Friday, August 3, 2012

Miss Effie, a woman after me own art.

On our way back from our weekend away in Galena we stopped at blog buddy's farm ,Miss Effie's   u-Pick Flowers  in Donahue Iowa.  So glad we did.

I met Miss Effie, AKA Cathy Lefrenz, at a bee workshop last summer. (Thank you Zan for linking us) over ice tea and talk of incompetent heath care and hard to keep above water farm businesses, we bonded and have kept in touch via the FB and blog trains.

But seeing people in person...always better.

Cathy (on left) responding to my telling her Romney is the better candidate
What can I say? She may be a liberal but she still rocks the homesteading world.

Cathy and her guy run Miss Effie's u-Pick Flower Farm and The Summer  Kitchen which is her on-farm retail store. In their 11th season they raise flowers made for you to cut and then bring home. She encourages you "to pack it full" and charges a paltry $15 for something fresh, beautiful and chemical free.

It's worth the moola just to walk around her farm on a hill with its painted buildings, hideaway picnic spots just as the corn- zebo and additional  breezeway shaped like a huge birdhouse. Her talent for making use of old china (tree ornaments and flower bed borders) made me want to start collecting useless tableware again.

Because when you use something that is pretty and  a little fragile hanging it in unexpected places and it makes people is no longer useless. The same rational Keith uses for keeping me around or so he says.

Scattered about her farm is the kind of "inventory" dearest to our hearts. Older things that not only bring back childhood memories, whether one  lived on a farm or not, but that she and Cliff still put to good use today. Like wooden pallets turned garden tool organizer.

Her little Farm Store is cuter than mine and I won't have it! Sure I have more frozen T-bones in mine but she has aprons that are more than  a  homesteader's fashion statement. Hand sewn with beautiful reversible, 100% cotton,  country chic fabric and made like steel construction, they also double as a collection device for eggs, produce, piglets, runaway toddlers  and anything else you might want to carry from place to place on your farm or farm-like yard.

The creation was prettier than several of my wedding dresses. It doesn't matter how many is "several" I can't believe you even asked. Moving on...

I am seriously thinking about sending one of these to blog friend John at Going Gently. He would the hit of all of Trelawnyd in this styling egg gathering frock. And if I hear one more word out of either Tom or Cro, I'll quick ship one to them as well.

The most amazing thing about Miss Effie's is that her flowers on her farm were ALIVE.  Can you imagine the hours and hours and hours of watering time spent to keep her little oasis going?  Like us she has a good well.  Many others in our area have not been so fortunate.

This am the Department of Agriculture has officially announced that 99 of the 102 counties in Illinois are now considered disaster areas. Just one more label to add to our farm signs. "Welcome to South Pork Ranch...a real disaster"

Back to Miss Effie. Visit her. Picnic on her farm. Bring home some flowers, some homemade jam, handcrafted soap and of course the Cadillac of aprons. Tell her that Conservative  Romney lover from Illinois sent you.

If you have cash she might still let you in. She and I both still believe in Fair Trade.


  1. How cool to finally meet in person!
    Nobody lives anywhere near me....and I don't travel much :(

    Oh well, cyber life it is :)

  2. How fun! Wish I lived close enough to visit~looks like my kind of place! :)

  3. Ok, I still respect you even though you support Romney. And though you are a much-married woman. :)

    Seriously though, what a blast. She seems like a real jewel. Hells, if I ever get to Illinois, I'm looking you BOTH up.

    Oh, and it should say "South Pork Ranch--A Certified Disaster". Much more official-like.

  4. I think John would look stunning in one of those aprons. Come to think of it...Cro just might find such an apron perfect for carrying some of his ripened produce out of 'Haddocks'. And one never knows with that Tom. He is a bit of a fashionista with good of those aprons might be just the thing for lugging around some of his candlesticks.

  5. I'm going to have to check her out... that apron looks JUST The thing, and of course, your pictures were great!

  6. Do you realise how many pallets are now going to be used as garden tool organisers?

  7. Cro,
    You have insight to the truth. I'm already trying to figure out where I can get a pallet.

    Great story Donna!


  8. I have pallets. Lots of them Only $99.99 each. But for you people...just $98.99

  9. Dang it! I hook you two up and miss the actual in person shenanigans!

    I MISS you two--the funniest, most creative people I know! And yes, her farm is something--and I seriously covet those aprons! Hey, I think you can even fit a pallet or two in 'em ;)