Entries to Win Afghan


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Winners are: 3rd place- e-book of your choice: Wendy Nystrom. 2nd place- book of your choice, paper or e-book: Sue Ann Crawford. Winner of the afghan: Elaine Hull.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Ag Report 2- Odds and Ends

 
These are not major crops in the area, but I ran across fields of them this past month.

These first two pictures were taken several weeks ago. Do you know what this is a field of?

field of potatoes

Do the blossoms help? It might tell you that they are a member of the Solanaceae family.

field of potatoes

It's a field of potatoes. Michigan is known for growing potatoes, but not many of them right where I live.

The next field had me puzzled. I had a guess, but stopped for a closer look because I really hadn't seen a whole field of this crop here before. What's your guess on this one?

field of carrots

Did you get it right? Yup, it's carrots!

Bugs Bunny would be very happy.

field of carrots

See Ag Report 1- the Cucurbitas
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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Goat of Every Color

 
Out working today, and I passed a field of goats. Of course I thought of Pricilla.

goats

Of course I had to stop for pictures. It was a back road where there weren't going to be any traffic problems. We had a little black goat. She was reserved.

goats

We had a little white goat who was curious, and looks like she has a wonderful sense of humor.

goats

And then, we had the little dappled goat. She was clearly the pet. She came immediately to the fence and wanted her ears scratched and her nose tickled, and probably treats. But I didn't have any. So sorry, little cutie pie!

goats

I'm still smiling from this close encounter of the goat kind.

See More Farm Fun
See Bird and Beast
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rainbow, No Rain

 
Just a photo essay of rainbow colors today. Enjoy.

Red is red baneberry.

red baneberry

Orange is an impatiens I've managed to keep alive all summer. That's worth a smile!

impatiens

Yellow is a hen and chick (Sempervivum) that grows really well in my sand and blooms occasionally.

yellow hen and chicks

Blue and green are impossibly trite, but I don't care, they were also quite lovely tonight.

blue sky

And purple is a whole raft of the naked lilies blooming just a little later than the others so I came home to some nice color.

naked lilies

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Hiking and Home Again

 
Didn't get a chance to post last night. When we finished activities I would have had to use WiFi through the phone, and a thunderstorm was starting, and I wanted to get in my tent before I got wet.

Yesterday, I got to stay an extra day after the non-conference and hike again with Dan and Ruth Dorrough. I had hiked with them for a day when they were here in the Manistee National Forest. This picture was taken in this morning's sun, after the storm.

Dan & Ruth Dorrough

We met for the first time over 10 years ago, but have only really gotten acquainted more closely in the last couple of months. We agree that it's like we've been friends forever. I wish I could just disappear from real life and hike on with them as they continue their section hike of the North Country Trail. Yesterday, we were on the Superior Hiking Trail piece of the NCT from Martin Road to Lismore Road. Only 7 miles, but it was enough because we had to all get re-organized from the days at the villa. It takes a while to get all the gear re-shuffled to a different lifestyle. And they will be continuing on with their hike, so they had a lot of organizing to do.

SHT sign

The day was damp and drizzly, but not bad. This mushroom was doubling as a little bathtub for someone.

mushroom

Most of our walk was in nice woods, but there were occasional openings with beaver ponds or former ponds that are now meadows.

beaver meadow

Sometimes on a damp day all the colors just seem to pop out. These little beauties wanted to show off.

red mushrooms

We finished in good time, and did some necessary shopping and eating, then returned to our campsite. Dan and Ruth will be doing more backpacking than they usually do in the Minnesota Arrowhead, so we went through their packs, because they wanted to hear my suggestions. Pretty much as soon as we finished that a fairly amazing thunderstorm rolled in, and we all scooted for our "bedrooms."

Mine was still dry and snug this morning (on the inside, but that's where it counts).

Big Agnes Fly creek tent

Sadly, I did have to leave this morning. About 3/4 of the way home I crossed the Big Mac.

Mackinac Bridge

And arrived home in time for sunset through my pines.

sunset

Wonderful trip. I'd like to keep hiking forever.

See North Country Trail Section Hikers Over 2600 Miles
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Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Day with Friends

 
So many things to choose from! It's always hard to miss some things at these get-togethers, but one must choose. No regrets! I had such a good time with two couples today.

First we attended an outdoor expo that was part of the non-conference. Friends Dan and Ruth (that I hiked with in Michigan a few weeks ago) got some good info for their continued hiking in Minnesota. Then the five of us drove out to Two Harbors so we could go to Betty's Pies. That's a not-to-be-missed part of any trip to the Duluth area. I had a grilled cheese, pesto, spinach and tomato sandwich, and then a piece of raspberry peach pie.

Betty's Pies

After that we walked around the harbor and a nice trail. There was a monster Yellowstone 4-8-8-4 Steam Engine on display. It was used to pull cars full of iron ore down from the arrowhead.

Yellowstone Engine

I've taken the inside tour of this lighthouse in the past. Today we just took its picture.

