Monday, December 26, 2016


After a very long month, we had a quiet Christmas at home.  We just settled in and watched the blizzard.  It was nice not worrying about driving on bad roads.
 I took Ella snowshoeing, before the winds picked up.
 She was super happy to get out and run after being at the kennel.
 The blizzard started out quietly, but when the winds picked up it got pretty nasty. 
 The deer got their Christmas meal.
 The bird feeders were empty when we got home.  I filled them and within 4 minutes the birds came in droves.  
This month was difficult, but made easier by family and friends.  I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2016


He was the youngest of 11,
Also the youngest of the Greatest Generation.
Epitomizing what that generation was known for.

Growing up on a farm during the 30's.
Stories of driving teams in the fields. 
Racing them against the town upstart.
He won.  Since I am a teacher, 
he was quick to let me know,
with a twinkle in his eye,
 he was smart enough to be quite naughty in school.

He snuck off, while his mom was visiting his sister,
to sign up for the Air Force and serve like his older brothers.
He missed WW II,
but was stationed in England after the war.
He spoke of the hardships that country endured,
don't eat the meat pies,
the police carried billy clubs,
and the incessant rain.
His mom chewed him out for not writing,
so he asked his bunkmate to.
Mom knew.

He came home, settled down and married.
Fifty eight years,
through thick and thin.
Raised 4 kids.
Kids, grandkids, great grandkids.
30 years at IBM,
working overtime,
driving through the Minnesota winters.
No complaints, 
because that is what great men do.

He is held in our hearts.
except when that gleam was in his eye,
laidback humor,
but quick to razz you,
active thoughts on life,
never ruffled, 
always a story.

I am thankful I knew you.
You taught me to look at both sides 
and to always see the humor.
You are a wonderful man.
You raised a remarkable son.
You will be missed and forever in my heart.

Gene Fuller 1929-2016

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Winter awaits...

We have been busy.  Thus, I haven't been able to take Ella for her weekend run.  We were finally able to get out on Saturday.  She was super happy to get out, as you can see.
 See Ella Run.
 Run Ella Run.
Ok, maybe we should stop running.

That's better.

 I enjoyed watching this doe and fawn today.
 I needed to slow down and enjoy what is around me.
I guess they just want to see what is around them.  It has been a chaotic last few weeks.  I hope everyone else is experiencing a more soothing season.

Sunday, November 27, 2016


Hygge (pronounced Hoo-ga) is a Danish word.  It is a word that does not have an exact definition.  In fact, if you google it you will find no definition is the same.  Basically it is "the absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming; taking pleasure from the presence of gentle soothing things."  The Danes are known for routinely being considered the happiest people in the world.  It is somewhat baffling since a majority of the time in Denmark is winter or rain.  

 I've been reading a lot about hygge as winter is now upon us.  I believe life is too short to be miserable, so I am studying up on hygge.  Come to find out that we already incorporate much of this philosophy in our cabin.  Most of the articles have some basic themes. 

Fire is important.  Either candles, fireplaces, or (in our case) our little stove.  Fire creates a feeling of peace and coziness.  A feeling of relaxation is the central theme for hygge.

 Hygge embraces connecting with nature.  Getting outside to enjoy the fresh air.  The saying is "there is no bad weather, only bad clothes."  It is tradition that Ella and I get out every Saturday or Sunday to go for a run, walk, or snowshoe.  It rare we miss our weekend outings and we are aware of how to dress for cold weather.
 The articles also encourage spending time with people and do group activities.  I think we have that covered also.  My nieces know that if they come to our cabin and there is even an inch of snow on the ground we will be sledding.  
Since winter lasts forever in our neck of the woods, it is usually still winter when our nephew and his family come out to turkey hunt.  Besides hunting, we always find plenty to do, enjoy good meals, and play a mean game of Bear in the Woods.  
When the activities are over there is always a hot cup of coffee and a good book waiting.  Pair that with a cozy blanket and a roaring fire.  Then throw in a scented candle.  Don't forget the dog curled up at your feet and our cabin becomes hygge heaven.    

 I'm sure it is even cozier if the dog is on the couch and you are quilting or watching a good movie.
 Don't forget to look out the window and enjoy the beauty of winter.  It doesn't hurt if you are inside making good food.  The smell of homemade bread certainly creates a feeling of comfort.
 Of course if you are going to make good food, it is even better if you can share it with family and a stuffed penguin.  (I have no idea why my husband is holding a stuffed penguin.)

 Don't forget dessert.  A pie will help get rid of anything annoying (except dishes and the snow that needs shoveled).  I guess shoveling would fall under the winter activity category.
 Cozy blankets are another mainstay in the hygge articles I read.  I'm up for that.
 In fact, I consider our bed to be one of the coziest, most peaceful, and loving places a person could be.  My husband made the bed and I made the quilt on it.  Add that with an open window and flannel sheets and life is very good indeed.
I encourage you to read about hygge.  I can say that when I am home I am happy and it has a lot to do with the things that most hygge articles recommend.  Life is too short to be unhappy or stressed and long winters can add to that feeling.  I try to do everything possible to make our home inviting for guests and a comfort for my husband and I.  

