Friday Wake-Up

November 27, 2015 at 8:47 a.m.

Our first dusting of snow - about a month later than usual. The dogs are bored. Rain all day yesterday so no walk. And the walks we do take are after dark because of the gun deer season.


Friday Wake-Up

November 13, 2015 at 6:54 a.m.

Fire in the sky over the neighbors machine shed. The days just keep getting shorter and shorter… Snow flurries this morning while I walked the dogs.


My Birthday Adventure - Biking the Ahnapee

Last week I turned 34 so we went on a little adventure to celebrate. October was a rough month for us and it felt so good to get away for a day to do something fun together.

We loaded the bikes on the car and drove to southern Door County where we would start our ride on the Ahnapee State Trail. The Ahnapee is a 48-mile Wisconsin Rail Trail that runs from Sturgeon Bay to Kewaunee. 

48 miles is too far for me to bike in a day so we decided to bike just a section of the trail from Maplewood to Algoma and back - about 20 miles total. Maplewood doesn't have a trailhead but I emailed the town clerk ahead of time and she suggested we park at the town hall just down the road from the trail so that's what we did!

The trail from Maplewood to Forestville was mostly through agricultural land. We passed through a park in Forestville that had a nice, clean restroom (with pit toilets but they didn't stink) which was great because we both needed to blow our drippy noses due to the brisk air. The park was on a lake that had a very unique dam - one like I've never seen before.

The more interesting/scenic section of trail was from Forestville to Algoma. We passed through forests and rode alongside the meandering Ahnapee River. 

Once we reached Algoma, the trail kind of petered out as we rode into the city. Luckily I had printed out a map showing some of the city streets so we were able to find our way to downtown. I packed some sandwich wraps which enjoyed down by the harbor.

Next, we had "dessert" at the Ahnapee Brewery tap room which is in a garage of a house that has been converted into a nice little bar (max occupancy 30 people).


I had the Noble IPA and the Two Stall Chocolate Milk Stout both of which were delicious. Compared to some tap rooms we've been to, I think the beer was very reasonably priced.

After the brewery we headed next door to tour von Stiehl - Wisconsin's oldest licensed winery. The tour costs $4/person and you spend a fair amount of time outside - production/bottling is located in a separate building across the street. (Just a fair warning should you go in winter and don't really want to be walking around out in the cold.) The building that now houses the tasting room was built in the 1860's so it's pretty neat to tour even if you aren't really into wine. 

Christian carrying my loot after the tour. Good thing we were on bikes otherwise I would have bought more!

During the tour you get to go down into the rathskeller where cargo used to be unloaded from ships and then distributed via tunnels to other merchants in downtown Algoma. Today it's used for aging wine in barrels due to it's constant temperature. 

After the tour, of course we had to try some of the wines - you get 5 tastings for free regardless of whether you go on the tour or not. Christian is more of a beer guy (so am I, for that matter, but I do enjoy a good Cabernet Sauvignon) but our tour guide was awesome in finding wines that Christian enjoyed. They really have a large selection so I'm sure there's something for everyone's tastes.

Once we were "rehydrated" we hit the trail for home. Christian kept laughing at me because I was trying to take photos while riding yet avoid crashing.

Selfies are hard while riding a bike! LOL.

Ah. What a nice day! 34 years old and it's the first time I've ever biked on my birthday. I think it's going to be a good year.


Yarn Along: After Madalynn

I'm linking up with Ginny for this week's Yarn Along.

Knitting: Madalynn Cowl
I used over 1 skein of gray yarn for the snowflake section of this cowl. Afraid of running out (I only bought 2 skeins of each color) I modified the stripe section to be 2 rows of blue and only 1 row of gray. I think, I hope, this will leave me enough yarn to finish the project.
The stripe section is boring me to tears so I haven't been making much progress.
Pattern: Madalynn by Leah B. Thibault
Yarn: Quince and Co. Chickadee 

in colorways 108 Delft (blue) and 150 Sabine (Gray)

Reading: After You by Jojo Moyes
Me Before You was my favorite audiobook of the past year so I was really excited to get my hands on the sequel. Sadly, the book is just so-so. I'm 80% done and the majority of the book has been about how pathetic Lou's life is and how she can't move on after Will's death. I guess I shouldn't be surprised because sequels are never as good, right?

