Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hunting, Preserving and Special Guests

 Shawn and Kolsen have been busy hunting whenever they get a chance. The hunting hasn't been as good as it was in Canada so Shawn has been a little disappointed, but I think he's still having fun. If he wasn't doing so many construction projects at work, I'm sure he'd be taking some more time off for hunting.

 I'm still busy preserving the harvest. I'm trying some fermented vegetables so we'll see how that goes. We also went back out to the farm on Sunday had picked up a few last minute items like kale, lettuce, cabbage, carrots, bok choy and brussel sprouts before they closed the farm for the winter. Our freezers are stuffed, so I think I may have to do a little rearranging to get it all in.

 Our good friends let us pick all the apples off their tree, so last week the kids and I took one day and preserved all the apples in apple butter, syrup, jelly, dried apples, pie filling and apple sauce. I really wish we had an apple tree!

 Kaylee and Kolsen completing a science experiment early in the morning on what type of hair is stronger. Kaylee's straight hair held up 36 pennies and Kassidy's curly hair only held up 32 pennies. Did you know that the shape of your hair follicles determines if you hair is curly, wavy or straight? I love learning right along with my kids.

 Baby holding is the favorite activity of the week!

 Karolyn is a little mother and loves on Holdon every chance she gets. If this boy makes a peep, she's on him!

 Kolsen with a rare chance to hold Holden.

 Lincoln is enjoying his time playing with everyone this week. I wish we had been able to watch them last week since our weather was so much nicer, but they are keeping busy indoors. 

Kolsen's K-State pumpkin

 All the kids spent Tuesday morning painting and carving their pumpkins. I always have in my mind what they might do and they have their very OWN ideas that they want to do on their own. The kids all did their whole pumpkins on their own this year. I think the only thing I did was cut Kassidy's top off and cut Lincoln's pumpkin. After pumpkin carving we had a quick lunch of pancakes and the went to Kolsen's speech class.

 A little bit of Nebraska support for Nana and Papa Cook.

Kaylee can get a smile and a giggle out of Holden during any part of the day.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Busy Fall Harvest

I haven't blogged about our CSA a whole lot this year, but we have been eating and preserving vegetables like crazy from our CSA and from our new and bigger garden. Fall is always a busy time for us with school, activities and garden produce and this year was no different. 

Our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), called Bluebird Gardens is amazing and I love that we get a box of fresh vegetables from our favorite farmer each week for 20 weeks. On top of that we also get to go out to the farm and spend 10 pick tickets and get free produce by the five gallon bucket full. We always use all our tickets and try to make it out the farm whenever they have free produce available. Our family has two extra deep freezers and also an extra fridge in our basement that we load up each summer and fall and I rarely have to go to the grocery store to buy any vegetables all winter long. I love knowing where our food comes from and that our farmer knows and cares about what he is feeding our community!

The kids and I went out and got all this produce a few weekends ago! Some of this went to a friend who wasn't able to pick, so I didn't have to process all of it. I did get all of my half processed and put in the freezer along with some dilled carrots that I canned.


While the kids and I have been busy putting up vegetables, Shawn and some friends from Wisconsin went up to Canada for some duck and goose hunting. They had an amazing time and Shawn brought back quite a bit of meat for us to eat.




 Mmmm....carrots diced, sliced, shredded and eaten raw! We processed 10 gallons of carrots and just picked 10 gallons more when we went out to the farm this past weekend. I've been keeping a bowl full of cut up carrots on the table for the kids to grab when they walk through the kitchen.


 Kaylee, Kolsen, Kassidy and I LOVE dilled carrots and we've been waiting to make more since we ran out last winter.

 One weekly CSA box. All of this has been eaten except some of the squash. I've really got to figure out how to get more squash in our diet plan.

 Kolsen washing up some of the lettuce we picked a few weeks ago. We wash it, put it through the salad spinner, lay it on the counter to dry some and then store it with a few dry paper towels in our downstairs fridge. Last year we had lettuce that was still good a month later.

 The kale and spinach. We ate some of the kale wish garlic salt and Parmesan cheese. The spinach was all chopped up and frozen.

 Our final FREE pick of the season. After rationing out our 10 tickets to last all season, the week after we receive our final CSA box, the farm is open to everyone to come and pick what is left. This was what we thought we could fit into our freezers and process before it goes bad. I couldn't believe how many pumpkins and squash were still left. We've now learned to start walking out of the fields with our buckets only half full because the kids and I are always spotting just one more veggie that we have to pick.

 I love the rainbow of colors and variety we get!

 Our K-State cauliflower. I tried some steamed and it tasted delicious, but it was hard to eat because of the color, so we'll be trying to eat all of this raw.

mmm...carrots. The kids all loved the atomic red carrots!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Youth Waterfowl Day

Shawn and Kolsen had a great time during youth waterfowl day. They had been scouting hunting spots for a few weeks and ended up going to their third choice spot because so many people were out that morning! It's a good thing we has so many places to go hunting around our county. Kolsen shot six ducks, but they couldn't find one, so he came home, grinning from ear to ear with five ducks. I'm pretty sure it'll be pretty hard for Shawn to go hunting this year without a helper or two. 



Sunday, September 28, 2014

Gooseberry Falls State Park

I love Minnesota! Our state is beautiful and has so many amazing places to visit. Our summer was so busy this year that we didn't get out camping until September. We decided to try out a new state park and went to Gooseberry Falls, which is over on the North shore of Lake Superior. It was amazingly beautiful and the kids had a great time. I also love that my parents can remember bringing me here as a child when we made it up North to visit my mom's sister Jerri and her family. I'll definitely have to see if my mom can find some pictures of me at the park.








Getting ready for our private tour of the Gitchi Gummi Trail with one of the park workers. We ended up camping on Sunday night through Tuesday so most of the park and camp ground was empty. The kids loved it when he showed them all the berries they could eat around the park.



On of the views from the trail. Our campground was about a five minute hike from this picture.
 

Looking out at Lake Superior. The kids loved that you could see WI from the shore on the first day.


mmmm....camp food.


They had really nice bike trails, but it was pretty hilly so we didn't make it outside of the park.


The kids LOVED that they could crawl all over the rocks and touch the falls.


Holding on to the troops while looking over a cliff.


The kids loved this rock bridge/tunnel!






Karolyn was all over!






We had beautiful weather each day, but it was cool enough to enjoy some hot chocolate each morning.










A beautiful lighthouse that was in the State Park just North of Gooseberry.


We did most of our biking from the campground up to the visitor's center.


Geocaching




They found the loot!



I can't wait until we can go back!