I hope my post sparked some interest in this Danish belief and you are able to do a little reading about hygge and incorporate as much as possible into your lives.   I promise you won't be sorry.  Have you heard of hygge?

Sunday, November 20, 2016


Yes, it snowed.  It was bound to happen.  I enjoyed this fall immensely and cannot complain about a few inches of the white stuff.  I was too busy sitting on the porch soaking in the sun with my lovely sidekick.  I have to thank Gumbo Lily for her post on the joys of a French Press.  I saw one for $9 and thought, what the heck, I'll give it a try.  Wow.  It makes the best coffee.  Smooth as silk.  I am very thankful for this new pleasure.  
 It warmed up considerably today and life was good.  

 Kelly and I had the week off.  A stay-cation they call it.  I think of it more as enjoying the simple pleasures in life.  We went hunting.  I was lucky enough to harvest a 6x6 buck on the prairie.  I was then able to focus on bow hunting at our property.  The weather has been so warm it has been a joy to sit for hours in the treestand watching wildlife and listening to the geese head south. 

Unfortunately, that was cut a bit short on Thursday when at about 3:00 in broad daylight a very large male mountain lion trotted from our garage (where we both were about 15 minutes prior), up the driveway, and up the road.  He acted like he owned the place.  That brought an abrupt halt to heading out to the treestand in the dark or coming back in the dark.  It also brought an end to Ella and I taking our weekly jogs down the road.  We have moved to Deadwood for our jaunts. 
Ella now goes outside with an armed escort.  She thinks that is pretty cool.  Being housebound wasn't too terrible.  I had a quilt to work on, summer sausage to make, meat for deer jerky, and made some great biscuits and gravy.  Oh, I also enjoyed plenty of that coffee maybe even a little wine.  Kelly and I also enjoyed our favorite movie "A Good Year" as it was on quite a bit this week.  
 I still hunted, but with a camera, safely in the cabin.  This young buck thinks he owns the place.  While 4 does were around, he polished that one antler on a tree until is shone like ivory.  The does didn't look at him once.  Maybe next year.
 This 3 x 3 below is a little wiser.  He never came out into the open and courted the ladies very adamantly.   The does couldn't ignore him.  

It is back to work tomorrow.  Things will be getting busy with the holidays around the corner.  This week reminded me of all the things I am thankful for. Time with my husband is always coveted.  I also enjoyed a beautiful fall, a faithful dog, a good cup of coffee, a glass of wine, the ability to harvest meat, delicious food, a cabin in the woods surrounded by nature, and a sewing machine to quilt on.   I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.  What are you thankful for? 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Good Morning...

It has been a busy week.  Between hunting, butchering, quilting, and everything else I didn't have any photos to share for the week.  This morning I wandered around the yard and took a few pictures to post.  Good morning, grab a cup of coffee, and let us take a walk.
 My calendula is still blooming.  I moved them to the greenhouse and they are very content there.
 I am extremely pleased with my Aldo Leopold bench in front of the barn.  The sun hits it just right and it is a great place to sit and soak in the morning sun.
 My bees and my orchard are both ready for winter.  This is the first year the deer have not raided the orchard in the fall.  I'm hoping this means lots of berries next year.

 Our nicely manicured lawn.  I never thought I would mow in November.  It looks perfect.
 I love my wheel fence.  I am continually working on it.  Adding wheels as I find them.  
 I can't help but show the flowers again, as they cheer me up everytime I walk by.  Do you like my windmill accent?  A good friend thought I would be able to incorporate it into the garden and she was right.
Well, it is time to go.  Ella is insisting that I play pinecone catch with her.  Do you see her pinecone next to her feet?  She is adamant we enjoy the day.  It sounds like my next photos will be of snow.  I hope everyone is enjoying their fall.  It has been just wonderful.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

I ate the frog...

If you have ever been to a motivational speaker, they talk about doing the thing you dislike the most right off the bat and getting it over with.  Thus, eat the frog.    I ate my frog today and put the backing, batting, and quilt top together.  Then I basted it.  Then I undid everything because there were wrinkles and did it all over again.  I don't have any fancy tables.  It was all done on the cold basement floor.  

I love the methodical parts of quilting, but I'm afraid there are quite a few parts I dislike.  Picking out the material is very hard for me (usually my husband helps).  I am horrible at cutting (measure once cut twice is my motto).  Then the delicate matter of putting all three layers together.  Did I mention I had to do that on a cold basement floor? There were spiders involved.  

Now that I ate the frog.  This means all I have left is my favorite part.  The quilting. Yahoo.  I need to be done by Christmas.  It is going to be difficult, because the weather is AMAZING.  We mowed the lawn today.  We have never mowed the lawn in November.  It is unheard of.  I am also spending time in the woods bowhunting.  I haven't seen a likely candidate for the freezer yet, but I will be patient.   It does help that the time changed and it is darker earlier.  That makes it easier to sit at the machine.

Anyway, that is what I am up too.  Just a little of this and a dab of that.  I'm sure this project will keep me busy now that I am to the fun part.  Any big projects you are working on?

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.