About The River

Monday, May 10, 2021

Do you see Hearts?

  Do you see hearts? I started to capture heart photos several years ago. I also like to find heart rocks and other heart shaped items in nature.


Heart shaped rocks are a favorite to find.



 

A heart shaped moth and pink too.




A heart shaped potato!

 

My son Sam found the above heart shaped rock for me. It has a special place in my garden.

 


Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Wisconsin's First Crop

 Wisconsin's First Crop 

Can you guess what it is?

Maple Syrup


My husband has always wanted to tap our two maple trees in our backyard. 2021 was the year to do it and it was a fun adventure.



At the end of February we tapped our two maple trees.

Jeremy did all the work with the production of the syrup. I took photos and was the taste tester.

A few changes will be made for the 2022 season. Jeremy will be building a different style of a cook area using cinder blocks. He will also use three pans for the cook down.


 


I love a dark syrup.

A recipe for a true treat..

Two scoops of vanilla ice cream, toss a handful of pecans on top of the ice cream and drizzle or in my case dump maple syrup on top. 


 We found fun maple syrup jugs at our local farm store. We gifted our family "Two Tree's Syrup" made by Jeremy for Easter.

There are many fun recipes using maple syrup. Here is one I found and I can give it high fives!! I just had a bowl for lunch.


 



Friday, April 30, 2021

Frost on Tulips

 

 

We had some very frosty mornings the last week of April. The tulips did not let the cold mornings or the frost bring them down.  Each afternoon they would be upright and smiling.

During this week of frosty mornings, I learned a lesson from these brave tulips. No matter what is tossed in your way, you have to be brave. Current events can creep up on me and I can suddenly get very sad. I try hard to stay away from the news. Yet, with a son in the military, I do feel the need to know some current events.  As our citizens continue to fight each other. The story of the drive by shooting of the Minnesota National Guard was my breaking point. I just cried for our nation. As I cried, I was reminded that I have to be brave for my boys. As I watched the tulips bounce back, I again am reminded, we have to hang in there, keep shining your light.

Keep Going. 

 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Spring has Sprung and It is the Hodgepodge!

 

Hello Friends, it is Wednesday and that means it is time for the Hodgepodge.

Joyce asks the questions.

We answer the questions.

Click here to join the fun! 

From this Side of the Pond

1. What are some memories you associate with spring? 

Growing up we always had high water from the snow melt on the rivers and streams. We have a little stream on my parents farm. The water was only really flowing during the spring. I have some fun memories with my sister as we made homemade boats and put them in the stream. We would run as fast as we could to the culvert to see if our little homemade boat would make it.

 2. April showers bring May flowers...was that saying proven true where you live? Snapdragons, anemones, carnations, lilacs, sweet peas, tulips, lily of the valley, orchids, roses, gardenias...which one on that list is your favorite May bloom? 

Yes, that saying is true where I live. I am very excited for the lilac season. Our driveway is lined with our neighbors lilac. On a warm spring night it is heavenly to sit outside and soak in the scent of lilac.

 3. What are your top three distractions and how do you deal with them? 

1. Tackling something I enjoy to do.. over the thing I do not. I make a To Do List each day. Sometimes that job that I really do not want to do will never get done. I am trying to discipline myself to do the not so fun jobs with in the week I put them on the To Do List.

2. Checking my local news feed and getting caught up in current events. I have been working hard on this distraction, I want to find a good balance for my mental health. At times I say "I am never watching/checking  the news again.

3. If a certain current event upsets me, I can fester on it. I will want to know " IS ANYONE DOING ANYTHING ABOUT THIS" ... and I will waste time trying to find an answer that I like. I am dealing with this distraction by instead of festering and wasting time looking it up for answers, I am putting it on top of my prayer list. 

4. Do you eat beef? In the course of a week, how often is beef on the menu? A hamburger, steak, prime rib, or a roast beef dinner...which beef entree would you choose and yes you have to choose. Unless you're a vegan, and then you may pass. 

I do eat beef. We usually have it once or twice a week. Monday we had tacos and used ground beef as one of our toppings. 

I do enjoy a grilled to perfection hamburger, with a slice of Wisconsin Colby cheese  melted on top.

5. In what way were you creative during the month of April?

I made my Easter cards. I have a fun collections of stamps, paper, markers and more.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

I let a certain current event bother me last week. It really got me down. I started to worry about the future for my boys. Everything seems so ANGRY!!! I was reading my devotional and the following really stuck to me. I wrote it on an index card and placed it by my computer. I also shared it on my Monday post. If you are feeling a wee bit wobbly as we continue to navigate these strange times, I hope you find encouragement from it.

You are not lost at sea in your trial. You're trusting the wisdom of your Captain, who remains at the helm.

 

Monday, April 26, 2021

Joy List Monday

 

 

Joy List Monday

♥ a weekly ritual  ♥

a reminder to stop and pay attention to the little beauties and graces that make life magical and to set aside time for gratitude each day 

♥ April showers.. April snows.. bring May flowers

 ♥ A long walk with an understanding friend.. who let's you talk and talk 

♥ Taco's

 ♥ Fresh Wisconsin Cheese Curds

 ♥ Enjoying a cup of hot chocolate after working outside on a cold spring day

 ♥

You are not lost at sea in your trial. You're trusting the wisdom of your Captain, who remains at the helm.

