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Around Here - 4Life has been BUSY in our neck of the woods....

Sometimes I need to remind myself to slow down and enjoy the richness of it all.

In the past week the fall colors have really started to pop.  We are enjoying our beautiful surroundings.  Some recent heavy rains has also saturated our creek so it is full and flowing.

We have had warm and humid temperatures so our garden is producing a bountiful fall harvest!   We have tomatoes and grapes that I have been canning and preserving.  It is also apple season.  We have some apples growing on a few trees in our yard, but we were recently gifted a two paper grocery bags full that we will be putting to good use.   

Today I am also recovering from a 13.1 mile half marathon race.   Friday our 14 year old and 12 year old participated in a 5K fun run and yesterday our youngest two ran their last 1.2 miles of a kids marathon.  I ran the half marathon and also helped organize and run a bake sale fundraiser alongside all of the race festivities.

Fun, busy, rich and full.

 


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We are making the most of our last few weeks of summer.  Yesterday we finally got the whole crew out for an afternoon tubing and waterskiing on Burntside Lake.      This is something we had done almost weekly in years past, but as our kids are getting bigger and busier it has been more of a challenge to find the time.  But yesterday we made it a priority.   We pulled the kids behind the boat in tubes and three of us all got up on waterskis.   It was a perfect way to spend an afternoon together.

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The garden is producing and I am doing my best to keep up.   We got our first red tomato and we're still getting a lot of cucumbers.   So far I have put up dilly beans, pickled beets, sweet pickles and two batches of dill pickles using recipes from my dog eared, vinegar stained, go-to book for canning:  Putting Food By.

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I have been sporting my running shoes.   I have been helping out with the cross country team and also challenging myself to some longer runs in preparation for a local half-marathon this September.   I really enjoy this challenge and also the opportunity to work with and help out with a great group of hard working teenagers on the cross country team.  And, it feels good to keep strong.

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This act of sharing photographs and ramblings of our daily life is a practice in gratitude that brings me joy.

I encourage you to reflect on the good in your life.

What are you grateful for today?


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I have been working to keep up with the garden.   When we came home from our camping trip last weekend we had a garden that needed some attention.   I spent a rainy Monday morning making dilly beans and sweet pickles.  I also made some calzones adding some flavor with some of the fresh herbs.

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I have been getting outdoors everyday with by boys.  Whether it is a bike ride, run or a hike we make it a habit to get outside, to explore and to get exercise.  We have lots to explore close to home.  Sometimes it is a challenge to get everyone out, but once we do we all feel better afterwards.

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This act of sharing photographs and ramblings of our daily life is a practice in gratitude that brings me joy.

I encourage you to reflect on the good in your life.

What are you grateful for today?


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We spent a weekend car camping at a family reunion gathering in the Duluth area.    It was fun to get together with cousins and family members we do not get to see that often.   We also had our first dip of the year in the big lake (Lake Superior), which was a very refreshing way to beat the heat.
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.....and after a couple days away we came home to this:
Garden goodness
.....plenty of garden goodness to keep me busy tomorrow morning!

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This act of sharing photographs and ramblings of our daily life is a practice in gratitude that brings me joy.

I encourage you to reflect on the good in your life.

What are you grateful for today?


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I got my first handful of blues!  They are about a week behind and need rain.   We will see what this season brings.   It will be hard to compare to last year.   (I still have a few gallons of berries in the freezer!)

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James is making great progress on the exterior of our sauna building.  It is such a wonderful addition to our homestead.  

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Our kids are growing into new adventures.  Our daughter took her first independent camping overnight with some friends the other day.  The boys (and the mama and dad) took to some new nearby mountain bike trails.

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The garden is growing!  I was pleased to see progress and growth with my herbs, beans, tomatoes, grapes, pumpkins, cucumbers and raspberries.  

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We have an eight year old....today!  Oh how time flies.

