Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Baldies Out Front

Update: This post was written this past winter and then I forgot about it. I just wanted you to know that we do not have snow on the ground currently nor have we had any recently. Of course, this is Iowa and it could still happen!

We have had an increase in bald eagles around here lately. The other day as we were sitting in the living room, we saw a bald eagle swoop down to the road out front and attempt to pick up a dead rabbit. The rabbit was dropped and the eagle circled above. Then, another bald eagle started circling.

I wondered if it was a pair or two rival eagles. I had no idea if the female and male eagles looked the same so I did some research. It turns out that the males and females look the same except the females are usually larger. And the further north you go, the larger the birds get on average.

So, in the extensive research of the subject, I still have no idea if it was a pair of baldies out front or rivals. BUT, I know it could be either one.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Bye-Bye Buddy

 Our beloved dog, a true part of our family, was hit by a car this morning and had to be put down. It's still too painful to talk much about it. He was such a special dog.

His eyes were what first drew me to him. He had a way of using those beautiful, brown puppy dog eyes to weasel his way into your heart. He had the softest ears, too. But his ears were sensitive and he didn't like them messed with much.

He loved being outside. But if it was windy, he liked to come inside. And if it was cold, he liked to be inside. And if it was rainy, he liked to come inside. And if he was just feeling lonely, he wanted to be inside. He loved being with his family!

He kept the farm in order. He didn't like critters in the yard, big or small. He was a great watchdog and we felt safer with him here. He was a quiet companion when you just wanted to sit and be still. Buddy was such a joy to watch when he was just being a dog. He raced- not chased- the mailman every single day. And he always won! Buddy was spectacular to watch when he would catch a scent of an animal and race top speed after the scent. Or when he chased rabbits. He was an amazing dog!

Our special Buddy will be greatly missed.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Baby And Her Daddy

This is what my Baby used to look like when she was on her Daddy's lap.

This is what my Baby looks like now when she sits on her Daddy's lap.

Oh how things have changed!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Another Day

 My eldest child, Sissy, turned 14 this past January. She has been working to earn the right to study for her driver's learning permit. Sissy's attitude changed and she became a sweet (relatively) and helpful girl. Because of this, we let her study for her permit. Mr Farmer brought home a book and she began to study. She studied and she studied. She took notes and she took the practice tests online. She took the practice test every day, several times a day and passed it every time.

So, today, we had to be in town for something else and I decided she was ready to try to take the real thing. We loaded up the truck and we moved to Beverly...Hills that is...swimming pools, movie stars. Wait! Where was I? Oh yes. We got her birth certificate and social security card and headed to the courthouse.

She took the test and got 100% the first time! Her photo was taken. She took the eye test. I had to say I was her mother and was letting her have the permit of my own free will. As opposed to under threat of death and dismemberment, hellfire and damnation. Otherwise known as a teenage girl's daily life.

I agreed. I had to sign saying all that. And then she had to sign. This was hilarious! She tried the first time and set her hand on the screen so a line went across the whole thing. She started over. She wrote carefully and slowly and... it was not legible. She started over, clearly frustrated. This is one instance when homeschooling has a disadvantage. She doesn't write cutesy little notes to her friends or put her name on her papers, so she hasn't had a lot of experience signing her name to anything. Nevermind signing a stupid, electronic thingy with a plastic pen while hovering over the plastic pad. Third time was a charm and her signature was fairly legible, so we accepted it.

The printer spit out her temporary, paper permit and now she can legally drive a car. Legally drive a car. Legally drive a....What have I done? Was I mad? They never asked if I was in my right mind. Shouldn't I have had to have a doctor's note saying I was mentally capable of making such a huge decision?

If you come looking for me, I will be huddled in the corner, weeping and rocking back and forth, muttering to myself about unacceptable motherly behavior.

