Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Our First Honey Harvest!

Honey Bears filled with Honey Girl Farm honey!!
SWEEEEEET...the first jars of honey fresh out of the hive! My bees survived the winter, they flourished all summer pollinating my garden AND creating this beautiful golden honey!
Special thanks to my brother Jim who had a logo designed for me. I am still working on the best way to place the logo on the labels and the type of labels...still a work in process.
The plain jar version
I tried using some of the plain jars too. I think with the fancy logo I really don't need the honey bear. I think the label should be round too. Any thoughts?

You might notice that in front of the barn are three horses. These represent Jimmy, Major, and Topper. They are to be used for therapy horses. If I was to sell the honey-all of that money would go to help fund the travel costs and other expenses for the horses. Everything about Honey Girl Farm and Gardens is in remembrance of my dad. I haven't figured out how to combine the two yet...so for now..you might get some honey in your Christmas stocking!

Sadly, Jimmy-the horse named for my dad-has died. Jimmy lived 6 short months. He was a dwarf and suddenly wasn't gaining weight and his front legs appeared to be getting weaker.  I am very shocked and saddened by the loss of Jimmy. Jimmy was to be the "star of the show" and help me build a legacy in honor of my dad. 

Jimmy -RIP little guy!
Jimmy was able to visit the Afton/Lakeland library for a story time visit with a group of children. Jimmy had a great time getting brushed and standing nicely during story time! Then we went and visited an old friend of my dads. I am happy Jimmy was able to leave me with such wonderful memories of doing what we had set out to do-although it was a very short time. 

Jimmy died on a Monday November 4th and that Wednesday-November 6th was the first birthday of my dad's that he would not be here to celebrate.  The grandkids decided that GGPa needed Jimmy with him in heaven for that first birthday without us. I hope they shared a piece of heavenly birthday cake!

Remember that those that have left this earth will always live within our hearts!
Love ya pops...I hope heaven is treating you and Jimmy well!

P.S. Nice lady at Office Max I hope you read my blog and enjoy the honey!!

Friday, October 18, 2013

These Legs Are Made for Walking!

Jimmy with the farrier and Jeanne-first visit
We met the farrier about 3 1/2 weeks ago and he took Jimmy's shoes off. It is so difficult when every horse owner you meet has a different opinion on what to do. What feed to feed them. When to vaccinate them. Shoes or no shoes! So much information for a new horse owner!!

Most miniature horses aren't shoed because the are not being ridden nor are they racing. In fact even with people with large horses are choosing the natural way for horses. Jimmy was shoed to help fix his crooked legs. The problem was that the nails started to press into the hoof and was making them very soft. The adhesive used to keep the shoes on (because his hoof is so tiny they couldn't be nailed in like with the big horses) was making his hooves very soft. It was very to similar to when a woman gets false  finger nails on and when they are removed the real finger nail is really soft and pliable....same thing on Jimmy's hooves.

My new friend Jeanne recommended Back to Nature Hoof Care located in Houlton, WI. I love that farriers make house calls! He looked at the shoes and recommended taking them off because the hooves were getting so soft. Jeanne was worried that the shoes were too heavy for his legs. It was a tough decision for me because the breeder and the farrier in North Carolina had a good explanation as to why they should be left on...ARGH!! I had to go with the people that would be helping me care for Jimmy...shoes off!

They did seem to be heavy on his legs. He wasn't running around like he had been when he had his little casts on. I know his legs were weak because the casts were just removed but....Scott carefully removed all of the adhesive as Jeanne held Jimmy on her lap. Jimmy was so good. Scott talked Jimmy through his procedure and explained to all of us what was happening. Removing shoes and trimming hooves is stinky business...literally....pew!

Over the past 3 1/2 weeks Jimmy's legs appear to be getting stronger. When he first got here he could not walk around the trail with the other horses. Now he can!! Scott came back last night and trimmed both Topper and Jimmy again. Jimmy showed even more improvement. Tonight when we walked him on the trail he didn't pull back and he even tried to run! His knees still tip in a bit but hopefully this gets better. He might need a little leg wrap for our library and care center visits!