 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

The Grand Opening of the Chicken Tractor

 

 

An update on Molly, Holly, Lolly, Dolly and Polly. They have a new place to play, the chicken tractor.

My husband built an area for the hens to go out in.  It is light enough and has wheels on it, so I can move it around in the yard and garden.  The hens can eat bugs, dig in fresh areas and leave their helpful fertilizer for me.

  I have worked with the hens since they were chicks. I have them tame, they will follow me outside and I am able to get them into the safe area. When I am ready for them to go back to the coop, I open the door and they will follow me back to the coop. 

I am happy to report the hens liked the time they spent out and about in the chicken tractor. It  is a safe place for them to get some new areas to scratch and eat bugs, all the while they are safe from stray dogs, hawks and other predators. 

 

"It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all."

Laura Ingalls Wilder

 

Friday, April 16, 2021

This & That

 


A little This & That to share with you my friends.

Spring has sprung here. At the start, our weather was unseasonably warm for Northern Wisconsin spring, highs in the 80's. Needless to say my spring bulbs got a wee bit confused. I am so happy the weather decided to spend a little more time in the season of spring before heading off into summer. We are enjoying normal spring temperatures for April this week. The spring flowering plants are happy as well.. ahhh... not so hot!

♥ 

Our friend Marv is doing alright. He is getting more confused, but he still knows who I am when I call. He will not be able to travel. This makes him sad, he loved to take rides. Things are getting more difficult for him. He still has his sense of humor. He shared with me, he has three new girlfriends... who happen to be his daily visits from his home health care nurses.

 ♥

A story from my deliveries for Meals on Wheels. One of my dear participants shared with me this week that her niece was coming over with birdseed. She was so happy. She loves to feed the birds, deer, turkey and squirrel. She told me they are her company, she is never alone when she looks outside at her bird feeder.  She shared with me her husband would gift her for her birthday, a winter supply of sunflowers, cracked corn and suet for her to feed the birds and animals. 

She got a sad look on her face and she said, "he went and got sick on me, May 1st will be the anniversary of his death. Why did he have to go and get sick on me?"

I try to make her feel better. I tell her to remember him as she looks out at the birds and the animals. How much he loved that she enjoyed feeding the birds and animals. He is looking down on you and having your niece continuing to bring you seed, cracked corn and suet.

 ♥

My friend Kris of Big Rig's 'n Lil' Cookies shared the following recipe with us a few years ago. It has become a favorite of our family. We recently had a small gathering and I made Kris's famous Sugar Cookie Bars. All that attended wanted the recipe. I thought I would share it with you and for more great recipes have a peek at Kris's recipe index on her blog.

Click here for Kris's recipe index

Recipe by Kris of Big Rig's 'n Lil' Cookies

 Sugar Cookie Bars

1 cup butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda


Frosting
1 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
4-5 tbsp milk
Food coloring (optional)
sprinkles (optional, but recommend!)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 15 x 10 baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.  In large mixing bowl, cream butter, cream cheese, sugar and mix well.  Add egg, and continue mixing for about four minutes.  Add vanilla, and mix until well combined.

In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and baking soda.  Gradually add dry ingredients to butter mixture. Mix until flour is completely incorporated.

Press dough into prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes, just until edges are a very light golden.

Cool completely.

While Sugar Cookie Bars are cooling, beat butter in large mixing bowl until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar. Blend in vanilla and salt. Add milk as needed to reach spreading consistency.

Enjoy!

Monday, April 12, 2021

A Lemon Bundt Easter Cake

 

Lemon Bundt Cake

To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray bundt pan with non stick baking spray.

 Cake

3 cups of flour

Grated zest of 2 lemons

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

 2 sticks of butter, at room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar 

4 large eggs

1 cup buttermilk

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, lemon zest and baking soda. 

In your mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, beating well.

Add the flour mix and buttermilk, mix until well blended.

Pour into your pan. Bake for one hour or until center comes out clean.

Cool.. then on to the frosting.

Frosting 

1 cup powdered sugar

1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice as needed

Place cooled cake on a serving plate and drizzle the glaze over it.

Enjoy!

I decorated my Easter cake with colored coconut and gummy carrots.

I have found a great candy shop. Chippewa Candy Shop

I was so excited when I saw these cute gummy carrots, a perfect way to decorate my 2021 Easter cake! The best part is the carrot gummy is orange flavored.  

Our family enjoyed spending Easter together! We are so thankful for each day we have together.



Monday, April 5, 2021

The Little Garden That Could 2021

 

 

Hello Friends, Seed starting has started here at The Little Garden That Could.

My helper? Penelope .. who looks as if she is a chicken on seeds.

