November 30, 2012 – Annual “Rural Route Reader?”

I thought I was way ahead of the game this year.  I had the annual Rural Route Reader conceived, created, and sent out to the printer the last week of November.  There’s always with a bit of trepidation when the package comes back from the printer. I open the package, hoping the printer put the pages together correctly and that the layout made the digital journey to the printer the same way it looks on my computer.

This year my trepidation paid off.  The package was the right size, 11×17, and the right number of copies, but the Reader underwent a radical transformation.

It’s almost as if a poster for a Christmas program in Vermont was switched at birth with the Reader!

There will be a slight delay in getting the Reader out this year.

November 25, 2012 – Apple Communion

One of the favorite services of the  Ames UU is the Apple Communion.

Today was the day.  The early spring and regular last frost meant there were virtually no local apples this year, so these came from Missouri.

After bringing us along with the life and story of the apple, she’s finally ready to let us commune!

November 19, 2012 – Brief Morning on Lake Superior

Before the noon funeral, we were afforded a few brief moments on Lake Superior.

silhouettes on rocky beach at sunrise

We awoke before the sun and headed down to Brighton Beach.

ore boat at sunrise, lake superior

Merchant vessel Walter J. McCarthy Jr. heads out of port for points east.  She’s a modern great lakes boat, about 1/5 of a mile long, measuring 1,000 feet long.

November 20th on the lake in fall coats?

lester creek, creek in late fall

We also took a short walk up Lester Creek.  All of the shots today were taken within the city limits of Duluth, a great place to get outside.

November 18, 2012 – Truck-B-Q

On our way up to Northern MN for the funeral of my step-grandmother who passed away at age 90, blessings on her memory, we ran across this contraption.

At a gas station south of Duluth, saw that Red Green continues to inspire the denizens of Northern Minnesota to think creatively.  Attaching a smoker/grill to your pickup truck so you can have your dinner ready when you get to the hunting shack – just brilliant.  After all, what could go wrong with flames near the engine compartment of your truck?

November 10, 2012 – Late Extraction

We only had one good hive this summer, and for one reason or another, didn’t get around to extracting it until today.

We put the  supers in the back of a car and parked it in the sun to help the honey warm up even more.  It wasn’t enough and still had to hear up the frames to extract.

The yield from one five gallon bucket.

The top of one of the buckets.  We ended up with three 5 gallon buckets about 3/4 full each.  Now we’re set for soap and honey for a while!

November 5, 2012 – Good, Clean, Fun!

This weekend we went over to Morning Sun Farm and had a group soap-making session.  All told, we made four batches of soap, so our share was two batches.

This is the real lye and fat soap, with a little goat milk.  The soap sets up over night and needs to be cut the next day.

Here’s the view after one block was cut and the other awaits the soap cutter.  It needs to sit for about six weeks before use, to make sure the chemical reaction from fat and lye to soap is complete.  This is great soap and it’s hard to live without it once you use it.

November 4, 2012 – Animals Keep on Giving

Even though the four-leggeds have been gone for about a year, they keep giving.

Here’s a nice loader full of compost from where the winter feeder was on the cement barnyard.  This was no-fuss compost, requiring no human intervention.  Scooped up four loader buckets and distributed it to the gardens to help keep the soil top-notch.