Tuesday, November 5, 2013

YUM! PASTAAAAAA

I am not one to share a lot of recipes, only because I really don't know how to cook that well.  I pretend I know how to cook and my family pretends to like what I cook but I'm really not that awesome.  BUT... I do have this one meal that I cook pretty well, the entire family loves it and we eat it way too often so I thought it was the perfect meal to share :-)

I got it out of the Food Network Magazine back in 2011 and I love it because not only is it super easy and fast to make it tastes wonderful!  You can make it into an almost all organic meal for very little cost.  I say almost because I'm not sure if there is organic vodka (???)

Just know that my sloppy cell phone picture taken in my dimly lit kitchen doesn't do the meal justice.



Ingredients

Penne Pasta (Bionaturae Organic Penne)
2 Shallots (from our garden)
Butter (organic valley)
Garlic (from our garden)
Crushed Tomatoes (we use whatever  organic brand Valley Natural Foods has available).
Vodka (whatever brand is the least expensive - can you tell I know nothing about vodka)
Heavy Whipping Cream (organic valley)
Parmesan Cheese  (organic valley)
red pepper flakes (optional since I've tried with and without and not noticed their contribution to the taste) 
Basil (on the list but I don't add it because my hubby hates basil)

Cook 2 minced shallots in a skilled with butter over medium heat until slightly softened, 3 minutes.  Add 1 minced garlic clove and a pinch of red pepper flakes; cook 30 seconds.  Remove from the heat.  Add 1/2 cup of vodka, a 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes and some salt.  Simmer, stirring, 7 minutes.  Stir in 2/3 cup heavy cream and simmer until thickened, 3 minutes.  Stir in 1/2 cup grated parmesan and a handful of torn basil.  Toss with 12 ounces cooked penne.

I've changed the recipe a little, I add about 4 small shallots and I use about 4-5 cloves of garlic (we love shallots and garlic), which creates a stronger taste and a chunkier sauce but either way (my way or the original recipe) it tastes very yummy!


Friday, September 27, 2013

DNR BLAMES THE WOLF ONCE AGAIN - JUST IN TIME FOR WOLF HUNTING SEASON

This article represents a very weak attempt by the DNR to blame the wolf, once again, for the decline of moose in Minnesota.  Of course, they don't come right out and say it because then it wouldn't leave room for them to defend themselves from what is very obviously a bias but they suggest it and for those who don't know the facts, the bias is believable.

Pay close attention to some of the quotes from the article:


Minnesota’s dwindling moose herd has a year off from human hunters in 2013, but that doesn’t mean life for the big north woods critters is a walk in the park.
Moose are still being hit hard by disease, injury and parasites, and they are still prey for four-legged hunters that don’t need licenses.
 
Of 49 calves fitted with GPS-transmitting collars in May, just days after they were born, 11 died from complications immediately after the capture. Most of those were caused by the cows abandoning their calves, not from stress or harm. Four other calves slipped out of their collars, said Glen DelGiudice, lead moose researcher for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 
Of the remaining 34 calves being tracked in the study, 24 already have perished in less than four months, a 71 percent mortality rate that has researchers shaking their heads.
On average, in studies worldwide where predators are present, about 55 percent of calf moose die in their first full year.
 
“It varies a lot based on the predator-to-prey ratio … but we would hope to have about a 45 percent calf (survival) rate after one year,” DelGiudice told the News Tribune.
Predators have been the leading cause of death for moose calves. Bears killed 4 of the 24, most in the first few days after birth, and wolves have taken 16 calves. One calf drowned, two were abandoned later by their mother and one died from unknown causes.
 
“They are just very vulnerable the first few days and weeks. Since then, the mortality rate has been slowing … but we are still losing them,” DelGiudice said, noting there has been one calf killed by predators in September. “As they get bigger, their chances get better. But they still have all of winter to get through.” 
DelGiudice noted that Minnesota had a thriving moose population 10 to 15 years ago when the state’s moose range had roughly the same number of wolves. Wolves clearly aren’t the cause of the steep decline in moose population, he said. But they may now be helping to push the decline a little faster. 
“When we had 9,000 moose and the same number of wolves, the number they took was far less significant and likely not impacting the population,” DelGiudice said. “But with fewer than 3,000 moose now, and roughly the same number of wolves, that predator-to-prey ratio has changed. They (wolves) aren’t the driving factor, but they may be having an impact.” 
The state DNR and tribal resource agencies have, for the first time in decades, canceled this year’s moose hunt after aerial surveys showed moose numbers had plummeted 35 percent in just one year, with only 2,760 estimated this year, down from 4,230 in 2012. The Northeastern Minnesota population was more than 9,000 as recently as 2006.
Even if calves were surviving at a higher rate, researchers note, too many adult moose have been dying to sustain the population.
 
