Some things that happened in 2015


24 Jul 2015
Back from our travels. Catch the report of Haida Gwaii The raspberry plants and other plants kinda got away from us this year; weed whip needs repair, too. We're in the heat of the summer, my least favorite time. Mushrooming is thin...a few Russulas and Leccinum. Bumblebees thought my outside bakeoven makes a great nesting place; as they are on hard times, I plan to wait until Fall to remove the nest. Many projects present themselves, and here I am on the computer. Hmmmmm.

Flowers in front of the house have been a great progression this year from Pasque flower to Daffodil to poppies to Iris and now Bergamot and purple coneflowers. Mostly things that don't taste good to deer. In the garden, turnips are going great although the carrots pretty much failed. Slugs got a lot, too. We came home to lovely lettuce and radicchio and the first cucumber and tomato are ready for dinner tonight. We have our share of health issues right now, but are both doing well. Enjoying our life in the woods.


5 Jun 2015
Jump forward in time to full leaves, moderate temperatures, and lots of growing plants. We had a nocturnal visit not noticed by us that flattened our bird feeder platform; likely a bear. The feeders were inside (racoons) except the hummingbird feeder which wasn't touched. Other wildlife sightings include a puma who ran across the road near us in late May, and Karen saw a wolf farther south. Birds took awhile to change over; the siskins and redpolls stuck aroung through most of May, as did the Evening Grosbeaks (a few still around) and Rosebreasted Grosbeaks. Thirty seven species noted in May this year, without the warblers who don't come to the feeders. Very few Goldfinch yet. Each year is different.

We had a dry spell in April and the greehnouse rainwater cistern went dry; we rarely have enough gray water to get us through for long. I was able to siphon enough from the settelment tank on the main cistern to get us through. Wasn't even close on the main cistern. But plentiful rains came with May. As did some freezing temps that got our cabbage sets. Gene's had some medical difficulties so that Karen has done the heavy lifting on most of the planting this spring. Doing well now with the greenhouse in tomatoes, cukes, and soon peppers and everything in the garden except squash and beans. No wine caps yet and I'm not seeing much white mycelium; another fungus may have invaded. We're just finishing up the garlic and tomatoes from last year, so that lasted well. The garlic crop looks smaller this year and is ready to harvest in the greenhouse already; go figure.

We're still trying to sell the duplex down in St Paul to simplify our lives. We relented and hired a realtor, but a very good one. Hope to have that resolved this year.

So with a lot of projects on hold, it's mostly watching summer come to the woods. Not too shabby.


29 Mar 2015
After losing most of our snow, today we have a thin covering of the white, wet stuff. Fun to watch the big flakes come down when they will likely be gone by tomorrow. Still lots of frost in the ground even if I've been eyeing the garden wistfully but, hey, it March! yet. Most of the little white pine volunteers we marked with pink flagging last fall made it through the winter un-nipped by the deer; they are waiting for us to move them to a more humanly appropriate place when the ground has warmed and the air is still cool. And hopefully wet. Some concerns this year with so little snow pack of fire danger before it greens up. Today should help.

Karen has been off galavanting in the Caribbean
gallivant: vb to go about in search of pleasure; gad about; perhaps whimsical modification of gallant.
More about that later.

Sets are started for summer crops except the cabbagey things which are quick. Afraid my attempt to start milkweed is unlikely due to just learning they need vernalization (winter/cold period). Raab is sprouting as it should; many nice meals. The chard potted up from last year's garden that survived, but did not grow through the winter is now happily putting out leaves...and sprouts soon I'm sure. Garlic is small due to the cloudy winter, but growing. Survivor leeks (small ones from last year's garden planted in the greenhouse) are growing micely and will need to be harvested as soon as they show evidence of scapes (flower sprouts). Survivor kale (three years old now) is growing and sprouting in the greenhouse; I try to keep them trimmed but that's a lot of kale.

Made some progress (there's a weasel word!) on the cabinetry. China cupboard got done February/March, and the lower cabinet doors begun; The design using recycled oak flooring won out. Still a lot of work to finnish those in a slow process; but sorta fun. Spent some time this winter dreaming summer building projects into possible existence: astronomy tower, shelter for backhoe,.....

With warmer weather coming on, also thinking about the transition from cooking/baking in the masonry heater to the outdoor bakeove which is now ready for action. Looking forward to learning how to use it. Another innovation this winter resulted from a gift of kefir from neighbor Chris Frisby; we know make 'kefir cheese' instead of buying cottage cheese for the dogs and us. It is also a good buttermilk substitute in pancakes, bread, soup and such. Our stored and frozen vegetables are holding out well, and cabbage, leeks and carrots stored admirably in the greenhouse this winter. Curing the onions, garlic, and squash in the greenhouse worked well before storing in the pantry. We have sausage, pork, and lamb in the freezer yet. Still lots of good food.

Kind of feeling a vernal Thanksgiving.


17 Mar 2015
Snow is nearly gone. Been sitting out in the lawn chairs and on the screen porch. Went for a week without a fire. But I don't plan to put away the shovel or plow yet.

Four deer sauntered into our front clearing, 30 feet from where we were sitting inside: 2 dows and 2 yearlings, wee think. Deer haven't been this close to the house in months. They stopped and looked at us and moved slowly on; they all looked healthy and plump; not like last year. There's lots of browse now in the woods--no snow and too early for summer grasses. Later, we saw one down & yearling walk by again. They check out the spillage under the bird feeder.

Our house has been 'on the market' with a good realator for several weeks now, with several showings. Hoping..... A sale would mean a flurry of activity for us, but most has been done already. Happy/sad. A lot of good things are like that.


12 Feb 2015
Happy Birthdays Luna and Peter!

Sunny day! Yeah! Although the temps are double digits below zero, the house warms up nicely. Karen is off to walk the dogs at Boulder Lake EC. Curry for supper is in the bakeoven. Kinda nice here.

Trip report for the Bolivia trip is posted.


26 Jan 2015
" thoughts are scattered and its cloudy...."

We could really use some sun! Plants are holding on in the greenhouse but not growing. Karen worked in the cities, and went to Florida with sister Sue more.... So the dogs, cats, and Gene held down the house in the woods. Looks like we have enough wood to make it till Spring. But I'm a short-timer, too. Leaving for Bolivia for another fungal jungal trip.

Very peaceful here.....