Sunday, September 30, 2012

It's a wrap

The classroom part of construction is complete. We will come back in about a month to take the oven home.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Only in grand marais

Can you see this on your way to the liquor store

Day 4

We arrived early to put some potatoes in the oven. They are done . Now it's back to work on the oven

Friday, September 28, 2012

End of day 3

These are fire bricks. Sam carefully cleaned it up for the photo

Brick by brick

Messy job

I thought that this was going to be the easy part of the class-but that was far from the truth. The bread baking has been exhausting. I had a sticky mess. The kitchen is hot and we have 9 big dirty bowls . We will end up with 10 loaves...if they aren't any good we will feed it to the chickens


Starter for this peasant bread


Back at the oven project, we are about to lay some bricks. Our bread doughs are fermenting and will bake later this afternoon . Here we are taking the forms off the concrete.

Peasant bread

We shall rise


Good morning

Poolish and starter

Friday, August 3, 2012

The secret life of Bea

Kraut Countdown--Economies of Scale

Every summer Mom’s sisters made at least one visit to the farm.  Mom would make a big dinner (not lunch, lunch was served between dinner and supper). Usually it was roast beef, boiled or mashed potatoes, whatever fresh vegetables were in season, pickles, homemade bread and pie for dessert. If they timed their visit right, they not only feasted on fresh green beans, corn on the cob,  coleslaw, creamy cucumbers and thick slices of fresh tomatoes, but also went home with a trunk full of produce.  My aunts were delightfully funny, interesting accomplished story-tellers.  I was fascinated with these women who bore traces of Mom in their eyes, voices and gestures.

Mom and I were finishing up the last of the dinner dishes and her sisters had trooped off to "settle their dinner" and inspect the gardens. Yes, gardens plural. 

They were hardly even all in the door when we heard Aunt Lucille exclaim, “Wiiillllmmaaa—did you know you have 47 heads of cabbage in the garden?”  

 “Yeah,” Mom replied, “there were more but the cutworms got them.”

“What are you going to do with all that cabbage?” Aunt Stena asked sternly.

“I guess I’ll have to make a little kraut.”

I think that might have been the year she canned over 80 jars.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Countdown to Krautfest

It's Motofest weekend. While many in our small town will be eating pancakes at the fire hall or attending the car show, we will be having Krautfest. Hands down, no pretense of modesty, my mom made the world's best kraut. Sam, Kent and I are on our own this year. The cabbages are ready. The blades are sharpened on the cutter. Over the next few days, I am going to try to share some more about making kraut with Mom and post some photos of our endeavor. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Prodigal Blogger Returns

With stories to tell, photos to share and much catching up to do.

Our sweet Bea is doing well. Sam noticed that every morning she made a beeline ( ha!) for the same spot in the woods. He discovered a well-camouflaged nest of eggs under a gooseberry bush. Which lead to yet another discussion of her reproductive status that went something like this:
Me:  How sad--she's going to all that work for nothing
Sam:  I don't know, there's a lot that goes on here when we're gone all day. There are wood ducks and other ducks passing through.
Me: Conflicted: Infertility vs Anonymous encounters with unknown species. (A bit like last call at the VFW bar)

I had noticed earlier this summer that she was showing signs of being broody

 Hiding in plants.

Then the heat wave hit and she and Karl became obsessed with waiting for a blast of cool air when we opened the door.

We love her.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Company's coming

Sam and I are at the love shack in Okoboji and are having our friends Dick and Marlys over for dinner. We bought some wild salmon and picked up some things at the farmers market this morning. The furniture and contents here are best described as "early old geezer" which suits me just fine. I have the table set-it's a combination of my flea market finds and what was here . It took about 5
minutes and makes me happy.
Painfully and slowly typed from my iPhone

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Rhubarb muffins

Because its Sunday morning,  the coffee is ready and every time I copy this recipe I forget an ingredient (yes, Audrey, it does call for an egg)  and one of these life-altering-too-delicious-to-just-be-called-a-muffin awaits me, I attempting to post a photo of the recipe
OK, that seems to have worked. I do not add nuts. I started leaving them out of baked goods because Zac didn't like them and eventually realized that I agreed with him. Our grocery stores carry the half pint cartons of buttermilk and I try to keep a couple on hand at all times. Mom often used the dried buttermilk. I haven't tried it. For me this recipe makes about 20 muffins.

Monday, April 16, 2012


For the love of all that is good and holy, I cannot get these photos in order. I've entered a dark place, a very dark place.
Of apps
and google plus
published posts
lost posts.
So before these children are taking their SATs I am going to post these pictures.
Hopefully with captions.
If not,
Well, let's not go there

Harrison is helping Opee put fresh water in Bea's pond. If there's water involved, count Harrison in
Olivia offered to help clean the duck poop off the deck. There was a hose, a spray nozzle, Harrison and a dinosaur
Harrison thought Ms. Bea's pond needed some ambiance--like sticks, rocks and a dinosaur
Ms Bea trying to be patient and wait her turn for the pond

Friday, March 30, 2012


Sam cleaned all the grass from the north fence. Curt ran through with the disk. Of course, Sam had to make a call to Blackie who worked his magic on the tiller and he began the tedious process of  breaking up all the clods to get everything ready for planting.
Doesn't it look inviting? It's so much bigger after "reclaiming" the edges that had filled in with grass. Sam also burned off the asparagus and the rhubarb is up.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

These two

Should have their own reality show

 Share well with others

Make me smile every day
Want me to learn how to correctly upload and edit photos from my phone

Thursday, March 22, 2012


I snapped this photo at the beach house because after 5 years staying in the same house, I finally noticed that  the toaster had a "Pop Tart" setting. 

Great blogging material, I thought.

Or no.

That was about 4 weeks ago.

Excuses for my neglect of the blog abound: Too busy, too sad, too tired, can't sleep, too hungry, too full, too nice, too wet, too dry, too much to write about, not enough to write about, no laptop,
You get the picture.

A year ago yesterday, we found out Mom had cancer. Her brief illness,death and the emotional intensity of the experience has forever changed me--fortunately in positive ways.Most of the time, when I think of her I am happy. Then sadness comes during the happy times when I cannot help but wish she were there with her arms open to hold a baby,  her hands to peel potatoes and her quick wit to make me laugh.

However, it is enough to have had her close to me in body and in heart.  

My way-too-fragile writer's ego was dealt a near fatal blow after learning recently (just before we left for the beach) that I would no longer be writing or editing for Womeninc magazine. It wasn't totally unexpected, I guess I saw it coming and I'm not sure if it's permanent or not.

I have been on the verge of giving up this blog, but decided to give it another try. Perhaps it's the smell of the sweet spring rains and the sight of trillium blossoms working their way up through the piles of dead leaves that are giving me strength and determination to not give up.

For now.


A word of warning about upcoming blog posts, there is a 99.9 % certainty that they will rely heavily on a certain cute duck for content.