The Northeastern Minnesota crash mimics that of Northwestern Minnesota, which saw its moose population decline in the 1990s from about 4,000 animals to just a few dozen. Scientists studying the northwestern moose decline concluded that a warmer climate has compounded multiple other problems, such as disease, malnutrition and parasites.
IN OTHER WORDS, IF WE WANT TO SAVE THE MOOSE WE NEED TO CUT OUR WOLF POPULATION.

Interesting how the DNR leaves out their own statistics on how many moose have been killed by hunters.


In 2012, State hunters harvested 46 moose in northeastern Minnesota (Figure 1). No season was held in northwestern Minnesota. Of the 1,460 parties that applied for this year’s moose hunt, 76 (5%) were drawn and purchased a license (Table 1). Additionally, 11 hunting parties which returned permits last year (2011) prior to the hunt, because of access restrictions caused by the Pagami Creek wildfire, were offered the opportunity to hunt the same zones (20, 24, 25, 62, and 64) in 2012 and all accepted. So a total of 87 licenses were purchased this year (Table 1). Table 1 also lists the number of permits offered by hunting zone, chance of being selected for a permit, and hunter success. The 1854 Treaty Authority issued 49 permits and band members killed 16 moose (11 bulls and 5 cows). The Fond du Lac band issued 64 moose permits (bulls only) of 72 available. The final harvest was 20 bulls (18 by hunters and 2 subsistence/ceremony animals). The Fond du Lac season closed on 31 December 2012. 


In 2011, State hunters harvested 53 moose in northeastern Minnesota. No season was held in northwestern Minnesota. Of the 1,963 parties that applied for this year’s moose hunt, 105 (5%) were drawn, and 103 purchased licenses (Table 1). Access to portions of hunting zones 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 61, 62, 63, 64, 77 and 80 were restricted beginning in September because of an ongoing wild fire (Pagami Creek fire) and hunters in these zones were offered the option of returning their license for a refund. Subsequently, 11 hunting parties returned their license. Table 1 also lists the number of permits offered by hunting zone, chance of being selected for a permit, and hunter success. The 1854 Treaty Authority issued 59 permits and band members killed 10 moose (10 bulls and 0 cows). The Fond du Lac band issued 67 permits and hunters harvested 18 moose. An additional 3 moose harvested by Tribal Conservation Officers for a total of 21 (16 bulls, 4 cows, 1 bull calf). The Fond du Lac season closed 12/31/2011. 

FOND DU LAC MEMBERS AND THE WOLF TAKE PRIORITY WHEN IT COMES TO HARVESTING MOOSE!!!  Fond du Lac band members are allowed to hunt moose according to treaty rights, something the DNR is now trying to prevent also. See the correlation between the wolf and Native Americans again?  Let's blame the wolf and tell the Fond du Lac members they cannot hunt moose anymore because the moose numbers are dwindling but let's not talk about all of the non-tribal members that were issued a hunting license all the way up until 2013 even though the DNR WAS FULLY AWARE THE MOOSE WAS MYSTERIOUSLY DISAPPEARING.


The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is asking the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa to reconsider plans for an off-reservation moose hunt. 
The DNR's ability to stop the hunt is limited although Merchant says a lawsuit is an option.  The band's secretary-treasurer says moose meat is a staple for the diets of band members.
The DNR wants to violate treaty rights and blame the wolf for the loss of moose in Minnesota but never once acknowledges that not only did the DNR issue hunting permits so we (non-tribal members) could continue to hunt moose up until 2013 when the state was aware of their dwindling numbers but they also don't mention that non-tribal members were harvesting more moose than tribal members.  There is also no mention of how tribal members and the wolf rely on the moose for survival or how the DNR's own mismanagement of wildlife has caused this vast imbalance in our (Minnesota's) ecosystem. 900,000 deer and a now suspected 2300 wolves? Now that's an imbalance!