Jimmy is a cute little dwarf but I was not prepared for the extra worry there is with a dwarf horse. I am worried about his potentially shortened life span. We will just love Jimmy for as long as we have him. Hopefully he will bring joy to those we visit-even if it is just for a little while. We are looking to get Pet Partners registered in 6 months.

On another note, yesterday I wrote about keeping your eyes open for signs from those in heaven....and the poem Amy sent me. Well last summer I had told dad about a wild flower called "Pussy Toes" I had always thought they were weeds. Well I found a patch of it growing in the shape of a heart. I should have taken the picture sooner but I hope you can still see the heart.
Antennaria "Pussy Toes" I think my dad left this for me!
Remember to hug those you love and keep those in heaven...always in your heart! ~ Kathi

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Honey, Veggies, Chickens, and Eggs!

I love the feeling of growing and harvesting my own vegetables and other "foodstuff!" 
Here is just a sample of my cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, and peppers. The front plate is honeycomb from the bees. The fresh eggs are amazing and we are getting 6 eggs a day. My garden that dad walked  through with me last summer is a peaceful place for me to be. I feel him all around me in my garden. I see the cucumbers and they remind me of the pickles I made for him last summer. I see the chickens and hear him chuckling that Mike built me a chicken coop! 

Veggies, eggs, and honey!

Nothing like fresh eggs!

Our lovable chickens that produce those delicious eggs!

We were busy picking the pumpkins that grew from the seeds from dad's pumpkins and are making a  great fall centerpiece with some of them. 

We are going through an organizational restructure at work and I was pretty sad about it. In fact I woke up early thinking about the changes. I hadn't seen the cardinals in awhile but there he was this morning outside my bedroom patio door chirping away. The cardinal reminds me of my dad so it cheered me up this morning. Look for those signs from love ones that you have lost.  Ironically my daughter Amy sent this poem to me today...was perfect for the morning...

As I sit in heaven
And watch you everyday
I try to let you know with signs
I never went away
I hear you when you're laughing
And watch you as you sleep 
I even place my arms around you
To calm you as you weep
I see you wish the days away
Begging to have me home
So I try to send you signs
So you know you are not alone
Don't feel guilty that you have 
Life that was denied to me
Heaven is truly beautiful
Just you wait and see
So live your life, laugh again
Enjoy yourself, be free
Then I know with every breath you take
You'll be taking one for me. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Beautiful October Sunday

Dad's Dahlias

It was a beautiful day today. Sunny and no wind. I was busy getting the garden cleaned up. There was a light frost on the ground this morning-a sign to get the rest of the vegetables picked. We had watermelons, pumpkins, eggplant, cantaloupe, tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, and more!

We didn't  grow the largest pumpkins this year-I think I planted them
too late. But we did get some cute ones and they were still fun 
to pick.  Thanks to my friend, LeeAnn, we have some adorable
Jack Be Little Pumpkins!!
Not the biggest pumpkin!

We had some "new" friends come over to help us work with the horses. Kathy, Sid, and their grandchildren. They put the harnesses on the horses and walked them down the trails in the yard. After a nice walk, we groomed the horses. It was a perfect day for a BBQ and we had some delicious burgers, a great salad, and scrumptious brownies!! If anyone wants to come and work with the horses give me a call. It is important to socialize them to get them ready for their therapy visits!

Yesterday we got all of the footings in place for the garden shed. Mike and I mixed all of the cement and poured the  footings before it started to rain. I am SO excited for the shed. I will be able to keep all of my beekeeping supplies and garden tools close to the garden!

I "met" a lady on line that forwarded me some therapy training information. She has a miniature dwarf named JJ. He needed emergency colic surgery last night. I feel like I have a special connection with Joyce because she named JJ after her Aunt and Uncle that passed away...and you know I named Jimmy after my dad. It may seem silly to name an animal after a loved one but it is crazy the peace that it brings to you and keeps the person nearer to you somehow. So keep little JJ in your prayers.

Off to do algebra homework.....give hugs to those you love and keep them always in your heart.

Saturday, October 12, 2013



and h..ere....s    Jimmy!


