July 27, 2013 – Linda’s CPE Summer

Linda has been part of a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) group this summer at Iowa Methodist/Blank Children’s Hospital.  It’s a 40 hour a week formal gig (educational components in the AM and visiting patients in the PM).   Along with everyone’s favorite, on-call in the evenings, overnight, and weekends.

Here’s her group on bow-tie Wednesday.  Last week was rather typical 40 regular hours plus 4-8pm Thurs, 4-9pm Friday, and 8 am-8pm on Sunday.  Wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t  something you had to pay to do!

Outside on a windy day.  On call duties include meeting every life-flight and ER ambulance admittance, along with every code blue, death, and patient/family request for a visit.  Linda’s advice to all of you – she’d be a lot less busy if you stayed off motorcycles and ladders.

July 27, 2013 – They Grow up so Fast!

Fifty-two little yellow fuzzballs arrived this week.  It doesn’t matter what time of year we order chicks, we can always be sure it will bring a cold snap.

Although I must admit that July cold snaps are much more enjoyable than March.  It has been close to or in the 40s, flirting with record lows since they arrived.  But all are doing well so far. In less than 8 weeks they will be all grown up and in the freezer!

July 26, 2013 – Ridin’ the Storm Out

This poor little guy survived the storm last week.

You would not think that blackberry bushes would provide the sturdiest of homes.

Martin was worried during the storm for the bird and relieved to find it still in the nest after the wind had passed. Amazingly enough, nests had fallen out of some big trees, but this one survived.

July 26, 2013 – Pie in a Jar

With the abundance of apples, after freezing many bags, drying many trays, now we’ve moved onto making pie filling.

Here’s a jar that didn’t seal appropriately sitting in front of the apple tree.  Sometimes the headspace is tricky since the filling is so sticky and air bubbles get caught.  This one didn’t seal, so we’ll have to eat it soon -darn!

July 23, 2013 – Apple Season Begins

Let the apple season begin!  Our apple tree that produces ripe fruit ridiculously early in the season is in full swing.

So far, we’ve got over 10 gallons of peeled and cut apple slices in the freezer, waiting for another variety to get ripe, as a mix of varieties is best for applesauce.  Another benefit of freezing is they break down to sauce so much quicker than just off the tree.

July 22, 2013 – Stiff Breeze

Last night we finally had relief from our latest mini-drought.  We had been unable to pull garlic as the ground was too hard  required watering  everyday (or rather morning or evening, and rather Grandma Jo was doing it).

A storm packing winds and rain came our way – 0ver an inch of rain, a temperature drop of 25 degrees in a few minutes and a breeze that verged on the dangerous.

The first corn field on the blacktop (1/3 mile away) didn’t fare thee well.

If the past is any indication, although this cornfield looks bad now, it will more than likely recover and stand back up.

July 18, 2013 – Mystery Hiding Spot

One of Martin’s Grandmothers gave him this popular children’s series bound in one volume she found at a rummage sale.

Martin opened it up and found that a previous owner had cut out the inside of some pages, presumably to hide something. We’re trying to guess what it might have contained. It’s not big enough for a pack of cigarettes, not big enough for a stack of bills. Martin is convinced it held some sort of illicit substance. I thought perhaps the place in the book may be of significance.

Anybody have an idea what might have been hidden? Bonus if you know what the name of the book series is from the bottom few sentences!

July 17, 2013 – First Apricots at High Hopes

After years of pretending it was not a fruit tree, our only remaining apricot tree decided to fruit this year.  It isn’t a pretty tree, it is crooked in the main trunk – a badge of courage after surviving a windstorm that toppled many other trees.

The fruit is smaller than a southern apricot – but I’m still a bit amazed that they can grow this far north at all.

July 14, 2013 – Checking up on the Girls

By chance, we stayed within a few miles of our daughters’ summer workplace.  In fact, we could see the wind turbine at their camp from the balcony of our room!

The girls at Wolf Ridge looking inland (the opposite view looks over Lake Superior).

Self-portrait family shot.

Le Voyageur room at Wolf Ridge.

The small indoor climbing tower. I still think it’s great the girls wanted to work together this summer.

Here’s a view of our B&B cabin from the river. I’m standing on a rock island in the river and wasn’t quite high enough to see all the water over the rocks.

Linda and the “morning pages.”

One of the magical pools below the Inn.

Although we didn’t get a chance to use it, there was a fanciful wood-fired sauna! As if Dr. Suess wasn’t Finnish!

July 13, 2013 – Superior Hiking Trail

We spent the good part of the afternoon hiking on a segment of the Superior Hiking Trail from the Temperance River to the Cross River and back again. Of course the part we covered was less than 1%  of the entire trail (unless you count going there and back – then more than 1.7%!) of the total trail length of 296 miles – Duluth to the Canadian border.

I promised you more self-photos – this along the stretch where the trail goes along the Temperance River.

OK, one more.

Although hard to see in this photo, this is one of my favorite vantage of any north shore stream.  Right here, the river take a sharp 90 degree turn and you can stand on a rock seemingly in the middle of the river and look upstream at eye level with the onrushing waters and look downstream to a waterfall.

Superior Hiking Trail Sign

Finally away from the river, we snapped a photo of a trail marker.

Superior Hiking Trail Boardwalk

Some parts of the trail are wet and have a boardwalk.

Superior Hiking Trail mud

Some portions are wet and have mud.

Other portions are wet and have rock guides.

Superior Hiking Trail maples

Part of the trail passes through a maple forest.

Superior Hiking Trail aspen

Other parts an aspen forest.

Yet other parts, a pine forest.

Superior Hiking Trail ferns

Then there are open areas covered with ferns.

Superior Hiking Trail fireweed

Even some openings adorned with fireweed.

Every once and a while, you get a vista of Lake Superior.

Superior Hiking Trail cross river campground

There is a beautiful campsite at the Cross River.

Cross River

Another rolling and tumbling stream – the Cross River.

Cross River

Cascades, pools, and waterfalls upstream – a great playground.

A parting shot.

July 12, 2013 – Mark and Linda Get-Away

The longest time off Linda will have all summer is this three-day weekend in the middle of July. So we escaped north to Lake Superior. First stop is the always spectacular Palisade Head.

We thought we’d join the self-indulgent trend of self-photos – this is one of many on the trip!

We took a hike along the cliff to the north until we reached the signs alerting us to go no further as not to bother the nesting peregrine falcons – but this is a great view back to the south towards Palisade Head.

Some nifty flowers along the trail.

Fortunately, I was able to hold on and pull myself up from the brink.  But I was a bit perturbed that Linda was snapping photos instead of offering a hand 😉


July 9, 2013 – Fruit on the Way!

It’s shaping up to be a great fruit year.

Cherries are almost done.

Pears are looking fine.

Apples are looking pretty bug-free.

More apples, these are Williams Pride.

Blackberries fruiting and blossoming.

Plums on the way.

First year for apricots!

Love how these apricots grew into a bird nest!

July 8, 2013 – Fallen Peaches

While peach trees aren’t known to be particularly strong, this one decided to fall just into fruit set.

It’s loaded with peaches, and has the will to live by the tiny bit of bark still connected.

A sampling of some of the fruit at ground level.  If they come to fruition, we’ll have the easiest peaches ever to pick!

To help insure its sister does not do the same thing, a little extra support is on the way.

July 7, 2013 – Sheep Update

I have neglected to show off our sheep for this year. After not having any last year, I wanted to get a few to at least keep down the vegetation around the outbuildings.

The two boys are ours and the ewe is on loan. They are all growing nicely. Baaaah!