August 26, 2013 – Deck Demolition Time

We are going to replace the small front entry deck with something that affords ample room to actually sit on the front deck.  But first, out with the old. After prying off all the decking boards and railing, it was time to enlist the help of the tractor to pull out the posts.

Any day you get to fire up the tractor to destroy things is a good day, and the ease in which this lifted up was a delight!

August 23, 2013 – Nail Challenge

Martin is at it again offering up this challenge.  Can you balance 16 nails on the head of one nail?  You can affix the nail that the other nails balance on to a board or some other device, but other support is allowed.  Think about it, or try it and scroll below to see the solution…

















Elevation from above.

Elevation from below.

August 21, 2013 – Gardening Overload

Posts have been a bit absent lately.  I’ve been imprisoned by the abundance of the garden and fruit trees.

This is the last of three pendulous peach trees.  Although officially sick of peaches for the moment, we’ve got  canned peaches, peach pie filling, peach jam, dehydrated peaches, frozen peaches, grilled peaches, peach smoothies, and even some rotten peaches rotting in the sun.

In addition to the peaches, the plums are right behind, the green beans are being transformed into dilly beans and frozen beans, and blackberries and raspberries continue the march to ripeness and the next variety of apples is coming into season.

August 19, 2013 – First Day of School (almost)

I dropped Emma off at Iowa State today.

Even though school doesn’t start until next Monday, there are things to attend to, like setting up the room, getting books in order, trying out for Marching Band, and going through orientation.

She’s staying in Martin Hall (easy for little brother to remember).  She’s got everything she needs, her purse and a box chock full of peaches!  Let the adventure begin!

August 15, 2013 – Peach and Pear Season Begins

The best-ever peach, pear and apple season at high hopes continues with the first harvest of pears and peaches.

Taking the earliest-ripening peaches over to the house.

reliance peach

While we knew that pears ripened best off the tree, when the first few started falling, I thought it was time to figure out when to pick them. One source said if you lift a pear horizontal to the ground, if it breaks from the branch, it’s ready to take inside and put in the fridge for longer keeping, or in the house for a few days for immediate eating.

We’ve got three of these baskets of pears in the fridge, waiting…

August 13, 2013 – Vulture Amusement

There is a pair of vultures that like to hang out near my cube at work.

They’ll sit for a while with their wings extended.

Sometimes they’ll sit side-by side and keep a look out.  With the turkey vultures looking into us trapped on the inside on a beautiful day, I wonder if we offer the same amusement to them as we get when we go to the zoo to watch all the confined animals!

August 10, 2013 – Back on the Road

Linda has not had any time for acting as a guest minister with the CPE schedule, but today she went up to Okoboji to speak to the Iowa Lakes congregation.  She spoke about her personal experiences in CPE this summer and how might connect to a larger world.

It was a weekend in the car for me – up and back to Rochester on Saturday to drop off Martin for a week with grandma and Auntie. And then up and back to Okoboji on Sunday.

August 3, 2013 – Eclectic Food Day

Today was a serious putting food away day.

I have to lead with the most perishable item, this Dutch apple pie that Martin made with a jar of apple pie filling that didn’t seal.

But 11 others did seal for winter-time fruit pies.

A dehydrator batch of dried apples.

A couple of canner loads of various sizes of blackberry applesauce.  For blackberry fans, this combination, with a few splashes of lemon makes a great applesauce. Plus three more gallons of peeled, sliced apples went into the freezer.

Almost as an afterthought, some beans and broccoli were blanched and frozen.

In case none of this tastes good, a liter of brandy soaks up some sugar and blackberry to fend off winter colds!