I tried to let her drive us home, but Baby absolutely refused to get in the car, so I drove home. Later in the afternoon, we left Baby and the Boy home and Sissy drove around the country block. Our top speed was almost 40! She did pretty good for her first time out. Mr Farmer took her out after supper to go uptown to get gas in the car. He told her she had to pump it and pay for it. She didn't fall for the paying for it part, though. I'm raising her right.

This just isn't right. My little baby girl is driving. Mr Farmer told her she needs to get a ticket so he can take away her permit until she's 16. She's going to have to find that gas pedal first!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

New Washer

I've recently acquired quite a few microfiber cleaning cloths. It's recommended not to wash them with fabric softener, so I have to hand wash them separately. I also hand wash my "boulder holders".

A side story. I washed my bras the other day and had them hanging in the shower to drip dry. We were expecting company and Mr Farmer asked me if I'd moved my "boulder holders". I said I did. The girls heard him say this and Sissy burst out laughing. She has never laughed so hard or long! Then she says, "That is so crude and yet so funny."

And now back to our regularly scheduled post. I came across an idea online to make your own washer, of sorts. This is what I came up with.

First, I took my craft knife and cut squares in a new, cheap toilet plunger. I think I cut 3 or 4 holes.

Next, I took a clean five gallon bucket with a lid. I cut a hole in the center of the lid, big enough for the plunger's handle to fit through.

Now I just put my rags in hot water with a scoop of Oxy Clean and a few drops of Dawn dish soap. Then, I just use to plunger to agitate the rags, or "boulder holders" I set it aside and every time I walk through the kitchen I plunge it a few times. I do this for several hours, alternating soaking and plunging.

When I feel the items are clean enough, I rinse them, wring them out, and put them back into the bucket. I add hot water again and some white vinegar. The vinegar helps to thoroughly rinse the items of soap. I agitate/ plunge several times again. I rinse and wring the rags again. Finally I add the rags back to the bucket with clean, hot water. I plunge a few more times, rinse and wring and hang the items to dry.

I'm amazed at how clean the rags get! It sounds, from the description I gave, that this process takes a lot of time and effort, but it really doesn't. And I save up the dirty rags to do a load at a time. If one is particularly dirty, I let it soak overnight in the bucket of Oxy and soap. This is one hack that I really like.

Do you have any favorite hacks?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


We have had so many cardinals this year. The other day I counted 8 females. There are less males than females, maybe only four.

We got home from my dad's funeral the other day. I looked out the kitchen window. I saw smudges on the outside of the window and immediately thought we had had a peeing tom. Someone was casing our joint.

Then, I moved a little and saw this.

I think we have one less male cardinal. Can you believe the detail left on the window? I can see individual feathers, the beak, feet, and wings. It's amazing!

Monday, February 9, 2015


Last Monday my dad went home to be with his Lord. My dad was one of those people that everyone knew and loved. Anyone who met him was greeted with love and acceptance.

Growing up, Dad was the one I'd turn to if I wanted something. I'd snuggle close under his arm, look up at him, bat my eyes, and say, "Daaaddyy..." He'd melt and give in almost every time. Being Daddy's Little Girl was one of the best roles of my life. I felt safe and loved, accepted and cherished. Even as an adult, Dad would put his arm around me and I'd turn back into his little girl. He used to sing this little diddy to us girls when we were growing up. "Roly poly! Daddy's little fatty. Roly poly! Daddy's little girl." We never got offended at the reference to fatness because we really only heard "Daddy's little girl".

Dad was sentimental to some degree. He would carry pictures of his children and grandchildren in his wallet until they literally fell apart. He was one who'd whip out the photos to proudly show off his family. I finally took to making photo sweatshirts for his gifts. He'd wear those shirts until the photos no longer showed up. And you've never seen anyone more proud to show off a shirt! Fashion and money never meant anything to him. Family and friends were his world and we knew it.

Dad was someone different to everyone. He was a teacher. A mentor. A friend. A marriage counselor. A dad. A brother. A husband. An encourager. He was just what the person needed. He knew how to talk to people to put them at ease and allow them to open up to him so he could share in their lives however they needed him.

