Monday, August 30, 2010


Just Opening

All another the area of which we live, NW Minnesota, there are fields and fields of Sunflowers.  So, why did I sow a patch of my own, who knows.  After getting my new garden space up and running this past spring, I started breaking ground to increase next years garden space. Why more space... Well,  I love to have enough garden to support our freezer and pantry and to sell at a local farmers market and to share with those that are in need.  But, I am getting off topic.  Well, after breaking the ground up, I decided to sow some black oiled sunflower seeds.  Yes, the kind that you would feed the birds.  I was hoping to get a few sunflower heads to share with my birdy friends this winter in their time of need.  So, yesterday as I was crusing around the yard with camera in hand, I came across the spot of sunflowers that are trying there best to bloom.  They were planted late in spring, maybe even early summer, so they are way behind their fellow sunflowers in the area, which are about done.  In the process of walking around the patch, my shutter found a few interesting images that I would like to share with you.  I have the imagies post on Flickr.  Please visit and leave your comment on the image... yes, you will need a Flickr account, but its free.

Click here is see the images at Flickr

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Waters or Watters! Muddy waters indeed!

while back I found my great grandmother in 1910 US census living Lowell Massachusetts with new husband and my grandfather (a boy at this time) and his sister Flossie. For whatever the reason, it wasn't until this past month I decided to request a copy of the marriage certificate from the state of Massachusetts. I was hoping there would be more information on the certificate than just the union of the two. So, after gathering the proper information and time frame of the marriage, I sent the request to Massachusetts. I was told to expect a long wait for the return on any documentations. Happily, I received the certificate in just over four weeks. Not long at all for government work. Anyway, I hit pay dirt and more confusion, at the same time, about my great grandmother's nee, in which this blog post is about.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wood Frog

Wood Frog
This past spring and early summer has been very very wet up here in the northwest of Minnesota.  So much so, the basement hasn't dried total out yett.  The humid level is in the 70%, the sump pump is slowly down, and the dehumidifier is still working on reducing the wet air.  The old cistern, which I am going to turn into a root cellar is about dry.  Dang thing was a constant flood this spring.  I am sure growing mushrooms would work in this basement right now.

Outside, the grass is growing like a weed, the yard has these small patches of mushroom popping up, the skitters are now thick as mud and the Wood Frog is happily gorging themselves on them.  I found this little fellow at the base of huge pine.  As I watched, it grabbed a few flies and skitters.  Just think about all the skitters these guys eat and yet there are thousands leftover for the birds, bats and to pester us!

The Wood Frog likes a wide variety of environments, woods (duh), prairies, and tundra.  It is actually the only frog living north of the Arctic Circle.

New tool in the kitchen!

I went into the store this evening to pickup some freezer bags, when I came across Ziploc's Vacuum Freezer bags and Starter kit.  The price was a bit high, but vacuumed sealed, I was in!   So, I started my test.  No, I am not working for or receiving any cash rewards for this post, but I wish I was. 

Vacuumed Sealed beans
The kit comprises of a small hand operated pump and 3 bags of the quart size.  Since I just pick a peck of green beans, they are my test project.  After snipping, washing, blanching, and chilling, I started the bagging process.  I bagged up the total peck first.  I then zip sealed the bags, which we all are familar with.  I notice that this process for these bags was pretty easy.  Some bags I have found a bit difficult to line up the zipper.  These, however were easy as heck. 

Before the vacuum!
After zip sealing all the bags, I then (following the instructions) used the small hand pump by placing it over the target area of the bag.  The target has a one way value, which allows the air to be drawn out with the pump. If you look close at the images there is a blue circle on the top right corner of the bags, this is the target area for the pump.  I then pumped sealed all the quart sized bags which I used for the peck.  Yes, I bought another box of bags.  Upon finishing all the bags, I noticed that three out of the ten bag were leaking air, as they were not holding the tight sealed look of no air in the bag.  Upon check the zip seal, I noticed that I hadn't completed sealed the three bags in question.  This time instead of pinching the zipper between my index finger and thumb, I used the counter and my index finger.  And I felt the zipper seal up.. so I tested all the bags this way and did find a few more not completely sealed.  I then pumped out the air, waited a few minutes prior to placing the bags into the freezer.  All held their seals.

The second part of this test will be tomorrow, as I move the bean from the small refrigator freeze to the large chest freezer in the basement.  I will let you know the condition.  You will just have to wait.
After the vacuum
A quick inspection of the frozen vacuumed sealed green beans this revealed that all the bags held their seals.  Off to a great start!  Next test will be later down the road as winter sets in and I get a hankering for something green from the garden.