July 17, 2006 – Harvest Day

It’s amazing what grows in a week or so. Today was a big harvest day despite the sweltering heat. How hot was it you ask? When I got out of the car, my glasses fogged up at the blast of warm humid air.

But there were things to do – pulling some more of the garlic was high on the list.

We did this first thing in the morning, but it was still hot.

Martin with the day’s digging. The girls were sent out in the afternoon to pick beans. They came back with a 5 gallon bucket and a grocery bag full!

I think the looks on their faces portray the joy of picking beans! We also had a bunch of raspberries to pick, and a big secondary blush of broccoli.

In the evening, since it was so hot and the supers were near full, Joanne extracted honey.

A frame dripping with honey.

Turning the extractor and draining the honey.

Finally, the raw honey in a 5 gallon bucket. All in all, a good day at the farm!

July 16, 2006 – Story Corps Interview

Today I interviewed Linda for posterity’s sake in the mobile recording booth for the Story Corps project. Now, her story, at least up to age 45, will be archived in the Library of Congress!

The interview was about 40 minutes long, and recorded in the airstream trailer pictured above and photo pilfered from the Story Corps web site (I forgot my camera) and we left with a CD of the interview.

We played it for the girls on the way home. They were surprised to learn some things about their mother they never knew. Some day I may get around to putting it on the website, but not today. Today was a bit of a pick-up and put away day. Still lots to do – haven’t even started on the gardens yet. Wouldn’t you know the belt on my mower broke (the belt on the back-up broke last week), so it’s another trip to the JD dealer.

After the interview it was off to Morning Sun farm to pick up the 5 goats that we farmed out to the goat resort. It takes good people to take up milking of 2 goats for eight days!

I’ll back up and fill in the last week of missing entries soon.

July 15, 2006 – Last Day

The 12 hour ride home commenced this morning. It was a tense ride home as it was very hot, the wind was howling, and with the canoe on the van making us a high profile vehicle, it required many stops to find the best way to have the canoe tied down to make it sturdy and not create an annoying humming sound of the straps.

Yesterday’s shot of all the girls on the dock.

The dock in front of the cabin provided the most entertaining moment of the week. You’ll notice the wheels at the end of the dock. The girls were all sitting at the end of the dock, with their feet hanging in the water. I went out to see them and that was enough weight to tip the teeter totter and dunk the girls in the lake, while we all frantically backpedalled to right the see-saw. The screams and scrambling were great amusement to those on land. Since we “live” on the dock, it was strange that it took that long to happen.

I leave with one final view of the lake from the shore near the cabin.

July 14, 2006 – Fire!

One day when we were out on the day trip, we saw a big smoke plume and a couple of ashes even fell down on us. When we got back to camp, we found out the fire was 5-10 miles away (Turtle Lake Fire) and didn’t pose a current danger to the cabin. Here is a photo of the smoke plume from the dock.

In this picture, the smoke looks like cumulus clouds.

July 12, 2006 – On the Lake

We have a lot of fun on the lake. The name of the lake is Lake One, it is connected to Lake Two, Lake Three, and Lake Four. I guess there were so many lakes in Minnesota, they got tired of coming up with names.

One fun thing is boating – here Martin is in a rubber raft with a new found friend.

Here are the four girls on the day trip we take to a more remote island on part of the lake for lunch.

The greatest fun is jumping off the dock into the lake.

Out in the middle of the lake is a giant boulder that lurks just below the surface. Here are the girls standing on the boulder.

July 11, 2006 – Away from the Lake

We make sure to take in some of the fun away from the lake. Blueberries are abundant.

We went out three mornings and got enough to make blueberry, muffins, blueberry cobbler, blueberry pancakes, make one batch of jam and 17 jars of canned berries – great for pancakes.

Even when we leave the farm, we bring the canning kettle!


On one of the trails near the cabin, an Osprey has made a nest.

We also drag the bikes along to ride around camp and on the logging trails.

July 10, 2006 – Vacation Food

We take turns cooking with the other family we go with, so no one person has to worry about cooking all the time and we get different meals than usual.

Martin loves to help cook, and here he is helping crack eggs for breakfast.

Smores are a traditional dinner time snack and Emma is our master marshmallow roaster.

July 9, 2006 – Vacation Begins

Today, the annual trek to the North Woods begins.

We spend our summer vacation at Kawishiwi Lodge, the only resort on a lake in the BWCAW, a federal wilderness area where motorized craft are prohibited. It makes for a peaceful lakeshore and makes swimming out to the middle of the lake more relaxing.

It’s a long trip up there – 520 miles – only a few miles from Canada. We’ve been going to the same place for 9 years and in the area for 12, so the kids are very attached.

July 8, 2006 – Old Neighborhood School Bus

Today is a bit of a local history post. I helped a neighbor put together a program for a high school reunion of the high school that used to be one mile away – Van Cleve High School. We made this photo part of the program. A tornado destroyed the school in the 60’s and by that time the population was starting its drop, so it was never rebuilt.

This is the first Van Cleve school bus. In the muddy days of spring, the kids had to get out when the bus was going uphill because the horses couldn’t pull the wagon filled with kids uphill through the mud. On snowy days, the wagon was replaced with a sleigh.

July 7, 2006 – Little bit of Oat Hay

Today, the oat buffers along our farm were baled. Since all my wagons were occupied and there were only 13 or so bales, we just used the truck to pick them up.
There was a short waterway that we couldn’t get to using the tractor and baler, so we snuck the truck in and picked up the loose straw hay (still has the oats attached)

We’re looking forward to using this as bedding in the chicken coop in the winter as it will give the hens something good to scratch in the winter.
It was good work (it didn’t take long) and there’s something about making hay that is rewarding, no matter how little.

July 5, 2006 – Working with the Cub

Today’s entry doubles as this week’s Photo Friday Contest entry. This week’s theme is “Summer.”

I had just a little bit of raking to do today on the buffer strip in the neighbor’s field. I borrowed the neighbor’s rake and hitched up the Farmall Cub to rake the oat straw.

Nothing says summer like making hay on a hot day.

July 4, 2006 – Fireworks and Broccoli

Happy July 4th! It’s wonderful to watch fireworks through the eyes of a 5 year old.

One of today’s tasks was to put up broccoli. We even caught it this year before any heads turned to flowers!

Broccoli out in the garden, unaware of the knife poised at it stem.

Broccoli florets floating in the sink in salty water – driving any insects out.

Finally, vacuum sealed broccoli vacuum sealed after blanching and cooling. I even chopped up the stems in the food processor and cooked it with the chicken broth from last week’s butchering and froze it to make cream of broccoli soup.