The DNR manages our wildlife purely for hunters and hunters alone.  Their concern for the moose now has to do with their inability go about issuing permits to hunters so instead of looking at the entire picture and trying to really figure out why the moose numbers are REALLY dropping, let's worry about wolves and tribal members.


Let me conclude with some REAL statistics:


Since 2002, Minnesota DNR specialists have put radio collars on 150 healthy adult moose; 119 subsequently died, most of them from unknown causes, according to wildlife officials. Car and train collisions accounted for 12 mortalities, while wolves were culpable in just 11 deaths.
Findings from Minnesota's Interagency Climate Adaptation Team show the state has experienced a 1.5- to 2-degree-Fahrenheit average surface temperature increase over the last 100 years, with the greatest rise in the northern reaches of the state, including primary moose habitat.
 Such changes are minimally felt by humans and other native mammals such as black bear, lynx and gray wolves, but scientists note that even minor temperature shifts can affect moose, which are adapted to live in the harshest cold and deepest snow.
The cause of our loss of moose is a mystery but to point to our wolf numbers as a cause of concern is irresponsible at best. Wolves will kill the sick and if our moose are sick then the wolves are doing what nature intended them to do.  It is the DNR's interference with nature that causes most of our wildlife imbalance to begin with.   As for how the DNR is approaching this issue...killing the wolf or violating treaty rights won't solve our moose problems and suggesting it will is ridiculous.  Next time, and there will be a next time, maybe the DNR should stop issuing hunting permits for an animal that is clearly struggling to survive.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN HOWLING FOR WOLVES PETITION TO PUT AN END TO THE SLAUGHTERING OF MINNESOTA WOLVES

Articles quoted in the above blog post:
DNR asks Fond du Lac to reconsider moose hunt

More bad news for Minnesota moose

DNR statistics on moose harvest












Wednesday, September 25, 2013

FALL BUCKET LIST

My husband thinks I am a total dork for jumping on the whole "bucket list" band wagon but it actually motivates me or at least reminds me of the things I want to do so I am starting a whole new bucket list trend (hee hee)  This time my bucket list is seasonal.  I saw this list on one of the sites I subscribe to for homeschooling worksheets and I thought it would be fun to recreate it, post it here and ask others to jump on board too.

Aiyana and I have decided we're going to try and accomplish everything on the list except for mushroom hunting (because I have no idea what an edible mushroom looks like in the wild and I don't want to poison my family), going to a football game (because I hate football), and feeding ducks (because it isn't good for the fowl.  It is better for them to get their food from natural sources).  We're pretty sure we can accomplish all of the other things on the list and we plan on doing it in pictures so stay tuned :)


Thursday, September 19, 2013

HOMESCHOOLING WEEK THREE

I realize I am lonnnnng overdue for a blog post but I have been trying to get into the swing of homeschooling and figuring out where everything else fits in.  So far, things are going pretty well.  I don't educate my daughter from 9-3 every day like I thought I would, I'm really lucky if I can get her to sit still and focus for 3 whole hours, generally our sit down work ends after about 2 hours.  She's picking things up pretty quickly, I guess not having the distraction of 30 other kids helps.  I do feel a bit disorganized at times... ok, all of the time.  I read the book Home Learning Year by Year and it has made me feel a little paranoid, that maybe my six year old will never learn all she needs to by the end of the first grade, but I'll continue to do my best and only time will tell if I'm doing a good job.  Thankfully we are ahead of the game since my daughter is also enrolled in Kumon and has been since pre-school.

So... that's my homeschooling update for the week.  I'll be back to posting regularly now that I know this process isn't going to kill me. LOL!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

THE BEGINNING OF HOME SCHOOL

I'm about to enter into my first year of home schooling Aiyana (my 6 year old).  I feel a little bit insane for doing it, just because my educational background has not prepared me to teach.  I studied psychology, the only good that is going to do me is helping me identify when I'm having a nervous breakdown over the whole homeschooling process. LOL!

