Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

1267 East 1200N Road
Melvin, IL, 60952
United States

217.379.7633

Blog

Grab a beverage, find a comfy chair, and catch up with what we have been doing. You can read it all here on our blog page

www.blossomsbarn.com/blog/

Annie Get Your Gun

Ann Stoll

Do you have any idea how many times I've heard that in my lifetime? Too many to mention. I was raised around firearms, so they are not a scary item to me. Although, when my kids were small, I didn't want any in the home. As my boys grew, it became increasingly evident, that it is ingrained in them to be intrigues with military arms or firearms. Believe me I tried to keep our home "gun free". They weren't allowed to watch any sort of violence on TV. No water guns allowed or anything that looked like a gun. What a joke. So even though my boys really weren't around any sort of guns, they still made them out of Tinker Toys, Legos, and just using their fingers. I gave up.

Instead of trying to keep them away from guns, we decided to allow them to learn about them and go to NRA summer camps, so they could learn to properly use firearms and be able to shoot all sorts of them. They learned to respect them and safely hold, carry and store. They even went small game hunting a couple of times and brought home some squirrel and pheasants. I needn't worry about them starving in their futures. They will be able to provide for their families, if need be in this fashion. It's only been done this way since forever. And it's healthier.

While I have never feared firearms, I also never really learned much about them. Well this weekend changed all of that. This lady here, went through the Conceal Carry course, all 16 hours of it, in order to apply for conceal carry in Illinois, if I should choose to apply for the permit. There is a lot to think about. A lot of responsibility that I never thought of. And let's just say, I'm not running out any time soon to send in my application. I need to pray about this.

As you can see, I'm not a bad shot! Part of the certification requires you to shoot thirty times, ten times each at three different locations. The shots are also not to be trick shots either. No smiley faces or continuing to shoot out the same hole. The teacher is suppose to be able to count all of the shots. I think all 30 of mine made the mark. Not bad for someone who hasn't used a firearm much, ok barely.

I'm not one to live in fear. I have God on my side and when my time comes, then so be it. But also, I believe we have a right to defend ourselves with force if the need arises. It was long days of learning, but I think overall, it was worth it, whether I choose to go through with obtaining the permit or not. Hey, at least I know I'm a decent shot.

Life Balance - For Real?

Ann Stoll

Probably the thing I hear many people, women in particular complain about is trying to balance life and work. I'm going to cut through the chase right now and tell you, it's a myth. A big fat lie that glossy photos and Cosmopolitan magazine-type articles tell you. That you CAN have it all and do it all. Ok, I guess you can. But can you do it well? Are you satisfied with mediocrity?

Being an older woman (here we go again), I can safely say, that I've tried it all. I've lived it all. And I failed much. Actually, I probably fail every day. But there is a difference now. I've learned something along the way. It's okay to fail. It's okay to be happy being a stay at home mom, one of the highest and most important jobs on this planet. But it is also okay to be a working mom, too. I've already alluded to what I believe to be the best of it all, but I'm not talking about this in my blog post. Every woman needs to do what she is called to do. But does that mean she needs to do everything all at once or at the moment? No, I don't think so.

There is a time for everything. A time to bear and raise children. A time to learn and grow and be creative. A time to climb the ladder. A time to be a wife. Actually, this last one is very important. If you are a married woman, your husband needs to be your first priority. One of the goals of raising kids and if you did it well, they should at some point move out and be self-sufficient. You are then left with the husband of your youth. If this relationship is not nurtured and put first in your life from the get go all the way until the empty nest, how can you expect to pick up those pieces? Marriage is hard enough without having to rebuild the relationship from scratch and find that spark again. Fan the flames NOW!

Thinking you can balance all the things of life and be great at all of it will just wear you down and cause you think less of yourself. Instead, try prioritizing what you need to do right now. If you are married and have kids. Start there. Do this well, first. Then add in other things slowly. I know it's hard sometimes to do this, but I did it several years ago.

When my boys were in 2nd and 3rd grade, we pulled them out of school to homeschool. Best thing we ever did. No joke. At the time, I also had a successful landscape/design business that I worked by myself and I liked it that way. I learned very quickly that I couldn't do both well. So what was important? My kids of course. Having a business is not that important to me. While I love doing my own thing and being creative, I found other ways to satisfy these urges while schooling my kids. As the years moved along, Blossom's Barn became alive. For the first four years, it sort of stayed more of a hobby that made a few bucks to pay for supplies. But I was still schooling my kids, so I didn't have the time to pour into this business. Now that they are graduated and moving along with life, this past year has afford me the time to knuckle down and start to make things happen for this business. Now was the time for that, not when I didn't have the time and tried to squish too much into my life. I've been there, done that. 

There is a season in life for the things we want to do. We must learn to be patient in those things. We are better off learning this lesson.

Meet the Girls

Ann Stoll

My puppy love, Cassidy

My puppy love, Cassidy

It seems our homestead is overrun with girls. Girls of all sorts, coming in all forms. I never purposely intended for that to happen, but if you are raising your own food and animals, you need the girls. 

First up is my favorite girl, Cassidy. She's our Great Pyrenees and keeps our farm safe from all critters that don't belong here all the way down to not approving of worm farts. She lets us know about all of it.

Hens out for a walk with their rooster

Hens out for a walk with their rooster

We are full of hens, but there is one rooster. These girls and guy, do a great job cleaning up insects and grubs. I really think we have a lower insect population because of their foraging in our yard. They also are terrific and tearing up, er, turning over our flower gardens. They also provide us with the yummies deep orange eggs. Mmmmmm

Summer in the front, Blondie to the left, and Suzy in the back. We also have Peaches. Summer is at a new home now and Peaches is retired.

Summer in the front, Blondie to the left, and Suzy in the back. We also have Peaches. Summer is at a new home now and Peaches is retired.

Then of course, we have our does. I have two right now in milk production. That milk is what you will find in our soaps. Goats are fun and fairly easy to maintain. Plus they don't eat too much and require little land, although brushy land is preferred.

Find the queen, if you can!

Find the queen, if you can!

Then there are these girls. They out number us, but I love them. For the most part, they are gentle and pay you no mind. They are too busy to bother with you. Hoping for a honey harvest this year!

This is Misty. She's our spoiled rotten barn cat.

This is Misty. She's our spoiled rotten barn cat.

And finally, there is Misty. She is a high needs cat. Every day she waits for her special food that the other cats don't get. Why? Because she's Misty and demands special attention. She has her own special cushion and food dishes. Yep. Spoiled. But she is so precious!

We use to also have brood cows, a dairy cow, last year we had three female hogs. But not at the moment. So yes, we tend to be overrun with girls and I'm okay with that. But let me introduce you to one special, smelly guy.

Meet Bucky

Meet Bucky

Right now, this dude is running with the cattle and he's okay with that. But in another month, you'll know by the twitching of your nose, that he's anxious to get with his girls. Starting about September, rutting season begins. He becomes cranky, smelly and well not very pleasant to be around. You definitely don't want to be out in the pasture when he's like this. He sees you as a target of some sorts and you don't want to be there. But come late November, he is allowed to be put with his girls and he becomes his old happy self again. Maybe another reason why we have girls, boys are grumpy and not safe to be around all the time. 

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed meeting most of our critters.