Sunday, September 8, 2019

Friends, wine, shopping, and quilts...

Today was a perfect day. My friend from work retires at the end of the month.  She has been a nurse for over 30 years.  To celebrate her freedom and our friendship we spent a fabulous day in Hill City.  A beautiful town nestled in the Black Hills.  It is filled with winerys, art galleries, small businesses, and for the weekend quilts.  They have a quilt show every summer. I love the community because although tourism is a major part of the economy they still hosted a wonderful event that the local community could enjoy.  Also all of the stores are quick to recommend other local businesses.

 We started the day with wine tasting and a glass of wine at the Prairie Berry.  The Prairie Berry is what started my winemaking hobby.  It was there I learned about the endless possibilities when making fruit wines.  We then wandered down Main Street enjoying the galleries and shops.  All of the businesses had a quilt hanging out front.  The high school is at the bottom of main and the quilt show was there.  We then enjoyed a good meal, wandered back up through the stores, and ended with another wine tasting and a much needed slushy.  The fall weather was perfect, as was the day.
 The time and talent put into these quilts was amazing.  Some were machine quilted and some were hand quilted.
 There were color combinations and patterns I could never have envisioned.
 The quilt below was completely hand stitched.  I wish I had taken a close up of the turtles at the bottom.
 One of the funniest things that happened was there was a raffle drawing with many beautiful prizes.  Your phone number was to be on the ticket and they would call the winners at 4:00.  We were in a shop at 3:55 when my friend's phone rang.  Everyone in the store said, "she won."  Turned out to be her daughter.  Then at 4:00 someone else's phone rang and we all said "she won." It was her husband looking for her.  Who knew so many people call around 4:00.
 It was a consummate day.  We bought Christmas gifts, chocolate, enjoyed some wine, and visited until our heart's content.  I went home thankful for a good friend and in awe of the talent around me. I am also inspired for my winter quilt project and new wine combinations.

What are your hobbies?  Does your community host a quilt show?  Is there a community close to you that hosts an enjoyable day?

Monday, September 2, 2019


My husband and I took a drive up a mountain to watch the northern lights.  There were no northern lights, but we had a hellva good time watching the stars and visiting for two hours on the mountain top.   I am so thankful that 25 years later we still sit and visit.  The next evening we went bowhunting and although we didn't see any deer we had a good time.

Tonight a friend invited me over to pick grapes.  We enjoyed a glass of wine, and had a wonderful visit.  She is a great person and I've always enjoyed our conversations.  This summer she went to Greece and it was fun discussing the difference between American and European cultures.  We also shared our gardening woes.  

I drove home, top and doors off of my Jeep, and counted my blessings.  I didn't finish any huge projects this three day weekend.  I didn't go on any big trips.  I enjoyed my time and the people around me.  Life is short and time is precious.  I am thankful for the people in it.  I hope you had a great Labor Day weekend and shared it with friends and family.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Un bee-leavable

 For as much as we did last weekend, I wasn't as productive this weekend.  The weather was just too beautiful.  I thinned some daylilies, made cucumber jelly, and picked tons of slugs out of the flower beds.  I also spent a lot of time taking photos.  I think the bees feel fall is on the way, because they have put pollen collecting into overdrive.

 I don't know where this guy came from.  I'd say his clock needs reset.  My turnips are looking good.  Have have two nice little pumpkins.  My corn looks great, but needs to get moving.  I don't think there is a lot of summer left.

 This is a prennial spinach called strawberry spinach.  A friend told me about it and I am sold.   It doesn't really bolt.  In late summer it gets these little berries and they taste good.  My greenhouse is chaos, but things are growing.  The outside garden isn't doing too bad, but a mouse nibbled on all of my zucchini.  I have plenty of chamomile for tea and spa treatments.

I love this time of year.  The cool nights, harvesting from the garden, everything seems to slow down.  I hope you are enjoying your August.  What are you doing with you garden harvest?

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Enjoy the little things...

 Life was meant to be enjoyed.  There are so many little things out there to be appreciated.  A front porch is at the top of my list.  Add a few lanterns and some string lights and it becomes a place of peace.  
  A porch is pretty big compared to the joy of watching a caterpillar munch on a leaf.    There is also watching a toad hop across the sand.  I miss toads.  Growing up they were everywhere.  I believe we have too much clay in our soil and I am toad deprived.   I regret this as they are one of my favorite creatures.  It was a peaceful watching the caterpillar below swing back and forth with the breeze on his grassy hammock.  

 Another of life's simple pleasures comes with finding your favorite berries (buffalo berries) are plump and should be ready to pick in a few more weeks.   Soon they will turn from orange to a ruby red.  

We had a busy weekend cleaning the garage, mowing, cutting trees, preparing tree stands for hunting season,  cleaning house, and picking berries.  Still we weren't too busy to notice the little things around us and  under our feet.  

I am thankful every day for the life I lead.  What is your favorite little things that you observed this week?

Sunday, August 11, 2019


We have had a lot of rain around here.  My parents got 3 inches and 30 hundreths in an hour.  Needless to say they had some flooding.  We did have a ton of rain, but have yet to have a hailstorm miss us.  Somehow my sweet corn is standing, but it isn't pretty.

The fog right after the storm was pretty.  Can you see the water spinning off of the windmill?
Homemade lemonade is my all time favorite summer drink.  This summer I finally tried infused waters.  Wow.  Was I impressed.  A cup of raspberries, four cups of water, with a 1/2 cup of mint was my favorite.  I thought the mint would be overpowering, but it was perfect.  The strawberries with basil was also pretty good.  I've always loved cucumber water, but these infusions are wonderful.  I'm afraid that's all I have for this week.

