Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Back at the ranch...

I am late blogging, as I went home for a visit.  I had a great time with my parents.  As usual, my dad took me on a photo safari.  These are some photos from around the place. 
 My parents put up a bunch of wren houses.  Two of them are posted on the chutes.  I guess the wrens put up quite a racket when they work cattle.
 We don't get any tumbleweeds in the hills and I must admit I kind of miss them.
 My mother's flowers are amazing.  They were overflowing.  Despite a frost they were still doing great.  

  I saw this hawk on our adventures.  Then Dad took me to see the turkeys a friend of his had carved.  They sit outside of my grandfather's old cabin.  You can see more of Craig's carvings at his facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Danelboones/ .

Of course, how could you tour a ranch without observing some contented South Dakota cattle?  My Dad's heifers were lazing in the sun and very content.  The horses also looked pretty happy with life. 

 I'm really proud of Mom's flowers.  When we were growing up she was too busy with kids and vegetable gardens.  Now her flower beds are fabulous.  

The Painted Ladies have stolen the show in recent months.  I did have to put this pretty yellow butterfly in the spotlight.  They really liked the Russian Sage.  

I have more photos from this weekend's trip.  I don't go back often enough.  It is amazing how fast time flies.  It was good to visit my parents.  On the way home I stopped and my grandmother and I had a great time sharing recipes and talking baking.  She is in her 90's and still makes cookies and bread.  I have to say I appreciated the cookies she sent with me for the road.  Thanks Grandma:)

It was satisfying to go home.  I hope everyone had as pleasant a weekend.  

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The perfect fall day...

 Saturday was the perfect fall day and I had the perfect cold.  I have a sore throat and fever.  Still, Ella and I enjoyed some time on the porch in the sun.  I also went on photo safari.  The colors and the wildlife were perfect.

 This dang hummingbird won't leave.  It is snowing today and she is still here.  I keep fretting whether or not I should take the feeder down, but everything I have read I'm supposed to keep it up.  The articles say the hummingbird's internal clock will tell it to go.  Well, this birds clock is slower than molasses running uphill in January.  I love hummingbirds, but she needs to head out.

 The roses and butterflies are a joy to see.  The butterflies are still pretty prevalent.    It is fun taking photos of them.  

I ordered a set of 50 foot lights for the porch and I love them.  They create a soft glow that is very peaceful.  I am extremely pleased with the purchase.
Welcome October.  Even with a cold you are the perfect season.  My flowers may be on the demise, but the leaves pick up the slack.  I look out our windows at the beauty in which we live and I am thankful.  What are you thankful for?

Sunday, October 1, 2017

We be jamming...

As always, I spent the weekend going full bore.  I roasted tomatoes, shoveled compost, took a fall walk, picked apples, and made jam.   Wow, now that I think about it I am quite tired.
I didn't have enough tomatoes to can, so I tried something different.  I quartered them, covered them in olive oil, and sprinkled them with basil, oregano, and rosemary.  My oven wasn't working, so my brilliant husband grilled them for an hour.  Yumm.

I'm a bit concerned about my hummingbird.  It is October first and she is still here.  I brought in my glass feeders.  There is still a plastic one outside.  I have never had one stay this long.  I'm afraid she will freeze.
I continue to harvest goodies from the garden.  I can't wait to roast more tomatoes.
The butterflies are still around.  Luckily I have a few flowers left for them.  The deer normally stay away from the front flowers, but this year they were brave and ate things down.

Of course who needs flowers when you have fall colors.

Ella and I went for a walk.  This little buck was very curious about our comings and goings.

The Black Hills is known for gold.  This is a lesser known gold.
I think I am richer with this gold.  The colors are enhanced by the earthy scents and the rustling of leaves.

