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Within the confines of this blog, you will find bits and pieces of the life and times of myself, my family and friend dear and near., far and wide, few and far between. You will find bits and pieces of my world, tho small to some, but huge to me. You will find everything from 'soup to nuts',; recipes, hobbies,crafts, gardenings,loves of my life, GrandLoves-a-Plenty, and even my pets... Sooo, if you can handle family life, enjoy the tour of my 'Stuffings'.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Harvest's End

Late into Sept. and we were harvesting potatoes on a sunny day.  Bill dug them with his homemade digger that he pulls behind the tractor.  Next ~
 since my bender doesn't bend so well I can still handle the tractor.
I do the driving of Lil Blue while Bill fills the bucket with the spuds.
Back at the house, the potatoes are rinsed the first time while still in the bucket of the tractor. 
 The bucket is tipped slowly, that's my job, then poured carefully on the self-fabricated screen.  After they are sorted and the last of the dirt is sprayed off, ( we both do that ),

they are left to dry in the breeze before ~ we start

 sorting and bagging.  They are left in a dark corner of the garage until we finally move them to the cellar in the basement.  Normally, we store them right away, but this year, our basement is damp from all the fall rain we've been getting.  In the meantime, we have been warming the house on cooler evenings to help the drying process along plus fans.  
 This year's harvest includes German Butterballs, a few Yukon Gems, All Blues and Purple Vikings.
 The onions suffered some of the hail damage on their tops.  They've been sorted, brushed clean  of the garden soil and 
 braided for winter's many meals.  There are 5 braids all total and a small onion sack full of the one's without a stem long enough to braid.  The bruised ones were cleaned and salvaged what I could by chopping and freezing for hot-dishes.

I apologize for the length of this post, but I promise this is the end of our gardening and harvesting.  The apples too, were hail damaged so most of what we picked was sauced and made into pie filling.   

 Who needs an apple picker when you have~
 the real deal !  Bill trusts me to lift him as high as the tractor bucket will go so he can hand pick as many apples as he can reach.
 Sad, but most of these were so badly damaged that they became deer food.  I couldn't even make sauce out of all those bags of apples.  The basket and bucket were the best we could do....such a treat, at that.  
Our harvesting is nearly done.
Today I canned the saurkraut that was fermenting in the garage.  I only have last season's photo  ~ sorry, but we got the same amount.
Oh, and
we were blessed to save a total of a dozen pumpkins...mostly pie pumpkins that I baked off, pureed and stored for later use.
And that's it folks.  My pantry is full, the freezer is stacked to the top and I have no complaints.
We have no control over the weather so we are just very grateful for what we 'were' able to salvage.
Amen to that for God is Good !
Have a grateful week dear friends and family.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The ' S ' has Returned

I guess all I can say is...Dag Nabbit !!!
 Yes, you're seeing it, all right ~ that nasty white stuff.
Bill didn't even get his easy chair off the deck yet.
 Just a couple days ago, 
 we were enjoying the beautiful scenery across the road and
the gorgeous Sugar Maple in our yard around the treehouse and the barn.  Woe is me :/
 My favorite tree by the cabin no longer sports it's
Red Coat.  I'd much rather see these vibrant colors we've been blessed with the past couple weeks than ~~~
 THIS.  Go away ' white stuff falling from the sky.'
BUT, on the brighter side...
I've once again dragged out the canning supplies, 
 you know, all the things that make life easier for this domestic diva and her dear hubby.
 In the past two days, I've whipped out 51 pints of Raspberry Jelly, 18 pints of Pickled Beets,
5 pints of Pickled Carrots, 11 quarts of Canned Apples ready for pie, and another 7 quarts and one more pint of Applesauce.
Phew, I'm tired but it's a good tired...a feeling of accomplishment.  Next time I will show you what else we did this week.  We feel like little squirrels and the birds, storing food for a long winter...so we've been told.
THAT, I'm not quite ready for tho.
So it goes in our great north woods where we happily choose to make our home.  The changing of the four seasons is actually quite OK with me.

Have a great weekend.  I'm going to snuggle under the workings of a warm shawl with my crochet hook and some yarn.  What are you going to do?  Whatever it may be, may it make you happy.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Makin' Due

Last week I told you about the hail damage we had that destroyed most of our gardening efforts of the year.  Well, we have to make due with what we've been given so... with the split cabbages ~
 we made sauerkraut !  
 Our damaged cucumbers, what we could salvage, we made
cucumber salads, 
 pickles, and relishes.
 The apples were knocked to the ground from every tree, so
we made applesauce, frozen apple slices and juice for jelly.
 The tomatoes, peppers and onion tops were badly damaged.
Make spaghetti sauce !
 And tho this next picture is from last year, with a perfect squash,
this years squash got ' squashed.'  So did the pumpkins, but 
' No Worries.'
Make PIE !!!
 So many times in my lifetime, as a child and still today,  I've heard it over and over again...
" Make due with what you have. "  
I've heard those words out of my parents mouths so much
that, I know they knew it from experience.
They have taught me well and I so appreciate the childhood and 
life I had as a country girl.
As for today and the rest of my life,
I will always be a country kid, even in my Sept. years.