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This act of sharing photographs and ramblings of our daily life is a practice in gratitude that brings me joy.

I encourage you to reflect on the good in your life.

What are you grateful for today?


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The lupines are blooming!   They are gracing the roadsides with their pink, blue and white presence.   We have been collecting, gathering and spreading seeds over the years and are happy to find more and more popping up around our homestead.  Check out this post if you are intersted in a fun experiment dying wool with lupines.Around Here.... - 3

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We have green "blues."  I took a walk up our ridge to check on the progress of the blueberries and I that I could find were greeen berries.   From my records, we are a couple weeks behind our typical season.  In the past I have found a handful or so of blue berries this time of year (see this post) but not today.   With the heat and rain we have been experiencing and the bunches of green berries I found today we should have plenty to pick from.....soon enough.
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I have been spending time near water.   We have been having some trouble with our vehicle that has made getting out on our nearby lakes more of a challenge.   But we have been doing just fine swimming at nearby beaches and boat landings and fishing (and catching!) at nearby fishing piers.   

Summer is in full swing and we are making a point to spend a good time outside each day.

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This act of sharing photographs and ramblings of our daily life is a practice in gratitude that brings me joy.

I encourage you to reflect on the good in your life.

What are you grateful for today?


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We put away winter jackets and snow pants.  It was warm enough to run in shorts.  Then we got winter weather again.    It was a beautiful weekend, the ice is officially off many lakes, but I woke up to snow this morning.   Today's scheduled track meet was canceled due to the snow.
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I have chicks hatching in my classroom!   These three hatched Sunday night and another one during the school day for all of the kids to see.   I am posting some more pictures and videos on my instagram account if you want to check it out!

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This act of sharing photographs and ramblings of our daily life is a practice in gratitude that brings me joy.

I encourage you to reflect on the good in your life.

What are you grateful for today?



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We have been enjoying the warmer temperatures.  It is feeling more like spring!  I have been enjoying getting out each day running with the track team as well as venturing to familiar places, deeper in the woods with my trusty trail buddy.   Our shepherd has been dealing with some medical issues over this past winter and we have been working to help him get better with a variety of medications.   I was happy to take him out for a hike on the trail this past weekend without any setbacks.

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We have some new pups in our family (not ours!).  My parents lab companions Ally and Maya both passed away last fall.  Recently, my parents' hearts were open and ready to adopt the two pups pictured above.   It is quite entertaining to hear their stories of running around after two active puppies.  It was fun to meet them this past weekend when they came up for a visit.Around Here.. - 5
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check out the sap-sickle pictured above that we found this week

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We are experiencing good weather for sap collection (below freezing over night and above freezing during the day).   I am enjoying sharing this activity with my kindergarten students.  There is so much learning involved.   They are practicing writing the date each day, learning about volume and capacity along with their participation in outdoor learning each day.

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This act of sharing photographs and ramblings of our daily life is a practice in gratitude that brings me joy.

I encourage you to reflect on the good in your life.

What are you grateful for today?


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We are just winding down from our "Spring Break" (a Thursday - Monday break from school), although we did venture anywhere tropical, the kids and I did have fun with an overnight at a hotel in Duluth and we had a day fun with friends at our nearby ski hill.   We also had a couple of days just to relax and catch up, which was great as well.
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The buckets are up!   The weather has been just about right, below freezing over night and creeping above freezing during the daytime.  We put the buckets up on Saturday, but as of this morning the sap had not started to run.   The forecast predicts temperatures conducive to the flow of sap in sugar maples.   My hope is that I can start to share this experience -and get a taste of sweet sap- this week.

Over the long weekend I completed an article for Lake Time Magazine all about my experiences small-scale spring sugaring over the last several years.   The article will be in the next issue, which will hit stands in late April.

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This act of sharing photographs and ramblings of our daily life is a practice in gratitude that brings me joy.

I encourage you to reflect on the good in your life.

What are you grateful for today?