Two Harbors Lighthouse

Toward the end of our hike we were entertained by a little Flickertail (Richardson's Ground Squirrel)

Two Harbors Lighthouse

We made another stop at the rose gardens downtown.

rose

Then we spotted a grocery store. We all needed things, so that became the next project. Then I needed gas and we came back to our Mountain Villa at Spirit Mountain.

Tomorrow, I'm going to hike with Dan and Ruth for the day as they continue on their quest for the North Country Trail. We will be doing a piece of trail that wasn't built when I was here before, so I'm always happy to see new pieces (or even old ones).

See you tomorrow, maybe. I may not have internet.
See Trail Work Day
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Friday, August 22, 2014

Hike and Awards

 
Today, I went on a 6 mile hike on a piece of trail that is North Country Trail and Superior Hiking Trail, above Duluth. This is a new piece since my time of hiking through this area. I always like to see places that the trail has been re-routed to something better.

We began in the fog and climbed from 123rd Street to the top of Ely's Peak. There are great views from up there, but we didn't see them today! This is all basalt bedrock where the stone outcrops.

ely's peak

The fog changed the feeling of the hike. And I roughly knew where I was, but it wasn't nailed down in my head in relation to other places I'd been there. And then, we came out on a road, needing to cross Stewart Creek on a bridge, and! And! It was one of the most memorable structures of that hike I'd taken in 2000. Beautiful stonework.

Stewart Creek Bridge

Back into the woods and we came across a lovely mushroom (some kind of bolete) that was longing to send a message to my friend Rainfield. Perhaps he will translate for us.

bolete

By the time we were nearing the end we began to be able to see a little bit down into the St. Louis River. These hills that encircle Duluth, and across the river, Superior, Wisconsin, are the former shores of glacial Lake Duluth.

St. Louis River

In the afternoon, I went to presentations on the Kekakabic and Border Route sections of the NCT. And after dinner was the annual awards program. It's always neat to see how many people receive recognition for hours of volunteer time, and then the special awards for outstanding service in various categories.

Some additional visiting and discussing of trail issues with friends afterwards. Another wonderful day.


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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Spirit Mountain

 
Yesterday I was on the road. Today was the first day at the North Country Trail non-conference. Long story- just pretend it's the conference.

We awoke to a view of the harbor. Well, the harbor is out there somewhere. But it was pretty.

foggy sunrise

By noon, here was the view.

foggy sky

Hey, at dinner we could see the view. A bit muted, but at least it was there!

foggy view of Duluth

Tonight was the major banquet dinner. It was possibly the best of the dinners I remember at these events. Buffalo meatloaf was the main course- very tasty. The rest were real bread, not baked air, veggies cooked nicely- done but not mushy, salad with real vegetables, not shredded cold cardboard. Wild rice. Wowzers.

buffalo meat loaf

The program was given by last year's thru-hiker, Luke Jordan (trail name Strider). It wasn't a good setting to get a picture of him tonight, but here we are earlier in the summer, at an NCT event.

Joan Young and Luke Jordan

I also went to two programs this afternoon- one about the Superior Hiking Trail portion of the NCT, and the other about a separate loop trail in Minnesota about 30 miles long called the Sioux Hustler. Very interesting, and really more interesting than hiking in the fog.

Tomorrow, a six-mile hike!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ag Report 1- The Cucurbitas

 
I have been inspired by Stew at Seasons in the Valley to bring you a bit of a local agriculture report. I'm a farm kid at heart, you know.

There are lots of different crops here, and I'm getting ready to be gone to Duluth for a few days, but I'll bring you a few pictures today. And it will be the Curcubitas (squash and relatives).

The two I expected to find are setting fruit and beginning to ripen. Most commonly found around here are fields of pumpkins. Can you find the big green one hiding in the leaves? No orange yet- too early. There are still blossoms!

pumpkin field

The other expected one looks like this.

butternut squash field

Care to hazard a guess? These are closer to being ripe, but probably two months before they harvest them. It's butternut squash.

butternut squash field

However, this one was a mystery to me. I called in the experts (namely Chuck of Secondary Roads) to find out what it was. I sure never saw anything that grows like that! Turns out, I have eaten it, though, compliments of Chuck and Sylvia, so he easily enlightened me.

orange zucchini field

This is orange zucchini. I would have thought this was a novelty vegetable (technically, squash is a fruit), but here is a HUGE field of it. The tractors and crates were circled at the edges, so they are getting ready to harvest. It sort of looks like it will be harvested by hand. Not sure, but there were carts like people ride to pick asparagus.

Anyway, it sure grows funny! And the leaves are awesome. I stole two. Shhh. They were right on the edge of the field, broken off a plant. One was very small and one was half rotten, so I don't think they'll be missed. They are being transformed into bread as I type. (And it made good bread- I just had a piece)

orange zucchini field

They don't really taste as good as regular zucchini, so I have to wonder where all this orange bounty is headed.

Me, I have to hit the road in the morning. As early as I can. Well, this is me. It won't be THAT early!


See Creepy Crawlies? for butternut squash
See Farm Country in Fall for the pumpkin harvest
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