DIY Spring Planning It’s the Winter Cabin Fever Cure!

DIY Spring Planning you ask? During a Winter weather advisory? Well, why Not?? Its better than looking out at a snow covered ranch, and in my experience it is the best cure for these cold snowy days. You know, the ones when you wish you could be outside enjoying the sunshine, until you step outside, then you want to be inside under a blanket by the fire! USA, LLC

One of my biggest challenges here at the ranch homestead has been planning, planting and maintaining a successful vegetable garden as well as a couple of fruit trees and berry bushes. The first year, I didn’t live here full time, so I opted for just a few container gardens. I soon learned, the container you select is as important if not more important than seed selection. With limited options around the farm, and a budget that was already stretched to the limit            

Planting the first Rose bush at Rose Ridge!

because of John and I’s upcoming wedding, I choose a couple of large wood bins that were already here. The problem was I didn’t realize they had at one point been treated with something, something my tomato, lettuce,and pepper plants definitely did NOT like! We managed to get enough to make a small salad or two, but that was about it. 

The following year, I planned a little better. Or so I thought! By then we lived at the ranch full time, so that meant we could go with a bigger full vegetable garden. I sent away for catalogs, and got more choices than I thought possible! I knew with Iowa having a longer growing season than my previous home state of Michigan, I could raise a bumper crop if I started early enough!

I found a video online about how to build a DIY greenhouse, and though I don’t recall now how I found the video online, my husband and I realized we could build one for about the same as buying a smaller unit retail. So he went to buy lumber and cattle panels, and I started ordering seeds from three different catalogs. Once we had the structure built, my husband used his tractor to move it to its present location, we bought the required plastic to cover the structure, and added one door and one small window. I started bringing in seed pots, planting and labeled everything, and John used his tractor and plow and tilled up a good sized garden right behind the new Greenhouse.

I loved my new greenhouse, and the deer that roam are always welcome!

Now we should have watched that video a bit closer, if we had we would have realized that the one small window we used, because it was one we had on hand, was not going to provide nearly enough ventilation to keep the right temperature in the greenhouse. We also should have taken into consideration that had we set the greenhouse a little closer to electricity we could have used a fan and probably compensated well enough for the small window to keep the little bean, tomato, pepper, onion, lettuce, spinach, and pea sprouts happy and healthy. What hindsight is always 20/20 right??  What happened was after spending a decent amount of money on seeds, planting soil, pots, trays, and fertilizer, once temperatures started rising over 60 degrees, most of the little sprouts pretty much cooked in the greenhouse. Then I had to go to the local store and buy more veggies, ones already started to try and catch back up with my great DIY Spring Plan for the garden!   I purchased most of what I had lost, and got busy planting and for the first two months we had tomatoes, green peppers, banana peppers, jalapenos, lettuce, cucumbers, and even a couple kohlrabi!

Then in August, we were gone on vacation, and evidently a hoard of nasty bugs of different varieties descended while we were away.   We had little flat brown things, mid sized black things, wasps making the greenhouse a dangerous place, and also these big, fat, green worms.  I later learned they are called horn worms because of the little red pointed “horn” they have for a tail.  Note to self and my readers….(yup I learned this the hard way)…do NOT get mad at the worms, knock them off your tomatoes and step on the nasty buggers!!…they are squishy and make a disgusting mess!

By the time 2017 rolled around, I was ready, I went bigger and moved the tomatoes and peppers, the two things that seemed to be the bugs favorite plants to eat and destroy, to the other side of the garden.  I added kale, pumpkin, tomatillos, cabbage, spinach, watermelon, cauliflower, strawberries, and zucchini to our garden plot.  Things went better this time around, sort of!   Our free ranging hen girls I thought would be a great help keeping the bugs down.  Well they did that, but they also developed a taste for strawberries, cucumbers, and tomatoes.  As if that wasn’t enough of a problem,  I went from working 20-24 hours a week to working full time, and my garden suffered I am afraid.    I struggled to find time to keep it weeded, watered, to even have time to get out and pick the ripe veggies and bring them in.  Of course then you

Garden Goulash, Yummy!

have to find time to cook them so they don’t go to waste…. oy!   We gave a great deal away, but I did find time to try my hand at a couple of recipes, one I call garden goulash, and a homemade spicy salsa made with just the right amount of tomatillos and jalapeno!   

