Monthly Archives: March 2016

A spring day on the farm

It is spring here at =K.

(~For those of you who don’t ‘read’ brands.. that is “bar bar K”)IMG_4999

We are calving now and will begin springs work soon. Dragging out tractors and disks and harrows and checking them over. In fact, this afternoon we are bringing one home from the other farm today.

The gardening catalogs are strung out and I am dreaming of my wants while weighing them against my needs. Hubby likes to say “If you can’t eat it… don’t get it” Lucky for me you can technically eat nearly anything! (not that I would… but it qualifies!!)

IMG_5036Chickens are laying like crazy…. and the daily egg hunt is on! We have a handful that refuse to lay in the hen house.  Clothes on the line… Me and the dog on the quad.. just peaceful days until Springs Work really gets going.

And the sunrises are spectacular each morning and theDSCN6336 ‘gloaming’ each evening on last years cut fields is like looking at fields of gold.

IMG_4713Each morning the geese and ducks take off from the pond… and if you could only hear the noise they make!

Come on over anytime and enjoy rocking on our front porch. Coffee and adult IMG_2659beverages are always ready.

~Katy~

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Mama’s Ukrainian Lokshyna Recipe

What the heck is Lokshyna??IMG_5019

Lokshyna is a Ukrainian “tasteless” egg noodle casserole. And it’s easy to make! (And cheap.)

All you need is:  1 pkg  egg noodles (cooked)                                      2 eggs -beaten

2 Tbs butter                        1/2 C heavy cream

1/2 tsp salt               (Or Sour cream or milk)

*and whatever you want  that sounds tasty.

Traditional Lokshyna  is just the base recipe with a little  cloves and sometimes 1 C cottage cheese thrown in-

WE happen to LOVE it with some cooked diced bacon (and the fat.. or at least some) and sometimes Ham and onions. It is also good with 1/2 C cheese and some spinach.

~In large bowl -Combine the cooked noodles with melted butter. Add in the eggs, salt and sour cream. Mix well. Pour into a greased cake pan.

You can also make this in a bunt pan. Some of the old timers do this and fill the center with ‘stuff’. Usually something like Deviled Ham or some such craziness.

Also if you melt some butter and mix it with bread crumbs and sprinkle on top before baking, it gives the Lokshyna a crunchy top.

Bake 350 for 45 minutes.  *doubles and triples easily*

shchaslyva yizha

(Happy Eating in Ukrainian)

~Katy~

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do a seamtress and a coffee roaster have in common?

Community.

That’s what a seamstress/creative and a world class coffee roaster have in common.

“When people talk, community happens”Becky McCray

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Me and Jo

(And let me tell you…. Jo and I can TALK!!)

We are a community. A community of entrepreneurs. A community of women. A community of small town advocates. A community of creatives . A community of givers and do-ers~It only takes two to be part of a ‘community’

~The funny thing about our “community” is that we don’t even live in the same town. Not even the same part of the state!~

I met Jo Kahlifa , at a local Pride of Dakota event a number of years ago. We instantly became friends and have since done a number of exciting things jointly both personally and with our businesses. ( check out MoJo Roast and read about her and the coffees)

IMG_4902The fact that we are a “community”  was driven home this past week when we attended an OTA conference. (NorthDakOTA,MinnesOTA,SouthDakOTA)  Part of the purpose was to bring together creatives from towns across a tri-state area to help transform where we live into great , re-envisioned communities. Places where people once again gather and talk to each other instead of about each other. Communities where roots are put down and dreams are realized.

Community matters. In so many ways. And Community is not always where you live. Often it is what you do.

~Katy~

 

 

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Glitter ducks and ‘FlaminCows’

Had ya’ll at ‘Glitter Duck’ didn’t I??? blingduck

We were at an auction last night, and they were selling some duck decoys.  So I related the story of my duck decoy buying experience.

Many years ago, a whole boodle of beautiful duck decoys came up for bid. I mis-understood and when the gavel fell and the man hollered “How Many??” I, of course hollered right back “Well- ALL of them!!, DUhhhhh”

Hubby immediately jumps up with a “OH, HELL NO” of his own.  In the end I got One duck. Sighhhhhhh.

Hubby: What the heck-o do you want them all for anyway???                                                    Me: I’m going make Glitter Ducks for our duck pond!

Why??? Because I could, and I thought my 1 goose and 1 duck and assorted chickens would enjoy seeing them float around.

