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

Sunday, August 21, 2016

And before you knew it summer fell into fall...

Friday we got 1.8 inches of rain and things cooled down immensely.  Suddenly it was fall.  My flowers perked up like crazy.  I spent Saturday evening on the porch thankful for everything.  

The scent of phlox filled the air.  The temperature was perfect, not too hot or cold with a touch of autumn crispness.  The sun played with the flower petals making them look like stained glass.  The resident dragonfly's wings buzzed and a mob of robins were chirping their hearts out.  I was sipping my first glass of dandelion wine.  Now I know you are going to ask me the same thing everyone else has asked... "What does it taste like?"  I cannot answer that.  I ate some dandelion petals and they are basically tasteless.  I had my husband try a sip and describe it.  He said it tastes like a white wine.  I guess that is the best description you will get, but I digress.    

It was the perfect late summer evening.  Since I cannot share the sounds, tastes, and smells, I will at least share the sights. 
 This is the only rose that re-bloomed this  year.  It is called Music Box.  I love how it starts out yellow then slowly turns pink. 
 This sunflower is one of many that are throughout the garden.  Some were planted by me and some by the chipmunks.  I love how the sun shines through their petals.

 Bam... the Dolgo crabapples turned red overnight.  I think they will be ready next weekend. The Haralson apples are also plentiful this year. 

 I love our new windmill.  It really matches the rest of the property and hides the well nicely.  It is more stalwart than the last one. 
I am enamored by my Peaches and Cream Hollyhocks.  I get lost in the folds of their petals. They look so delicate and yet they are quite hardy.   
The final feeling of fall came when the robins gathered in groups of 20 or more.  I wasn't able to get a picture of them all.  Hanging out with them was a catbird and tanager.  I tried to get a photo, but they busted me and took off.  Drat.  
 I wish it would last forever.  It is the little things like a perfect late summer evening that make life great.  What is your piece of heaven here on earth?

Sunday, August 14, 2016

They survived a week with Aunt Bonnie...

 I was lucky enough to have three out of four nieces for three days.  It was not a lot of time, but it was jam packed.  

 Photos in the sunflowers, a stop at Wall Drug, and an afternoon hike to observe bugs and plants.
 We did our traditional picnic at Spearfish Park, fed the fish at the hatchery, and the girls played in the water for hours.  We had the top and doors off of the Jeep.

The next day was Aunt Bonnie's annual "Hike for Hell."  It wasn't supposed to be miserable.  The girls had never been to Wyoming, so I thought I would cross that off of their list and we could hike Devil's Tower.  There were a lot of people due to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, so we opted for the quieter, 2.8 mile trail.  We ran 3 miles in May and figured this would be a breeze.

Little did we know we wished for a breeze.  It was over 100 and there had been a fire a few years ago, thus there were not many trees.  To top it off, do you see Devil's Tower?  If you look closely the very top can be seen way in the distance.  
 Luckily, I had brought lots of water.  Not quite the chipper group as the photo when we began.  The girls weren't impressed and I really wasn't either.  
We survived another of Aunt Bonnie's hikes.  The girls want a shirt with that claim.  We barely made Bear Butte last year and Devil's Tower was hot as heck.   In the end, we were laughing as we picniced in the air conditioned Jeep eating Sierra's  awesome Jello.
 We made two pies, jello, pizza, lemonade, and chokecherry jelly.  These girls are great hands in the kitchen.  We painted pinecones and rocks, took photos for 4-H, and played lots of Giant Jenga.  The girls practiced their pitching skills with Uncle Kelly and they watched the Olympics.  
 We ended the trip fishing.  All of the girls caught fish and again with the picnic.  My picnic baskets were well used.    In the end, I left them with their dad in the middle of nowhere.  I mean literally nowhere, no houses, barns, towns, not even an electric pole, nothing but pasture...  It was amazing.
 I love my nieces and look forward to our time together.    They are great young ladies and I was proud of how well they did.  We had a lot of fun and I can't wait for our adventures next years.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

I wish I was on the porch..

 Despite the heat my vegetable garden is doing great.  The corn, beans, onions, garlic, pumpkins, and cucumbers are making progress.
We have been super busy here.  Between seeing old friends and staining a barn we are exhausted.   
 My nieces will be here tomorrow and we are looking forward to a fun filled week.  
Despite my neglect my flowers are blooming.   I have a few shots to share.
 I have a few more hummingbird photos.
 She makes me tired just looking at pictures of her.
Well, I have things to do to get things ready for the little ones.  Hope everyone is enjoying family time this summer.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Patience pays...

I love my Jacob Cline Monarda and this year they are putting on a show.  Sitting in the front row is my hiccuping hummingbird.  I call it the hiccuping hummingbird because it only shows up to my feeders after they have fermented.   She likes her sugar water on the syrupy side.  Right now she is enjoying the monarda flowers.  I had to sit quietly in 87 degree sunshine, with ants crawling on me, and not move an inch to get these shots.  It was well worth it.  I hope you enjoy.

I must say I'm pretty proud of my photos.  What have you taken pictures of that you had to put extra effort into?

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?