Monday, December 08, 2014

Fall garden update

A little late here with this since it feels like it has been winter forever, but here goes! We had a great year in the garden this year. The neighbor's tree to the north of us was taken down in the spring and it shaded our veggie beds previously. I missed the shade of that tree every day of summer and fall, but there isn't much that could have been done since it was rotting. Good news from that though is that the veggie beds did extremely well. Steve had a bumper crop of peppers and my kale, basil and brussel sprouts grew insanely big. Also the herbs were usable until the first snow fall. It was wonderful.  Despite the cool summer, we had a pretty good year with about 8 tomato plants on the side of the house, I forgot to take a picture.

Harriet made this little scarecrow named Polka Dottie in the fall and put her in the garden.

Pretty awesome haul on these delicious brussel sprouts! We also had our CSA again this year and enjoyed all the fresh veggies and fruits from that all summer and fall.


This kale was just awesome. I liked the texture of it so much more than the curly kale. It too lasted until the first big snowfall. 
A really good year for the hops. We gave it all to our neighbors who brewed it up.

Steve canned a ton of peppers. We made an insane amount of pickles in many varieties with cucumbers from the farmers' market. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving knitting

I have been knitting a bit more now that the garden is over and I have a bit more time inside. I made this little turkey and think it is pretty cute. Pattern here, Spud and Chloe blog posts with better pictures here.

I made this pumpkin for Halloween, but it is nice that it can stay out another month for Thanksgiving. Quite easy, Pattern here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Annual tree picture: Year 4

We are a little late on the family tree picture this year. Chalk it up to a very busy summer and just absentmindedness. No apples on the honey crisp this year and only one on the zestar. We were looking forward to eating it and had just seen it out there the day before, but when we went to pick it – it was gone. Sigh.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Bad news bees

Things didn't look so good for our final check of the hives for the year. We haven't been up there for a while and it wasn't a pretty sight. One hive, the one that had been doing the best, was basically totally dead and so we combined the remaining bees with the hive in the picture above. Chris the beekeeper isn't very optimistic about this hive though and said that she expects them to die over the winter. What is the problem you ask?! Mites. On the picture below it is kind of hard to see, but there are little flecks of white in the comb, which means mites.


Here is the honey we took from the hives, not the best haul.

Winterizing the hive involves taking off the top boxes (aka supers) and putting newspaper over the top of the hive box before putting the cover back. Then we put this wax covered cardboard thing over the hive boxes to help insulate it a bit and plugged up the top holes. I forgot to ask, but I think we left the bottom entrance/exit open still.

Not all is terrible about this situation. It has apparently been a bad year all around for beekeepers in the region due to the chilly spring. If and when the bees die off we can get new colonies next spring and the comb is already made and can be reused for the new hive. They will not have to spend all of their energy making comb and will instead devote it to making more honey. This has been a great learning experience for me and I'm glad I took the leap and got into beekeeping. I have learned so much from Chris and it has been fun getting to know her.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Richardson nature center

 Last weekend we went to our 3rd nature center in 3 weeks. It has been fun to check them all out. Although we didn't go for a hike at this one, we still enjoyed all it had to offer at the center. We sat in rocking chairs and watched the birds eating from the feeders, we watched a raptor eating a mouse for dinner in it's cage and we saw the other caged reptiles. The walls here are all really cool and in relief as well as interactive with little doors and slots. After this we went over to chutes and ladders, the massive playground, and it basically blew Harriet's mind.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Star Tribune reunion

Last weekend the Star Tribune hosted a get together for former employees as kind of a farewell to the building since it will be torn down next summer for the new Vikings stadium park. I had high hopes for the gathering, but it basically fell short because the event was kind of poorly planned. Basically very little time for socializing and most of the time was devoted to a bunch of speeches. No thanks. Here is a story about the reunion.
 It was fun to catch up with a few of my favorite old co-workers, although most of whom I am still in touch with. We reconnected with one of our favorite managers, Ken (second from the right) though. It was great to see him.

 It was fun to be in the building one last time and to commemorate it, we went down in the creepy basement and weighed ourselves as a group one last time on the giant scale down there leftover from long ago. It can hold up to 1000lbs.

I made Anton pose for this one last time.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Mothers day socks

I just finally finished socks for my mom for mothers' day (for this year, not next).