September 30, 2011 – Raspberry Applesauce

In the never-ending quest to preserve apples, the third product is now on the shelf. First was canned apple pie filling, then dried apples for snacking, now applesauce.

These jars sitting on the storage shelves in the basement have a red color due to the raspberries added to the apples. One canning episode was good for about 44 jelly-sized single serve jars for lunches at work. We’ve had no trouble using our raspberries without going to market this year – we traded raspberries for buffalo meat, and handed off 18 lbs of berries to a vinter who promises us bottles of dry wine 6 months from now.

one year ago…”Thingmajig Thursday #227″

September 25, 2011 – Claire Update

Claire is now starting her Sophomore year at Macalester in St. Paul, MN.


Photo Credit Macalester College

The year-opening convocation is opened by a piper, in the Scottish tradition of the school.


Photo Credit Macalester College

The guest speakers were a couple of Minnesota natives, Garrison Kellior, waxing about life and politics.  A belated 19th birthday to Claire!

one year ago…”Doing the Parade Thing”

September 24, 2011 – A Sweet Day

Today was  honey extraction day.  As GJ says, it’s all about separation today.  First, you separate the supers from the hive and therefore separate the bees from their honey.  Then you separate the individual frames from the supers.

Then you separate the beeswax from the frames.  Emma with the heated knife and gj with a wax scraper.

Then you separate the honey from the frames in the extractor.

Then you filter out all the bee parts and remaining wax from the honey.

A final look at Emma with a nice frame.  We ended up with about 15 gallons of honey from two hives.  Shortly after the aerial jockeys sprayed around our farm, the hive at our place ha greatly reduced activity.  After the bees died, the wax moths took over and there was no honey – but the two hives at another location adjacent to about 15 acres of prairie, did very well.

one year ago…”U of M Public Relations Disaster”

September 23, 2011 – Best Tool Purchase Under $200

When I bought this Delta planer many years ago, I didn’t quite know what a fantastic job it would do.

Sometimes you forget that you’re saving things.  That was the case with some of the floorboards from the old house we tore down the first few years we lived here.  I found them in the lower portion of the barn where we seldom travel and thought they’d be a great floor for the back room we are remodeling.

The planer worked hard on this day – it took old, grey-weathered 100 year old+ tongue and groove boards and made them look brand new.  The good news is that they will actually fit in the room without having to adjust any doors or the like.

one year ago…”Thingamajig Thursday #226″

September 21, 2011 – Time for Chelsea to Move on…

We’re now looking for a home for Chelsea, our miniature horse.

It’s the only livestock purchase that we regret.  It’s the same story heard often – young teen girls beg for a horse, parents relent and horse gets ignored.  Chelsea has grown up to be a “Mack Truck” of miniature horses.

Here is Chelsea the day she arrived on the farm.  We’re hoping we can find her a good home with people who will know how to train and keep her, hopefully with others of her kind.

one year ago…”Troubled Waters at University of Minnesota”

September 19, 2011 – Mark One More Off Claire’s Bucket List

Claire was able to cross one item off her bucket list.

Ay guesses, where she is before scrolling down?

It’s Garrison Kellior’s annual meatloaf dinner and street dance outside the Fitzgerald Theatre in Downtown St. Paul.

We have subjected her to weekly doses of the Prairie Home Companion and stories from Lake Wobegone on many Saturday evenings while preparing dinner or driving somewhere in the car.  She, however, gets to be the first one to attend the meatloaf dinner!

one year ago…”Mushrooms Ready to Dry”

September 18, 2011 – Zillow Needs some Work!

There’s a relatively new web site that provides real estate estimates. The cool thing is the aerial map of the property, the bad thing is the estimates of property values.

Here’s the map of the property which is fairly recent – this year because I can see the collapsed granary in the back pasture, but not since the windstorm in the middle of July because all the trees are still standing.

I love being able to pick out features in this map. The sheep grazing in the northeast corner, the garden beds, the rows of baby trees along the north and east, the path of the new septic system and drainfield in the north central, and it looks like a car and trailer in one of the gardens hauling straw mulch in the southwest.

However, the estimated property value is quite spastic.  According to Zillow, in the past 18 months or so, the property value has ranged from $70,00 to $200,000!

one year ago…”Emma Homecoming”

September 17, 2011 – Emma’s Golden Birthday

Today was Emma’s “golden birthday” so she had some friends over for the evening and topped it off with a bonfire.

We take our bonfires seriously (perhaps a bit too seriously).  At any rate, this one did not escape beyond our property boundaries!

What better to do around a bonfire than plank on a pile of teenagers?

one year ago…”Farm Energy Working Group Meeting”