed off some flashy blooms.
 The tulips lasted a long time and were really fun to watch bloom. I am so thankful for the beautiful gift.

Friday, February 1, 2013

My husband the artist

 My husband is a really creative guy.

He was super tolerant when my mom and I took him along on some shopping between basketball games a couple of weekends ago.  He actually spotted Studio 11 and that turned out to be one of my new favorite stores.

He really liked some of the items in the store, too.  They must have really inspired him because the next day, he told me that we needed to make something.

I directed him to my projects board on Pinterest and pointed out a few things that I thought might be possible because we had the supplies.

Well, my husband is a pretty amazing guy, and take a look at what he created.
 A whole series of these signs.  We had to go to town to get more colors of paint.
 And, a different take on the love design.  He asked me for some other four-letter words.  He wondered who might buy some of the signs with the lettering I suggested, but at least it was good for a laugh.
 He made this for a friend to give away as a wedding gift.  Cute, right?
 And, then, he did a whole series of upcycled belts made into crosses and stars.
Some of the belts we were upcycling had awesome buckles, and that led to crosses with some bling.

I have never had more fun than digging through the belts at Goodwill with my husband.  I think that qualifies as a weird, but cheap date.