Monday, May 24, 2010

It's Windy

It seems like it's been windy forever, and the forecast is for more:

Rest Of Today...Thunderstorms. Some thunderstorms may produce heavy rainfall. Breezy. Highs in the upper 50s. Northeast winds 20 to 25 mph with gusts to around 40 mph.

Tonight...Thunderstorms in the evening...then rain showers likely after midnight. Some thunderstorms may be severe with heavy rainfall. Windy. Lows in the upper 40s. East winds 15 to 30 mph with gusts to around 45 mph.

Tuesday...Mostly sunny. Windy. Highs in the mid 60s. South winds 20 to 30 mph with gusts to around 45 mph shifting to the southwest 30 to 35 mph with gusts to around 55 mph in the afternoon.

Tuesday Night...Decreasing clouds. Windy. Lows in the mid 40s. Southwest winds 15 to 30 mph becoming west 10 to 15 mph after midnight.

Our clothes lately have been drying in the horizontal position on the clotheslines!
I'll try to write more soon. As usual, life has been very busy.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Potato/Carrot Storage

Last fall we had an abundant harvest of carrots and potatoes. We don't have a root cellar, so Plan B had to be activated in order to store them over the winter.

Last month I read about the clamp that Herrick Kimball of The Deliberate Agrarian made to store his carrots. Well, we too had quite a few vegetables to take care of last fall, so we created a different type of storage for them.

Our friend Steve was helping us clean out corn stalks, etc. and Jim asked him if he would dig a trench for us.

The trench was four feet deep and approximately 2-1/2 feet wide -- just high and wide enough to fit 55 gallon plastic barrels.

David finished cleaning out the loose dirt, and we were ready to roll.

We didn't finish the job until our Indian summer was over, so the actual digging and placing of the vegetables into the barrels took place under a bit different circumstances -- after a snow!

This time Andrew was down in the hole, placing layers of vegetables and a mix of straw and wood chips in between. The sides of the barrel were also lined with straw in order to help with air circulation.

After the potatoes and carrots were in place, Peter rolled hay bales on top of the barrels in the trench and the whole area was covered with a tarp. The guys also placed loose straw on all sides to help prevent any cold air from filtering into the hole.

Not too long ago I was completely out of the potatoes, so Jim had David and Andrew uncover some of the barrels.

At first check the carrots didn't seem to fare as well as the potatoes, since they were mushy. We have yet to dig down further and see if the whole barrel's contents are also soft.

However, after discarding some potatoes that had been nibbled on by mice and some that were mushy, they discovered most of the rest of the potatoes were just as fresh and firm as when they were placed into the barrels. They are great -- even better than the ones we had wintering in the basement. The ones in here were soft and kept sprouting. Some of the potatoes we brought into the house have also begun to sprout, but nothing like the ones that were already in here.

We can enjoy baked potatoes once again!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Can it Really Be May?

This was our landscape today:

Thankfully by late afternoon all the snow had melted, but there could be more on the way.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Time to Visit Family

Jonathan, David and I left April 2 on a trip to visit my family in northern Minnesota. Our farm has gotten to the point where it isn't possible for just Jim to handle all the chores, so Andrew and Peter had to stay behind to help out. Hopefully they can make a trip with me in the fall to visit Grandpa and Grandma W and the rest of my family.

We left in the middle of a mini snowstorm, and didn't drive out of it until we crossed into Minnesota.
Andrew had to give us a push or two to get the car going, since the frost was already coming out of the ground and everything was wet and very muddy.

David and Jonathan challenged Grandpa W to quite a few games of Double Solitaire. This time my older brother Mike played along as well.

My younger brother Mark and my niece Sarah's husband Scott took the boys to the local gun club to shoot a few rounds.

I'm not sure of just what they were doing, but I know they had a great time.

On Easter Sunday we had a dinner with some of the family. This is a photo of my Mom with her great-granddaughter, Maddie.

Grandpa Mike holding my niece Katie's daughter, Norah. Maddie is Katie and Brandon's daughter as well.

Meanwhile, down in Mike's basement the boys were learning how to play Wii baseball. We've never seen the game before, and David especially enjoyed the challenge. They also attempted bowling.

David, Grandma and Jonathan enjoying some together time. It's tough to live so far away from family.

One day while we were in MN we took a trip over the border to Wisconsin. Our main goal was to pick up some construction items at Menard's, but we managed to find some other interesting stores to visit as well.

It was a very beautiful day, and I enjoyed taking in views of Lake Superior.

David took a photo of the evergreen trees across from my folks' house just as the sun was breaking through the clouds and getting ready to set for the night. That is one aspect of MN that I miss -- the evergreens.

This is a photo of the sun setting from the west side of my folks' house. When I was growing up this area was just a big field, and I remember playing lots of games of kickball with the other kids in the neighborhood. Now there are three rows of houses back there and then comes the town's elementary school.

Jonathan and Grandpa had lots of great talks together.

Time to finish packing ...

Saying goodbye is hard to do.

We love you, Grandpa and Grandma, and look forward to the next time we see you!