In other fiber-related news, I took a class at my LYS last Saturday (an early b-day present to myself) to learn how to make a wet-felted vessel. I've knitted things and then felted them but have never tried wet-felting. Pretty amazing process, if I do say so myself. I always enjoy learning new things. Now I have a dish to hold all that Halloween candy that I've been buying.  :)


Lately: October Edition

This past month we've been trying to wrap up outside projects before the snow flies. We converted a huge area of lawn to no-mow grass. (No-mow grass stays short and only needs to be cut twice a year.) This involved killing the old grass, tilling up the sod, raking out the dirt, putting down no-mow grass seed, and then covering the seed with erosion-control blankets or straw. Christian did the majority of the work but I have hours upon hours invested in the project as well. Grass is just starting to poke up through the first area that we planted. What a relief! 

I was finally able to move the new Box Elder mushroom totems from the barn into the silo. (They've been sitting for 6 months!) This is a new variety of mushroom for me and I was surprised that the totems weren't completely covered in the fungus like the Oyster mushroom totems were. I hope they'll grow! The other strange thing was that I already had a few mushrooms sprouting on the totems. 

I tried something new in the garden this year: cover crops! The ground was very compact where I used to grow strawberries so I densely seeded that area with tillage radish. The carrot-like root will help break up the soil. The plants will die when winter sets in and then fertilize the soil. What a cool concept!

Speaking of root crops, check out this Franken-carrot I dug out of the garden. (We ate it a few hours later a-la-shepherd's pie.)

And lastly, the project that never ends:

I honestly don't even know how many years this project has been going on. It all started when we poured concrete over a section of our basement that still had a dirt floor. Actually, that's not even what started it. A radon test that came back with high levels started it. The field stone walls of the cellar entrance were crumbling so we had new walls built at the same time the concrete was poured. Then we needed to buy a new door to go over the hole. We didn't like the one from Menard's so we had one custom made. In the meantime, a frame had to be built over the hole to hold the new door. This is when we discovered that the new walls were not built square to the house. I don't know how many times we've had to lift the big-ass, heavy as all get-out, metal door frame onto this hole to work on getting the fit right. Now the door just needs to be painted and placed back over the hole and I think (dear Lord, I hope) this project will finally be done. 

Do you have any never-ending projects at your place? I'm sure we're not the only ones...


Pepper Harvest and Dog Antics

Nighttime temps dipped into the 30s this week so I had to harvest all of the peppers. What a great year! (Winston agrees.)

I have some beets, carrots and kale left in the garden but that's it. I still need to clean up some of the old plants and get the garlic in the ground before things freeze and then another growing season will have come to an end. 

My helpers are always close by when I'm outside working. Hey look - the dogs actually love each other!

[BAM!]  Just kidding!

Boys will be boys.


Northern Lights at the Farm

Christian called at 4:56 this morning to let me know that he could see the Northern Lights during his drive in to work. I went out into the driveway and sure enough - there they were! I went back in the house to throw on some more clothes and grab the camera and tripod. Trudged through the wet grass to the north side of the garden and set up for a few shots. The sky looked mostly pale green with just a hint of pink. I set the camera lens to be open as long as it could, turned on the timer, then pressed the button. 20 seconds passed then an image showed up on the screen. I was shocked. I really didn't think it was going to work having never attempted a night shot before. The camera managed to intensify all the colors! Within 10 minutes the show was completely over. Glad it was a "good" phone call this morning and not another "I hit a deer" call.

Northern Lights and the Big Dipper
Waning Northern Lights, the Moon, and the Rising Sun