I have been so busy that I haven't added to my blog in waaay too long. I have many pictures I have taken to update my blog with and to tell the story of my dad's garden. It has been a busy summer moving the plants from dad's garden to my yard. Last week we finally transplanted the miniature pussy willow tree that Amanda had given to my dad last year. He carefully planted it outside and this spring we were so happy to see that it had made it through the winter.

A friend of mine had asked me to join a women's writing group after I told her how I could see some sort of story in Jimmy the little horse with casts! The group has been amazing. It feels more like grief counseling and joyous wonder all wrapped into one! Some people turn to writing to express their loss but of course it isn't all just about that. One lady wrote a book called "Thin Places" after a death in her family and it is amazing. I will tell you more about the books as the months go on....and I promise I will be here!!

The garden was wonderful this summer. I spent 3 1/2 weeks in Africa so it was out of control when I returned but we still had a decent harvest. I am already planning what I want to grow next year! This morning we ate some cantaloupe that I grew. Dad's Dahlias are blooming beautifully as did his Calla Lillies. The strangest thing happened when I transplanted dad's little tree...I could see and feel his hands touching that same soil AND the love he felt as he planted it. It was so comforting and so sad all that the same time!

We also brought home the miniature horses! The picture above is Jimmy. Well, his full name is "Always in Your Heart"-Jimmy. My dad and I shared a moment when he was giving me a one of his favorite artist prints...I just started to cry and said I didn't want him to leave me...and he said, "Kuff, I will always be in your heart." I am so happy that we shared that moment because it is what has become my guiding principle in ways. He is always in my heart so I always feel him close.

Mike and I went to North Carolina to pick up three miniature horses. Their names are Major, Topper, and of course Jimmy. We camped in a KOA on our way back so that the horses didn't have to spend 17 hours on the move. It was an adventure to say the least! Once I got home I was really lost at what to do next. I found a new friend, Pat, right down the road that has miniature horses...We both have lived here 27 years and I never knew she was there! She in turn put in me in touch with a lady named Jeanne that has miniature horses and has a dwarf horse!! Dwarfs are basically special needs horses. I didn't know that about Jimmy when I agreed to purchase him. How could I turn my back on a horse I named after my dad??? So stayed tuned for the trials and tribulations of raising a dwarf miniature horse!!

I need to harvest the honey soon...so stay tuned for that adventure.
Blessings to all. Be sure to reach out to those you love and haven't seen in a while...and always give lots of hugs! Until next time......

Monday, May 13, 2013


Dad's amaryllis in full bloom with four flowers

The weather was slightly chilly and windy on Saturday but it was time to get moving on dad's garden. The crocus were no longer blooming but the grape hyacinths were in full bloom, the tulips were ready to pop, and the hostas were peeking out of the soil. Our goal was to get the center garden cleaned out and rototilled so that mom could plant grass seed if she wanted to (I am still working on the sod idea.)

Mom was working so it was the first time I went into the house by myself since dad died. When mom was working he would usually be either in the backyard weeding or in the basement watching TV. Often I like to just pretend he is in the basement but I couldn't do that on Saturday. Messing with dad's garden...yikes....he didn't like anyone  messing with his plants.
Plants in bags in Tanzania

When it started to sleet on me I was sure it was a sign that he wanted me to be careful with all of his plants. He was pretty meticulous about getting them potted perfectly. However, when we visited Tanzania he saw how the garden stores just potted the plants in left over bags. He must have had the same idea because he had lots of bags saved. He also had a lot of pots too!
Nathan back for another load of compost

Michael, Nathan, Isabella, and Faith came to help. GGpa would be so proud that Nathan hauled away the entire compost pile by himself. It hadn't decomposed much so it was better suited for the Ramsey County composting site.
Compost pile all cleaned up!
It was cute....Nathan asked Mike when he would be done with the pile. Mike replied, "When you feel you have done a job to be proud of, then you are done." He looks pretty proud of his accomplishment!

There were old bushes to dig up and get rid of but there were many awesome flowers. Daisies, peonies, foxglove, hens and chicks, crocus, tulips, irises, allium, and many more!!
Bella picking rocks and Faith moving all of the plants. 
Michael saving one of gramp's tulips
We decided to dig up everything we could from the center garden and then move it to a "parking lot" garden in my yard. That was Sunday's job. To get all 200 plants replanted! Keep in mind-there are more plants to clean up after this center garden!!

