Monday, August 29, 2011

Drat, Trader Joe's!

Yes!  I said Drat!

I doooo love them, but their sample booths are the death to anyone's will power.
Ok...if anyone out there is not familiar with this great company that sells grocery products at great prices, well, you are probably better off, especially if you are trying to lose weight.
Just went in to Traders after exercising to pick up a couple of cans of kitty food for the cat next door (later story) and got sucked into the tasting counter.

Now I could have resisted if this package wasn't sitting right there! 
 Look at that photo!
And those words!  Chewy coated and drizzled!!!! 
Only 150 calories per bar! 

I tasted the minuscule sample.

O.M.G. the lusciousness of that creamy coated swirls.

Bought a box.

Now if I can only eat just a a treat. 
Do I dare open the box?
Whoops, forgot I already did.

Oh, and I also bought a melon and...

....a package of frozen, creamy polenta. 
And they weren't even giving out samples yet of that one!
But it has broccoli and carrots in it though!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fawn Rescued From Wall of Boulders

Just in case you don't also go and check out the blogs on my Blog List on the right.
You just have to see this video posted by Mary Muncil of White Feather Farm tonight.

Pretty unbelievable.  Could not believe a fawn could fall inbetween boulders and get trapped.  But wait till you see the happy ending. You will have to wait a bit to get thru all the chaos of the fire department using the jaws of life...yes, I said the jaws of life... to free this creature.  Mom watching and waiting near by.

Old Farm Trucks Rock!

Had a garage sale today. Was a great success, thank you!
I do love vintage and so when this little beauty chugged up the hill and parked.  I was in 7th Heaven!

And the owners were just as wonderful.  She had a great farm wife dress on, floral with a bit of a flare on the bottom and looked so nice on her.
It is an old Ford and sorry if I can't quite remember details, but I think the owner said it was a '39.
All original, kept in pristine condition by his wife's parents and here it is today just purring up a storm.
Originally I believe they said it had been purchased by a Japanese farmer who hauled eggs in it. 
Anyways, I was so ga ga about the truck, I didn't get all the history. 
And I love the old truck horns.  They beeped as they rode away.

As my great friend Marianne would say...Love it!

Storm Stories

Well, I am very glad to be on the West Coast and not the East.
Poor East Coast even had earthquakes lately.  How about that!

I went thru the shaker in the late 80's here.  I remember riding out the quake on the 5th story of an apartment building, about 4 miles from the San Andreas Fault, having dragged a large bird cage with two precious cockatiel companions under a doorway and swaying with the rolls.  After it was over, everyone in the apartments had gone to their windows staring out to see if the world was still there.  It was of course....but ominously quiet.
For days later, I would wake up in the middle of the night and a minute later there would be an aftershock snapping the bed back and forth a bit.

I experienced flooding that surrounded the first house I ever bought.  Closest it got was to the floorboards,  but for the 7 years I lived there, I hated winters and the rain. Yes, stupid me believed my realtor, that even though the house was on a flood plain, there wasn't going to happen again.  Three months later....2 feet of water around the house.  Never believe what those Realtors say.  Now I to the neighbors before buying a house.  Oh, and check out the septic and water pipes too.  Live and learn.

Now, living on a hill, I love the sound of the rain once more.
Security is a wonderful feeling.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Green Thumb

I will never have my mother's green thumb, but when I have some success, I always remember her.

Although the farm house was falling apart around her, she had beautiful flowers surrounding it.

At the end of the rickety open porch, under which so many batches of kittens were born, she would string up the binder twine and attach it to nails on the porch's roof edge.  She would then take the trailing vines of morning glories laying on the ground and wind them around the twine till they had a nice grip, and in a few weeks, the end of that broken down porch was bursting in lovely blue cups of flowers.

The side of the house and the woodshed would have their patches of colors too.

Geraniums were a specialty of moms.  Old gnarly wood stems, stored in the cellar in winter, would burst forth flowers in summer. She would pick up a few others to add from the local greenhouse in town.  I still can smell that wonderful humid, greenish scent of walking into that large greenhouse.

Her glory though, was the large flower garden at the side of the house.  We would always take special occasion photos there  She would plant tulips and daffodils and glads in spring, surrounded by, when they grew to full stature in summer, 3 foot tall peony bushes of all colors.

Flowers blossom even in the midst of decay.

                                                 copyright Stepka 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Morning Glories on Fire

The sun has come out of the fog.
And the morning glories are radiating sun rays of their own!
A furnace of radiance.

                                                                                                     copyright Stepka 2011

Morning Glories Glory!

Thought I had given up this blog, huh?!
Nope, no way.  Just was working on my "real" job, so Farm Girl Studios went to the wayside for just a bit.
Hoping soon to turn Farm Girl Studios into a working site...with fun, beautiful items to purchase.  Got some great ideas. Stay tuned.

Came home to wonderful foggy morning and morning glories blooming.
I had planted these lovelies in a pot when I had moved, and for 4 da.  No blooms. Vines of all kinds trailing all over and over and under the fence, but no blooms. So...I threw out the pot and gave up.