Lovin' Life as it Comes
Makin' Due

Thursday, September 4, 2014

We Haven't Given Up ~ Yet

What can I say?  We have sure had our run of rains and now, once again, ~~~~HAIL !
 Our son calls from work this morning at 9a.m. warning us to put the vehicles under cover, there's a storm due to hit with large hail within a minute or two.  Not one minute later, the sky turns black, the air is calm and WOW, the winds and hail hit us Again !!!
We were the lucky ones.  We still have power, of which folks across town and to the west, including at the farm where my mother lives, my brothers, all 3, and a few sisters, had trees go down, but no hail.  Just east of my TX. sister that just moved north in June, there was a tornado that touched down but no one was injured.
 Considering all the ' what if's ' we tend to think about when weather turns mean, I'm glad to only have piles of hail on my doorsteps and a loss of my gardens, this time, looking more gloomy than a month ago when we were hit by our first hail storm.
 My carrot tops lay flat on the ground, but the carrots under the ground should still be very productive.
 We lost our red chard.  Every stem lays in the mud, some of the leaves stripped right off the stem.
 The cabbage heads split as they were pelted with hail stones.
The leaves have so many holes, and they just lost their 
' pretty appeal.'
 Tomorrow we will be making sour kraut and if we're lucky, 
a pan of cabbage rolls for dinner.
 Click any photo for a closer look at the damage.
The kale is stripped also with just the center ribs standing.  
The majority of the leaves lay deep in the mud and water.
 I almost cried to see the green peppers I'd left to ripen
til they turned red and sweeter.  I will salvage the little bits 
that are left for soups and homemade pizza.
 Even my flowers, the zinnias and cosmos, took a beating.
 You can also bet that I'll dig the heirloom tomatoes
out of the mud, wash them thoroughly and still enjoy them.
We already have lost so many tomatoes from the first hail storm, the centers rotting as they'd try to ripen.  Like I'd said last time,  I WILL be buying tomatoes...again!

 We will attempt to stand the corn back up, tho doubtful.
The ground is so saturated and their roots are so loose.
I think we'd best pick what we can and call the rest of it 
another loss.  But, how we love sweet corn cooked within 
ten minutes of being picked.
 What we both agree with, is that there will be no pumpkins to sell this year.  It's a shame but we cannot sell hail damaged goods. 
Besides, what the hail did not get, ---
 the deer did.  There are at least a half a dozen of the little darlings eating every bite full they can get.  Do they know something we don't?  Is this going to be another bitter and long winter?
Usually the deer don't start chewing on the produce until it's ripe.
 This last photo shows 3 of the vises of this years pumpkin growing.
One, the black foliage is loss of growth from the first hail storm. 
Second, tho nearly ripe, this sweet pie pumpkin is also a ' deer ' favorite.  Dang it. and
Third, there is hail damage now to this 2nd growth of foliage which will now die back and not allow cover for the pumpkins.  Any leaves covering the pumpkins 'does help' keep the deer away.
They do not like the stickers on the leaves.  No leaves, thus
easy pickin' and lip-smackin' snacks for the deer.
Though it doesn't look hopeful for us to have anything marketable for our pumpkin/gourd/flower/Indian corn wagon this season,
we haven't quite given up ~ YET !
So it's goes with this year's gardening in our part of the world.
We won't be eating a lot of this year's produce.  It's times like this that I'm grateful I'd made that extra jar of canned tomatoes 'last year' or frozen an extra bag or two of chard and green beans.
We are always blessed for our efforts, one way or another.

Stay Safe and Thankful

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Rambling On

Walk with me awhile.  I'm bored with gardening and mowing lawns so....come along, ramble with me.
 So, I can't decide.  Do I like the green of the Reedgrass, or it's tassels?  I can't decide so I will like the entire patch along my driveway.
 The Speckled Alder can be seen from some distance, 
if you know how to see it.  It's the color purple, dark but bright, that gives itself away.
 Within the thick bark of the Basswood, are pinhole-sized holes drilled by a wood-boring insect waiting within, to finally hollow and destroy this ancient beauty.  Then comes the woodpeckers in search of such tasty morsels, such is the life cycle of this particular tree within our forest.
 The clouds captivate me.  The dark V and the cottonball clouds look like Big Bird to me, lying on his back, just floating along for the ride.  Phew, he just missed those powerlines.
 The Hemlock trunk and roots below, are at our cabin, overlooking the creek.  It's become a favorite place to sit and read, watch the woods and the creek, explore.  The Grandkids take turns crawling throughout the roots.
Look below.
Do you see the confused Flying Squirrel?  These velvet-coated rodents are nocturnal so to see them out in the daytime, there's a good reason.  This particular fella was looking for his home, being blind in the daylight.  His home was in a dead tree that had tumbled down in a storm.  He did find the hollow of his home eventually, as it lay on the ground.  Most likely, he will find another hollow much higher off the ground again.
 Look closely by clicking on any of the photos and you will see much more.  The green rock is full of moss, shadows and lichen.
 The rock below has a surprise.  It appears to be the fossil prints of perhaps a raccoon.  I love happening upon these treasures.
 And check out this freak-of-nature find...it's a rock within the trunk.  Apparently the tree grew ' around ' it.  I've seen this before, especially along a river bank, like this one.  Cool, heh?
 Tattered old buildings always catch my eye.
 This one has eyes of broken out windows and an eeriness
about it.  I wonder what those walls would have to say about 
it's youth?
 Legend has it that this old trappers fort was one of the first established along the northwest shores of Lake Superior.  It's logs were caulked with mud and clay, ceiling, very low and much ventilation.  It's now at a wayside/rest area just north of 
Ashland, WI, not 45 minutes from my home.
 I'm sure the caulking of the cabin was done after it was moved.  It isn't too likely that a nail would have existed back in 1696.  or am I being a skeptic???
This has just been ' me ' taking a reality check.
I've been so busy gardening that I needed a reprieve.  
It was fun finding a few pictures to share with you that really had nothing to do about nothing, just a rambling of my mind.
Now ' that ' could be dangerous.~~~
Hope you enjoyed the walk.
I know I enjoyed your company !