After several days of cool weather and rain (Sunday we fired up our wood stove it was so cold), we finally had a beautiful day to enjoy the outdoors. We filled it up with a morning outing to a nearby beach then more time outdoors at home, whereas this mama tended to the garden and bees then hiked up our back ridge with the kids in search of ripe berries. I usually find a few blues before the 4th of July, last year at this time we found a few more than we did today, but we did find some! It has been a great day to experience the sunshine.
Oh August, a month of abundance!
This month is delivering an abundance of garden (work and harvest), preserving, gatherings with friends and family -and lots of lake time. We have been so busy, but in a full, rich and wonderful way. August, has its moments, but overall it is a wonderful time to be.
Oh July, you have been good to us.
With gratitude for many hours spent on -and in - the water and for our garden which surprised us with cucumbers and beans before we flipped the calendar to August!
We welcome you August with an open mind and heart.
This is such a fun , yet busy time of the gardening season as progress can be noted every day!
Notes from my north-woods garden:
- I am continuing to harvest herbs, which I enjoy using fresh in our summer meals. I have been continuing to dry herbs in our dehydrator to use in the kitchen and for use in my soap making escapades. I am also making some herb infused vinegars.
- We are starting to find - and enjoy - ripe cherry tomatoes. I am finding other larger green tomatoes in the garden too.
- The pickling cucumber and pie pumpkin vines are spreading, flowering and starting to bear fruit.
- I am finding pea pods, which are getting eaten as quick as they grow.
- I'm continuing to harvest bunches of kale, which I am either using, dehydrating or blanching and freezing.
- And the raspberries! This is our third year of these berry plants and it is the first year we are harvesting a significant amount of fruit. We are picking every day - eating, freezing and I just made my second (and last) batch of raspberry jam.
How is your garden growing?
Our wild blueberry season is coming to a close. Today we hiked up our ridge so see how many more we could gather. The past few weeks we have come down with at least 2 quarts a picking, but today returned with just over a cup.
It has been a bountiful season and our foraging efforts have paid off. As we have close to 5 gallons of wild blues in our freezer!
We are grateful for blueberries - the homemade jam that will accompany our peanut butter sandwiches, the frozen berries that will add flavor and nutrients to our morning smoothies and oatmeal - and of course the memories that accompany sharing these experiences as a family.
My north-woods garden is making progress!
- We are starting to get raspberries! I am looking forward to a bountiful crop this year. Hopefully we get some in the freezer.
- I am continuing to harvest herbs, which I have been using and also drying.
- We are seeing blossoms on our peas and beans as well as in our corner flower garden.
- We have had one picking of radishes which I made into spicy refrigerator pickles.
- I noticed a couple of apples on one of the trees we planted last fall.
- I am up to my ears in kale! I planted enough to feed a small army. I have been using a lot, but the surplus I have started to blanch and freeze into kale ice cubes to use in smoothies. I also have been dehydrating some kale and sharing some with our bunny.
- We have also been very busy with our backwoods harvest of wild blueberries. We have been going out almost everyday. The kids are becoming good pickers. We are working on our fourth dozen in the freezer - in hopes for more to enjoy over the winter.
Our family just returned from a great - three night - camping trip in Voyageur's National Park. This is a special place for my husband and I, because it is where we met, working at a resort on Crane Lake.
We now have the opportunity, the knowledge of the lakes and the gear to share experiences camping and adventuring in this beautiful place with our children.
Here are some snapshots of our recent adventures:
Heading up the chain of lakes - Crane Lake, Sandpoint Lake to our campsite on Namakan Lake.
Camp! Our home for three nights.
One of our day trip adventures was to Mica Island where we explored the remnants of an old mica mine and took some time to pick blueberries to add to our oatmeal for our Sunday morning breakfast.
We also took a trip to Kettle Falls Dam- and visited the Kettle Falls Hotel.
Checking out the overlook to Rainy Lake from the Kettle Falls Dam. When you are standing at the Kettle Falls overlook and looking toward the falls and dam, you are actually looking south into Canada from the U.S.
The rest of our trip we spent swimming, fishing, relaxing and spending time together as a family. We hope take more adventures like this!
The June issue of Minnesota Parent Magazine is available throughout Minnesota and online now. Myy School Days Column in this month is "Mama Screen Time Redefined." You can find the article through THIS LINK. If you like what you see, social media 'shares' are appreciated.
Be sure to check out all of the other great content in the full issue as well - and as always - thanks for reading!
It has been a day of catching up and getting back into the rhythm of life on our Northwoods hobby farm. It was fun to see the new sprouts and changes in growth in the garden and it feels good to have completed a good, productive weeding. A quick hike up our ridge revealed blooming wildflowers and berries ready to ripen.
Back home, feeling grounded after a productive day.