What is your favorite summer drink? Has your weather been extreme this year?

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Projects and more projects...

 I was a project fiend today.  I repotted my succulents into some pots I got in Denmark.  Then surrounded them with some little rocks I had.  Next, I took what was left of a gingerbread candle I loved, melted it down, added some beeswax, and made wax melts for the wax melter my brother made me.  That project was a HUGE success.

I have been out of lotion bars for awhile, so I used a double boiler to melt coconut oil, olive oil, beeswax, and lemon essential oil.  The lotion bars are a little softer than I would like, but maybe they need more time to harden.
Then I moved to herb projects.  I picked my rosemary, basil, lemon thyme, juniper, lavendar, marjoram, and sage. The goal was to replicate some herb salt Christina brought me from Denmark and make smudge sticks.   I pulverized a coarse salt with rosemary, lemon thyme, basil, and added juniper berries.  I made several different smudge sticks with combinations of sage, lavender, marjoam, juniper, and even some rose petals. I have to wait until they dry before I know how they turned out.  That might be awhile, since it is very humid.
Yesterday, I picked red currents, black currents, gooseberries, raspberries, sour cherries, and service berries. I washed them up and froze them for various projects.
I was on a roll, so I found a recipe for Himalayan bath salt ideas.  I found one that had peony petals.  After drying the petals, I took 1/2 pink Himalayan salt, 1/2 cup Epsom salt, 1/4 cup of peony petals, and 1 T. of lavender flowers and added 4 T. of olive oil.  Then I made my go to sugar scrub with 1 cup of sugar, 1 T. of lemon rind, 3 T. lemon juice, and 3 T. olive oil.  I also made some chamomile/lemon hair de-tangler and face spray.  That was about it for projects. 
Even though it sounds like I was super busy, I had plenty of time to sit on the porch.  As always I am amazed with what I see from my porch.  Friday night while sipping a glass of chokecherry wine, something came out from beneath the front stairs.  I couldn't see it's head and I thought that sure is a dark colored cat.  Well, it wasn't a cat.  It was a Pine Martin.  I was so excited.  It trotted up the sidewalk and wandered around the road.  I was trying to get Kelly's attention, as he was inside the cabin so I didn't get a photo.  You should have heard the squirrels cussing him.  I was happy, because pine martins eat squirrels and our squirrels are nasty little creatures.  Sure enough that wasn't the end of the story.  Saturday morning, while enjoying my coffee on the porch, I heard a commotion by the bird feeder.  A squirrel was just sitting there eating peacefully and here came the pine martin.  The race was on.  They went up the pine tree, down the pine tree, and off through the woods.  I don't know if it caught the squirrel, but I hope it did.  What excitement.  These are some photos of a pine martin I took while elk hunting several years ago.  They are very curious and remind me of a ferret.  I hope he hangs around.  I have plenty of mice, chipmunks, and squirrels for it to eat. 

That was my busy weekend.  It felt good to get some projects done.  I've been sluffing for awhile when it comes to doing anything extra.  What projects have you done?  What is the strangest animal you have seen around your home?  Have you ever seen a pine martin?  

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Camp Hygge...

Usually I get a week with my nieces, but they have so many things going on we only had 3 days.  You can pack a lot into three days.  I picked them up at the rodeo.  A wet rodeo it was.  It was pretty cool to go back to a place where I had raced many a barrel.  I saw a lot of people I knew.  
 I love the photo above, because Taylor's mom, her sisters, and brother are in he background.  Below is Sierra's pole run.  

 It is tradition to stop somewhere and take photos on the way home.  This year I knew the theme had to be sweet clover, as it was everywhere.
 There is something very peaceful about driving across the South Dakota prairie.

 This year's project was horseshoe art.  The girls did a great job, but I forgot to take a photo of them with the finished product.  This year's big adventure was tubing.  We didn't have an air compressor, so we fit five filled tubes and four excited girls in the Jeep.  It was a challenge to say the least.  I'm not going to lie, it was quiet scary.  There were waterfalls and poison ivy.  Somehow we lived and had fun.  It will definitely be on the list for next year.  I do think I will have a life jacket for the smaller ones.

 Baking is always a part of our time together.  One night we had a cookie backing competition.  Uncle Kelly was the judge.  We had several categories.  It was a lot of fun and the cookies turned out grand.  On the last day we made jam, gummies, salted banana pie, and sour cream peach pie.  The oldest loves my lasagna recipe and always helps when I make a batch.  Of course, we went hiking.  We drove up a 4-Wheeling Jeep trail.  I am happy to say the girls never questioned my choice of roads or driving.  When we got to the top we hiked to a fire look-out.  I really wish I had taken a photo of the lookout. 

 The fishing was hilarious.  That is the biggest fish we caught.  Funny thing is the girls made such a ruckus whenever they caught one of the little sunnies that pretty soon every fisherman on the lake was edging towards us.  One finally had to come see our haul.  I doubt he was impressed with our 7 sunnies.  We sure had fun.  We also played a lot of giant Jenga, bean bag toss, and even a board game.  We were pretty wore out after three days.  I always look forward to time with the nieces.  I worry the older ones won't have fun, but they still seem to enjoy our forays.  Next year the littlest boy gets to come.  I still haven't figured out where I'm going to put him in the Jeep.  

Do you have a summer family tradition?  Did you spend a week with somebody?  What is your favorite summer family memory?