Showing posts from 2015

Merry Christmas!

May you have the gift of faith,
the blessing of hope
and the peace of His love
at Christmas and always.

With Love, The Ramstacks 

Christmas Eve Wake-Up

December 24, 2015 at 7:35 a.m.
"Alpenglow" on the barn.

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…

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 t…

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…

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.

Yarn Along: Lonely Madalynn

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

Knitting: Madalynn Cowl
I picked up this yarn at the Madison Knit-In in February and I'm excited to finally cast on for this project. I used the recommended size 5 needles for the first go-round and my gauge was WAY off. So, I dropped down two needle sizes and now I'm at least in the ballpark. Yikes. I'm still a little loose but I'm going to call it "good enough". 
Pattern: Madalynn by Leah B. Thibault
Yarn: Quince and Co. Chickadee in colorways 108 Delft (blue) and 150 Sabine (Gray)

Reading: All the Lonely People by Jess Riley
Jess is a local author and I really enjoyed her first book Driving Sideways. This book started out a little slow but now it's showing the same wit and humor that Driving Sideways does. The main character has a falling-out with her family and doesn't want to spend Christmas with just her husband so she posts and ad on Craigslist for a "family" to spend Christmas d…

A New Batch of Mushrooms

My old mushroom totems were no longer producing so this year I started a new batch. Growing mushrooms is a many-month process. Back in May Christian cut down a poplar tree from my parent's land that would become the new totems.

A trunk diameter of 10-12" inches is ideal. I picked a poplar because it would work for both the oyster mushrooms and the box elder mushrooms.

After preparing the totems (cutting into sections, sprinkling on spawn) they are wrapped up in garbage bags for a few months. (The oysters were ready this week but the box elders have to sit in the bag until October.)

And this is what the totems look like when you open the bag all those months later:

The wood is covered in a spongy fungus! One by one I hauled the totem sections into the old silo.

And now we wait some more! If the temperature and moisture levels are good, we might luck out and get our first harvest this fall.

5th Anniversary

Christian and I just celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. We went for a hike around the ceremonial grounds and then went out for ice cream at our favorite place. Scoopers is where we went after we said our vows and each year we go back to take a picture out by their sign.

Marriage is nothing but easy but gets a little sweeter each year. I wouldn't want to go through life with anyone else. I think we are such a good fit for each other.

Yarn Along: A Walk in the Grove Cardi

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

Knitting: Grove Mitts
I'm working on finishing up two projects that have been sitting idle for years. I just have the thumb to finish on the 2nd Grove mitt and then they are done. Click over into my Rav page to see a better picture of the amazing texture on these mitts. The pattern has some crazy charts but I love that kind of thing.
Pattern: Grove by Jared Flood
Yarn: Knit One, Crochet Too Linus in colorway 445 Copper

Also Knitting: Yellow Flower Toddler Cardigan
The cardigan is finished except for the crochet edge. I don't know how to crochet so I'm hoping someone can show me how to when I visit my LYS on Friday. It can't be that hard, right? This was a pattern that my mom saw in a magazine and thought it looked cute so she tore it out for me. Unfortunately, the mock cable rows above the flowers on the body of the cardi are only written into the back panel of the pattern. I didn't realize this happened until…

Be kind.

I've been thinking a lot about kindness lately. A local hooligan in a jacked-up red pickup truck has been terrorizing us. When we are outside the kid will drive by and yell things at us, peel out down the road, rev his engine, etc. We've had our mailbox smashed twice in the past two weeks and he drove down into our ditch and ripped up our lawn while Christian was watching out the kitchen window.

The mailboxes could have been smashed by anyone but we're guessing it was the same guy. This morning I had a nightmare that he smashed my Prius during the night. Ripped off a door, broke the windshield, etc. Clearly, my subconscious is telling me that I'm afraid of this punk. I hate that he's gotten into my head. 

But the real question is, why is he doing this to us? We just want to mind our own business and enjoy our quiet life in the country. We are nice people. So, every time something new happens, I keep asking WHY??!! I just don't understand. 

We need more kindness i…

Birthday High

Instead of gifts, Christian and I take each other on a surprise adventure for our birthdays. We never tell each other where we're going - just what to wear and what to pack. (In past years I've taken him to a water park, biking on the Elroy-Sparta trail, go-karting and a demolition derby, beer tasting, gun shooting, etc.) 

This year I took Christian to the Adventure Park at the N.E.W. Zoo in Suamico, Wisconsin. We started by zip lining 1,000 feet down a cable from 50 feet up in the air. 

Next it was on to the high ropes course - the real reason we were there. The course is made up of 3 levels. The 1st level is pretty easy and not very far off the ground. The 2nd level is where things got interesting.

The first obstacle on the 2nd level was a zig-zag swinging balance beam. You couldn't reach the next cable while still holding onto the other one so there was a moment in between where you had nothing to grab onto. Yes, it was a bit scary.

We went on a very windy day so we al…