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Part of my personal herd

Which brings us to the FlaminCows. Have you ever seen one in the wild??? They look suspiciously like their cousins the Flamingo. But cooler.

 

Around the same time as the Glitter Duck incident, we lived on small acreage. I wanted a cow. Hubby said N-O.

Then I drove by a flower shop and spied a huge plastic yard ‘Mingo. It immediately got a paint job and some smaller ones to go with it.

Viola!!~ I had my very own HERD.

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Hanging with Metal Man

 

In an interesting twist, people driving by would pull in and ask where I got such cool critters…. I ended up painting selling a bunch that summer! ~ Still keep a small herd to watch over the garden.

~Katy~

 

A brother, a mother & some Chef-Boyardee

Once upon a time in a far off land (California), my mother decided to go to work. Until this point she was like most moms, a ‘stay-at-home’. Pretty much a slave to my brother and I.

Each year she and Grammy would cook a special dinner for us of all things homemade Italian.  We usually had friends over for this event.

Well, when mom went back to work, we were teenagers. And mom said “Feed yourselves after school”.  Sighhhhhhhhhhhh.

chefMy brother developed a love for Chef Boyardee raviolis. He ate them every chance he got.

Now fast forward to our favorite big Italian dinner…

Mom and Grammy go all out. The table is groaning under the weight of the food.  We all pile it on. And before the rest of us can really get going on it… my brother says to my mother:

“This is ALMOST as good as Chef Boyardee!!”

My mother didn’t say a word. She just gave him The Look. (most of us know exactly what The Look is) and took his plate away. 10154406_10200976135483947_550699380467426684_n

I was busy protecting mine… all the time wailing “I didn’t say it!!”

She dared us to even try to eat one bite. And she cheerfully informed us that we EVER wanted a hot meal again, then we had “better damn well fix it our own damn selves” because we sure as heck-o wouldn’t be getting one out of her ever again. Period. End of discussion.

To this day, we have NEVER had a meal cooked by her. If wanted a ‘cooked’ meal, we either fixed it ourselves, went to Grandmas or took mom out.

My “Mutha” wasn’t messing around.

~Katy~

 

3 Ways ‘small town’ customer service is actually hurting your community

We all talk about ‘Small Town’ customer service, and the ways it is supposed to help us in business.  It’s great to know everybody. But what about the ones you don’t know? How are you really treating them?bad-customer-service

Let’s talk about the ways Small Town customer service doesn’t help.  I have been blessed to have both lived and traveled all across this great nation of ours, so I speak from experience.  Hear me out.

I know plenty of small town people who will NOT talk to outsiders and are either openly hostile or blatantly rude to unknowns. .

~ When YOU act like WE don’t matter  *by ‘WE’ I mean anyone Not included in the best names in town. I also mean travelers and passersby  and people generally not from your town.  We take our money elsewhere.

In a town not too far from us there is a Rexall. The ladies that run it can actually go through an entire transaction without ever uttering a word to you. Not so much as a “Hello”, or a “Drop dead”. Really. But you let someone else of so called social standing come through the door, and they will fawn all over them and chat up a storm.  I can name a dozen people off the top who go an extra 26 miles to the next town over because they are friendly at the Rexall there. I can name even more who take their money to ‘the city’.

bad-customer-service-consequencesPay attention: Our $$$$$ is just as green as theirs!

~When you don’t give us the time of day    We remember. We have memories like elephants. We came to your communities for a better life. Or maybe family brought us here. Or jobs. Whatever the reason, we are among you.  Many of us are here to stay whether you like it or not.

When we come into your cafes, stores, gas stations etc- give us the same courtesies you give everyone else.  Come around and check on us while we’re dining. Don’t just leave us

cope3 001

Toasties Café-Cope,Co

to sit there while we watch you schmooze the five coffee drinkers you already know. Say “Hello” or “How you doin'” when we pop in for gas or grub.

By ignoring us, you hurt yourself in more ways than you can imagine.

We will take our money elsewhere

When you say something stupid we remember. And we will probably take it to social media, or blog about it. And word will get around.

I was at the market in a town near us just yesterday. I only needed some milk, but noticed there was a sale, so I stocked up on a few things.  Upon checking out, the cashier bellowed (yes! bellowed in his outdoor voice) “Gawd! I hope you’re not doing this for W.I.C, and just stocking up instead. I hate WIC””  The shame of it!! (btw- cash)   Nothing quite like having all eyes on you.   In no way should it have mattered if it is WIC, cash, check, charge or food stamps. That is NOT your concern to shout it to the world.

