Friday, March 9, 2018


 First stop.  The Shoe Box in Black Earth.
 Next it was off to Bruce and Company.  The guy who helped us out really knew his stuff.  Years ago Seed Savers had a store in Madison.  Now, Bruce and Co offers the biggest selection of Seed Saver seeds outside of Decorah.  We talked about cutting back this year but when we hit the register,  I guess not.  
 Drinks?  Don't mind if I do.  Susie had an Alicia Maria and I had a Breakfast Stout. For lunch.
 Awesome bowls of Bibimbap with a fried egg on top.
 We both know what we like and ate every last bit.  We always talk about what we get the next time we go to Graze but I think we'll end up getting the same dang thing.  Because it's so good!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018


Saturday was a work day.  Gathering wood and boiling sap down.  Jim Goldy 3, Jace and Josh all stopped by to keep Ace, Maxine and I company and sip a little sap.  By the time I put in the last of the sap around 8:00 pm Saturday night I had over 30 gallons in my 15 gallon pan.
 What a beautiful weekend for a few visitors down in the sugar bush
 Once Susie put out the word that she was making snacks for Sunday, Jace, Jim and Mike made it back down
 Ann and the Girls came over from across the river to make plans with Susie for their next East coast adventure and Jen and James stopped by on their way to Andrew to snack on some of Susie's sugar twists.
 Jace kept things prim and proper as he sipped a backwoods cocktail.  Hard cider, ginger beer, bourbon and of course a splash of maple syrup. 
 Mary and Clayton were down for their spring elixir. 
 This batch couldn't have worked out any better.
We finished it up down in the timber.  Low and slow.
 By Monday, Susie had thing all bottled up.  All in all just over a gallon of fresh syrup.
Things have changed a bit since the weekend.  No school on Monday and a late start today.  After a couple inches of snow and Ice...   Hopefully this little blast of cold will get the sap running for next weekend.

Friday, February 23, 2018


Turn around don't drown!

 When the streams are running too high to fish it's time to do a little shed hunting 

So why not go with the odds.  Take a look around they can go anywhere and they do.
Where are the antlers likely to be?  How about where the deer are. 

Ok, find a deer path and keep following it until you hit an area where the deer go. 

 Where they bed down or where they feed.  So where they feed.  Bean and corn fields.   A guy can cover a lot of  ground with good eyes or binocular. 

Either side of the fence line the sheds will go flying as a buck jumps a fence or creeps between the barbs.

Where will they bed down... a sunny hillside in the timber or set aside.  The does tend to hang together and the bucks tend to bed down on their own. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

It's A Start.

Saturday  my helpers and I took the first load of supplies down\
 to the sugar bush for the 2018 season
 Ace and Maxine kept an eye on the drills until it was time to use them
 On average it takes about 30 cranks of the old hand crank drill per tap.
 Jerry my new sugar bush cat climbed up to get a better look.

 You've got to take a break every now and then and just enjoy where you are.
It's a start.

Monday, February 12, 2018


 With great powder conditions, both dogs and Susie and I were ready to hit the snow. 
 After receiving close to a foot of snow over the three day period from Friday to Sunday.  We took full advantage of the sunshine and no winds. 
 While Susie stuck to the edge of the hayfield.  The dogs and I hit the timber to check out the sugar bush.
Ace's scars are healing and he's been full of energy.
 Susie has been out skiing five times so far in 2018.

And I got this guy out on skies for the first time in 30+ years.
He seemed to like it!

There was work to be done. 
The best laid plans, have their ups and downs.

Along with Jace stopping by to see what Susie was baking, we also had a couple of other visitors .

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Super Bowl Weekend.

 Friday I helped judge cupcake wars.  I told the kids I'm spoiled with great baked goods at home but as long as they're trying I'm ok with that.
 Then it was up to the smoke stack for a democratic fund raiser for Abby Flenkenauer running for first district congressman/woman and this guy form maryland who is planning on making a run for the white house in 2020.
 She was a dynamic speaker who is a big union backer.  Then we ran into our future neighbor in down on the east end of DBQ,Falisha. A former student down in Maquoketa.
 After a little mexican and a brew down at Jubecks we were back at the townhouse for our first night in Dubuque.  We hit the farmers market early and then headed back down river to Bellevue. 
 After blocking up a good load of boxelder and hackberry I stopped in to see what Jace was up to.
Timing is everything.  High noon and Josh had some ribs on the the grill.  Cheers!

Thursday, February 1, 2018


For the second time this week the swans were out feeding in this field just East of the Hurstville Nature Center along the Maquoketa river.

 As the sun set the temperatures started to drop down to 13 *F

The babies were hungry for some food and attention.  Each winter when Mart and Joanie head South.  I help out with cat sitting duty and I make it a point to hike several different parts of the farm.

 I hiked out to owl pellet ridge.  A cedar crested ridge with a beautiful South Western exposure.  Just where I would take a nap if I was a big buck.

I stacked a little brush that Mart had cut a while back.

Even though my hands were cold, it was great to get out and hike the point.

Joan and Mart made it down to Little Corn.