Sunday, October 30, 2016


It was a busy week.  I had plenty of little projects to do around the house.  Nothing big, just a little here and a little there.  Our nephew from Minnesota spent the week with us deer hunting.  We enjoyed his company.  My only regret is he didn't harvest a deer.  

 My first project was to make more caramel apple jam and homemade bread.  It was just too hot this summer to bake.   I also froze two pans of apple crisp.  Our apples were outstanding this year.  Ella will attest to that.  Every time she heard one fall off the tree, she raced over to play with it.  In the end she would eat it.  I guess she figures an apple a day will keep the vet away.  I know I already shared photos of the Camp Robbers in the crabapple tree, but this week was so beautiful I couldn't help but take more pictures.  

Project two required some time with the chain saw.  I cut two birch slabs and then fished my grouse out of the freezer.  The poor bird had hit our window several years ago.  I couldn't let such a pretty bird go to waste, so I froze it until I could come up with something.  Then I saw what I wanted, a grouse fan on birch.  I have pinned the fan in place, after cleaning the tail, and covering it with Borax to dry.  In two more weeks I can complete the project and attach it between the two birch slabs.
Project three was to plant some lettuce and spinach in the greenhouse.  While I was at it, I found a few more things in the greenhouse.  A head of cabbage and some short little carrots.  Looks like coleslaw to me.  I'll let you know how things turn out.  

Project four was making a holder for all of our fishing poles.  This is a bit of a pilot, as I just wanted to try an idea.  Again I went into the woods with a chainsaw and came out with two slabs of pine.  The middle piece was already in the garage.    I drilled, sanded, and ground.  The end result worked pretty good.  The only thing I would change is I would move the divots for the bottom of the rods back a bit more.  Still, it worked and they are now all in the same spot and easy to find.

 The fifth project was to clean out the worm composter and save the castings to mix with water and fertilize my houseplants.  As you can see, Ella was interested in this project.   My sister gave me this composter probably 5 or 6 years ago.  They stay in my basement and I take them scraps about once a month.  I clean out the castings and give them a new bed of scraps, shredded paper, and some old potting soil every spring and fall.  

The sun is setting on a perfect week.  I got a lot of little things done and one big thing.  Kelly and I celebrated being married half my life.  I am very excited about that.  This week made me thankful for many things... an amazing husband, another year of living, a beautiful home, a wonderful dog, our families, my health, beautiful weather, and a good life.  

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Season end...

Fall is slowly coming to a close here.  How do I know?  The last two days the cranes have gone over the cabin in droves.  The only sound that trumps the cries of the cranes would probably be the bugle of a bull elk.    I become entranced watching them dip, circle, and dive.  It continues to amaze me how quickly they move despite going in giant loops.  

 I also enjoy the camp robbers.  They are always so curious, friendly, and bold.  We don't have many here at the cabin, but now that the crabapples are soft they have been camping out in the tree.

 I wish I had been faster with the camera.  At one point today there were 5 blue jays in the crabapple tree.  They were so pretty against the yellow leaves of the apple.
 It is a good thing the birds have the crabapple tree, because the squirrel has been hogging the feeder.  
That is about it for here.  I was pretty busy this weekend.  I'm still working on my bushel of apples.  We went duck hunting Saturday morning.  A tale for another time.  It was Ella's first duck hunt.  My nephew is here bow hunting now.  As always it is nice to have company.  I hope you are all keeping busy.  What birds are at your feeders?

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Buttoned up...

Well, it was a bummer, but I pulled the less hardy things up and put away the garden decorations.  I am officially ready for winter.  I am grateful for a beautiful year and have been lucky enough to share it with others.  
 As you can see, the outside veggie bed is ready for it's winter sleep.  The greenhouse is also put to bed.  I picked the last of the tomatoes and peppers.  All that is left the big unidentified plants (cabbage that doesn't have heads?) and carrots.  My carrots germinated so late they are just tiny.  I have decided to leave them in and see what happens next year.  I also pulled the tea garden wash tub inside.  The calendula and mint are still looking good.  
 My potting bench is neatly tucked into the barn.  On the top shelf are jars of seeds.  In the corner of the photo is the parsley from the greenhouse.  I potted it up and will take it into the house.  
 I have to show these amazing mussel shells I found while we were duck hunting.  I was retrieving a duck, when I found a spot that was loaded with these monster shells.  Obviously the water level had gone down enough that the raccoons had a heyday.  I am sure they are fat, dumb, and happy.  The photo to the right isn't the best, I just wanted to show the shells in relation to something.  I had no idea they could get that big on something like the Belle Fouche River.  One will make a perfect holder for my homemade lotion bars.
Here is a smattering of my projects.  I totally overboiled my caramel apple jam and it solidified.  I haven't done that in a long time.  I saved it in the end.  I was making caramel apple applesauce (no one has ever accused me of healthy eating), so I just added the solid jam to the applesauce and vola some super awesome jam.  I also canned 6 pints of apple cider.  Then the beekeeper stopped by and dropped off 8 quarts of honey.  Yes, dad, 8 quarts.  I bottled 9 bottles of my Red Letter Raspberry wine.  Then I went out and picked that little jar of rosehips.  I used the really cool dehydrator setting on my oven to dry them out for tea.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the parsley will make it through the winter.  Parsley is one of my favorite herbs.

I know I normally take a photo of all my creations, but I've been giving things away as fast as I make them. I was happy to host my uncle and his wife this past week and more company is on the way.   Our fall has been amazing and I am soaking it in.  I have spent several wonderful hours in the treestand and out duck hunting with my husband.  I am a lucky woman and thankful for all I have.  
I hope your fall has been plentiful and filled with pleasant company.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

I will survive...

We finally had a frost.  I am not complaining.  It has been one of the most beautiful falls.  I have a few stalwart flowers that are hanging tough.  They have made it though a dry summer and want to compete with the leaves for a grand show.
 Sooner or later I will stop taking photos of this rose, but I can't help myself.  She is a real lady.
 Every year his phox waits until the bitter end and every year I threaten it with, "If you don't bloom moving you off the front stage."  It listens and it blooms.  Who says you can't talk to your plants.  
 My mother has the most beautiful mums, while I am mum challenged.  This is the only one that has survived the winters here, but I can't say it is putting on a very nice display.  Meanwhile, my asters are always spectacular.   They hide quietly in the beds all year and then, BAM, here they are.
 I found this sad little bloom in my rose bed.  That bed did awful this year.   It just couldn't hold up against the dry weather, despite all of our watering.   

 These are wonderful little volunteer snapdragons.   I love the colors.  The original were a deep red.  They withstood the frost just fine.
 The sedum and black eyed susans are on the downswing.

 The little violas are holding their own.  I don't remember planting them, but I am glad they came up.  
 You would think we stained the barn to match the maple.  We didn't, but they are a perfect match.

These guys are competing with the leaves for color.  I'd say they are doing pretty good.  

I'm afraid that is all I have.  I am miserable with a cold.  A real bummer on such a wonderful weekend.  I hope everyone else is able to fight off the frost and let fall linger a bit longer.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Photo safari...

I have been super busy.  I gathered seeds, took photos, failed at caramel apple jam,  went bow hunting, and wandered around the yard taking photos.   
 These bees are were fighting over the hollyhocks.

 It is rare we have a monarch butterfly here.  This one did laps around the lawn and for fun dove through the sprinkler.
 This wooly caterpillar was headed towards the peak of the cabin.  He probably thought it was a wonderful tree.  I rescued him from disappointment and let him go in the woods.
That is what I saw on my yard safari.  What is wandering around your yard?