I think I'm prepared.  Thanks to my wonderful friend Teresa over at Homestead Notes I was able to find the right curriculum for Aiyana.  We are going to be using Oak Meadow, which from what I've read is based on the same principles as the Waldorf Schools.



Waldorf schools emphasize the teaching of the whole child—head, hands, and heart.

I've reviewed the curriculum several times and I love it.  90% of it is hands on learning and what child doesn't want a hands-on education over sitting at a desk all day? None that I know of.  I think even my 13 and 17 year old are a bit jealous that they didn't get to learn using Oak Meadow.

I'm not the most organized structured person so I've decided the best way for me to start is to keep Aiyana on the same schedule as her sisters.  She'll be home schooled 5 days a week, 9 am - 3 pm.  That way her sisters are not around to distract her (they'll be at school) and I won't feel like I'm all over the place.  I think in the beginning it will be easier if I stick to what I know, which is the pattern the schools follow, except most of what we'll do will be outside and hands-on as oppose to sitting at a desk all day. Once I get more comfortable and start to see what Aiyana's learning style is, then I'll make adjustments.

I'm not as nervous as I was initially.  Having friends like Teresa and Natalie give me home schooling advice has helped a lot.  Teresa has been such a great source of information and always a confidence booster, I can't thank her enough.  If it wasn't for her I would never have found the courage or the right curriculum to be able to home school.

The last thing I had to prepare after getting the Oak Meadow materials was a system for keeping track of grades, subjects we will be focussing on, field trips, etc... I decided to just start with a search online and when I found a few sheets to guide me I downloaded a bunch of cute clip art from Etsy and made what I think will help me keep Aiyana's education in order.  Since it seems like everywhere I looked someone wanted money for just these basic sheets I've decided to upload them here and share them for free.  Why would someone expect others to pay for a silly little grading sheet? I hate when people charge for EVERYTHING.

So... here they are.  Hopefully they can help anyone who may be just beginning to home school like me :)
















If you have any trouble downloading these, please let me know.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

FUN IN THE BOUNDARY WATERS


I meant to post this much earlier but I didn't get around to uploading all of my BWCA pictures to the computer until now.

In early July our family took a trip up to the BWCA (Boundary Waters Canoe Area), one of our most favorite places to visit in the U.S.  We spent 4 days canoeing, hiking, fishing, camping in addition to looking for bears and wolves.  Unfortunately we didn't find any wolves or bears :( but maybe next time.  

It was a great trip (aside from the whole "losing my dog" situation).  Our guide Kate was absolutely amazing!  We met Kate back in winter 2011 when we were up in Ely for a Wintergreen dogsledding adventure but we didn't have the pleasure of her guiding us on any sort of trip until this year.  She's fantastic with kids and overall just wonderful with families.  Our daughter Middy is tough to please but Kate kept her busy, didn't take no for an answer, and in the end Middy really enjoyed being in the BWCA again and having Kate as a mentor.  Middy learned to bait a hook with leeches, remove her fish from the line, build and start a campfire, prepare and cook camp food, identify wild plants, etc...  Some of the valuable things that not many kids get to learn today.

I really liked that the trip our guide Kate and the owner Jason from Ely Outfitting Company planned for our family was perfect for the energy and enthusiasm level of our kids.  We stayed at one camp site this year, were able to visit several different areas in the BWCA, divide equal time between hiking around and canoeing and we also had some fun fishing and the kids were able to squeeze in some swimming.  Kate is such an awesome guide that when we had one day of solid rain she still managed to keep the entire family entertained by playing cards and other games.  

I recommend Ely Outfitting Company and any one of Jason's guides to anybody interested in visiting the BWCA and not wanting to think about possibly getting lost because you have no idea how to read a topography map or a compass (like me) or if you don't want to go through all the work of packing enough food, finding and transporting a canoe and other equipment.  With Ely Outfitting Company it is all done for you and worth every penny spent.  

Here are some of our pix from this years visit to the BWCA:
Gypsy resting in the canoe.

Pure and beautiful BWCA water (courtesy of Kate Ford).   

Aiyana releasing her floating art (courtesy of Kate Ford).  Kate had the kids create art from pieces of nature and when they released their floating art into the lake they were to make a wish.
Sunset in the BWCA (courtesy of Kate Ford).  Kate got up really early to take some fantastic shots of the BWCA.
Early morning in the BWCA (courtesy of Kate Ford).