I like to get everything ready when I set out on my seed starting day. I have my seeds, my garden journal, my seed starting soil, buckets, jiffy pots, trays, water can, spray bottle and table with heated seed mats all set up. I will write down the date I started the seeds. I will continue to record how the seeds germinate, when I harden them off, plant them in the garden and how the plant does for the season. 

I have a tub that I put my seed starting soil in. I get the soil moist to fill my jiffy pots.


This is my first year using jiffy pots. I like the idea that I can just cut the pot and place the plant into the next size pot, with out causing damage to the roots of the seedling.

I always like a seed starting refresher. No matter how long one has been gardening you can learn tips and tricks each year. I completed the Floret 2021 Winter Mini Course.

Click here for more information.

I also enjoy learning from Tonkadale Greenhouse.

 

I will start to get very busy in the next few weeks. As my seedlings need transplanting, hardening off and then their big day when they are planted in the big garden!


 Soon I will be creating bouquets as I kick off another growing season here at The Little Garden That Could and filling the Flower Shack with bouquets.


 I want to share with you a sweet note that was left behind in the Flower Shack at the end of last season. 

As I move out of the neighborhood I have to say thank you for how much joy your flowers have brought our family. The first bouquet of the year always is something we celebrate every year. On my darkest days your flowers bring sunshine into my home. So many celebrations have been greeted with a bundle of your flowers.

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

On the days that I get tired of bugs, the weather and a sore back.. I remember that my Little Garden That Could is making a difference in my neighborhood. As I get excited for the 2021 season, I will continue to do my best to offer a lovely and beautiful bouquet.


 
 





Thursday, April 1, 2021

The Easter Cake of 2021!

 

 

Hello Friends, It is that time! 

Time to bake the 2021 Easter Cake! It is always a surprise. No peeking for my family, until it is time for dessert on Easter Sunday!

I am so excited because we all will be together this Easter. We are traveling to my parents farm to celebrate with my sister and her husband. Both of our boys will be joining us. 

Easter has been a tricky time for all our family to celebrate in years past. My dad survived a heart attack four years ago during the Easter holiday. We celebrated that Easter in the hospital. Our son was away at Basic/AIT training in 2019. And we all know what happened to Easter 2020!


 A peek at a few of the past year's cakes.

I will post next week the 2021 Easter Cake! And share the recipe too.



 
 

2020 Easter Cake ~ one of my favorites!




Have a Blessed Easter Weekend.


 

Carla


Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Sign of the Times? * CAUTION UNPLEASANT PHOTOS *

 

Hello Friends,

I have a story to share with you today and photos that will be unpleasant.  Before I share, I will give you a little background about me. I am a farmer's daughter. I was born and raised on a dairy farm in Northern Wisconsin. I was taught to care and love our farm animals. We are the care takers, not only of the farm land but of the farm animals. That is my dad in the photo above, he is cutting hay with the help of our son Sam, who will be 21 next week!

Goodness time flies, when I look at these photos I smile. Not only did my sister and I learn the value of caring for animals and the land from my dad, but so did my boys.

Sam enjoying dandelion fluff!

 

I deliver Meals on Wheels. I am a rural driver. I deliver in a Northwest area of the county I live in. The county I live in in is a rural Wisconsin county, with many farms, agriculture is how many who live here make their living.  Three Friday's ago, I saw this in a ditch! I was sickened. 

* WARNING UNPLEASANT PHOTOS *

Two calves tossed in the ditch. Both had twine wrapped around their legs. 

I called my supervisor, I told her what I found, I asked if I should call the Sheriff's department.

This is the answer I received, "Well Carla, this really is just a sign of the times. I know it is so sad. Maybe the calves died during birth, they may have had a difficult birth, maybe twins. And they died."

At this point I cut her off..  "NO! I was born and raised on a dairy farm. Yes, we had death. NO! NO! My dad never said, Let us go toss the calves in the ditch along the highway!!!"

My supervisor, "I know, Carla, but it is the sign of the times. I was born and raised on a farm too. It is so sad what has happened. I realize you have to drive past it everyday."

 I shared this story with the other drivers. They could not believe that we are to think CATTLE IN A DITCH is to be normal in 2021!

Sadly, this story gets worse. As of last Friday the calves are still in the ditch.

 


I called the Sheriff's department.
 I, Back the Blue.... so I am not disrespecting the department when I share what happens next.  I do believe all calls to dispatch are recorded, so there is the proof of my conversation.

I share with dispatch, that along such and such road two dead calves are in the ditch. 

It is odd to me I explain, to see dead cattle in the ditch.
 The response I receive "I will need your full name, address, phone number and date of birth."

"Alright, I gave the information." 

"I do hope that you understand that we can not have our deputies waste their time."

Somehow, I felt like I just became the bad person!

Sign of the Times?

You tell me? Are cattle in the ditch a thing now days? 

When I shared this story with my dad it made him sick to his stomach.  

If this is a sign of the times.. I am not joining!

I am going to keep being the girl with the values my dad taught me in treating people, animals (even dead ones) and the land.

 


"And know that yes, what you do matters.

 Hang in there, keep going, keep shining your light."

Anne Butera