This is one of the biggest hornet's nests I've ever seen.  Trust me I used the zoom to capture it.  We have had a problem with waps swarming in the cabin.  We cannot find where they are coming from.
I'm still moving compost.  It is wonderful to have plenty of soil to enhance the beds.
Sunday was wet and windy.  I stayed inside to make raspberry jam and buffalo berry jelly.  I also racked my chokecherry wine and made a batch of raspberry wine.  The kitchen was busy.

Have you made any jams or jellies this year?  Are the leaves changing?  Have you had many hornets this year?

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Fall in Minnesota...

It is hard to believe that it is fall in Minnesota.  The temperatures have been in the 90's.  Yes, I said 90's. I took a walk in the park with my mother-in-law this morning, while it was still cool.  It was a perfect time for a walk with good company.  The colors were vivid and the smells were rich.
This caterpillar is a beautiful hue.  I had a hard time getting him to sit still for his portrait.
No photo collage of Minnesota would be complete without at least one picture of a barn.

My mother-in-laws flowers still look grand.
The sun sets over a field of corn.

 We are on our way home tomorrow.  The weather report warns us of snow showers.  A little bit of a contrast from the heat wave here.  We had a great visit with family, before winter arrives.  What is your weather?

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Buffalo berries and backaches...

My favorite jelly in the whole world is buffalo berry.  I always get a lot of questions about buffalo berries, so I took quite a few photos on this berry picking trip.  I am thankful to have a good friend who's pasture is loaded with buffalo berries.  She is always accommodating when I ask to come picking.  They grow in draws on the prairie.  The berries are super tart, but not so bad if you can wait until a frost.   Which they had a frost that morning.
My heart leaps to see bushes loaded with berries.  Do you see all of the bushes farther back?  This lady's property is a paradise when it comes to picking.
 All those pretty red jewels surround one nasty sharp thorn.  These are not fun berries to pick.  Though I have to say four hours of berry picking passed quickly as Lois and I visited.  I am thankful to know such a wonderful, smart, and kind lady.
 When we got all done picking and as I went to help her carry her plunder she surprised my by telling me to keep her half.  She had just come along for the company.  I must say I was almost in tears.  Again, these are not fun berries to pick.   Thank you Lois.   You are a grand lady.  

Along the lines of thankfulness.  My husband got me what I'm sure is every woman's dream.  A giant truck of compost.  Do you see that truckload?  I'm in heaven.  When I wasn't picking berries I was loading wheelbarrows and directing where the tractor scoops would be dumped.  

Many projects were completed.  My strawberry, sometimes flower, bed was in dire need of decent soil amendments.  I cleaned it out and filled it to the top.  I am determined to make it back into a strawberry bed.  This means I need to find somewhere for my butterfly bed.  I'm sure I will figure something out.
 It froze this Sunday.  I knew it was coming, so I went to close up the greenhouse.  I had to cut the pumpkin vine to my pumpkin on a pedestal.   Remember him?  Well, I was in the greenhouse and cut the vine attached to him without thinking twice, knowing that he was on a solidly built pedestal.   I wish I had a photo of my face as I watched the pumpkin catapulting out of sight.  I guess the vine was keeping tension on the whole shebang.  I went flying out of the greenhouse expecting to see pumpkin pieces everywhere, but he somehow landed safely.   Of course I forgot to take a picture for the blog.   I am saving the pumpkin pedestal as that isn't the first pumpkin I've had on the greenhouse roof.

 I am still harvesting from the garden.  Dill, peppers, lemon cucumbers, tomatoes, and squash.  Right now I our fridge is filled with cucumber slices in water.  I am waiting until the water is infused and then I will take out the cucumbers and freeze the water.  There is nothing more refreshing than cucumber water.   I'm hoping my idea will work and I can enjoy the treat long into winter.  
 Well, that wasn't everything and it certainly wasn't in a nutshell.  This weekend flew by.  There wasn't enough time in the day.   My back is killing me from all of the shoveling, pulling, and picking.   What have you been working on?  Have you ever had buffalo berries?  Have you had cucumber water?