Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee, and live alone in the bee loud glade.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Life is a bowl of cherries...

 I am so proud of my Bali Cherry tree.  She was loaded with fruit this year.  Enough for a pie.  
Isn't that beautiful?  Cherries and raspberries?  Every other day I wander around with my pail and pick what is ripe.

 Oh, there are some tomatoes and peas in the bottom of the bowl.  I started my picking path at the greenhouse.  I bet you were wondering about the monster cherry in the first photo.
 I figured out how to pit the cherries.  I gathered another bowl full after this one.  All from my one little tree.
 Then I gallivanted around and gathered a gob of gooseberries.  I just figured out last year that they grow on our property.  I am sill not certain what I will do with them.  Wine or jelly?  What is your vote?  You will see a few currants in there.  They didn't do very well this year.

 I have been getting a lot of peas and chamomile from the vegetable gardens.  I love using the chamomile in teas and as a hair detangler.  
A plethora of perfectly prepared peas.   They will be frozen and used in salads and pot pies.  My carrots failed miserably this year, as did my spinach.  
 I spent Sunday making raspberry jam and raspberry wine.  At least I think it is raspberry wine.  Due to poor or non-existent labeling it may be a mix of raspberry, rhubarb, and cherry wine.  I really need to improve my record keeping.    The raspberry jam was a cinch to make this year.  Usually I have to boil it forever before it is ready, but my new stove had it perfect in 1/4 the time.  I really had no idea a stove could make that big of a difference.  
What are you doing with your harvest?  What do you think I should do with my gooseberries? 
I hope you had as productive weekend as I did.  

Friday, July 15, 2016

Finally, I am off the porch...

I have had a few nudges to get off the porch.  I haven't posted for two weeks, because we enjoyed some quality time with family and friends.  We visited with family in Minnesota, where I am always enamored with the diverse plants.  I also share my love of birdwatching with my mother-in-law.
 Then when we got home I was grateful to be able to spend a week with my friend from Denmark.  We had a wonderful time relaxing and visiting. She always appreciates the South Dakota sun.  It was 45 degrees and raining in her homeland, while she enjoyed 70's, 80's, and even a day in the 90's here.
Although it was a busy few weeks, it was certainly worth it.  Time with family and friends never gets old.  Christina also reminds me of how lucky I am to live somewhere with wonderful summers.  She always says,  "Summer in Denmark is the nicest day of the year."   I always think our summers are short, but I believe she has me beat.  

The gardens are holding tough despite the heat.  My poppies and cosmos are blooming.  Along with the daylilies and clematis.

I am excited as it is now berry picking time.   I've already picked a gallon of raspberries, a few wild strawberries, and my Bali Cherry is going nuts.  I should have enough of those to make a pie and perhaps even have some leftover for Cherry/Baily's Irish Cream Ice Cream.  I've gotta try that.  I also think the goose berries are ripe.  I still don't know enough to tell for sure, but I'll find out this weekend.

 This weekend my goal is to pick berries, catch up on blogs, and make jam.  What are you looking forward to doing in the late fall?

Friday, June 24, 2016

Just sitting on the porch...

It has been super hot and dry here.  Today we had a quick shower.  Not enough to really do anything besides get some good photos.  

 Despite the heat, my flowers are looking fabulous. Was able to get some wonderful photos right after the rain.

 I like this one of the water droplets on the peony.  You can even see a speck of dirt in the one droplet. 
To beat the heat I made a batch of my favorite homemade peach ice cream.  I can't wait to sit on the porch eating an ice cream cone and watching the robins feed their little ones.
 I am impressed with their hunting abilities.  They make unending rounds to the nest and their beaks are always full.
What do you see from your porch?  Have you had any rain?  What is your favorite homemade ice cream?

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Keeping busy...

We were all over the place this weekend.  Out on the Belle Fourche River, there had been an inch of rain.  Things looked greener than the last weekend we were out.  I was very pleased to catch this dragon fly and the nest of a mourning dove. 

Back at the cabin the roses and iris are blooming like crazy.  This is one of the many wild roses that blooms all around the cabin.

 These are my Harrison's yellow roses.  They can be seen at South Dakota homesteads long after the homesteader has gone.   They are one of the hardiest roses I've ever seen.