Middy with one of the fish she caught (courtesy of Kate Ford).  This little baby was returned to the lake.

Me showing Aiyana how to bait a hook with a worm (courtesy of Kate Ford)
This was actually a good lesson for Yana.  She learned a bit about the process of fishing and what it all entails in addition to seeing a living thing going from nature to her plate.  She decided that keeping fish and eating it wasn't for her (she liked catch and release much better), she also decided on this trip that she'd much rather use fake bait over live bait.

Kate and Middy sunk the canoe and played around in the water with it (courtesy of Kate Ford)

Kate making us dinner.
Pictographs (If I remember correctly these were done by the Ojibwe).


Kate, Maya, Gypsy,  Middy, Ulises, Me, Aiyana

Our little crew in the BWCA
Maya Fishing.
Tea made from nature (I forget the name of the plant)
Scenery from above our campsite.
Wintergreen.
Ulises and I.


Our state bird: the loon.

Kate teaching Middy to put a leech on a hook (you have to look closely to see the leech on Kate's boot)
Aiyana waiting for a big fish.


Friday, July 12, 2013

GOODBYE TECHI

We just returned from four days in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and a 2 day visit to Ely.  Initially our trip north was filled with lots of excitement because not only were we going to be able to relax for the first time in 2 years but we were also going to meet a fellow wolf advocate that I'd only had the pleasure of knowing through Facebook.  Unfortunately three hours into our 4 hour road trip things took a turn for the worst.  
We had all four of our dogs with us and two of our chi's were going to stay at a kennel in Embarrass, MN (the other two were going to the BWCA).  About 15 minutes before we arrived at Black Wolf Kennels, which is where Lisa, a fellow wolf advocate and owner of the kennel lives, one of our male chi's (Techi) started having trouble breathing.  Lisa took one look at him and sent us to the Ely Vet Clinic just north of where she lives.  His tongue was bluish, he kept panting, it wasn't good.  Long story short, Techi didn't make it.  
Techi has a story (like all of my dogs), we bought him as a pup, the neighbor boy (spawn of satan) poisoned him, against the vet's advice and through my tears I begged Dr. Pomeroy to revive my little dog, which he did, and like the vet warned Techi was never the same again.  Fast forward 7 years and now we are standing in the middle of the Ely Vet Clinic and I'm being told once again, in the subtle way that vet's tell you, it is time to let my dog go.  Anyone who has had to put a pet to death knows how painful it is (and I say death and not sleep because death is what it is).   You're being "advised" to take life from another living being and it can really make a person physically ill.  It's the second time I've personally had to do it (Chelsea, another one of our chi's had a brain tumor) but this time I walked out before our dog was sedated and left my husband to deal with the rest.  I'm not good with death, never have been and never will be no matter if it is a human or an animal it always hurts and I never get over it.  
Then, to make matters worse, while we are going through the process of losing our  beloved chihuahua my daughter comes running into the exam room yelling that our female chihuahua Franny was dying.  She was holding a limp Fran in her arms so the vet scooped her up and began treating her immediately.   The initial diagnosis was possible seizure or stroke, I don't think there was ever any certainty about what it could be but it was touch and go as to whether she'd recover.   Fran did recover but had to stay behind for observation in Ely when we went into the BWCA (to avoid the stress).  
We've returned home now... one dog less.  Techi's energy has disappeared into the universe and all we have left of him are his ashes and our memories.  
R.I.P Techi boy


Techi meeting Gypsy
Techi lounging while Middy decorates his face with American Girl Doll Glasses


THANK YOU Lisa Fabish at Black Wolf Kennels for running a really great dog kennel (loved everything about it), taking awesome care of our Santi and for getting Techi excellent medical care.  I wish you and I were neighbors :-) You are a genuinely caring person! So happy we finally met face to face.  We will see you in a few months... 
 
I'll be back to post about the BWCA trip in a couple days.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

GYPSY vs. LEMON

I saw this funny video on YouTube showing various dogs fighting with a citrus fruit and so I thought I'd see how my dog Gypsy, the one that EATS EVERYTHING, would react to a lemon.