So here it is 2018, I am still working full time, and while I want to have a garden of course, I also don’t want to have any more costly mistakes or guilt because I didn’t plan well enough.   I have come to realize I could beat myself up over all the many oops-es and goof ups. or I can take a deep breath, laugh at myself, Lord knows I have a funny story… .(Did I mention back in 2016 I had these grand visions of a quaint little “Rose Ridge Acres Vegetable and Bakery” stand?)  and I can learn from what I have done wrong, and be confident that with the right attitude…I will have much better luck this year!   Thanks for reading and Be Blessed!

Plow & Hearth

What is a Ramblin Rose? USA, LLCWhat is a Ramblin Rose?  Well in the literal sense, it is a hybrid Rose that is always climbing, always spreading vines with beautiful flowers. The impressive thing is that no matter what hazards it encounters along the way, it doesn’t stop growing.   In today’s culture, the meaning is similar, but different!    I have heard different things, so to get to the Root (ok pun intended, I admit it!!) I did a google search and found this,   Urban Dictionary’s Definition

According to the Urban Dictionary, a Ramblin Rose is a person who accepts their life journey as it comes.   I read in this definition that they are “unfazed” by any challenges that come into their path.  Well honestly, here I am going to have to disagree!  In fact, that suggestion really got my Irish up!  I guess a true blue American country girl shouldn’t go to an Urban Dictionary!   Anyway,  I feel the need to defend my understanding of the definition.  I also want to put to rest some of the less favorable connotations that have been twisted into this wonderful term.  I have heard Nat King Cole sing a song by this name, and  so did the band Grateful Dead.  I am not a fan, as a matter of fact their name gives me the heeby jeebies!  And of course, as expected, Hollywood has twisted it too.

So back to what I think a person who is called a “Ramblin Rose” looks like!  I don’t think they are “unfazed” by the rough times in their life.   Rather like the Beautiful Hybrid Roses that share this special moniker, they encounter these hazards of life and they LEARN how to GROW and FLOURISH in spite of them!  A person that is a true Ramblin Rose, is a person that stands as an example when she (or he!) encounters trouble or trauma in life.  No matter what that trouble or trauma looks like, they face it!  And they do so with courage, faith, determination, and an unquenchable spirit!    If that is true, and I believe it is because I think I’m a proverbial “textbook case”, then when you meet a Ramblin Rose, and you get to know a person like this, you will be encouraged, inspired, wiser for the experience.  And if your savvy, you will have made a new friend!

Being in The Ramblin Rose Circle of Friends!

We “Ramblin Roses” aren’t always the most glamorous, the richest, or most popular people.  We may not be the easiest to get to know, but I promise you it is definately worth every ounce of effort!  We are never dull!  Once you are in our circle of friends, we are the most crazy, encouraging, wise, responsibly wild, funny, caring, and adventurous kind of folks you will ever meet!
So why did I tell you all of this?  Because I want to ask you to Pretty Please Subscribe To This Blog!   :-)Then sit back, get comfy, grab a cup of coffee, or a spot o’ tea, or a perfectly blended Margarita (whatever works for you)!  Are You Ready?  OK Good!  You have found a friendship and a journey that will change your life!  I am so glad your here!  Welcome My Friend, Be Blessed!


Chickens on Our Farm Homestead

If you have read the “My Journey” page you know we have laying chickens on our farm homestead.  We started out with a small prefabricated coop like this one.  We bought it at a local farm supply store.  One of the first problems I encountered with this coop was keeping it clean was a chore! A tough one that required a lot of bending and twisting to get the job done.  The second hurdle came when cold weather set in, since it wasn’t the sturdiest thing, it wasn’t feasible to try and move it, so and we had to find a way to insulate the coop itself to keep the chickens protected from the weather. We used some old insulated doors to put along the back and sides and that got us through the winter.

Then in the spring, we purchased two more pullets, and suddenly problem #3 came to light, overcrowding!   We realized we needed a better set up if we were going to keep chickens on the farm.   We did some brainstorming and decided since we both love the look of old west towns, we wanted a building that looked like it was right out of an old western movie!


My husband designed and built a perfect shed that now houses our chickens on one side, and our horse tack and feed for the animals on the other side!  We even had fun with names for the building, coming up with things like the “Henrietta Hotel”, the “Hen-eral Store” and my personal favorite, “The Sunny-side Café”!  I was even going to set up a sign outside like you often see by a cafe that said “Eggs served fresh daily, bring your own bacon!”   I started painting the coop, but the top will have to wait for the warmer temps of Spring! What I love most about this new coop is the ease of keeping it clean!  The nesting boxes are at just the right height, and there is a built in perch  with a lower section for pine shavings right in front of the nesting boxes.  When the hens roost there in the evenings, that is where most all of their droppings fall.  This allows me to take a litter scoop I purchased and just push all the littered shavings right out into a waste container.  I then move the shavings from the nesting boxes to the roosting area, and simply refill the nesting boxes with fresh D & E (a powder that keeps parasites at bay) and fresh pine shavings, and the girls have a nice clean home once again!


