Tuesday, August 20, 2013

August Bounty

Our pumpkin vines have grown luxuriantly.  Every morning there are bright new flowers, which apparently wilt by evening.

The corn has been invaded and overwhelmed by the pumpkins, but still seems to be producing ears.  The Inidans commonly planted corn, squash and beans together - the "Three Sisters."

Our beets and carrots did well despite the persistantly wet soil we had this year.

You gotta love something that grows as exhuberantly as these pumpkin vines. Hopefully they can produce ripe pumpkins as well as foliage.

Our meat chickens are growing well.  We just buy a mixed batch of traditional breeds, not the specialized meat breeds that grow so fast that they die from broken legs and congestive heart failure.  That, by the way, is what you get in a grocery store.

Vappu has been a good mother and raised a pair of healthy ram lambs, now almost as big as their mother.

One brown and one black.

Gunnar's horns are well into their second spiral.  He is still up to his old tricks of butting everyone out of his way when he wants something and trying to catch me with my back turned.  I don't trust him, but I really am fond of him.  I mean, how can you not love an animal that is always friendly to your face and would like to launch you into flight when your back is turned?  I find that hilarious.

Swiss chard in the backyard garden.  I sautee a skilletfull of this every morning to eat with my pastured eggs and old country rye toast (with a layer of homemade strawberry jam).

Our backyard blueberry bushes have started producing.  I'm hoping my other plantings will  do as well.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Wolf Point

Paddling to Wolf Point

A bit of of a headwind made for a light chop which got calmer as we approached the point.

We had the pleasure of paddling with our friend Jim T who haD arrived at the boatlanding at the same time we did.

Jim  paddled around the point a ways and then stopped at our campsite for a cup of coffee the way back.

Seventy nine years old and still going strong.  You're only as old as you feel.

Morning coffee ....

...and a calm lake to paddle on to 14 Mile Point.  We packed all our food in the canoe just in case a bear happened to visit our campsite.

Eagle #1.  Young bald eagles look pretty motley.  It takes about four years I believe for them to achieve their adult plumage.  No sense standing out and having to defend a territory when you're still learning to hunt fish.

Eagle #2

Eagle #3

Sleeping Bay to 14 Mile Point.  I hadn't paddled for awhile and was starting to feel it in the shoulders by the time we made it to the point.  I was fortunate to have Carl N, a former canoe racer as my original instructor.  He taught me the short and quick stroke that racers use.  Most people learn the bad habit of reaching too far forward and pulling the paddle too far back.  You waste a lot of energy pushing down on the water and lifting it.  It's far better to keep the paddle blade  close to vertical through a short stroke so that the force is parallel to the direction of the canoe.

On the way back the wind picked up and the lake got a little choppy, so we pulled into Sleeping Bay for a break.

Eagle #4 (Actually this may be #1,2, or 3)

Moby Dick

One of our old campsites

Call me a chicken, but I really love it when Lake Superior gets oily calm.  Paddling in a  brisk wind and a following sea always gives me a bit of butterflies in the stomach.  And if the wind increases and the waves get bigger your mouth may start feeling dry - that's a good signal that maybe you should start looking for a place to land.

Eagle #5, an adult just before Wolf Point.  It's amazing how the white head of a mature eagle stands out in a distance.  The young birds just blend in, and their presence seems to be tolerated by the nesting pair.  Likely they were their offspring.

Back home again.

The lake is about a foot higher this year than it was last August.


Evening calm.

We took advantage of the calm to build our bonfire out on the rock shelf.  The mosquitoes finally gave up after dark.  Notice how the wind blows out into the lake during the evening, a reverse of the normal daytime onshore breezes.

The bears had left us a tree full of sugar plums.  We picked a couple of pints so that Marja can make a pie.

Cowboy coffee, filtered.