Your job as owner is to make it as pleasant of an shopping experience as it can be. And you employees need to made to understand that THEY ARE YOUR REPRESENTITIVES and had better well act like it.

When things like this happen, and not just to me, we take our money elsewhere.

If we’re going to be treated like that, we’d just as soon go the city where at least we can get some variety while  being treated like crud.

~ Do you want to know how this hurts you? It hurts your pocketbook. Trust me, a small business can’t last forever on the income from a handful of preferred customers. When you are wondering WHY you are not making a decent living or where your customers are, remember this: WE took our money to anther business.

It hurts your groups that rely on volunteers. When you treat us like we don’t matter, or that you could care less, we have zero desire to volunteer for great causes because of it. I can name plenty of towns that cry they can’t get help with anything, but persist in treating everyone outside their group like crud.

We don’t donate our hard earned money to your causes. They may be really worthy events or local charities. But we won’t budge a dime when you have the gall to hold your hand out after not even speaking to us ever at the gas station.

We Leave. Pretty simple. And we take our $$$$ with us.  Our disposable incomes that we could have spent with you, and our kids out the schools, and our property tax, and so on.

The reoccurring theme here is simple. Be nice to one and all. Not just some. And you will reap the rewards of repeat businsess and new people as well because we WILL tell our friends “Hey! Did you know So and so is the best around???”

I personally, planned all of my road trips from Denver to California around a stop over in Austin, Nevada. For 20 years! Why? Every business in this  little bitty town on Hwy 50 has Customer Service down to a “T” ! There was never a time when I was not made to feel welcome.

~Katy~

 

 

The last Pattern Maker~This is the story of US

A story of US. Of America. Of Small Business. Of Dreams. Of Passion. Of love of craft.

People who love their craft, live it every day.

I just saw this video today, and I was simply moved. Not by the memories of my Grammy who was a noted seamstress  in San Francisco, nor because I am also a creative type.

But because this grand lady, Chris Ellsberg, lives and loves her craft of pattern making. By ‘craft’ I do NOT mean ‘crafting’… It’s more like craftsmanship, or trade.

You see, Chris is a pattern maker. One of the last the United States.  It is an old trade. One that is difficult to master.

In her 80’s now, Chris strutted into Raleigh Denim Workshop   and volun-told  the owners, Victor & Sara, that she was going to work there. (Love her Moxie!!) For  FREE, until they could afford to pay her.

She has been passing on her knowledge and love of craft to a new generation.   It is thrilling to watch their story unfold.

I would love to meet them all! It sounds like they are a ‘family’ working at Raleigh Denim Workshop.

Helping each other to hold fast the dreams.

I am inspired. This story has so many lessons we can all learn from. Lessons about community, giving, teaching and inspiring. Of holding on and letting go.

It is much, much more than just a story of an old woman and a young couple.

~Katy~

 

 

The end of an era – A Prairie Barn

         “Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a good carpenter to build one”-  Sam Rayburn

In this case, that carpenter was Gottilieb Hochalter .  His grandson Paul now owns this property. Which, luckily for me, is less that a mile away and in plain sight from our farm.

DSCN5973I have photographed this barn many, many times over the years. It has been in countless backdrops of prairie vistas from our place. The only shots I don’t have are close ups before it was taken down. – (something I plan on remedying soon with some help of the owner.)

This barn has seen hands lovingly hand cut each board and set them into place. It has seen countless barn dances and dairy cows, rope swings and hide-n-seek in

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View from my porch. Tornado behind the barn

the hay mow, tornados and blizzards and stunning sunrises, it has provided refuge from hectic days as well as been the scene of many hectic days too.  It has witnessed love and heartaches of the family. It has seen droughts and bad years, and been full to overflowing during the good years.

 

This barn has been the silent sentinel on the prairie.

I miss it everyday when I look out towards the East.

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The weathered boards tell their own story.

DSCN5984The skeleton of this majestic building sparks the imagination.

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Yep- That’s our place in the background

 

20140523_182844The view from the second floor was pretty amazing. 20140603_171416

And the odds and ends that came off the barn really speak about it’s life.

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I look towards the East every morning. Sunrise is my favorite time of day. The fog is coming up the hollows, the sun peeking over the horizon, turning the distant tree tops into lace against the coloring sky. ~ all that’s missing is my barn.

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~Katy~

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