The next year I saw they had planted themselves out of the pot in various places and I was driving myself crazy desperately trying to rid myself of the stupid vines. I even used weed killer on them! 
Glad it didn't work.

I don't know what happened last year, but all of a sudden I looked out at a mass of tangles on the fence..and there they were.  Beautiful wide open cups of color.  Amazing.

They just found the right spot to plant themselves and boom!  Flowers!
I guess they just decided they wanted to knock my socks off and go..."nah nana nah na!" at me.
So the moral of the story is ....ignore them, desperately try to eradicate them.. and they will bloom!

They seem to glow from within on a foggy morning like today.  The stamen just barely visible inside that glow.

Love that I have another photography subject.  Will have to watch for my hummingbirds to make their appearance here.

If you want to see more lovely morning glory blooms, check out Jon Katz's Bedlam Farm Journal blog.

                                                                                                                copyright 2011 Stepka

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Alameda Antique Fair - August

This event just seems to get larger and larger each time I go.  For me it is just a feast for the eyes.   But  if you did really need something specific, you 'd most likely find it here in the way of furnishings and collectibles.

There are so many objects like the chest below that are just beautiful and you don't really see them because of the huge amount of stuff that surrounds you on all sides.

And then there are the "in your eye" furnishings like this pink couch that just make you wonder...where the heck did this come from?
But if you have the right space...could be pretty cool.

The 9am back up on the road before the entrance was huge.  Again...look up the show's website and map and make your way to the 2nd entrance.

I was looking for old photos, but I could not believe the price that people were asking for a regular kodak b&w know a little 4 x 4 or so. $10.00!  Absolutely crazy.  So though I had found one I thought was cute, there is no way in H--- I would ever pay that.  I guess some people do? 
Now I am thinking of all those photos I threw out after cleaning out the farm.  But really.  Who wants their family photos in some dirty box on a flea market table being fingered and trashed by 100's of people.  That cute little photo I saw most likely will just get trashed and thrown out, instead of being appreciated by someone.

I saw that now you can "rent" blue grocery shopping carts above to roll thru the show with...sorry, did not see how much.

I haven't had to do it for awhile, but you should still be able to just borrow a flat bed cart like above to roll your finds to your car....though those do seem to be scarce just when you decide it is time to head home with your treasure.  Those can be had on the far left side of the entrance gate (going in) of the fair.

Enjoyable....but oh, so much walking!!!!!  And it is just too hard to stop to rest a bit.  You just don't know what is around the next aisle.

PS....Heard quite the positive buzz about the new Marin Outdoor Antique Market the second Sunday of every month (next weekend).  Free parking and admission!  They liken it to a French Flea.  Interesting.
Here is a link to their site.
Marin Outdoor Antique Market website

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Was coming back from my walk in the hills and stopped for a moment to glance in the ravine, and there was fox.

...And then there were 2! 

Unfortunately, my contacts were just about to pop out of my eyes with dryness and irritation after the walk in the dusty hills, so trying to focus as to what was going on across the way was extremely frustrating. One fox was definitely smaller and goofing around, so I had a definite feeling I was seeing a younger one.  I will have to see when kits are born here in California and how fast they grow.
Mom...well, I am calling her mom, all of a sudden noticed me staring and I did not need good eye sight to feel her eyes boring into me. And the younger one's eyes actually caught the setting sun's rays and flashed a wonderfully eerily red color.  They did not bolt right away, but eventually the younger went off to the right under the brambles and mom disappeared to the left of the trees.

Didn't think I would see them again, but went back to my place and grabbed the camera anyhow.
She did make another quick appearance heading back to the brambles.
We shall see if one of these days I can't get a group shot.

 In different circumstances, of course, I would not be so eager to find a den of foxes so close where I lived.  If I saw this in the ravine next to where I kept chickens, I would be a bit anxious to say the least. 

And I keep lecturing my stubborn cat, Fitz,  that this is just one of the many reasons he must be in by nightfall and not prowling about...though I am more worried about the monster raccoons on the garage roof and not so much about there being foxes in the glen at this point.

I am not kidding when I say these California raccoons are the size of a bulldog.  And if it was true that bulldogs were mean, then yes, these raccoons are even meaner.  Then again, all the bulldogs I have ever met were nothing but big slobbering, no tail waggling,  rumps of a baby's bottom, cuties! 

                                                                                                                                 copyright Stepka 2011


You look out a window day by day and all of a sudden, you really look.
Today, it was seeing the renewal of my "weeds" out on the hill.

Those weed wacker sheep really did their duty back mid June.  Overdid it I thought.

But between the cool, foggy weather, a wwayyyyyy out of the ordinary rainy day, and the great little pebbles of fertilizer those sheep left behind, amazingly I have green outside my window again.
Again....unless you live in California, you can not truly appreciate this scene.

The way those wild licorice plants are growing, I may have blooms in another month.

I am growing more and more certain California is slowly turning into Midwest climate. 
 Ok by long as the humidity, 30 below temps and 10 feet of snow stays well away!

                                                                       copyright Stepka 2011