YouTube Video "Dog vs. Citrus"



My Dog Gypsy

video

Gypsy didn't eat the lemon (even if she wanted to eat it I wouldn't let her - I'm sure it isn't good for dogs), she took one lick and what you see in the video was her reaction to it.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

STRAWBERRIES!!

If you can't grow your own do the next best thing... PICK SOMEONE ELSES!!

The family and I drove over to Sam Kedem's  Farm in Hastings yesterday and picked over 12 pounds of big juicy organic strawberries.  Sam is the only one I know that grows organic PYO fruits, at least within driving distance from my house so we visit his farm several times a summer to get blueberries, raspberries and strawberries.  Since I didn't get started until later in the evening I only canned 3 jars of strawberry jam.  As you can probably tell by my photo collage my jars have that ugly foamy swirl in them.  I've read in one of my Ball canning books that the foam can lessen the shelf life of the jam so I'll make sure to eat them in the next month.  I should have spent some time scraping off that frothy mess but I was just so darn excited to making jam again that I didn't pay attention to that last step.

Anyone have an opinion on the foamy stuff that appears when boiling the strawberries?  To what extent does it shorten the shelf life?



For anyone else that would like to try making strawberry jam I have two recommendations:

My friend Teresa turned me on to this ebook by her friend Robin.  It is very informative!  I've always struggled to find good canning books that are easy to understand for the beginner but also contain recipes that even the experienced canner will enjoy (once I get there); Robin's book is perfect!

The other "very easy" go to source for canning strawberries is this video:



I don't recommend the video for those wanting to learn about canning per se but more for those who just want to whip up a small batch of strawberry jam quickly without getting into all the details about canning.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

STRAWBERRY FAIL

I can't help but be envious of my friends who have a bumper crop of strawberries this year.  I planted strawberries 5 years ago and it seems, once again, that I made an error.

My friend Teresa (domestic goddess, writing genius, homesteader extraordinaire) over at Homestead Notes is my go-to person when I struggle with gardening (and pretty much everything in life) and I've learned from her hubby that my crop of strawberries are just too old to give me the bounty that I really crave *sigh.  So, it seems I may have to start all over.



This year I was so pleased with myself for actually getting my butt to the garden store to pick up some hay.  It took me 5 yrs to learn that hay needs to be spread below the patch of berries (if they are as sparse as mine are) to keep the berries clean and to help avoid rotting.   In years passed we'd get an ok amount of berries but either the birds would eat them or they'd rot immediately.  Well... the hay is in place but I highly doubt we'll get any strawberries since my patch is too old.  Just look at them, 90% of these were planted 5 years ago... they should have multiplied by now.




I did have them in raised garden boxes which I don't think helped very much since the runners had nowhere to go, so I did remove those this year.

If anyone has any advice on how you started up your patch and made them flourish, please let me know.

I've also planted a variety of strawberry plants together and wonder now if that was a mistake :(



Friday, June 7, 2013

SURPRISES! WHO DOESN'T LOVE A SURPRISE?

I wasn't sure if I should blog about this or not because I'm not 100% sure the person who made these for me wants her art out in the world but I just couldn't help myself.

I was given these as a gift a little while back and it was a complete surprise.  The young woman who gave them to me is a gifted artist.  I've been telling her she should sell her art on etsy or join in on some art fairs but she maintains that she only enjoys drawing as a way to relax, nothing more.

So to M.E.F... I am very touched by the fact you took the time to draw these for me.  They will not end up on a shelf or in some closet, they will be on full display in my home for all that enter to see and appreciate.  Thank you so much for thinking of me, the wolves are beautiful and YOU are very very talented.


Monday, June 3, 2013

HANDMADE GIVEAWAY

Nothing gets me back into the blogging groove like a giveaway.  If you enjoy handmade items than this blog post is for you.

I am part of a card swapping group over at Splitcoast Stampers.  Every month a group of us ladies swap handmade cards with one another.  Well... when you swap 10 cards every single month you end up with a whole lotta cards, so... I'm going to give some away.