Mike rototilling so that Granny can plant some grass!
A couple of years ago my dad wanted me to bring his deer to my house. He has had these deer in his yard for as long as I can remember! Taking them from his yard just seemed wrong because they were something he loved. Dad and Mom would take turns painting them throughout the years.  Then when he got sick he said, "Kuff we got to get those deer to your house" then he would explain how Mike would have to get a log and roll the deer on them across the yard so that we didn't break them. Then in the hospital, after they told him he wasn't going to beat the cancer, he said, "Kathleen, don't forget to get those deer in your yard." They were really important to him and he wanted them to be enjoyed. SO..the center garden needed cleaning so that we could move the deer too!
The deer before we rototilled. 

The kids were excited to show Granny how hard they had worked to clean up the yard but it was getting late so they couldn't stay. When mom got home she was surprised how much we had accomplished but there were also tears for dad's missing garden. There was joy too, knowing that the plants would be carefully replanted in my yard and for years to come they would be shared with my sisters, the grandkids, and anyone else that wanted a piece of "Riley's Garden."
Some of the plants ready for moving

Sunday my sister Jamie and her husband Lyle went over and did MORE work! They dug up bushes and cleaned up some of our left over mess. It isn't done yet! You're always in our heart Pops...and your plants will be in all of our gardens too!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Crazy May and Busy Days!

What a crazy start to May! This is the snow that we woke up to the morning of May 2nd. The trees were weeping with heavy, wet snow on them. But in the grand scheme of life-a little snow in May is nothing to weep about.

So this was the snow on May 2nd!

We had a busy weekend. On Saturday Mike, me, and the Mike Jr. family all participated in the Run for the Roses 5K to benefit the "This Old Horse Organization." It was a wet, muddy run but I finished my first 5K (well I walked some)!! It was a fantastic event.  We sipped on non-alcoholic Mint Juleps...the drink of choice at the Kentucky Derby! Some runners donned fancy hats. This was the first year of the run so expect even more fun next year!! Check out This Old Horse!

Mom and dad always watched the Kentucky Derby together so I went over to mom's house and watched the derby.

Sunday I did some more horsing around with Nathan. We went to groom Joey of the Half Pint Horse Foundation. Joey would be visiting some senior friends and needed to be cleaned up. I arrived a little early so thank goodness for youtube. I needed a refresher on how to put the halter on. We got Joey all brushed and sort of ready to go. Once Allison got there we vacuumed him and washed his hooves. He is so precious and laid his head in Nathan's lap.
Nathan with Joey
The afternoon was beautiful and it was time to start working to move dad's garden. Bittersweet to say the least. I could hear his voice and see him walking through his garden and pointing out all of his flowers to me. It was easy to tell that his last day's in the garden must have been hard for him. He has so many plants and so many beds to weed. The crocus were in full bloom, the grape hyacinths were popping up, as were the tulip leaves. There were irises everywhere and Lyle helped dig them up with the pitch fork.  We carefully removed the leaves uncovering emerging plants.
Lyle, my brother-in-law, and my sister Jamie

Mom looking for that Big Daddy Hosta
More bagging and potting in the days to come. Sure wish Pops was here to play in his yard with us!
After some digging, potting, and of course tears...it was time to head home. And look what greeted me!
Another of dad's amaryllis was blooming. Wendy said when she noticed that only two flowers had bloomed so far..she said it reminded her of me and my dad. I like that. 

Dad's amaryllis
Sunday night was time to get the two new packages of bees into their new hives! Nathan was my photographer. 
The new hives ready for bees

Spraying the bees with sugar water to slow them down

The bees were successfully installed into their new hives. I will leave them bee (no pun intended ha, ha) for a few days so that they can get acclimated and start making the honeycomb so that the queen can get laying eggs!

Speaking of eggs...the last chore of the day was to round up the chickens and gather the eggs! Until next time....don't forget to tell those you love just how much you love them!
Nathan with one of our hens-love you Nathan! What a great help he was today. 

Beautiful brown eggs