Dad was so giving. He had no need for money. If he'd had millions of dollars, it wouldn't have lasted long because he would have given it away. If he saw a need, he tried to meet it. If Mom wanted a new shirt, he never denied her. He'd have given away the one on his back if someone needed it. Although, I'm glad no one ever did! Dad was not a small, fit man. :)

But, what I'll miss most of all about my dad is my laughter buddy. From time to time our conversations would be serious, but mostly we just laughed. We laughed about anything and everything. My mom and Mr Farmer had to band together to try and settle us down. When that wouldn't work, they'd just comfort each other, roll their eyes together, and pretend to get upset. Dad and I never had to have something specific to get us laughing. We found humor in literally everything and played off each other to take it to a ridiculous level. There was no limit when we got together.

I will miss my dad more than I can ever express. I think many people will. But I am blessed to have had him for 41 years as my dad.


Lester Craig “Butch” Franey, 68, of Green City, Missouri, died Monday morning, February 2, 2015 at his home.
            The son of Lester Frances and Betty (Behm) Franey, he was born July 16, 1946 in Davenport, Iowa.  On May 28, 1970 in Bettendorf, Iowa he married Donna Diane Dirksen and she survives.
            Also surviving are, two sons, Casey Franey and wife, Tamara of Green City and Lucas Franey and wife Angie of Indianapolis, Indiana; three daughters, Langela Richardson and husband, Mike of Seymour, Iowa, Lanida Czekus and husband, Stephen of El Paso, Texas, and Lacy Eisenburg and husband, Mitch of Clinton, Iowa; twelve grandchildren, Ryan Peeples, Trystine Franey, Keagan Franey, Trevor Schmidtke, Jack Franey, Reece Franey, Rachel Richardson, Christopher Richardson, Michaela Richardson, Autum Grau, Stephanie Grau, and Dillon Grau; one brother, Jay Franey and wife Prudence of Florida; two sisters, Kay McLean of Florida and Julie Stevens and husband Dan of Tennessee; and several nieces and nephews.  His parents preceded him in death.
            Butch and Donna moved from Davenport, Iowa to Green Castle in 2000 and in 2009 to Green City.  Before his retirement in 2008 he drove a truck for ten years and previous to that he sold meat door to door.  Early in life he and Donna served as missionaries in Brazil.  Butch was a veteran of the Vietnam War serving in the U. S. Navy.  He liked to fish but the most important to Butch was studying the Bible and sharing God’s word with others. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cobras In Iowa

The day was busy, but like any other day around the farm. I was preparing supper, Sissy was still doing schoolwork, and the younger two kids were outside riding their four wheelers.

There was quite a commotion as Baby ran into the house, in tears, screaming, "Mom! There is a really dangerous snake by the pond. It has a red head and it's flattened out like a cobra."

Knowing we don't have cobras in Iowa, I tossed back," We don't have cobras in Iowa, Baby. Don't worry about it. It's probably not even still there."

"Well, The Boy and I are going to go out and shoot it."

"Ok, just be careful." They both took a shotgun and headed back outside. Just seeing if you were paying attention. They each took their BB guns outside. What kind of mother do you think I am? They  use the shotguns for 'coons and such. Duh! I do know some things!

Anyhow, back to the story. I continued with my business as the two of them ran out the door. A little bit later I heard Sissy laughing and calling to me, "Mom, you have to come see this." I was a bit afraid as I really hate snakes and was sure they had at least part of one to show me. Ewww!

I went to the front window and saw Baby there, smiling and holding a cobra, without its head. Yes, I said a cobra. In Iowa. I know!

Someone, at some time, put a rigid plastic cobra out by our pond. In the yard. I'm really glad I didn't happen upon it!

The kids came in and told me after they each shot it 18 times (lol) they saw it wasn't moving so The Boy ran over it with his four wheeler. That's how they discovered it was fake.

The fun never ends out here on the farm!