We have learned a lot about chickens since we started, but still have a ways to go, there are a lot of considerations with housing, feeding, and especially keeping your flock healthy.  If keeping chickens is something you are considering, I encourage you to check these links for some great tips to get you started!

Happy Hen-keeping and Be Blessed!

Poultry Keeper Beginner’s Guide

Rural Living Backyard Chickens

“New Year’s Resolution” or “I Purpose To”?

So, did you make a New Year’s Resolution?  Here we are almost two weeks into the New Year, 2018, how is it going?   Want to know how  yours  fits in the statistics?  Check out this link of some of the most common resolutions:

Most Common New Year’s Resolutions

Here is another interesting fact, according to many polls, only 8% of all people actually keep their resolutions….. Really???   That means 92% of us don’t!  Why is that?  Well,  I think it stems from  the fact that we all start a new year with high hopes, a sense of anticipation and then well… happens!  Bills need to be paid, children need to be parented, marriages need time and attention, jobs place demands on us that must be met, the list goes on and on right?

Ok then, how about a different approach?  I am copying this, something I posted on my Facebook page back at the beginning of 2017, but it still holds true and it might help you make the changes you want to make!

Today’s Bit O’ Wisdom….how many New Year’s resolutions have you made over the years? To Lose weight, quit smoking, eat healthier, pray more, swear less, manage money better…the list goes on and on….but how many can you honestly say you have kept?  I am not pointing fingers!   And that is because I am as guilty as the next person!  We all have grand plans for a new year and then fall short before the month of February even starts! So how about a better way?  We have come to accept that it’s ok…even expected, to break our New Year’s resolutions…so Don’t Do It…..DON’T Make a New Year’s Resolution!!   Instead, decide what is nearest and dearest to your heart, and then “Purpose in Your Heart to _________!” (Insert your goal or goals here)  Then make it  a PUBLIC Purpose!!  Share your goal with those you love, your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram friends, or just write it out and tape it to a mirror or your refrigerator so you will see it every day!  This way, you can ask those you trust to help you by keeping you accountable! “

I still believe this is the way to go, so I am going to publicly state:

“I purpose in my heart to continue work on this blog to help encourage, teach, have fun, and meet new people! I also purpose in my heart to spend more time studying and spending time with my Lord to become a better Christian.”

Please feel free to comment and share your New Purpose for 2018!  Thank you for sharing and Be Blessed!


Mistakes are a not Failure but a Crossroad


Many years ago, life taught me a very important lesson.  We all make mistakes right?  Lets face it, it is human to mess up, and make mistakes, but the most important thing when you make a mistake, isn’t the mistake itself, it is what you do with the mistake that will ultimately make all the difference.

I have learned it is best to think of a mistake as a Crossroad, that is a spot in the road where you can’t go any further, without turning left or right.   In that moment, you have messed up and you know it, so you must deal with it by turning right or turning left.    Now, let’s say you are the  type to point fingers and lay blame for your mistakes on the nearest poor soul you can find….that is like making a left turn at the Crossroad, you will go around and around, and around to the left, because you didn’t learn anything from your mistake, you didn’t take responsibility, you played the blame game.   When we accept zero responsibility, and learn nothing, that mistake becomes a failure, so you will need another chance Right?  No worries, I guarantee, if you make a wrong choice, you will come back around with the same mistake or one VERY similar and get another shot to do it better!

But what if you mess up and you admit it at that Crossroad?  If you take responsibility for the mistake, and make a serious effort to learn and grow from the mistake, that is like a Right turn at the Crossroad, and Congratulations!  By taking responsibility and making right choices at the Crossroad, your mistake actually becomes a stepping stone to Success!   It is really a simple concept, but one that can make such a profound impact on a life!

Hello world! Welcome to Ramblin Rose Life!

If you are new here, welcome to the club!  This is my first ever blog!  Please take some time to read the page titled “My Journey”, to get to know me, the author.  I will be posting regularly about the adventurous Journey of Life, so things like discovering what farm life is like after living in the suburbia for too many years, exploring new hobbies, new recipes, new places and maybe most importantly, new truths that are relevant and uplifting.   I do not hide the fact that I am a Christian, but I also have a very common sense approach to things, from spirituality, to politics, to pop culture, to life in general.   Thank you so much for checking out the blog, I hope to share my Journey with you and learn just as much from your Journey!  Be Blessed!