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

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Autumn Splendor...

 Ok, so  you were expecting bright colors and instead you see this shy guy blending in.  This ruffed grouse is usually sitting on his log when I jog past.  My observant bird dog has yet to see him.   That is fine with me.  It is fun to see him looking so miffed that we are interrupting his day.  The rest of the photos are an attempt to capture the beauty around our place.  The colors are so vibrant.  Usually by now the snow and wind have chased the leaves away.  This weekend was super windy, but the colors held.  Fall is by far my favorite time of the year.  "When every leaf is a flower, but only so for an hour."  Luckily Robert Frost was wrong this year and we have enjoyed weeks of blooms. 

You have to love cell phones.  I never would have carried the camera with me as I got on the roof to clean the gutters.  It was fun to observe the world from a different perspective.
 Back on solid ground, I tried to capture the autumn splendor.   This is the best show our little Fall Fiesta Maple has ever put on.

 It just makes you want to wander off into the woods.
 It is rare we get to see this much red.  The red ozier dogwood and the sedum add wonderful highlights to our normal golden colors.
 This Music Box Rose is putting on some fall fireworks of its own.  It can't stop blooming.  I don't mind.  My only regret is it doesn't have much of a scent.  It does make up for it in blooms.

 Our one little apple tree is laden with apples.  I have canned 6 pints of apple cider, froze apple pie filling for 6 pies, made two apple pies to eat, and one apple crisp.  It hasn't even made a dent.  This is the best they have ever tasted.   I plan on making some Dutch apple pie jam, apple syrup, and maybe even try to dehydrate some in my oven.  
That is it for the fall frolic.  I hope you enjoyed the tours.  I am anxious to see how long it will last.  The winds this weekend, didn't strip the leaves so hopefully we can enjoy a few more weeks.  How are the colors where you are?

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Something old is new again and project people...

My husband and I are project people.  Rarely does a weekend go by that we aren't doing something.  This weekend it was the bell.  We bought it at an auction in 2014.  It has been driving me nuts as it is difficult to do anything with, because it doesn't have a bottom yoke.  

I looked and looked, but finally my husband and I put our heads together and came up with an alternate solution.  It would require some wood working on my part.  I would be lying if I said I was afraid to use power tools.  I love using them to create things.

We had some 2x4's leftover from the barn project and I was itching to put them to use.  It took one prototype, before I got the plans right.  That whole measure twice cut once rule never sunk in with me.  Measure once, realize your mistakes and cut twice more is how I roll.  I did finally get it right.  Then I had a little stain station set up.       The bell is waiting patiently in the back while everything dries. 

If you look closely in the photo below you will notice that I used the original braces on the bottom of the bell stand.  That goes back to the cutting rule and angles.  I was never very good at geometry.     Believe it or not, it is sturdy.

I am pretty excited about the outcome.  Finally, it will be useful and out of the way when I'm shoveling snow.  I am happy with how solid it turned out.  I'm not the greatest engineer, but when my husband and I put our heads together we can usually solve a problem.
 Can you see it tucked neatly in the corner?  Now I can ring the bell when supper is on.  It feels good to bring new life to something that wasn't being used.  And that my friends was my weekend project.  Are you a project person?

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Remember when?

Remember long ago when I posted that someday we would build a barn?

First we cut a few trees...
Then smoothed things out...

Then a fire pit and retaining wall.
Now da daaa done..
 One tractor barn...
 Looking to the east.
 Can't you just see a barn dance?  The upper door rolls to the side.
 It had to have a traditional barn door.
 From the upper window facing the cabin.
 From the other upper window facing the freshly mowed orchard.
 A close up of my pulley.  I think the contractor put it upside down, but I'm not climbing up there to change it.

There you have it.  It took a year or two, but it happened.  Around here we take our time, save our money, and slowly but surely get things done.  I am happy to have that project finished.    What is a big project that took you awhile before it happened?

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Please partake in my peck of peaches...

 I am lucky enough to know somebody whose brother-in-law owns a peach orchard in Arizona (I think it is Arizona).  Every year I get a peck of perfect peaches.  They are ripe when I get them and so there isn't a lot of time to piddle around.  I cannot describe how absolutely plump and juicy they are.  Amazing does not come close to describing them.  Luckily, I had a few days off when I got them.   

This is what happens to a peck of peaches and more...
6 jars of canned peaches,  
3 jars of peach barbecue sauce,  
3 jars of peach syrup,  
7 jars of spicy vanilla peach jam, 
3 jars of peach salsa,  
4 jars of black bean salsa,   
2 jars of cherry jam,  
1 cherry pie, 
8 sweetgrass braids 
batch of Grandma's peach kuchen, and
4 big bottles and 10 little bottles of rhubarb/cherry wine.

I was extremely happy with my sweetgrass.  They love moisture and I have them planted next to our pond.  I wasn't sure how well they would do during a dry year, but they were fine.  The braids are shorter than normal, but still smell as sweet.  
 We had company on Saturday.  Some blog followers stopped by to see the gardens.  I made a batch of my Grandma Hyde's Kuchen.  Since we are all related on the German side (my Grandmother's side) of the family, it was the perfect treat for a summer afternoon.  Ironically, the potholder you see below the last slice of kuchen was made by my Grandma Hyde. In case you were wondering kuchen is German for cake.

Grandma's Peach Kuchen
1 c. flour
1/4 c. powdered sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. butter

2 eggs
1 c. sugar
1/4 t. salt
3 T. flour
1 c. sour cream 

Slice peaches over the crust.  Beat filling and pour over the peaches.  Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes and 325 for 35 minutes.  Enjoy with a cup of coffee.  

I wasn't just in the kitchen creating culinary joys and entertaining guests.  We went to the local greenhouse and bought a few trees.  We got a Newport plum with bright red leaves to add to our golden hues and another Bali Cherry.   The other little Bali bugger did so good I added another to the orchard.  I forgot to mention that the homemade cherry pie turned out grand.  A bit tart, but delicious none-the-less. To the left are leaves from a wild chokecherry.  

It isn't the best picture, but the little Newport plum does look grand.  It is nestled among the wild ferns and thimbleberries.   It rained all day today.  It was much needed.  Not just for the newly planted trees, but also to alleviate the other plants from a long dry spell.  What did you do over the labor day weekend?

Sunday, August 28, 2016


It was a quiet weekend.  Very little exciting to share.  There does seem to be a lot of insects around this time of year.  I couldn't get close enough to a butterfly and didn't have my camera with me when I saw the world's creepiest red bug.  Still I got a few photos.

 A very intimidating spider.  
 My hiccuping hummingbird left, but the hummingbird moth showed up.  They always look so angry.

The only reason I was able to capture this dragonfly was because his right wing is broken.  The dragonflies at our pond are unmerciful with their fighting.  This guy hid under a branch and they still went after him.  They are not very nice.  

Any interesting bugs in your garden?  I sure wish I had been able to capture the red wasp looking thing.  It had black hairs sticking out all haphazardly of it's bright red fat thorax.  It was one of the ugliest things I've ever seen.  

This little wooly caterpillar was scooting along when Kelly and I went on our evening walk.  He is the first one I've seen this year.  I had to add him to the post.

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.