All of the cards that I receive are beautiful so whomever wins won't be disappointed.  I went through the bunch I've collected and picked out my favorites to give away.  There will be 2 winners, 5 cards for each winner.  I've selected 2 birthday cards, 2 holiday cards and 1 thank you card for each.  All you have to do to be entered into the giveaway is tell me what your favorite season is and why :-)



I will use Random.org to choose the two winners.  Deadline to enter is June 10th, I'll announce the winner on June 11th.  Please make sure to check back to see if you won so I can get your mailing address (through private messaging of course) and send your cards out no later than Monday, June 12th.

If all goes well with this giveaway (meaning: enough people interested) I plan on doing a giveaway every two weeks over the summer.  Why you ask? Because Every one loves to win things and receive packages in the mail, plus it motivates me to be create on a regular basis.

Some of my giveaway ideas: candles, soap, wool dryer balls, hemp bracelet, yarn.  So please check back often :-)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I HAVE A LOVE HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH DEER

I like deer, I really do but they seriously are destructive little suckers and even though they have their place on this planet like every species does, I don't understand why they are one of the few species besides ourselves that we allow to flourish beyond what is ecologically healthy.

Last year I counted 12 deer in my backyard at one time, this year I counted 15, seems they are multiplying pretty quickly.  The number of deer would be understandable if our home backed up to a gigantic forest but we only have an 80 acre public park behind us and apparently the coyotes we're always being warned about are too small to take the deer down.

Fact: Minnesota has 900,000 deer and prior to the wolf hunt and predator control killings which resulted in some 600+ dead wolves, we had about 3000 wolves in the wild.

I'd give my right arm to live in wolf country right now.



Today I found my brand new North Star Cherry tree (plum full of cherries two days ago) half eaten by deer.  Previous to the buffet had by those annoying pests my neighbor tried to get me to spray the tree with this stinky concoction of rotten eggs and coyote urine to protect it but like a fool I opted to let it be because I was hoping to eat the cherries once they ripened.  BIG MISTAKE! I should have sprayed the tree this year just to give it a chance to grow large enough so that the deer couldn't reach the branches in the future.



All I can say is that I'm a slow learner.  I have two 3 year old apple trees that haven't produced a single fruit, thanks to our deer.  One is finally reaching a point in its growth that the deer are no longer able to reach the branches but the other looks in need of a funeral.

So... wish me luck on saving what is left of our little tree.  My husband has made an attempt this evening to protect it so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.  If there's nothing left tomorrow we'll know it didn't work :(


Deer devoured the left side of tree








Monday, May 13, 2013

REVIVING THE BLOG

Starting with a random post about everything.

Well, in the last couple years I've been a complete failure when it comes to this blog.  I delete, undelete, delete, undelete, promise to post more regularly and then don't, promise again and fail once more. So...

Here I go again.

I've held back on making a lot of posts just because there has already been something similar on another blog or website somewhere but I'm no longer going to let that hold me back.  I was talking to someone recently about handmade laundry soap and she asked if I ever blogged about it and I said no because there are numerous blog posts about it already, lots of links to great laundry soap recipes on Pinterest also.  This individual tells me that she never goes on Pinterest and doesn't have time to follow a bunch of blogs but if I wrote something about it she'd check it out.  Hmmmm... I thought.  So maybe it doesn't hurt too much to blog about something that's already out in cyberspace??? With that in mind, I guess I'll just blog about whatever the heck I want and if no one reads it, oh well, someone may find it useful.

So... as for random whatever's that someone else has probably already blogged about here goes nothing:

Midwest Shepherd's Harvest Festival 2013

Lama

Sheep Shearing





 Yana Pretending to Spin


Spinning Demo


Maya & Yana petting the angora rabbits


Lots of raw fiber


Creative Activities

I purchased a bunch of stuff too but I'll share that in a later post :D

I have to toot my own horn here.  I knitted a washcloth! Yes, yes, you can stop the applause.  The washcloth was easy but since I'm a wee bit "special" (ahem... perfectionist) it only took me a month to make just one O_O


Making candles! Lots and lots of candles!  I'm up to 20 so far.


New Addition to the Family

Last but should have been first, our beautiful little dog.  She came to live with us this winter and my husband is so in love with her.  She's not your typical American looking chihuahua, my husband says she's a Mexican version :-) I think she looks like a baby seal.  Here's Gypsy:


My next post will be a bit more coherent.