 My rose bed is flourishing.   It looked especially beautiful on our foggy Saturday morning.

 I was very happy to catch this colorful fellow amongst the flowers.
 The dianthus, creeping thyme, and lamb's ear are a perfect match.  
 We took my husband's little Willy's jeep for a trial run.  It passed with flying colors.

 I was a busy weekend.  We are enjoying summer every moment, because it never lasts long enough.  I was also lucky enough to spend this afternoon on the porch with a good friend sharing lemonade and enjoying a long visit.  How is your summer going?

Sunday, June 12, 2016


 It is hot.  I think we got to 96 degrees yesterday.   Unheard of for June.   Time to take the doors and top off of my Jeep (that will make it rain).  I also spend a lot time drinking lemonade on the porch.   

I bottled my Finnish Hard Lemonade tonight.  I was sure it was going to be atrocious, as it smelled like turpentine.  Turns out it isn't too bad.  I also have to admit my dandelion wine smells pretty good and seems to be progressing better than anticipated.   Early summer is lemonade season.  

I make homemade lemonade using the Anne of Green Gables recipe.  2 cups of fresh squeezed lemon, 2 cups of sugar, and 2 cups of water.  Boil the water and sugar while squeezing the lemons.   Then add 1 1/2 cups of the concentrate to about 6 cups of water.  Wonderful.  I will warn you it is addicting and pre-made lemonades will never have the same standing.  

The Finnish lemonade is a fermented mead.  4 cups of boiling water with 2 1/2 cups of honey dissolved.  4 lemons zest with pith thrown out and sliced thinly.    Add 1/2 tsp. yeast to 1/2 cup of water.  Then add 16 cups of water into the bucket with an airlock.  Let sit a week.  Put it in gallon jugs with raisins or dried cranberries.    Then I treated it like my wines and racked it every month for 3 months.  Added 2 cups of water with 2 cups of sugar boiled an voila.... hard lemonade.  I was skeptical, but now I will have to make another batch.  I just started a cherry rhubarb wine and have high hopes for it.  I am on my 72 batch of wine.  Pretty good for just a starter kit.  Almost every batch is made with home grown fruits.  The lemons are definitely and exception on that.

Blooms are at a lull right now.  mainly iris and columbine.  These aren't the best photos as I waited way too long to take them and the sun was already down.  I will do better next time I promise.

 I have been running occasionally in the mornings now, as it is cooler.  Anyone who really knows me knows that this is an amazing feat.  I am a lot of things in the morning, full of energy and enthusiasm is not one of them.  Ella, on the other hand, thinks it is AWESOME. 
That is all I know.  I hope everyone is slowing down and enjoying the summer.  I'm sure in a mere 3 months my running trail will again be a snowshoe trail.  I will just pour myself another glass of lemonade and sit on the porch while enjoying life.  

Sunday, June 5, 2016

This weekend is for the birds...

Finally a nice weekend.  A bit of a wind, but still warm enough to sit outside and enjoy the world.  Enjoy I did.  I spent the weekend birdwatching.  

These robins got my hopes up by starting a nest on the porch, but they must have abandon the idea.  Still, it has been fun to watch their relentless search for worms on our lawn.  They were my Grandmother's favorite bird. 

Below I was skeptical about my new bird bath.  But if you look in the lower corner there is already a line forming to use it.  I think that is a female house finch waiting for the junco to finish.  

The evening grossbeaks have been singing their beautiful song.
The bluejays are also enjoying the feeders.  If you notice on the photo to the left he is checking out the feeder before partaking in the seed.  This is probably because yesterday he wasn't so careful and landed on a chipmunk.  There was quite the noise as both parties were very surprised.   

I am hopeful to add one more photo, as a hummingbird has been visiting my feeders this evening.  I'm trying to get a picture as I sit on the porch typing this blog.  He is still pretty skittish, so maybe by the next post.  
 I do have two late entries.  Not the hummingbird, but the Western tanager and it's mate.  Both are very beautiful and tease me with occasional visits.  I guess they wanted to be a part of this evening's post.  Now if I could just get that hummingbird.
I have certainly enjoyed watching the birds this weekend.  I hope the birds are providing you with entertainment as well.
A late addition, but a welcome one.